sharing from my heart to yours
There are many homeschoolers out there these days. Learning at home has become a much more mainstream way of educating than it used to be. When looking into it, I learned that there area about as many curriculum options as there are homeschoolers! Maybe not quite, but it can be pretty overwhelming. It's always interesting to learn about what other families are doing, and what works for them in their routines and schedules. Some of you were curious about what we chose to use as a curriculum, now that we made the decision to homeschool. I'm not sure if I'll be the type to pick on thing and stick to it until my kids graduate. I think (based off of... no experience!) that I will be more the type to have a core to focus on each year, and go from there, depending on the needs/interests of my kids at the time.
For now, we plan to start with the My Father's World program.
I had heard about My Father's World (MFW) quite a while back. For some reason, I wrote it off as something I didn’t think would work for my family. This past year, as homeschool became more of an obvious pull for us, I picked up some of the ‘homeschool talk’, including things like homeschool styles, types of curriculum, scheduling techniques, and so on. This past March, I went to a homeschool convention with a group of friends, most of who were already teaching their own children at home. I was able to physically touch books from many different curriculum companies, and really see the difference between things that are out there. MFW was not at this convention, but when I came home, I obsessively researched about everything homeschool related for weeks (or maybe I still do). If you know me very well, you know that’s how I am. When I’m considering doing anything new, or making any investment type of purchases, I spend a LOT of time looking into all my options, comparing prices, and looking at reviews from others who have tried the product.
So in my crazy research, I again ran across the My Father’s World program. I decided to look into it a little further… and fell in love with it! I know that as family dynamics change, learning styles vary between children, and life happens, often what we first though would work for our family, doesn’t anymore. But for now, I plan to jump into the MFW program with both feet, and tweak things as we get more experience and learn about what works best for us. I actually bought the Kindergarten curriculum for Rystin already! He won’t be 5 until January, so he is technically only preschool age this year. But he LOVES to do school, and begs me to sit down and work with him. We have been doing ‘school’ usually at least a few times a week for the last 6 months or so, and he does great. After doing a lot of research on the program, and seeing what it involved, I feel like Rystin will be ready to start Kindergarten this fall. We plan to start slowly, letting him go at his own pace, and possibly take two years to finish it instead of just one, or do a year and a half for both K and 1st grade. If he does continue to stay motivated and gets through it more quickly than I think, then I guess he’ll be ahead in the future so we don’t have to worry so much about being super scheduled. I don’t really see this happening, but just looking at all the options.
This is how I have everything organized for Kindergarten right now. This is where things for all units that we are NOT currently working on will be stored. Each unit has its own folder where the worksheets, related books, verse cards, and so on are stored. The book on top is the Math workbook I printed for Rystin.
My Father’s World is a Biblically based curriculum that focuses heavily on family. It mainly relies on the Charlotte Mason method of learning, and teaches through unit studies, but also ties in other types of teaching methods throughout the years. There is a ‘core’ that is focused on each year, that can involve the entire family, especially those from 2nd-8th grade (and can include younger kids also). Kindergarten focuses on God’s Creation. First grade focuses on God’s Story/Bible history. Second/Third grade (depending on family dynamics) focus on U.S. History. In 2nd/3rd grade, students begin the ‘cycle’, where they study different eras in history from Creation to Modern Times. The website explains the cycles best. I love how the whole family can be involved in the core studies and projects, while each student does work based on their skill level. Each package includes history, geography, science, art, music, and Bible (and then some!). Language Arts and Math are included in the younger grades, but come separately (with recommendations) when they get older. MFW also has Pre-K packages for 2-3 year olds and for 4 year olds.
After getting the curriculum and being able to flip through it and see exactly what it involves, I love it even more! Hopefully I will once we actually start too! I was able to find a used set on a MFW Facebook group (there is a used curriculum group, groups for each grade level, as well as a general page which all provide a ton of help from others!) The set that I got looks like brand new, and I was so pleased with everything. And in my nerdy way, I already organized, filed, laminated, and started planning for when we actually begin in a few months. That’s just my style, and I enjoy doing that kind of thing. Call me weird if you want!
As far as how the Kindergarten program, God’s Creation from A to Z, works, I’ll give you a few details. It begins the year with the ‘foundation’ unit, Creation. This is a ten day study on each day of the creation, number and letter review, and learning some new songs and games. Then it moves into the actual unit studies. There are 26 studies, each focusing on some aspect of things in this world that God created. The first unit studies the Sun, (and the letter S), teaching how Jesus is the light of the world. The second unit studies the Moon, (and the letter M), teaching how WE are the light of the world, reflecting Christ, as the moon reflects the sun. The third unit studies Leaves (and the letter L), teaching how we must live and grow in Jesus. And eventually all 26 letters are taught, as well as 26 Biblical concepts. Each unit includes Phonics, Math, Reading, Science, History, Bible, Music, and Art; all relating to the unit topic. There are projects ideas, verses, songs, poems, book suggestions, and so on in each unit. Each unit includes a daily lesson plan that can be taught in on a 3, 4, or 5 day per week schedule, depending on your family. It also includes 2-3 pages of notes for instructions, teaching tips, ideas, etc. There are fun supplemental items you can buy, as well as a literature pack with one book related to each unit topic. It is a very gentle beginning to school and reading, and focuses more on hands on learning and fun than the textbook and worksheet type of structure. This is a 'complete' curriculum, which means it is typically all that you will need to teach this grade level. Of course, each student is different. Some things may be to easy, and can be skipped, and some subjects may need to be supplemented with other books if your child needs a little extra practice. I have a few things in mind for supplements if needed, especially since we plan to take our time for K anyways, and should have extra time to fit more in if we want. I did go ahead and print a few chapters of a free math program called Math Lessons for a Living Education. It looks like something Rystin would really love, and would add a little extra math to the program, as it mostly just includes counting and numbers, from what I can tell.
We are both excited to start! This homeschool stuff is a whole new world for me, and I’ve learned so much visiting others and reading lots about it. There are SO many programs that look excellent, and even free programs that are out there. It's just a matter of finding something that fits your family the best.
I’m looking forward to years of teaching and growing with my kids, even through the challenging days.
So here's to the beginning of 'Skyview Faith Academy'!
Sounds official hey?! ;)
'Skyview' as a reminder of our sweet Skyler Thomas, who loved me
"as high as Heaven!"and would have just finished Kindergarten last month.
'Faith', so that we can remember what are focus truly is on!
Pray for us as we continue to muddle through this life. And as we begin this new direction with our kids.
Hello and Welcome!