Sunday, February 19, 2012

Home and life learning here at Maple Valley Farm...

I wrote this as well in 2007 - all rights reserved-  This is the "milk" of our homeschooling.  Read the meat of our homeschooling here first, as this is most important.  You do need meat and milk to grow.
one of our son's creations, a coat rack carved from sassafras trees in his spare time...
age 10
And, this article is still true.  We have 1 home school graduate now that is employed as a full-time C.N.A. at a large hospital here in Michigan.  She took some of the courses at 17 and passed the state boards at just 18. Homeschooling works! However, we do not measure her success because she is on top of her game in the work world.  We are also Happy to report that she is serving the Lord as well which what pleases us most.

I receive emails about "what books do you use" for school. I am an eclectic type of literature based teaching. I believe we have over 400+ living books here... I just purchased about 75 living books from an awesome home school garage sale, as well as a great microscope and some other neat things... I purchase a lot of our books at used book sales (library or charity), garage sales and home school book sales.  We have a large library.  A home library saves $ actually if you realize that you save trips to the library and library fines.   A home library also helps to keep some questionable books out of the hands of young children.  The books can be used for years to come.  I highly encourage developing a home library.  After any one in the family has read the book, we sign our name in the front cover and the date so we can remember.  Through the years this is precious to look back on and see our children's names at different ages and how they sweetly learned to write.

I have really found what "works" for the younger one's now because the older ones helped me figure out what they liked best when it came to school.  Another way to put this is that the older ones are the Guinea pigs :). Thanks guys! We have thrown out or sold lots of types of curriculum that never worked for us. It is very important with homeschooling to approach it with an open mind. Even though you spent all that money on the "latest and greatest curriculum", (buyer beware) guess what, IT MIGHT NOT WORK for your child, you need to be willing to move on. That is OK! Don't beat yourself about it...

Math-U-See is a great fit for our family and we love it! We tried Saxon and bombed big time... I think we will continue MUS until graduation, "we'll see"... Thanks Steve!

We use the cards only for phonics from School of Tomorrow... The rest of their stuff was not a good fit for our family but I did keep the phonics cards and we incorporate Alpha-Phonics as well as Explode the Code all the way up to 6th grade or earlier if they finish... Then we jump to Wordly Wise. We start with phonics around 5 1/2... One child was ready at 4, some were not ready until age 6. We then start with BOB Books and jump to the Educator's Publishing Service Primary Phonics Readers. (all sets) Then we go to Rod and Staff Publisher's (an Amish publisher, GREAT BOOKS) "God is Good Series" and end with their Pathway Readers before jumping to intermediate chapter books. By now the children should be well on their way with reading. They read aloud to me daily until about 5th grade and then I hear them weekly.

We use Spelling Power from 2nd grade and up. We just love this program and our 8th grader this year will be finished with this book by Christmas. This program is 1st - 12th grade a really great value for this many years of spelling.

We do not even attempt grammar until 7th grade here. Why you may ask? I have found that the children just "get it" when they reach 7th grade. It comes so easy to them at this age, why try to re-invent the wheel in their younger brains. It works well for our family this way. Here is our one grammar book (a high school text I believe) it will serve all of our family's needs, Easy Grammar Plus for grammar entirely throughout their school career. UPDATE 2012:  I will be incorporating a research-term paper this year for our 8th and 10th grader to do at the local library

We use various book lists from Sonlight, Elizabeth Wilson's "Books Children Love" and "Honey for a Child's Heart" for our read-aloud time. Lamplighter books (we have 90% of the entire series, just finished HEDGE OF THORNS-great read) are some of our favorites for read-aloud time too...  We also have the complete G.A. Henty Series with guide book from Vision Forum, a very generous gift from The Gentle Giant's parents. 

For Science all year we find nature, bring it in to draw in our Nature Notebooks. This book, The Handbook of Nature Study is well used in our home. We may bring in anywhere from 1-5 specimens a week, although winter is a harder time for nature walks. That is why we LOVED visiting Alabama this past winter. We had new "digs" to discover! We incorporated The Seaside Naturalist when we were there and joined the Sea Lab while visiting. This year we are using Apologia General Science as well as finishing up their Astronomy book.

For our Bible time we read the WORD, only The King James Version and also incorporate different devotions with this. We really have enjoyed the Pearables Books and I highly recommend them.  A great series to listen to as a family or husband and wife to build the family is The Whole Kit and Kaboodle by Vision Forum on CD.  We have this series in our library as well. 

We have used Beautiful Feet Books in the past and really enjoyed their Early American History Series. This year we will continue with Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World and Supplement with read alouds pertaining to what era of history we are studying. Her books come with a great reading list that coincides with her text. She writes from a christian worldview.

We start typing in 6th grade. This year our 6th grader will start a new book for us. I plan to incorporate this book with all of our children if it seems like a good fit for us. It is called "Write Your Roots". You interview your ancestors and learn all about your family tree and keep records of priceless stories that will be gone when our ancestor's pass away.

HOME DESIGNED HIGH SCHOOL is becoming a big hit as I plan our high school curriculum. We are incorporating some of this in our 8th grade this year to get a jump start.

We add a lot to our formal school throughout the day. Learning is caught best hands on. The 2 older daughters each have a baking day throughout the week. They each make dinner once a week and also our Son is involved as he gets older in the kitchen too. The children all do outside chores with animals and stacking wood, help with house cleaning from a daily list of their jobs all the way down to our youngest 1st grader helping fold clothes, set the table, bring down dirty clothes to the laundry room etc. We all live here, we all pitch in. Each child has a list of jobs on the refrigerator that is printed out every Sunday PM to start the new week. The chart stays the same all year long and they now have it pretty much down what they do on certain days. They do all different sorts of jobs so they are well versed in all areas. Some jobs they love, some they don't... sounds like mom :) 

We have at different times of the year where we engage in volley ball and basket ball at an open gym night. Piano will start up again soon for 2 of the children. We are always hiking in various places up near our cottage in Leelanau, Michigan.  We look for mushrooms, cougars (ha ha) climb the dunes, head to the local concerts and more... All these things go into our "school time"... There is more I won't bore you with :) 

This is some of the things that work for us... What do you do in your home school? Leave a comment on what works for you, I would love to hear about it!

God Bless you!

All rights reserved 2007-2099


Kelly Klassen said...

Thanks for sharing the books you use at home. I am always looking for new ideas on good books. We were using the Library a lot but are going to start to purchase more books as they are great to keep and use for the younger ones.

I love your blog and love how authentic you are!! It is also nice to read how you are finding more balance in your life.

Blessings to you and your wonderful family!

Anne said...

Wonderful site! I'm a new follower!

Diane said...

Thanks for sharing what you use in your home school setting. It is always interesting to see what is working for other families. We love Easy Grammar. I can't understand why this is not used in the public schools. It is the easiest way I have ever seen to learn grammar.

all photos and writing on this blog ©Copyright Maple Valley Farms 2008-2011