Another Homeschooling Year (2023-2024)
Updated: Sep 11
It's hard to believe that this is the start to my ninth year of homeschooling. My eldest daughter, who is now in public school, is in 7th grade, and I began homeschooling her the year that I had planned to send her to the popular local pre-school and last minute pulled her out and decided we were going to begin this crazy homeschool thing!
Sophie decided last year, in 6th grade, that she wanted to go to public school. It's a decision we made together, and I am continually affirmed in this decision for her. My younger three, Brielle (5th grade), Lyla (3rd grade), and Violet (1st grade) continue to homeschool. The greatest lesson I've learned on this journey is to be open to change. Every year requires something different, and each child is their own unique person!
We are beginning our 5th week and already realizing some curriculum choices we love and others we don't!
Our Plan for 2023-2024
Morning time is a popular term in homeschooling these days, and it's something we've implemented since the beginning. Basically this includes all of the subjects that we do together as a family. We will continue to do morning time this year, and in it we include the following:
- Bible and Religion
- Social Emotional Learning
- Art appreciation
For Bible, we will read the Bible as well as Bible stories, and Brielle is reading a fun re-writing of Bible stories for kids by Kaleidoscope. We also are learning about other religions, which I think is a really valuable thing for children to learn about both to be understanding of others and to understand their own beliefs.
We always love reading a few poems each day!
We choose a poem or two to recite each term, as well as a song or two to learn and sing.
I added in social emotional learning last year. This includes doing yoga and mediation, and learning about emotions, our bodies, etc.
For art appreciation, we study an artist a term. This year, we are studying Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, and Augusta Savage.
For math, I am continuing to use Charlotte Mason Elementary Math with my youngest two daughters. We have always really loved this curriculum! Brielle was nearing the end of the last CM Elem. Arithmetic book that's currently out, and she was also wanting to do more work independently, so we decided to try The Good & the Beautiful. Four weeks in, and we don't love it. We will probably finish this year out but not use it again next year. While it does allow her to be a bit more independent, I still end up helping her with quite a bit, and some of the lessons are long.
For reading, Brielle now reads books of her own choosing independently, Lyla reads a mixture of books I choose and ones she chooses, sometimes with me and sometimes independently. Violet is continuing to work through 100 Easy Lessons, which we began last year. She is almost to lesson 60, which is where we always end with this book and then move on to short readers. I've just never loved the lessons past 60.
For writing, Brielle and Lyla are using The Good & the Beautiful handwriting books this year. Lyla is learning cursive this year. Violet is finishing up Explode the Code 1 1/2 (which she loves but I don't!), and then we plan to use The Good & the Beautiful handwriting for her.
Brielle does The Good & the Beautiful language arts this year, our first time using this as well. We've determined we don't love it as much as we hoped to either. I prefer to do our own art and geography lessons, which they include in their language arts, and I don't love all their writing prompts. I've moved to picking and choosing which parts of the lessons I want her to do, mostly focusing on the grammar sections.
For science, we are using The Good & the Beautiful Safety Course. We love their science curriculum, and the girls really love the Safety unit! We plan to study paleontology during term 2! We also continue to learn about animals and nature through books and shows.
For history, we are studying the 18th century, mostly American history. I always research quite a bit to find history books that are inclusive and well-rounded.
For geography, we are focusing on Australia this term, using books and YouTube. Brielle is also learning states and capitals.
One of the reasons I began homeschooling is because I loved the freedom that it provided. Reading, writing, and math are important, but they aren't the only things that are important or even the most important parts of forming a successful human. Even though I began on this foundation, it can be so easy to get lost in the weeds of "what society says," especially as our kids get older and the pressures feel greater.
Some of these extras, we do during morning time, like looking at artwork, singing songs, and reciting poetry.
Others we do later in the day, or just once a week.
Some extras for us are:
- Handcrafts (Christmas ornaments, sewing, finger knitting, painting)
- Nature journaling
- Field Trips
I love to read books to my girls. Currently, I have one I'm reading with each of them-- Strangers in Williamsburg with Brielle (which goes along well with our history time period), By the Shores of Silver Lake with Lyla (she loves the Little House series, so we have been reading through the whole series), and Charlotte's Web with Violet (this is the first chapter book I've read with her, and she's excited about it!). We sometimes read these in the morning and sometimes read them before bed, depending on the day.
Final Thoughts on Our Year
I had decided to switch some things up this year and try to give Brielle more independent work. While I am a huge fan of holding an open hand, like I wrote about in my last blog post, it's also okay to realize that sometimes choices we make for change don't work best! We will likely finish out The Good & the Beautiful math and langauge arts this year but not continue it next year. I have many friends that love this curriculm though. Every family and child is different- find what works for you and yours!