Creating a Language Rich Environment, Making Science Fun, and Curriculum that We Have Landed On

(I wrote this post earlier and accidentally reverted it back to a previous saved draft so I’m starting again with just a portion of it.)

I can hardly contain my excitement and my revived love for education.  I have learned so much about creating a language rich environment and following my kids’ curiosities!

I also want to help them grow as writers in a gentle way.  I have had such high expectations in this area and have been frustrated when they didn’t meet those expectations.  Truth is, some kids need things to move really slowly in order to build their confidence.  Karis is one of those kiddos.  She has always struggled with writing and always says “I’m not a good writer.”  It’s because she has never had anyone value what she had to say in writing.  And she always worked so hard to follow a specific format that she just followed the format to a “t” and didn’t have good content.  I want the content to be the most important at this point.  The mechanics and format will come!

The way that I’m going to do this for the kids is copywork and dictation (to reinforce good grammar and writing, sometimes using Brave Writer products but also just coming up with copywork from their novels), free-writes (allowing them to write with a prompt without correction), writing projects (making writing fun thanks to Brave Writer!), and reading lots and lots of good literature.  I have so many good novels and just bought some more classics ($1 each!) on a used curriculum Facebook page.  I’ll also use The Good and the Beautiful for mechanics and format, but it’ll be a while before we get to writing with format.  I started them on “low levels” because the curriculum is super advanced, and there isn’t much writing in the lower levels!  And I’m not worried about the level, really.  I want to build confidence and fill in gaps because they didn’t learn much grammar in school.

I’m also going to start “Poetry Teatime” every Friday.  I am beyond excited about this!

I was excitedly telling Robert about this and told him that I need to buy a tea set but they are so expensive!  He then had a great idea: buy one at Goodwill!  Then I remembered that our Goodwill in Kerrville has SO MUCH fine china and fancy dishes.  I bet I can find multiple there for cheap!  I cannot wait to check it out Friday!  Karis is going to LOVE this and Levi was so excited when I showed him this video.  I’m not sure how Ethan will like it, but I’m sure he’ll eventually warm up to the idea :-).  Especially if he knows he’ll get treats!  It’s just something special to look forward to, and we can invite friends sometimes as well!

I also ordered 3 Shel Silverstein poetry books for the kids to read during our Poetry Teatime!

I am reviving Morning Time next week.  We will read scripture and memorize it, memorize poetry (thanks to a free level one of Poetry Memorization by IEW that I received a while back… many poems and audios to go with them!), read aloud (starting with the book Wonder), and we will have a fine arts/literature loop: Aesop’s Fables, Fairy Tales, Shakespeare, Artist study, composer study, and music appreciation.  Art appreciation will happen during the one-on-one lessons of The Good and the Beautiful!

I also just really love The Good and the Beautiful! It’s gentle yet thorough and so inexpensive!  I’m so thankful to have found all of this!

Now on to science…

I have Apologia Astronomy but haven’t been consistent with it for a couple of reasons.  1) It’s only ONE type of science for the whole year and 2) It’s a text book and kind of dry and wordy.  I’m not sure that it’s the best fit for us.

I have decided recently that I want to make science fun this year as we embark on our first full year of homeschooling.  I want them to fall in love with learning and with homeschooling in general.  I want some things to be child led, and science is one of those things that can be done that way!  I have decided to pull out all of my science resources.

I also bought a science unit from The Good and the Beautiful to try!  These units are great because while they are for elementary, they can be adapted for older kids.  Each lesson has activities for further study.  I also bought a book to go with the unit for Karis.  These units are short so they won’t get burned out on one type of science.

I had bought Exploring Nature with Children a few months ago and this week I bought The Handbook of Nature Study to go with it and plan to implement this!

I have these resources at home, along with many science picture books!  The Usborne Science Encyclopedia has internet links with videos and activities as well as experiments throughout!

I will probably do a unit on Owls with an Owl Pellet Dissection at some point just for fun!

When the kids get into 7th or 8th grade, I will probably go back to Apologia for General Science to get them ready for high school science.  But we’ll see!

We will be continuing Math U See for many reasons: 1) It’s video, hands on, and worksheet, 2) The teacher is amazing and helps the kids learn in a way that makes sense, 3) The kids like it!  It has helped Karis understand something that she didn’t understand when she did Teaching Textbooks.  I’m a believer in Math U See!

We will continue Story of the World for many reasons: 1) It’s in story form, 2) I have many great resources to use to reinforce what they are learning, 3) There is map work and fun activities to do with it, 4) There is an audio book, 5) The kids are excited about learning ancient history!

I ordered Home Education by Charlotte Mason because it was on sale!  I can’t wait to start reading it and implementing things as I go!

Home Education

Can’t wait to get started!

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