in Homeschool

New to Homeschool?

  • August 20, 2018
  • By MJ
New to Homeschool?

Pretty Please….

Please don’t overwhelm yourself with teaching every possible subject under the sun your first year of homeschooling.  Simplify, simplify, simplify.  I am a huge fan of focusing on mastery of the basics (reading, writing, arithmetic) and then fill in around those subjects when you have time, or as unit studies.  I want to end my school year feeling successful, and a focus of mastering the basics has given us so much peace in our homeschool days, weeks, and years.

What we do…

Every day we start with our Classical Conversations Memory Work (please see below for links), which gives my students a very well rounded base of subjects.  They use an app (we are doing cycle 1 this year) and recite and listen to their memory work for that week as I prepare breakfast in the morning.  This is such a simple, enjoyable way to start our days and I can’t recommend it enough to new homeschool moms.  After everyone has eaten, and helped clean up after breakfast, we start on our next subject Language Arts (which encompasses reading and writing).  I highly recommend the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) curriculum.  It is “excellent” and breaks down writing in a very approachable system for any age.  I will add a link below to the IEW package I recommend if you are just getting started and have elementary age children (3-6 grade).  The package includes a teacher seminar DVD and Workbook set, a separate student seminar and workbook set, and their grammar series.  I love this because you can just pop a student DVD into the player and get world class instruction for your student.  Its an easy way to get started on your homeschool journey, and I have learned so much from this curriculum series.  The grammar books are also very simple and quick (15min/day).  My approach with everything we do is a one room schoolhouse, when possible.  This is another reason why I recommend IEW for Writing.  You can take the same exact curriculum and scale it down to your youngest learner.  If you are starting out with K-2 grade children feel free to message me about the IEW PALS program, as I tweak their curriculum to make it work for us.  Then I let my boys decide if they want to tackle reading or math.  For reading, we use Pathway Readers when they are younger, as it helps me keep track of their skill level.  The older boys read their favorite chapter books.  I tend to save Math for the last, because it is more of a reward for my boys.  This may not be the case for your students, so start your day with their most challenging subject.  For Math I do a combination of Math U See and Teaching Textbooks.  I like Math U See because it gives them a very solid foundation in how to see numbers in their head and do mental math.  I combine it with Teaching Textbooks (they start in grade 3) for a fun, computer based approach to math.  Between the two curriculums I find that my boys have a very solid understanding of numbers and how to manipulate them.  If you were keeping things SIMPLE, just pick the 1 that speaks to you.

Slow and steady wins the race…

Remember to go slow.  Stay focused on mastering the skill your student is currently tackling.  Don’t rush your student through a ton of material and forsake the goal of excellence.


Now for curriculum links:

Memory Work: Classical Conversations Foundations Memory Work.
I included a link to the cycle 3 (US History focused memory work) but there are also cycle 1 and 2 on the app store.  1 cycle per year is all that you need to tackle.  Base any extra learning you do around what your student is memorizing in the app, let it lead your studies.
Writing and Grammar: Institute for Excellence in Writing:
The link I included will take you to the $299 package that includes the teacher seminar set of DVDs and the teacher seminar workbook.  These 2 items are for you to watch and follow along with.  The rest of the package will include DVDs for your student to watch and his workbook to go along with it.  It also includes the first couple books of Fix It! Grammar.
Pathway Readers:
If I am looking for ideas on reading books for the boys I will go to these websites and see what they recommend.  I then purchase them off amazon or go to the library.
After I am done with my basics I will add in the extra stuff as I have time and motivation.
By MJ, August 20, 2018
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