Friday, September 4, 2009

What subjects do I do for K-2nd grade

I am often asked what we do for school.
Every year can look very different
depending on what season of life we are in as the kids age and change.
So here is school for this year for the K-2nd.
I will post the other grades and what we do later.
I only teach them for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours, 3 days a week.
We run on 6 week schedules because I know life will throw something our way
and we will have to tweak our schedule once again.
I also lighten our loads with less work during Nov-Dec
(because of the holiday, mom has so much to do)
We will lighten our load again in Apr-May
(as the weather is great, mom and kids needs that out door time)
Also know if my kids are within a year or two of one another I teach them together.
It is just easier to put kids together when I can. So I do try to sieze the moment.
I find I have more fun and so do the kids. The more the merrier *sometimes*!

phonics - "Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons" I have used this since Hannah was 5. So far, all of my children can read. This is a standard book for us. I like it because it is simple and quick...about 15 minutes and we are done.

penmanship - work on letters just studied and then add what they are curious for. As soon as they learn to write their first letter they are eager to write many notes to mom and dad. So we start with the basic letters in the words they want to spell.
Years ago Hannah became very frustrated at not writing perfectly. I realized when I pointed out what was wrong it defeated her. So we changed our tactic. The new goal for penmanship was you write as many letters as you are old (if you are 5 then you make 5, if you are 8 you write 8, and so on) then we look over the letters together and we circle the very best one she made. I found this excited her and she strived to make them all look just like the one we picked we liked. The other method seemed to defeat her. This system has stayed with us. Always pointing out what they made the best. (won't always look great, but if it was their best...then it is good enough!)
Penmanship and phonics we flip flop....while I work on phonics with one the other practices their writing and then we switch.

manners - "Manners Made Easy" I took my older children through this book when they were this age and now taking the last 1/2 of my kids through this. It is about 6 lessons from why there are manners, how to introduce myself, setting the table, answer the phone (everyones favorite). This is a great time where we bring in the Fruit of the Spirits too.
You must shepherd the child's heart to bring true change. We are more concerned with a heart change than just an outward obedience. I want to know that my children will do what is right even when mom and dad are not there to enforce it. God is so wise...He covers everything when listing the fruits... love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. When the kids have disobeyed, or wounded a sibling, or I am trying to point out what went wrong....for me to quickly identify a fruit of the spirit brings them back to their they are in Gods hands to reveal the truth. I speak it and it amazes me everytime to see them grasp it and God change them. If I try to talk and talk and prove why they were wrong I get no where. BUT the simple truth gets to the heart and brings change. Just wish I could always remember this!

spelling - because my other kids have school work on the computer the younger ones feel they must. So I picked up a Hooked on Spelling program at Mardels for the computer. I really like it. Brock just sorta does it. But it has been great for Bryce! Now they feel they are doing school because they look just like their older siblings...LOL

math - this is just not a huge focus for us at this age. We learn to write our numbers, we help mom cook and use measurements, and we work on simple things as we come across it whether telling time, keeping score in a game, just messing around. I don't do a ton of math or should I say a regular curriculum until 3rd grade. I find most struggle with reading and writing until about this age. (when I say struggle, I just mean they aren't fluent in those areas) So we work at conquering the reading and writing first. I have yet to have one that is too far behind. Most catch up within a year to grade level! We do some when I can stay on it Calculadders it is great at working with them on speed and accuracy. Our real goal in homeschooling is to help my children have a love for learning. Math is one I like for them to be eager to want to know how to add or subtract. When they start asking they are ready. For us....that is somewhere between 2nd and 3rd grade.

They are also learning about the human body and history this year. The only reason they are getting this info is because I am working with my 5th and 6th grader on these and Brock and Bryce get the benefit of listening and doing some activities with us. Typically though, the stuff mentioned above, is all I usually teach as regular curriculum for the younger grades.

science - I never really do science until about 6 or 7th grade exept for maybe picking up a book at Mardels and just working through a workbook together. Something that might take 4 weeks to complete we probably take 9 weeks or more. At this age their curosity dictates what we learn. If all of a sudden we are being eaten alive by mosquitoes we may study it, or there is an eclipse or we see leaves changing colors, etc. As life brings up something we might study it. Ideally their curiosity gets the best of them and then we go digging! That may be only as much as looking at a picturen online or we made read a few paragraphs. Just looking to open their world up...just wetting their curiosity with there is more out there to know.
This year we happen to be doing "the Body Book" for science.... just a work book from mardels where we making hands on models that teach about the body. Because of tennis the kids are focused on their health so this naturally fit in to this season of life for us. The older kids needed it and the younger ones get the benefit of it. It has been fun teaching 4 at once:D

history - I never really do history either until 6th or 7th grade. Although last year we spent the entire semester learning about voting and then had mock elections with friends. If you could stick a ballot in the box then you voted! They were given real voting issues that applied to them. It was so much fun and something my older kids love. All of my teens listened to EVERY debate by choice! They wanted to be informed voters! Sometime in the future I will post on this! It is tradition in our home that we will hold elections every 4 years!
This year for history a friend recommended "The Mystery of HIStory" I LOVE IT! It is more like a unit study in that we get Bible, history, writing, reading all in one. For the younger kids they are getting a picture of history, from the beginning to now over the next several years. Older kids will go deeper into the lessons. Through this curriculum they will see Bible History, World/U.S. history are intertwined, they are not seperate. I love doing history with my kids. I HATED it in school. But have found a LOVE for it as I discover things I never knew or maybe I should say I never remembered. Did you know that Joshua lived in the same century as King Tut? Ruth lived about the same time as Helen of Troy? and so on. Of course I grew up in public school so I know this last bit of information was never taught. I am very excited about this new curriculum.

Yesterday the kids and I were looking up pictures on the computer about pyramids, china, pakistan, nile river, etc. Looking at pictures online made the words stand out to them. Bryce asked when I showed him China why I didn't just say "Kung Fu Panda"?
He said he would have known what I was talking about...LOL
Of course in the middle of looking up pyramids they asked me what an armadilla looked like... we took a peek...(science LOL)
We then went on to discuss what evolution was (looked at pics) and the big bang theory.
Because even if we don't believe this way we need to at least touch on what these words are - what the world around us is talking about when they say those things.
I shared about the Big Bang and Brock said, "that is just silly!" I find it facinating that to them it makes more sense about creation than anything the amazing scientist present with all their knowledge. Oh how we can make simple things so difficult with our head! Although I am with them...seems so much more likely to have been created than just a poof! Life is just too fascinating to say there was a bang or we came from animals. The evidence of God is all around us in Science and History....this is why I like to discover this and not just teach it at an early age!

Last Thought.....
If you have something you love to do with your children I would LOVE to hear about it.
I am off to teach my older kids today! Thankful for a friday and the opportunity to train my kids at home if I choose. Hats off to you teachers out there! I have such a HIGH and new respect for you every year I teach! Thanks for making a difference in our children! Even if my kids are not going to school you are influencing my kids friends and possible mates one day! I am thankful for a country where we have a choice in our childrens education. I am a fan if you send your kids to school too or teach them at home, God leads us all in very unique and different paths. We must each do as he leads us to do. For you other homeschoolers...hang in there it is almost the weekend....LOL


  1. I haven't started this age yet, but I loved the post. I have a few more years until I have to process all this thought into action.

  2. There is a Manners Made Easy for teens by the same author. Have you aver used that? What do you think about it?

  3. I did not realize they had one for teens. I found this years ago and have just kepted it to do with this 1/2 of my kids...LOL I know this manners book was a direct result of my 12 year old son giving up his seat in church a few years ago to a lady. He was sitting with a bunch of kids and there were no more seats. Later a man came up and told us what he did. I was so thankful to hear. Because you really don't know what your kids do when you aren't around. Made a mom and dads heart proud!