Monday, August 20, 2012

Homeschool Choices

I’m so excited to enter into our first year of really homeschooling.  Last year we did a local program called HIPPY (Home Instruction Preparing Preschool Youth).  It was great.  A teacher came out and gave us lessons once a week and all the materials were provided.  Unfortunately, they had to put Hudson in the 3 year old curriculum because his birthday is at the end of October and he didn’t really care for the program too much; I think because it was below his level.  We also had some scattered goals like count to 100, identifying numbers, and beginning phonics.  I purchased some books recommended for his age level and did a lot of considering and trying out an unschooling philosophy  (more here).  We also have been involved with some social activities with local homeschool groups.  My conclusion is that something more organized than unschooling would be most fun for all of us and better suited to my personality at this point, but may be something worth considering when Hudson has a grasp of the basics and more self-direction in the future.
                         The kids were so excited to get the first half of their homeschool books. 
                               They both settled down to read, but I only got a picture of AJ.

This year we have settled on the Sonlight program for his core academics.  It is a literature based Christian program, but I feel like I can work with the Christian part and incorporate some Unity concepts and skip over the parts I don’t like (specifically, “it makes God sad when you….” And things like that).  For math we have chosen Math-U-See, a sequential and hands-on program (so I’m told) and will probably throw in some ideas from Family Math since I have heard good things about that too.  I feel really comfortable teaching reading, so I will be doing my own thing with that, beginning with Zoophonics and moving onto BOB books and word games.  Perhaps H will be reading in the Spring?  Who knows?  We will continue our social events with the homeschool group and I will be alternate hosting group ‘class’ days with other homeschoolers.  I have purchased tickets to several shows at the arts center for some enrichment and both boy’s will be doing soccer this fall and probably spring.  We are still trying to figure out some music lessons though; we would love to get our hands on a decent piano, but may have the opportunity to get H some violin lessons, so we may start there. 

It is kind of tricky figuring out what will work best and of course is an ongoing process.  I really liked the Sonlight program and they had great catalogs that were easy to see what I was getting.  I am also very interested in Oak Meadow, but found their materials to be less accessible and possibly not as structured as I am.  My thoughts are to try Sonlight this year and possibly next because I really like their Kindergarten books as well, but maybe move into Oak Meadow or something different in the future.  I really want to get our family to a big homeschool conference this year sometime and have a chance to look through some different programs.  It is such a fun and exciting journey to be taking with the kids; I’m really looking forward to it. 

If you homeschool, what program do you use (if any)?

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