You all are doing great at asking questions. I, on the other hand, am not doing so well at keeping up, but the great thing is that I have no shortage of things to post about.
Vicki emailed and asked, “So my question is about school. Do you use a particular curriculum or make up your own? How do you handle assignments, with an assignment sheet? Are all your kids studying the same things say in History and Science?”
We actually use a pre-planned curriculum to give us a basis for Bible, History, Literature, Reading and Science, but we add a lot more to our kids education even in those areas. We have used Sonlight Curriculum for the past 5 1/2 years and love it. I’ve mentioned several times that in all the years of homeschooling I’ve never felt burn-out. I think a lot of that is thanks to Sonlight. Now before you go out and buy the whole package, Sonlight is an imperfect curriculum just like all the others. However, Sonlight’s weak points (and I could tell you all about them) are minimized with how we implement the program and Sonlight’s strong points (enjoyable, diverse selection of books, planned and scheduled yet versatile and easy to adapt for many age levels) are things that are important to us. If there is interest, I will devote a whole post to Sonlight, what we like and what we don’t, how we use it in our home and how it fits with our mulit-level homeschooling.
Edited to add: There was interest in a post dedicated to Sonlight.
I generally write assignments up on our chalkboard wall as we go through our day. (Although I’m currently working with Sue Patrick’s Workbox System in order to write a review.) The first hour and a half of our school, is the same each day and is strictly scheduled, I work with the younger children while the older ones work through some independent work (math, Greek and handwriting). After that we do all of our group things together. (Currently, history, science, Bible, a composers study, nutrition, grammar, writing, etc.) As we go through each subject I give any work-alone assignments and write them on the wall for the children to complete later. Our group time consists of reading aloud and discussing what we read and usually takes 2-3 hours.
Yes, my children are studying the same things in History and Science. We are transitioning to having two distinct levels of students in these subjects, but we will still continue to study the same topics. Was that clear as mud?
We purchase them through swimmodest.com. A couple of notes about our Swim Modest suits, they are quite pricey AND we have not been able to pass them down. They really only last one summer and our kids do not have a lot of opportunities to swim.
I also appreciate Land’s End selection of swim separates that allow you to pick your choice of top and bottom to create a cute modest suit. Land’s End can also be pricey, but we’ve found that our Land’s End suits last much longer than the Swim Modest suits.
Well I finally cleaned that sliding glass door and while it did require glass cleaner (a lot of it) it wasn’t too hard to get everything sparkling again, which lasted for all of 70 seconds and only that long because Nicholas was a few rooms away when I finished cleaning it and it took him some time to come running.
Mindy asked, “What is your shoe quota?” This is in reference to a post where I explain that each child has a limited number of outfits each season to help with laundry, but more importantly to help with clothes storage space. We simply don’t have enough room in the children’s bedrooms to store unlimited amounts of clothes for each child.
We do have limits on shoes, but that system is a little more complicated than for clothes. All of the children who run cross country have a set of CC shoes. In addition, during the winter the boys have one pair of Sunday shoes and one pair tennis shoes. The girls have the same, but they may also have one pair of going out shoes that are appropriate to wear with a skirt or a dress. During the summer we add one pair of sandals or quick slip on shoes for each child.
Now, here are a few additional things. Since our big girls are now 13 and 11, they may choose to have additional outfits or shoes, but they are responsible for storing their clothes neatly and keeping track of all of their things. We also have a 4 year old who adores shoes. She has asked for shoes for Christmas and her birthday every year since before she turned 2, so Savannah also gets a few additional pairs of shoes and she also has the responsibility of keeping them picked up.
When Melanie saw the Wordless Wednesday post “Toilet Trouble” she said, “I love the shorts!!! Who made those?”
I made them. They are actually wool soakers for our cloth diapers.
My husband has a keen sense of smell and as odd as it sounds, that has not been an issue. The sad thing is that you don’t have that nice scented shampoo smell, but I’ve had no problems with other smells lingering.
That is hard to answer, as we are very flexible with our year round schooling. We don’t have a set schedule of say, working for four weeks and then taking a week off. We literally school the majority of the time, taking breaks when we feel like it. Because we use a pre-planned curriculum like Sonlight it is easy to keep track of the number of “official” school days that we complete each year to be certain that we are getting in the required number (never a problem).
While we don’t take a lot of time off of school, our school load does change throughout the year. During the summer we add more outside work like nature journals and more fun things (art and poetry) that may have gotten dropped during the shorter days of winter. We also tend to go more lightly on some of the more intense subjects like math (cutting back the number of pages they do each day, not eliminating it altogether) and writing.
It is also common for us to have a week when we only do four days of school. If it is beautiful outside, I can’t resist telling the children to go outside and play for the day and then I will spend the time cleaning or catching up on things around the house. We also make an effort to be available to others, either getting together to answer questions, watching children, or just spending time in fellowship. Depending on how that is scheduled we will either work through some school work or cancel school all together. And of course we have a lot of company in our home. When I’m not pregnant we generally have guests in our home 3 or more times each week, so if we have several late nights we may only accomplish half a day of school or perhaps none at all.
There are several options for me to find time to knit:
- I have an hour or two each afternoon when the little children are resting and the bigger kids are reading or otherwise quietly engaged when I have some time to relax, blog, knit, etc. if everything else is in order.
- I stay up way too late and get up way too early. (Last night I went to sleep around midnight and I was up this morning around 4:15.)
- I neglect the laundry.
- I find out I’m pregnant, feel terribly sick, have no energy and recline on the couch knitting while the house falls to pieces around my ears. (I would be on the couch and the house would fall to pieces anyway, so at least by knitting something is being accomplished.)
Also, just because I finish one project doesn’t mean that I don’t have my fair share of unfinished projects laying around. I began this drawing of Savannah nearly a year ago. Nearly a year ago it was at exactly this point. The problem is that it is supposed to be a drawing of both Sadie and Savannah and I haven’t worked on it for almost a year. The sad thing is that I have an unfinished drawing of the two big boys that is even older than this one.
I must not have enough laundry to neglect.
Since we make our own buttermilk Jennifer in IL asked, what we do with it.
We use buttermilk in all of our baked goods. Any recipe that calls for milk we substitute buttermilk unless it is some type of soup or cream sauce, not sure how that would work.
And since you all are too polite to ask, I’ll ask and answer some questions for you. “Are you caught up on answering questions yet?”
No, but I’m getting closer. Just for the record, most of these questions I have answered via email directly to the person who asked, so that they haven’t had to wait this whole time.
“Are you ever going to finish your promised posts on multi-level homeschooling?”
Lord willing, yes.
“What is taking you so long?”
Currently our homeschool is in a state of change. This is happening for several reasons, some internal (our oldest child is entering the logic stage and we are working on challenging her with more intense studies, we are investigating some learning difficulties that one of our children is exhibiting and we have hit the stage where our multi-level teaching style needs to be tweaked to include more direct teaching to the younger children) and some external (we have many new products that I am reviewing for The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew that need to be incorporated which is causing our “usually-runs-like-very-flexible-clock-work” system to break down).
We are in the middle of the children’s cross country season. Which means two extra out of the house commitments each week in addition to daily runs and later than usual nights each Tuesday when the children have races.
Mark has a lot of vacation time to use during the remainder of the year. So we’ll be tackling some house projects and taking some day trips.
I’m spending much of my blogging time working on reviews for the Homeschool Crew.