I get a lot of questions about homeschooling on IG, Facebook, Twitter, and in real life. Most of them are along the lines of, “It seems so overwhelming. Where do you begin?”
I have been stuck writing this post for forever because I get frustrated with my own answer. There simply isn’t a place to begin except to talk to people who are homeschooling, research, go to a curriculum fair if there’s one near you, call different curriculum providers you have an interest in using and ask them questions, search blogs, and read, read, read about it. Also ask lots of questions! Then dive in. Really – you can change it as you go.
I want to tell you my A., B., and C., but homeschool is such a personal journey that my choices and style probably wouldn’t work for many of you or your children’s needs. On that note, before you click away and tell me I just wasted 5 minutes of your life I’ll share with you about what we’re using, how it works, etc.
What we are using this year: Five in a Row for our basic curriculum
I’m starting Bella on Five in a Row (FIAR) Volume 1. Last year we did Before Five in a Row (BFIAR) and while she’s still in the age range for it, she’s also more than ready to start on phonics, letters, etc. I wanted a heavily literature based, reading out loud based program. FIAR offers that while incorporating in science, social studies, math, history, geography, etc. All in a very natural way that ties in with each book read.
The basic concept of B/FIAR is taking a classic children’s book from their list, reading it for a full week (or longer) then applying the lessons to it. For instance, we’re doing Ping this week. So today we’ll read the book, do a craft about ducks, and talk about why Ping didn’t want to get back on the boat. (Obedience and consequences)
I love that it comes with a simple, yet detailed, teaching manual for each book and activity. We also bought the cookbook to use with different lessons.
I’m not a super creative person without a direction. I wish I was, but I’m simply not. I need guidance to grow ideas from, otherwise I get overwhelmed by the amount of info and choices out there. And do nothing.
What FIAR doesn’t offer is a phonics (learning letters and how to start to put sounds together) guide. They encourage you to supplement that in, and I have starting this year. (That’s another post) The majority of our days are spent outside, with each other, with friends, and playing. It’s a very small part of the day (and usually only 3 days a week) that we do “school.” This time is her and I at the table, coloring and gluing, on the couch reading, and talking about whatever subject we’re on. It’s informal, it’s fun, it’s age appropriate.
If something doesn’t work or she’s not ready, I put it aside. My goal isn’t frustration or a child who hates learning or pushing a kid past their learning point so I look amazing. We tie in our Kiwi Crate boxes (referral link and 50% off first box!) and use movies (like Disney Nature) to learn more about things we study on. Field trips, car rides, magazines, cooking – it all works as you go along.
Things to Know:
- Buy the books that go with the teaching guide from Reading Resource if you aren’t able to locate them at a library or own most already. I priced each book on Ebay and Amazon against their bundle, and they win. Plus you get brand new books, and you can keep them for years to come.
- FIAR is meant for ages 4-8. BFIAR is 2-4. Beyond FIAR is 8-12.
- While FIAR isn’t technically a Charlotte Mason based program, it is used by many families who like that style.
- You could incorporate a variety of styles into B/FIAR.
- FIAR isn’t a religious based program. BFIAR incorporates Biblical teachings into the teachers manual and books however. You can choose to purchase a Bible supplement from FIAR to tie in with each lesson.
I’ll talk about our early phonics program next! Hopefully this helps some of you!
Questions? Comments? Leave it below (comments from newcomers are moderated) or email me.