Hi! I'm Holly Brimhall, a newborn photographer in Gilbert, AZ. I am the mother of 4 and a lover of ALL things baby. This blog is where I share the life of my family and favorite pictures of my newborn photography sessions.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Ever since my last post on homeschool....

I've received loads and loads of e-mails, asking for advice, curriculum, daily schedule, how we do it all, etc. Whew! I still feel like I'm struggling to make it all work, to make it through each day, and feel extremely underqualified to even begin to give advice. I've tried some different things this year, some of it has worked well for us, others things have not, and I still don't know yet what is going to stay and what is going to go and what is going to fill in the gaps. I've got much praying and pondering and listening to the Spirit to do as I make my plans for next year. But you've asked, so I'll oblige. But it might not be much - so take it for what it's worth, I guess.

We started out our little school year together by putting our own curriculum together using the following:

Math - Math U See (I really liked that the "lessons" are recorded on a DVD...that someone else was teaching and I just to monitor and check assignments and tests)

History - Story of the World. I'm glad that I got the activity book to go with it. So many ideas of fun crafts and activities to enrich our history lessons

Language Arts - Explode the Code workbooks for the younger kids (much too easy for Bear), reading assigned books from the classics, free reading, scripture reading, book reports, family reading time, watching movies of books we'd read together and comparing/contrasting the book with the movie, spelling lists printed offline, writing in journals about assigned topics - even with all of that I felt that it was a bit lacking. I'll be looking for other things to use as well.

Science - we were studying an Astronomy book put out by Apologia (I will need to find something MORE for science - hopefully some type of co-op...because I simply detest making messes in my kitchen just for the enjoyment of a few children)

Art - I found a little group right by our house that gets together twice a month to learn from an awesome teacher from an art school in Phoenix. The boys do this and LOVE it! They've made all kinds of things from necklaces to teapots to amazing chalk drawings.

Knights of Freedom - I'm a co-advisor with 2 other moms and we get together twice a month with boys ages 8-12 to study a famous man from American History, have activities, give the boys an opportunity for leadership and to lead the boys in different activities, give presentations, etc. This has been so great for the boys. Bear was voted President. It has been perfect for him. So far this year we have studied Thomas Edison (he was homeschooled), Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, and right now we are studying Albert Einstein.

Recess - anything we want...jumping on the tramp, slip n sliding, bike rides to the park, basketball, playing catch, extreme fort building, wrestling in the family room...you name it - we've done it

Field trips - AZ Science Center, the zoo, AZ Commemorative Air Force Museum, Natural History Museum, the temple visitors center, etc.

Music - the kids are all in some kind of music lessons and also attend choir rehearsal once a week

I had a daily chart, where the kids earned points by completing each subject happily: 3 points for math, 3 points for history, 3 points for spelling, 5 points for personal scripture study. You can bet that personal scripture study was NEVER missed. The points could be redeemed for all kinds of fabulous prizes - something from the treasure box, jamba juice, go to the movies with a friend, video game time, etc. It worked WELL!

For the last few months the children have been attending Arizona Virtual Academy online. It's been okay for us. I think I would like it better if I just had one child in it. It's tricky going back and forth between different computers and I don't feel like we have as much time together, learning together, discovering together, building stronger bonds together. So that'll be out. We'll finish up the year and learn what we can from it. And try something new next year. Something like we were doing before...but better...more inspired...more laughter...more strengthening experiences...more joy...more love. Here's to a summer of reading and studying and praying....helping me on my journey to be a better me!


Tara 7:07 AM  

How interesting that you posted this today. I have really been thinking and praying about this. Last night I decided I needed to ask you what you have done and how to get started and low and behold, you are on top of my thoughts. Must be inspiration. Thanks Holly!

BLY and LOU 9:45 AM  

thanks for the info Holly! I've been homeschooling with Alisyn for just 2 weeks now. I had bought a curriculum called Lifepac a few years ago to use with Emily, I think I got it a costco. That plus what we can get at the library has been working really well for us. I also found it helpful to get a curriculum map from several different teachers at various schools to kind of get an idea what was being taught at her grade level. In just the 2 weeks, I've seen a difference in Alisyn's ability to complete tasks, follow directions, communicate effectively. She was just lost in the sea of children at public school. It has already been a blessing for us!!! thanks in part to the enthusiasm shared on your blog.

Andrea 6:37 PM  

I am so impressed with you. I hope to have the courage to tackle this homeschool thing at some point. I can feel it coming, just not yet.

Sarah Carlston 8:34 PM  

Thank you for posting this. I homeschooled my oldest for one year and always wanted to do it again but trying to figure out how to do it with 4 children. I have felt the "nudges" to at least consider it for next year, especially today and then read your post. Just one more "nudge" that this is what I need to be doing again!

Sounds like you are doing a great job!

And by the way...I have been meaning to tell you that my turkey for Thanksgiving last year was AWESOME...thanks to your brining recipe :)

Ashlee 7:22 AM  

We have really liked Five in a Row for Language Arts. I also have my son do copy work each day. Using a sentence from a book we have read, I print a page off for him to copy. This helps him practice handwriting and see how sentences are put together. That idea may be too young for your kids. Good job on everything you are doing!

Stacey 10:32 PM  

Can I just say, You are amazing! I find your tactics inspiring!

April 5:52 PM  

Great choices!!! Much like ours:) We also use and enjoy Explode the Code, Story of the World And Apologia Science! If you ever start looking for a Grammar we found Easy Grammar/Daily Grams to be fast and easy! And the Sonlight Catalog has some wonderful choices for books to read! Oh and did you know that the Magic School Bus has some great Chapter books--my kids love them!!

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