I am new to homeschooling, with three little ones at home ages one to six. I absolutely love my job as “teacher mama,” and I am finding there are as many ways to do homeschooling as there are families in this world!
I struggled to know how to finish the “school” year this spring, but as we completed our map with God’s Little Explorers, we moved right into exploring the life cycle of a seed, and brought school outside to our garden. We reinstated regular visits to our library for the summer, and daily reading — just all four of us curled up on the couch together. Then late summer we moved our school stuff out of Daddy’s office and into our own space upstairs (sharing my old sewing room now).
So, as I have been moving everything school related from this room to that room, I’ve been spending a lot of time praying and planning what our new school year will look like. And, coming back to last school year, I needed to find a way to organize all the boys’ papers for easy showcasing, and decided to use their Alphabet Notebooks to hold all the items they or I deemed important from the year. They helped me sort through their “treasures boxes” where we stored all the loose papers from each week. My oldest was happy to hole-punch everything and put all the papers in an order that made sense to him.
I put this same principle to use as I prepared for our coming year and curriculum.
After reading some of Raymond Moore’s books on education and beginning a course online titled “True Education,” I was looking to find curriculum that would encourage my soon-to-be first grader, as well as my younger two, to walk with Jesus and learn from Him. We started using free downloads from Character First Institute in July, and enjoyed the simple activities it provided in practicing character, as well as learning about animals that possessed that character trait in the wild. I plan to continue using the free downloads from this site, which I found to be excellent, especially for my pre-K child who greatly benefited from the family connection and commitment page.
Here’s how I set up my binders, which are the backbone of our curriculum this year:
Each student — that includes Mama, too — gets a binder. Boys have 1.5-inch binders this year, and Little Miss gets a 1-inch one. I made her one even though she’s only two, but it will flow over into next year. I wanted her to have something she can put her hands on since she is always right behind the boys, wanting to do what they do. Mine is two inches because I have more per trait with the activity pages, and need room for other supplements I may decide to add throughout the year.
The children’s are very straightforward. As activities are completed they are put into the binders in order of completion (most recent on top). My oldest likes to help his younger brother get his hole-punched and into his binder, and so far Little Miss hasn’t done much to put into hers. Mine is very similar, but I purchased self adhesive index tabs to help me categorize each trait so I can easily come back to any trait and add more, or perhaps spend a week reviewing a particular trait on which we need extra practice. This binder is something I plan on using for multiple years to come (and developing more as I work through this first year). Perhaps I will use future posts to update you with what’s going on in character training in our home with a 6-yearold, 4-year-old, and almost-2-year-old!
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up,” Deuteronomy 6:7.
My prayer is that we immerse ourselves in the Character of Christ that we might be a beacon in our homes, in our community, and to the “ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8)!