This marks the fourth year of homeschooling for us, but I’m still tweaking things and searching out the best fit for our family.
Here’s the lineup for our relaxed classical homeschool this year:
Rachel – 3rd Grade
Adam – K
Thomas – K
Maeve – Tot School
I’ll touch on the individual grades and break down what we’re using, as well as subjects we do together as a group.
Homeschooling 3rd Grade
We’ve been a Memoria Press family since beginning our homeschooling journey. It’s a classical approach to homeschooling, and we shift things around a bit to meet our needs.
After much prayer and thoughtful consideration, Rachel will be taking part of her classes at the Highlands Latin School cottage school program. One day per week, she’ll receive instruction there, then review and complete her work at home.
We also work on creative writing using these free creative writing prompts. I love hearing her ideas and encouraging the use of her imagination.
This has been a stumbling block for us in the past. Rachel is a fantastic reader, but struggles as a speller. It caused us so much frustration last year that I put it completely aside.
If this doesn’t work for us, All About Spelling is another option that gets rave reviews.
I love the preschool science printables that my friend Maureen created. We’ve got room for a hummingbird feeder right outside our window in the kitchen.
Brett plans to spend time in science lessons as well. We’ve got this great Electricity and Magnetism book ready to go. Rachel and the boys will have fun creating their own batteries, and we will keep Maeve busy playing with magnets.
Memoria Press uses Rod and Staff math. I love it – simple, straightforward and easy for me to teach.
We haven’t totally finished our Latin program from 2nd grade, Prima Latina, but we’ve got a good handle on it.
This year, Rachel will be studying Latina Christana at the cottage school. This beginner level Latin will go hand in hand with the grammar and composition she’s taking there. At home, we’ll play these fun Latin games for review.
I’m excited for this fall, when we’ll embark on a study of the United States. I plan to have the boys nearby so they can listen in, too.
Memoria Press has written a fantastic series of literature guides covering vocabulary, comprehension, and supplemental learning. They make teaching literature so easy!
This year, we’ll embark on a classical studies journey. Beginning in third grade, Memoria Press students begin Classical Studies, learning about Greek mythology at first.
I loved Greek mythology as a child,so I can’t wait to work with Rachel! The children are familiar with some of the stories, having heard them on Audible and Story Nory.
We’ll be using D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths as a read aloud, since the boys love hearing stories about monsters, gods and heros!
Christian Studies also begins in third grade, as we start to take apart the Bible. We do a lot of reading bible stories, so this won’t be completely new. I’m going to enjoy diving deeper with her, as we look at bible events on a timeline.
We’re going to take a slower approach with this course and plan to cover this over two years’ time.
We’ll be using the Memoria Press curriculum for the boys as well, on a year round schedule. Much of their Kindergarten work will be during family time – only phonics and math will be solo.
I’m a little hesitant to admit that I still haven’t decided which program I’m planning to use for the boys’ phonics.
Teaching them to learn how to read has been a big struggle for me. They have a bit of a speech delay and it’s a challenge for me to try and teach letter sounds when they can hear them, but not repeat them.
Memoria Press created First Start Reading – I loved this program with Rachel, but it might be a bit writing heavy for the boys. (I’m still trying to teach a proper pencil grip, too!)
We will start with FSR, but if we have issues, I know that my boys love the multi-sensory approach of All About Reading.
I’m looking forward to using Rod and Staff with the boys, since I’m familiar with the simple layout.
I think math will go smoothly for the boys. They have learned so much just by being in the same room while I teach Rachel.
I don’t have an official plan for Maeve – she’s only two!
But, she LOVES being in the middle of our school, so I’ve got to plan ahead and have lots of things for her to do.
I need to fire up my printer and laminator, and get more printable packs (like these dinosaurs) ready for her to ‘work’ on while we do lessons.
With so many little ones in the house, we’re going to take a ‘one room schoolhouse’ approach to a some of our subjects.
We keep it simple. I use the selections from the Memoria Press lesson plans, then read them twice during the week. Memoria Press uses the Golden Children’s Bible, but we prefer to use our Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories.
In addition to the Christian Studies, Rachel and the boys will be involved in the religious education classes at our local parish. This marks a sacrament year for Rachel, as she will be preparing for her First Communion. It’s an exciting time for us, but a little nerve wrecking.
We’ll be supplementing her learning with our Catholic Saints Studies and other resources for learning our faith. We use our Catholic Book Baskets and our Catholic Family Calendar to help infuse our faith into our daily lives
We’ll take the Kindergarten art cards from Memoria Press and explore those together as a group. Then I’ll let Rachel choose which artist we study.
I’m also planning on building time in to explore the fantastic chalk pastel lessons from my friend Tricia. My daughter Abigail will be busy with her college classes, but I know she’ll enjoy taking a break to teach the littles some art.
Literature for the Littles
We’ll be following MP’s selections, as well as a few ideas from Before Five in a Row.
Both programs take a similar approach: choose a beautiful book and explore it in detail, reading it multiple times, tying in science, social studies, art, field trips and more.
I’ll be sharing more of our ideas as the year progresses, but the kids have chosen these books to study this year:
The Little Rabbit
I am an Artist
Jenny’s Surprise Summer
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
Thundercake and Storm in the Night
Katy No Pocket
The Salamander Room
The Big Green Pocketbook
We’ll be doing a combination of MP’s kindergarten music selections and my favorite Making Music Praying Twice. This system is based on the liturgical seasons of our Catholic Church, including both children’s music and traditional hymns.
I’m not musically talented, but we have loads of fun playing with our instrument box and singing together.
If a classical education doesn’t fit your style, don’t worry! You can drop by the Not Back to School Blog Hop, sponsored by iHomeschool Network. Peruse the hundreds of curriculum ideas there and link up your own!
Next week, we’ll show off our classroom – if I have things organized in time!