My dream, for years, has been to home school my children. Since Lana will be 5 early next year, my husband and I decided to go ahead and get the ball running. So, last week, we kicked off our home schooling journey with a bang! When looking into homeschooling I realized that the options were limitless as far as curriculum was concerned. Back in July I joined Usborne Books & More and it couldn’t have been a bigger blessing in disguise! I have been able to put together an ENTIRE curriculum for this month using nothing but Usborne titles!
Homeschooling, Unschooling, In between
When children go to traditional public or private schools, their schedules are super strict, and they don’t get any choices in what they learn. Homeschooling provides SO much freedom in all aspects. I was torn between the aspects of traditional homeschooling or the more modern approach of unschooling. Once I started digging, I found a Homeschool Style Quiz that actually covers all of the different styles. My results indicated that I was 27% unschooling, and then I had slight percentages in the other styles also. After talking with a good friend of mine, Andrea from The Laid-Back Homemaker, I decided to adopt the term “gentle” homeschooling. Labels, obviously, are not important as long as the kids have a thriving learning experience, but hey. It’s easier to find like-minded mamas when there’s a title to it, ya know?
Anyways, the main goal of our homeschooling journey is not good grades, or learning everything. Instead, I want to teach them about the topics that truly interest them. I want them to find the things they love and go after them full-force! There will still be time to do the less desirable learning, such as math and history, but they will have a say in the meat of their learning – something unheard of in the traditional school setting.
One of my favorite parts of choosing curriculum for this month was getting my children involved. I was able to sit down with each of them and find out what they wanted to learn. Keep reading to see what books we collectively chose to get us through our first month of homeschooling!
Morning Bible Time
After breakfast each day, the first thing we do is our Bible lesson. The Usborne Book of Bible Stories is easy enough for Ace to understand, but has enough details to keep Lana interested.
We typically read one story from this book, go over our memory verse of the week, read one chapter from my Bible, and then pray together before starting the rest of our day. It’s honestly one of my favorite parts of our day, and I love seeing how excited they get to see which Bible story we are going to discuss. This site is the source of the weekly memory verse, as well as how we choose our chapter each day.
Crunching Numbers – September Curriculum for Math
Ace chose this one, I’m sure because of the bright colors, but it is a wonderful addition to our home school! Each page has a LARGE image of the number in focus, the word for each number, and dots to count that represent each number. The pages are also filled with fun facts related to each number!
We start each morning off with this book, only doing one number each day. The kids take turns tracing the big number with their finger, and then we go through all of the facts together.
Later in our schedule when I am helping Lana with a particular task, I like to give Ace this book and he is able to review his numbers independently by counting the dots and relating them to the number on the page.
As an added bonus, we also have some computer time after nap where they use Mathseeds to sharpen all of their math skills!
Imagination Station – September Curriculum for Reading
There are so many good fiction titles that can be purchased through Usborne Books & More. Every day we pick a different one to read. I like to do our reading after our math lesson so that they don’t feel overwhelmed by the “school” aspect and still feel like they can have a little fun.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears Picture book is Lana’s personal favorite. She can almost recite the entire book!
Everyone Poops is Ace’s favorite, because… well, boys and poop. Right?
At face value, it does seem a little inappropriate, but it’s actually pretty informative.
To help them actually learn to read independently we also take full advantage of Reading Eggs in conjunction with Mathseeds! I have noticed a lot of progress in Lana in the week since we started using it.
Lana’s Special Subject Pick – September Curriculum for Science
As I mentioned before, I allowed the kids to help me choose certain aspects of their curriculum. Lana has always been fascinated about how everything works, and particularly interested in plants lately. I was not surprised in the least when she chose “How Things Grow” as our science book for September.
It contains tons of awesome illustrations that really go into the full process of how all plants grow. Honestly, I have learned a lot from this book myself.
We do 2 pages per day, do a brief review to begin each day, and at the end of the week they draw a picture of their favorite part of the book that we covered that week. This book also has a few planting projects every 4 pages or so. We currently have a bean sprouting in our kitchen window to observe it’s growth!
¿Hablas español? – September Curriculum for Spanish
I have caught a ton of flack for my choice to introduce a foreign language, but I honestly don’t see a better time to do so! My children’s brains are so absorbent, exactly like little sponges. It blows my mind to see how quickly my kids, Lana especially, are catching on! I give all the credit to this AWESOME resource!
The Usborne Listen and Learn First Spanish Words book comes with 4 different cards (front and back) with some common words related to different topics. I didn’t know how they would handle learning a second language, so I decided to start off slow and only doing 4 new words per day. By the third day, my kids informed me that it was too easy and they wanted to learn more. Now, we are doing 4 new words per day, one new number per day, as well as a few common phrases that I picked up in my 3 years of Spanish in high school.
[If you are interested in teaching a second language aside from Spanish, click HERE to see all of the other language resources from Usborne Books & More!]
English, Spanish, ASL!
In addition to Spanish, I also feel it is very important for people to be familiar with basic signs in American Sign Language (ASL). As of now, we are all learning as a family on YouTube. When my children were young, I had always liked the idea of teaching them basic signs so that they could effectively communicate even if they couldn’t yet speak. This idea did not become reality until Norah was about 1 year old. She caught on to a few signs rather quickly, and it sparked a desire to learn in Lana and Ace. That, and the show “Switched at Birth”. Signing has been a bit more difficult for them to pick up on, so we only do one new sign per day.
Creative Thinking and Art
For the younger crew, “art” time is fairly simple. We typically read through this book, Learn Colors with Little Red Penguin, pick a color of the day, find as many items that match that color as possible, and then break out the coloring books and crayons.
With Lana getting older, my husband and I are very much interested in allowing her to explore all of the possibilities. In order to do so, we get her involved in our DIY projects. If you follow me on social media, you will see that I have a passion for painting. Whenever I do canvas projects, I try to always have a spare so that Lana can join me. We also love doing crafts together. This past Christmas we handmade EVERY decoration in our home, and Lana was a big contributor.
Soon, I will be teaching myself to crochet, and she has already asked to join in. I love that she is getting the opportunity to learn new skills and decide what she truly enjoys.
Writing Essentials – September Curriculum for Writing
This set was gifted to Lana for Christmas last year (I believe) and has truly been a God-send! Writing has always been a tough thing for her to focus on… until these cards! I think the most fascinating part for her is the dry-erase aspect. Being a frugal mama, I LOVE that they are reusable. This is one resource that I will be able to pass down through all of my babies.
Now, going further than the dry-erase aspect, each of these cards contains a lower-case letter, a word, and space to free write. Each card also has a picture that relates to each letter and word. For example, the first card is “a”, word is “apple”, and it contains a picture of an apple. It has really helped Lana and Ace to make a connection between the alphabet and the words they hear daily.
A helpful hack to keep all of these cards together is to punch a hole in the top left corner and put them all on a key-ring! It keeps them together and in order!
The Wipe-Clean 1-2-3 is very similar to the wipe-clean cards in that they are both dry-erase. It is in book form, so much easier to keep up with. The page are also much bigger than the cards are, which is very helpful particularly with teaching Ace to write. Numbers are such a tough one to teach, but this book has made my job a whole lot easier.
As a mom of multiple littles, my favorite part of the wipe-clean series is that I can leave them to work independently. Even Ace, who is still just 2 years old, can sit there for 30 minutes to an hour practicing his numbers, letters, and shapes. These two resources have allowed me more freedom as a homeschooling mom!
Other Helpful Resources
Although the majority of our curriculum is based on Usborne, we do use other resources from time to time. For the sake of time, I won’t go into all of them, but it just would not be a homeschooling post without mentioning Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool! This is seriously the greatest blessing to the independent homeschooling community! Easy Peasy is FULL of resources for every grade and every subject.
It is simple. The creators include Biblical content. Best of all, it is FREE (100%)!!!
If you are new to homeschooling and don’t know where to start please do yourself a favor and check out Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool! If you would like to use Usborne as your curriculum, and are overwhelmed by the options, feel free to contact me! Lastly, if you are a seasoned homeschooling parent and have any tips for me, HELP A SISTA OUT!!
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