First Day of School Pics & Our 2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum

This August we began our 6th year of homeschooling!  We’ve gone from this –

DSC02095

To this!

first day of school (1)

 My how they grow!

(below is our first year of homeschooling –Pre-school and Kindergarten)

First Day of School - Kindergarten 005

I blinked and this happened!

1st day of school kiss (1)

And a little mommy tear trickles down my face as I see time passing…
I do want my children to spread their wings and leave the house someday –
but for now I am savoring every last drop of these little years.

And I must say, I am so grateful that everyday I get to wake up to these little faces
and together we experience the wonder
of Math, Reading, History, Grammar, Latin,  Science, Music, and God’s Word.

first day of school hug (1)

 I am thankful for our days at home because our evenings have been full
with football and cheerleading nearly every evening.

FootballCheer Collage

It’s been great because Alexis’ squad cheers for Alex’s team!

Every year I get a lot of emails asking what curriculum I use to homeschool my children.

Here’s our full list of curriculum for 2014-2015:

Classical Conversations provides our History, Science, Geography, Grammar, Latin, Art and some Music.  This is a class we attend with other homeschool students on Tuesdays from 9am-3pm.  Here’s a picture of our group.  We LOVE this group!

 fist day of school CC

Alexis leading the pledge on the first day of school.

CC pledge

For Math, we are using Saxon Math*.  Alex is in 6/5 and Lexi is in 5/4.  This is our first year to try a teaching DVD for both of them.

For Writing and Grammar, we are using Essentials of the English Language and Institute of Excellence in Writing*.

For Handwriting, we are using Classical Conversations Pre-Scripts (cursive). {We’ll be doing typing as well but I’m not sure which program yet.}

For Reading, we are using Veritas Press Comprehension Guides for the classics we are reading. We will also use library resources.

For Bible, we read out of the  Family Reading Bible and the kids memorize verses and do daily devotions through the Olympians Program at our church.

For science, we will be adding to the Classical Conversations memory work with Apologia Science* . (my father comes on Fridays and teaches science and math! Hooray!)

 

And this is the flow of our day:

The kids wake in the morning to assignments and pink post-it notes with instructions on the kitchen table.

While I am doing my morning email/Blogging/Facebooking/Tweeting/Pinning – they begin independent work.  This is about 30- 45 minutes of work and it includes – math games, memory review for their CC class and their personal devotional time in God’s word.

Then we have breakfast.

Then we do an hour and half of math and grammar.  After lunch we do another hour and half of writing, science, history, geography and latin.

Then they go to their rooms for one hour of reading or creative quiet time, in the afternoon.

That about sums up our day here!  If you are new to WLW or homeschooling – you can see my 5 Part video series on the benefits, challenges and my routines of homeschooling –>> here.

Chime In: Are you a homeschooler?  Share in the comment section what curriculum you are using, how your day flows or what your homeschool group is like and if you blog and have already blogged on your new homeschool year – feel free to share the link with us in the comment section!

Walk with the King,

Courtney

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Comments

  1. says

    I have a friend who just started homeschooling. I’ll have to pass along your helpful tips with her! Whether a parent chooses to do home school, public, or private I think one thing is consistent with all three choices – the need for support from other parents to help with the joys and struggles with schooling. :)
    Cooking Up Faith
    http://www.cookingupfaith.org

  2. Daniela says

    We participate in classical conversations as well. I like how you have an hour of afternoon quiet time. I need that!

  3. says

    I was just writing a blog about our back-to-homeschool experience and then clicked over here and found this…lol! We just started our 3rd year of homeschooling! I have a 7th grader, 6th grader and the baby is in kindergarten :(. The last 3 years have flown by! We absolutely LOVE homeschool! Good luck with your year!

  4. Crista Quinn says

    Courtney,
    Mavis Beacon teaches typing is great software for that age. I used to have my boys start off each morning with 20 minutes of typing and 20 minutes of piano. They would switch off, going from piano to computer or vice versa. It made for a nice independent way for our day to begin while I got ready for the day.

  5. says

    Love your curriculum choices, Courtney! I’m using Fix-it! Grammar from IEW with my son this year. I’m trying something new in our homeschool this year after much prayer during our summer break. Here’s my blog post I wrote where I shared my plan: http://grace-filled-moments.blogspot.com/2014/08/is-less-really-more-when-it-comes-to.html

    Do you have any suggestions for curriculum that focuses on character traits? My son will be 14 in October. Thanks for sharing!

    Walking in His Grace,
    Laurie

    • Sarah says

      Laurie,
      My dad publishes some very practical character-based Bible materials. His website is http://www.plainpath.org (Plain Path Publishers). The book on character traits is called Christian Character, but there is also one called Christian Manhood which is more intensive but would be the right level for your son. You can view sample chapters online.
      :) Sarah

  6. Ccolleen says

    My 2 boys, 4th & 6th grades, attend Catholic School in PA. I have been praying about homeschooling because the Common Core Curriculum has been adopted at the school. The Principal thinks it is a great program, especially when she receives $50,000 in government funding. Unfortunately, my lack of confidence & worries about my kids social development have not gotten me far. Thank you for providing the programs you use. I may just supplement their school work with the Classical materials.

  7. says

    Hi! I’m going into my 7th year homeschooling with a 4th and 6th grader! I can hardly believe I’ve done it this long. We had to move out of state 2 weeks ago and we are missing our CC group SO MUCH!!! I feel a little lost being so far from home and trying not to jump into a new homeschool group too soon. At this point, I’m just sticking with our routine and hoping to keep things as normal as possible.

    We are trying Teaching Textbooks this year for math. My daughter is very excited about it. We have been using “A Childs Geography, Explore the Holy Land” for history and geography. Both mine are enjoying this and it’s really bringing some of the old bible stories to life. Apologia science (they each have different interests there, and I let them pick which books they want to read). I had already purchased the Essentials book so I’m teaching them that on my own for now and if we find a CC group nearby, we may join in with them later. And we are using Kay Arthur’s “Lord Teach us to Pray (for kids)” for our morning devotion.

    This summer we used a typing program called Typer Island. My kids liked it. :)

  8. Angie Woodland says

    Hi…we are in our 9th year of homeschooling and this will be our 6th year with Classical Conversations. My oldest is in Challenge I now and my youngest is in Foundations. Have a great year with your little ones!

  9. Tiffany says

    Thank you for always sharing your experiences at CC and how much your family enjoys participating in the community. We are beginning our first year of CC this fall partly because of you and your comments. Sometimes we wonder if we are impacting people when we “share”. I thought it would be nice for you to hear how you have impacted us. :) Blessings to you!

  10. Emily says

    Hi Courtney, thanks for your encouraging posts about homeschooling. This will be our second year of homeschooling but the first with both my children( 1st and 5th). Last year my son attended public school kindergarten while I homeschooled our daughter. We use a video curriculum through Abeka Academy, and we really love it. I do have a question for you, or any other moms with boys (you know, the wild, all-boy kinda boy:). Do you have any tips for dealing with getting out their energy and helping them to settle down. That has been our biggest struggle. I know the year is very young and he is getting accustomed to this as well as me but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Btw, I am super excited about blogging through the Bible! Your hard work and faithfulness is greatly appreciated here.

  11. Stephany C. says

    Courtney, the pictures are so beautiful. My, how they have grown up. I love the idea of their grade number, and a school picture. I have a 6 year old now in his 1st grade, and our 2nd year homeschooling. I also have a 3 year old, who I would say we are looking towards the path of pre-k here at home as well. (She loves doing “schoolwork” and interfering in her brother’s assignments/lessons,lol). Looking forward to a beautiful and peaceful year with both them. Our first year was a little nerve wrecking, I had no idea how it would work until I got organized and prioritize. I’m still doing my best incorporating God’s word, at least a children’s bible story that my husband was started reading. Best wishes, and lots of God’s love and patience in your homeschooling year as well. Can I borrow your 1st day of school/grade number picture? :) I would like to do that for my little ones :’)
    P.S. I came across your website, when I googled how to cope with my sons behavior during our 1st year of homeschooling, and I seen one of your videos, which led me to subscribe to your blog, then to GMG, and now I have been leading bible study since the You are Loved study (before the name change, so sorry about that :( But I am still faithful to God’s calling, and to the women who have been my Titus ch 2 in my recent walk with the Lord. There is a time for everything (Ecc. 3:1) Thank you for all your work you do for the Lord and for us women, so we can live well :)
    Luv you, Sisters in Christ forever XOXO

  12. Heather Thomas says

    Courtney,
    It is because of you that we are in Classical Conversations! Two years ago I was losing hope and questioning what to do with homeschooling with my son. We felt isolated and he was begging to go back to public school. However, I knew that God didn’t want me placing him back in the public school system. I remembered I had watch a video of you discussing online curriculum you used and wanted to research it. As I searched I came across your updated youtube video on CC! You had me so curious and I searched for the site immediately. My next big thing was we live in Rural SW MN and I thought there is no way there will be one close to us. How foolishly of me to think that. There was a CC community an hour away. We did a visit , fell in love with it, and the rest is history! This is our second year with CC and I am tutoring Essentials ! I took on Essentials and its my son’s first year of Essentials as well. We still drive an hour but we don’t mind it! God bless you.

  13. Mandy W says

    Hi Courtney!
    I love the pics…little Courtney and little Keith :) So cute! I know what you mean about them growing so fast. It is definitely bittersweet for me. I have the timehop app and pics will pop up and I just can’t believe how much difference even a year or two makes. My oldest is currently in 5th grade in a Classical Christian school. However, I have been home for the past two years and I am strongly considering homeschooling my now 4y/o when she starts kindergarten next year in a CC community. Thanks for sharing your kids and your homeschool info/schedule with us. I’m pinning this for future reference! Have a blessed school year!

  14. says

    love it and I love the pictures! they were SO ADORABLE as little kids but wow, are they BEAUTIFUL now!!!! Exactly HOW HARD did you have to coax for the picture of Alexis kissing her brother?? ;) ;) I loved to be able to see the comparisons, and I liked how you broke down your day and what things you use to teach :)

  15. Ashley says

    This is unrelated, but I just got your book, Women Living Well on Amazon for 99cents!!! I am so excited, I have been wanting to read this since (before) it was published!

  16. Toni says

    This is my 10th year as a home educator, 3rd year in CC. My oldest began her freshman year in a private Christian school, our first brick/mortar experience other than preschool. She had completed Challenge A and I before this new direction, and I’m happy to say she’s academically thriving so far.
    Every day, we drive 25 minutes to her school, drop her off, then begin our homeschool day at 9am. We work from 9a to noon, then 1230p, to 2:30p. Memory work will all be done in the car this year (due to the amount of time spent on the road getting my oldest to highschool), with the exception of geography, which I will work on at home. We use Math-U-See for math (those who wonder, it HAS been rigorous enough for her transition to highschool), Sonlight/MFW/Ambleside reading lists for reading, Apologia for my 12yo’s science, and Dance Mat typing for typing. For bible (drum roll, please), I will be reading the GMG assigned reading out loud to my kids each day.

  17. Summer Maryanski says

    Love the pictures! Your children have really grown! Such a great idea with the grade levels :)
    As for us, this will be our 10th year homeschooling. My oldest is 14 & my youngest is 4. We are very eclectic in our approach. For the older ones I use a lot of the Ambleside Online materials for literature, Teaching Textbooks for math, IEW for writing, Apologia for science, & the History Revealed series. My middle son (who’s 10) uses Bob Jones. My youngest daughter uses Veritas Press for reading & other misc. wrkbks., & my 4 yr old uses Rod & Staff. Most days are difficult for my middle son- he is very jittery & twitchy & struggles with reading a lot. He has been trying to do some lessons on his own, without me having to sit with him through everything, so that is good to see him trying. We usually start around 8am & try to finish up around 1pm. The past several days have been chaotic because of other things going on, but Monday is a new day!!

  18. Peggy says

    Bless you Courtney … looks like your school year at home is off to a wonderful start! Love your school pics and your kids are adorable! Your curriculum looks great! I homeschooled mostly our daughter (our son only 1 yr.) and used Beka Curriculum and so much else many years ago. I was a ele. ed. teacher and one day while at school, God spoke to me about our two adopted kids and put it in my head that for now, both (all) of us would be better off at home and why not HS? Enjoyed it immensely and also our HS Coop! Beautiful families!

    Anyways, I came across this at YouVersion and just wanted to share in case you were not aware that Life Church tv has a great read thru the Bible plan developed in many parts, skipping around like you have planned. Thought it might help if you did not want to invest so much time in this and reinventing the wheel (so to speak) and don’t mind making a switcheroo! ESTHER is in Part 9 … no reason to do in sequence, but maybe you might like the grouping that they chose.

    https://www.bible.com/reading-plans?lang=en&query=Let%27s+Read+the+Bible
    Let’s Read the Bible Together!

    Your plan is great! Just thought this might help both you, the readers (that like YouVersion) and keeping us together in God’s Word! You are so gifted and your children look like they are also. Love your extracurricular involvement! Adorable cheerleader!! (I was one too and coached groups for years) … Have fun and a wonderful weekend!

    “…walking with the King …”
    Peggy

  19. says

    I am two weeks into homeschooling my tansitional kindergartener. My vision in my head was very different from my reality–not necessarily in a bad way–just needed to make some adjustments to how we do school: )

  20. says

    WOW! They have grown SO much! I remember when I first started reading your blog, they were still little looking! :o) How fast they grow, right? Your kiddos are beautiful, Courtney!

  21. says

    We’re beginning our 7th year of homeschooling …hard to believe! I loved reading your curriculum list–always fun to see what others are studying and I often find things that are new and interesting to me. For instance, I’ve been looking at what-seems-like tons of lit guides for this year but I haven’t seen the ones from Veritas Press. Have you used these before? And, if so, about how long does it take to work through one? I’d love to know!

    • says

      We have previously used SonLight for all of our literature – so this is our first time to use these guides! So I’m not sure yet. But the Chronicles of Naria guide looks amazing and I can’t wait to begin!
      Courtney

      • Dru Crowell says

        I have been researching Sonlight and fell in love with their curriculum. I especially like their History/LA and the science. I am interested in CC because I would love to have a community of homeschool kids and moms though. How do you incorporate the LA from Sonlight into the CC curriculum? Also, what about History? Do you do their curriculum or can you add in your own books for History? My daughter hates history because it’s boring and Sonlight makes it look way more interesting by having so many literature books to go along with it.

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