The Journal

Homeschool Part 1: Why we homeschool & our curriculum

July 30, 2020

I’ve had quite a few conversations with friends and family lately about homeschool- what curriculums we use, what our daily rhythm looks like, why we homeschool, etc. So I thought I’d make a post about it since the answer to those questions are more involved than just picking a curriculum and creating a schedule. First let me say, I am BLESSED to have the option to homeschool my children. The nature of my job as a photographer allows for a lot of flexibility and a lot of times my shoots fall on weekends. I know a lot of other parents don’t have that luxury and are stressed trying to make the right decisions for their family. I see you and I’m praying for you. It’s important to evaluate your situation and know that there is no wrong choice. You have to choose what will help your family thrive.

Why we chose to homeschool our kids

Matt and I decided we wanted to homeschool our kids about 2 years ago (way before all of the COVID stuff) for so. many. reasons. And no- Matt and I were not homeschooled. We both went to public school and overall had normal experiences. I even taught Spanish in public schools. I will say that public education has changed A LOT since I was in school. Once I had my kiddos, I realized I really wanted to give them a rich education that prepared them for what the world would throw at them. I could give you a list of about 15 reasons why we chose to homeschool our kids but I’ll just share my top three reasons for brevity’s sake:

  1. We’d like the freedom to teach my children about Jesus and the Bible.
  2. I want my children to develop a love of learning new things (something I didn’t develop until adulthood) and I also want to have a say in what they learn and WHEN they learn it. (helloooo sex ed.)
  3. To prepare them for the real world by providing a rich learning experience, combining what they learn into real life application, and bring their education to life.

Your homeschool style

Another thing that is equally important is to know what homeschool style works best for your family. A lot of curricula out there is structured around a specific style so it’s helpful to do a little research before you invest in anything. There are 6 main homeschool styles- Traditional, Classical, Charlotte Mason, Unit Studies, Unschooling, and Eclectic. You can hop over to Homeschool On and take her simple quiz to discern your style. Our family really enjoys the Charlotte Mason style so we chose curriculum and supplemental materials that were structured with this style. After you’ve determined your style, I highly suggest writing out your goals for the year for your family. This really helps hone in on your priorities and will help you determine what supplemental materials to look for. For example, our goals are to:

  1. Build a foundation of faith and to teach our children about the character of God.
  2. Provide a very hands-on learning experience for each child
  3. Cultivate real world applications of learned topics
  4. Teach life skills and instill a sense of responsibility and discipline via chores and other tasks.

Our curriculum (Emma- Kindergarten, James & Adeline- Pre-K)

I’ve used the Peaceful Preschool for the past two years with no other supplemental material because I didn’t feel the kiddos needed it. The Peaceful Press is wonderful because everything is offered as a digital download which makes it SUPER affordable. This Pre-K curriculum from the Peaceful Press is perfect for the mommas who want more structure in their days for their toddlers and is really adaptable to different learning levels. I was able to use this for all three of my kids and just adapt it to each kid’s abilities.

For the spine or core of our curriculum this year, we’ll be using the Peaceful Press’s month long Nature Guides (Vol 1 & 2) and then adding supplemental Math, Language Arts, and Writing. Here’s what our year is going to look like:

Here are the supplemental things I’ve added (mostly for Emma)

Give yourself lots of grace

The kids are really excited about all the fun things they’ll be learning this year and I loved creating this curriculum with them. (They chose a lot of the nature guides they wanted to do!). Keep in mind there is A LOT out there and it can be overwhelming, so I highly suggest joining a co-op in your town, talking to other homeschooling mommas you know, and involving your kids so you can include things they’re interested in! The blessing about homeschool is that if something isn’t working, you have the ability to change it up and try something else. So give your kids (and yourself!) lots of grace and flexibility. This has been a really tough adjustment for them too so the most important thing is that that they feel safe, at peace, and supported.

If you’re interested in what our daily rhythm looks like you’ll be able to find that in my next blog post.

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