Monthly Archives: August 2013

Homeschool…Island Style

Something about homeschooling in Hawaii just isn’t conducive to a stringent schedule. Too much of our day is governed by the tide, the trade winds, the sudden urge to hit the beach or the pool…
However, we do have a certain order we tend to do things in. We wake up when we’re done sleeping and have breakfast. Then we start school. Or we don’t due to some of the above mentioned interruptions. We have lunch around lunchtime and finish school. Or we don’t finish so the older boys have to keep working while the younger ones have their nap. Then everyone plays outside with their friends until dinner time which is whenever Dad gets home from work. See how difficult that would be to put into a nice little table with neat little 1/2 hour time slots?

But I do actually have a plan for what particular educational tasks I intend to accomplish each day of the week. Last year we started focussing primarily on one subject each day and it really simplified things, a lot less transitional time wasted, less setup/clean up, and a chance for our brains to really engage a subject in a deeper way. So this year we will be using the same format again. Here’s what it looks like…

We start everyday with devos which includes reciting a little prayer, singing our hymn of the week, reading scripture aloud and learning our memory verse. Then I read their poem of the week and our three older boys get to work on spelling and the youngest does an activity with our letter of the week. The older two are working through Sequential Spelling together and our first grader is working on sight reading words of my own selection.

Math Mondays consist of our morning devos after which I introduce our Letter of the Week which they copy onto their little chalk boards, the youngers in printing, the olders in cursive. Then they copy their memory work into their notebooks and after that it’s nothing but Math. I give them their whole week’s worth of assignments from their Christian Liberty and Modern Curriculum Press books and they have until 3 (that’s when the other neighborhood kids come home from school) to finish it or they can’t go out and play with their friends. We started doing Math only on Mondays last year and found it was a great way to ease into our week by only focusing on one subject that didn’t require any teacher prep and it saved me from facing the “I don’t want to do Math battle” everyday.

Textbook Tuesdays start with our morning devos and spelling and then I read aloud that week’s section out of the Apologia science textbook while the boys color in their bird coloring books and we work together on the chapter assignments. Then the older two do their week’s worth of reading and assignments out of their Rod & Staff Building Christian English textbooks while I spend some time with our first-grader in his Abeka phonics text.

Reading/Writing Wednesdays begin with devos and spelling then it’s on to writing in their notebooking journals. Then it’s Modern Curriculum Press phonics workbooks for the younger two and handwriting, composition, and independent reading for the older two.

Deep-Thought Thursdays start with devos and spelling after which we break out the art supplies and let them illustrate what they’ve been writing about in their notebooking journals. Then it’s time for a fun bird-related activity like a craft, puzzle, or an outing. This year we are also taking the next step in our “Jerusalem, Judea…Ends of the Earth” approach to the social sciences by introducing the study of U.S. Geography into our curriculum. We are doing this through a study of state birds combined with the reading aloud of a book called “How the States Got Their Shapes.” While I read the boys have a variety of state birds and geography themed activity books and puzzles to work on.

Facts-Only Fridays begin with devos and spelling but the rest is reserved for math tests, spelling tests, timeline additions, flashcard work, reciting their memory work (this includes our A-Z memory verse as well as their choice of a little prayer, poem or our hymn of the week) and typing up our blog post.

Dad takes over in the evenings with music (he’s teaching them all the Ukelele and a neighbor has offered to give free piano lessons this year!), P.E. (they all play on a local hockey team and enjoy tennis, golf, soccer, swimming, snorkeling, SUP boarding, and even paddling with Dad’s canoe club in their free time…did I mention running, jumping, climbing, wrestling, rough-housing, and bouncing off the walls? I’m pretty sure that counts as P.E. too), and literature (we’ve decided not to make this a school subject at this point but rather a lifestyle. Reading good books is just what we do.

After 26 weeks, our focus is going to shift from birds and U.S. Geography to a unit on the State of Hawaii. Our oldest will also be doing a state report at this time and our third-grader will be working on his first science project.

So that’s how we do it here on the Big Island, being careful to keep a thorough record of all we do according to this state’s laws. Blogging is a great way to keep a record of our schooling. I was able to download last year’s blogposts onto a disc which was included in the boys’ homeschool file. You can visit that site by clicking here.

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