Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What homeschool looks like for us this term

After a spectacularly long and glorious summer holiday, homeschool officially resumed for our family this week.

Fortunately I had dedicated one day in the holidays to sorting out our homeschool space and resources, so we were able to glide into the new week fairly easily.
I've turned our bench seat shelving into subject-specific storage instead of kid-specific storage. The lefthand cubby is for supplementary English/copywork resources, the middle cubby is for supplementary maths resources and the righthand cubby is for all things science. (Fingers crossed I get up the guts to do science experiments with the kids this term. It's the subject I feel least confident about teaching.)

The kids also have their own everyday workbooks in the shelves I bought last year. L's work is under the stationary shelf, S's work is in the next shelf down, and J's work is at the bottom.

And then there's the skinny bookshelf I fitted in to the right of our bench seating. Our looping basket and globe sit on the top for easy access. The other shelves hold bibles, dictionaries, art technique books, read aloud books and non-fiction books we might use for future topic studies. We also inherited a world map from my sister-in-law recently, and we've been able to pull that out several times to refer to in different subjects. It's so handy.

So here's what we're actually doing this term:
The girls are continuing their music lessons. L is doing Suzuki violin and S is doing piano lessons.

For L's violin lessons, she does a half-hour private lesson each week, and then a 45-minute group lesson each fortnight on top of that. The group lessons started up in the last term of 2018, and they were a great way for L to practise playing with other violinists. She was encouraged by how much further she had come along than the newbie, but also motivated to get as good as the more experienced player in her group. L's violin teacher continues to work wonders.

S has a half-hour piano lesson each week during school hours. S's piano teacher is absolutely wonderful with her - so funny and cheerful, while still managing to keep Sophie on track. S performed in her first piano recital at the end of last year and did beautifully. She played We Three Kings.

In our Christian homeschool group this term, the focus is on athletics. We've got the use of an athletics field with running tracks, long jump, high jump, discus and shotput spaces so the kids are getting a try at all the field events as well as running. One of our homeschool dads is even an ex-Olympics sprint runner, so he has great tips to share with the kids (and they love challenging him to running races).

We also have a couple of excursions with that group this term. The first is to Tiritiri Matangi - the bird sanctuary island. I'm so excited about this trip as I've always wanted to go there. We'll be catching the ferry across, which will be a new experience for the kids.
(Not Mokoroa Falls.) This is another beautiful waterfall we visited this summer.
The second trip is a bush walk to Mokoroa Falls - another place we've never been to.

In our other homeschool group, the kids have signed up for so many activities, I'm having trouble keeping them all straight. I think L is doing Dance Jazz, Visual Art and Photography Skills; S is doing Dance Jazz, Brain Play Computer Programming and Jewellery Making; and J is doing a nature science class, Art Play and Fit Kids.

We're not doing official swimming lessons this term, but the kids had so much swim time over the summer in their cousins' pool and at the beach, they've all come a long way anyway. The girls are really confident in deep water and surf (they've learned to dive under big waves), and J can swim in pool water above his head for a short while to get himself to safety, although he still lifts his head straight up instead of to the side to breathe when doing front crawl. We'll likely just head to the swimming pool as we can fit it in this term to keep up their practise.

The girls will be going to netball trials next month with the same club they played with last year. It would be brilliant if we could wrangle them into the same team again, but I'm not holding my breath.

The subjects and curriculum we're using are pretty much all the same as last term: Math u See for maths; The Good and the Beautiful for reading/writing/grammar/spelling/art appreciation and geography; Story of the World for history; copywork every day for patterning proper writing; and cursive and handwriting practise.

I'm hoping to add in science experiments once a week. I've managed to collect quite a bit of science equipment and books from other homeschooling families, so we'll see how we go.

We listen to audiobooks most of the time we're driving in the car, to keep patterning that good grammar and vocabulary. Over the holidays we listened to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory twice. We also listened to some of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (until I couldn't put up with the depressing narrator's voice any longer), and we've almost finished the wonderful book The Wednesday Wars. My eldest daughter has also started listening to audiobooks when she runs out of reading material. I check my audiobooks out on the Overdrive app and my daughter uses the Libby app, so it's really quick and easy to find whose is whose. I don't mess with hers, she doesn't mess with mine.

I would love to read aloud chapter books to the kids myself more, but my voice gets tired easily as I have a bit of damage to my voice box (officially vocal cord paresis) from a bad cold a couple of years back, so that makes it too difficult. It's wonderful having so many audiobooks available through the library now, although some of them have waiting lists that are a year long at least.

This term I'm also getting the kids more involved with cooking and chores, but this post is already miles too long, so I'll share more about that in another post.

And now it's your turn to share. What's new for you in 2019?


  1. Hey Em! Sounds awesome! We have also decided to do the Good and the beautiful and we’re really enjoying it! We are just waiting for our ‘story of the world’ books to arrive also! I love science and I can recommend as a really great programme. The kids pick a ‘mystery’ in their age range and complete the few lessons that are involved. It comes with full instructions, fun informative and explanatory videos and print outs to do activities and.... EXPERIMENTS. Very easy to follow. It was on a free 6 month trial so pop over and check it out. So far my kids have done ‘what do blind people see?’ And ‘how do you know if a volcano will pop up in your backyard?’ So interesting 😊👍🧐

    1. Oh wow! Thanks for the science tip. I'm so going to check that out. Story of the World is great. It's so interesting. And I'm a big fan of Good and the Beautiful. It's really well done. I'm learning heaps doing it alongside the kids. xx

  2. Wow, sounds like you sure have hit the ground running this year with all the activities and classes.
    I hadva busy year last year and found a Bullet Journal to be a great help in keeping things very well organized.
    You can find many set up instructions on Utube. ..they are entirely personal so you tailor the set up to suit yourself, some have loads of artwork decoration but that is optional.I loved that the page set up is so fluid to accommodate any given day.
    Mine was just an A5 notebook and worked well for size of use and portable.

    1. I'd love to see this bullet journal! I keep everything in the calendar on my phone, because I always have it with me. That works well most of the time (unless I forget to check it).


Thank you for visiting Craving Fresh, and for taking the time to comment. Your feedback is so important to me.