Homeschooling Continued

I had a lot of great feedback after I posted about the curriculum Anna and I are using for our homeschooling. I'm so very thankful for that! ABC Jesus Loves Me has been a wonderful resource as we've navigated through Anna's first year of preschool. It also can be overwhelming as I've heard from a few friends who visited its site. They provide a ton of ideas and it can be a bit much when you're first starting out. And actually in the past few weeks it was getting to be too much for Anna. We've had to slow our roll a bit. But that's what I like about ABC Jesus Loves Me. I don't feel bound to do exactly what it says. I can pick and choose activities from the week and if we get to them, great; if not, I'm not upset. I don't devote too much time to planning--which is something the site even suggests. They encourage you not to spend so much time planning you miss the time spent with your child.

To help those of you who have thought the website is overwhelming, this is how I plan:
The curriculum is broken up into 5 weeks at a time with a review week during the fifth week. I take a few minutes at the beginning of each unit to look over the following five weeks (mainly so I can see which books I need to reserve from the library that we don't already have at home) and then each week spend 15 minutes at the beginning picking activities based on what type of week I think we'll have. Most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays we're at home in the mornings so these are the days I'll plan at least one to two activities. I make sure I know what songs I'll be teaching and make sure the supplies we'll need are readily accessible. I try to stick with activities that have supplies we already have at home-saves time and money! Each evening I'll look over what's on the agenda for the following day and that takes less than 5 minutes. Like I've said in previous posts we only spend about 30-60 minutes (as long as Anna can stand) on formal lessons. If we don't get to an activity or if something else comes up during the mornings we usually do "school", I don't stress. A lot of the times I'll teach her a new song while we're driving and repeat it randomly throughout the day. Most of our reading of books occurs before nap and bedtime and whenever she asks throughout the day-which is often. She's also started this thing where she takes at least 20 books to bed with her and just reads for an hour before she naturally falls asleep surrounded by and laying on a plethora of books. We're doing life together and I realize as we live our lives she's learning so much just by being with us. I plan formal activities to spur on her creativity and imagination, to get her thinking about things other than babies and dollhouses and princesses.

One of the main reasons we're homeschooling is because we believe free play is so very important. Sharing, playing well with others, listening and obeying, being respectful and honest, we strive for these over Anna mastering her ABCs and 123s. I'd so rather have a day where she just plays all day, but why not throw in a few activities to get her thinking about more? and to find out just how much she knows and can know?

I know I haven't posted much lately about our homeschooling experience but I'd like to continue sharing with you what we're doing. I get inspired and encouraged when I read about how other families are homeschooling and I hope we can be an encouragement to you who've decided to go that route too!