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Our Relaxed Homeschool Learning

SchneiderPeeps - Our relaxed homeschool learning

If you’ve read any of our homeschooling posts, you’ve probably figured out that we are pretty relaxed in our schooling around here. Over the last 15 years, we’ve tried many things and have settled into a routine and a way of doing things that works for us. I’m going to share some of the things we’re using this year. But first I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I don’t do. (If you do these things, that is totally fine, I’ve just found that I need to not do these things.)

  • I don’t worry about there being gaps in my children’s education. There will be gaps. No one can know everything, so everyone has gaps.
  • I don’t schedule our day by times; we just have a routine.
  • I don’t often talk about what I’m doing in my homeschool with other homeschoolers. I rarely feel good when these kind of conversations are over – there’s just too much pressure to do more. I’m of the opinion that unless your homeschool is a sham, you’re doing enough.
  • I don’t try to find the “best” curriculum. I find something that works and we like (or at least don’t hate) and just keep with it.
  • I don’t use grammar workbooks in the early elementary years. I like Mad Libs and library books for that.
  • I don’t compare my homeschool to other’s homeschools. This is hard, but I just remind myself that we’re different.
  • I don’t use my children’s academic successes to validate me as a homeschooler. Nor do I let their academic “failures” invalidate me. 
  •  I don’t really make lesson plans {gasp}

Gabriel catching a bee swarm

Gabriel {11th grade}
Teaching Textbooks Geometry
Aplogia Physics
Government/Economics (co-op)
Speech (co-op)
Spanish I (co-op)
Behold Your God Bible Study (co-op)
English (probably at our community college, if not then at co-op)
Drama Club
Dance Class – this is a homeschool class where they are learning dances like the two step, swing, line dances, ect.

 drama perfomance

Phoebe {9th grade}
Teaching Textbooks Algebra I
Aplogia Physical Science (co-op)
Notrgrass Exploring World History, Literature and Bible
Speech (co-op)
Photography (co-op)
Drama Club
Dance Class – this is a homeschool class where they are learning dances like the two step, swing, line dances, ect.
Dance – Phoebe takes about 10 hours of various dance classes a week along with participating in our local Ballet Theater.

on field trip

Benjamin {7th grade}
Teaching Textbooks Math 7
Apples Spelling
Christian Kids Explore Biology (co-op)
Literature and Writing (co-op)
World Geography (co-op) –
Art (co-op)
Drama Club
Dance Class – this is a homeschool class where they are learning dances like the two step, swing, line dances, ect.

preschool crafting

Esther {Kindergarten}
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
One Digit Addition and Subtraction with Cuisenaire Rods (we’ll be going slow with this)
Five in a Row
Art (co-op)

As I mentioned yesterday, we start our day with Bible reading, English from the Roots Up and a little creative writing with Rip the Page.

You can see that I rely on our homeschool co-op heavily for my older children; it is such a blessing in so many areas. Here’s how we get the most out of our co-oop. This year I’m teaching Christian Kids Explore Biology, Economics, World Geography and American History Enrichment (which none of my kids are taking.)

We also rely on our local community college for a portion of the last 2 years of high school. When the students take a class at the college they get college credit and high school credit. Both of my older boys only took classes their senior year but they both graduated from high school with their Freshman year old college half way completed.

For the most part, all of these are things that I can use year after year, child after child, and not have to purchase curricula every year. That is something I really appreciate about each of these products. I would rather spend our money on things like awesome dance or art classes not buying consumable workbooks each year.

What are some things that you use in your homeschool? Let us know in the comments, so we can all learn. 

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Saturday 4th of October 2014

Not trying to offend in any way, but...does your decision to homeschool have anything to do with your faith? I notice that you're teaching faith based curriculum and reading the Bible early in the day, and I was just wondering how the chidren were adjusting once they left the nest and were exposed to other walks of life. Again, I apologize if I offend, that's not my intention.

Angi Schneider

Saturday 4th of October 2014

Jennifer, your question does not offend me in any way at all, and is a very fair question. I wrote out a lengthy response and after I got to about 500 words I realized that I should really just write a post about these things. So, there will be a full post on Wednesday. In the meantime, the short answer is "yes", our faith does have something to do with our decision to homeschool. And my adult children have adjusted just fine. But there is sooooo much more to tell so please come back on Wednesday and read the full post. Thanks so much for asking these questions, I think they are things a lot of people are curious about but don't want to ask.

Jennifer @ GrowingUpTriplets.com

Monday 18th of August 2014

I love this! I was homeschooled for much of my schooling and worked for a homeschool organization fresh out of highschool for about five years. I plan to educate my children at home, as well. Right now the triplets are only going-on-three :) but they already love to do "skooooll." I hope to keep them loving learning over the next 15 or so years with a relaxed approach like this.

Angi Schneider

Wednesday 20th of August 2014

That is so sweet, small children are just sponges. It's wonderful. I have no doubt that your children will be lifelong learners - because you are a lifelong learner. Have fun!

Rachel E.

Tuesday 12th of August 2014

That's one thing I enjoy about your blog. You have your way of doing things and it works. I know over the years, I have learned to relax and not be so formal about things. I do know formality works for some, but I don't have time for it. We have a schedule, but not times. I try to encourage what they like, but on the other hand I know they have certain subjects that need to be done. Math and Science are the biggies.

I really like the simplicity of Simply Charlotte Mason. While I don't use all her ideas, I do use the Schafer's books which integrate all the ages into one class. So, we use their Bible-History-Geography units. I'll be using a science unit this year for the first time.

Angi Schneider

Tuesday 12th of August 2014

It's a balance, just like all of life. We do things we "have" to do, like math and science, but I don't want to wear my children, esp. the younger ones, out with too many workbook type things. I used to be pretty formal as far as school goes because that is what I was supposed to do, but we were all miserable. I like Simply Charlotte Mason also. I'd love to do a nature journal this year with Esther. We'll see if we can fit it in. The Schafer's untits sound really good. I love when we can all do our learning together.