Friday, January 13, 2012

Around Here Lately {HCPA Winter '12 update}

we have had a great school year so far here at Hall College Prep Academy (HCPA)! we like to school year-round, but we officially started this school year in August. about every three months i like to reevaluate our curriculum, schedules, and goals to see where we can improve and plan the rest of our year.

Big Girl (age 6) finished her 2nd grade math books in December, so she is going to start 3rd grade math as soon as the books arrive. math is one of her favorite subjects and she is picking up concepts quicker than i imagined! she will complete 2nd grade level in all other subjects within the next few months.

i am so proud of her for being so disciplined and responsible. she can - and likes to- do most of her work independently, which is super helpful because...

Bubba (age 3) started preschool at HCPA this month! i took him out of his 2 day/week preschool so that he can play and learn at home with us. i love it. taking him out of preschool was one of the hardest best decisions i ever made. he is doing great so far.


this is my brain notebook. i use this customized notebook to plan our weekly lessons. it's a simple form that i found for free on and personalized with our subject areas. i had several copies made and had it spiral bound at Staples. using this notebook, i plan about 4-6 weeks of assignments ahead.

our daily routine is very flexible and mostly child-led. the most common question i get when i tell someone that we homeschool is "how much time does it take each day?" tricky question! first of all, every day is different for us. some days we spend a lot of time doing a lot of schoolwork. some days we don't do any! secondly, we don't have a start and finish time for our schoolwork. we don't sit down at a set time and try to accomplish assignments in a certain time frame. in the 4ish years we've done this, i have never timed out how long it takes. i have us set up so that we have weekly assignments and we can take as much or as little time within the week to complete them. the flexibility of our system gives us the freedom to take field trips, host and attend playdates, go to the gym, run errands, do our schoolwork while we eat lunch, or whatever it is we need to do.  

i have figured out that Big Girl is most motivated, productive, and focused first thing in the morning, so i like to get her started right after breakfast. Bubba, on the other hand, is most attentive after lunch and after dinner! some days he likes to do his work alongside Big Girl, other days he wants complete one on one with Mama. other things i've figured out- Big Girl likes to have a little snack or drink while she's doing her schoolwork, and Bubba does his schoolwork best standing up as opposed to sitting at the table.

i know that in order for me to be successful in homeschooling my children, i have to pay attention to what works best for them, i have to remember that their learning styles are different from one another, and i have to always be adaptable!  

our modified workbox system is working wonderfully! when i first implemented them i wasn't sure if/how it would work. but it is working!

we have the Ikea Expedit Bookcase in our schoolroom. i picked up a bunch of these bright colorful plastic boxes at Target last year for $2 each. Big Girl has 3 purple boxes, Bubba has 3 red boxes. at the beginning of each week, i divide their weekly assignments into their 3 boxes. for example, in Big Girl's Box 1 is her writing and language assignments, in Box 2 is her math book and science book with pages to do dogeared, in Box 3 is her art assignment and health book.

she can start with any box she chooses. the only "rule" is she has to complete all of the work in all 3 boxes by the end of the week. her finished work goes back into it's box and i check it as we go or at the end of the week, depending on the assignment. finished work that i have checked goes into the "Finished Work" white box.

the contents of Bubba's boxes are a bit simpler because of his age and attention span :) i like to put puzzles in his boxes, color pages, blocks, or an alphabet game. right now his favorite "homework" is copying letters and writing words on a white board.

what we're using: (i posted a more detailed list with links here)
Big Girl (2nd grade)
math - Singapore (3rd grade)
language, phonics & spelling - Abeka
bible - New International Reader's Version, weekly memory verses, BSF Children's Study
science - Master Books The EarthWorld of Science and World of Animals
health - Abeka Health Safety & Manners, and gymnastics 1x/wk
history - Abeka Our America, Passport to the World, and Big Book of History
art - Abeka Art 2 and Daily Drawing Challenge
creative writing - blogging, journaling, writing prompts

Bubba (preschool)
Tot School
Basic Skills workbook
No Time for Flashcards
lots of manipulatives, games, and reading

overall, i am very pleased with our homeschooling journey thus far, and i'm super proud of my kids! the bible promises that this "good work" is worth it, so i'm not giving up!

Let us not become weary in doing good, 
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

i just need to get one of these...
Stamped Warning Homeschool Kid Socialized Custom Silver Metal Cuff Bracelet
 HA! yeah right. :)

how is your school year going? have you reevaluated lately?