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Input please on Homeschooling programs

MelissaLynneMelissaLynne NE Washington🌲 Zone 5aPosts: 200 ✭✭✭

Hi to all the homeschooling moms and dads out there! I want to start homeschooling my 4.5 year old (and 2 year old also). I am rather scatterbrained and am going to need some sort of program to keep us on track. What programs have y’all tried with preschoolers and elementary schoolers? What works best for you and your littles?

I struggle with providing structure and daily schedules for myself and the girls, even with just keeping up on the most basic mommy chores. Any tips and advice? Dad is here, but pretty much views all kid, household, livestock, and gardening tasks as my responsibility (his is to providence an income).

We are country folk, it is 40 miles to town, church and shopping. We have a mini-farm that we plan on expanding a bit more each year; on a 50 acre property with woods, wooded mountainside, swampy areas, creek and field space.

I am currently looking at My Father’s World as a possibility. It combines elements of a classical program with Charlotte Mason’s ideas and uses unit study. I like how it integrates Christian values into the daily learning. I am just starting to explore what is out there though and would appreciate input from some people with experience in homeschooling.



  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,424 admin

    How fun! I am well past that stage with my youngest now being 8. My oldest is 21.

    My Father's World did look intriguing. Since I had to buy it out of the US, and it didn't have any Canadian content, sadly, I had to pass on that years ago.

    I have a binder that is by Hands On Homeschooling. I am sure is has been updated by now, though!


    I used some of their stuff, but didn't worry about much, really. Remember that any curriculum is not your master. It's a guide. ;)

    Both children at that age do not need to learn to read yet. Most children are not ready as early as the public system makes them read & write. This can result in dyslexia issues. Follow their interests. Make sure that they know their ABCs, not just singing, but speaking them too, and work on the vowel sounds when they express interest, but don't push it. I have alphabet manipulatives. Plastic magnet, patterned colored foam magnet, all types of textured, colored types of letters. Read them books and make your fingers follow the words. Have fun with it.

    When teaching them phonics eventually, use Word Mastery, a free download from Donald Potter's site that is absolutely fantastic), that doesn't really need to be done for a while yet. Do print it all out before using!

    My kids seemed to all start reading at about 8 years old...and they were ferocious readers. I have used this as well to teach a grandma, who was a residential school survivor, how to read as well.

    Do the basics. Learn about self care...brushing teeth, combing hair, proper hygiene & caring for things. Learn about an animal you have. Let them help care for it as appropriate. Read books, alphabet recognition (but don't push it at all yet). Basic counting 1-5 or to whatever they can get to. Learn colors & shapes. Learn about people, interesting professions, trucks & cars. Bugs. Tie shoes, EXPLORE the outdoor world. Draw pictures, explore textures & colors. Bake! Develop curiosity in learning. All kids have that anyway. Go with that as your inspiration. Glue, paint. Taste. Smell. Touch. Tidy up. Work on simple tasks like sorting socks by color or length or matching. Folding cloths is good.

    Do they like stickers? Do a motivation chart. Work on some things together & give some individual little projects. Encourage creativity.

    HSLDA (US) might be able to give you ideas. They may ask you to sign up before giving advice. Don't be put off by that though, they are there to protect homeschool freedoms. We are part of the Canadian group.

    I didn't get very structured with those ages. It is the time to have fun.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,424 admin

    Hmm...I found great value in Flylady routines when my first 2 kids were around that age. I bet they could find some fun in it too. Surprisingly enough, it gave me more time!

    Any other questions that I can help answer...I'd be willing to try!

  • naomi.kohlmeiernaomi.kohlmeier Posts: 244 ✭✭✭

    As @LaurieLovesLearning said, check out HSLDA. We were strongly advised to become members as they will assist you in legal matters if they arise. They also have a huge amount of information and resources available.

    When I homeschooled my son at four years of age we did https://fiveinarow.com . He is 16 now and can still remember almost all of the books we read. :)

    From 6th-8th grade I didn't have time to look into curriculum until after we started, so I went with this https://allinonehomeschool.com . Then I went with a mixture of My Father's World, Unschooling, and Classical. The unschooling was a way to delve into his interests more fully and involved a lot of hands on experimentation. For example, he loves fireworks, so we learned about what makes the different colors, the timing of the explosions, and then made some do it yourself fireworks out of tin foil, match heads and wood. I loved watching him make them again and again, trying to perfect them. It was a great learning experience.

    It sounds like you have the great outdoors as a classroom. The things they can learn out there will be endless! Blessings on your journey!

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,424 admin

    We are considered eclectic, which is a mix of whatever works. My kids are older than yours, but this is what we are doing now.

    Life of Fred is good & fun & mostly complete. You have to fill in bits and pieces of information, but I think it's that way with any math curriculum.

    We use Dr. Jay Wile's (Berean Builders Publishing) Science in the Beginning series for the younger ones.

    Our history is Canadian content with world history & geography content added.

    Language Arts is phonics, reading, cursive & print, and some writing. Resume building & volunteering are important as we can fit stuff in (as we are allowed to now).

    There is herbal studies when free things are available, and wildcrafting & gardening. We do follow & develop the kids interests as well.

    Phys. Ed. is outdoor play, chores, (was) judo until recently. Sometimes hiking.

    Piano through Zoom from my sister was started just this fall. Even though she is back here, she still teaches piano to kids in China too.

    Then there is cooking & baking, sewing, building & fixing, animal husbandry, and just general life skills.

  • MelissaLynneMelissaLynne NE Washington🌲 Zone 5aPosts: 200 ✭✭✭

    @naomi.kohlmeier I’ve been exploring the HSLDA site recently. I just checked out 5 in a row and it looks like a really neat option. I printed a couple sample units to try. Thanks for mentioning it!

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