Friday, August 27, 2010

Texas State Requirements for Homeschooling

Thankfully Texas is one of the most homeschooling-friendly states, so there aren't really any requirements at all. I do not even have to notify that we are homeschooling. We are legally considered a private school. If we were pulling the kids out of public school, we would have to submit a letter about why we are taking them out, but since they have never been enrolled, they will have no record of us.

Here is a map of homeschool regulations, so you can check out where you live:
Red are high regulation states (really glad we aren't in one of them)-they have a number of requirements including state testing, curriculum approval, home visits, teacher qualifications of parents and professional evaluations.

Orange are moderate regulation states- they are required to notification, test scores and/or professional evaluation of student

Yellow are low regulation-you just have to send notification that you are homeschooling

Green-No requirements for parents to initiate contact

I do plan to keep a notebook from each year with samples of the kids work, so we will have some sort of record if needed. When they are in high school there are resources to help create a transcript.

Also, next year we will join HSLDA which is the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. For those who are/were teachers in OK, it is like APOE but for homeschooling families. Basically, it would help us out if there were ever any legal issues with us homeschooling. We didn't join this year because Kindergarten isn't even required in Texas, so we are saving our money for a year.

That concludes our homeschool mini series! I will be sure to post about our first day and week!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Our Daily Schedule-At least this is what we are shooting for..

This is our goal for a week day at home:

5:00-I get up have my quiet time and go to the gym, or if it is a Monday I go grocery shopping. Thanks to my years as an Army Brat, I like to get up early.

6:15-Shower and get breakfast started.

7:00-Everyone up, get dressed, make beds, have breakfast

7:30-Family devotional time

7:45-Clean up breakfast, say good-bye to daddy and go on a walk, weather permitting.

8:30-Morning Chores, We will be starting our new chore-pack system, as seen on the Duggars, this Monday, so if we all survive the week, I will blog about that at the end of the week.

9:00-Morning Circle Time with all kids

9:15-Bible with all kids

9:30-Snack and free time to play

10:00-Craft, cooking, library, ladies bible class, playgroup or free time depending on what day it is.

11:00-Start getting lunch ready



12:30-Emma and Charlie go down for Nap

12:30-Macy and I do the sitting down part of school, Math, phonics, handwriting, geography and whatever else we need to do. I am hoping to do a workbox system (I'll blog more about that at another date.)

1:30-Macy has quiet room time, I will take an hour to rest as well. I read something from an experienced homeschooling mom and she said one of the best things to do is an hour rest time every day, even for the older students, so the mom gets a break and everyone gets a break from each other.

2:30-Macy, Charlie, and I up. Snack time followed by TV time. This is contingent on if they were quiet during rest time.

3:00-Emma up and has her snack,

3:05-Read aloud time together
3:30-Macy and Charlie do afternoon chores.

4:00 (or when finished with chores, I don't think they will take very long)- Free play time

5:15ish-Dinner Time when Seth gets home and Family Time


7:30-? Seth and I have kid-free time.

We will have to fit in Ladies Class on Tuesday, Library on Wednesdays, Playgroup two Fridays a month, lots of field-trips, and one morning a week I would like to go to the gym at 8:30 am, so I can attend a class instead of going at 5am that day. I am not sure how that is all going to work, but I am hoping we will figure out something as we get going. I am sure I will have do lots of tweaking as time goes on and I know that it will be a rarity if we actually complete the schedule as typed out, but at least we have something to shoot for.
On Saturday, there will be no school, but we will still have chores and naps.
Whew! That seems like a lot, but getting it typed out makes it seem like it isn't that bad and maybe even do-able.
As for a yearly schedule, I am not setting one right now, we will take off when needed and probably go into the summer. Seth's day off is Thursday, so on some Thursdays will do things as a family and will not worry about school on those days. I love that we can be flexible with homeschooling!
For scheduling help, a great book that I recommend is:
Tomorrow's post... What are the state's requirement for homeschooling in Texas, and how do you plan to follow those?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our Homeschool Curriculum

We will start officially in September homeschooling, but I thought I would go ahead and share with you the curriculum that I will be using.


Family-Time Bible In Pictures by Kenneth N. Taylor. We will read a story daily out of it. I took this from Sonlight's curriculum.

Phonics, Reading and Handwriting:

It took me awhile to decide on this. First, I wanted to look at a variety of curriculums since there are so many great ones, but ultimately decided on Abeka, since I have taught it in the past and I liked it then. Then, I couldn't decide on bumping Macy up to 1st grade in language arts or not since she is reading fluently already. However, after talking to some more experienced homeschoolers, they recommended keeping her in Kindergarten for the moment, but if we finish all (not just the language arts) of Kindergarten quickly, then going ahead to first grade. But they also reminded me that our goal in homeschooling is not to graduate the kids by they are 13, but to take time to build a strong foundation. So that is what we are doing! I imagine we will pick and choose out of the phonics part since she we already did "Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons".
For handwriting, I have decided to do cursive first with her, so wish us luck in that. I am hoping she will have beautiful handwriting (unlike me) since we are starting with it first rather than printing.

Also for reading, I have typed up a reading list from recommend books from Honey from a Child's Heart, Sonlight, Five in a Row, Beautiful Feet and a couple other places. We will continue our weekly trip to the library, and will have this list as a guide of books that I want to read to the kids or have Macy read aloud.

We are using Horizons Math. It is an award winning curriculum, so I am hoping that we will enjoy it. To save money and as recommended by some other homeschooling moms at the big home school convention, I didn't buy the teachers edition, but I flipped through it and it doesn't look to hard. :)

In the mornings, we will do a circle time, where we will do a calendar, days of the week, memory verse, counting, weather and a few other things. When we get going officially, I will blog more about it.

Those will be our main subjects that we will be focusing on this year. In addition to those we will do a little bit of the following:

Character - I thought about doing a character trait a week and doing an activity for each, but I think I will hold off until next year. Instead, we are going to focus on doing chores, being obedient and also we will have a day a month that is purposed to do some sort of service activity (visiting residents at a retirement home, making cookies for someone, buying groceries for a food pantry, and some other age appropriate things that I can think of or find from other people.)

Geography-we will do a notebook of the 50 states. The objective will be to identify that there are 50 states. We will have a coloring sheet for each state, just mainly identifying that there are 50 and learning where they are located. Also, I plan to ask some of you to send us a postcard from your state.

Science- We have an ant farm, so I plan to order some ants and we will get to watch them in action.

P.E-Lots of playing outside, going on walks, and going to the park. We have decided not to do a formal activity for the first few months of homeschooling, just so we don't have another thing to keep up as we are getting use to homeschooling, but maybe we will enroll Macy in gymnastics in a few months. When Charlie is old enough to attend, the YMCA here has a home school PE class, so we will probably do something like that in the future.

Home EC- I plan to set aside a time each week to do a cooking activity. Also, she will be doing chores. I have also looked at a couple books that are geared towards little girls Macy's age for Home EC, I haven't ordered anything yet though.

Arts and Crafts- We will do a craft/art time each week. Nothing formal, I just plan to get ideas from either other homeschoolers blogs, my old education stuff, or making something to go along with our bible lesson.

Music-Again, nothing formal this year. I just plan to check out a wide variety of CDs each week from the library and play them for everyone to listen. Also, my mom just told me she ordered this book for us
which I think will be really good and I am sure we will work our way through it.

There you have it! That is what we have planned so far.

Tomorrow I will post a schedule of our daily routine.... stay tuned.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Emma's First Haircut

Today Emma got her much-needed first haircut! It seems like it was just yesterday when Macy and Charlie got their first haircuts. Unlike Macy and Charlie. Emma did not cry one bit! She sat there so well and just quietly looked around (there was quite a bit to look at in this kid-oriented salon.)

Before (I should of got a shot of the back, it was especially bad):

During, being so good!:
She would not smile at all, but I still like this picture:

After, enjoying the sucker and saying "Cheese!":