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Homeschool Curricula: Age 9

Leigh —  September 8, 2015 — Leave a comment

This is the week that it all begins. Summer is drawing to a close, and starting this week, it’s back to alarm clocks ringing in the mornings and folks expecting us to be out of our pajamas with hair brushed and looking presentable several days a week. This week marks a new season of coming and going, reuniting with friends we’ve missed over the summer, and well, just getting back into the swing of things.

If I’m being honest, this summer has not been my favorite. It’s been one of those seasons of life that you just grit your teeth and plow through, knowing that eventually you will come out on the other side no worse for the wear. While we are all still happy and healthy, it’s been a doozy of a summer around here, and quite frankly, I’m ready for some distraction.

So…Welcome to September! The McKibben’s are ready to ring in the new school year!

During the summer months, I try to amp up the kids’ schoolwork as much as possible. It’s the only time all year that we have days on end at home with no extra-curricular activities to tie up our schedule and pull us away, and I try to make the most of it by getting ahead in some subjects or getting caught up in others. Don’t worry…we still make time for plenty of swimming and play dates. We just have more time for school work because we don’t have other commitments to work around.

Every year about this time, I like to post a curriculum rundown of what we plan to accomplish this year at McKibben Elementary. The main reason I do this is so in three years I have some idea what I was doing with Edie when I get to do it all over again with Roark. These subjects start to run together after awhile, and some days, I’m doing good to tell you what we did yesterday. So the curricula list serves as a good reference for me. But another reason for the list is just because.You see, homeschool moms love to talk curricula. Really, it’s one of our favorite subjects when we get together, and we can spend hours debating the pros and cons of each one we’ve tried. So really, this is just another outlet for me to discuss that much loved topic of conversation.

So here is Edie’s fourth grade work load for the year: Continue Reading…

Homeschool Curricula: Age 5

Leigh —  August 13, 2014 — 5 Comments

If Roark weren’t homeschooled, he would be headed to kindergarten this year. Kindergarten! Yikes! It doesn’t seem possible!

When my children were babies, I used to look at other people’s school-aged kids and think how big and grown-up those kids looked compared to my babies, and now I look at my little kindergartener and he doesn’t seem grown-up enough to be in school seven hours a day. While he doesn’t have chubby, fat roles anymore or crawl around on his belly, he is still the youngest one in the house and therefore, the baby.

Can babies go to kindergarten?

I guess they can.

Thank goodness though my baby doesn’t have to spend this year away from home in some classroom at school.  Instead, he will be joining his sister and me at the school table…or in the woods…or at the park…or all the other places we manage to fit in learning and school work.

Last year, my primary focus with Roark’s education was to teach him how to read and understand basic numbers.  However this year, his work load will increase substantially.  There’s very little independent work that he can do at this age.  So most of Roark’s school time will be spent sitting right next to me.

Here is what Roark will be working on this year: Continue Reading…

Everywhere we go these days, everyone is talking about the new school year.  The check-out lines at Wal-mart are filled with buggies overflowing with “Back to School” supplies, and my Pinterest feed has an abundance of “First Day of School” ideas. In a couple of days, Facebook with be covered up with pictures of your adorable children sporting their new back packs and clean sneakers, and I can’t wait to see them all.

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a little twinge of guilt every time a new school year rolls around.  Since my children don’t ever leave school, there’s really no going back to it. My kids are never going to experience that big ball of excitement and nerves rolling around in their stomach as they walk into a new classroom on the first day of school. While other children this week are riding buses with their neighborhood buddies and sitting in desks beside new friends, my kids will still be in their pajamas, eating breakfast, and reading the back of the cereal box like it’s just another day…because to them, it will be. Continue Reading…

I’ve spoken with a couple of homeschool moms that are using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons per my recommendation, and they’re frustrated with it.  They’re kids don’t like doing it, and it’s hard.  Trust me…I get it.  I understand the frustration. I used this curriculum before with Edie, and I’m currently doing it again with Roark. Teaching a kid to read takes an immense amount of patience.  Maybe even more than that.  What’s more than immense? I’m not sure, but that’s what it takes.

But don’t be discouraged!  You and your child can do it!  Yes, it’s a slow process, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as some moms are making it. You do have some control on how your child responds to it.  Don’t think you have go through every single motion in the book.  If your kid is struggling with the rhyming portion at the beginning, then talk them through it.  If it never clicks, don’t sweat it!  It will eventually, and it’s not worth killing their confidence!

Also, neither one of my kids have ever blended the sounds.  They both sound out each letter individually, pausing between each letter’s sound.  Again, don’t worry about it.  This program still works even if they never understand the concept of blending the sounds together.  Edie’s in second grade and reading at a fourth grade level, and not one time during the entire 100 Easy Lessons did she blend the sounds together.

I decided to make a video that shows all you frustrated homeschooling moms  exactly how we do a lesson.  So Roark and I sat down at the school table one afternoon last week, and we just let the camera roll.  The video is pretty slow paced in parts (unlike Ken’s normal home movies), but I really wanted to show a reading lesson from start to finish.  You’ll see he struggles with some words and isn’t having a good time, but the whole time my attitude is about positive reinforcement and keeping him focused.

I plan to write another post next week with more on helpful tips, but first I wanted to you to see how we do it.  I am not doing this for the folks that published the book.  I’m getting nothing from anyone at 100 Easy Lessons (maybe I should be! Hint, hint…). I just think the program works, and I want to encourage my fellow homeschool moms.  We gotta’ stick together and help each other out!  Hopefully just seeing somebody go through a lesson with their child will give you some encouragement.

As always, if you have any questions, I am here to help!



No matter how many times I ask them to please stop growing, my kids continue to age.  I know it’s the natural progression of things, but it still hurts my feelings every time they outgrow a pair a shoes or clear another inch on the growth chart.  It’s just another reminder that this time with them as children is limited, and it makes me thankful that we homeschool.  Instead of losing some of that time to school and teachers, all these moments are mine.

Here we are, starting another school year, and my baby girl is seven.  Of course if you ask her she’ll be quick to tell you that in fact she is seven and a half.  Lately, that half year has become very important to her.  It’s so cliche that it’s funny.  I purposefully tell people that she’s only seven so I can hear her correct me with “and a half.”  Then I secretly laugh at her on the inside because it’s a sign that she’s not quite as old as she thinks she is.

Continue Reading…