2017 Homeschool Update

It's been two years since my last post here, so here's an update.

My kids are now 9, 11, 13, and 15.

I've been running an etsy shop for over two years called ModernFangirl. I design and screenprint t-shirts for books and shows. I have another shop that will be opening this year called TeeWeekend.
Running a business of my own (my husband has operated a screenprinting business for the last 10 years) changed my life. It also made home life more hectic and stressful. There are trade-offs in any life choice, however.

I'm still struggling with the challenges that come from living with fibromyalgia and migraines. However, my life has never been as structured and smooth running as it is now. Three cheers for bigger kids!

My kids have all discovered ways that they enjoy homeschooling the most. My youngest two are doing Acellus Academy, which is an online curriculum using videos of real teachers for each subject. I have them do some supplemental reading. If they get tired of the tedium of watching the videos, they might choose to just use regular books for the day - they like Usborne and National Geographic books, or work in Comprehensive Curriculum workbooks.

My oldest two use an eclectic mixture of real books and workbooks (A.C.E and C.L.E); they don't like online curricula. They have completely different personalities and challenges, so I have provided the structure that they were asking for that lines up with how they learn best. We rotate between using Sequential Spelling or doing verbal spelling with me, using a word list I compiled onto index cards. It's a Charlotte Mason-inspired method.

I have them all read from Rod and Staff and Christian Light Education readers, because I feel like they are great for showing what strength of character looks like. And it's not something they would choose for personal reading, so it changes things up.

Basically, I have transitioned from mom intensive methods (that never seemed to pan out) to a self directed, individualized homeschool plan that goes on without fuss.

Managing screentime is always a frustrating challenge, but right now we're on a pretty good system that requires them to do chores and curricula first on most days. They have a longer block of screentime on Mondays, because that is primarily a work day for me. No longer do I have the sole burden of keeping up the house, and so I'm willing to host my eldest's Dungeons and Dragons group here on Fridays. It's amazing how something like D & D can cause personal growth in a kid, but I've seen my son grow in responsibility, work on his shyness, become more organized, and develop his imagination. He also does quite a bit of writing in a spiral as he plans his game.

We are in 4H, and our family is signed up for machine sewing, crochet, pottery, and art journaling. Our 8 wk co-op starts at the end of the month, and I will be leading a class on calligraphy. My kids aren't too keen on having to be involved in either of these, but it gives variety to our routine throughout the year, and provides many opportunities for them to be challenged. I really believe in kids having to try some things that might annoy them or frustrate them at first. Life is full of things like that when you're an adult.

Some of the strengths I'm seeing this year in each of my kids:
W: skillful with hands/sewing machine, witty and strong vocabulary, kindness and hospitality
N: workhorse, dependable, organized, math skills, my backup brain for when I'm deep in fibro fog
G: great storytelling/writing, funny, creative eye
J: talented drawing skills, an eye/ear for beauty, teacher, designer


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