Homeschool

We have been homeschooling since the beginning, and though we have been tempted from time to time to send our kiddos to public school {for the extracurriculars!!}, 2020 convinced us once and for all that our children belong at home. There is nothing the public school system offers that can possibly off-set the freedom-killing rules and America-erasing curriculums they endorse. Not to mention their outright refusal to stand up for Truth and biology by respecting the unique differences between boys and girls.

Well, now you know a little {too much?} about me.

Our Homeschool Story

When they were very small, our littles went for a morning or two each week to a Waldorf preschool while I was working with Eric and Linda at Barefoot Gardens. I love the Waldorf approach to childhood enrichment, and would highly recommend utilizing a Waldorf-based “curriculum” for kids from birth through 2nd grade.

When we first moved to Kerrs Creek, they went one day each week to a local Montessori school. I like their student-led approach, and believe parts of that model work well for little kids, but it was far too disorganized for my kiddos as they entered the elementary grades. We all made some wonderful friends, but after two semesters, it became clear our worldview and the director’s worldview are vastly different, and we just couldn’t continue there.

We are also members of a local homeschool co-op that has been an incredible source of support and friendship.

I cannot express the joy we experience having our family all together, every day. And the freedom to travel any time we want has been an amazing bonus!

Curriculum

We’ve used a variety of curriculum over the years. Here are some of my reviews:

Preschool It’s not really curriculum, but there are a LOT of resources for the pre-school years. As I said before: we really loved the Waldorf mindset for the pre-school years. A Child’s Dream is a shop full of great activities for you and your littlest ones.

Kindergarten While we enjoyed Waldorf Essentials off and on from Kindy through about 2nd grade, I really think kids will do just fine watching you do what you do until 3rd grade. Talk to them, read to them, get them a kid-sized everything and let them do their thing alongside you. They. will. learn. They will even read. Be patient and enjoy the pre-school years.

We loved the Draw Write Now series during the early years. It provided just the right amount of art and language guidance to supplement seasonal unit studies.

Elementary In 3rd grade we switched to Oak Meadow but I soon found the curriculum to be too mainstream {read: progressive} for my comfort. It is an all-in-one curriculum, and I kept saying, “oh, you don’t have to do that project,” or, “we already covered that…” I thought it would be nice to have everything all together, but we were skipping around so much… Our friends told us about a Basic Skills Curriculum which incorporates reading, writing and arithmetic in just a few pages each day. I wish we had used that instead of Oak Meadow – it makes a great introduction to sit-down learning with just enough “work” to challenge them without overdoing it.

In the fall of 2020 {5th grade and 6th grade} we changed everything up and started using Story of the World for History and Apologia for Science. We stuck with Oak Meadow for Math because I liked the way the lessons, practice and quizzes are laid out and I wasn’t sure how to fit them into a different math curriculum. However, toward the end of the year I was afraid the kids weren’t really retaining enough of what they were learning, so we switched to Saxon Math, which has easy-to-administer, free placement tests to help find the right curriculum for your student.

I discovered “classical Christian education” early on in our schooling but was a bit overwhelmed by all the options and the cost of curriculum… I dug into things a little more as the kids entered middle school, because I wanted to make sure they really were getting a well-rounded, thorough, classical education. There are a number of companies out there offering out-of-the-box curricula, but I found Memoria Press to be the easiest to navigate. I haven’t found it on their website, but there is a page in their catalog with the entire K-12 curriculum plan laid out, making it easy to see what they will be learning from year-to-year. For me, seeing it all in front of me made it a little easier to plug in wherever we were. Most of the texts cover a range of years, which also makes it easy to merge from another curriculum(s) and/or teach multiple ages. We’re using a mixture of their history / literature texts + Story of the World this year {2021/22}, and have added Christian Studies and LATIN! It’s a busy year but so far doesn’t seem too bad… I can see how starting with Memoria Press from the beginning would have made things really easy…but c’est la vie. Although Memoria Press uses their own texts for science and math, we have decided to stick with Apologia and Saxon Math.

Before the 2020/21 academic year, I struggled while teaching the kids at “grade level.” It was just frustrating having one babe in one grade, and the other in another. I wish I had known teaching multiple ages at the same time was a thing, but I just didn’t. Since my youngest was reading and comprehending at just about the same level as my oldest by the fall of 2020, we decided to try it. We started with Bible, History, and Science and they worked independently on Math, Handwriting, and Typing. What a difference! Our lesson time was shortened, both kids were engaged the entire time, and they began learning so much more efficiently!

Bottom Line: If I were to do it all over again…
Kindy – 2nd grade = Waldorf Essentials or some other super low-key Waldorf curriculum plus the Basic Skills Curriculum and Draw Write Now. Lots of reading, lots of open-ended play, lots of outside time. Not too much pressure.

3rd/4th grade = Memoria Press or some other Classical Christian resource like Veritas Press. I like that while they have options for every subject and every grade, the lessons are not all in one book {like Oak Meadow}, so you don’t have to cover topics you’ve already explored or aren’t ready for. Memoria Press also offers LOTS of online classes, DVDs and other resources to help teach subjects you might not be comfortable with {like LATIN!!!}. Classical Conversations could also be a nice option but there aren’t classes near us.

Shop the Sales! ChristianBook.com and RainbowResource.com have curriculum sales throughout the year so get on their mailing lists! {I got everything I needed for at least 20% off but I did need to buy from both websites to complete my set.} Oak Meadow has their annual curriculum sale in MAY, so we’ll be ordering the next grades when the prices drop. Don’t forget to check Ebay and your local homeschool community for gently-used materials!

Activities

Some of our favorite places to hang out around Rockbridge County are:

Boxerwood Nature Center & Woodland Garden

Rockbridge Regional Library

Natural Bridge State Park

Frontier Culture Museum (Staunton, VA)

We would love to host a homeschool co-op here on the farm.
If you’re interested in joining us, please send me an email: hello@owlmoonfarm.com

3 thoughts on “Homeschool

  1. Hi! I’d love to learn more about your homeschool co-op. What classes do you offer? How many students per class? Cost ? We are starting a co-op in my area. Andy suggestions would be great!

  2. I would love to be part of any co-op experience you have upcoming, and thanks for the curriculum recommendations for my 5 yr old!

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