Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Adventures in Homeschooling

Since we are nearing the end of October, I thought I would give an round up of our homeschooling activities thus far. Since Layla is only four years old, I am still keeping our school time very simple and short. Our two main focuses are faith and reading. Nathan ordered a precious little Catechism book for young children and he printed off a collection of shorter scriptures for children to memorize. We talk through the Catechism book a few days a week and usually go over our scripture memorization every school day. The Catechism book has brought up some interesting conversations about Adam and Eve, Satan, covenants, sin, Jesus' death on the cross, and salvation. Layla also seems to be a natural when it comes to scripture memorization. She has already memorized 6 scriptures!

A month ago, one of the gentlemen at church told her he would give her a quarter for every scripture she quoted to him. After earning a dollar a few Sundays ago, the guest pastor overheard her and handed her another dollar! She was able to use her hard earned money to buy tickets to get on the blow-up rides at the Cider Mill.

While Layla has been memorizing scripture, Julius has been observing. About two weeks ago, Julius tapped me on the leg and quoted the very first scripture Layla ever memorized! It was so adorable hearing God's Word in his cute mumbling two year old voice! Put a bunch of marbles in your mouth and say, "First Corinthians 15:33 - Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character." That's how he sounded! Soooooo cute!

Layla has also been making progress with her phonics. We are using a vertical phonics program and she has been working on all the sounds of a, t, s, l, e, m, i, and n. She has been successfully sounding out shorter words composed of those letters. She is now working on the different sounds of o, d, r, h, w, b, er, and th. We will soon be moving on to words with these phonic sounds.

Some days Layla will spend time doing copy work or practicing writing her letters or words of her choice. She also has several workbooks that she will work on. Again, I try and keep it light and simple. The only thing that I make mandatory right now is Catechism, scripture memorization and phonics. The rest is often at her request.

In the afternoons I have been reading aloud to the kids. This is an important part of the Charlotte Mason theory of homeschooling as well as the Thomas Jefferson Education Model. We finished Charlotte's Web last week. That book was wonderful as a read aloud because it brought up all sorts of questions and conversations. Layla asked if animals really talked. We discussed butchering animals and where our food comes from. The book details the scientific explanation of how spiders spin webs. It covers a variety of vocabulary words such as "salutations" and "languishing" and it gives definitions. Layla also recognized the different emotions that the book's characters experienced. All this from a lovely little classic! I guess there is so much to be learned from reading and discussing the classics, lol! I say that sarcastically! I just read a book on the classics/mentor model of education and will hopefully be posting a book review soon!

Right now we are reading Sprout and the Dog Sitter, which is not really a classic, but my copy of Ann of Green Gables is out in the garage and needs to be dug out for our next read aloud.

Overall, I am very happy with the school year. Layla is just plain ready for phonics, whereas last year she wasn't. Kids are ready to read at all different ages! Her being ready to read makes this school year so much easier and pleasant. That's it so far! We will keep you posted on our homeschooling adventures throughout the year!


  1. I'm really enjoying your blog, Sarah. This is a really good story.

    What Catechism are you using?

  2. Thanks Jeremy! I enjoyed your most recent blog post too!

    We are using First Catechism: Teaching Children Biblical Truths by Great Commission Publications

  3. Is it an evangelical catechism, or a "mainline" catechism?

    Sorry I didn't reply earlier; I didn't know there was a response here.