Harder Family

Harder Family

Monday, August 31, 2015

A New School Year...

Psalm 121:1-2 "I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."

Isaiah 41:13 "For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."

Today we embarked on another year of school. This is the start of my sixth year homeschooling...wow, that is crazy to write, it doesn't seem that long. This year we are entering a new path on our journey. We decided to try something different this year as a family. In light of all that is going on with Wayne, we decided to make some changes in our approach to our homeschool year. The first HUGE change for me this past year was not buying all of my homeschool material and preparing for this school year back in May (sounds crazy, but getting excited about the next year helps me make it through the end of the current school year). Usually I scour homeschool curriculum fairs and websites to find the best prices on the materials that I have selected for the next year. This year, I waited patiently on the Lord to see if homeschooling was even for us. 

It seemed like forever to get an answer from but, but pnce God gave me the green light, I started looking into some different options for us. We have been doing Classical Conversations (CC) as a family for four years. Although I LOVE the program, time and finances have led us a different direction this year. I normally spend at least a month of my summer prepping for the next school year (making CC binders for the kids, finding extra things to do that compliment the topic we are studying at CC). In light of life events, I needed something that was laid out for me this year. A friend of mine has been telling me about My Father's World for years. I decided to attend a curriculum exhibit for My Father's World back in May. *note: it was hard not to buy right then since I would save 10% and get free shipping!! But, I was good and waited and prayed about it*

I fell in love with My Father's World. I loved how the curriculum was laid out for the parent. I also appreciated that they provided all the books and supplies that I would need for the school year...open the box and there is your school year (not quite, but you get the picture). We decided that My Father's World would be a great curriculum to use for Grace, Naomi, and Sophia. I am able to teach the three of them Bible, history, science, and vocabulary together. I have different math and English programs for them, but everything else they can do together. Since Micaela is starting kindergarten this year, (she'll be 5 in November) I chose to do My Father's World with her as well. She is super excited about starting school. Joella will be doing things with Micaela just to keep her busy. They loved their first day of classes today. We sang some songs, started constructing our Creation book, did a craft, and learned some letters and numbers. 

I'm excited to see how this all plays out. I have laid out a general schedule for our days. Abigail agreed to help me out with the two little ones for the first 1to 1 1/2 hours of each school day. She will read books to them that go along with their school lessons, do crafts, etc. During that time, I will do Bible, history, science, and vocabulary with the three other girls (Grace, Naomi & Sophia). Once we are done, Abigail goes upstairs and starts her work (more on her next). I then work with Micaela and Joella while Grace, Naomi, and Sophia work on handwriting, math, reading, and anything they can do on their own. When Micaela and Joella are done, I then work with the girls individually on their spelling and math. After lunch, I take about 45 minutes to work with Grace and Naomi on English using the Classical Conversations Essentials and writing program. If everything goes well, we will then end the day practicing piano, learning Spanish on Rosetta stone, and typing (we didn't start those today, we have to slowly work our way back into this routine). Everyone does extra reading at night before bed. *whew* I'm exhausted just writing about it. Today was our first day and it went well. My days will fly jumping between so many different grades and subjects. Hopefully we will fall into a nice routine in the next few days.

As noted above, Abigail is doing something different from the other girls. We decided to keep her in Classical Conversations (CC) since she was entering a new stage in her education. Abigail is enrolled in Challenge A. So far I am super impressed with the program and how independent Abigail already is just two weeks into the program. Each week Abigail attends "seminar" with other students where they go over the material and information for the next week. They cover a few different areas: math, logic (clear reasoning and apologetics), Latin, biology and natural sciences, literature and persuasive writing, and geography. Some of the things that Abigail is responsible for doing during the week includes: making her own note cards and memorizing them, doing a weekly science research paper, doing her Latin homework, reading literature and writing persuasive papers on an issue, and my favorite...learning how to label and draw the world. By the end of the year, Abigail will be able to draw the world and will be responsible for labeling over 200 countries and features. I'm super excited to see how much Abigail will grow this year. 

If you think about us, pray for me during the school year. It can be hard to wear the hat of both mom and teacher. Pray that I run this race with perseverance and don't give up or waiver in my commitment. I know that God will give me the strength to complete the task He has called me to do.

Here are some pictures from our first day of school.

Abigail: 7th grade

Grace: 6th grade

Naomi: 5th Grade

Sophia: 2nd Grade

Micaela: Kindergarten 

Joella: Preschool (really it is a way to keep her busy and our of her sister's way). I have tons of just fun things for her to do. We believe in letting kids be kids as long as possible. 

Working with the three older girls this morning

Art today was learning what it would be like to be an artist like Joni Erickson Tada. We used our mouths to try to draw a butterfly.

Abigail working with the two little ones while I taught the three older girls. She did a great job. She says she wants to be a teacher, so I am just preparing her early.

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