Posted by: waterwalkerla | January 7, 2010

Veering Off Course, Ever So Slightly

When I talk about our home school, I am always quick to point out that we rely on a prepared curriculum.  Possibly this is to validate our school choice in the mind of my listener.  Perhaps it is to reassure myself that I can’t be doing too much damage to my children because I am using a curriculum put together by educators and used in some school.  Probably it is because I just feel the need to talk a lot and give lots of details about our children and our home school.

As we start back to school in the new year I am feeling the desire to make some changes to our school routine.  I suppose it is just my wish to test a little of the freedom home schooling is able to offer.  Of course, these aren’t major changes at all – they are more like baby steps.  However, they are changes nonetheless, and so I thought I would share them.

As I mentioned previously, our oldest daughter will be starting Algebra at the semester break.  Her 6th grade teacher worked with her on a number of 7th grade math topics, so this year was a lot of review in math for her anyway.  We told her that we wanted her to complete 7th grade math this year, but she could do it at her own pace.  She will complete the coursework for the year in the next two weeks.  We did not want her to go for 9 months without having any math, so we decided to let her move ahead when she is finished.  If she was in school, she would be skipping 8th grade math and moving to Algebra, so that is what we decided to do.  She is really excited about it.  I have to say that she is really taking to home schooling and has already asked several times if she ever HAS to go back to school.

Our entire family is going to start taking Spanish at the semester break.  Both Rebecca and Timothy took Spanish in school and my husband and I took several years when we were younger.  We are using the Switched On Schoolhouse Secondary Spanish course ( for this, which will allow us to set up a separate student profile for all of us.  We are hoping to improve enough that we can correspond better with pastors and families we met in Mexico and so we can better communicate with them on our next mission trip.

Writing assignments are also going to get a little retooling this spring.  We have mostly had to children do the writing assignments that were included in each of their books.  We have also been having this children do additional writing assignments as well, including writing letters and book reports.  In the spring, we would like them to continue with writing letters and book reports and also add in camp scholarship writing assignments and book reviews.  That’s a lot of writing.  To keep them from getting bogged down with too much writing, we are going to cut the number of textbook writing assignments they are responsible for finishing.

Home Economics is also going to expand in the spring.  The children already have worked on cooking and baking, laundry, and general cleaning.  This spring, they are going to be learning to sew and learning budgeting.  Our plans for the budgeting lessons are way too long to include here, so I will save those for a future post.

Finally (I think!), we will be enhancing our music offerings.  Rebecca and Timothy are already taking piano lessons, and have for three years now.  In the next month, they are both going to start taking acoustic guitar lessons.



  1. Enjoy all of your learning adventures! I’ve been very happy using Saxon’s Algebra book– we were able to get it used at a good price. It sounds like you and your family are engaged in a wide variety of wonderful activities!

  2. What a great idea! I had never thought about buying the SOS Spanish for the whole family to use. I guess I’ll be keeping my eyes open for a sale or a used one at a curriculum sale, because I’m definitely going to pick one up. Thanks!

    • Dawn – You’re welcome! It was my husband’s idea. My daughter also wants to learn French, so depending on how this goes, I may learn French with her using SOS as well.

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