Homeschool Beginnings: The Young vs the Older Child

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Proverbs 9:10

LORD Jesus, we praise You for You are the greatest Teacher of all. We praise You that we can come to You for counsel and that we can ask anything of You. Forgive us, O God we pray, whenever we lose our joy and patience while teaching our children. Help us to discover the things You want us to teach them, and bless us with the resources You want us to use. Give us the real Joy, Patience, Love and Wisdom to press on when the homeschooling days are tough. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen.

I started to homeschool with a four-year-old and later on with a twelve-year-old. That’s a complete different kind of experience. The younger one has never been in school before while the older child went through kindergarten and six years of public school.

Homeschooling the younger child has quite some advantages. The first one is that the selection of good books to use for teaching and learning is much better. Also, even if there would be no materials available or if they would be too expensive, we will not run into trouble the first few years. We can use simple and inexpensive items in our homeschool to lay a good foundation of basic skills. Then there is the advantage of the child who is young and has never been exposed to the wrong kind of teaching. None of his time has been wasted so far.

The story is a complete other one when starting to homeschool the older child. We have to think differently about the purchase and use of curriculum. The struggle to get (the right kind of) materials can be a much greater burden now. Then there is this nagging thought of: Are we doing enough? Is my child learning what he will need for life? So we have to schedule the year and the hours of teaching for each day.

In short: You will get a total fresh start when homeschooling the kindergarten child while both, you and the child, will have to adjust and be a lot more flexible throughout the coming months and perhaps years. However, as my friend Sylvia likes to say: “It is doable!”

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A Beka Book Homeschool English 11

Study to shew thyself approved unto God,
a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

LORD Jesus, we praise You for You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Forgive us, O God we pray, that we so often neglect to start from the very Foundation that is found in Your Word. Enable us to diligently seek Your Will, Your Wisdom, and to learn from Your Teaching. Help us so that we are able to give great effort to teach our children in the Way that they should go. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen.

This year I’m working with the A Beka Book Homeschool English 11 again. The difference is that, even though I’m making use of the whole set of books, for time’s sake I will not be going through all the lessons of the curriculum. The plan is to pick and choose what is needed to close learning gaps so that I can move on to the 12th grade English later on in the year.

On a high school, level I could have started this student in 9th grade first and then work through all four years of books, but I have chosen to do the 11th and 12th grade instead. Why? I will give you a short overview of my reasons:

Handbook of Grammar & Composition

Learning to use a handbook for the English language is a great skill. The student will be able to continue to make use of this book later on in college as well.

Grammar and Composition V Worktext

The Grammar worktext, which refers to and goes along with the handbook, provides plenty of exercises for the whole year. I have, however, ordered an additional workbook that contains supplementary exercises.

I have recently bought and added the English 10-12 Digital Teaching Aids to the curriculum, and I’m finding them quite helpful so far (especially during an independent study). As I have discovered, while watching some of Abeka’s video lessons on demand, the teachers in the video streamings are using them as well.

Vocabulary Spelling Poetry V

There are lists of prefixes, roots, and suffixes found on the inside of the cover pages of the Vocabulary Spelling Poetry V worktext. The student will refer to them a lot to find out the meaning of words and to do the word analysis exercises which are in the worktext. Again, a skill not to be neglected and very helpful for any student who is thinking of attending college classes.

American Literature

The Literature for this grade level is American Literature. That is great for the homeschool family which is living in the States or for whoever is interested in American Literature. (If you want a student text, too, along with the answers, go ahead and buy the Teacher’s Edition. I’m fine with one Literature book to be used by student and teacher, so I just bought and added the Answer Key for American Literature to our curriculum package.)

We will not be studying all of the book. Instead, we will use bits and pieces of the literature package. We are planning, for example, to read The Scarlet Letter, study some of the lovely poetry inside the American Literature book, and do a couple of exercises and essays throughout the year.

A Beka Book Homeschool English 11 Parent Guide/Student Daily Lessons

We are not using the Abeka Academy Video Lessons enrollment for English 11, which would come with a video manual / lesson plan, so I’m using the English 11 Parent Guide/Student Daily Lessons to go along with our independent study this time.

I will share more about Abeka Academy enrollment and videos in the near future, so please stay tuned.

Happy Homeschooling!

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Curriculum for the Christian Homeschool Family

We began our homeschool journey in the 1990s teaching K4 & K5. Finding a good selection of Christian curriculum in the US was no big task. Later on and back in Europe, while homeschooling our highschooler, the search for homeschool materials revealed to be more difficult. So we ended up ordering our books from American publishers again.

Choosing the curriculum for different grade levels and year after year can become a bit overwhelming. Should I order a complete package or pick and choose textbooks and workbooks? Would audio and video lessons be a good choice this year? Which one is the best publisher to order from?

If you are new to homeschooling do not pressure yourself while choosing the materials. There is no such thing as the perfect homeschool curriculum. Choose the one that, to your best knowledge, could work for your family. Then stick to it — at least during the first year.

Be flexible, though, in the way you are working through the material. Meaning, you might prefer to go at a slower or faster pace — depending on how fast or slow your child/ren is/are learning the contents of the lessons. I will talk more about that in future posts. Let’s get back to the curriculum for the Christian homeschool family.

How much Bible and doctrine do you want? This is an important question to ask before ordering from any homeschool publisher. You see, there can be major differences in teachings as there are textbook suppliers from different denominations. Also, books which contain Bible verses here and there have not necessarily been built on a biblical foundation.

There are some really fine materials and correspondence schools for homeschoolers out there, and I will review a couple of them here on my blog in the near future. So, please stay tuned.

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