This is part 11 of our 4 Moms 35 Kids series. Visit 3 other moms of large families to see …
No, I’m not in labor. Even if I were, it would make a pretty lame excuse for not having my post ready since Smockity managed to post and give birth last Thursday. I’ll just have to admit that I totally ditched you, the other 3 moms, and their 25 children. At least I’m here with my children. That should count for something, right?
So now I’ll pound out a quick and ill-planned post about teaching my older ones, and recommend that you quickly move on to the other 3 moms who obviously plan far better than I do right now. Oh, quit making excuses for me even if my duedate is tomorrow and I am utterly obsessed by Baby’s impending arrival. Even if I’m also a little distracted by the fact that we currently have 11 dogs on the premises, 7 of which are 9 week old pups in desperate need of new homes with email inquiries flooding my inbox and several visits by hopeful owners already scheduled, hopefully before I pop this baby out. Even if I did spend 8 hours yesterday running errands with 4 children, arriving home at 10 PM. At least I’ve managed to knock 4 out of 8 items off my baby prep checklist.
Oh, but wait. You want to hear about how we homeschool our older children. You’re probably hoping and expecting to hear that we put far more planning into it than I did into this post.
Quickly now, here’s a summary of what they do. Stop me if I just told you this 2 or 3 weeks ago, because my pregnant brain can’t remember when I typed this before.
Their school day looks much like that of the younger children about whom I posted last week (do you like my proper school teacher grammar?), but is just a wee bit more structured, with higher expectations.
They begin with private Bible reading, which they then summarize in a composition book. This is followed by Bible copywork, which aids in memorization.
Math is next, since I like them to tackle this brain-intensive subject while they’re fresh. Usually, the two oldest correct each other’s work. Ditto for our 3rd and 4th daughters. I do let them correct their own if their counterpart isn’t available, but I don’t like to depend upon self-corrected math as a general practice. While we haven’t had problems with cheating, I do recognize human nature: it’s simply too easy to cut oneself slack. Believe it or not, I also correct their math for them on occasion. I’m not a total slacker. I just prefer to stay on the technical support side when I can, as it leaves me free to wrangle the little ones.
After math, they move on to non-fiction reading. For a long time they were allowed to choose their own titles and get them approved by hubby and me, but now that we have 4 teens we are moving toward a more structured reading list. Like Bible reading, non-fiction reading is summarized in a notebook.
These written summaries serve multiple purposes: they help the children to process and retain what they are reading, but they also allow us to evaluate and gently critique comprehension, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, general writing style, etc. They also present a record of progress, as the children can look back over time and see their writing and thought processes develop and mature.
This is the end of the formal school day unless we have assigned other projects, but this isn’t the end of the learning. In their free time, our children are expected to occupy their minds. I’ve beaten this drum before so I won’t do it now. Let me just say that we have instilled enough of a love for learning that all of our children begged to room together so that one bedroom in our very small house could be converted to a library. These are the moments that make a bibliophile proud.
- June 3 – Putting it together. How does it work?
- March 18 – Live-blog day, in which all 4 of us live-blog a real day in our home. Find out what we really do all day. It’s our own reality show, just for you. Who needs TV?
- March 25 – Outings with only little ones. Mom’s rules of order, and how notto become the poster family for birth control.
- April 1 – A baker’s dozen for managing the food budget: budgeting in the kitchen to feed a crowd.
- April 8 – Menu planning, how we plan (or don’t plan) to feed our hungry crewmates.
- April 15 – Cooking from Scratch. What we make from scratch and what we would like to make from scratch.
- April 22 – Cooking for a Crowd. The big linky! We shared our own recipes, and you shared yours.
- April 29 – Extreme Homeschooling, where I try to stir up trouble but you all are much nicer and more agreeable than some of the readers I had a few years ago.
- May 6 – Picking a curriculum, method or tactics that work for a large family.
- May 13 – Homeschooling in Real Life – the method that works for us.
- May 20 – Teaching Little Ones