Education excites me…especially the idea of it haha. Sometimes the nitty gritty doesn’t quite match the ideal. We have been homeschooling for several years now and it is always a changing process with different curriculums, books, and methods. It can become an expensive way to educate your children, and I’ve definitely spent a good deal of money on it already. …Or it can be incredibly inexpensive depending on your approach.
I love the start of the school year, the anticipation of imparting some sort of knowledge to my children, and them being able to use it to their own ends. I certainly don’t have this education thing down and there are so many different ways I have beaten myself up for not thinking their education is up to par. One thing as a parent I realized several years ago…we are flawed human beings and we can’t help but impart those flaws on our own children. We are never able to be perfect so trying to be perfect is a doomed and an emotionally draining lose-lose process. Give yourself a break!
I need to engage not only the kids but me as well. I can get incredibly bored of what they are learning so…learn something interesting, be interested, let them be interested in what they actually enjoy. It takes away a lot stress when you aren’t trying to pound something into their brain. If we all enjoy it, they tend to remember it. (Although to a large extent I do have to pound math into their brains lol)
So what do we use here in Ecuador? The Kindle Paperwhite has been one of our greatest assets as well as the ipad. Yes, maybe they were a bigger initial expense (especially the ipad) but definitely worth the ease of travel. What I really love about the Kindle Paperwhite is that its primary function is reading. There are no apps on it, so when the kids are on them I know exactly what they are doing. It has functions for reading goals, vocabulary lists, etc. Our family is definitely a big fan. I purchased them for Christmas last year (during the Cyber Monday sale!) and their inclinations to read have grown exponentially.
During Amazon’s big prime day (this Summer) I purchased a 2 year Kindle Unlimited plan, where we have access to thousands of digital books. I like to use real books, biographies and such, for history especially. It seems to stick with them better, and using youtube videos or other media helps them comprehend the subjects more.
Math. Ok so I have been using Singapore Math since we started homeschooling and I personally like it. I haven’t tried other programs, all I know is what I hated as a kid (and being partially homeschooled, I hated saxon haha). Anyway, there are 3 books per semester (work, text, teacher) so the weight of this adds up. I purchased a program called Matholia to replace the books but I just like using books more. The books are the one thing that we’ve continued to use since coming here. Some of them use the online program and others use the books, it just works for us now. Sometimes we supplement with Kahn Academy which also has apps for their site. They have really nice lessons which helps when the kids need variety.
Grammar/literature/english. I’m a huge fan of Michael Clay Thompson ‘s program Grammar Island, etc. (links on bottom of page or just visit the site!) It is excellent and he has an ibooks series which I am using. I just left my actual books in my parents attic. It is pricey but I really think it is the best program I’ve come across. His approach to language is unlike any other program, and he conveys how we understand language in an engaging way.
I tried Supercharged Science for about a day or so (digital version not dvd) and it wasn’t worth it for me because of our poor internet connection which left the whole experience greatly wanting. I am going to be using a different program, and I will let you know how that pans out and link it in another post. I would like to teach Science using our current surroundings, especially considering its historical significance, the Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador! I don’t think most people realize that. We also have the Amazon, a plethora of volcanoes, and the most varied landscapes, flora, and fauna.
We take Spanish classes as a family each week which has been really necessary and a good experience. (Thank you Paulina!!)
Culturally, the kids are definitely learning through experience, something I really can’t just teach them in a book.
Things are not always fluid and we don’t always get our school done each day, some subjects are skipped for a while because we focus on something else, like Spanish for instance. It will all get done and maybe not as ideally as I prefer, but this is just life. Life cannot be so restricted, you have to move with it, take things as they come and be lax enough to let those worries go. It will work out as long as you don’t give up.
I recently watched a Ted Talk with Sir Ken Robinson and it was very encouraging to me. I think we put limitations on ourselves and our kids by trying to fit into what everyone else is doing, just be aware of what they gravitate towards and encourage that.
Click on the links below! They are items I use and can get a % of the sale if bought through my link!
[Kindle paperweight…most beloved object for the kids while traveling, plus an inexpensive cover that I bought for ours!]
[Ipad, invaluable for its many apps!]
[math program 1-6]
[If you want to learn Spanish, this was the only real book I brought with me]
[Resources. I’ve used Cathy Duffy’s information as a guide for sifting through a lot of curriculums. I recommend it and her website . She is informative about which are religious or non religious. I find this particularly helpful.]