We have reached our state required 180 days. The kids and I have worked hard to get done in early May. Not very many days off during the school year, we just kept plugging away.
It is a bit easier to do when you don't have to have snow days and teacher in service days, and days off for federal holidays. I also like to encourage learning as a way of life, so other than math, they usually like reading history or doing science, art, music. Reading, lots of reading takes place in our cottage school. After all reading is the foundation for all learning - if you can read you can teach yourself anything!
I usually start in the beginning of August and with taking some weeks at Thanksgiving and Christmas we continue through the year trying to be done by Mother's day weekend. That is when we have our state homeschool convention. I like being able to just focus on next year and often the kids like to start some of their books for next year too. I have found if we are not done by the convention it is hard for us to focus on finishing up this years school work!
This year went very well. With the exception of math the kid flew through their history, science, health, language arts. Music and art are a constant around here anyway. Physical Education is easy with riding lessons and lots of hiking, ultimate frisbee and some basketball.
Math is not a favored subject but they have worked hard this year, and I can see the fruit of my decision to go slow and have them gain mastery over it rather than rush through to get it all done. They will continue to finish their math lessons this month - but that's okay. Once they finish these lessons I may have them start their math for next year, so that they don't 'lose' any thing over the summer. We'll see.
Not every child loves every subject and again that is okay with me as long as they realize they must learn to have a heart to 'learn'. For example, Sarah preferred our history this year to our science, while Kyle loved the science more than history! So every day it was "could we do science first?" or "could we do history first?" The solution was to rotate everyday - one subject first one day, then the other subject first the next.
This year they have accomplished Math, Science, History/Geography, Health and Safety, Art, Music, Bible, Home Ec, Physical Education.
They have been to Valley Forge, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Florida. They have gone by train to Harrisburg (our capitol) and gone to the Whitaker Center to see an Imax movie about tornadoes. They have been to the North Museum, Longwood Gardens, Hawk Mountain, Canaveral National Seashore, to see Joseph at Sight and Sound Theatres, Eastland Alpacas, the open rehearsal for the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra. They have visited an Amish school.
Very important to me has been the scripture they have committed to memory this year.
I love home education. It has become a way of life after 17 years. I still have about 11 years to go. We have our evaluations later this month and then we will turn in our evals for this year and all the required paperwork for next year. We will take opportunities over the summer to learn as well. Rachel is going to start cello lessons next Thursday, and I am going to get Sarah started with piano again and art classes. I love for education to be a natural flow and not a thing where we start thinking "It's time to do school, now I learn."
I am thankful that we still have the freedom in our nation to choose which form of education we want to pursue for our children. Home education has worked well for us.
Next year we are going to study Math (pre-algebra for Rachel), Science (we are going to study marine life), History (American again), Health and Safety, Bible, Art, Music, English, Civics.....
I'm getting excited thinking of this next year.....