So many ask how we do it, so I am going to lay out what we do for our two cuties. I know what we do may not work for everyone, but hopefully it will help someone.
At first we were going to just homeschool them through local school system. However in all honesty, they made it too difficult and just didn't understand our family's needs at all back in the Fall of 2011. You can imagine it was extremely frustrating. But before I knew it great friends appeared with great advice and now we are a homeschooling success story!
First we registered with Homelife Academy. They keep our records, like grades and attendance, for us. Here's the link. http://www.homelifeacademy.com/ They have been wonderful and I highly recommend them. We enrolled in MTHEA for local support. Here's their link. http://www.mthea.org/ And we are also members of HSLDA. http://www.hslda.org The last one was a just in case we need it, we view HSLDA as homeschool insurance. They also have a lot of great resources too!
According to Tennessee laws, you have to must hold classes for 4 hours per day for 180 days within one 12 month period. We use a year round calendar that begins (this year) on July 15th. We will hold classes for 9 weeks and then we take off for 3 weeks (Fall Break), then back for 9, off for 4 (Christmas break), back for 9, off for 3 (Spring Break), back for 9 off for 6 (Summer Break). This is how our school year breaks down. If you look and see, you'll see we hold school on some federal holidays. This is not a big deal to us at all. We just make it work. We'd rather go straight through and enjoy the weeks off, rather than take a day off here and there.
Many people think that is hard to find things to fill up 4 hours a day, but actually it's very easy to occupy those hours every day. Our school days are Monday through Friday from 10am-2:30pm. Yes we usually let our girls sleep until they wake up, but we expect them to be up by 9am or we sound the alarm. They brush their teeth, get some breakfast and get ready for the day. We take 30 minutes for lunch in there somewhere. Then we finish getting our tasks done for the day.And we're done!!! Yes it really is that easy. And yes sometimes our school is from 2-6 or 10-12 then 4-6. We have to be flexible, but we try very hard to stick with the plan as many days as possible.
Here's a list of our resources that fill the 4 hours a day for the 2013-14 school year. I provide links to the resources following the titles.
Math U See http://www.mathusee.com/
Essentials in Writing http://www.essentialsinwriting.com/
Daily Geography and Daily Reading Comprehension http://www.evan-moor.com/
Real Science 4 Kids http://www.gravitaspublications.com/
A Child's History of the World http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/78783.Child_s_History_of_the_World
Those are our "textbooks" we buy for the girls. We also teach cursive writing, hold laboratory time, field trips and so much more. For example in our first quarter of the year, we are reading A Wrinkle in Time together as a family. We will watch the movie at home when we finish the book. We also plan to see the play at Nashville Children's Theater in September. Then we will be evil parents and make them write about the differences between the book, movie and play.
Our family handles our school year one quarter at a time. This is mainly because we never know what is going to happen in our lives. We have learned with our life we can never plan too far ahead! Many times we have had to take a week off during the 9 weeks and then take that week from break. In the end, we make sure the girls get their 180 days. Ah the life of healing a Hero.....you have your rough draft and some of the content makes it into the final draft. ;)
Many people panic at the price tags of the resources we use. I don't think we have paid full price ever for any of these. I frequently stalk eBay, amazon and several other places to save our family money. I take advantage of sales and discounts offered by Homelife Academy, MTHEA and HSLDA. I stock up on school supplies during the back to school sales. I also look for friends that will share books and resources with us. Chaz and I feel we have come out ahead financially and emotionally by homeschooling our girls. We are proof that any one can homeschool with a little guidance and support.