While we do homeschool year round, we have taken off a pretty huge chunk of time (ever since visiting family in Branson and then going onto Kentucky just because we had never been). :D So we plan to start back next Monday and the kids are pretty excited!
I am taking this week to plan out the next semester. We take off from formal schooling from Thanksgiving through New Years. That is so we do not feel so overwhelmed during a most overwhelming season. But of course the children are still learning! We read Christmas stories and watch Christmas movies. We bake Christmas cookies and have Christmas teas. And we play in the snow! We make snow angels and snowmen.
If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time you know that I am a VERY relaxed home schooler. I truly believe that most of our best learning is done through experiencing life rather than sitting behind a desk reading about it. I like what a friend of mine said. She doesn't use the word homeschooling, but home discipleship (as we are to train up our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord). Another friend uses home educate.
Both are of the same mindset that I am. We do not homeschool to do school at home, but rather to instill in our children the values and lessons that they will need in their future life. To love and serve God with all their heart (as one friend put it "Fill 'em with so much of God's word that if you cut them, they bleed it") and to know skills (like reading and writing and math) that are things every person should know and are necessarily in life.
Here are the actual books we will be using this semester for teaching Bible/Character. Of course we are doing other subjects! :D But I know the materials for teaching those are subjective to each parent and each child! :D Not that teaching the Bible isn't. :D But teaching other subjects have PLENTY of curriculum out there with reviews. Teaching Biblical worldview has so few. So with that in mind...
Leading Little Ones To God - I absolutely love and admire Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I heard her mention this book on her radio show one day. She was talking about the importance of this book in her childhood. "My parents used this resource in our family devotions when I was a little girl; it was the means God used to bring me to faith in Christ as a four-year-old child on May 14, 1963. This book is a great way to introduce your children to the basic biblical doctrines of God, man, and salvation. It includes short Bible stories, hymns, and questions for children to answer." Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Truth and Grace Memory Book 1 - Instilling a Biblical worldview in my kids was not a very important thing to me. That is until I read Voddie Baucham's books and heard him speak. Now it is super high on my list! This book is AWESOME! You start at age 2 (yes, we will be playing catch-up) and, with all three books, move up through senior year in high school. Each year has you memorizing questions and answers from the Westminster Catechism, foundational Bible verses and hymns.
Susan Hunt's Big Truths for Little Kids - Growing up Catholic, hearing the word "catechism" brought up really bad memories. Now that I was a Christian, I wanted my kids to have a personal relationship with the Lord and NOT a rote relationship. As I grew in my walk with the Lord, I met ladies whom I greatly admired. Their children had a deep understanding of God and His word. Something that I did not have. They all had one thing in common - the children had gone through the Westminster Shorter Catechism. I put that thought on the back burner, but when I heard Voddie Bacuham talk about it, he related it like this. We do rote with our children all the time. Whenever you ask your child a question, and they respond with an answer you taught them - that is a catechism. I had mentioned before a book called Training Heart, Teaching Minds that also goes through the catechism. That book really is for OLDER children. This book, Susan's book, is for YOUNGER children. A word of warning about this book. It does focus a bit on how non-Christian's sin without having the Christian children realize that they are sinners too. But that is just a great opportunity to discuss with your children the importance of looking to the cross and not being legalistic. :D
21 Rules of this House - while there is a book for this (which we have, but only because I found a used book in AWESOME condition for a buck at a garage sale), you do not need the book. The web site I gave has all 21 rules. We go through one a week, catechism style (LOL!). We have already done up to number 6 and I will tell you that these are GREAT! When a child is breaking a rule we have already learned, I can point to the rule (what is rule number 3?) and the child will change their behavior!! I know that with the other books I am using, the Scriptural reference for the rule will be hidden in their heart.