A few months ago I posted a blog (http://homeschooltypo.blogspot.com/2013/03/answering-question-about-homeschool.html) in response to some homeschooling questions I recieved from a friend. I just recieved some more so here you go:
What curriculum do you use?
You can buy boxed curriculums that will give you everything you need for a particular grade level. I don't do that. I like to have the freedom to select all kinds of different books and resources. Although, it can be very overwhelming to decide among all the options out there! You can see a list of what I use on that other post linked above.
What is the hardest part?
It's easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out by all the responsibility. What if I screw up? What if I don't teach enough? What if they're not getting enough free play time? Will my house ever be clean? So I have to remind myself often to just lower my standards. lol. The dishes will never be done. The floors will never be spotless. There will always be more that the kids could learn. I just have to do the best I can from day to day and remember to enjoy the journey!
What is your favorite part?
It really can be very fun! I love reading them books and learning about history or art or science right along with my kids. It is so exciting to hear Primus read stories to her siblings. And I am so proud when they can spout off to Daddy the history fact that they learned. I feel so lucky to be able to watch them learn and grow.
How do you find 'me-time'?
I find that my day goes a lot smoother and I have a lot more patience with the kids if I wake up at least a half hour before them and start my day with prayer and scripture study. And throughout the day, I steal small moments for myself to read blogs or news on the computer or read a book. Sometimes I'll let the kids watch an educational video during lunch which will give me a good chunk of time to do chores or something that I want to do. Also, after the kids are in bed, I will stay up for a couple hours. I keep thinking that I should be using this time to do more housework. But realistically that time turns into my facebook, TV, and blogging time.
How involved do you get at a preschool level?
When my oldest was a preschooler (4), I sent her to preschool. Before that, we did a lot of reading and puzzles and flashcards at home. When my second was 3, I sent her to preschool while I did kindergarten at home with my oldest (http://homeschooltypo.blogspot.com/2011/11/why-am-i-sending-my-3-year-old-to-state.html). Then after one semester I brought her home. I did a little bit of work with her (and started teaching her how to read) and expected her to participate with science and history. She is pretty advanced and kept up really well.
But for the most part, I think preschoolers need to have plenty of free play time and storytime more than anything. It's also amazing what the little ones will pick up just by being in the same room while the older ones are doing lessons.
This year Tertius will be a preschooler (he's 3) and I think I'm going to expect him to sit for Secundus' calendar time. And I've prepared some ABC crafts for him. But other than that, he will spend his days playing (I'll steer him toward "educational" toys whenever possible) and listening to stories whenever I get a chance to read him one.
What's it like homeschooling with a baby?
Last January Quartus was born during Christmas break so we did an entire semester with a brand new baby. I didn't do very good at keeping my habit of waking up before the kids, which made things hard. But otherwise, it wasn't too much of an adjustment. I did a lot of lessons while sitting and nursing the baby. And I think it's really important for my kids to learn independance in their schooling. So I gave Primus independant assignments as much as possible, which was helpful. I also kept a bouncy seat or swing, blanket, and diapers/wipes nearby so the baby could nap/play/be changed in the same room as everyone else.
If you lived somewhere other than California that didn't have government funding (like Colorado) would you be able to afford it?
If I had to homeschool independantly, there is no way I could afford the same experience we enjoy now (we receive $1600 per year per student - K and up - for curriculum, paper, pencils, art supplies, enrichment activities, etc.) I would just have to be more creative. It would mean paying more attention to when school supplies are on sale, spending more time online gathering free resources and worksheets, and checking out more books from the library. It would be really hard for me to get used to that. I like having my Evan Moor science curriculum, for example, where I can open it up to review the info and gather supplies just a few minutes before teaching the unit instead of spending hours researching and creating my own curriculum. But plenty of families do it successfully. One of my favorite blogs (you can find it on my side bar) is Our Busy Homeschool. That family has 8 kids (3 or 4 are school-age) and she said once that her yearly homeschool budget was only $500 (http://ourbusyhomeschool.com/the-cost-of-homeschooling/)
Let me know if you have any more questions or any follow-up questions!