As I was writing all of the posts about what we do, there were a few things that didn't really fit into any area or that I felt like I should add in somehow. I decided just to throw all the random stuff out here in one post.
There is a Bible component to the Foundations program, but we don’t typically follow it. In our home, Justin is in charge of teaching Bible. That’s just something he wants to do, and it really varies from time to time. The Foundations curriculum includes passages to memorize for each cycle. We have done some memorization of various verses and passages, and we've been working on a catechism for a while now. There are lots of similar ones available, but we've used the one from The Family Worship Book by Terry Johnson. Justin has tweaked some of the questions, but we follow it pretty closely.
Just 2 Hours?
I can see some people possibly looking at everything we do and getting overwhelmed because they think there is no way their child could squeeze all that into 2 - 3 hours as a first grader. Please, don't feel that way. I certainly don't think it's typical. I have an unusually gifted reader. At this point, Jonathan isn't struggling in any area, and that means we can take things up a notch or two.
Personally, I think it is important that you find a good place where your student is challenged but not frustrated. I don't think everyone should be able to do what we do in 2 - 3 hours, but I do think it's best to keep school work to that amount of time for a first grader. If you're trying to do more, then they are likely frustrated and are going to get burned out. We want to foster a love of learning!
The beauty of homeschooling is that you can make modifications for your children to help them succeed. That's why we do a lot of oral narration at this point. As a boy, Jonathan's handwriting abilities do not match what he can do intellectually. If I made him write out all of his narrations, then we'd both end up ready to pull our hair out. On the other hand, if I only did as much reading and narration as he can feasibly write, then he'd be bored and not challenged.
Also, I had to learn that the best way for me to get school done in this amount of time is to set it aside just for school. Some families like to fit in activities throughout the day as they have time, and we do that a little with some of the things he's reading independently. For the most part, it works best for us to focus on school during a set block of time. That means, I might be able to throw in some laundry during that time, but I definitely can't get much more done than that. Otherwise it stretches on and on, and he gets very distracted if I'm not there to guide him to the next thing.
Admittedly, I have it easy because I only have one schooling child to worry about. I have no idea what things would look like if I had multiple children to work with. I am not a good multi-tasker, so I can't claim to be much help when it comes to working with more than one child. I do have issues with keeping my 20 month-old occupied, and I hope to share some about that in the near future.
Other posts in this series:
Spelling and Handwriting
Science and Art