Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What does homeschool look like for us?

There are as many types of homeschooling families as there are shoes at Payless. I have met families who run their school day by a public school schedule complete with school bell, bathroom passes, and homework. And some others who let the kids learn as they may through play time, trips to the library, etc. Our little "Mcclary Academy", as I like to call it, falls somewhere in the middle.
For the last two years my oldest boys have been enrolled at Utah Virtual Academy which is an online public school. Some people would say that we are not a homeschool family because of this. Whatever. Being enrolled at UTVA has its advantages, the materials are free, we get free computers and I don't have to lesson plan every day :) But, it also has some bleh parts. It is super structured and I don't always agree with the content of our lessons or the planned activities. If you know me pretty well you know that I don't like authority. (Yep, Honey, I said it out loud.) I cannot handle being told what to do and, as I have mentioned in a previous post, I hate making lists. So I cheat. We study the topics laid out in our lessons but in our own way.

Today, for example,, choose your own adventure books, building a city with legos, drawing pictures about dragons and free videos from and, made our "schedule", and to me are just as valuable as the math flash cards, sight words practice, science worksheets and vocabulary test we have done so far also.

I love homeschooling and the freedom it provides for my kids to explore and learn things they are interested in in a way that appeals to them and encourages their creativity. The picture of Josh is from a couple of weeks ago. I had him read on his own to get ready for history...he fell asleep after the first couple pages. I love it.

Here are links to the sites and lessons we used today. Brain pop is an amazing and fun resource for kids in 3rd grade and up. They also have for those in lower elementary grades. There is a subscription fee however sometimes their free videos go along with what we are doing. is basically a homework reinforcer for high school students. The lesson Josh watched today was from the AP History class. I don't recommended it for lower elementary at all.

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