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2018/2019 School Year Recap

Our school year got off to a slow start after a BIG move from Oceanside, CA to Okinawa, Japan during the summer of 2018. This was the biggest move yet for our family and it brought a lot of changes. We said goodbye to our first home we owned, goodbye to friends-turned-family in CA, goodbye to our sweet pup that couldn't make the trip and lots of see you laters to family. We then moved into a new home in a new country and slowly made new friends and found a new homeschool co-op that we love being a part of. So to put it lightly, we have experienced a lot of (often fun, sometimes not) changes in the past year. The beginning of our school year looked a little different than in years past but once we got started we haven't slowed down! (And if you're interested in why we will continue to summer school check out this post.) It was such a big year I think a school year recap is in order so I can remember how much we did together this year!

The 2018-2019 school year marks my 5th year homeschooling and we continued to use many of the same curriculums that have worked well for us in the past. With so many changes for our family I wanted to keep school choices simple. Here is a look at the curriculum we used for the 2018/2019 school year:

Mystery Science: This is the one curriculum that everyone asks for every Monday without fail! It is fun, engaging and interesting for each of my kids regardless of age. There are also lots of science experiments that are easy for kids to follow themselves. My kids love being able to start and finish their science experiments with minimal help from me.

Story of the World: This was our 4th year using this curriculum for history and we still love it. It is chronological and slowly moves through history from beginning times to modern times. It has resources for extra reading as different topics interest you or your kids. It has projects for every chapter and you can even listen to it together! This aspect has been very helpful and it became one of our favorite things to do at the end of each school day as we were winding down and I would begin to prepare dinner.

Math for a Living Education: We have used the 1st and 2nd books in this series for my 1st grader. We have enjoyed the stories with each new week's lessons and the way it flows. I previously used Math U See for this level of math but we are equally enjoying Math for a Living Education as well. Math has not always been "fun" for me so this curriculum has helped.

Teaching Textbooks: This has been an amazing resource for my 4th grader in math! My favorite thing about this curriculum? It's all web browser based so there aren't any extra books to purchase and we can access it anywhere without taking bulky books! I highly recommend this one if you're looking to downsize your school shelf.

Spelling You See: This is from the creators of Math U See and has been great for my 1st and 4th graders. I simply downloaded the sample lessons to get an idea of which level to begin with. They are short, 15 minute lessons and help make spelling not so painful if your kids are nervous in this area.

Teaching Character Through Literature: This has been my favorite curriculum of the school year! I love all of the literature packs offered by Beautiful Feet Books and we own a few of them. I love read alouds with my kids and this curriculum has made it easy to also incorporate copy work, journaling and discussions. Every single book they recommend is an excellent choice of literature to share with your kids. They also offer some discounts and free shipping!

We use lots of other resources throughout the school but these are our mainstays. Some of our favorite read alouds this year have been the Little House on the Prairie series, The Whipping Boy, The Hundred Dresses and The One and Only Ivan. I'm sure my oldest could write her own blog post on all of the books she has read this year!

We have also enjoyed LOTS of exploring our new little island this year. We've taken more field trips than I can count from the Churaumi Aquarium up north to the Yomitan Pottery Village down south.

Yomitan Pottery Village on a rainy day

We have also had the opportunity to learn more about the new culture here. Our neighbors invited us to be a part of their traditional Japanese New Year celebration and they also invited us to try on traditional kimonos. The kids have started practicing karate at a dojo that teaches in the Okinawan style. We have all started learning new Japanese phrases and we have endless opportunities to use them with the kind locals here. We enjoy trying all of the new foods and we each have found our favorites from sashimi to beni imo. It's safe to say we're looking forward to more cultural experiences here in Okinawa!

It's often been a trying school year with so many changes but we're thankful to have accomplished and experienced so much together. Homeschooling continues to be a good fit for our family and we enjoy growing and learning as a family.


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