Everyone has a different picture in their head of what homeschool looks like. Some people see long denim skirts, others see socially awkward children, others see brilliant teens who are able to graduate college in the time it would take some to graduate high school.
I’ve had a few requests to go into detail how I go about my homeschooling of my four year old. I should first discuss why I’m choosing homeschool at this time. Primarily I want to keep our lives from feeling so busy that I can’t take a breath. The thought of having to get everyone up and out the door by a certain time every day gives me cold sweats. I think we’re all happier being able to just take it slow and get to things whenever we can. I also feel that God gave me my kids so I can raise them, not someone else. Kids ordinarily spend a huge chunk of their day at school, making that, not the parents, the primary influence. All that being said I do not judge anyone harshly for sending their kids to school. I think it is a choice that parents need to make and reassess as time goes on.
While I feel homeschool is right for us at this time, I’ve also been looking into this virtual school as well as considering a local Montessori school or a regular public school (for next year).
I was really overwhelmed when I first started looking into homeschool. I wasn’t sure how we would fit it into our chaotic life or how I would know what to teach. Lola has always been pretty advanced and I’ve just let her pick up knowledge as it comes. However I felt she was ready to start some structured learning, so it was time for me to do some research.
I had heard good things about Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, so that’s where I started. Lola really caught on fast and was enjoying it for the first few lessons. Once it started to challenge her she completely shut down and started throwing tantrums. That’s when I decided she may be physically ready to learn to read but she wasn’t emotionally ready. I put the book away for six months or so and started again at the beginning of the “school year.”
At this time we’ve had much greater success. She can handle challenges that arise and is absolutely breezing through most of the book. It has been really rewarding and fun to watch her be able to actually read a story by herself.
I have also been following Easy Peasy Homeschool. It is very brief and fun for this age. It has also sparked interest in a few other subjects that we can research on our own after the lesson is over. While most of the lessons are too advanced for Cas, he is always sitting next to us while we watch the videos or sound out words. I think it will be good for him to get into the routine and learn how to learn. A few times a week we also watch a video more appropriate for his age on something like shapes or colors. We also occasionally seek out videos that teach us about things like geography, weather, or animals.
There are a number of pages on the above website to print off and color or cut and glue. I usually save those for quiet time or if I need to keep them occupied while I’m in the kitchen. I really hate doing crafts or anything involving paint (maybe just anything that requires hands on supervision). While I think it is important for the kids to learn to cut and glue, I’m not sure crafts (that I have to throw away much to their dismay) are a great use of our time.
Once or twice a week we go through Lola’s book from her Wednesday night program at church. There is usually a story and a Bible verse to memorize. I have found that reciting the verses in a funny voice or silly rhythm helps her remember them and have fun with it.
Of course there are always trips across the street to the nature preserve to explore flowers, trees, and wildlife. I also have a handful of educational apps (maybe I use that term liberally) on my iphone and nook. I’m a total cheap-o and refuse to pay for any though, so all the ones I have are free. If you have any must see apps be sure to let me know in the comments below!
We try to do school every weekday morning while the baby is sleeping. This minimizes distractions and ensures that learning doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of the day. If something comes up in the morning where we can’t do it, I will do it with just Lola during the boys’ afternoon naps so it is still quiet.
That’s about it for now! I’m sure I will be adding to our curriculum all the time, especially once the reading book runs out. Here are a few other websites that I’ve glanced at but haven’t had the chance to incorporate yet:
1 + 1 + 1 = 1
Confessions of a Homeschooler
Mama’s Learning Corner
Are you homeschooling? Let me know in the comments what works for you!
This post covers what has been working for me. It contains affiliate links but I have not been otherwise compensated and all opinions are my own.