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Reading, Writing, God.
These were things that I focused on when I was in school. I loved to read. I loved to write. I loved going to church.
My mom wasn’t a big reader, but my dad spent time reading aloud with me when I first learned how to read. He enjoyed reading for himself when he could find time (he worked a lot).
My dad wrote some, but not as much as I did. I was always writing short stories, plays, and poetry. My gift to family members for birthdays or special holidays were poems. My friends and I would act out the plays that I wrote. Fine arts had always been in my blood.
My love for the Lord had a great impact on our decision to homeschool. It is my job to educate my children, not someone else’s. Thankfully, I am in a position to be able to teach my children in the comfort and flexibility of our home.
I understand not everyone has this luxury, and please do not think that I think poorly of you, because I don’t. You are doing a great job by working hard to make sure you can provide for your children. Also, not everyone had the patience to teach their children. That’s OK too. You are doing great by loving them and reinforcing what they learn.
Foundation of Learning
The above is what I use as my foundation for learning. Reading, writing, and God, in my opinion, sets up a strong foundation for learning.
If you can read, you can navigate just about anywhere in the English speaking world.
If you can write (properly), you can communicate effectively.
If you have God in your life, your life can be joy-filled with the promise of eternity.
*** I realize that there are more “subjects” to be taught, and I do teach them to my children, again, remember I said that these are our foundations.
Changes to Our Curriculum
This year, my 6-year-old is doing Cycle 2 of Classical Conversations. We decided to stick with this because he enjoyed it so much last year. He does a great job at memorizing and I fully believe that he is learning from it.
We also worked in readings from Ambleside, which is a Charlotte Mason approach to learning. So far, we have read two and a half books in the six weeks we have been in session and watched the movies to go along with each book.
Both of my kids, ages 6 and 3, have learned to sit and listen while I read aloud and my 6-year-old can usually retell each chapter to me, or at least answer questions when I ask him about different things that happened in the chapter.
Now, with most homeschooling programs, you usually have to supply your own reading and math curriculum, so…
I dropped the “Hooked on Phonics” program we were doing, because it just was not working for us. In its’ place, I have picked up “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”.
I borrowed this book from our library to try out and see if it would work for us. In the 4 short lessons that we did in one week, my 6-year-old has finally grasped the concept of phonics and that letters make sounds. (YAY!) Of course, now I have our own copy on the way from Amazon!
What I love about this book, is that it is literally a script to recite to your child. It tells you what to say and what to have the child say back to you, or the exercise to do with your child. (Thanks, Gina, for the recommendation!) There is also a writing exercise with each lesson.
Our math was consisting of simple workbook exercises, but I decided to switch it up since both of my kids know their numbers. I purchased “Interactive Notebooks: Math Grade 1” from Carson Dellosa Education. This has pages you can copy and paste into a spiral notebook to encourage note taking and also serve as reference later on.
Along with the Math, I found a great resource that included Math, Reading, Spelling, Writing, Language Arts, and Test Taking practice. This bundle from the Harcourt Family has been a great investment for our family.
I also invested in some counting cubes and base 10 visual aids:
These came in handy when we learned how to tell time and count money!
What about my 3-year-old?
As I said earlier, my 3-year-old enjoys my read alouds. He also enjoys some flashcards that their great aunt gave him for his birthday. These flashcards have numbers, colors, shapes, and animals on them. I am starting to have him trace simple lines for prewriting exercises.
He also enjoys just playing and making discoveries for himself. If he asks a question, I answer it. He’s learning and I see that he’s learning.
He and his older brother also get to enjoy harvest time now. My husband’s family has farm ground and they enjoy riding in the combine and spending time with daddy. Hands-on science at its’ finest.
We’ve been working on chores and helping out around the house. It’s easier for me to assign chores now that I don’t feel well all the time (yes, 28 weeks pregnant and still having morning sickness sucks). They help with laundry, pick up their toys wherever they find them, pick up their room, make their beds, fold towels and wash cloths, and hang up their shirts. Easy stuff, honestly with more to come!
I am very happy that I have found what works for us. We do 4-day school weeks to allow for flexibility for field trips or play dates with our local home school group. It also allows for mommy to have a day off if morning sickness sets in.
What’s working for you this year? I’d love to hear in the comments!