Showing posts with label classical education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label classical education. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

here we go {homeschool / kindergarten}

Here is the thing about homsechool: I'll probably never know what I am doing and/or feel completely confident.

The first day I had to jettison the Bible curriculum I picked out. I read through the first lesson and Bennett said, "Huh?" And I said, "Huh?" Then I decided since he chose to participate in AWANA this year at our church that was enough Bible curriculum for his age and put the book in the back of the school cupboard.

We're keeping it simple this year, because Bennett is just 6, but I do want him to learn a few things and begin to enjoy learning.

To get an idea of what curriculum I wanted to teach from I read through the kindergarten chapter in The Well Trained Mind. The thing about The Well Trained Mind is that it appears daunting at 800 pages, but you don't have to read it all in one go.

I was planning on teaching Bennett how to read when he turned 7, which is late, I know, but I've done a lot of research and later tends to be better when it comes to teaching reading. However, when Bennett was finished with his second year of preschool he knew all of his phonics sounds and was beginning to blend words so I decided to keep the momentum going. We did a reading lesson every week or so during the summer, and he played the computer game Teach Your Monster to Read quite a bit, but we didn't start one reading lesson per day until the second week of September.

I tried Phonics Pathways and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but I struggled with the concepts. We switched over to The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and the program just clicked for me. Bennett is doing really well with it too. The lessons don't take very long and require very little aside from index cards and the book. Having an alphabet board with letters does help. I put off buying one at first, but since I added it in last week the concepts are setting in a bit more. I am adding in sight word memorization as well because the book covers so few. I also read aloud from a long chapter book on school days.

Bennett's handwriting book is from Zaner-Bloser. I chose it because it's a continuous stroke program, which helps kids switch over to cursive writing. He is beyond the kindergarten book, which I did not realize when I bought it, so we are almost done with the first book. I think we will focus on copy work for the rest of the year and then move up to the first or second grade book the following year. Teaching a left handed child how to write has been challenging, but we're managing!

I also included a math program called Right Start, which the book does not recommend starting at the kindergarten level, but Bennett was very ready to jump into a math program. It was really hard to choose a math curriculum, and this one has him starting on really easy concepts he already knows, but the overall program seems like it will be a great way to approach math. I feel like it might even help me begin to grasp math, which has always been a difficult subject for me. I bought this curriculum from Rainbow Resource which has great prices. It has a LOT of manipulatives, so brace yourself for that!

Some days we do mazes, dot to dot or drawing to help with his fine motor skills, and I have a preschool science experiment book I want to start using once a week, but our core work right now is handwriting, reading and math.

Most days we complete Bennett's schoolwork in 1-2 hours (we can often get it done in about an hour on the days Ainsleigh is at preschool).

It's been a fairly easy transition. I know it's only going to get harder, but right now we both love it.

When I was going back and forth on whether or not to homeschool I wasn't sure it would be the right fit for us, but seeing where Bennett is at right now in his life, and what his needs are, I am certain it is right this year.

I'll let you know how we fare as the year progresses!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

schooling {a few thoughts on the well-trained mind}

I think every parent struggles with where to send their child to school. Public school might seem like an easy option because it's what most people do, but just because it's the most common doesn't mean parents don't worry about the curriculum, the teachers, or the school district. Choosing a school for your child is hard. I've spent the last few years trying to figure out what to do for my kids, and I still can't fully commit to what we've planned!

This weekend I set up a binder and began collecting all of my notes on curriculum and schooling styles. I like the book The Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer, but it's a little intense. Like if you watch more than 30 minutes of Mister Rogers a day they will find you and tell you to turn off that TV, pick up a book, and read to your child!

I like the overall structure they suggest, but I think we'll have to make a few adjustments so it fits our needs and style. It is nice to have a plan with suggested curriculum all laid out. Especially since it's a plan for classical education and I love the idea of teaching in that style! It's a lesson plan rich in language and heavy on reading, which works really well for me!

I've been reading a lot about Charlotte Mason and her style of education as well. I'm trying to figure out how to meld her plans with the ideas from A Well-Trained Mind to make a cohesive education plan.

I think one of the things I'm in danger of is doing too much. Over-planning, over-teaching, over-reaching. And that's a surefire way to burn both Bennett and I out. I want to be aware of that now so I can try to avoid it when we actually begin schooling at home.

I've gone back and forth about teaching the kids at home, but when Jon and I were talking about it about a month ago I admitted that a big part of my reluctance to do so was selfish and me based. I'm sure I've written about this before. I like having time to myself while Bennett is at preschool. And maybe I could go back to work if he was in school full time. I don' t know if I want to work, but the opportunity would be there if both kids went to school full time. But then Jon mentioned that giving up time now might mean having more time in the future. Pouring into the kids now may mean we won't have a 24-year-old living in our basement 20 years from now!

On a more serious note - education is really important to me. I keep seeking out resources, and reading books about different types and styles of education, and trying to learn what works best for children, and I think all of that effort is pointing me towards the truth: I want to try schooling at home for at least a year and see how we fare. I still have two years to waffle about this since we're going to keep Bennett in private school until he finishes the kindergarten program. If he'll go, that is. He's still putting his foot down about starting the 4's program in the fall!

If you school at home throw your thoughts and ideas my way! What curriculum do you use? Do you have to put your kids through state testing? Is the organizational side of it overwhelming? What do you love about it? What do you dislike about it? How much chocolate do you need to survive hard schooling days??


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