We’re a homeschooling family with a seven year old daughter who is doing a mix of first, second and third grade work. I love the idea of a Classical Christian Education, but I haven’t been good at adhering to that philosophy. I am a product of public education and that method of teaching is the only method I know. So going against that grain and realizing we’re going to be ok is sometimes tough.
The best thing to do, no matter what style or method of homeschooling you choose is to teach the way your child learns (a good book for this is In Their Own Way by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D.). I work well getting things done quickly and moving on. My thought is that if I get it done I can move on to things I’d rather be doing. That’s not the philosophy nor the attitude I should be bringing to the table everyday. Is it a wonder why Reagan isn’t enjoying school as much as she could?
Reagan likes to play and experience things. She’s a visual learner as well. I’m realizing that the worksheet and “get it done” method just isn’t giving her the love of learning that I should be fostering in her right now. I’ve also been reading more of Teaching The Trivium by the Bluedorns. I’m being reminded that education for someone as young as Reagan (and I have to keep reminding myself that she is only seven) should be fun while still meaningful. Is it necessary for her to do twelve addition problems, twelve subtraction problems and other sundry math problems each day? Is it necessary for her to be learning what the difference is between igneous and sedimentary rocks when she’s just going to forget that and have to relearn it in a couple of years?
NO! I’ve come to the conclusion that our homeschooling needs to be more about experiencing while learning. I think for this coming year we’re going to focus on memorizing facts (consistent with the Grammar Stage of the trivium) but doing it while experiencing the subject she’s memorizing. So, for math, I think I’m going tohave Reagan in the kitchen more often, measuring, adding, dividing, multiplying and doing math. I’m realizing that whatever she doesn’t learn in textbook form right now she’ll just pick up quickly when she’s older because her brain will be ready for it in textbook form then (this is a Bluedorn belief and I think they’re right).
Reagan loved science the first year we incorporated it into schooling, and that is because the very first day we did an experiment with water and food coloring to learn about primary and secondary colors. This has been replaced by computer work and relegating experiments to Fridays when I feel like doing them. This coming year I think I’m just going to pick up a book on science experiments for youngsters and work through that. We can then extrapolate on any idea that is brought up and learn what needs to be learned that way.
I’m also planning on introducing Latin this coming year. I’ve found a curriculum that gently introduces Latin while teaching the basics of English grammar, the seven parts of speech. Does she need to learn about more in depth grammar at 7-8 years old? I doubt it. She’ll get practice in it while writing and doing copywork in different subjects and she won’t even know she’s actually learning.
Writing these things is helping me to actually believe more firmly what I’ve been trying to tell myself. It’s ok to break away from the public school way of doing things! If you’re a homeschooler did you have trouble convincing yourself of that? It’s taken me four years…I pray I’ve learned.
N.B. The above is copied from the Homeschool page (linked to right up there above the header). If you’d like to learn more about the curriculum we’ve used before click over. I’ll be writing a couple more homeschooling posts soon: 1. The curriculum I plan on using this coming year, 2. Attention problems/solutions with homeschooling and 3. What to do if you are considering homeschooling. With the second one I’ll be asking for your help!