Homeschooling Changes

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!

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7 thoughts on “Homeschooling Changes

  1. I’m not at the stage where we’re homeschooling yet (my boy is only 1) but I’m starting to look into it for the future. Reading your blog post is encouraging and definitely something for me to keep in mind. I am a product of public schooling as well and am used to just cranking out work, reading and regurgitating, and didn’t do as much fun, hands-on learning. *Doing* sounds like a much better way for a 7 year old! I love the kitchen/math idea (and she’ll learn some cooking at the same time, haha!)

    I also think the Latin idea is a good one. I took 3 years in high school and it made such a difference in my understanding of English. I know it would have been more beneficial to learn the basics earlier, too! That’s something I’d love to introduce at an early age to my son because knowing roots and how to break down words will help with his English vocabulary.

    I just found your blog and look forward to hearing more about how things go with this! Good luck!

  2. I love reading about your homeschooling plans! Its great that you are able to objectively look at what areas you can improve upon and make an effort to enrich your child’s education. Reagan is lucky to have such a dedicated teacher!

  3. One of the reasons I love Cornerstone Classicial so much is that they use the Trivium method. Mrs. Stewart is such an amazing lady, and for her to have to knowlege and God-given love of teaching, absolutely makes me thrilled that we are exposing Girly Girl to this method….I admit, Mojo and I have stuggled with our complete understanding of Trivium, but we trust in God and that we have a principal and teachers that have the ability to answer questions that we have…..Good luck in the upcoming year….in Wyoming! 😉

  4. Your posts inspire me to want to homeschool. I think your learning by “doing” method is an excellent way to go, and something no public school is really able to do. How many kids can grow an entire garden from seeds up for science (instead of a seed in a styrofoam cup sitting on top of the radiator by the room’s window?) Or learn fractions with measuring cups and baking cookies?

    Good luck with your new school goals!

  5. sweet vicki, I am doing some stuff with Eli, especially since he cannot go back to school now… and I agree with what you are seeing… I always see that Eli “gets” things when he can use his hands to “visualize” things and can play with what he is “learning.” It is all about hands on fun for him. And he gets it and learns…so that is helpful, but is a lot of work for me. You are doing great!!!!!! wow, latin! Will help with the sat’s!

  6. Learning by doing is a great methodology. I think the education system doesn’t do enough to show how so much of what is taught will apply in daily life.

    I wish I had taken Latin. It makes figuring out definitions of a lot of words you don’t know a whole lot easier. 🙂

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