Monday, September 30, 2013

homeschooling my preschooler

Let me give a bit of a disclaimer before I venture into talking about homeschooling. I know very little about homeschooling. I am a brand-spankin' newbie. I hesitate to even write about it here because there are so many great homeschooling mothers out there blogging great stuff. I am not attempting to do that. I'm simply putting this out because it's part of my life; it's what's going on; it's something I'm learning. That said, read this for what it's worth. For you seasoned homeschoolers - maybe you can leave me a bit of love. :)

I've known for a long time that I wanted to homeschool. And I've heard a lot about homeschooling from my mom and two sister-in-laws who are all doing it for the first time. I've even heard a few things from friends. Outside of talking about it, thinking about it some, and reading a little online, I have not done much. Actually, I have not read one complete book on the subject. I'm kind of lazy about it. Well, not so much lazy, just always putting other subjects or projects ahead of it. After all, I have some time - she's just three.

But even still, I've been feeling some pressure to do more, figure out more, read more. Maybe it's because most of my friends' children are a year ahead. Maybe it's because she's so smart. Whatever it was, I decided to "start" this year. No big "first day of school" or strict schedule. Just four little objectives I want to try to address. The plan was to add a little "school" each day as part of our Circle Time (a time where we do calendar, memory verse, rhymes, songs or poems, a Bible story, and some times other things). In a week, Circle Time happens maybe two out of the four hoped for days, and school had happened maybe three or four times total this month. Sometimes intentional, sometimes spontaneous.

I'm intent on doing better, but really, I was okay with this pace. I was looking at it as a trial run. And I know she's young and she's still learning all kinds of things without any "school," but....

About  week ago I was talking to a friend who actually bought a curriculum and started it with her four year old. After hearing about it, I was starting to second guess myself.

The next day I was thinking about it and I remembered Ambleside Online. They have free Charlotte Mason-based curriculum. So I looked up their pre-K curriculum. Know what folks? They don't have one. They have a grade 0, which is basically newborn to age six. SIX!!! It had a small booklist, but basically said "Let your child outside!" And when I think about this I nod my head and think, "She loves being outside." and "Oh we don't go out as much as we could." So I have started to make a point of going outside more, and hope to continue, especially before it gets cold. They also had links to information on art and music appreciation, foreign language, sewing and drawing, hammering and painting. And while I won't be doing all those right now, it will give me some ideas for the future. Add those onto Spell to Write and Read, Cursive First, and Cuisenaire rods, and I think I'm set... for a few years at least!


  1. You're right on the money! Just let her play, play, play outside and you'll be building an great foundation.

    1. Thanks Lisa! That means so much!

    2. Just found your blog looking for something else. My daughter is graduating in a couple of weeks. She finished in public school, tons of advanced classes, will be halfway through her BA by the time she graduates high school, and has scholarships to more than pay for the rest. It turned out ok. :)

      Play IS important. So is reading books. Educational toys are great (I became a Discovery Toys distributor when my daughter was small to finance our own toys). As far as curriculum, you will probably discover that what works for someone else may not work for you. We went through and discarded two Math programs (Saxon and Bob Jones) before finding she LOVED Abeka, but at the end of 6th grade level we switched to an independent and in 8th back to Saxon. Other kids might have done poorly in those programs. Stay flexible. Review as often as needed to retain material, but not so much she gets bored. There are SO many games that teach basic skills, especially reading. You do need to establish routine and schedule at some point, but not yet. And when you do, you'll probably find if you commit to it that she will move so fast, you can afford time off. We used to do very little if any school on Friday, if she was finished with everything. We'd take 2 weeks vacation often, or a beach day when she wanted. We took off the month of December, but kept a light schedule all summer so she didn't get bored or forget everything. The flexibility of homeschool is wonderful. :) And by the time we did elementary school, we were doing spelling, creative writing, grammar, literature, history, Bible, science, sports, foreign language, mathematics, Greek/Latin roots, art, music lessons, web design. We stayed on track with that many subjects. (Spelling she was good at, we used Spelling Power and it took only about 5-15 minutes a day; Greek/Latin were done with games, sometimes creative writing or art would be related to history or literature and combined into one lesson.) We typically finished a grade-level every 8 months. I didn't have to push her, and we had plenty of time to spare. So ... keep her engaged, but don't stress about it. Follow her interests so she enjoys learning. Just don't let any major holes develop - standardized testing from time to time helped us be aware of that (I missed "charts and maps" at first). I pray it all goes well for you, and I'm sure it will. :) All the best!

    3. Thank you for all the tips! And thanks for stopping by! :)