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Wednesday, 17 September 2014 11:25

Homeschooling: Beginning

Earlier this year, I wrote a post, detailing how I came to the decision to homeschool my children. I won't go into all of that again, but I do want to say a little bit about my decision to begin now instead of waiting until Clara is older, and a little about my chosen curriculum.

In regards to starting now, my parenting has gotten lazy, and I know that if in choosing to homeschool, I am choosing to be quite the opposite of a lazy parent. I will need to be able to discipline myself (and my children) to stick to a schedule - even if loosely - and get things done. I could give myself the next two years to be lazy and start discipling myself THEN, but I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out how that will probably go... So, I decided to start the process now to get us all used to the routine. I also have a tendency to get impatient to start things I've decided to do, and get a bit over excited. 

Also, both Brian and I were early readers. By the time we both walked into the doors at kindergarten, we were reading books. I had an alphabet poster on my bedroom wall, and my Dad would routinely go through the alphabet with me, asking me what the letters were and what each letter said. I've heard it said that the most important thing is to read to your children - and I don't disagree - but my Dad had dyslexia, so he didn't read to me often and as soon as possible encouraged me to read to him. I spent a lot of time with my Grandma, and I remember being read to, but I think for me, it had more to do with the active teaching on the part of my Dad. 

Brian was given one of those 1980's learning computers, and used this to teach himself how to read. Neither of us recall being read to as much as we both enjoy reading now, and neither of us recall seeing our parents read for their own enjoyment. Yet, both of us now read for enjoyment as much as we possibly can. 

If Clara and Audrey inherit the desire/willingness/capacity to learn how to read at the age of 4 (like we did), I want to make sure that I've created a learning environment in which reading is encouraged and that both girls have every opportunity to learn as early as possible. Will I push it? No. But if they want to read, I want to know I've made that possible.

I came across this Letter of the Week curriculum on Confessions of a Homeschooler and absolutely loved it! Sometimes I decide to do a ton of research, compare different options - and I'm sure there are a lot of great options out there, but there were a number of things I loved about this curriculum, and so I jumped on it. We started at the beginning of September with 'Letter A', and just this past week finished with 'Letter D'.  After the first two weeks, I learned a few things about my oldest daughter.

One, is that she responds best to one-on-one attention from me. She has a tendancy to become a bit of a 'class clown' among other kids, and for this reason I think homeschooling will be really good for her.  This has posed a challenge recently, because I have been babysitting quite a bit, and now I have learned that although I can make it work with other children here - in the future, I need to plan to homeschool with Clara during times when other children (except her sister, obviously) are not around. 

Another thing I have learned is that Clara is more intrigued by a pencil and workbook than she is by colourful games and activities. She loves to paint and puzzle, certainly, but the 'Letter of the Week' curriculum contains a lot of colourful printables for playing various teaching games - and I highly recommend all of them - but for Clara, I've discovered that picking out the 'workbook' style printables is what works best for us.  In the future, I will look for curriculums and workbooks with pages of pencil activities.  We have also been using Kumon books on the side, and Clara loves these as well. She got through an entire Tracing book for ages 2-4 in less than an hour while sitting at the table one day. When I bought the books, I thought we would do 2-4 pages each day, but she killed this book all at once! I'll be looking for more activities like this, and probably buying more copies of these Kumon books in the future as well. 

I try to encorporate playing with sensory toys like sand and playdough as much as possible, as well as craft projects weekly. I'm not very good at these things, because I tend to feel like they will be a lot more work than they end up being. More practice will help - I will get better! It also gets easier as the girls get older.

So far our schedule has not been as strict as I had planned from the start. We have done 2-3 hours of school each week, on Mondays,Wednesdays and Fridays - usually in the morning, but not always. Since it is her preschool year, I have decided not to worry too much about schedule - this is a baby step, and we ARE doing more than we were before.  Also, I realized this past week that Clara is learning her alphabet. I can thank Leap Frog videos for a lot of this, I'm sure, but she knows (easily) the letters A-D, and can tell me what each of them 'says'. She also (surprisingly, to me) can recognize the lower case letters a-d, which I hadn't actively been teaching her, although they have been part of our curriculum in the graphics and colouring pages.  

So far, I'd have to say homeschooling is a great success!

Read 1523 times Last modified on Sunday, 12 October 2014 13:23

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