Thursday, January 7, 2010

Would You Do Anything Different?

Have you ever read a book like The Well Trained Mind and been completely overwhelmed? I know I was the first time I read it back before Rocket Boy was in kindergarten. I have learned a lot sense then and last summer I read the new third edition of this popular home school reference book. I found it very inspiring and I have put many things in place in our school as a result of this recent re-reading. Now, I also like the gentle approach of Charlotte Mason and I can be a tad bit Montessori like in the early years, especially when it comes to practical skills and science. So, with all that in mind - knowing what I know now, would I do anything differently? You bet!

First, I would not have put my son in a Classical Christian School. We ended up taking him out after second grade after we figured out that the school was not a good match. My son lost his love of learning during his school experience and it has only been in the last six months or so that I have seen it return - keep in mind we are now in the fifth year of our  homeschool - that's a long time to recover such a crucial part of his personality.

Second, I would have taken at least the first month of our first homeschool year just spending time with him, reading, doing a little math and some field trips. I was way to ambitious in what I thought a third grader should do and how he should have adjusted to the different educational environment.

So, if I could start back at the beginning and keep him home for kindergarten and first grade, what would that have looked like? Here's a snapshot:

History - start chronologically, as with classical education. History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations  book from Evan Moore would do nicely. Read aloud from The Story of the World, vol. 1 by Susan Wise Bauer. Choose a picture book or two that relate to the time period covered in each chapter and check those out from the library to look through and read.

Literature - read some chapter books out loud so that he can follow an extended story - one chapter a day would do nicely. Make sure that he could get any books from the library that he was interested in - after all, reading isn't restricted to school time! I would have also read from:

 Bible - read through the Bible, beginning with Genesis. Read the passages that were part of the most recent sermon from church as well as the most recent Sunday School passages. Talk about Jesus as you are going.

Science - lots of walks in the neighborhood and parks to look at the wonderful things God made.

Phonics - Sing, Spell, Read and Write (we did use this before ds went to school, it was great)

Math - so many options! I would have considered  Miquon, Singapore and Horizons (which is where we ended up for 3rd - 6th grade - a great choice).

Additionally, I would plan some fun field trips, establish a daily routine (including a few daytime chores), and have him help me make lunch a couple of days a week.

That's it - nice and simple will get anyone on their way in their home school career!

If you had to do it all over again - what would you do? The same things you are doing or something different? Tell me about it!

1 comment:

cjtoscano said...

I am going to pass this along to my friend that just started homeschooling last week. The beginning can be so overwhelming. Nice post.