The Earlier the Better??

What is all the hype about preschool? For centuries little children learned how to play and help around the house until they were at an age that they were ready to learn letters and read. Why in our modern society do we believe that the sooner we begin educating our little ones the better they are?  Forcing early child education could rob the child of many spontaneous learning events. It is my firm belief that little ones should be allowed to learn how they learn best… through play! I think that most preschools are filled with parents who have put their children there simply because they need a babysitter. The parent or parents either need to work or just want to work. Either way, preschools aren’t doing our children any favors.

Children should be allowed to explore nature, take naps, wake up when they are rested, play peacefully in their room, the list could go on and on. Preschoolers are wonderful little creatures and have the capability of learning so much… but should we cram it down their throats?  Teaching preschoolers is a wonderful experience. I have seen many preschoolers who have begun 3 or 4 year old kindergarten with much promise, only to have a very pushy parent make them hate school by the second month.  What does this do to the child in the long term?  Well, the effects could be staggering – the child could begin to hate learning or hate schooling in general. Yes, teaching our children should be the priority of every parent… but don’t rush it. Especially if you are homeschooling… allow the child to show you when they are ready to begin learning letters and numbers.  It is my practice to just keep trying in little bite sized pieces until they develop an appetite for it!

Considering Homeschooling?

Are you dissatisfied with the status quo of your child’s education? Are you thinking of homeschooling next year?

There are a lot of things to consider when making the transition from public education to homeschooling. A little book on “How to homeschool” would be awesome, and there probably are some of them out there, but the best way to learn is to dive into the information yourself. Of course, there will be a time of transition – where things will feel rather awkward… like you are missing something. Don’t worry, once you get into the swing of things you won’t miss anything!

Before you make the plunge, consider all your options. There are tons of great resources and supplies that make homeschooling a breeze. During the past decade, homeschooling has grown by leaps and bounds, and now there are so many great opportunities it can almost be dizzying. Take your time and explore those opportunities. Don’t be afraid to ask for free samples of the curriculum that you are interested in. Companies want you to consider them,and most of them will be glad to give you an opportunity to preview what they have to offer. Don’t forget to consider online education… there are some awesome learning opportunities there!

Once you have narrowed down your choices and know what you plan to use to teach your child, invest in some great teaching tools.  You might need a laptop/desktop computer, lots of pencils, notebooks, dictionaries, and a nice quiet place to study.  You’ll probably want to build a small library a little at a time… since reading is the BEST way to learn.

You’ll also want to check out the legal guidelines for homeschooling in your state. This is an absolute necessity. If you really want to homeschool, you have to school within the law. Most states are extremely supportive of homeschooling… since many of them have begun to see that it is a viable and proven method of schooling.

As you begin to get into a “groove” with your homeschooling there will be other things that your family will feel are necessities. You will also begin to see that homeschooling is the servant and you are the master. You can organize and arrange your day so that homeschooling fits YOUR lifestyle.

Once you see the multitude of blessings involved in homeschooling, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

Plans… or no plans?

Homeschooling is a great adventure! But on this super fun… amazing… and crazy adventure we must have some organization. How do you know what you will study, how your children are doing, and if they are even learning? Records, plans, documention… is the answer.

There are several types of homeschoolers. First, we have the one who just sticks everything the child does into a rubbermaid. True, it is a record of what they have done, but there really isn’t any organization to it. This type of parent really doesn’t plan, they “fly by the seat of their pants” so to speak. Yes, homeschooling is a method of education where the parent can educate the child in the way they think is best. But, the key here is that the parent must abide by the state guidelines for homeschooling. This typically means some form of record keeping and planning. So, rubbermaid organizer… make sure you are planning your plan and keeping track of your child’s progress.

Homeschool lesson plans are very important. The second type of homeschoolers sees this. They plan their plan, and set it into motion. It usually begins with an overall year plan, and then they go with it. Planning isn’t a mainstay throughout the year, but they have their goal and usually stick to it. The records they keep usually are 3 ring binders or other type of portfolio method that hold the child’s favorite work throughout the year.

The third type of homeschooler is extremely organized. This is the type of homescooler that makes the yearly goals and objectives as well as weekly lesson plans. They are also very organized with keeping records of their children’s achievement. From Kindergarten Vocabulary practice to high school Trigonometry courses record keeping is important and necessary to know how your child is achieving. Making your child aware of their progress is a great way to encourage them to keep up the good work!

Holiday Learning?

The Holidays are always a crazy time of year. Crazy to try to teach and crazy for the kids to try to learn.  At our house, we have to take a bit of a different approach to education during the Holiday season.  We still have school, but because of all the appointments, parties, and things to do we do minimal work during the month of December.  It helps to take some of the stress off of the family, and it helps the kids to keep from frustration.  The homeschool curriculum that we use makes it very easy to take a lighter load during these months.  There are many different homeschool curriculums that make it easy for you to adjust your work load… in fact, you could do it with any type of curriculum. Just take a little slower than you typically do. 

Sometimes trying something completely new,  a smaller unit study, or even a writing course changes things up enough to keep the children interested and yet keep things light and fun.

Whatever you do – just remember the holidays are crazy and even a bit stressful for us as well as the children.  Keeping them in mind as we plan during these months will help keep everything flowing smoothly.

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Let Your Voice Be Heard

Learning Latin

I have been convinced for several years now that Classical  Education is a successful method of homeschooling. At our house we enjoy learning the Latin roots and vocabulary skills, verbs, and derivatives. It has been awesome to see how many of our words come from Latin roots.

Since I know nothing about Latin, I use Latin teaching DVD’s from Memoria Press to teach the children. We then practice our Latin through worksheets, and online Latin matching games. Latin may be considered a dead language, but it is also the mother of many languages. I have seen how learning Latin has helped my children with their English skills. I have also seen the foundation of Latin enable my daughter to easily learn Spanish.

Not only do we study Latin, but we have read many of the Greek classic myths and legends.  We have studied how the constellations are connected to these Greek stories, and how the constellations originally were for the purpose of telling God’s story.

Latin has helped not only with our grammar skills, but has helped with our critical thinking skills. Introducing the children to a language and, of course, parts of speech at an early age has contributed to a deeper understanding of how we put together language.

If you haven’t looked into Latin… take a minute and you can download some free printables of simple Latin roots and begin there.  Use

Learning with Preschoolers

 

If you have a preschooler, you know the meaning of the word wiggly. Attention spans only last for a few minutes at this age, and being still – well, that’s just out of the question. But, the preschool child is amazing! They are so full of wodner, curiosity, and questions. This age can be so fun, if we focus on educating them with their needs in mind. The preschooler NEEDS to be active, NEEDS to learn in short segements, and NEEDS to have stimulating or high interest lessons.

In our homeschool, I often have to teach six children at a time. There are times when I cannot focus on my preschooler. For these times, I have made a crate full of “activities” for her to do. We’ve gathered colored pencils, crayons, printable worksheets, and other educational fun things. This keeps her active during the down times between her lessons. In choosing a curriculum choose one that you can keep interesting, one that has colorful resources, and one that meets the needs of your particular child. My daughter loves the computer, so we’ve incorporated that into her school day as well. It’s amazing how a preschooler can do online keyboarding games.  It’s kinda unbelieveable to watch a 3 year old navigate on the computer almost as well as you!

Just remember these little ones are PRE schoolers. They don’t have to be schooled. Don’t pressure them, keep it fun, and keep it interesting by encouraging their natural curiosity. Too many preschoolers have become frustrated at learning becuase of the high pressure that is put on them. At this age, learning and play are closely connected, and almost one. The child learns through play, through exploration, through curiosity, and through fun! In fact, they are constantly learning something. They were made to be silly, to make mistakes, to have lots of fun, and to WIGGLE! Our job as parents/teachers, is to channel that fun and energy in the right direction. So, let’s teach those incredible preschoolers, but teach them according to their needs in order to meet their needs!