This entry is part 25 of 27 in the series Homeschool
Whew. I just spent the last hour putting together our Math for this year. We have 2 students going through two of the early years Saxon – 1 and 2. This is the 4th year I will have taught Saxon Math for the early years. In previous years, I have discovered that the biggest hurdle in teaching Saxon Math is not instruction. It is preparation.
Don’t let that scare you. I have a bunch of very specific tips for making the prep and teaching of Saxon Math in the early years here for you. Get ready to teach without spending hours of prep. Are you ready?
Our kids are growing up SO FAST! As we finished up 3rd grade with my oldest this year, I reminisced about the beginning of the year. Our first day of school was filled with tears over a simple math problem. There were tears for a couple of weeks if we didn’t begin the week with Pagoo. So many tears.
I took in all the information those tears taught me, made adjustments, prayed, had delicate conversations with this 8 year old wonder before my eyes. And together, we learned so much in 3rd grade.
At the end of the year, we stacked up all the books we had read together discussing the merits of each one. We had traveled to the farthest reaches of Asia with Marco Polo, plunged to the depths of tiny tide pools tossed about with Pagoo, and suffered through Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Long Winter. I looked at my girl, sitting before me and marveled at how far she had come in one year.
I wouldn’t have the joy of witnessing this without the bonds we have forged through our homeschooling journey. The seeds sown, the struggles strained; the fruit is beginning to ripen.
I am peeking out from my piles of painstaking planning to say, “Hey, CC Cycle 3 planning parent!” How’s it going? Are you overwhelmed yet with all the “extras” you want to add to your favorite curriculum this year?
Or are you still in that beautiful planning stage where every detail is settled and each puzzle piece placed into the picture-perfect year? All you have to do now is carry it out to the letter.
How’s that perfect puzzle now?
Oh, sorry. Did I mess up your idea of those perfect plans?
Good. Because this is real life and it is going to get messy. That puzzle you crafted throughout the summer of 2020 – it is going to get tossed around a few times.
And guess what… it’s okay. Life will hand you things this year no plan could account for. It happens every year.
Memorization. Analog clocks. Poetry. Penmanship. Times Tables. Phonics. The Bible.
These are obsolete. Or so we have been told. The studies are in and they say these things are not beneficial to children. They don’t increase test scores. They are actually burdensome to students – filling their heads with useless facts and knowledge. Thus, they must be excised from education.
Good thing we decided to homeschool our kids. Now I get to do all the old-fashioned, unworthy-of-my-time activities I want to. I can ignore the studies and the tests. I can fill my little learner’s heads with goodness, truth, and beauty.
One of the many time-worn practices now considered passe by public school teachers is cursive. Cursive is no longer necessary because of computers. What we need to teach our kids is typing – the better the word-speed, the smarter the kid, right?
Over the past four years of homeschooling my kids, I have grown to understand just how difficult the job of those one-room schoolhouse teachers was. Though we have settled into our homeschool routines, there are many interruptions, many adjustments, many opportunities for growth. There are days when I choose to take the long view of our children’s education, rather than checking all the boxes.
I take a deep breath (or a fresh cup of coffee) and remind myself we have a LOT of days in which to educate and train our little ones. I also remind myself that the older two, for better or worse, are test cases. Hopefully, I have much more figured out once the younger two are walking through the stages we are going through today with the older. I think: “We can make mistakes. We can take breaks. We will have another chance to do these things.”
The concept of the one-room schoolhouse must, as a necessity, be a reality in our home. This year we are homeschooling a 4th grader and a 2nd/3rd-grader, introducing a pre-K/K mash-up student. while trying to keep a busy and quick learning 3-year-old occupied. It’s a lot. The idea of separating these kids and their learning into completely different boxes is just not feasible.
I am convinced some of the objections parents and teachers have with unpopular programs is one thing: TIME! The time it takes to prepare, to teach, to review – to check all the boxes, can be overwhelming. When the fact that other things have to be done in the day (like other learning, chores, eating, sleeping, etc.) is added in, the overwhelm increases. We cannot spend hours of our time (nor our children’s time) in one subject. It just doesn’t work.
In the past 4 years of homeschooling, I have come to understand some of the choices I have made for curricula are unpopular. We have chosen a math curriculum considered anathema in some homeschooling circles. No matter. We are not swayed by popular opinion. We are committed to use what works for us.
Admittedly, the time involved in preparing to teach Primary Arts of Language is immense. Before they even begin to teach it, parent-teachers start to question “Is all this work worth it?” Thus, programs such as Primary Arts of Language (PAL) get the label: “too much” and are abandoned for “easier” curricula.