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.
Thankfully, Saxon provides the exact words to say and the exact questions to ask at each stage of each lesson. I marvel at the simple ways it teaches concepts – like fractions and division. I definitely would have benefited from the Saxon methods of incremental development and constant review had I known about it in my elementary years. In fact, I am learning things as I teach my kids that I would love to have known!
Years ago – in a former child-free existence – my husband and I had a book blog. We tended it faithfully for a time and then kids happened. We continued to read but writing about our reads simply disappeared. I miss it.
In our book blog, I had a place to put my thoughts about books. I had a place to simply document the reading of words.
So, I thought I would remedy this by noting my current reads here on the blog. I assume sometimes the reviews will get long, as they did on the original book blog. But at least I will have a space to document the reading of words.
This entry is part 24 of 27 in the series Homeschool
I was talking with some homeschool mama friends the other day about starting homeschool. This year is the year of “considering homeschool” it seems. I mentioned the difficulty with forming a homeschool routine – with finding the routine that works for us.
For us, it took TWO and a HALF years to find our “Homeschool Normal.” I always considered this was too much. I discouraged myself by thinking I must have over-complicated it. And I assuaged myself with the remembrance that we had tiny people to look after when we started…and I got pregnant in the middle of our first year.
It turns out: almost all the moms said it took them at least a couple of years to settle into their homeschools – to figure out routines and feel comfortable.
I say that to say this: if this is your first year homeschooling and you are floundering, if the dishes in the sink from three days ago are almost as stinky as your 2nd grader’s attitude, if you “forgot” to do math last month, if you looked on your favorite homeschool blog’s Instagram and discovered you aren’t measuring up, you are NOT ALONE!
We are all in some state of frustration, floundering around in the vast homeschool ocean, searching for some sort of anchor, or boat, or life raft…something!