Browsing Tag

reading

Growing Up

Simple PAL Learning

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.

One of the programs, which is also unpopular, is Primary Arts of Language from the Institute for Excellence in Writing. We have had immense success from it with two students and I LOVE it.

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.

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Growing Up

Rough Schedules: Shakespeare

This entry is part 9 of 24 in the series Homeschool

I am in the planning stage of teaching G Shakespeare, following the Ambleside Online schedule of one selected Shakespeare play per term. And there is almost NO guidance of how to go about this on the Ambleside website. Forum-diving has proven none too helpful.

I must admit my excitement about teaching Shakespeare – the real-deal Bard stuff – is a bit over the top. As such, I have spent a bunch of time looking into just how to go about doing it. And I have reflected on what has worked well for us in our early explorations of Shakespeare.

Similar to a multitude of other things in our homeschool journey, I am taking the dive-right-in approach. We shall sink or swim based on the sturdiness of the small raft I fashioned in the form of these rough schedules I have crafted.

I am sharing them here. Not because I have gotten it all figured out and am ready to tell the world of my brilliance. Rather, humbly, I offer these rough schedules as a way to cast a small amount of light down the tunnel.

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Growing Up

Simply Independent Reading

This entry is part 15 of 24 in the series Homeschool

Lately I have noticed that we stand at a precipice. Once we step beyond it, we will be officially out of early-elementary years and into…e-le-ment-ary years? What does one call the later years of elementary? I always hear the term early-elementary and I can fully understand it. But not often is there a specific designation for the 4th and 5th grade years. Nevertheless, here we stand on the threshold between the two.

And, can I just be real for a moment? It excites me! Thrills me in all my optimistic homeschool teacher places! I know, I might be alone in that regard. But it is just SO neat to see my student ready for this.

On the other hand, she is ready for more independent learning. And I am NOT ready for that. We have been in this from the beginning, she and I. We have struggled through the harder parts of learning discipline (the tantrums, the tears, the triumphs gained at the expense of comfort). And now she is ready to take some of the reins herself and go for it.

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Growing Up

Simply Reading Aloud

Benefits of reading aloud with kids from an early age
This entry is part 19 of 24 in the series Homeschool

Our regular readers will likely remember we are quite the book-loving family around here.  Back before we had kids, my husband and I actually started a book blog.  We had a fun time talking about the words of others using words of our own.  Then we became parents and reading for ourselves is a bit more sporadic.  I still crave the joy of a book so well-written it demands I stay awake turning pages (old-fashioned or digital) until the wee hours of the morning.  Those joys are just fewer and more distant between them than they used to be.

In the meantime, we have discovered the joy of short, sweetly penned books that resonate with us because of contagious rhyming structures or delightful interactions.  We have become picture book loving people.  And thankfully, through these simple books we have somehow turned our little ones into lovers of books, too.

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Growing Up

Awesome Alphabet Books

Awesome Alphabet Books - must have Picture books for little learners

We have some young alphabet loving learners in our house!  It started early for my oldest girl and I think she passed it down to her sister and her brother.  G was able to sing the alphabet (with some little stumbles) at 18 months.  And just a couple months later, she had the whole thing.  Then she started working on learning the letter sounds.  By the time she was 4 she had just started reading (through a combination of phonics and sight words) without me “teaching her to read.”

To a lesser extent, W (5 years-old) is interested in the alphabet.  She has known all the letters for a long time and is proficient at writing them, too.  But she is less interested in finding out what sounds they make.  Teaching her to read has been an extended process which requires much patience.

And on her heels is AG (2 years-old).  In love with all things letters and books, he is well on his way to becoming a reader.  His most requested picture books are alphabet related.  And he spends much of his time identifying letters.  And he loves to match the “big” letters to the little letters.

I share this as an awed observer because kids (in general) amaze me.  They are seriously little sponges that make learning look completely natural and fun!  The way learning should look!  I did very little to help my kids fall in love with the alphabet.

But as I sit back and wonder at my kids and their learning to read without me, I try to evaluate.  I think, “What made this possible?”  And I come up with two specific things over and over:  Continue Reading

Nest Building

Simply Beginning Homeschool with Peace

homeschooling with peace - a discussion of the book Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie
This entry is part 13 of 24 in the series Homeschool

I recently went to a homeschool event – a sort of training.  It was my FIRST experience with anything homeschool.

I have known a number of homeschooling families throughout my life.  I have gone through the phases of thinking it is the weirdest thing ever (my junior high self), to thinking it seems like a pretty good idea.  My thoughts on homeschool have run the gamut and have settled on this:

{Deep breath}

We are going to do it.  And I am excited. Then nervous…and excited…and nervous.

I have shared these thoughts here before.  Aren’t they deep?

Anyway, back to the homeschool event.  I saw it ALL there.  And I talked to all kinds of moms preparing to teach their children at home this year.  There was a tiger-mom.  There were the overwhelmed moms.  I heard a powerful testimony from a mom to a boy likely “on the spectrum.”  I heard from mother’s of 6, 8, 10(!) kids who homeschool.

Prompted by questions, these women would begin to share the practicalities of their homeschool days.  To a woman, each had a book they recommended for this homeschooling journey.  I began to make a list.   Continue Reading