Thursday, March 7, 2013


Husband and I homeschool our boys, ages 6, 4, and 8 months. 

We used Abeka K and 1st grade workbooks (except for phonics- I've done my own thing there) with Mr. 6, and we're doing the same with Mr. 4. Mr. 6 will start second grade this summer. I don't care for some aspects of Abeka in general, (racial/gender stereotypes out the wazoo, outdated scientific info, et c.) but we'll probably continue to use them for now. 

The main reason for this is that, since we only have the workbooks, Husband and I teach concepts as we choose and use the workbooks as a guide for what the kids should be able to easily do. We explain and teach concepts ourselves, and then the kids do the exercises from the workbooks. I like how things are going so far- for instance, we are able to teach concepts of Newtonian physics with qualifiers, and as "this is the short version/approximation; you'll get the rest when it comes up/you want to learn it" and thus avoid having to contradict ourselves later. Also, we teach some concepts "out of order" (before they're required to know them in order to complete their work) because I want them to have a sense of logical progression in what they're learning; I really can't think of a concept that is "too big for young minds," as long as it is broken down into a simple, basic explanation. I've also avoided teaching "sight words" with the exception of "rule exceptions" such as "said" or "eight," instead progressing phonetically through reading. I think the boys, particularly Mr. 4, have taken a bit more time learning to read because of this, but once they know it they've got it. Mr. 6 is reading the Hobbit unabridged, and loving it. I started them both at 3 with letters and sounds, started really working on reading/phonics at 4, and they are both on track to have begun to read quite fluently before 5. I've wondered if it's a mistake to give in to their pleading and start them so early, but they seem to love it, so I think we're ok for now.

I'm curious to see how all this will affect their learning/learning styles later. At this time, we don't intend to homeschool all the way through. Husband and I were both homeschooled, and we both had primarily positive experiences with it. However, we both had gaps to fill in college/adulthood, though not in any critical areas. I would like to avoid gaps with my kids as much as possible, but I'm very fallible, and it may happen. For now, I'm 1.Researching what kids in their grade should know according to US Ed standards, and 2.Trying to teach them how to learn and how to think. We're not even grading them at this point- because, for now, who cares? I want them to know and to think and to do, not to worry about grading, measuring,or "good enough." 
Really, being able to self-teach and work out logical progressions and evaluations for themselves is the one main educational goal of our homeschooling- because even if there are gaps, those skills will allow the boys to fill them.
So- for now, there are no grades, but there are workbooks completed, books read, field trips taken, innumerable "why"questions explored together, and lots of long conversations about gravity, cookies, vacuums, motion, mass, rhythm, bedtime, teeth, puppies, piano, soccer, Jesus, Sunday school, analogies, Ezekiel, get the picture. 
It's a little scary, really- until school happens, these little guys are utterly dependent on us for a decent education. I hope and pray we can give them what they need, and foster a love of learning, searching, experimenting, and exploring in the process.

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