Lately, I've been reading posts in social media homeschooling groups in which parents lament that their ideal of homeschool isn't what they thought it would be. Of course it's not.
This post may contain referral links, as Near Your Altar is an Amazon affiliate. I have personally used the products and recommend them. All purchases made through these links help provide for my family, at no cost to you. Thank you.
One very reason to homeschool is to spearhead our children's learning in such a way that they can think for themselves, and to protect their fragile minds from agenda-based education. Yet, when you're first starting out, the temptation is there to replicate school in the home--but there is one huge problem with that: Homeschool is not school-at-home.
The parents on the social media groups are concerned because their kindergartner isn't reading yet, or their second grader hates math word problems and refuses to do them.
Moms and dads, please listen: give yourself grace. Give your child grace. Homeschool is not a sprint but a marathon that doesn't end after high school or even college. One great goal of homeschool is to instill a life-long love of learning into children that will grow when they're adults. But to get to that point, we need to instill more joy and eliminate frustration within homeschool, today.
Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget postulated that "how children and youth gradually become able to think logically and scientifically," and this information is invaluable for us homeschoolers to remember about our children. Piaget taught that children in the "preoperational stage" of ages two to seven have the ability to represent objects, but they don't have the ability to do so in organized or logical ways. They learn through dramatic and imaginative play.
Kindergarten Take-away: Teach the alphabet, numbers 0-9, shapes, and colors. Play games (including simple board games) with the child. Read to the child every single day. No screen time. Concentrate on learning -- not grades.
First Grade Take-away: Move to teaching sight words (no more than 5 a week). Teach numbers 10-20. Continue playing the same games as before but introduce more difficult ones. Read to the child every single day, using a finger to guide the reading, word-by-word. Limited screen time (only educational shows). Concentrate on learning -- not grades.
Children are sponges, and they will absorb information (good and bad). Given the right environment, without being overwhelmed with information, they will develop the cognitive ability to process higher levels of thinking and learning.
Second Grade Take-away: Continue teaching sight words (10 a week). Introduce one-digit addition, followed by one-digit subtraction, using both visuals (apples minus apples) and numbers. Read to the child, encouraging the child to read along with you. Help the child foster independent reading with you. If you must grade, do so using letter grades.
Third Grade Take-away: Many states require homeschoolers to start standardized testing and/or saving of school work as a portfolio, in the third grade. Use a third grade spelling curriculum (my daughter and I like this one) but if your child doesn't do well with the book's lessons at first, use the spelling lists and do your own thing (click here for ideas!). Use a math curriculum that builds on itself logically (division follows multiplication; subtraction of two digits follow addition of two digits). Laura and I found our math book at a curriculum sale, but it's available here, as well. We really like it. It is not a workbook -- it's a hard cover book and Laura writes problems out in spiral-bound notebooks and shows her work. By the third grade, it's highly important to link thinking with writing, and writing out math problems (as opposed to only doing worksheets). Introduce simple science, too. What I do is go on my state's department of public instruction's website, and download the science standards for third grade. This gives me some idea of what to teach, but the way I teach it is up to me. I utilize science center field trips, appropriate YouTube videos, worksheets, and library books to teach science. I also introduce history in a very simple way.
As a child grows in knowledge and the ability to access that knowledge to draw conclusions, they move into what Piaget called the "concrete operational" stage (ages 7-11). This is when math word problems should be introduced, as the child has both the knowledge of math systems (numbers and operations), the reading skills, and the wisdom to discern what the word problem is asking, to answer the question.
Parents, if you teach learning to your child, on the child's developmental level (never mind what "grade" the child should be in if he was in public school), the child will learn. If you teach joyfully, your child will love to learn. Please have grace with yourself, Breathe! On the next beautiful day, take your child to the park and play with her. Relax, and plan to succeed in homeschooling your precious children.
Love in Christ,
(C) 2019 Terrie Bentley McKee All Rights Reserved
This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services, including those available on Amazon.com, as Near Your Altar is a participating member in the Amazon Affiliate Program in addition to other retail affiliates. These affiliate links help provide for this website as well as a small income to my family and I. Please consider clicking on the links to purchase or to browse the affiliate's website, which will open in a new window. We thank you for your support. ~ Terrie
Read Disclosure Policy here