I don't know how Abe Lincoln did it.

This question was asked on a message board I subscribe to:

Does anyone else have info. for teaching thekids quality subjects for FREE or very inexpensively and ideally w/out alot of planning ahead?

Since I am a crazy person, this is what I wrote back:

I read to each of my children 20 min. per school day. For the little ones, of course, this means picture books; for the older ones it usually means a chapter out of a longer book. This is a tip from Andrew Pudewa; he says that hearing the English language spoken properly really helps the child write intuitively. For example, the child knows that "cats leap" but "one cat leaps" -- not from a grammar lesson, but from hearing it that way over and over again. There are texts galore for free online, although the Baldwin Project and Gutenberg.org are the two that immediately come to my mind.

Also, I have the children do a little bit of copywork each day. For a kindergartener and first grader, this means tracing (k) and tracing and copying (1). I use nursery rhymes of k and 1. This is a nice nursery rhyme site for singing families: http://www.smart-central.com/ I don't worry about spelling until second grade. This is a time to really get letter formation down pat. For the second grader, it means copying (a nursery rhyme or first line of a favorite poem) from one piece of paper onto another (in a notebook purchased for a dime each in July) until all of the words are spelled properly. That's a good time for phonics review, which takes on new meaning for the speller once phonics becomes second nature for the reader.

For the third grader it means introducing cursive. Just a couple months of lots of tracing, so the child can see how much faster cursive is than printing. Then getting a science book (Janice VanCleave's 101 easy chemistry experiments) at the library and having the child write down what s/he did for the experiment. Consider it a period of three months where the child gets used to writing down 50 words at a time. Lots of verbs! If the child is resistant, then suggest that s/he copy Janice's notes instead. I'm sure your child can sum up the experiment in less than half the words! Though it sounds like putting the cart before the horse, the child is then ready to do Emma Serle's Primary Language Lessons. For the really short lessons in that book, I diagram one sentence and have the child diagram another one. Of course, diagramming is considered archaic, but Mary Daly publishes a really cool book to help you with that. I don't recommend doing copywork during the three-month Science Journal time, but copywork can be picked up again to supplement the Emma Serle activities.

For reading, although I have a system for teaching phonics for the littles, with experience I've come to suspect that if you yourself acquaint yourself with some phonics rules and help your child along with reading Beers' Easy Reader Bible, your first grader will become familiar with both sight words and sounding out words. There is quite a jump from Beers' book to William Bennett's Treasury of Virtues, but this time can be bridged by readers from the library, if you have access to one. Bennett's book is unique in that it is lavishly illustrated, but has stories that appeal to the big-kid second or third grader. I made a list of the stories in the Bennett book that is sorted by length of story. The key to reading in these younger grades is "short length of time at frequent intervals." Once the child is done with Bennett's book, you can have the child read the Andrew Lang stories at Gutenberg.org. I have a list of story length for many of the Lang books.

For math, I think the cost of MathUSee can't be beat.

This doesn't really require too much planning; just make a list of the stories you want the child to read and star the title as it is completed. Then, write down what you want the child to copy. For the child who finds the blank page intimidating, put on the appropriate number of lines for the child to fill in with letters.

Hope this helps,Kelly


majellamom said...

My favorite topics...saving money and homeschooling!

Don't forget resources on the internet for homeschooling. For instance, handwriting worksheets are available free at http://www.handwritingforkids.com/handwrite/

Right now, we are using the dltk-teach website for crafts to learn the alphabet. Our cost is printer ink, and the occasional purchase of something fun like glitter.

Also, I am currently reading a book from the library titled "Homeschool Your Child For Free" it was published in 2000, and a large portion of it is internet links...so many of them are no longer valid (7 years is a LONG time in regards to webpages!) but it does give a new perspective about homeschooling for those who are curriculum junkies!

SingingMamaDee said...

Hi Whimsy,
Since you mentioned Andrew Pudewa, you might be interested in listening to an interview that I did with him earlier this year. Enjoy and great ideas for homeschooling that you mentioned!
Diane Lockman
The Classical Scholar

Whimsy said...

I used to print out my handwriting assignments, but decided it was a lot less time-consuming and printer-ink consuming to just write out the lessons with a marker. My own handwriting has really improved over the years!

I think I remember looking at that book soon after moving to Idaho. I don't recall the links being that helpful even five years ago.

Glitter IS fun! But, I spose glitter is part of the reason why I don't encourage crafts the other eleven months of the year. . .