8/9/08

In response to a question by a mom with 2 kids under 3.

I noticed in one of your posts that you were wondering how that homeschool thing works. Since your kids are so young, you probably don't have to do much more, academically speaking, than nursery rhymes and reading.

My theory is that homeschooling is very much like (or even is) entrepreneurship: it requires self discipline on the part of the teacher. Without that self-discipline (and the obedience of the children) any discussion of curriculum choice is irrelevant. Any curriculum you choose will probably work if you do it consistently. Even the best curriculum will not save your school if you leave it on the shelf all year.

I'll give you an example from my own little school. Since I have a 3 yo, I'll give an example of what I did with her last year, and then this year.

1st, I decided that I wanted to do tutoring 176 days of the year. (Originally I'd planned on 192, but found that I was consistently not meeting that goal, so I made a more realistic goal. The min for our state is less than 150, so I am well within the legal requirement.)

2nd, I decided what subjects I want to cover. When she was 2, I wanted her to: l

learn nursery rhymes (right now my 1 year old is only talking a very little, but she can vocalize the tunes to several nursery rhymes from listening to Frances' lessons).(T for tutoring)

have stories read to her (L for literature)

participate on a limited basis in family prayer. We do a rosary as a family, but the family prayer I'm talking about right here is actually a family catechism lesson that is taught as its own subject during the day. (P for prayer). I've actually designed my own religious curriculum. . .

So, I print off a calendar with 13 weeks on it from http://www.pdfcalendar.com/ and put down T/L/P on 48 days for the first three quarters, and then 32 days for the last quarter. (48+48+48+32 = 176 schooldays per year).

Then, as I do an activity with the kids (Tutoring, Literature or Prayer) I cross it off on the calendar. I make a big deal with Frances that I it is time for school with her so she can feel like a big kid.

Now that she is three and a half, last year's goals for her have remained largely the same, only instead of all nursery rhymes all the time, we can build on last year and substitute phonics work or counting for singing songs.

When she is five, she will continue with phonics work ("Reading") tracing letters and numbers ("Writing") and dot to dots ("Arithmatic") and will be expected to participate more in Prayer ("Religion").

These categories will be built upon as she acquires more skills until she is 7, and then I will include spelling as an additional subject to the first four.
Then, at 8 1/2 - 9 1/2 she will be doing third grade work, but essentially these categories will remain unchanged.
Age 9 1/2 will start 4th grade, and only then will additional subjects be introduced.

But the routine, the habit, will be a solid part of family life, and that I think is the difference between a successful and unsuccessful homeschool experience.

There is a lot that your boys aren't ready for, right now, even though their brains are growing like crazy!

But, establishing a routine for yourself without placing too many expectations on your students, will really pay off in the future.

I hope this unsolicited advice makes sense, and I hope that at least some of it will be of some use for you!

God Bless You!

Whimsy

1 comment:

il postino said...

Oh, for the days when my three-year-old didn't come into the kitchen and shout, "Hurry up, Dad! I want to do class!"

Admittedly, she'll be four in a couple of weeks. And I'm not complaining that she's eager to learn... I just wish she were a little less bossy about it!