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I didn’t originally plan to homeschool my kids. My plan was to keep them home with me until they entered kindergarten, and once my youngest started, I would return back to work.
But it didn’t work out that way.
While enjoying life as a stay-at-home-mom with a preschooler and infant, I started to hear talk about homeschooling, and it seemed like everywhere I went I met someone who was homeschooling. Intrigued, I began to research it, talking to moms I met who homeschooled and reading articles online.
I was a wanna-be elementary teacher anyway (I actually taught adults before leaving my corporate job), so I began to get excited about the possibility of teaching my own children. I knew I wanted the best homeschool curriculum for elementary school.
Having gone to traditional schools all of my life, I began to plan our homeschool curriculum in the same way – sitting at little desks, using traditional textbooks, giving daily quizzes, and assigning homework.
That is until I read the book, The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook*. It changed the way I approached homeschool.
The authors suggest that homeschooling parents follow a parent model in teaching by,
- responding warmly to their child;
- providing a consistent model of good values…;
- teaching only tasks for which the child is ready; and
- encouraging children to explore their own interests and to work out their own imaginations…”
The best homeschool curriculum will follow this model and should be tailored to the child, providing him much more time to follow his interests than school workbooks.
Using this method means taking time to learn how your child develops and learns. In fact, spend more time studying and following what motivates her instead of always putting school books in front of her.
This doesn’t mean you throw out formal learning. Assignments and formal work can be introduced in moderation when the child is developmentally ready, usually not before eight to ten or twelve years of age (you can read why in the book, Better Late Than Early*).
So how does a day in homeschool look using this method?
After breakfast, mom and the children do their chores to straighten up their rooms and the areas for learning. Having a clean, organized teaching environment is essential for learning.
Next, school begins. Each child gets a learning task for which he or she is developmentally ready – phonics, reading, writing, spelling, math. The kids participate in daily practice or drills of the skills they learned, but only enough to allow them to progress appropriately until they’ve mastered a concept.
Next, fun projects or field trips are used to combine and reinforce the basic skills they’ve learned, then much of the day is centered around the children’s interests with work (chores, home business, gardening, etc.) and service (volunteering, helping a neighbor, visiting elderly, etc.) to build characters, create helpful citizens, and develop future entrepreneurs.
This form of curriculum offers real-world education while providing your child freedom; time to grow, play, and explore; and build their creativity.
If this piques your interest, the book* gives in-depth details on how to formulate your own curriculum, tailored around your children.
I’m using this method now with my kids (after returning to it when attempts with other curricula failed), and I have to say it’s the best homeschool curriculum for elementary school.