This week I started homeschooling Duke. He is 5 and would be in kindergarten if his crazy mother hadn't decided to teach him at home. And so far so good!
I am using the The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home to figure out my basic curriculum and we are also reading many of the books from Ambleside Online.
I am going to start using the first grade Math Mammoth and will let you know what I think. It is such an affordable math program and looks great from the samples and reviews I have seen.
One thing I love about homeschooling a little one (besides the obvious of getting to hang out and learning new things with him) is going to the library and checking out books to supplement our schooling. For example, this week we are studying elephants and archaeology, so we visted the library and checked out a pile of fiction and non-fiction books about both subjects. And in a few weeks we are going to the zoo to check out the real elephants. Life is good.
I am still getting "the look" from people who find out I am homeschooling. And did I mention my sister-in-law is a principal at a really high-rated public elementary school in the area? A school he will attend if this crazy mom decides she is not cut out to homeschool? I leave all options open. ;-)
This weekend we were visiting her beachhouse and we spoke about what I was going to teach this first year. And yes, she stressed me out at first! She told me that many of the homeschooled kids come in knowing their math and science, but she feels that their parents don't spend enough time actually teaching their children how to write. She told me that "her" kindergarten students are expected at the end of the year to be able to sit down and write an entire short story!
I gasped when I heard this. When I was in kindergarten as a free-range 70's kid I learned how to stand in line, wait for my turn at the toilet, nap on demand, not bite the boys, and listen to story-time without jumping around like a puppy. We started learning how to write letters, but school was more about teaching us how to be away from Mom all day, sit still, and do crafts. How times have changed.
One of my good friends who has two little girls down the street was an elementary teacher for years before staying at home with her children. I asked her about writing stories in kindergarten. She told me that they were expected to be able to write stories, but other than a few, most children could not do it on their own until 1st or 2nd grade. She also felt that young children were pushed too hard - too early in our local public schools. And she also reminded me that many of her students had been in "school" since they were tiny babies.
I found this definition:
kin·der·gar·ten (kndr-gärtn, -dn)
n. Abbr. K
A program or class for four-year-old to six-year-old children that serves as an introduction to school.
I think it needs to be updated because four to six-year old children are not being introduced to school, they are doing school... When did kindergarten go from being a fun day with your friends to work?
I am constantly amazed how we are forcing our little kids to grow up so fast. I found another great quote about Nothing:
Children find everything in nothing; men find nothing in everything. ~Giacomo Leopardi, Zibaldone Scelto .Are we fast-tracking our children to find nothing in everything? And by "we", I mean all parents these days; whether we homeschool, private school, or public school our kids. Just stick to your guns, it doesn't have to be this way!
Oh, I have to post one more quote I found today:
If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers. ~Edgar W. Howe.
Didn't I tell you I am leaving all of my options open? ;-)