David and I decided before we had children that we were going to home school. It was not because of religious reasons specifically, it played a small role in our decision. My experience in school was horrific. I was in a relatively small town that my mom and I did not fit in. I didn’t have teachers that cared about my academic growth. I had major stress in my life as a young child and all through my schooling. I didn’t get bad grades until junior high and then went down hill. Between the social dynamics that caused me much anxiety and my home life I gave up.
Why home school?
Everyone has to make their own choice about homeschooling. Personally I feel there are many people who should not be homeschooling. But I won’t go into that. We have done a lot of research and found a lot of different ways to help me to teach them and for them to learn. I by no means have it down. They are preschool age so this is my time to go with the flow of their learning but also focus on helping Daniel gain the skills he needs to do well with academics, actually Ariel and Joshua as well. I am using this for social as well. Daniel is learning social ques with Ariel and Joshua.
A good article:
David has been teaching home school kids for almost four years. He is a chemist but teaches middle school age in different sciences. He has also taught at college level in different science arenas as well. He has a passion to get people interested in science and math. Especially kids because when they begin to see how awesome science is they get excited about learning the different aspects of science. How it plays a huge role in their life and they never realized it. It’s all about helping people become critical thinkers.
We are very visual.
I have to think of creative ways to make our lessons come alive. I try to incorporate many different aspects to help us stay interested. I come up with themes each month. I use several different websites to give me ideas and pick and choose what to do.
I will pick the theme (this helps me to stay organized because I have a very hard time with that). I then order books from the library on the theme, I get DVD’s from Netflix or the library, or our personal collection about the theme. I find activities, such as games and manipulatives. Like creating stories ourselves, using puppets or our plastic people/animals about the theme.
I make word walls with the main vocabulary we are learning. Practice writing sheets with the letters of those words. CD’s with songs about the themes, if we do not have the cd’s there is always Youtube or http://www.totlol.com/. We always have our trusty “let’s make up our own song about this”. I find crafts to go along with the theme.
It doesn’t always work.
It is ok if we miss a few days. It is ok if we don’t do it all. It is ok if they are not in the mood. I have to tell myself that other wise I get really stressed out and feel like I have not accomplished anything. They need to have fun and enjoy themselves. So do I. If it is not fun while we learn then it is pointless and everyone is stressed. So on the days that it doesn’t go as planned, which is quite often, I really just go with the flow.
Some days are better than others.
I use many different links to put together our curriculum. I have listed several below. This is not exhaustive but it is a good place to start. I don’t use all of them all the time – I like having many varieties to choose from. I add Bible teachings to their lessons also but right now the most important thing for them is to know that God loves them and we love them for who they are and encourage them to be themselves. Learning and having fun is part of who they are not forcing them to learn.
That is my opinion for our family.
Everyone has to find their own way and create the learning environment best for them. A lot of these things are just fun ways to have kids get the skills they need. It doesn’t have to be about “homeschooling”. These links can be used for family nights, weekend fun, getting dad or other family members involved, whatever. It doesn’t have to be structured and rigid it doesn’t have to be like a classroom. These are great links for sensory issues also. I do a theme to help me stay focused.
My advice is to find what works for you.
I encourage you to just keep doing it and doing it. I have to change things around a lot and go with the flow of our family dynamics. Having three very different children doesn’t allow for the same way everyday. It is not always easy but it is worth it.
Here are several links I use:
Online Stories/Learn to read
This one has some really good articles about homeschooling and other sites.