I decided when my daughter was very young that I wanted to homeschool her. There were many factors that led me to that decision. My dislike of how the traditional school system works. My desire to keep my daughter away from peer pressure, violence and bullying in schools, etc. And my longing to be able to take my daughter’s learning into my own hands and be her educator. I wanted to be able to give her a unique and individualized education. I wanted to provide a hands on learning experience. I wanted to be able to help guide my daughter on the right path in life, and help her accomplish goals. I wanted to be the main influence in her life while she’s growing up, before she goes off to college and has to start making her own decisions. I didn’t want my daughter spending 8 hours a day sitting in classroom being taught by other people while she’s young. I have a passion for teaching my daughter, and I want her to have a love of learning.
I started homeschooling my daughter early on, and now she is 4-years-old. She is starting to read on her own. She can sound out three letter words and can read simple sentences. She can spell 1 – 3 letter words on her own. She can easily count to 25, and recognizes numbers 1-10 with no issues. She knows the alphabet. She can spell and write her name. She can write all of her upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers. She does school work several times a week with little complaining. She does workbook pages, arts and craft projects, science experiments, and plays educational games. She watches educational shows. She uses educational learning sites and apps. She helps me cook and garden. I get a lot of free printables online for her to do, and she usually enjoys them. And…we read LOTS of books. We read books together every single day. We have bookcases full of books. We go to various libraries and participate in summer reading programs. She tells me all the time that she loves the smell of books. That makes my heart sing. So far, I am raising a kid that enjoys learning.
Since Kayla won’t turn 5 until November, she technically wouldn’t be starting kindergarten in Illinois until the fall of 2016. With that said, I have already started doing a mixture of pre-school and kindergarten school work with her. She can go through most of the preschool work pretty fast, without many issues. The kindergarten work seems to be more on target for her now. With her already doing some kindergarten work, I came to the decision that this fall I should start her on a kindergarten curriculum. Our first official curriculum. This was a scary and daunting decision. There is so much to choose from, so it requires a lot of research on the homeschooling parent’s part.
This fall, I will still be using some of her preschool material to review basic skills, but the bulk of what we will be focusing on is kindergarten material. I read a ton of reviews and articles on curriculum. Christian vs. secular curriculum was a big part of my research. I have decided to stick with secular curriculum, for the most part. If I want to incorporate any religious studies into our day, I will create my own curriculum for that.
This is what I’ve chosen to start with:
All About Reading, Level 1
All About Spelling, Level 1
Singapore Math, Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics and Kindergarten Essential Math
DK Workbooks Geography Pre-K and Kindergarten (We haven’t done much geography yet.)
DK Workbooks Science Kindergarten
Level 1 Reader books for learning about historical figures (presidents, civil rights leaders, inventors, etc.)
I have the summer to start making lesson plans. By mid-summer, I should know what days a week and times she will be going to her activities, so I can plan our schedule. Kayla attends gymnastics and dance classes. My husband does not get involved in lesson plans or signing Kayla up for activities. He leaves that all to me, and trusts my judgement. We’ve been pretty lucky so far. We haven’t run into many problems. I’ve learned that Kayla learns best when you change things up. She likes a mixture of book work, visual displays, crafts, and games to help her learn. She definitely needs reinforcement to help new material to fully sink in. I’ve also learned to step back and take a break from something if she is struggling. Trying to force learning doesn’t work. If she starts getting too frustrated, we may take a break until later that day…or we may take a break for a few days or a week. I try to adapt to her learning style, and do what works for her.
I am hoping that the new curriculum works out for us. Most of the reviews for All About Reading and Singapore Math are positive. Even most of the reviews on All About Spelling appear to be positive. At this point, I am hopeful.
Kayla is a perfectionist, which can make learning challenging at times. She doesn’t like to mess up, or have to think too much. She prefers for stuff to come easily, and to be good at everything. I am constantly telling her that she doesn’t have to be perfect. She just has to do her personal best. She has to try. She also has to practice so she can get better. Everything tends to get easier the more you practice. She is starting to understand that more and more now. She is starting to relax and just do the best she can without getting upset. I know we have a long road ahead with lots of ups and downs. Although, I know it will be difficult at times, I am looking forward to this homeschooling journey we’re taking together.
Did you homeschool your kids when they were young? If so, what curriculum or learning materials did you use?