Homeschooling – What Do I Teach?

OK, next homeschooling question…

This is from Angela:
I think one of my biggest fears as my oldest closes in on the preschool age is how to know if I’m teaching the right thing and enough of it. Also, with as many curriculums as there are out there, how do you ever decide which one is right?

Let me address the second part of Angela’s question first.  I continue to believe wholeheartedly that there is no such thing as a perfect curriculum.  However, you do have to find your groove.  That’s what Sonlight has become for us…a groove that fits well.  So, start with those goals I told you about, ask others what they use, get your hands on some of the curriculum, and then close your eyes and JUMP!

Now, here’s my caveat…

It could take 3 years before you feel you’ve hit a groove.  Don’t expect to get it right the first time.  The great thing is homeschool curriculum resales really well!  And if you do hit your groove before the 3 year mark, then kudos to you!  If you still don’t feel settled after 3 years, don’t despair.

OK, so on to WHAT to teach.  Well, I’m going to assume you’ve read my Homeschooling Preschoolers & Toddlers post.  If not, go there NOW!

You’ll see in the early years I only “teach” the 3 R’s.  Beyond that, it’s all about living life and keeping a running dialogue with your children.  Teach them to love learning!

In fact, the main thing I concentrate on in the early years is getting the child reading.  After that, their world opens up!  So, until your child is reading, I’d really just relax, read a ton to them, teach them what you know along the way, but avoid too many formalities.

If you want to be doing something with the younger children, then I highly recommend Rod & Staff’s A-B-C series.  All my children have loved this series!  It teaches many elementary skills in fun ways.

So, back to teaching them to read…
When should that occur?  That’s a tough question because every child is different.  My rule of thumb is to start when I see them take an interest in words.  Give them a solid phonics start, but if they just aren’t retaining it…STOP.

The beauty of homeschooling is that there really is no timetable.  You, as the parent, are in charge.  Don’t ever forget that.  Whenever you begin to fear the scope & sequence charts or the local testing center, tell yourself they are not in charge…you are.

There will come a time when you see your child retaining information better.  Jump in there and start offering them spoonfuls of phonics at a pace they can handle.  Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

For my final bit of encouragement, I just want to say…

You won’t warp them.

I know you think you will.  I sure did.  But, trust me…they’re resilient little people!  There will be gaps in their education, just like there were gaps in your education.  If you’ve instilled a love of learning, those gaps will be filled in their own time.  Nobody knows it all.  Don’t kid yourself into believing you somehow have to teach it all.

You can do this!  Really, you can!

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12 thoughts on “Homeschooling – What Do I Teach?

  1. Great post, Amy! I agree, the Preschool years should be filled with just the basics, and lots and lots of time with family, just being included in all the daily things of life.

  2. These are great tips for not only homeschooling moms but even those that have kids in public school. Some days kids will get it and other days it makes you wonder if they are learning anything at all. You are the best teacher for your children.

    Be sure to stop by my blog today and sign up for my giveaway!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  3. Amy, As someone who’s Homeschooled her kids all the way from the beginning and graduated them, I just want to say I totally agree with everything you said. Lots of activities together, emphasis on reading to them, giving a LOVE for learning, and teaching phonics and reading and the 3R’s. Ruth Beechick’s three little books are wonderful for moms of preschoolers, to just see how doing life presents so many learning opportunities–not curriculum. Moms of preschoolers, may I encourage you? Look at all you’ve *already* taught your child(ren)! You have been “Homeschooling” them since the day they were born! Everything they know–the important stuff, anyway–*you* taught them. You can do it, like Amy said.
    Lots of Love,
    Wendy

  4. Great post! Although I don’t homeschool, I have a 5yo son who has Autism, so I do ALOT of teaching at home!

    I’m catching up from Friday Follow..I’m your newest follower! I’d love for you to come visit me! I post a few kids crafts/learning activities that I make for my son :)

    ~Shelley @ Shelley’s Swag

  5. Great post Amy! It is so important to instill that love of learning into our children…and the gaps will be filled when it is necessary for them to be! Sometimes not until College. No need to stress…really there isn’t! :)

  6. Absolutely: The goal is to love learning, then the gaps don’t matter.

    As for finding your groove, it’s really nice when a curriculum company guarantees you’ll love using their materials. Then you can give it a try for half a year and if at any point you discover it isn’t right for your family, send it back! [smile]

    ~Luke

  7. Amy, I’m just catching up on blogs and wanted to thank you for answering my question. This was encouraging and helpful! Thanks!

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  10. I just would like to thank you I have read a lot of blogs and researched so much because I really believe homeschooling is for my family. My children currently attend a Christain private school but the cost in multiple children in school has become a burden on my family and has caused me to look into other alternatives . Homeschooling has always been in the back of my mind I just thought I wasn’t equipped to do it but after much sought out prayer and comfirmation from your blog I know God has this as His plan for my family I just have to believe He will see us though.So thank you for giving me confedence in my sort comings :) God Bless ,Anastasia