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.Â I continue to believe wholeheartedly that there is no such thing as a perfect curriculum.Â However, you do have to find your groove.Â That’s what Sonlight has become for us…a groove that fits well.Â 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.Â Don’t expect to get it right the first time.Â The great thing is homeschool curriculum resales really well!Â And if you do hit your groove before the 3 year mark, then kudos to you!Â If you still don’t feel settled after 3 years, don’t despair.
OK, so on to WHAT to teach.Â Well, I’m going to assume you’ve read my Homeschooling Preschoolers & Toddlers post.Â If not, go there NOW!
You’ll see in the early years I only “teach” the 3 R’s.Â Beyond that, it’s all about living life and keeping a running dialogue with your children.Â Teach them to love learning!
In fact, the main thing I concentrate on in the early years is getting the child reading.Â After that, their world opens up!Â 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.Â All my children have loved this series!Â It teaches many elementary skills in fun ways.
So, back to teaching them to read…
When should that occur?Â That’s a tough question because every child is different.Â My rule of thumb is to start when I see them take an interest in words.Â 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.Â You, as the parent, are in charge.Â Don’t ever forget that.Â 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.Â Jump in there and start offering them spoonfuls of phonics at a pace they can handle.Â Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
For my final bit of encouragement, I just want to say…
I know you think you will.Â I sure did.Â But, trust me…they’re resilient little people!Â There will be gaps in their education, just like there were gaps in your education.Â If you’ve instilled a love of learning, those gaps will be filled in their own time.Â Nobody knows it all.Â Don’t kid yourself into believing you somehow have to teach it all.
You can do this!Â Really, you can!