Thursday, April 13, 2006

Numbers 4 and 3!

Sorry it took me so long to get back on the blog wagon. We have had quite a few things going on! I will have to catch you all up in another post. Back to the "Ten things we wish we believed about homeschooling when we first started."

4. Reading widely covers a multitude of educational "gaps."


Don't read only one type of book. Fantasy, classic literature, fairy tales, myths, tall tales, historical fiction, science, history, biography, animal/nature stories, real-life people stories (Laura Ingalls, etc.) all have really great value. Your children will learn while they read living books in a way they will not learn by reading only textbooks, etc. Living books make learning come alive. Read all types of books with and to your children.  Discuss them and ask your children questions about what they have learned, and how this book compares to another on the same subject. Engage them and they will learn by sharing with you.


Some books suggest you read and tie it to your history cycle, but this is not always possible to do with great success. There are only so many books on Ancient Egypt a young child can handle! (Unless they are completely fascinated by Egypt of course!) Reading widely and frequently, will enlarge their knowledge base and will help them develop other interests.


It is the funny things that will give them interest; the same first name with a historical person did it for one of my children. She told me that she was going to write a report on Abigail Adams and she read quite a bit about her! Another child expressed interest in knights so we borrowed from the library a book full of historical information and pictures of armor as well as famous medieval artwork. Another child loves animals and is reading a series with owls in it. She checked out, of her own accord, nonfiction works about real owls. By reading widely they are learning and growing on their own. I do like the suggestion of one homeschool author of choosing a biography, a science book, and a reading book from the library each time you go. We are not exactly like that, but we do read plenty of all of these and the children can discuss all sorts of interesting facts that they picked up just from reading.


3. "Academics" are only a small portion of your child's whole life education.


I cannot tell you how sad it makes me when I read that mothers are "not finding the time for play" in their busy school day--and this for young learners! I honestly find it appalling that play is not viewed by parents as just as important for a developing child as academic learning. Will these children look back at their early homeschooled lives with happiness and joy at all the math and grammar they were forced to do for hours and hours? I have read of mothers schooling their children from 9 until 4--and we are talking 1-3 grades! I am not saying that academics are not important for I believe they are. However, how much are you trying to do with your young children?


Balance work, service to others, and play with your academics. Let there be balance in all of life and do not view the "down time" as a negative. We all need to rejuvenate and we all need to recharge. Our children need that time too. Remember that play time *is* education and that your children are learning all the time.


Consider some of the ideas that have come from Charlotte Mason:


"Time outdoors, with little to no intervention from an adult, provided what Mason felt were educational necessities:  use of the child's senses, play, learning from "things," and the opportunity for keen observation of nature."


"To sum up this first key idea, the importance of the child's early "atmosphere of environment," Mason wrote:"


"..my object is to show that the chief function of the child- his business in the world during the first six or seven years of life- is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses; that he has an insatiable appetite for knowledge got in his way; and that...the endeavor of his parents should be to put him in the way of making acquaintance freely with Nature and natural objects; that, in fact, the intellectual education of the young child should lie in the free exercise of perceptive power..and the wisdom of the educator is to follow the lead of Nature in the evolution of the complete human being" (Mason 1886:  96-97)." (Taken from this page.)


It is my opinion that we not neglect the physical and spiritual in pursuit of the mental.

The rest of the series is found in the right sidebar.



mamatc said...

Hello, I really enjoyed reading your blog today. I'll probably come back to check out more of your links and such when I have more time.

I appreciate your thoughts about homeschooling. I agree with the ones I had time to read. I hope you don't mind me putting you on my friends list so I can keep checking on your posts. Also you have some great links others may want to check out.

Thanks for the encouragement and insight!


Traci :)

RedHeadRyann said...

i think that picture looks like your girls.


Kimberly said...

Just wanted to say hello and let you know I really like your blog. I read your profile and saw we both live in the same general area and share many common interests. (our family is also reformed and I love Earl Grey tea, too) Bye for now.

guitarchick said...

Hi it is Cassie Atkinson and I just started my own blog. And I wanted to know how you change your picture on the blog..... can you tell me?? thank you!