Monday, March 17, 2008

How We Came to Homeschooling the Way We Do: Part 1

One recurring theme I've seen in those considering homeschooling is the question or concern over choosing the right curriculum to use. Unfortunately, not I nor anyone else, can answer that question. Oh, we can make suggestions based on our experiences but we cannot answer that question for you because the answer is different for each and every homeschool student out there. My short answer to that question is to read a bunch of homeschooling reviews to get a feel for what you might be interested in, check out curricula at a homeschooling convention, and then lay out the finalists before you and say, "Eeny, meeny, miney mo, you're it." Then try that one. If you like it, keep it. If you mostly like it, tweak it. If you hate it, toss it and make a new selection and start the process over again. It might sound ridiculous being written out like that but that is not much different than the way I've come to my decisions for our homeschool.

The beginning of our homeschool adventure began before my eldest was of school age. With her, we did much of what experts suggested parents do with their children; we read to her, pointed things out to her while naming or describing them, counted literally everything, and played learning games we made up. Just before she was two, I was on bedrest with my second. I couldn't leave the bed so we filled our days with learning to use the computer mouse and learning preschool stuff. I had a large pad of paper on which I'd draw shapes, letters, numbers, faces and other basic illustrations. If you were a fly on the wall, you would have heard, "Where's the circle?" or "Do you see the letter B?" or "Is this person happy or sad?" When she was three and four, our idea of entertaining her on a 5 hour car drive was to bring along a magna doodle so we could draw three dots here and two dots there and have her count the dots to find out how many there were altogether or we'd write the word "cat" or "dog" or "ham" so she could sound them out. At this point, we weren't even thinking about homeschooling; it wasn't even in the back of our minds. It was just something to do that she enjoyed doing. In homeschool terms, you might say we were teaching preschool using an unschooling, child-directed, or delight-directed method and no curricula.

Part 2 tomorrow: Our First Curricula

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