Written by contributor Hillary Boucher of infinite learners
We are a young homeschooling family and have only recently started to explore formal curriculum. In the early years we find that focusing on a healthy and enriching home environment along with the patience to let little ones explore at their own pace is more than optimal.
- my son turned seven and was actively seeking out more stimulation,
- New York State Laws require that we begin turning in our plans and reporting on progress, and
- I started a new job working from home.
The combination of of these changes led us to seek out curriculum tools to help us cover the basics. We started out simple: math and reading.
My husband and I like it because it gives us an overview of an age appropriate skill set, but when used traditionally it has not been a good fit for my son. While it is a thorough curriculum, my son becomes frustrated and resistant to learning when we sit with the lessons and workbooks.
We are currently seeking out creative ways to cover the material. He likes math manipulatives and we have had success with both Cuisenaire Rods and Base 10 blocks. After reading Jamie’s curriculum post I’m interested in checking out Life of Fred – this integrated approach may work better for my son.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
About a year ago I started to be intimidated about teaching my son to read. After all – I had never done it before! That’s why I was so thankful when my friend Renee wrote a two part series about teaching your child to read. Not only did she soothe my nerves, but she suggested some great resources.
I decided to try Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and it’s working well for us. The lessons are short, incremental and achievable. Learning to read phonetically has helped my son to go from guessing words to actually slowing down and reading the words. This has been a big and helpful shift!
We do a lesson three to four evenings a week after dinner and follow-up the lesson with a chapter from whatever novel we’re working through.
Note about reading:
When I was feeling nervous about helping my son learn to read, I received great advice from a fellow homeschooling friend: Relax and focus on feeding his love of reading. Of course! And while we had always read aloud together this was a helpful shift in perspective.
In addition to the above mentioned resources we enjoy collecting various children’s encyclopedias and atlases. These are books we enjoy looking at together, are visually interesting, and open up conversations on various topics including culture, geography, life and plant sciences, etc.
Another highly valued resource is Primitive Pursuits, a local outdoor education program that teaches survival skills, plant identification, animal tracking, fire making and generally speaking – respect and ecological balance.
We have our eye on a few new resources like this local homeschool co-op and this comprehensive curriculum, but most importantly, as we piece together our family’s early childhood and elementary-aged education, we look forward to trying new things and figuring out what works for us.
How do you handle it if your child does not like a curriculum you’ve introduced? Do you stick it out or change gears?