I hope your weekend was a great one! Do you realize that this is the last full week of June? The summer has roller skates on! Yikes!
Okay, we were discussing why we home school. I hope you have given it some thought and put down on paper not only why you are on this journey, but what you want to achieve.
Then let’s look at how to get there, how to get at your goals.
There is an incredible amount of knowledge out there on homeschooling, the how-tos, the what you must include to satisfy requirements, and from there you’ve got a plethora of opinions and books and CDs and DVDs that point you in different directions.
My advice: Find what works for you and keep it as simple as possible.
That is only my advice, and I am part of that plethora of options to which I just referred. 🙂 Please allow me to expand a little here.
Focus on the basics: Reading, Math, Reading, Math, and Reading. I am not saying to *only* do these two subjects, but these two things are the basics and will always be the basics. The three R’s are really just the two R’s at first: Reading and ‘Rithmetic. If necessary, toss everything else aside for a season, and focus on the basics until you know that your student is mastering these two areas.
Sometimes I will declare a school week to be a math and reading only week. That means I allow my kids to drop all the other stuff and read to their hearts’ content as well as do double dip of math. They love it!
My focus is for them to function easily in these two realms. If my 2nd grader can read well and can do math well, I am happy. If my 10th grader excels in math and reads in his or her spare time, I am resting comfortably. Writing well is important, too, but good writing arises from being well read.
Now please don’t think we don’t do anything else but math and reading, but I hope you can see that a strong foundation is essential to higher learning. If your child is struggling in either of these areas, and you are sure that you are not dealing with a readiness issue, then I implore you to stop, look and listen.
Stop what your student is doing in everything else for a time.
Look and identify exactly what the problem is in nature. Is it an attitude thing? If so, there is some important work that needs to be done immediately. If it is a readiness issue, if the math book for example says it is time to do fractions but your child can not grasp the concept with repeated and varied instruction, then set it aside for a time.
Trust your instincts here. You know your child better than anyone else does. Be honest with yourself about the issue.
Listen to your child. What is he or she really saying? If he is saying he doesn’t like to read, why doesn’t he like to read? Would he benefit from choosing his own books from the library? Is his free time filled up with too much electronic noise? Or does he struggle with understanding phonics? Find out the “whys” by listening and then formulate a plan to rememdy the situation.
Your plan of action may not work overnight especially if you are dealing with an attitude situation or a readiness situation, but be encouraged that you will have a strong foundation if you deal with issues now. (Attitude issues don’t go away by themselves.)
Reading and math skills are essential to a good showing on the SAT and ACT exams.
Parents frequently ask me for the secret to good test scores.
The secret to solid test scores is a solid foundation in reading and math.
Don’t worry so much about writing and composition. Those can be developed, but they stem from a strong reading ability.
Know what you want out of homeschooling, begin with the basics, hone the basics, and add in anything else that your student can handle without becoming distracted from the basics. Always expect Mastery. That is my exclusive recipe for outstanding results in the homeschool.
Perhaps I will do a little thing on what to consider for the elementary, middle, and high school years in more detail. I’ll ponder that and perhaps put up a separate page. Also coming soon is a Mastery page and a Self-Teaching page. Because this blog is a baby blog, I have not had a chance to deck the halls with all of the stuff I want to have available for you.
Have a great Monday! Thank you for being here!