How Do You Choose?
I received this note from someone through the blog, but the email address left with it didn’t work when I wrote back. If this is you, please try and contact me again. I would be happy to work with you.
“Please could you get in touch, would like some advice on home education , are you very strict with your programme or do you go with the children. My daughter was in main stream school but it seems to have been failing her also there was no religious input , the reason we decided to home school . I am still not sure on what programme to follow, as there seems to be so many ways of educating children, how do you know which is right for your child ?”
My answer was a bunch of questions. What age? Grade? Strengths? Weaknesses? What does she enjoy? Despise? The decision of how to teach your child is a complicated one. I made my first decisions when my oldest was an infant. I’m that type of girl. I looked through curriculum and from what I saw I knew I wanted to use real books to teach — literature based, not workbooks and textbooks. That was based on what I liked and my opinions of what I was looking at in terms of curriculum.
So then I looked at literature based curriculums. There were things I liked. Things I didn’t like. Books I wanted to use. Books I wouldn’t want to use. And the cost. We didn’t have a thousand dollars saved up for a year’s worth of curriculum. So I started planning and preparing my own homeschool materials. My daughter was still under a year old. 🙂 I made phonics games and readers. I wrote out a preschool curriculum — letter of the week type thing to start when she was two.
Problem was my daughter was quite the linguist at one. By 18 months she knew her alphabet, their sounds, her colors, shapes, etc. I hadn’t sat down and taught her any of it. She just pointed and asked and learned. My two-year-old curriculum was null and void. When she was two, she started begging me to teach her to read. Every day. Nagging. I finally started to try but she couldn’t get the phonics. I did a little research and tried sight words. She got it. We never did need those phonics games. She was reading second grade by the time she was four.
The point — choose what you are comfortable with, what you can afford, and what your child wants and needs. It all needs to go together. There’s no point to picking something rigid and sticking to it when you have the wonderful opportunity to teach directly to your child’s needs and desires.
This can be simply taking a break from the math textbook and doing a division lapbook to help her get the concept and technique. Both of the division lapbooks I made were for this same daughter. Our children excel in some areas and struggle in others. One size never fits all.
Again, if you wrote me that note, please try again to contact me, and I would be happy to work with you as you sort through the decision. And it’s not a one time final decision. You will be making the decision what and how to teach almost daily 🙂
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