I had promised an update on homeschooling so here it is.
Homeschooling is really about finding what works for you which is really a bunch of guessing. No one can tell you what curriculum is the best or how to even do it. Basically, you just start–plain and simple. You sit down one day and begin.
I had mentioned I was doing the Riggs method of learning to read and I have to say IT IS THE BEST! My daughter can now sound out most words with minimal help and can read books by herself and it’s only been 2 1/2 months! I broke down and bought the Riggs Institute’s “Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking” Teacher’s Edition Level 1 and it’s the best purchase I’ve made. It uses dictation which teaches the kids how to think as well as Socratic principles (which I love). With this foundation, my kids will be able to easily take it to the next level.
I also love the Core Knowledge sequence developed by E.D. Hirsch. We are currently on “What Your First Grader Needs to Know” after completing “What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know” in just two months. Our school in Fort Collins was Core Knowledge and I loved it. It has great stories and provides me with a guideline of what other kids are learning so I don’t forget anything.
We also have a daily reading lesson which I think complements Riggs perfectly. It’s “The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading” by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington. It’s from “The Well-Trained Mind”, a classical education guide by Susan Wise Bauer and her mother, Jessie Wise. It’s easy to follow and my daughter loves the stories which are carefully crafted to use lesson words.
We spend at least an hour every day reading, be it history, geography, science, math, art, music, or plain old good stories and my kids love this time the best! I can cater to what they like and they get excited about it. We visit the library once a week where we supplement our teachings with cool books.
My methods are hodge-podge to say it best. I love Classical Education as I believe the ancients have a lot to teach us and will continue to use their methods. I pick texts that I like and that I think the kids will learn from the most and I just do it.
My daughter told me yesterday that my school is not as fun as her old school. Let me tell you why: we don’t fill time with meaningless projects. We don’t make a lot of drawings. We don’t do as many art works. There is no time to sit and stare at the other kids and wait around for everyone to finish. Once school begins, we’re on go mode and there is little time wasted. It’s 3 or 4 hours straight of work. I can honestly tell you my daughter knows more than most kindergartners right now just from the 2 months I’ve been working with her. Kids this age are sponges and will soak up whatever fed them.
Will I continue to homeschool? That is still up in the air. As long as I’m doing what’s in my kids’ best interest and everyone is happy, I’m content. I hope this helps.