A Unique Perspective
I think I’m in a somewhat unusual situation this year. I am graduating my oldest student this spring. This will mark the end of the homeschool journey that started with him over 13 years ago. But as we’ve gone through all the college application process and getting ready for the next stage of his life, I have a 5 year old waiting to begin the homeschool journey. (Officially anyway. Children are learning since birth.) So as I’m finishing the race with one student, I’m also preparing to start all over again with my youngest. I get the opportunity to look back over what I have done with David over the last 13 years and think about what I would like to do differently this time.
This is the first week of the Virtual Curriculum Fair and the focus is Language Arts. So I am going to start this series with thinking about language arts.
In David’s 9th grade year, we tried to do some literature study at home. And while he did read the books, overall it was a flop. Literature classes became a priority when we began to search for outside classes. Amazingly, that was just what he needed. Does he love literature? No. But the discussion environment, the concrete deadlines, and a different teacher made a huge difference. This year he completed an English composition class at our local community college and earned an A.
He was able to do well because we had built a strong foundation in English in the elementary and middle school years. We used a variety of curriculum including Rod & Staff and Analytical Grammar. I really liked IEW for writing instruction.
David was ready to read at age 4 and I was a brand new homeschool mom itching to get started. So we began reading instruction. Andrew is also ready to read. But we haven’t started anything formal. We’re sticking with reading aloud and just talking about letter sounds and rhyming words. We look at words and work on sounding them out. I know now that an early start in reading is not going to result in long-lasting higher reading achievement.
I do plan on beginning kindergarten this fall and will use some of the same books I used for David, like Alpha Phonics and Handwriting without Tears, but I plan on being a lot more relaxed and flexible than I was 13 years ago. Now that I’ve made it through this marathon once, I know that it’s ok if our pace is different. There are times and seasons when much progress is made, and others where growth is not as evident. I don’t want to rush through these early years, but savor them.
Visit these blogs to read about Language Arts in their homeschools.
3 Reasons You Don’t Have To Be Afraid To Grade That Essay – And It’s Free @ LJSkool