Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Five Things I Learned from my First Term of Homeschooling
1. I learned that my little children (age 5 and 3) are much better at memorization than I realized! We learned a couple of Bible passages and several hymns. One important thing I realized is that they really need to be able to grasp the basic meaning of what they are memorizing. I taught them the first verse of "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken" at the beginning of the term (the Ambleside Online selection for that month), and it has not really stuck with them. By contrast, "There is a Happy Land" with its simplicity, short verses, and upbeat melody was much more enjoyable (and therefore more memorable) for them.
2. I learned that taking the time to develop even the simplest habits in my children makes my days much easier. My eldest child now automatically gets dressed before breakfast, has independent bathroom habits, and doesn't feel right about sitting down to teatime if he hasn't picked up his toys. (Though we're still working on speed and occasionally attitude in that last habit...)
3. I learned that it is worthwhile to at least consider what Charlotte Mason has to say, even in areas where she challenges my strongly held preconceived ideas. This happened in teaching SA to read this term. He has made so much progress, and it has been because I engaged his interest with interesting stories to read (and taught him the sight words he needed to learn to read them) rather than continuing with more and more pure phonics. We still do phonics, but it serves the purpose of learning to read more interesting stories.
4. I learned that a daily morning ritual of tea and poetry is calming and grounding for everyone. No matter how wild our morning has been, it will all be okay at teatime. To my surprise, this has become one of the most important parts of our day. Even if the boys learned nothing at all from the rich language of the poetry we read, Poetry Teatime would still be worth doing for us.
5. I learned how important plenty of outdoor play is for my children right now, during their young years. I started the term very eager to get on with reading and math (After all, I've been planning to homeschool for years now!). Slowly, as I read Charlotte Mason and blogs like 1000 Hours Outside, my priorities shifted. I am in less of a hurry to push the academics now (though we continue with our short reading and math lessons), and am making more of an effort to get outside every day, and for as much time as works for us.
I'm so thankful I began to blog before this first term began. I have recorded so many joyful memories of nature walks and reading lessons, of thoughts and sayings. It has been a happy beginning of homeschooling for us.