As homeschool moms, it is easy to burn ourselves out. It is easy for us to burn our children out. If you start teaching Kindergarten with a stack of textbooks, a rigid schedule, and feeling the pressure to offer a rigorous education, you will probably do just that. But homeschooling, especially in the early years, doesn’t have to be hard, rigorous or time-intensive.
The main goals for the first few years of school should be:
- Learn to read.
- Learn basic math.
- Learn about the world around us while developing a love for learning.
Some children are ready to read at 4 years old; others are not ready until several years later. While they all should work on reading or pre-reading skills for a short time each day, lessons don’t have to be long. Private tutoring is so much more efficient than classroom learning! And all those pages in the workbooks? Think about whether your child really needs to do them. Maybe you could go through them orally. Or maybe many of them are busy work designed to keep a classroom of children occupied.
My favorite mode of education for kindergarten through second graders includes reading lots and lots of good books together and hands-on exploration—art, science experiments, and nature study. I loved using Five in a Row with my little ones. The lessons were short and varied, and there was little writing required. The ties made between the well-written stories and history, geography, science, and art concepts helped my children not only retain the knowledge but to love learning. Even now that they are grown, they speak fondly of many of those beloved FIAR books! And as a mom, I have precious memories of times spent cuddled on the couch reading and of the little projects we did as we learned.
Learning about steam power with Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel!
You could accomplish the same goals even without a full curriculum. After short lessons in reading and math, use the rest of your school time to explore your child’s interests. Check out stacks of books from the library on anything that interests you and your child. Get outside, take walks, collect leaves and flowers and bugs. (And turn off the screens!)
If your children are still young, please cherish these times. They will pass quickly. Teach your children that learning is fun! There is plenty of time later for hard-core academics and your children will learn so much more anyway with fun, hands-on activities and great books than they will from a workbook!
These other bloggers from The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew are sharing their favorite homeschool tips this week! I hope you can visit their blogs too!
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Latonya @ Joy in the Ordinary
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Meg @ Adventures with Jude
Megan @ My Full Heart
Melanie (Wren) @ finchnwren
Melissa @ Mom's Plans