Over the last several weeks I have spent time during the holidays praying about the academic direction our family is to take for 2009. Our holidays have now concluded and with Term 1 beginning this week I now have to put theory to practice. I have lots of thoughts to share of my own but for now I’ll share some posts which I’m pondering.
Ruth’s Homeschooling a Wide Age Range resonated deeply.
Unit studies cover many subjects around one topic.
This is a great way to learn, if you can do it; in our family we have enjoyed various unit studies over the years.
You can buy unit studies ready-made, you can find them for free on the Internet, or you can make up your own. If you prefer to make up your own unit studies rather than buying them ready-made, you need to be aware that they can take a lot of time to prepare and can involve a lot of work for the parent.
My other concern about unit studies is that if parents are not careful, they can degenerate into merely playing at learning, rather than actually learning anything significant. However, if preparation is done well, this is something that can certainly be avoided.
Kim’s article has so much I nod my head over I have printed it out and highlighted most if it.
The short answer to that last question is that I only manage to do what I do because I have become ruthlessly realistic about how many hours are in a day and what I can accomplish in them. A little goes a long way – a little reading aloud, a little memory work practice, a little art, a little decluttering, a little bit of date night and time to think about something besides school. That is also important. As a good friend remarked, part of this dilemma is due to “school” taking up an disproportionate amount of our thoughts and lives.
Rebecca’s Simplifying the Simple Plan says it all so well.
Subsequently, I further simplified the boys’ subjects down to reading, writing, arithmetic and catechism. It is going much more smoothly since narrowing the subjects to those four. The children know what to expect and the boys do their work independently. They are happy because they can get their work done even if I am ill or if the girls need my attention. They can take their work on the road if we have somewhere to be because they are not dependent upon me to do each and every subject with them. Best of all, they do not have to wait for me to tell them what to do. They know to do the next thing. Despite the simplification, the boys are working each day on important academic skills. I now have more time to work with Mary, teaching her to read and write, time to play playdough with Annie, to sing songs during circle time each day. The house is cleaner and we have more time for things other than lessons.
Elizabeth’s sharing just sums it all simply.
I am reading …
to my under-tens at least an hour a day. I’m very sure that reading aloud to the little ones, requiring reading of the big ones, ensuring that everyone write every day, proficiency in math and lots and lots of lively discussion is all we need academically right now.
I encourage you to check out the full posts. They are all very worth reading. I promise to come back and share more.