The Honest Homeschooler–An Honest Question

Hello my friends! Here’s a question I got from a homeschooling friend and I would LOVE to get your ideas on this! ALSO, if you have any questions for future posts, please leave one in the comments or email me (heatherdaygilbert@gmail.com). Thanks!

8 thoughts on “The Honest Homeschooler–An Honest Question

  1. My homeschooling days are long behind me now, (Yay! :^) but one thing I remember from the early days was reading "chapter books" as my boys referred to them. It didn't get the laundry or the dishes done, but it gave me a chance to share my love for the written word with them, which I think I may have needed as much or more than they did. My situation was different in that I had 4 children, and I will tell you up front that teaching a 1st grader and having 3 pre-schoolers doesn't allow much (if any) time for getting the basics done and little to no time for leisure reading. It was a release valve for me though.We would do our book work in the morning, then have lunch, and then we would all snuggle in and read a chapter or two until the 3 preschoolers fell asleep (my eldest stopped napping when he was about 3 years old). We read the entire Little House on the Prairie series, Charlotte's Webb, The Trumpet of the Swan, Stuart Little, and many other children's classics. I always believed that once you teach a child to read you've opened up worlds to them through the written word, but I began to wonder, "Why wait until they learn to read them by themselves?" By reading "chapter books" to them, it gave them something to engaged their minds as they thought about what we'd already read and looked forward to the next day's installment (which I think is important in this day of instant gratification). It gave them new ideas for their play. I overheard pioneer themes in their playtimes… or sometimes they were horse trainers, or reenacting historical events. Most of all, it gave this busy mom a chance to relax and disengage from the busy-ness of the day and demonstrate my love for a good story.

  2. GREAT response, Ruth. You know, I've done read-alouds all along, but I'd never looked at it from the perspective that it's a break for ME, as well. We're doing Sonlight this year, so we have lots of read-alouds. Problem is, I'm not reading fast enough! We've been stuck in the same book for month and a half. I think we'll have a "book-day" and just plow through to the end! Thanks for your help!

  3. Heather,It really is a good – and a TOUGH – question, and I saw your comment here that you suggested the audio-books. This is a huge help to us, even now with Sam in 5th grade. Audiobooks, books on CD. The kids love to "read along" even before they're ready to read. If cost is an issue – and it is for us – then check your local libraries. Ours carries many audiobooks for all ages. And now Amazon offers Audible.com and there are several different price options. You can download a Kindle reader for your computer so the child can "read along" or if you have a Kindle or another e-reader, even better. Outside is great, but it's tough for the reasons you mentioned, as well as weather as we come into winter. But there are some things you can do for educational purposes indoors in a mudroom or back porch. A window box planter (we used a plastic milk crate lined with burlap in a rubbermaid tub) for a little Herb garden. The child can plant and tend the plants, watering, weeding, making sure they get enough sunlight. And then the child feels like he/she is contributing to the household, too, because those herbs can be used in the meals. A worm bin – lots of fun videos online of how to make a worm bin. An ant farm – yes, you can still get them OR you can make them pretty simply too with plexiglass sides and scrap wood.Every kid is different (so is every parent!) and for us, we NEED Sam to be independent as much as possible, so we're always looking for ways (other than TV or video games) for her to be productive. Chore charts, drawing pictures for relatives – and now that she's older, writing letters every week – making family gift idea lists for birthdays and Christmas. Pillowland. One of our favorites. I'll share in my post. :-)Whew! My brain just started pinging. If I think of other stuff, I'll send it over.Fun vlog idea. Becky

  4. Ooh, great question. Even though I have three kids, my oldest is definitely of the "I want to keep doing things!" mentality, so we have really tried these ideas:Audiobooks, as mentioned above, are excellent. My five-year-old has Little House in the Big Woods pretty much memorized by now. 🙂 And there are a lot of options, even for young children. Music CDs can be harder in terms of maintaining interest, though dance music (from ballet to swing!) is great.Exploring outside. Not technically unsupervised learning, but so much learning happens through exploring, and you can sit on a lawn chair if you need to while your child explores around you. Lastly, DRAWING. Our daughter loves to draw, and this turned out to be one of the most important things in her education. From the beginning, we encouraged her to both have fun AND be aware of drawing what she sees. It's the basis of her nature study, an outlet for reinforcing what she's learned in history and literature and other subjects, and she has so much fun with it. You may want to invest in a nice-ish sketchbook and pencils, because good materials do make it more enjoyable.I hope this helps!

  5. So enjoying this, learning so much. I have a toddler who keeps me busy. Thank God for a Mi Mi who lives nearby. Having him spend time with Grandma (Mi Mi) gives me a little time to get stuff done.

  6. Hi Heather, fascinating discussion! I'll be watching these suggestions, because even though my son's not ready for school yet, I would love some ideas on how to keep him entertained with educational activities. He does love books, and I'm grateful for that.

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