Our Metamorphosis of Homeschooling
The whole story of our homeschool journey thus far: We started with My Father's World Pre-Kindergarten. It was a lovely combo of teacher instructions with Lauri Play Toys. We used Alphabet, Shapes, and Numbers. I taught him to write using my own "method" which is apparently a real method. We continued on with Math U See Primer and My Father's World Kindergarten. It was still relatively high fun and enthusiasm. He was 5ish.
Then came My Father's World 1st. This is absolutely where we hit the hardest of brick walls. I don't know if this was his relative readiness, the actual materials, both, or none of the above, but it was torture. Particularly the reading part of it.
We switched to At Last! A Reading Method for Every Child. It is akin to All about Reading and was designed by a reading specialist. Again, we aren't sure if it was readiness or the material, but we moved across the country after using this for a bit and "viola" he could read well.
Curriculum-wise we weren't sure what to do, but we decided to press on and do Mommy's favorite, My Father's World. Strike Three, you are OUT!
Along came Sarah Janisse Brown and her fabulous Fun-Schooling books! Seriously, y'all, if you are burned out, or even not, these are worth looking into. It is delight-directed learning. It helped Momma scale back on her crazy expectations and allowed gentle room for growth. We did hit a point where he really didn't have a whole lot of truly desired interests and we just plugged along with pseudo My Father's World 2nd grade. It worked for a while, until Classical Conversations. I feel like with a first born you kind of do some experimenting as to what works best for them and you. Classical has been the best fit for us, so far, even though I probably lean a little more Charlotte Mason in my ideal school scenario. Classical has revived his curiosity, first and foremost. "What is feudalism? What is Apartheid? What were the Boer Wars?" ETC ETC ETC!!! See how I sort of used Latin there? Just because of some songs and memory work it has now renewed his curiosity to find out more. This has rekindled his curiosity. And the great thing is we can still use the Fun-Schooling and the My Father's World to fuel the fire. I think the moral of the story is we all have to kind of pave the way to see what works for both our children and ourselves as teachers. Classical has worked very well because it has rekindled his curiosity and my enthusiasm in one measure! Classical Conversations also has allowed a great social outlet for him with wonderful positive peer pressure. Is it for everyone? Nope. But, we have to try to search for what will even slightly captivate our child and run with it. That is just what we are doing. We went from struggling to get him to be inquisitive to him BEING inquisitive and having a group of kids to be inquisitive with. I think we will hang around there for the foreseeable future! As far as Sarah's Fun-Schooling books? There is still ABSOLUTELY a place for them! Next year we will be using the Timeline of World History (which is about to be on sale) and the US Geography Book. We may add in another thing or two, but those are perfect for Classical Conversations for next year! I love it when all these curriculum purchases come together, don't you? One thing we have really concentrated on since switching to Classical Conversations is Geography. Did you know a really low number of High School Graduates can even identify New York City on a map, let alone Zimbabwe? We have recently gotten some maps from the back of our Classical Conversations guide blown up, but we also invested in some tracing paper and a globe (that does constellations, too...more on this later). Learning is looking more interesting than ever over here! It's Central America and South America right now! Our Compassion child is in Peru, so it is of particular interest!