Greenbalts – I have 4 boys, so having everyone together is my idea of a good thing. My oldest is 3rd, then I have a K this year, with a 4 and 2 year old tagging along. I ordered ECC, and feel pretty overwhelmed with it. I don’t know if I would feel that way no matter what (homeschooling in general), or if it’s just this curriculum. I thought I would like unit study…it sounds amazing, but when we get into it, I am not opposed to things being a little separate. I also stuck with MFW, because I could trust the planning of professionals. With my public school education and trade school topping that off, I just don’t feel qualified to plan and know what my kids might need each year, which is also why I like the look of the SCM guides. Please feel free to add anything with that additional information about myself, haha!greenebaltsParticipant
Hey Ashley, I hear your concerns. Please know that your kids are very young. I think MFW ECC would be way overwhelming for a 3rd grader!…as well as yourself as a busy mama of four boys. 🙂
Also, unless your state has a compulsory attendance law at age 5, I would hold off on many formal subjects with your kindergartener and just focus on your 3rd grader. Make sure he has a good phonics base and is reading well. He should be doing copywork and some beginning math. There should be ample time to play and be outdoors in nature. Read aloud everyday! If you do nothing else, read aloud. I think many people underestimate the importance of this.
My 13-year old is dyslexic, among other things. It’s been a long road to say the least! He has received a variety of therapies as well as tutoring for his dyslexia. He didn’t read independently until age 11. However, I read aloud to him most days from little on. It was a priority. We started reading the Little House series when he was age 4, then Winnie the Pooh, and continued from there. I always read at a much higher level than he could ever dream of reading himself. (I still read some books aloud to him and he listens to many on audio.)
As a result, throughout the years, his testing has consistently shown strength in vocabulary. His doctor is always perplexed by this because high vocabularies are rare in dyslexic children since they are not able to take the language in for themselves. Our son had his last series of testing in April and again was off the charts in vocabulary. After discussing our read alouds with the doctor, he attributed our son’s strength to environment. Kids are able to comprehend so much more than we give them credit for. Quality books paired with reading aloud has given our son a leg up in an area that could have been a deficit due to his dyslexia.
If your goal is to study cultures, you could look at something geared for early elementary like Galloping the Globe or Beautiful Feet’s Around the World with Picture Books. If you want to be more history based, you could simply pick your time period and get a book list, read aloud and require oral narration from your 3rd grader, maybe add in a few notebooking pages if your son likes that sort of thing. If you need a history guide, I think SCM or BF would be a better bet than MFW at this point.
I have five children, two grown and gone that were adopted through foster care and three by birth ages 14, 13, and 6. I will be 46 tomorrow! We have been home educating since 2007. The older I get and the longer I do this, the more I see the need to back off in the early grades.
I actually did an experiment this past year with my youngest and skipped formal kindergarten. He participated with the older kids many days during Morning Time and particularly with my 13 year old son. I also had quiet tasks for him to work on during read aloud time, such as Play-Doh, lace up cards, puzzles, stacking peg boards, coloring books, Tangrams, scrap paper and a variety of drawing utensils and art supplies, etc., all purchased second hand from thrift sales or wherever. As long as he was quiet, he was allowed to participate and create his own thing.
By the end of the year, I was absolutely amazed by his skills and level of knowledge. He knows his alphabet with many sounds. He loves to rhyme words. He’s very good with numbers and is always counting and calculating. He also spent much time outdoors! He has a great pencil grip and can write his name as well as a variety of letters. I’m not saying this as a brag. I’m simply suggesting that when I relaxed and let him be a 5 year old, he far exceeded my expectations. He seemed to learn by osmosis. He just turned 6 in June and I am confident that he will be ready for 1st grade in the fall. Please know there is no shame in waiting until a child is developmentally ready. 🙂
Do not try to create school at home. You and your boys will burn out. You have littles and many years ahead. Try to unschool yourself and take some time to educate yourself. Charlotte Mason’s Vol. 1, Home Education, may be very beneficial. Or, even reading For the Children’s Sake could be helpful. SCM has a wonderful “Build Your Own” homeschool page, that you should check out. Ambleside Online and Charlotte Mason Help are two other excellent resources to aid you!
Habit training is also of super importance at this time. Focus on habit training! It’s much harder to correct bad habits later on than to instill good habits from the start.
Most importantly, regardless of what you choose for curricula, give yourself grace. You have plenty of time. If you create a love of learning now, your boys will carry that into their future. You are the professional! God made you the mother of your boys for a reason. He knows exactly what both you and they need. Lean on Him for understanding and peace.
May you be blessed in your endeavor 🙂ashleyParticipant
Greenebalts! Wow – what are helpful and beautiful response! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. Your son sounds amazing and so does his mama.
What you are saying totally speaks to me, I love the CM philosophies, and I definitely need to read some of her own writings.
My K actually just turned 6 in June, and last year while he was 5, I absolutely just let him be included in what he wanted to be included in, and we did have some things to help learn to read, and we did it when he asked, which happened to be about 3 times a week. We definitely spend a lot of time outdoors. We are almost always done with the bulk of school by lunch if not before, then outdoors, or free time, or reading of some sort for the afternoon.
I really don’t want to do school at home. This is my 3rd year, and last year I felt it was becoming that! Lots of boxes to check, and maybe less learning by just trying to check all the boxes.
I think that’s why I am on the search….or questioning whether I can pick and choose from the curriculum I have, and not let it rule me. That laid out plan seems to be where my confidence lies.greenebaltsParticipant
You’re welcome Ashley!
I think knowing why you are doing what you are doing will help take some of the pressure off. That’s why I believe so strongly in studying Charlotte’s writings. I had been “doing” CM for years, but only based on secondary sources. Finally, a few years ago, I led a study group through Vol. 6, A Philosophy of Education. It was a total paradigm shift that caused me many ah-ha moments. Once I understood the why, the how became even easier. Also, when doubt set in or people start questioning, I have armor for protection because there really is a means behind the madness, LOL. May God grant you peace and strength!
Best of luck in your decision,
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