I’ve shared the Best Advice I was Given when Starting to Homeschool, not to be confused with Advice for Starting the Homeschool Year. Today I’d like to share the second best advice I was given when just starting out on the homeschool journey with our first born babe.
Take the academics work load slowly, but keep the learning full on speed!
Hannah Beth’s first year of “school” included only reading and math as actual subjects. Yup, that’s it. Naturally, that’s not all we did in our day together, but those were the only two “at the table with Mom” gigs. She had been learning since she was born and we had been teaching the whole time. Just not formally.
I fully believed in having a home where learning is natural, fun, and encouraged. We made sure there were books everywhere. We bought engaging toys. We led by example.
I don’t remember if it was one mom, or every single mom I interviewed when preparing for homeschooling Daniel, or a book, but I do know that I was told to not jump into lots of academics at an early age, but to stick to the basics while always fostering a love for reading and learning.
In finishing up our thirteenth year, I can say that we still follow that advice.
Our kindergartners start with reading and math as their “subjects”, but do so much more than that. They listen in on read alouds, math chat, history, geography and more. Even with a first child who has no older siblings, the child needs to explore nature, play act with you, listen to fabulous books, create with their own mind, and build relationships.
Our children are encouraged to play and explore, but only sit with me for two teaching sessions when they first start “school”. Their lives are about learning naturally and engaging play. We build their brains with great books and terrific toys (Legos, Zoobs, Discovery Toy items, etc.). We let their mind be filled with data from all areas (books, field trips, experiences, etc.).
After their first year, we start adding subjects, but not all at once. We add one to three a year, depending on the child. None of the subjects in the early years take much time and they are almost all work done with me. Most of their day is still about reading on their own, playing, and exploration.
The advice is to not change their lives drastically, but to ease into academics. To foster the love for learning in wonderful ways always, while adding work load incrementally. Many people jump right in with all subjects, overwhelming their child and seriously cutting the time for explorative play and learning. It’s not always best to do everything there is to do.
The temptation and pressure to load up on subjects is great. Seriously. Women often have friends, parents, church family, and even strangers at the post office asking about school as soon as the kiddo is out of diapers. Resist the pressure to overload!
For some, it’s difficult to not jump in full speed with “school”. They memory of lunch boxes, fun erasers, and sharp pencils conjures up terrific memories and they want to duplicate it at home. All of it. Right now!
For some, it’s easy to wait and not dive “into the books” too soon. They aren’t eager to add work for their child (or themselves), so it’s not a struggle.
Either way, remember that homeschooling is about much more than just academic subjects. It is about education. It is about academics. It is about relationships.
Homeschooling is about learning. In all areas of life.
There are so many fabulous ways to learn. Young children are ready for lots and lots of learning, but don’t need it to be at a table with a “school” book or academic curriculum. Actually, I think that it’s best if it isn’t.
Pace them with the academics, but let them run to their hearts content in the learning!
I’m grateful I was given the advice and am grateful to have heeded it.
Foster a love for learning always, but ease into academics!
Do you agree with this advice? Why or why not? Comment below!