Skip to Content

Three Homeschooling Questions


homeschool crossword

Hi there!

I love your blog and I had a few quick questions about your homeschooling methods. I am amazed at your ability to juggle four little people, and I was wondering when you started homeschooling (what age). I have two children, one is seven and we are well into school, and the other is 2.5 and is constantly begging to do school. Did you run into this problem with your younger ones?

You mentioned one of your children was reading by the time kindergarten rolled around… that because you did some sort of schooling with her beforehand?

Lastly, is there a curriculum you have found helpful when it comes to handwriting? I’ve been struggling to find one we can use that doesn’t cause a tearful reaction the minute I pull it from the shelf.

Thank you!


Well, my four little people aren’t quite SO little anymore.   They’re 16, (almost) 15, 12, and 10 now.   But I did manage four small people back in the day.   😉

FG Family

Regarding your first question, yes, that happened most often when my third kiddo (Sonia) started school.

That left kiddo #4 (Zoe) without a playmate, so she hung out with Sonia and me while we worked on school, and I sometimes gave her something to color or some other kind of busywork to do to keep her occupied.

homeschooling with little kids

(Snacks, coloring, watercolor painting, play-doh, and dot-to-dots all were helpful for us.)

That leads perfectly into your next question: Zoe was indeed reading before she started kindergarten, and I think that’s partly because she sat with Sonia and me while we worked on beginning phonics and reading.

I wasn’t officially teaching her, but she soaked it up just from watching and listening to Sonia.


(I don’t necessarily think this will happen with every kid.   Zoe is probably naturally inclined toward reading and she’d have picked it up quickly in kindergarten if she hadn’t learned early.     Reading comes easily to some kids and more slowly to others.)

I definitely did NOT stress about doing preschool academics with my kids.   I read out loud to them, of course, but we didn’t ever do workbooks or formal learning before kindergarten.

I think the preschool years are wonderful times to freely learn by playing, having conversations, and being read to, and there’s no rush to hurry up and jump into formal learning.

(This Slate article offers some interesting thoughts/research about preschool.   And this NY Times article is also relevant.)

zoe homeschool

It’s not that I think that it’s necessarily harmful to do some ABCs and such in the preschool years, especially if your child is interested.   I just don’t think it’s a dire necessity, especially if you’re talking to your kids and reading to them and giving them enough screen-free time to allow for imaginative play.

And I definitely don’t think it’s important to work really hard at getting your kids to read before kindergarten.   Two of mine were early readers, two were not, and all four of them are very competent readers now.

summer reading

If reading happens early, great.   If not, that’s just fine too.

On the handwriting front: I’ve used Handwriting Without Tears for all of my kids.

Unfortunately, all four of them DID shed some tears while using this curriculum.   But I think maybe there would have been more tears with other curricula?

Handwriting Without Tears

One thing that’s great about Handwriting Without Tears is that the daily assignments are very short.   So even if your kiddo does hate the exercises, he/she will still be done with them pretty speedily.

(Related: A 2015-2016 full curriculum list for all four of my kids)


Readers, share your advice with Melissa! If you’ve homeschooled, how did you handle your preschoolers during school time?   Also, any good handwriting suggestions?

And homeschooling/non-homeschooling people alike, feel free to share your thoughts about preschool and early reading.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Tuesday 15th of March 2016

I have 4 kids ages 8 and under, and while the youngest (20 months) isn't asking to do school just yet, her 5 year-old brother has been doing school for about a year already, but it has been very informal. I agree that once the younger ones see the older ones doing their work, they feel like they need to do it too. I didn't really push reading on any of our kids but they were all interested in starting before the age of 5. I just did Alpha-Phonics, which is a simple red book where I would do a lesson here or there with them, and because we started earlier, I didn't feel pressure to stay on a schedule. I don't think kids learn linearly anyways - mine at least seem to make big leaps and then need to plateau for awhile to reinforce their new skills.

Linda Sand

Monday 14th of March 2016

I think reading aloud to your children is the best way to help them learn to read. They can more easily recognize words they've heard before. But, then I was a kid who thought the workbooks Mom bought at the drugstore were games I enjoyed playing. She bought me one each time I had to go to the doctor as my treat for enduring the appointment. Maybe that setting (treat rather than task) helped me be such a quick learner?

Debbie N

Monday 14th of March 2016

I have two boys and they are 5 years apart.Mine are a lot older now but when they were younger my youngest always wanted to do school. I tried to find things he could go at the same time. I had some special educational toys I would take out during school. When he was doing math I would take out a number toy or let him play with some math counters , during english time he would try to write or draw or play with alphabet magnets. This was all optional if he wanted to do school I would find something if he wanted to just go play that was ok too. It usually was a mixture of both. I will also say if there is something they really want to do, let them do it. We do math u see for our math curriculum. My youngest son begged at three that he wanted to do do the math with the videos like his brother. I ordered the preschool one thinking that he would try it and not want to do it after that so I would just keep it till he was ready.He was so excited he cried. He proved me wrong, he did every lesson easily. Math is still his favorite subject today. Kids have different interests and abilities. If they really like something they may be ready to do it younger.


Monday 14th of March 2016

While I don't homeschool, I do have a child with dysgraphia, and we use Handwriting Without Tears both at home and at school to help with that. Because sitting and doing worksheets is kind of painful for our child, we branch out and try other methods of practicing writing that are more fun, both for our child with dysgraphia and our other two children: tracing letters in the dirt or on a tray filled with shaving cream, on a small chalkboard, painting them with a finger, or stamping them along a dotted line with do-a-dot markers.


Monday 14th of March 2016

Those are all such great ideas! They're fun ways to take a small-motor task and make it not QUITE so much of a small-motor job.


Monday 14th of March 2016

I have two grade-school kids and one toddler who has no desire to do school lol ... He goes off and does his own thing. I actually did find a curriculum my kids like: it's an online one that plays out like a video game called time4learning. I balance that with actual workbooks from Singapore and Getty-Dubai handwriting, which they don't like, but I tell them it's non-negotiable and most days there are no tears. We also have a morning reading time where we read from the Bible, our history curriculum, and an art resource that they really enjoy. Basically I'm trying to hit all the learning pathways and make sure they're technologically literate. Oh and while my eldest was readin kindergarten and now can read whatever, my other child (6) had no interest in reading until just recently. I can't say we've had a lightning transition but we're steadily progressing. The video game approach seems to really help with this particular child.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.