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…..is 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.
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. 😉
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.
(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.
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.
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?
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.
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.