Patty, what do you do with kids younger than third grade? My three are ages 3-7 and I'm struggling to finish the school year from last year (we did just adopt a 3 year old in March, so that got us way off schedule)... It's hard to homeschool with a three year old around, especially since she doesn't speak English very well yet and we're still working on learning obedience and just everyday living. Any advice is much appreciated.
Kate's question reminded me what I did when the kids were little, but Kate, with a new daughter who's just learning English, that totally changes everything. Hold on to the last point I make. ;-)
Homeschooling for the Challenged is what I do with my older kids, but until they've learned to read we sat and did school together—whether it was at the kitchen table or on the couch, we were together. To change things up, we used both locations throughout their school day, going back and forth as needed.
My sister Cheryl happened to have Christ-Centered Curriculum and since her boys were beyond it, she passed it on to me. I laminated the flashcards and have used it to teach my kids to read. When they were ready for it, I moved them into Abeka's Language Arts third grade book. Christ-centered Curriculum gave them a great foundation.
Pathway Readers , all of which the kids loved. Pathway Readers are about Amish families but do not put forth Amish beliefs or doctrines. Both sets are wholesome stories. I've spent hours listening to kids read to me—at the table, in the living room, as I fold laundry or cook. Anytime I could listen while my hands were busy was fair game for reading time.
The first year or two...we only did phonics and math. It was enough. When they could read well enough to muddle through a paragraph of History or Science, those were added in. It was completely based on the child's readiness.
That meant my oldest went through that first “school year” twice (he wasn't ready the first time and neither was I), my older daughter (#2 in the line-up) went through once, and my younger daughter (#3 of 5 kids) went through zero times, officially. That was when I finally wised up.
See, while I was doing school with older two, the little ones played on the floor nearby. I thought my daughter was just playing with her toy dishes on the floor, but she was listening too. She listened as we drilled phonics, read History and Science lessons together, and as I asked them questions about what we had read. And then she answered those questions. After I was done with her older brother and sister, I sat down with her and the flash cards. She knew them. So, I pulled out First Steps—the first reader—and we began to work through that. I didn't have to teach her—she already had it figured out because she played quietly, nearby, during school.