Readin', Writin' and 'Rithmetic

Lest you think I have neglected the Big 3 in favor of my beloved subject, History, I'll chat with you about the difficultly I've had in figuring out 'how to teach' these 3 basics. Most homeschooling Mommies I know keep it simple. Why do I have such a hard time doing this?

If you've ever had your mailbox inundated with catalogs from homeschool curriculum companies, you will sympathize here... it is sensory overload. From phonics die-hards to the natural, whole language approach all the way to unschooling... there are as many philosophies as there are hairs on my head. It can be daunting just thinking about ONE subject.

I have young children... I know they really just need my love and some good imagination-stirring reading material and 'the basics.' I know this! At least I think I know it...

I learned phonics, at least the rudimentary phonetic markings. There are so many advantages to phonics for a certain type of student... however, like anything good, phonics can be taken to an absolute ridiculous extreme.

I've witnessed this in the life of Budding Author, first hand. He naturally gravitated to phonics and quickly became a very strong reader and fairly good speller ... This year (2nd grade) phonics and particularly 'special sounds' have driven him into the ground. I've watched it happen, and I hate it for my child. And the very last thing I will stand by and allow is for his passion for reading to be squelched by drudgery.

Same goes with Math... can you drill something too much? Can a child who has successfully learned addition and subtraction facts have so much review that it becomes a chore? I think so. So, where does a Mom turn when the choices are overwhelming and the traditional is not needed?? An eclectic mixture, maybe?

As we start in January, I will selectively, sensitively use the remainder of the curriculum he was working on at school. Additionally, he will have the opportunity to explore Math with some hands-on stuff and to write to his heart's content instead of circling special sounds in words he has long-since been able to read and spell. We will do a few worksheets and drills... a few. We will work on relationships in Math. Yes, he will still memorize math facts to some degree... but my goal is for him to see the bigger picture.

Keeping it simple?? I'm not sure simplicity will ever be achieved completely, for me. However, I will do this... evaluate for each child when something becomes overkill and allow them the freedom to move forward, and backward, when desired or needed; especially with the basics.


tracey fields said…
i am struggling with the same things. my oldest is a great writer...but has a horrible time with math. fractions are being introduced and they are killing her. she still struggles with time and money (value). (2nd grade) my Kindegtner is whizzing through math, knows time and some of her multiplication table. I mean, it is sooo individualistic.

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