Posted by: Zsuzsanna | January 21, 2009

Update on our homeschooling

In spite of my dire prediction yesterday, today was another productive day with no catastrophes. Well, aside from an entire load of light laundry being ruined in the dryer by a red and a green crayon that were left in one of the kid’s pockets. Two bottles of spray’n wash and several washes later, I was able to save about half of the load – for some reason, the crayons washed completely out of some garments, and not others. Sadly, the nice new shirt I got my husband for Christmas is still ruined. Any tips on how I might be able to get crayon stains out are greatly appreciated, but I have already made peace with the idea of having to toss that shirt, as well as one of my favorite skirts and Miriam’s really cute blouse. Plus several other pieces – ah well.

Today, I wanted to give an update on our homeschooling. We are more than half-way through this year’s curriculum, and things are going well.

Solomon (age 7, 3rd grade) has learned so much this year in Math and English. I like both publishers I use for these subjects, and intend to use the same next year. His cursive writing is getting nicer, but he could still improve a lot if only he liked doing it. I’m not too hung up about it because I figure he’s a boy and “pretty stuff” is not his thing. He loves writing stories, and comes up with some pretty hilarious stuff. His spelling is near perfect, better than most adults’. He also reads perfectly, in fact, he read the New Testament through on his own in 2008 and is working on reading through the Old Testament this year. He has an exceptional talent for music, and I am really hoping to find the right piano teacher for him. For now, he teaches himself songs and also learns from my husband. He also loves to read non-fiction children’s books on all sorts of subjects, especially biographies of past presidents and anything to do with space and the solar system. He knows more about our planets than I think I ever will. He never forgets anything he reads, including names, places, and dates.

Isaac (age 5, 1st grade) is doing very well in school. His reading has just recently taken off, and with very little help he can read pretty much anything. It is nice to listen to him read to Miriam and Rebecca. He asked me to buy him his own Bible, and he started reading in the book of Genesis. He is also getting very good at Math, something he struggled with a little at the beginning of the year, but now has a very good concept of. His fine motor skills are very good, so he colors and writes very neatly, much more so than Solomon did at his age (I make a point not to compare the kids to each other in front of them). His favorite subject is history. He loves dressing up and acting out what he learns. He is very imaginative and creative, and comes up with some hilarious stuff. He also loves art projects and science experiments. Isaac is a very easygoing, happy student, and loves the one-on-one attention he gets from me while I teach him.
John (age 4, kindergarten) is our little genius. Not that his older brothers aren’t exceptionally sharp, too, but this one is just plain scary sometimes. It’s hard to explain, but he understands very abstract, complicated concepts. He has always been like that. He started speaking in complete sentences around the time he was 18 months old. It seems as if he has always talked – I think he started using individual words around 5 months of age. Once when he was still tiny, much younger than 2, he wanted to do something that was not safe for him. He started crying and asked “Kids don’t do that? Only adults do that?” and I was shocked that he grasped the concept of adult vs. child. He would also cry anytime I put my hair in a pony tail, telling me “Girls don’t do that!” because to him it looked like short hair on a woman, something my husband had preached against. This year, I started him in a kindergarten curriculum for 4-year olds when he was still 3 1/2 years old. He has totally finished all that by now, and started on the 5-year old kindergarten a few weeks ago. I’m guessing he will be done with it by the summer and start 1st grade in August, at age 4 1/2. To be honest, I am really not very excited about this prospect. Working with a gifted child is a lot more demanding and time consuming, because they are never satisfied. They always want to learn more. There are no quick answers you can give them – one answer just leads to another complicated, related question. Of course, it is also very easy to teach him. If I tell him something once, such as the sound of a letter, he will remember it. He is starting to read simple words, and if he has mastered basic reading by the summer there is really no justification for me wanting to hold him back when he is bursting at the seams trying to learn. His writing skills are exceptional, and he can form letters almost perfectly.

Miriam (almost 2 years old) is still a baby in my mind. She understands everything, and is very smart, but never talks. I am starting to think she does it just to tease us. She used to talk a lot, but stopped completely when she started walking a year ago. I often joke that if our kids were vaccinated (which they are not), we could have sued the government for compensation for an adverse vaccine reaction. It really was a day-and-night change. She does vocalize somewhat, but not in words – except when she yells “NO!” at her big brothers. She usually scribbles a picture or plays with John while the older kids are doing their schoolwork. She likes to say the sounds of the letters with John and will imitate him reading beginning blends. Right now, I can’t see her starting any kind of kindergarten program anytime soon, which will give me a nice break after John being so demanding.

Rebecca (3 months old) is just my sweet little appendage while I work with the older kids. She has a budding sense of humor and finds the kids’ antics amusing. She is starting to be a real chatterbox, always making loud baby noises and squeals. Maybe she will inspire Miriam to start talking again.

I love homeschooling. This post is not intended as a bragging session about how smart my kids are (even though that’s true). It’s just a glimpse into my life. Knowing that I am 100% responsible for whatever education our children receive can be a scary thought or an inspiration to excel. A lot has to do with the fact that our kids have never watched TV and their minds are like little sponges, soaking up whatever information we feed them.

I am currently working on two related blog posts, one on teaching children how to read and one on why I am against “unschooling” – please check back for those sometime soon.

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Responses

  1. I look forward to the unschooling post and yes your kids sound so smart and so cute!
    Sounds like your doing a good job schooling them.
    You don’t own a TV then?

  2. Crayons in the dryer…Nice. Check out the Crayola website, maybe they will have some washing tips.

  3. If it was a wax crayon you might get the stain out by ironing the shirt with a peice of paper towel between the iron and the fabric and another on the underside of the stain. The iron melts the wax and the paper towel absorbs it. I’ve found there’s usually a small greasy stain left afterwards, but not as bad as the coloured wax. Good luck!

  4. On the laundry situation, I can’t tell you how to get crayon out, but I can tell you, it pays to check the pockets!

    Sounds like the kids are doing great with their school work, and you are doing a wonderful job of teaching them.

  5. I enjoyed reading your post. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with children ahead in their schooling. I have been told not to push my kids, but they beg me to do school. How can you say no?
    I look forward to reading your “unschooling” post, too. I have see the outcome of kids who were taught this way and it wasn’t good.

  6. Can you explain being against short hair?

  7. Aqua Net. Spray it liberally on the stain. Then dab it. It will take it off. Then wash it again.

  8. MrsSSG: The answer to your question about hair is in 1 Corinthians chapter 11.

  9. Ug, I DETEST unschooling. I homeschool my children – ages 8, 6, 4, and 2 via the Classical Christian Trivium approach.

    I teach my children how to read at age 4, and then homeschool goes quite smoothly from there. My 4 yr old is almost at first grade reading level. He loves reading.

    My 2yr old is at the table with us for homeschool. She picks things up easily. She knows the definition of a noun, she knows her vowels, she can count to 12, she knows her ABCs, and her favorite song – Jesus Loves Me – with hand movements to go with it.

    Homeschooling is great! 😀


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