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Maela
06-19-2014, 02:18 AM
My kids LOVE being read to. DD reads a lot independently too. DS is just starting to read independently. We're big readers in this family. I have this huge desire to just read books this year (with a daily Math Mammoth worksheet or some time spent on Khan Academy). That's it - just read books that we're interested in and then have conversations about them. Look up the setting of the story on the map. Maybe draw a picture or write a sentence about it. Or just an oral narration. I would try to fit in all subjects, but it would be mostly interest-led. Nothing planned really. I'm putting together a big list of good literature and living math, science, geography, and history books from preschool to high school levels that we could choose from.

I've been searching the internet for examples of families that have homeschooled this way, but I can't really find any. I just want to know if I'm going to completely screw up my kids' education (obviously an exaggeration - they're only 4 and almost 7) if we try this out for a year. Is this something that would only work in the early elementary years?

aspiecat
06-19-2014, 07:50 AM
If kids are really into being read to when they're too young to read comprehensively, and grow into loving to read to themselves once their reading skills are more developed, then educating them in the way you're talking about sounds fantastic.

Your query about whether it would only work in the early elementary years is probably pretty much correct, as there is a plethora of skills required to get to a high or even middle school level of education that simply cannot be achieved via only reading and doing the odd bit of drawing and writing. There is a certain amount of "pen to paper" work that really needs to be done in most subject areas (by "pen to paper" you can take that as "fingers to keyboard" as well LOL), and if by high school a child hasn't had any real practice in composition, or working mathematical problems on paper, or learning to take notes from an online lecture, it can be a steep learning-curve for them.

Instilling a love of books and of reading is an extremely wonderful thing to do for one's children, and too many families (in general, not necessarily HS kids) have forgotten how important this is. A child can learn a HUGE amount by reading something that they may not learn in a classroom. However, not all kids learn best simply by reading - my DS certainly may do so, but more often than not he requires two or three different forms of information-gathering to fully grasp a concept.

Sounds like you're starting well with homeschooling - keep delving into the fora here to get lots of great ideas, esp from the parents of elementary kiddos.

Aspie

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
06-19-2014, 08:00 AM
I took this approach for my kids when they were younger. They loved listening to me read almost anything aloud. Unfortunately, their interest is waning a bit as they get older. I still do read aloud literature (but not nearly as much) and history, plus some science.

Check out any Charlotte Mason websites (Ambleside Online, Tanglewood Education, Simply Charlotte Mason) for book lists with wonderful living books for all subjects.

Oral narrations are a great way to help the material "stick" and some kids like hands-on projects to go along with the books. You can definitely make it work for elementary school. As they get older, kids naturally transition to reading materials themselves and doing more written work.

fastweedpuller
06-19-2014, 09:26 AM
I agree with both Aspie and AMM. Charlotte Mason's theories really might work for you in the early years. My DD is 10.5 and is just.beginning.to.age.out.of.being.read.to and it makes me so sad!

But I am like you: a compulsive reader/researcher...I love connecting the dots of science, history and art through literature, basically using themed books as a tool to reinforce what is studied. Our homeschool and frankly parental time is such though that a more scripted curriculum is what we need to follow, otherwise I would be reading to her/with her all the livelong day.

I assume you've read The Well-Trained Mind: SWB suggests using history as an armature from which you hang all your studies. That's one way. CM is another, using living books. Some people combine both: you can look into Classical House of Learning (http://www.classicalhouseoflearning.com/) for resources that follow the 4 year history cycle, or you can try Build Your Library (http://buildyourlibrary.com/) for a more themed study (year by year).

Please note I (and all of us) are not discouraging your approach! It's early days yet with your kiddos, and once the kids require more meat in their curriculum, these resources have things you can pick and choose to help you create your own.

JenWrites
06-19-2014, 09:55 AM
That's pretty close to what we do, really. My daughter learns best through reading and discussion (or narration, as Charlotte Mason would call it). We sprinkle in other stuff, but our learning is heavily literature based. And it's worked extremely well for us. Next year we're doing Brave Writer for our language arts, and even that relies heavily on literature as its base.

Elly
06-19-2014, 11:08 AM
W are trying build your library next year, which is very book based. We also do miquon math and brave writer.

Elly

ejsmom
06-19-2014, 12:28 PM
If it feels like the right way to go right now, try it for a year. Isn't that the beauty of homeschooling? You have a plan to make sure you cover everything you want to cover. Clearly they will be learning. Just because you can't find examples of others doing it, doesn't make it wrong. I'm sure there are plenty who do something similar. It is basically you selecting the material (books) to introduce ideas, and then it goes off into child led with them being inspired by the books. We do something similar when my son really gets into a book, but just not as his whole schooling. He likes more structure, though. I say go for it.

Maela
06-19-2014, 12:28 PM
Thank you everyone! I have read and own both The Well-Trained Mind and Charlotte Mason Companion, and I like them both. But I want to be a little more relaxed and interest-led. We have used Classical House of Learning, and lately I've been looking into Build Your Library. I've read just a tiny bit about Bravewriter, but I should read more.

I'm not a crafty person, and I'm not that into projects. Plus, DD comes up with tons of that stuff on her own. She loves anything having to do with art or making things.

I don't want to have to follow lesson plans. Or read a specific list of books on a specific time schedule and answer these questions. I don't want her to fill out worksheets. My only exception is math. Along with the living math books, I am still going to require Math Mammoth and/or Khan Academy.

I guess I'm feeling stubborn and a bit rebellious. Is that normal for the third year of homeschooling? ;-)


ETA: DD is a second grader this year.

fastweedpuller
06-19-2014, 12:47 PM
I don't want to have to follow lesson plans. Or read a specific list of books on a specific time schedule and answer these questions. I don't want her to fill out worksheets. My only exception is math. Along with the living math books, I am still going to require Math Mammoth and/or Khan Academy.

I guess I'm feeling stubborn and a bit rebellious. Is that normal for the third year of homeschooling? ;-)


It's not abnormal. :)

What you're mentioning about your daughter, though, means you might have to step outta your comfort zone to meet her needs, educationally...or at least crafting-wise! (Believe me, if MY kid were like me it would be SO much easier to teach her!) So what's great about homeschooling is that we can meet the kids where they are...and that might mean lesson plans or reading something at a particular time.

Have you seen Project-Based Homeschooling (http://project-based-homeschooling.com/camp-creek-blog)? I bought the book for DH because he's more follow-the-clues than I am, in terms of teaching. Anyway her blog has loads of good ideas.

dbmamaz
06-19-2014, 01:36 PM
I find that the longer I homeschool, the less I feel a need for suggestions and ideas. I start to feel I know what works for us, and I just do that.

OTOH, when I listen too much to Miss Julie Bravewriter, I think I SUCK because she was so engaged and creative with her kids. But . . . I'm not her and my kids are not her kids and I'll do what I'll do and it will have to be good enough.

Is that what you mean by stubborn and rebellious? I just finished year 5 . . .

Elly
06-19-2014, 02:10 PM
Thank you everyone! I have read and own both The Well-Trained Mind and Charlotte Mason Companion, and I like them both. But I want to be a little more relaxed and interest-led. We have used Classical House of Learning, and lately I've been looking into Build Your Library. I've read just a tiny bit about Bravewriter, but I should read more.
I think Bravewriter is really flexible. There are lots of suggested projects you can do, but she recommend being really low key on demanding output. There's a lot more about a language rich lifestyle, which has so much more scope for imagination, as Anne might say ;) I know that BYL is structured from the perspective of what to do each day, but I like the Charlotte Mason-y short lessons, which I think also leaves a lot of scope for other things. I can't imagine my son just listening to one chapter of a book a day, so I can see us getting through that portion more quickly, which is fine, we can just add other books to read :)



I'm not a crafty person, and I'm not that into projects. Plus, DD comes up with tons of that stuff on her own. She loves anything having to do with art or making things.
I'm ok with crafts, but DS is more interested in the ones he comes up with, usually. It's hard to tell because sometimes I suggest something and he loves it and sometimes he isn't at all interested. I think he'd rather hear a story than be asked to make something, though.

Elly

rebjc
06-19-2014, 02:45 PM
Definitely nothing wrong with a literature heavy homeschool. I do think there is a lot to be gained by activities that use fine motor skills, and that is one of the things that I can see lacking in mainly only reading. And the same goes for activities that use gross motor skills. In those early years, I think kids need daily opportunities to exercise both fine and gross motor skills. I think the benefits go beyond physical fitness and neat handwriting but help with attention and cognitive development.

Maela
06-19-2014, 03:53 PM
I'm ok with crafts, but DS is more interested in the ones he comes up with, usually. It's hard to tell because sometimes I suggest something and he loves it and sometimes he isn't at all interested. I think he'd rather hear a story than be asked to make something, though.

Elly
I could have written this about DD. Exactly. Which is why I'd rather just let her come with her own ideas for projects/crafts. I "strew" art books and throw out ideas once in a while. But I'll only get upset if I plan a whole project/unit study and she decides it's boring.

Only
07-20-2014, 10:05 PM
There's a lot more about a language rich lifestyle, which has so much more scope for imagination, as Anne might say ;)

This reference made me smile.

JenWrites
07-21-2014, 03:40 PM
Yep. We're into year three and just dropped formal math. Give me a paper bag, quick! We are stretching our wings and flying free. So, there :)


Guuurl, I'm right there with you. When we came back from the holidays this past year, I kind of went, "You know what? **** math." My girl can add, subtract, multiply, and divide the kind of stuff that you're likely to run into on a daily basis, and I make her calculate tips and tax all the time (to her delightful eye-rolling), and for us, that is enough for now. My plan is to have her take the practice and/or pre-SAT/ACT down the road, see where her weaknesses are for those very specific tests, and then deal with that. But in the meantime, math in our house is as-needed. As in, we learn about it as we come to it in our daily lives or within our interests.

ejsmom
07-21-2014, 06:15 PM
My kid can figure out any real life math problem he needs to figure out. In his head, no less. But if I give him a worksheet, he messes it all up. I wish I could follow suit with those of you who are only using math as it comes up in projects and life, but I'm in a state where my kid is legally required to take standardized tests and turn them into the school district. I keep getting on dh to find a new job in less restrictive homeschooling state....not so easy in his field.

Oksana
07-21-2014, 08:01 PM
My problems with "just reading books" would be:
- not forming a habit of studying - being able to sit down and finish a lesson, to overcome difficult and not so fun parts. I would be afraid that this lack of structure will backfire later on when they will be older.
- lack of a sense of completion (probably more for me than for my kids).

We do rely on reading a lot, but the day is not "done" until we have completed at least 15-20 min of curriculum-style work.

Maela
07-22-2014, 09:47 AM
My problems with "just reading books" would be:
- not forming a habit of studying - being able to sit down and finish a lesson, to overcome difficult and not so fun parts. I would be afraid that this lack of structure will backfire later on when they will be older.
- lack of a sense of completion (probably more for me than for my kids).

We do rely on reading a lot, but the day is not "done" until we have completed at least 15-20 min of curriculum-style work.
I can see what you're saying. They also get that "job accomplished/well done" feeling from chores and their self-created projects. For example, yesterday dd was very proud of herself for completing a wind-chime making kit that she got for her birthday. She did it all on her own by following the instructions. She's also learning how to sew - working on it by herself and getting help from my mom when she sees her.




It's been a month since I originally started this thread, and this is what we've done almost daily:

Handwriting practice (5 min)
Math Mammoth or Khan Academy (20 min)
read: independently, read alouds, audiobooks. (1-3 hours)

We're all learning a lot, and I'm not having to fight her to do this small amount of seat work. The kids' curiosity levels seem higher lately. So many questions come up from our reading!

PinballWizard
07-22-2014, 06:46 PM
What you're describing is how we homeschooled when my 3 were younger. We read, explored local parks and businesses, and read some more. My kids always did their own projects based on what inspired them (a bread factory made out of Legos after the tour of a real one, a play written and performed by them after seeing one, a 1,000 link paper chain just because, etc.). We did add in some handwriting (Handwriting Without Tears) and some spelling (All About Spelling) here and there. I don't think you'll mess them up at all! When my dd went to school for the first half of this year, she had all A's and found all the worksheets easy and boring. Thinking and talking about a book takes more thought than circling the right answer on a worksheet. If you all enjoy it, the learning will fall into place. How can we not be learning when we're truly engaged with a story and each other?

PinballWizard
07-22-2014, 06:53 PM
My kid can figure out any real life math problem he needs to figure out. In his head, no less. But if I give him a worksheet, he messes it all up. I wish I could follow suit with those of you who are only using math as it comes up in projects and life, but I'm in a state where my kid is legally required to take standardized tests and turn them into the school district. I keep getting on dh to find a new job in less restrictive homeschooling state....not so easy in his field.

Ugh, what a tough situation! I was one of those kids who always second-guessed what answers meant on worksheets and tests. I would totally approach how we homeschool differently if we had to take the state tests.

rebcoola
04-07-2015, 01:49 AM
That is really all FIAR and Sonlight (bookshark) are right? I say go for it I would but my kids don't love reading or being read to that much.

Maela
04-09-2015, 10:22 AM
Update: I finally finished (well, it will never be finished) the list of books (http://livingcontentedly.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-book-list.html) I was putting together. We've used the geography and science portions of a few of the Layers of Learning units this year, but we're back to mostly reading again.

For M (7.5yo):
one MM lesson
a little bit of EtC or spelling or handwriting OR writing (whatever she wants - she likes to write)
one Duolingo lesson
20 minutes independent reading
30-60 minutes read alouds

For j (5.5yo):
Khan Academy or playing games with me or talking to me about math (he's obsessed!)
Explode the Code or handwriting practice
reading lesson with me and 5 minutes of independent reading
30-60 minutes of read alouds

We look at the map and our timeline when we read so the kids get an idea of where and when. We stop our reading often (SO often...) to find answers to questions that come up. We sometimes watch stuff on Netflix that has to do with our reading. It's been fun. :)

IEF
04-09-2015, 02:25 PM
It sounds similar to what I have always done.

I don't set the timer, but I read to the kids right after we wake up and again right before they go to bed. With the first grader, it roughly averages out to 1-2 hours of read alouds in the morning, 1-1.5 hours of "lessons" (including phonics and hands-on projects), and 1-3 hours of read alouds at night.

When I had multiple kids with multiple interests, my voice sometimes gave out and sometimes the child who wasn't interested in a particular topic would play independently in their room or listen to an audio book while I read to their sibling.

I still think people who have "rules" about only reading one picture book or one chapter a day or not reading aloud to literate kids because it's a "waste of time I should be spending washing the dishes or filling out applications for a sixth job" are strange and sad, but to each their own.

You go, Maela. Your kids are going to remember this long after they forget the worksheets.

RunningYogini
04-09-2015, 03:01 PM
Great list! Thank you for sharing! :D

Heather62
04-10-2015, 11:23 AM
With kids these young you are not going to screw them up. You could do just reading for several years and no harm would come from it.

darkelf
04-15-2015, 02:38 PM
I like the idea.

We have state testing and reviews, so that approach doesn't work for us, but they love books.

I can not stand reading aloud. I try and try. It is super hard for me. (Because I read quickly in my head. I can even write quicker than I can read aloud) So I gave up!

I read their books for their curriculum (MBTP), but for free reading we are using audio books now. My older son (he shares a bedroom with the 2 littles) asked if we could get a couple more grown up stories, but the audio books helped a lot. They beg to go to bed and listen to their stories.

Maela
04-15-2015, 06:26 PM
I like the idea.

We have state testing and reviews, so that approach doesn't work for us, but they love books.

I can not stand reading aloud. I try and try. It is super hard for me. (Because I read quickly in my head. I can even write quicker than I can read aloud) So I gave up!

I read their books for their curriculum (MBTP), but for free reading we are using audio books now. My older son (he shares a bedroom with the 2 littles) asked if we could get a couple more grown up stories, but the audio books helped a lot. They beg to go to bed and listen to their stories.
See, I LOVE reading aloud. But we love audiobooks too. Nothing wrong with audiobooks!