Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What else to give them?

Dh and I were discussing this morning how middle class college students generally have received so many material benefits growing up in the USA. He asked as he left for work what they will want to give their children "to give them what they didn't have growing up"? My immediate response was "homeschooling"! Once we've made sure children have food, shelter, health care, clothes and toys (I think American children are usually inundated with toys these days), what's left? A good education and time with parents. Put those together, and what do you have? Education by mom or dad. Happily, with the internet and the public library, even lower economic class families can give their children good educations once their basic material needs are met. How equalizing!

Because we can't afford private school, homeschooling is the only way for me to give my children a really good education, not just one that makes them "proficient" in "standards". If my children reach 18 without reading some Plato, learning calculus, or being able to write essays in a couple of languages, then I haven't given them an education even as good as mine was. Based on the results I see from non-charter public schools, there is no way for the current public school system to give my children this education, so I am grateful every day for the freedom to homeschool.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Homeschool update

Dd6 just finished Chapter 11 (out of 21) of her first grade math book. She and I have less than 20 pages of Reading with Phonics left to go through with each other. Her writing is slowly getting better, she is pronouncing her r's better, and we have started reading a little in the scriptures each day. With the help of a $1 workbook from Target, we have learned about several countries (e.g., Kenya, Ireland, Australia, Egypt, Israel, France, China, etc.)

We started reading Volume 1 of Story of the World, putting a lot of focus on Egypt since we were planning a trip to the King Tut exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. Now that we've seen the exhibit, we should be moving on to Mesopotamian cultures, but I've hesitated to do so because dd6's class at her charter school (she attends about 7 hours a week) is currently studying ancient Egypt. It seems best to let her knowledge of ancient Egypt get reinforced at school for now. We can always cover Babylon later.

Speaking of school, she now attends Saturday School in German. It's only three hours and costs us, but it's worth it: she is finally starting to speak in German.

Our big task for the next week or two is to memorize addition facts up to 12+12 in order to prepare for math Chapter 12: Double Digit Addition. I looked at several different toys, games, and programs to help her learn her addition facts. In the end, I bought a set of addition flashcards ("Princess" cards because she likes them) from the dollar store and told her I'll give her five dollars to spend at the dollar store however she wants once she has all the addition facts memorized. She has a very good memory, so I don't think I'm expecting too much of her. She's already put in around an hour going over the flashcards by herself. I look forward to her reaching her goal of memorizing them all.