Homeschool Day Planning: Preschool & Kindergarten – Simply Convivial

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I have a 5-year-old daughter who is only barely beginning to learn phonics and blend. She’s currently on the second Bob Book. So she is beginning to read, but only just, and with much labor. My 3-year-old son sits in on the phonics lessons, and knows all the sounds we’ve learned so far as well as my daughter, so I’m getting a 2-for-1 deal on phonics time by having him sit next to me on the other side of the … Read More

Goals for the Upcoming School Year – Simply Convivial

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It is so tempting while planning for an upcoming school year that is still a few months away to get grandiose ideas about the possibilities. I am an optimist, and there’s nothing like the beginning of a calendar year or school year to fill me with unrealistic idealism. To keep my inner optimistic idealist at bay, I limited myself to 3 goals, 3 priorities, for this year. These aren’t SMART goals. They are still rather idealistic, but they are also … Read More

Low-Key Science, without lesson plans

posted in: homeschooler | 5

At the time of this writing, I have a 9yo, 7yo, 4yo, & 2yo. As with history, I believe science in the elementary years should be geared toward awareness and interest rather than the acquisition of a testable bank of particular knowledge or facts. So far this has served us well, mostly because I do have eager readers so far. Well, it’s served me well, anyway, because this way involves no preparation on my part, no supply lists, and no … Read More

Homeschooling Preschool & Kindergarten: Philosophy

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My third-born child just turned 5 and my fourth-born will be 3 next week. I am in my second round of pre-k now, and although I have a plan, it doesn’t resemble a conventional preschool or kindergarten scope and sequence or curriculum. I wrote awhile back about how teaching reading is like teaching walking or potty training. I don’t see content or even reading or math skills as the essence of the preschool and kindergarten years. I believe that the … Read More

Morning Time: Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real, Exhausting

posted in: homeschooler | 11

This is the fourth year we’ve done Circle Time. I’ve read before that school teachers take about three years to adapt and figure out the ropes, that, until they hit three years, they are still a “newbie.” And now that I’m in the fourth year of homeschooling, even though it’s been a year with a lot of flux and laxity, I do think the same is true with homeschooling. It takes a few years (of intentional working and experimenting!) to … Read More

Teaching a Child to Walk, to Use the Bathroom, and to Read

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My third-born child just turned 5 last week and my fourth-born will be 3 next month. I am in my second round of pre-k now, and although I have a plan, it doesn’t resemble a conventional preschool or kindergarten scope and sequence or curriculum. I liken the pre- and beginning-reading years to the pre- and beginning walking of an infant or pre- and beginning-potty training. If you wait, it will be easier. In three years, there will be no difference … Read More

Book Review: Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide – Simply Convivial

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Denise Eide’s Uncovering the Logic of English made it to the top of my to-be-read stack because I wanted to see what she had to say before I get started with real reading instruction for my newly-five-year-old daughter. Thankfully, my conclusion confirmed on every page was that the best thing to do was continue with TATRAS. TATRAS might not be as thorough in spelling rules as The Logic of English, but it teaches the big ones in the context of … Read More

We Want Open Doors

posted in: homeschooler | 1

Originally written in April 2010, near the end of our first first-grade year. Now we have finished the second first-grader’s year! If it is true that all real education is self-education, then this almost-complete year of “First Grade” has not been such a loss as the partial and skipped and missed check boxes on the lesson plans might lead one to believe. “Therefore, teaching, talk and tale, however lucid or fascinating, effect nothing until self-activity be set up; that is, … Read More

Homeschool Review: TATRAS Phonics Program

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My mom taught 6 of her children to read with Teach America to Read and Spell, and I have so far taught 2 with it. It is a simple and straight-forward “vertical” phonics method where you memorize all the sounds of each letter and letter combination (phonogram, like th) at one time. The program includes more phonograms than many other programs, resulting in there being far fewer words that “break the rules” of the system. The pages can seem intimidating … Read More

2011-2012 School Year: Overview – Simply Convivial

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Reposted from April 2011 We have five weeks left of the 2010-2011 school year, and the next year will be upon us soon, with our year-round schedule. I have purchased all the books, made a million lists, and things are finally starting to consolidate themselves into right piles and bins and charts. Third grade is a big leap. Honestly, what we will be doing won’t change drastically, but to my mind this is the year we make “real” all our … Read More

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