Homeschooling Challenges, Grade by Grade

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Now that another school year has come and gone, I wanted to bring up the subject of homeschooling once again. Today’s episode of “The Survival Mom Radio Hour” discusses how to decide if homeschooling is right for you and what are some of the challenges you might face.

You have all summer to think about it!

As I’ve thought about our 9 years of homeschooling, I have to admit that some ages and grades were easier than others. Here is what was true for me:

Kindergarten – 2nd grade

On one hand these grades were super easy because the material was so simple. I taught my kids to read using How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and sure enough, it worked. Our school days were super short, and I read a LOT to my kids. In fact, for the first several years of my daughter’s life, her favorite “toys” were books.

What made these grades a little complicated at times wasn’t my student, it was her younger brother. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with her going over a math lesson (we started out using Saxon Math) while my son climbed onto my chair and tried to sit on my shoulders. He was old enough to know he was missing out on something but too young for those school lessons himself.

I tried many, many different diversions to hold his attention during “school hours” but it was a struggle. Life became easier when he was doing real live school work himself.

In most families with a kindergartener, there’s a high likelihood of younger siblings. There are lots of creative ways of juggling all these little ones at once but my very extroverted son just wanted to be in the middle of things. Literally.

One other complicating factor was that I still had to read almost everything to my daughter. We didn’t use traditional textbooks, but still we had lots of reading in subjects like nature and history.

However, during these years “school” can be finished in just a couple of hours, leaving time for field trips, park days, and play dates. We included all of these in our schedule.

3rd – 5th Grades

Gradually, as my kids became more proficient readers, they began doing more and more lessons on their own. However, since we were using Ambleside Online, and it’s still our curriculum of choice, the book selections were very advanced.

In 4th grade we had Robinson Crusoe on our reading list. That is no easy book for a 10-year-old! We read it together and there were many times I had to stop and explain some of the archaic words and terminology. Still, it was a great book.

What this has developed in both my kids is a no-fear attitude when it comes to books of any genre or copyright date. My daughter thought nothing of reading Peter Pan or Oliver Twist. She has read plenty of twaddle but is more than willing and able to read any classic that might show up on a “Must Read” book list.

She’s 13 and recently finished Animal Farm. “I hate pigs now more than ever. Except when they’re bacon.”

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The Best of Lisa Bedford

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