What a weekend we have had!!
First, the best part in my opinion, was running up to the Metroplex for the Arlington Homeschool Book Fair! My oldest boy (old enough to volunteer) went up, spent the night at a friends’, and had a blast!! We made it to a movie (Soul Surfer), we took a picnic each day (stuck to our “No Eating Out in 2011” commitment), and we saw so many of our friends it felt a little like a reunion!!
Upon arriving I saw a familiar face pull in the parking space behind me. But our past 2 years has been so crazy I could not figure out from where I knew this face! Well, Melissa sweetly reminded me where we knew each other from, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear she was thinking about homeschooling her son next year! Always exciting to see a “new” or “potential” homeschool mom!!
So we talked a few minutes, I gave her MY advice :
1. More is not better
2. For Kindergarten – you do not need ANYTHING
3. Do not be overwhelmed
Little did I know, I would be repeating those words a couple more times to other friends who are new to homeschooling!! So excited about my Mansfield/Arlington friends taking the plunge this year – and a few more in Irving as well!!
So, later as I walked through the convention center, I bumped into Melissa and she seemed like she was doing just fine and thanked me for my warnings! It seems that they helped her keep her mind and not get overwhelmed!
So, as I look back to where I was (a mere 5 or so years ago) I wish someone had told me these words: (and I should say, a few did say some of these things)
Kindergarten is a joke – read to your kids and they will be above the average Kindergartener!
Read all the time, as much as you can
Start talking about character traits as early as you talk about anything
Do not buy ANY curriculum unless a friend will vouch for what the vendor says!! (and even then weigh whether you agree with that friend and their values)
Read to your kids – all the time – about everything
Do not rush into anything – writing, spelling, grammar – the longer you wait the easier it is!! (Charlotte Mason said this, I lived it – it is true – if you don’t trust me or her – look up our founding fathers – most did not start any kind of education until 8 or 9)
You can teach math by playing, sorting, counting, singing, playing, playing, and playing – do those things until they are at least 6 – then math will come easy too! (as learned by watching Kristen, and by experience by #3 for me)
Read all the time – did I mention that yet?? **
I wish someone pulled me aside and told me about the gentle CM approach. I think my kids would have found this happy school system much better than the 2 years we spent dabbling with this and that and with our noses in workbooks! We managed with our 2 years of work books and such, but MAN!! We love CM – we love Ambleside!! We honestly love learning this way!! And, we love being done with school and free to play SO MUCH of the day!
I love that when I read ANY book to ANY child – they all show up. Doesn’t matter if it is a princess book for my princess, my boys listen! They love to listen to my husband and I read to them.
So, after 2 days of book shopping & browsing, catching up with friends, listening to great speakers, I am worn out!! So much to sort through, so much to prepare for next year, so much! But, I am encouraged. I am inspired! And I am ready to tackle it all!!
Most of all I am thrilled to see so many friends join this homeschool journey! I love to share what I love about it and see where they go with their choices! I am so excited to see God moving in families to bring them home, drawing them closer together! I believe with all my heart these children are being called home to school for a purpose and only time will tell what that purpose is! Exciting!!
** Note : there are some great books out there to help you figure out what to read! Honey for a Child’s Heart, Read for the Heart, and Books Children Love – these are all great resources to help you find the best books (no matter the ages of your children) to read to your children!! Hope that helps!
|Books Children Love: A Guide to the Best Children's Literature|
|Honey for a Child's Heart|
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Read for the Heart: Whole Books for WholeHearted Families