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Foundation Education ~ Cultivating Curiosity

When we first started this delight directed gig, I wasn't sure how I was supposed to handle everything. (Should we learn a foreign language? What about art lessons? Grammar? Spelling?) So, I started making things up–making my own plan to bring the best of both worlds together. I wanted to give my son as much freedom as possible, but I also had a clear list of academic goals for him: reading, communication skills, and math. 

Here is how I balance the two seemingly conflicting ideas of delight driven learning and a foundation education. 

Getting Off the Conveyor Belt

At most schools, all students are taught the same skills at certain ages and stages– reading in kindergarten, subtraction facts in first grade, states & capitals in fifth grade, etc. The conveyor belt keeps moving along and different concepts are dumped at different times. Move and dump. Move and dump. Hopefully, a student grasps things at the right time, or things can start to go badly.

When your kids are at home, you can take them off the conveyor belt. I'm not worried about my kids learning what they "need" to learn when the state says they need to know it. State standards were determined by a group of professionals in some cold, dark room where children were nowhere to be found. Okay, so the room probably wasn't cold or dark, but you get the idea. The educators writing the state standards had good intentions, I'm sure. But they didn't know my kids; they weren't thinking of the two unique individuals living in my home when they penned core curriculum. 

But Aren't There Certain Things Kids Need to Know?

I say yes. Some say no, but I say yes. Reading. That's important. Do I force my kids to learn to read? Nope. I wait until they are asking me to teach them to read. 

Call me crazy, but I believe the way a child feels (unsuccessful, frustrated, anguished, terrible, fearful) when he learns to read can affect his attitude toward books for many years. I'd rather have a child learn to read at eight years old and love reading than a child who learns to read at five and hates it (for many years). 

Writing. That's important, too. My younger son hasn't started writing. He doesn't even know how to write his name (go ahead . . . GASP!). I refuse to push a preschooler or k'er to the breaking point because of societies ridiculous rules. Not gonna do it . . . so I've waited.

And guess what happened about two weeks ago? Simon asked me to teach him to "write, type, and spell." His exact words! He sees the value in written communication and why peple want to do it. He's motivated.

After my kids learn to read and write we move on to copywork, dictation, and editing. 

And Math? What About Math?

I use math curriculum. Yes, I do. I study my students. I start when they are ready, take breaks when needed, and help when they ask for it. I wait until something is mastered before continuing. Students must gain confidence; they should be able to work though a concept naturally before you progress to the next lesson. If you plow ahead, you will likely have an upset child during math time. It's okay to slow down, master concepts, and build confidence. (It's not a race.)

Are There Any Non-Negotiables?

Yes. Two things are on the daily-do list: memorization (scripture passages and poems) and read aloud time. I believe both are important for nurturing competent communicators.

Read aloud time is my secret weapon. If I am concerned that they need to know the life and times of George Washington Carver, I'll read a book about him. This usually stirs up some curiosity, but even if it doesn't, they've been introduced to this amazing historical character. You can fill in many a gap with read alouds. 

A Final Reminder:

Determine what academic subjects are {most} important to you.
Wait. Don't implement these subjects until they are ready.
And, if you can, wait until they are wanting.

The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter. And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network. 

4 Responses to Foundation Education ~ Cultivating Curiosity

  • Amy says:

    Awesome. Thanks for sharing.


  • Jocelyne says:

    I have really enjoyed your series. As you know we follow a very similar path here. I do have a couple questions for you though!

    One … Do you focus on one study at a time? Or are there times when you have multiple studies going on? I am trying to help Parker focus a bit more now that he is getting older. But he has this crazy desire to plan out six projects to work on at one time.

    Two … I’d love to know what a typical day of learning looks like in yourhome. How about even a typical week? How much time is spent at home vs. out?

    Three … How do you encourage project completion? Parker is great at starting things. Not so much at finishing. I’d love to help him complete projects without things feeling firced just to get it done.

  • Pingback: Questions & Answers ~ Cultivating Curiosity | Walking by the Way

  • My youngest, my son, turned 6 in November and he has only recently begun learning to read and to write. I waited until he wanted to and by the time he finally showed an interest he already knew so much just from observation!! He constantly surprises me. I only just bought some inexpensive workbooks for him to use, when he wants, because he wanted to “do school” and the math book is almost too easy because he already knows how to add! (Just because he learned it while playing.) I know people worry about getting a late start and behind behind if they wait.. but we’re not behind at all! We’re in the same place we’d be if we’d started earlier, except he’s having fun and wanting to do it! I’m totally all for waiting!

    Thank you so much for this series! It’s so encouraging!
    Amber @ Classic Housewife recently posted..Can I Have 5 Minutes of Your Time Please?My Profile

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