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Question about educating my son in the best way


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I am brand new to the this group. I have read many books on educating my son who is 4.5 yrs old. I am trying to Catholic homeschoool him. I am brand new to homeschooling and this is my only child.


Here is where he and I are at and what I think we need to do but I would like some encouragement and direction as well please.


My son is a busy little boy, rather hyper but very good little boy. My joy.


I don't want to make him hate learning and I've read Raising Cain protecting the emotional lives of our boys and Better late than early and part of The Well-Trained Mind and part of Creating your own Curriculum by Laura Berquist and mary Prides Homeschooling book and quite a few books on discipline and general raising of children book. My favorite discipline book so far is Love andLogic for the early years. ANy one have a better one? I love it. I have the DVD too. Very good stuff!


Well back to what I was talking about. I feel like I'm in a fish bowl and hope that what I am doing is right. I don't want to turn off my son from learning so read to him and let him play. I try to use good and great books from book lists and then when I discover a favorite author/topic I research that further and try to get more of the same, etc. I get books for his level for literature in history, math, literature for literature sake, art appreciation, music appreciation, science. My son loves science and then music the most. When we do music, art or history I add what food might have been eaten that period of time and what music might have been heard at that time or art or whatever it might have been and I am going to try to add to that the dance of that time too if convenient. Like I have a kiddie book on Christopher Columbus so I made a little bit of hard tack and after we feel how hard it is I will soak it in apple juice or water and then we'll see what is was like for them to eat it - yuck I imagine! For science I do science experiments with him and read to him like Magic School bus. Like we did the volcano and the pepper dispersion on top of water surface and the planets, etc. I love it and am learning/refreshing so much of my knowledge. But still I have no lesson plan. I don't know what others are doing. I feel like I might be missing something especially in religion but it is not my son's thing it seems yet at least. I see lots of curricula on the internet but I am bound and determined to NOT buy buy buy and then not use it. I want to spend my money with great wisdom and not throw it away. Any suggestions please? Thank you!

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Have you seen Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks? It talks about different approaches to homeschooling and which curricula contain elements of each approach. This really helped me.


Do you know what kind of approach you are looking to use? Classical? Charlotte Mason? Follow WTM suggestions?


As far as religion studies...(we're Lutheran) I just have them read a passage from the Bible every morning before school starts. It's free and having a noticeable impact...


Have you seen the links to the WTM curriculum (WWE, etc) on this site?

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Here's Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks.


If I had younger children, I would probably use curriculum from Serendipity (such as Along the Alphabet Path) - it's free curriculum, designed by Catholic homeschooling moms & is very gentle in its approach (inspired by both Charlotte Mason & Waldorf education). You might browse 4Real Learning for inspiration & to see how other moms are using the curriculum.

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I second the 4Real Learning forum, especially for your son's age. I still like the forum, but I definitely take less of a laid-back approach with my 4th- and 6th-graders than many of its members do.


The site owner, Elizabeth Foss, has a book, Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home, but it's out of print and the Amazon prices are silly high. You might find it elsewhere.


Similar book recs:


When Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper


For the Children's Sake Susan MacAuly


Karen Andreola has a couple of Charlotte Mason-inspired books that I like for younger students, although I don't think she has a clear idea of what is expected of college prep high school students.


Another book, The Catholic Homeschool Companion, is much longer and has more of the nitty-grityy info and details.


Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum: A Guide to Catholic Home Education[/i by Laura Berquist can be a helpful overview for beginners.


There are more (and newer) books, but these are the ones I'm familiar with. See what your library has, and look for some others used. I don't care for 'raggedy' books on my shelf, *g*, but one thing I will do when researching a subject is to buy several different cheap, used books (when I can't preview them at the library or bookstore). You can often get several books for under $20 this way. If any of them deserve a permanent spot on my shelf, I look for a better copy and either sell or give away the others.


You're taking a great approach and you're not missing anything. If a child of this age is active, surrounded by books and paper and pens, and doesn't get too much screen time, he is learning! As far as religion, I would simply work on learning a few prayers, taking him to church, and including some related picture books now and then. It doesn't need to be formal. The parishes around me have optional religion class for kinder; it isn't required until first grade (not required, but you need two years to make communion). My kids learned nothing the first year, as they already knew the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and that God loves them :D.


Enjoy these years! I'm so glad I did. With my kids now in 4th and 6th, I miss those carefree days, *sniff*. We still have lots of free time, but can't take off quite as many spontaneous days as we used to, darn it.

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Don't buy anything. Continue doing what you are doing.



Only...I will say buy good books that will continue to capture his interests. Ummm...how to say this....lots of moms here spend the $$$ on currics to tell them HOW to do what you ALREADY do! Bravo to you!!! Don't fix it if it ain't broke!



These things come to my mind -


Religion - have a time as a family to read the Bible and pray and discuss. It doesn't need to feel schoolish, esp at his age!


The skill subjects - handwriting, math and phonics - start slow and steady and know that it's not possible to teach everything you want your ds to learn without hitting a few bumps in the road. The bumps do not indicate failure and a child's resistence to doing school today does not always mean that he hates learning. My 6yo balks 3/5 days over doing his copywork (ummm, he'd rather play with his legos "duh")...yet he is VERY proud of his handwriting. It's like brushing teeth...:tongue_smilie:


Handwriting practice can be done in the sandbox...or with sidewalk chalk...or with fingerpaints. Math can be done in real life, but I really like the Cuisenaire Rods at that age too. Miquon math might be a good fit for you both. It's 99% PLAY with Cuisenaire Rods at that age for my dc, and easy to gradually build from there. The teacher's materials can probably be found cheap on the FSOT here...you want both the Lab Sheet Annotations and the First Grade Diary to see the intent of the author. These are worth your time to read even if you don't use the workbooks imHo!;)


Oh -you don't need lesson plans....and don't worry tooooooo much about what others are doing. Enjoy your ds and take lots of pictures!:D

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I just wanted to say welcome! And also share a lovely blog with you that I have enjoyed by a Catholic homeschooling Mom: http://wildflowersandmarbles.blogspot.com/

I don't know if you will find anything useful to you there, but I think she is very inspiring. It sounds like you are doing great--keep reading, studying, hanging out here, and you will learn a lot and gradually feel more confident in what your goals are/should be. :001_smile:

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Thank you all for your tips, advice and encouraging words. I am doing most if not all of your advice that is coupled with the advice to buy nothing else. I am trying to be very very wise on money. I don't want to through anything away. I love the way I am schooling my son but I feel that religion wise I could do better. See here is where I am at:

I was raised with a lot of comparisons and so I naturally compare even when I don't realize it and so maybe that is the nut of the problem. I believe that I was given the gift of faith early in life. My son who is 4.5 yrs old does not seem to show this gift. I am sad about that. I guess I want him to be me. That is sad. I feel like I have failed him or perhaps shutter, he has failed me or perhaps God is asking me to become more patient and stretch me.


I see where all of siblings and 99% of our cousins have lost the faith and I SOOOO don't want that for my dear son.

BTW I have gone to 4real and registered but I guess because it is a long weekend I have not received approval yet.


I do LOTS of things with him religion wise. Here is what I do:

I ask him to say a Our Father, Hail Mary, Angel of God or make up a prayer, his choice. He has to kneel and bless himself which he does in a monkey funny way oh well. I don't sweat it. Same thing at bed time. I say my morning and evening prayer too. We also pray when we see an ambulance or anything with flashing lights or a broken down car and bless ourselves when we pass a Catholic church. We go to mass every Sunday. I don't take him more than that because he says it is too long. He gets m&ms for good behavior at church and we try to sit near the front. I whisper to him that this is the1st story, 2nd story, the big story. Then after I receive communion I breathe on him and say 'breathe Jesus' and then I have him kneel and do a spiritual communion and say with me "Jesus I cannot receive you fully right now because I am too young I cannot wait to receive you fully'

The at Rosary time I have say 1 intention it can be I want this toy or thank you God or whatever. And he has to say 1 prayer it can be made up and that is it. We do the 'fun Rosary' where at each mystery he gets to pick a role and play it out like 5th joyful mystery we play hide and seek and he is Jesus and when he is found he says 'did you not know I had to be about my Father's business?' and then we do the chaplet of divine mercy. I don't expect him to do any prayers here but we/he acts our the stations of the cross where the 1st 4 hail mary beads, he is 'arrested' and then he carries his cross and then he falls down, etc. He likes the fun Rosary and fun chaplet but out side the few seconds it takes he is bored and runs wildly and shouts and says it takes too long. ANd tries to drown us out. At times the Rosary is when he is disciplined the most and put him on the naughty chair and then he misses the fun Rosary and he is disappointed. We also have the Rosary on cartoon video too. I know boys are different. When he was younger if I read him a religious book (which was not all the time) he would close it and say 'the end'


But the best of what we do is the plays. We did a play about St. Martin de Tours because he has as sword and breastplate and all - right up my son's alley and it was soooo much fun. I made hungarian goulash (he was born in what is now or was hungaria. We did a minie play about his life and it was soooo much fun and I filed it and scrapbooked it. My son was St. Martin. he of course cut the cloak etc etc but when it came to knocking down pagan temples we built up rocks and my husband pretended to be a pagan worshipping it and my son knocked it down. Then I made a newspaper tree and St. Martin, my son, knocked it down (St. martin was to stand underneath the pagan god-tree as it was being chopped down but instead it fell in the opposite direction just missing many pagans and so many converted) and so we did that. Tonight we are going to do St. Longinus. I using plastic wrap to hold a little bit of water and I;m going to tape to my husband's shirt and my son with his play sword with stab it and kneel down and say 'Truly this was the son of God.

and we did St. Nick day with gold coins in his shoe, etc. I have him hold a baby Jesus doll on Christmas morning and we sing Happy Birthday and I photograph it and scrapbooki it. We do advent andlent in a big big way so much that we are sorry to see it end. I use Catholic Cuisine a website and mosaic booklist for great religious books to add to the calendar (it has booklist by calendar really cool) and Maureen Whitman's For the Love of Literature (Charlotte Mason based catholic booklist) that covers math, art, music, science, history and it is broken down by age group, tons of fun and from there and my library (I am on a 1st name basis) I have found much much more.


But after all of this and there are other feast days that we do up like Our Lady of Guadalupe (my son is Juan Diego and i have the kiddie video and it really impressed him and I played Our Lady and my husband was the bishop, the uncle, and the mean guards) It makes it fun. I have a minny altar in our bedroom with statues, we use holy water, etc. etc.


But still I feel that I could do more. Perhaps the best I can do is teach him to stop whining so much. I read love and logic for early childhood, very very good! I have it on DVD (I think I'm more of an auditorial learner)


See when you have an only child you can do more for them and expect less and ask less of them. If he is not sick I have him help me do the laundry and sometimes the floor and definitely pick up his toys. ALthough we can tolerate more, if he is loud its not so bad becuase it is only 1 kid and i have serious hearing loss in 1 ear so I just kick up my voice a notch. Maybe I should be stricter but that is a work in progress. I saw where my husband who has no reading time really truly improved after watching part of the love and logic dvd. We have not sat down to watch all 2 hours of it. We need to complete that. It is very very good and helpful. There was a time when our son would sass us and he was barely 4 yrs old because we did sooo much for him. Now he is more respectful. Your thoughts. I enjoy doing all the things I do. I love doing the science experiments and adding food and music to historical kiddie books, etc. and esp. anything to do with religion I LOVE domestic church. In fact htere is a website called domestic-church.com or .org it is really really great and I do a lot of my things from there. I stil have my Christmas stuff up until Candlemas and then we'll take it down and walkaround the inside of the house with music and bless everyrooom with holy water. I love it. But I still feel like I could do more. Your thoughts please.

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How about singing the songs from church at home? I used to go to a Lutheran church and I asked the pastor if I could have a hymnal. I used it to sing litergical songs and hymns songs at home. My children learned the songs. Knowing the songs helped my children participate in service.


You could work on memorizing creeds, prayers and scripture.


You could read the Bible. My little ones enjoy the stories in Genesis. You can Google and find out what the Bible reading are going to be in church. You could read those at home and be prepared to read them in church.


My children like to follow along in their Bibles and hymnal during church service. Nevermind that my daughter can't read, she still likes that.

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There are some great guides out there for living the liturgical year as a family... the von Trapps have some, Inos Biffi has some, but of course I can't find the links right now.


As our religion "spine" we use the new St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism. It fits right in with a Classical model, for it's in question and answer format. We do approximately one lesson for every two weeks of school, adding in some hands-on activities like crafts, plays and other projects that have something to do with the subject of the lesson. I do require that they memorize the answers during the time we're on the lesson, but I haven't reinforced them after that. We read saint stories to correlate approximately with their feast days.


I don't know that my children have the gift of faith just yet, but I do know that they accept what we tell them as fact (for the most part). Any kid would get tired of reading a lot of the dumbed down religious-themed stuff that's out there, so we try to give them the meaty stuff and don't worry much about whether or not they fully understand it yet. Trite and sappy doesn't work with my kids. :)


The families that I know whose children really seem to have a good grasp of their faith are the ones that live it, day in and day out. It's just a part of daily life for them, not something that they fight about, not something their parents constantly push them about. They talk about issues at the dinner table, they discuss their favorite saints at lunch.


Hope that helps.

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