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I am a dad staying at home with two girls. My mind set has changed from “I want to home school my girls†to “I am going to home school my girlsâ€. Currently we learn through play. My oldest 3 ½ asks “if we can do school†everyday. So we draw or cut or make goo etc. The youngest 2 tags along for the ride and is learning also. I feel they are doing well as their knowledge surpasses that of their peers.

I plan to start really doing school at 4. I am not worried about being ridged with my girls I am worried about having the tools at hand to lead them. So if you could tell me what has worked for you and your 4 year old I would greatly appreciate it. You can help me with all topics i.e. reading, writing, math, history, Latin. I would really like to start introducing Latin as soon as possible. I just purchased The Well Trained Mind and will start on it today at nap time.

Thank you again for any help and encouragement you might give.

 

Ray

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Lots and lots of free play/unstructured play time. They are learning so much during free play. Lots of dress up and dolls/action figures worked well here for their imagination.

I read to my kids a lot. I like Five in a Row for preschool.

For Latin, if you want to start early, I'd get one of the CD's with Latin hymns on it and let them listen to it. With my kids, I focused on living languages when they were younger and started Latin when they were in elementary school because of the different ways of teaching those and the way the brain is wired.

Science: just get your kids outside a lot. Go on nature walks. Get a bird feeder. Cultivate a love of nature and a curiosity about things. I would advise against formal curriculum for science until elementary school.

When they begin to draw things that kind of look like letters, you can introduce them to writing.

I did not do a lot of history when they were little. When they were in elementary, we used Story of the World CD's and they loved them. All of my kids have a solid knowledge of history, but one has pretty much memorized those CD's and history is his favorite subject.

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At that age, I just suggest following her lead. She may not be ready for Latin or any other formal subject, even if you are. She may do umpteen math pages one day and not be in the mood to do any the next once it starts becoming a requirement. My dd started doing what we would all consider schoolwork when she was 3 and was reading at age 4, but it was all self-led and pulling me along. I learned the hard way with my son, also considered gifted, that pushing because he can doesn't mean he should. Just my personal opinion.

 

I say read aloud, read aloud, read aloud, play games, work with math manipulatives, etc. There is a tremendous amount of learning through playing. Welcome to homeschooling!

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First off, let me warn you that I didn't teach my kids Latin and I am long-winded about everything else to do with homeschooling young children. I taught them some Spanish, and that is it -- we didn't have enough money to buy an expensive lesson package and there were no outside classes available that were not even more expensive. Plus, my kids wanted to learn German and Italian. I wish I had taught them Latin, because there are a couple of good programs we could have afforded.

 

I second the motion for Five in a Row.

http://fiarhq.com/fiveinarow.info/index.html

 

I used it with my kids. All of us loved it, and the learned a lot. I got a lot of supplemental books from the library, some suggested by FIAR and some I found on my own. The message boards there were very helpful, too, and I got lots of ideas from them.

 

In addition, during grades 1-4, I used SOTW and the accompanying activity books. At the time I started using SOTW, the activity books weren't out yet, so I cobbled together my own using a the library and Amazon as resources, along with suggestions from this board. When the activity books came out, they were worth their weight in gold! I highly recommend them.

 

My DD has been in PS since 7th grade, and until 10th grade, she sailed through history because of what she learned from SOTW. I didn't expect her to remember so much for such a long time, that's for sure.

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/store/history-and-geography/story-of-the-world.html

 

I also recommend First Language Lessons. I bought a copy when it first came out, just to make sure my kids knew everything in the book.

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/store/language-arts.html

 

The rest of the Peace Hill Press offerings were published after my kids had aged out of them, so I am not familiar with them.

 

When my kids were 4 years old, some of them wanted to learn to read. I researched the topic and decided against teaching them until they were six. It doesn't matter why that was, mostly because I disagree with my original decision now, as long as the child is eager to learn to read as opposed to the parent pushing the child to do so. One of my children, in fact, had a developmental delay, and if I had tried to teach him to read that early, that would have been a mistake. That child, however, did not ask me to teach him to read until he was nearly 7. He is now a voracious reader. The child who most wanted to learn to read still brings up how I wouldn't teach him when he first asked me to at age 3. He is a teenager, and also a voracious reader, so he hasn't been hurt by my wrong, but well-meant decision at the time.

 

A series of workbooks called Explode the Code really helped my kids when they were learning to read. They loved these workbooks and I didn't have to sit with them while they did the work.

 

http://www.explodethecode.com/01_overview/

 

Two really great books to use for little ones, which mine enjoyed are:

 

Story of the Orchestra : Listen While You Learn About the Instruments, the Music and the Composers Who Wrote the Music!

 

http://www.amazon.com/Story-Orchestra-Listen-Instruments-Composers/dp/1579121489/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1291398659&sr=1-1

 

and

 

Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters

http://www.amazon.com/Discovering-Great-Artists-Hands--Children/dp/0935607099/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1291398715&sr=1-9

 

There are all sorts of age-appropriate books and even videos that are appropriate for this age to supplement art and music. I loved them, too!

 

For math at that age, I used all sorts of homemade things. Felt boards with cute objects cut out. M & M's. You name it. We counted everything as part of the normal course of life -- like when we walked upstairs, I counted each stair. Soon the children joined in and by golly, it wasn't long before they could count to 13!

 

I didn't start formal math studies until they turned 6, and I used Singapore Math. I supplemented that with little learn-to-tell time "clocks" and made sure they knew their math facts -- those, I could have taught earlier and I wish I had.

 

http://www.singaporemath.com/

 

Aside from that, I made sure the kids had high quality toys and plenty of materials with which to use their imaginations while playing (boxes, large swatches of fabric big enough to be long capes, art supplies, Playmobil, Duplos, big plastic dump trucks). The large (8' across) mud hole I let them dig in the back yard was very much used and appreciated by the kids for years. I did buy them $1 t-shirts and shorts at Salvation Army so they could be messy without me worrying about ruining expensive clothing. I let them use the hose to fill the mud hole if rain was insufficient. Another thing they liked was messy art took place outside in the summer. I bought store-brand Cool Whip and the little bottles of food coloring for outside art work, too. The hose cleaned everything up afterward.

 

I took them to children's museums, concerts for kids, science museums, the library ... they loved it all.

 

I read to them a lot. Age appropriate non-fiction was more than half of my selection. Watching The Magic School Bus videos really piqued their interest in science.

 

From the time the kids were 2, they baked with me. It was messy and fun. I used to make cookies and cupcakes and set out different colors of frosting, sprinkles, and implements so they could decorate them.

 

Fine motor skill development is important. I researched it and the kids did all sorts of fun things that developed these skills. Gross motor skills are important to -- I can't recall the title, but I did have a book about homeschooling PE.

 

I did not let my kids watch tv until they were 3 and then limited it to small doses of PBS or videos. I waited until they were 6 to introduce various educational computer games to them and severely limited their time on that, too. Basically, their intro to electronic equipment was phased in gradually because I did not want their imaginations, curiosity, and the wide scope of their interests to perish in the process.

 

I wish I could start homeschooling again with my kids (turn back the clock). There are some important things I would do differently -- like teach them Latin and be more vigorous about sticking with a routine and schedule.

Edited by RoughCollie
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I am a dad staying at home with two girls. My mind set has changed from “I want to home school my girls†to “I am going to home school my girlsâ€. Currently we learn through play. My oldest 3 ½ asks “if we can do school†everyday. So we draw or cut or make goo etc. The youngest 2 tags along for the ride and is learning also. I feel they are doing well as their knowledge surpasses that of their peers.

 

I plan to start really doing school at 4. I am not worried about being ridged with my girls I am worried about having the tools at hand to lead them. So if you could tell me what has worked for you and your 4 year old I would greatly appreciate it. You can help me with all topics i.e. reading, writing, math, history, Latin. I would really like to start introducing Latin as soon as possible. I just purchased The Well Trained Mind and will start on it today at nap time.

 

Thank you again for any help and encouragement you might give.

 

Ray

 

We did Montessori-style learning until my kids were in kindergarten. There are loads of great books on this subject.

 

Montessori Play and Learn

 

Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Preschool Years

I Can Do It!

 

Montessori Read and Write

 

Catalogs like Lakeshore Learning and Montessori n Such can give you a lot of ideas on how to put together activities, even if you don't order from them.

 

TWTM strongly suggests not starting Latin until they have a good grasp of English grammar, around third or fourth grade. Susan talks about this in some of her lectures as well (available on the Peace Hill Press site).

 

I agree with Rough Collie that it's good to follow a child's inclinations when it comes to learning to read. My eldest learned to read at four, because she was strongly motivated. My other kids were 6. They are all excellent readers now.

 

In K and first grade we used Learning Language Arts Through Literature; Sing, Spell, Read and Write; Horizons Math K and various Science in a Nutshell kits (adding Story of the World in first grade). I don't think heavy formal academics is useful in the early grades. I think it turns kids off of learning, but that's JMO.

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It sounds like you are doing *the* most important things...spending time with them and talking and doing together. If you did nothing else but these things until they were 6yo, they'd be in great shape.;) (So read TWTM and get excited, but relax at the same time.)

 

That said:

 

1st - buy LeapFrog Letter Factory. My dc watch *very little* TV, but LeapFrog Letter Factory is amazing. All of your dc will know their letters & sounds within a few viewings. That will make your job a lot easier.

 

Choose a curriculum for teaching them how to read. Spend 5min - 15min going slow and steady through the program daily. Frequent, consistent, and short and sweet lessons are most effective. (Ordinary Parent's Guide is probably the simplest program. I like Recipe for Reading and Happy Phonics.)

 

Teach them how to properly write the letters and numbers. Again, slow and steady lessons. You can use the fingerpaints and playdoh you have now to make a letter and trace over it with your finger to teach the strokes. I like mine to have the strokes down before asking them to write with pencil/paper. (Handwriting Without Tears is a popular program. I like the Kumon letter & number cards that are for use with dry-erase markers for printing, Cursive First for Cursive and reams of handwriting paper.)

 

Math - just start talking around the house in terms of math. There is no rush to do math workbooks. I highly recommend Miquon for early math. There are many things you can start now...especially letting your dc play with the Cuisenaire Rods (and beginning the journey of associating values to the rods) while you study the Teacher's materials. Check your library for Family Math and children's picture books aimed at teaching math.

 

Read aloud as much as humanly possible!!! (and then check out audio books from the library:001_smile:)

 

Give ample time and space for free play indoors and outdoors!!! Let them get dirty and make messes...and clean the messes up.

 

ETA: Latin - I wouldn't try Latin too early, except for maybe teaching them some catchy phrases. Carpe Diem.

Edited by 3blessingmom
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First of all- KUDOS to you for wanting to be home with your girls. They are very blessed their daddy loves them this much to be involved in their day to day activities and learning. Wow! You are unique.

 

I've been hs for 23 years (5 kids) and these are the things I'd recommend for starting out:

 

Teach Me Mommy - general, typical pre-school curriculum. Loved it. Loved it!!

http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Me-Mommy-Jill-Dunford/dp/0931151015/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1291402075&sr=1-1

 

Five in a Row- mentioned previously. Several volumes- literature based- unit study model- great message boards and wonderful author. Some of the books we read are our most cherished ones. Wished I'd had it with my olders.

 

Writing Road to Reading by Romalda Spaulding- phonics program - nothing compares to it. It's not real user friendly but there are several guides written to help with the day to day implementation. check out Wanda Sanseri's guide- I think it's the best: http://www.amazon.com/Spell-Write-Read-Foundational-Language/dp/1880045249/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1291402378&sr=1-1

 

Story of the World - by far, the best history curriculum for elementary. Activities galore to choose from, written in a story format. Love, love it.

 

There are loads of math books out there- for such young ones, keep it fun, use manipulatives ( I saved bread wrappers, bottle tops etc...for counting, place value, early multiplication etc. Mucho fun!)

 

For Latin at a young age, I highly recommend Latin for Children by Classic Academic Press. 3 levels. Wonderful.

 

Get on mailing lists for hs support groups for your community. Find out when the state convention is, leave the kids with Grandma, take your wife and GO! You will be glad you did. We went for 3 years before I actually started schooling my twins at 5. They were about 2 when I went to my 1st one.

Check out the local museums and libraries for kids programs. They're great- fun to do when you don't have lots of formal school time to work around in your schedule.

 

This board is a wealth of knowledge and support and I hope you'll enjoy it.

Blessings on you!

Edited by JVA
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When my son was 3 I bought some math manipulatives - base 10 blocks and fraction circles. He just played with them, but with that play, he made some connections as well. I think if I were doing it over, I'd have also gotten Cuisinaire rods and the Miquon workbooks - more just for play again.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest rebelpapa

Wow! Thanks so much for all this information. Like RayDad, I'm also a SAHD and have been for 3-1/2 years so far. My "big" girl is about to turn 4 in February and I figured it was about time to start some "real" school.

 

She currently goes to a Montessori school part-time, but I haven't been happy with a few things there. My wife and I have decided to go back to teaching her completely at home.

 

There is so much information it's hard to know where to start, but this thread seems like as good of a place as any. Thanks again.

 

We have another girl on the way. Due in March.

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Don't forget Starfall.com and Morestarfall.com--those are wonderful sites. Starfall.com is free and the other is $15 a year. They are fun and teach our kids a ton. My daughter who turned 3 in October knows all of her letter sounds because of it. :001_smile: There is math on Morestarfall.com and all kinds of stuff. Have fun!

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