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what noncore subject do you give up for another?

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I've been thinking about all the subjects that I felt were 100% important, before dd was really schoolage. As we're reaching the stage where I actually have to DO school :tongue_smilie:, I'm seeing just how much time that would take in a day. I'm also realizing that, while you could theoretically cover most things that are important to you, it would be more difficult to cover them all in-depth. That led me to the thought that some topics are just more INTERESTING to me, and therefore feel more important (e.g. art history versus music history, or whatever). It made me wonder how many people emphasize certain noncore subjects for essentially personal reasons, and are just at peace that some other subjects won't be covered as well. On a related note, I am fascinated by the idea that a homeschooled student could have an extensive knowledge that rivaled most adults' of almost any given subject, if the parent made that subject a priority.


For instance, I think a person could argue that learning two foreign languages is a better use of time and energy than learning one language and studying music history in-depth. Another person might make the opposite claim. It's all so subjective.


So, what noncore subject/s do you heavily focus on, more than the average person might, and what (if anything) did you give up to do it? I'm just interested because it's, well, interesting. ;)

Edited by RaeAnne
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I think that as teachers we have to teach what we have a passion for. I would not teach as effectively otherwise, and I might even burn out. My "bias" even carries into core subjects like history -- I definitely focus more on the history of Western civilization than any other. I skip chapters from other cultures in SOTW without a second thought. That's not to say I don't teach any at all, but if I had to estimate a percent of the total time they're taught (including extra activities, supplemental reading, etc.), it'd probably be somewhere around 20% non-Western. I just think that with the huge swaths of history that could be taught, depth is better than breadth. It makes sense to me that we should mostly study how the current society we live in came to be by tracing its roots to ancient Greece, etc.


When it comes to non-core subjects in general, my inclination is to put the things that are of secondary importance to me on the backburner and not address them until the logic stage (fifth grade). My thinking is that even with a bright child and excellent curriculum, the kid will forget a bunch of what is being taught in the early grades. So I focus on skills that will be built upon so they're less likely to be forgotten (foreign language, an instrument, etc.). Subjects like art history (or even just art -- at least, in terms of formal instruction) can wait.

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So, what noncore subject/s do you heavily focus on, more than the average person might, and what (if anything) did you give up to do it?


At your dd's age (I see KinderBach, which leads me to think she's quite young), we focused less on table work, having fun and enjoying learning. It was important to me that my kids continued to learn to entertain themselves.


As they got older, we brought in fun under the guise of subjects: art/art history, music appreciation, science.


As they've gotten older, it's self-directed. I've created a couple of high school courses for dd based on her interests, or how she spent significant time during her school year (yes, I created a class after the fact).


We've taken advantage of the extra time being home provides, to build up our family and not focus so much on academia.


By the way, RaeAnne, I love your name!

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It can't all be done. And I found that, for us, we did better by spending our time focusing on a few things and taking advantage of opportunities that come up.


So, my kids do music lessons and art lessons. However, art history and music history occur more infrequently. We go to museums. We listen to a variety of music. But, practicing the instrument has priority over in-depth music history/classical/folk music study. If I didn't have lessons available, we would do more of the other.


Handicrafts don't get weekly coverage. But the girls stayed with grandma for a week, last summer, and she taught them to sew a bit. The time before that, she got out her pottery wheel and taught them to throw pots.


We don't do scheduled "homemaking" lessons, but the girls like to cook breakfast items (eggs, muffins, pancakes, biscuits.) 8 year old has progressed to following a simple recipe all on her own and making it, with me just generally supervising safety issues. There is a nearby place that does cooking/cake decorating/etc... camps in the summer. I'm keeping that in mind for next summer for my older dd, who LOVES watching cake and candy tv shows.


So for me, the "non-core" subjects get covered as a function of my talent and interest AND the availability of outside classes/resources. But, I aim for them to always be learning "something" new.


ETA: We do the same for sports. One sport at a time, during the year (soccer! :).) But, summer day camps are a great way to try different ones without a huge time/money commitment.

Edited by snickelfritz
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what qualifies as core?


In my house that would be math, science, history, English/language arts, one foreign language and PE. I'd like my dc to learn about art and music, a second foreign language, computer programming. While we homeschooled we always kept up 2 foreign languages. We swapped out art and music programs as they fit with our family schedule and finances. My older 2 have taken art lessons, oldest took 3 years of drums and 1 year of guitar, dd took guitar and joined a rather serious choir--we did these things at different times when it made sense.


A side note: I would include art history and music history in history, it takes a little planning, but it worked for me. YMMV


It's really up to your family. You decide the core. You can decide that something is a core subject in your house, when it would be fluff to someone else. You decide how much choice you will permit your dc in noncore subjects.

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Early on, my husband told me, "She doesn't have to have every educational experience before she's six.";) When we started, I was ready to head to every educational opportunity within a 30 mile radius, every field trip, use every resource for fear she would miss something (which would, then, of course mean to me that I had "failed" her and she might as well be in public school:001_rolleyes:). Finally I realized that every person (child or adult) has gaps in knowledge regardless of the educational approach.


What's core can also change somewhat over time. We have always focused on the basics of math and reading. For us, history is core, but, like a PP, I modified the way we did SOTW. I glossed over some of the Biblical history focus, since it was a bit out of balance for our needs to have cultural literacy in that aspect, and beefed up other areas. I have given a heavy emphasis to Greek and Roman mythology on an ongoing basis because it's important to us.We spent a lot of time on the field trips accessible to us in elementary. We still do a lot of field trips, but now I am more particular about the need for them to be relevant to what we are studying at the time if possible. Foreign language took a back burner until recently (5th-6th grade) because our early efforts lead to frustration, but has now become a core course.


We ended up dropping the idea of music lessons because her passion was art. We instead have leaned toward music history and music appreciation (listening to Classical Kids cds in the car at a young age, later attending opera, exposure to a wide variety of musical styles, etc).We also put a high priority on things like park days with our homeschool group, as I considered that unstructured social time to be extremely important in the elementary years. We still go, but carve out more academic time on those days so sometimes get there later than we once would have. I do have to admit that it was hardest to give up those non-core things that I loved but that she had no interest in or aptitude for----music, handcrafts, certain kinds of hands-on projects, etc. I'm learning (after 6 years :)) that it's actually her education, not mine and I need to take that into account.


We definitely bypassed sports that were very competitive or team-based in favor of individual (PE classes, aikido, may add fencing next semester), though we did two seasons of neighborhood swim team. I am not willing to dedicate the amount of my life it would require to participate in teams or a sport that required huge amounts of travel/time/money. I'd rather save that money for art lessons, science competition, foreign language classes, etc and that time for family.


I also realized that the depth comes over time. I once read a comparison of education to the formation of a pearl. It's not acquired all at once, but thin layer by thin layer, not glopped on with a trowel as I was initially trying to do:001_smile:. I have to admit it's helpful, on challenging days, to think that I'm continuing to coat my irritating particle with another thin layer of civilization and education;).

Edited by KarenNC
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what qualifies as core?


I assumed math, English, science, and history. I assumed nobody would not teach math because they felt history was more important, but I could be wrong. :tongue_smilie:


What's core can also change somewhat over time.


Good point (although I mean in reference to noncore subjects).


It varies for each child here.


I think it's awesome that your children were each able to pursue their passions. This is what I hope for, as well.


I didn't really have a motive for this thread, other than to hear what other people do because I think it's interesting. :001_smile:

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