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purplejackmama

Do you find it odd?

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Yes, you CAN screw up K-3. If you're not intentional about creating a rich environment, intentional about teaching numbers, intentional about finding the right educational videos that your kid likes and then turning it on, intentional about giving a correct answer when your child brings you a leaf and asks "what is this?" This stuff may be blindingly obvious to you, but other people need specific help to implement them.

 

I'm sorry you feel like you aren't being heard. But this snippet, and really your whole post, make it sound like you put an inordinate amount of pressure on yourself, and honestly, truly, I don't think most people do that or feel like they have to. I never worried that I had the right answer to all my kids' questions or the right books or videos. The only thing I was super intentional about was keeping my kids away from cruddy books (think Junie B. Jones, although I realize lots of people have varying opinions on what constitutes cruddy). I found a group of friends who planned to homeschool and then ... we just lived our lives. I didn't even do K with my daughter. We had just adopted my oldest, who was 11, and there was too much going on to "do school" with my K-aged daughter. I started her in first grade, and I don't regret it. The one thing I do regret is allowing my K-aged son to tag along for first grade. I didn't know it then, but he has dyslexia and some other processing disorders, and I wish I would have waited longer with him. I honestly wish I would have waited until he was seven to start academics with him! I think the extra maturity would have reduced frustration. He wasn't frustrated when he was very young, but by the time he was 8 I felt like he "should have" been at a certain level based on how long we had schooled, and he and I were both frustrated that he wasn't there. It took me a few years to realize I just needed to scale back and change method with him. Now he's in 7th and things are going much better.

 

I tell you all this so that you can see that really, truly, there isn't "a right way" that will work for everyone, and even when you think you're doing the best, it may turn out that you wish things had gone differently. That's just part of life. If someone asks me for advice, I can't give them advice outside my sphere of experience. I couldn't ever give advice on a K-4 program or how to be really intentional about reading books to kids because, although I read my kids a ton of books, we just picked what looked interesting off the library shelves. We can only talk about what we did and how it did (or didn't) work. If you are looking for people to give you a detailed curriculum plan for a K child, down to exactly what books to read and how to describe a leaf, I think you will find those people few and far between, because I don't think (in my experience, at least) most people do it that way. Most people are more relaxed when their kids are young, and it works for them (and their kids).

 

If pressed for the above advice, the best I could offer is "There are tons of booklists online. Just google for something you think looks good." If someone wanted a K math curriculum they felt was rigorous and had lots of worksheets, I'd be at a loss and probably say something like, "I really don't think you need to push rigorous math in K." Again, my experience is that it wasn't necessary, and I've been around enough homeschoolers in my 9 years of homeschooling to witness that driving hard in the younger years often (not always) has negative effects on older kids. I have to be honest about my experiences and observations. I can't just humor people.

 

I'm very sorry that you feel like you screwed things up with your kid. I'd imagine that you are being harsher on yourself than necessary. 

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I've found some helpful tips about getting homeschooling done from moms with only littles. The best scheduling tips I've used came from moms with kids the same ages as mine. They are in the trenches, had a light bulb moment, shared it on their blog, and helped me out. I didn't get much help from "older" moms who wrote books on managing homeschooling and homemaking for large families, because those moms had been getting help from their older kids for so long that they forgot what it was like to have no kids over the age of seven. I like to listen homeschool moms at different stages of their journey, because often their light bulb moments are just what I needed to know. I don't think anyone should feel discouraged from sharing what they've found is working.

 

That said, I do give more weight to the opinions of people who have been homeschooled and to those who teach college students, and who actually study education and teaching. Just a personal preference. If they had six kids in six years like I did, I would probably pay them to talk to me. Haha

This really resonates with me. I always looked to and continue to look to moms who are in the same stage of homeschooling that I am because they tend to have the most relevant info for me. Likewise, I used to be a great resource for getting info about elementary and middle school programs because I loved to research different options and used a lot of things that I was very happy with. I couldn't/wouldn't tell someone that they must use a certain program, but I knew enough about what was out there to be able to hold a helpful discussion.

 

Now, in high school, I outsource so much that, sadly, I don't have much to contribute to others that are in this stage unless they want a review of an online class one of my kids is taking, and I haven't kept up with the latest and greatest offerings for the younger grades.

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I'm so confused by some of these posts.  They don't seem to have anything to do with the OP - which happens, yes, but there doesn't seem to be any connection.  It's as if the experienced homeschoolers are being held responsible for new homeschoolers who don't know basics about parenting.

 

You're not listening to Abba12 and I at all.

 

If that's what you're telling newbies, then it's obvious to me why they don't listen. You seem to think doing those things is easy and obvious. It's not, not to everyone. Teach them to read, teach them math, teach them about trees? How, pray tell, does one do that?  

 

Play with Grandma? Wow, my time with my grandmother consisted mostly of watching developmentally inappropriate and unethical episodes of Rosanne. She certainly never thought of playing games, or reading books, or singing nursery songs, or anything else like that.

 

Read to them? Read what? The only picture books I remembered as a kid were Dr Suess, and I didn't much care for them, and neither did my kid. Picking random picture books from the library didn't work either. I need specific recommendations, a booklist.

 

Yes, you CAN screw up K-3. If you're not intentional about creating a rich environment, intentional about teaching numbers, intentional about finding the right educational videos that your kid likes and then turning it on, intentional about giving a correct answer when your child brings you a leaf and asks "what is this?" This stuff may be blindingly obvious to you, but other people need specific help to implement them.

 

I wasn't planning on homeschooling my own kids. There was a time when the oldest went to preschool (which he absolutely loved), then we moved, and he didn't have a preschool option. I should have done the games, the books, the cooking, etc. But I didn't know how. There were vague notions of literacy, language development, motor skills, and so on floating around my head, but I had no idea how to implement those ideas between the hours of 9am-12pm on a Tuesday. So we were lazy, really lazy, and the kid picked up some really bad mental and motor habits which I'm still trying to overcome and which are now really holding him back.

 

Your life, and your family, is not the same as everyone else's. After learning about the value of poetry (from SWB and others) I had to teach myself a few nursery songs so I could sing them to the baby. This is not something that I grew up with, this is not something I did naturally, I needed to be told about it, very specifically, and told the reasoning for it, and then learn how to do it myself. Vagueness about reading books and watching educational television is just utterly useless if you have no idea about what that means, specifically. So yes, I see why newbies want to know "what exactly did you do" and drop money on a complete k4 curriculum which lays it all out for them when they don't get an answer. Dismissing them with "oh, dearie, you're so wrong, you just wait and see" either reinforces how much they need to make up for, or convinces them that being lazy is okay. 

 

This reminds me of a thread from a year or so ago, where we discussed a blog post about "All the ways kids learn without school" or something like that. The author described the book nook with Sir Circumference and classic lit picture books, the art table, the tricked out jungle-gym in the backyard, the manipulatives, and so on, and then how great it was that her 5yo could learn without "school." Lol. Yeah, in that environment, sure. Too bad when my kid was five I didn't know about any of those things (or had the funds and resources to set it up if I did) nor how to use them. There was also the problem (huge problem, imo) that the blogger didn't state that her kids were 5 and under, and didn't leave room for people to think that her advice would be different if her kids were 10 and over.

 

"Just let them play" is fine advice if it is heard by people who already provide an enriched environment and are actively involved in doing things with their kids. But for other people, it's a recipe for understimulation, boredom, and laziness. Can you differentiate between these types of people when you give your advice? Or do you just assume that everyone is like you?

 
Look, I didn't have a clue how to be a parent when I had kids.  My parents were very neglectful and spent almost 0 time with me.  I didn't know how to even just *be* with my kids, let alone interract with books or toys or teach them anything remotely academic.  But that doesn't have anything to do with homeschooling - it is a problem no matter how your children are schooled.  I was able to recognize that I was lacking skills & sought out people to help me learn them - mainly through the MOPS group at my church & some good friends with kids 5+ years older than mine.  I agree that that information is CRITICAL to get if you don't have it.  It is nothing short of neglect IMO if you don't.  
 
But how is anyone to know that THAT is the information you need when you ask about homeschooling elementary?  It has finally come out in this thread, that THAT basic parenting skills is really what you are wanting - but why should that be assumed?  It isn't "homeschooling", even though it is probably not possible to homeschool without it.
 

Okay, pushing early didn't work out with your kid the way you did it. I understand, I do. But for me to do anything with that information I need to know, as I said before, the why's and the but's. Otherwise, it's just about you and your own kid. Simply taking the attitude of "oh, you just wait and see how wrong you are" is rude and patronizing.

 

I'm especially bothered by this because when I was a teen my mother and I had a very poor relationship. Whenever I tried to talk about it to "trusted adults" I usually got the line "Haha, every teen girl doesn't like her mother, when you're thirty you'll just see that your mom was right and you were wrong." Maybe that's generally true, but for me it is not. Now that I'm past thirty I see how incredibly wrong my mother was (and I'm not alone in seeing that, and she herself has mentioned that "maybe she was too hard on us." Yeah, that's putting it mildly). So I have absolutely no trust in the "experience will teach you" line, since I've seen it used to dismiss very real problems. 

 

For the record, I don't see much "don't burn out your kids" talk. What I see (not so much on here, but especially on facebook, which has even more disattached discussions) is "oh, you're pulling your bored 2nd grader? Just bake cookies!" Why is the 2nd grader bored? Why cookies? When should you do more than make cookies? How about the rest of the day, should he just watch minecraft videos? It's bizarre. Are the people saying this going to look that person up again in a year or two, and ask about how their kid's education is progressing? Or is the asker supposed to divine that the answers they get are only temporary and representative of an overarching methodology?

 

Maybe I'm totally on the wrong homeschool FB groups, but the advice I see there is sometimes very frightening to me.

 

I understand and agree with much of what you're saying here - in all your posts.  But the big disagreement I have is that you're placing the responsibility at the feet of veteran homeschoolers - it isn't their responsibility to figure out if you are a decent parent.  If you are asking about homeschooling advice but it turns out you really need parenting advice, that isn't the advice-giver's fault.  I get that you often don't know what you don't know, but it doesn't make it someone else's job to figure out.  I think it's safe to say that shutting down the conversation from either end probably isn't a great idea.

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You're not listening to Abba12 and I at all.

 

If that's what you're telling newbies, then it's obvious to me why they don't listen. You seem to think doing those things is easy and obvious. It's not, not to everyone. Teach them to read, teach them math, teach them about trees? How, pray tell, does one do that?

 

I do not presume everyone is like me. Because I was a lot like you when I started out. My children have almost zero contact with my side of the family. Dh is an only child whose parents have contact with us roughly 4-6 times a year, mostly holidays with polite conversation.

 

I did not grow up in the so called typical pop culture. There were no bedtime stories in my home, no Disney movies, or sports and music or art lessons for me. No Christmas plays. Not very many toys. Heck. I didn't have a bed until around 4th grade. Just a pallet on the floor. My parents were very uneducated in a socioeconomic cultural and academic sense as neither of them had higher than an 8th grade education. Which I highly suspect is the reason that although I went to what was then considered the rich kid school district, I was mostly written off by my educators. Which was fine by me at the time as long as I had free access to their library.

 

That said... What you are referencing is NOT about education per se.

 

It's about deciding what kind of family environment you want to create in your home.

 

My children have always had bedtime stories. Bc I had in my mind that idyllic standard way before I started home schooling.

 

I am a book nut, so my home, even that tiny 1000 sq ft with 10 of us house, has always had at least one large bookcase with at least one shelf of books for the kids.

 

Due to finance and circumstance, I had to insist my kids play outside a lot and if they couldn't do it in my backyard, we had to go to parks and zoos. Turns out though it seemed a pitb at the time, it was the best thing for them. Same goes for not having the money to buy a lot of baby containers or the space to put them and not being able to stand hearing a baby cry. Turns out those fancy child psychology books in college say holding your young ones a lot and keeping them within eye sight while also letting them freely explore is considered a really smart thing to do. There I was doing it because I can't stand the sound of crying babies and didn't have the space/$ for playpen and such. So I either held them or layed them in the floor. That's it.

 

There's some things I would do different with my young older ones that I do in fact do differently with their younger siblings.

 

I never made time for art. I didn't think it was all that important. Now I view it as more foundational than phonics and math. Rarely does a day go by without some kind of art lesson or activity.

 

Buying a set of Wee Sing books and CDs was a great investment with my preschoolers. All those old hand miming songs and nursery rhymes I never learned.

 

They NEED to go play outside every day possible. In the summer, I wake up early and we have outside time until lunch. By then they are ready sit down and it's too hot to play outside anyways.

In the winter, we get the school stuff done in the morning and then play outside during the warmest part of the day. Let them play in a downpour of rain. At least once. It's like a surprise snow day. They will remember those days all their lives.

 

I sat them down for too long and too intensely. It wasn't the doing of the maths and writing. It was how I did it. Now my rule of thumb is to always ALWAYS leave them wanting more. We will eagerly sit down for school work and I will do just enough that they are bright eyed and stop right before I think they are about ready to be done. Yes. I have actually refused to do another page of school work with my kids. Always leave them wanting more.

 

Incorporating traditions is hard when you don't grow up with them. But try. If you are religious, get involved in your faith community. If you aren't, you'll have to figure out something else. Traditions are a lot of work, but they also build community connections and memories. The best ones are NOT the Martha Stewart level of effort, so don't let those bloggers or whatever keep you from doing something. Our gingerbread houses don't look like Disney castle replicas and yet it's a highlight of our holidays.

 

So there. I'm not saying don't sweat it. Of course we all sweat parenting. I'm saying people are sweating the wrong things.

 

Potty training? Don't care. I don't do it. And yet all of my children have figured out the toilet and underwear.

 

Teaching reading? Don't care. There's a number of programs out there. If they are ready it clicks. If it doesn't click by age 9, I get concerned. That's right. Age 9. You cannot tell by age 11 which of my kids were fluent readers at age 4 and which were not fluent until almost age 10. It's not about smarts. It's just about development. (And there are LOTS of people who disagree with me and I don't care. My kids are fine and if they weren't I'd seek help for them.) And it's had zero baring on their college prospects.

 

House a mess. Well fix that if it bothers you. And if it bothers you enough, I suspect you will figure it out and if it doesn't then I question how bothered you really are by it.

 

Yes, you can screw up the younger years. But it's a lot harder than people think. And it is not permanent. You can adjust at any time. There is some debate about closing windows of development, but there's no argument that it is not a definitive line in the sand where oh my god they are 10 or whatever now so you are just screwed and there's no way to make up for it.

 

Accept you will not do it all. When people ask me how I do it all, I tell them I don't and have no desire to do so. And that's the truth.

 

Sleep when you can. Eat as best you can. Greet the day with as much enthusiasm as you can muster. Enthusiasm teaches more than any curriculum will. I do recommend some curriculum for k-3 on my blog though.

 

I do listen to my older kids about their opinions of home schooling. They will tell me I need to do or not do this or that with their younger siblings. I do not discard it out of hand. But I do make note that they might not be at a place to see my reasoning. More often than not, my older kids comment that my younger kids have it way better than they did and are a bit jealous of that. I just tell them I'm sorry but they were the only Guinea pigs I had to learn from and did the best I could.

 

Disclaimer: All references to 'you' refer to the general public at large. I am not an expert, nor do I ever want to play one in any media format. These are the opinions based on personal experience of me, myself, and I. Take what works and leave the rest. Typos are likely the result of lack of proper coffee consumption and the fact that a 4 yr old and a rabbit are playing together under the electric blanket draped over my feet and the leg rest of the recliner. He is adorably distracting. He and the rabbit are in a cave in the woods under my chair and he is having quite the cute dialog. He will do no reading or math today. We might color and cut and paste for about 20 minutes. Eventually. Maybe.

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It also can be that "let them play" means-sure, go ahead and teach, but recognize that if a 5 yr old isn't enjoying it, they aren't learning. As a music person, I was inspired greatly by Suzuki, where even kids at age 3-4 practice several times a day, but largely see it as playing with their parent. When I pulled my bored, frustrated kid from kindergarten at age 5, she woke me up, math book in hand, ready to start playing school at 6:15 the next morning. She wanted to go to school and do school. She just wanted the school in Magic School Bus books.

 

I don't think she realized that it wasn't 100% play until she reached about 4th grade content :). From her point of view, she had mommy to herself for hours to "play school" every day. Usually accompanied by a bunch of stuffed animals and dolls.

 

Even now, she started a new unit yesterday-one based on a college 4000 level Entomology class. She spent most of the day finding dead bugs in the spider webs on the porch (and, incidentally, knocking them down and cleaning for me :) ), sketching them with the help of a magnifying glass and microscope, and using dichotomous keys to identify them and place them in appropriate groups. From her POV, that's playing. From my point of view, it's going on the transcript as part of a Zoology credit.

 

Let them play doesn't mean don't do academics-it means being aware that play is the child's work, and that if you can structure academics so a child can play, they learn more.

 

And I do think it's really easy for all that intentional stuff to blur into the background when you look back and remember the fun, while forgetting just how intentional the learning was. Especially when you get to the stage where it is much, much harder to play.

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I read through this thread earlier and have been thinking about who I listen to. I have found that there are certain women on here (I rarely read blogs) whose advise I respect more than others. The thing is, I rarely read signatures. I usually am on my phone and can't see them. I listen to the women that I do because I get a sense of honesty, humility and humor in their responses. Maybe that comes from wisdom, maybe from experience but I don't need to see their age, their children's ages or the number of years they have homeschooled to get that.

 

Some young women (and men) are incredibly insightful and wise beyond their years. Some older women (and men) are blowhards. So, I find the people that speak to me and roll with it.

Yeah, I don't read people's signatures either.  That kind of information has pretty much zero influence on how I would assess their advice or thoughts in most situations.

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You're not listening to Abba12 and I at all.

 

If that's what you're telling newbies, then it's obvious to me why they don't listen. You seem to think doing those things is easy and obvious. It's not, not to everyone. Teach them to read, teach them math, teach them about trees? How, pray tell, does one do that?

 

....

 

 

 

I am listening. I really am.  :grouphug:

 

When I start with the advice I listed, sometimes I get the follow up questions that you are asking. When that happens, I am happy to elaborate.

 

When they say, "I cannot get my 7yo son to sit still to do his math worksheet!" I give specific ideas on how to help the kid get some math in his head without sitting still which, btw, most 7yo boys do not do well. ;) I tell them that I took sidewalk chalk and drew a hopscotch outside and called out addition and subtraction problems and had him hop onto the correct answer. I tell them that while we were building with Lego, I would say, "Hey, you have 10 Lego bricks there. If you gave me 7 of them, how many would you have left." Or, eating a snack with a couple of stuffed animals (or imaginary friends in the case of one of my kids), I might say, "How about you give each of your animals a pile of the same amount of Goldfish."

 

When they say, "Do you have any suggestions on which books to read outloud? I didn't get read aloud to much when I was a kid." (Incidentally, I don't remember my parents ever reading aloud to me.) I say, "Sure! One of my favorite resources is Honey for a Child's Heart! It has amazing suggestions for books categorized by age!" Or I say, "When my kids were younger, we used Five in a Row. Not only does it list some of the best picture books ever published, but the guide even gives you fun ideas to teach from those books."

 

My own library is full of all kinds of resources collected over the years. I often invite newer homeschoolers over and tell them they are welcome to borrow anything I have. I regularly suggest they read Ruth Beechick's The Three R's booklets; Educating the Wholehearted Child; etc. These resources encourage us how to create an learning rich environment at home.

 

The things I listed in my other post weren't a recipe. "Playing games with Grandma" was not a specific. It was an idea of how to incorporate learning into normal life instead of feeling like you have to sit down with workbooks. I love watching my kids play games with my mom but if your kids don't have that kind of opportunity, you can do something else. 

 

Like I said, I stopped giving unsolicited advice years ago. But, if someone wants my help and encouragement, I am happy to come alongside and help them figure out what will work for them.

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You're not listening to Abba12 and I at all.

 

If that's what you're telling newbies, then it's obvious to me why they don't listen. You seem to think doing those things is easy and obvious. It's not, not to everyone. Teach them to read, teach them math, teach them about trees? How, pray tell, does one do that?

 

 

I think curriculum is largely unnecessary for the youngest homeschoolers. However, if a new homeschooler was asking me these types of questions, and wasn't remotely comforted by general answers, I WOULD advise them to spring for boxed curriculum. You just can't get this level of minute hand holding from a busy homeschooling mom. However, a boxed curriculum with a schedule and an instructor's manual could really give you a feel for what a day (week/month/year) of First Grade should look like.

 

While it's hard to botch the early grades, you almost need some sort of structure so that Mom is up to speed by 2nd/3rd Grade when it begins to matter. If she can't provide her own structure, canned curriculum is a great option. "Just teach them math." IS too vague for someone with no idea where to begin. However, a schedule that says On Monday do Math Workbook Page Ten is very clear. You turn to page 10 and there is a picture of 4 flowers. The directions say to tell your child to cross out one flower and tell you how many are left. Unlike children, Kindergarten DOES come with a very detailed guide. Just pick one and jump in.

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Thank you so much murphy101 and dmmetler and others for your posts. Truly. You have spoken to me over here (again! Murphy, I wish I could grow up again in your home!), planning 6th grade for my 10 year old, I needed to hear it and I appreciate it.

 

And no, at 6 years in to this Homeschooling thing, I don't have much advice at all. I have lots of books!

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To those who are insisting that the 'let them play' advice doesn't mean don't do school at all, or just means make school fun, and that there is so much pressure to do early education and not wait, I'd like to tell you about a thread that I read this morning. It's very interesting that it came up this morning actually, out of nowhere I was quoted on a thread I posted to a month ago, and it just happened to appear in my feed today, very timely. 

 

A poster asks for suggestions for screen-free resources to teach letter sounds to her 3.5 year old. She did not ask for opinions on whether to teach the sounds, just resources to do so. I don't think her intentions are terribly unreasonable, if the 3.5 year old was in a regular preschool they'd be beginning letter sounds. She isn't asking how to teach her 3.5 to read. She just wants to introduce letter sounds and help her child begin memorizing them in preparation for reading later on. Some would consider this needless or overzealous, fine, but she is not being *unreasonable* in her goal. 

 

Many responses have creative, play based suggestions. In fact I think I'm the only one who suggested a workbook (Get Ready, Set, Go for the Code because one of mine adores it right now)

Even despite that very play based, gentle, set of responses from a number of posters, EIGHT of the responses have some variation of the following

" I would just wait until your dc is ready for more formal learning."

"...you should just put it away and get it back out in  3 or 6 or12 months... Ignore the peer pressure around you... to have a preschooler doing academics."

"Read to her, bake and do crafts together, and have fun. "

 

Ok, that worked for them, we get it, lots of older homeschoolers didn't teach letter sounds until K or 1st or something. But it's not what this person has chosen to do and is not what this person asked about. I see no pressure to force workbooks on a toddler in this thread. What I see is a whole lot of pressure to stop giving any sort of formal instruction and to almost shame the OP for wanting to in any way speed along or assist the natural development of her child. A number of the responses say she will learn them when she's ready. From where, exactly, if these sorts of structured activities are inappropriate? It's just an inate ability that will suddenly appear when she's 5? At some point she needs to be taught the sounds in some way in order to remember them. Or is this like SarahW said, where the posters are assuming the parent is already pointing out letters and sounds naturally throughout the day? Because not all parents do that, or even can do that, and maybe the OP is not and that's why she's asking for resources in the first place. 

 

Anyway, I'm not really looking for responses, I just wanted to try and show how all this talk about pressure for early academics, and all this talk about playing not meaning 'no structured activity' (which is all this OP wanted) doesn't seem to be the reality in many of the advice threads. And the vast majority of people actually answering the OPs question and giving resource and activity suggestions? They are the young homeschoolers with kids the same age, not the older ones. The older ones are busy telling her to put letter sounds away and go make cookies. Cookies are great, we make cookies too, but we make them after our phonics lesson is finished, and there's nothing wrong with that. 

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A poster asks for suggestions for screen-free resources to teach letter sounds to her 3.5 year old. She did not ask for opinions on whether to teach the sounds, just resources to do so. I don't think her intentions are terribly unreasonable, if the 3.5 year old was in a regular preschool they'd be beginning letter sounds. She isn't asking how to teach her 3.5 to read. She just wants to introduce letter sounds and help her child begin memorizing them in preparation for reading later on. Some would consider this needless or overzealous, fine, but she is not being *unreasonable* in her goal. 

 

Many responses have creative, play based suggestions. In fact I think I'm the only one who suggested a workbook (Get Ready, Set, Go for the Code because one of mine adores it right now)

Even despite that very play based, gentle, set of responses from a number of posters, EIGHT of the responses have some variation of the following

" I would just wait until your dc is ready for more formal learning."

"...you should just put it away and get it back out in  3 or 6 or12 months... Ignore the peer pressure around you... to have a preschooler doing academics."

"Read to her, bake and do crafts together, and have fun. "

 

Ok, that worked for them, we get it, lots of older homeschoolers didn't teach letter sounds until K or 1st or something. But it's not what this person has chosen to do and is not what this person asked about.  

 

Maybe the old timers are aware that a lot of people are subject to that peer pressure and don't know they have a choice not to buy into the rat race at age 3.5. Maybe they are the first people the OP has ever heard who have said that. Maybe they trust that the OP is a big enough girl to read and discount whatever she doesn't want to listen to. As you know, hearing things outside your own head is a risk you take when you express thoughts outside your own head.

 

You're reading your example as an insult, but it can just as easily be read the opposite way.

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To those who are insisting that the 'let them play' advice doesn't mean don't do school at all, or just means make school fun, and that there is so much pressure to do early education and not wait, I'd like to tell you about a thread that I read this morning. It's very interesting that it came up this morning actually, out of nowhere I was quoted on a thread I posted to a month ago, and it just happened to appear in my feed today, very timely. 

 

A poster asks for suggestions for screen-free resources to teach letter sounds to her 3.5 year old. She did not ask for opinions on whether to teach the sounds, just resources to do so. I don't think her intentions are terribly unreasonable, if the 3.5 year old was in a regular preschool they'd be beginning letter sounds. She isn't asking how to teach her 3.5 to read. She just wants to introduce letter sounds and help her child begin memorizing them in preparation for reading later on. Some would consider this needless or overzealous, fine, but she is not being *unreasonable* in her goal. 

Sometimes, threads go a different direction than the OP intends.  Kinda like this one ;).

 

Many responses have creative, play based suggestions. In fact I think I'm the only one who suggested a workbook (Get Ready, Set, Go for the Code because one of mine adores it right now) That's great - that you were able to suggest something that no one else had.  It seems to bother you, but I don't know why.

Even despite that very play based, gentle, set of responses from a number of posters, EIGHT of the responses have some variation of the following

" I would just wait until your dc is ready for more formal learning."

"...you should just put it away and get it back out in  3 or 6 or12 months... Ignore the peer pressure around you... to have a preschooler doing academics."

"Read to her, bake and do crafts together, and have fun. "

Are you suggesting that these are inapproriate responses?  I don't understand.

Ok, that worked for them, we get it, lots of older homeschoolers didn't teach letter sounds until K or 1st or something. Lots of NEWER homeschoolers don't, either.  But it's not what this person has chosen to do and is not what this person asked about. See my first comment in this post.  I see no pressure to force workbooks on a toddler in this thread. Yes, but threads don't occur in a vacuum.  Many people DO feel pressure to start formal instruction early.  What I see is a whole lot of pressure to stop giving any sort of formal instruction and to almost shame the OP for wanting to in any way speed along or assist the natural development of her child. I haven't read the thread in question, but there was nothing *shaming* in the examples you gave. A number of the responses say she will learn them when she's ready. From where, exactly, if these sorts of structured activities are inappropriate? It's just an inate ability that will suddenly appear when she's 5? At some point she needs to be taught the sounds in some way in order to remember them. Hmmm.  No.  My oldest taught himself to read by age 4.  No workbooks.  My second needed explicit instruction which we started around 5(?) and he was reading well by end of 1st grade.  3rd had difficulty and is now reading fairly well in 3rd grade - tried to begin instruction around 5, many different approaches tried, but by age 8 we've discovered that he has vision issues.  4th is a beginning reader in K and has been "doing school" like his brothers for at least 2 years.  I haven't actually done much actual instruction, though.  I follow his lead.  Kids come in all kinds.  Or is this like SarahW said, where the posters are assuming the parent is already pointing out letters and sounds naturally throughout the day? Because not all parents do that, or even can do that, and maybe the OP is not and that's why she's asking for resources in the first place. Well, that's the thing, isn't it?  We all answer based on our own experience.  

 

Anyway, I'm not really looking for responses, I just wanted to try and show how all this talk about pressure for early academics, and all this talk about playing not meaning 'no structured activity' (which is all this OP wanted) doesn't seem to be the reality in many of the advice threads. And the vast majority of people actually answering the OPs question and giving resource and activity suggestions? They are the young homeschoolers with kids the same age, not the older ones. The older ones are busy telling her to put letter sounds away and go make cookies. Cookies are great, we make cookies too, but we make them after our phonics lesson is finished, and there's nothing wrong with that. Nope, nothing wrong with phonics lessons for 3 year-olds, if all parties are happy with that.  But are you suggesting that the advice to bake cookies with a 3 year-old instead of use a phonics workbook going to lead to a subpar education?  Are you suggesting that this is BAD advice?  

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I find it funny that we are giving advice on how, when, and where it is appropriate to give advice.   :lol:

 

 

When giving advice, offer it with humility as a gift that may be either rejected or tweaked.

 

 

That said, I think many of the blogs are not as much a platform for giving advice but for finding a network of other like-minded homeschoolers to support each other.  Yes, there is a lot of advice out there...but I think the underlying purpose is to support others and to reach out for support for yourself.

 

I know I've started little groups here and there, facilitating a book study or some such.  It's not that I think I'm the expert on the topic of the book, but I'm reaching out to find others who want to study along side me.

 

 

And, yeah...never take breastfeeding advice from a person who has never nursed.  And, seek out homeschool moms who have btdt in the same boat.  I seek out other moms who have successfully launched dyslexic children b/c I need both the encouragement AND practicals.  I am free with information and encouragement for other moms who are a few years behind me. We all need this.  It's community.

 

 

and, yet, yeah...everything with humility - large grains of salt - b/c there is truly nothing like reading back through your own old posts from years ago...

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Mmmmm.

 

Cookies.

 

Oddly enough in 21 years, I have never had to choose between cookies or phonics. They cohabit quite well in my home.

 

Given my dire need for whole30 restarting this week, maybe a little too well.

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I'd respond individually, but I have a cold and lots of irl stuff to do today, so this is just going to be general...

 

I've never been in a circle which pushed early academics. My family certainly wasn't that way. Doing 10 mins of Singapore Early Bird would have struck everyone I knew as bizarre. We got whatever toys we liked from kmart, without any thought for "developing imagination" or "building problem solving skills." People who thought that way were jeered at.

 

My family also never participated in what sociologists term "concerted cultivation." Our interests were met with a "that's nice." Questions with "why are you asking me that?" Wanting to learn something with a shrug.

 

Maybe that's bad parenting? Maybe I'm overpressuring myself to not be a bad parent? What?

 

This is why I asked if people knew that other people's families could be different from their own. Maybe the person asking for a math curriculum for their 4yo isn't trying to pressure early academics. Maybe she honestly has no idea what to say to expose the 4yo to basic number sense. Maybe the newbie raving about the box-of-books curriculum has no idea who Junie Jones is. Maybe the mom whose oldest is 5 is making schedules and how-to lists because she's a chronic procrastinator who needs these things to make sure she does something every day, maybe she even has to schedule baking cookies.

 

There's advice by experts in published books that I think is flat out wrong (giving teens a stack of textbooks in their room and calling it homeschooling). And then there's advice that may be great in one situation. but could be absolutely horrid when applied to another. My mother had issues which would have made homeschooling well challenging anyways, but advice such as "just take it easy" "you don't need a detailed schedule" "make the olders learn independently" "you don't need to spend money on curriculum, just take them to the library" "focus on life skills" "just let them read" "teach character, everything else will follow" and so on made those challenges a hundred times worse. Talk about pressure, my mother was probably completely burnt out on having all the "good" advice she followed failing so miserably. Expecting that a newbie will immediately recognize and discard poor or misapplied advice is expecting WAAAAY too much. Seriously.

 

Plus, some of us just need a kick in the pants. It's nearly 10:30 am here, and I just told the 9yo to brush his teeth and get dressed. I need to be intentional about putting his math books on the table sometime today and telling him to work on it (even when I don't have a cold). I just do.

 

Speaking of which, I really need to go work on today's real life myself.

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I find it funny that we are giving advice on how, when, and where it is appropriate to give advice.   :lol:

 

 

When giving advice, offer it with humility as a gift that may be either rejected or tweaked.

 

 

That said, I think many of the blogs are not as much a platform for giving advice but for finding a network of other like-minded homeschoolers to support each other.  Yes, there is a lot of advice out there...but I think the underlying purpose is to support others and to reach out for support for yourself.

 

I know I've started little groups here and there, facilitating a book study or some such.  It's not that I think I'm the expert on the topic of the book, but I'm reaching out to find others who want to study along side me.

 

 

And, yeah...never take breastfeeding advice from a person who has never nursed.  And, seek out homeschool moms who have btdt in the same boat.  I seek out other moms who have successfully launched dyslexic children b/c I need both the encouragement AND practicals.  I am free with information and encouragement for other moms who are a few years behind me. We all need this.  It's community.

 

 

and, yet, yeah...everything with humility - large grains of salt - b/c there is truly nothing like reading back through your own old posts from years ago...

 

 

Not giving advice here......just critiquing!   :laugh:

 

When I give advice, it is always in the form of questions, suggestions, and maybes.   My critiques however, are much different.  :closedeyes:

 

Dawn

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Not giving advice here......just critiquing!   :laugh:

 

When I give advice, it is always in the form of questions, suggestions, and maybes.   My critiques however, are much different.  :closedeyes:

 

Dawn

 

 

How is that working for you? (  :lol: )

 

Seriously, I try to do the same and preface things with "This is what worked in my situation. Your situation might be different. Here is what I learned..."  so that I am not telling someone what to do but giving them more information (useful or not) so that they can make their own decisions.  When I come here for advice, I'm looking for all of the various possibilities of my situation so that I can make a good decision.  kwim.  

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How is that working for you? (  :lol: )

 

Seriously, I try to do the same and preface things with "This is what worked in my situation. Your situation might be different. Here is what I learned..."  so that I am not telling someone what to do but giving them more information (useful or not) so that they can make their own decisions.  When I come here for advice, I'm looking for all of the various possibilities of my situation so that I can make a good decision.  kwim.  

 

 

Yup, I totally get it.

 

My critiques are generally towards those who claim to have "the answer."  

 

Sigh.

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Expecting that a newbie will immediately recognize and discard poor or misapplied advice is expecting WAAAAY too much. 

 

Everyone, not just newbies, needs to be able to discern what is valuable for them and leave the rest. It's not something only newbies suffer from. Plus, there's no hard-and-fast criteria for what makes poor advice and what doesn't. What works for some may be a flaming disaster for others. I ask a lot of questions about what to do with my dyslexic son. I get great and not-so-great responses. Some people tell me there is no such thing as dyslexia. I need to be able to determine what works for me and my kid. I really can't rely on importing wholesale someone else's program and calling it done. I have to be able to make my own decisions about what works for us. I have picked and chosen from a range of programs, ideas, and approaches to cobble my own together. I have been able to do this because I have been exposed to a wide variety of opinions and suggestions, some of which have not seemed valuable to me when I first encountered them.

 

I hear that you are extremely frustrated. I hear you saying you had a poor upbringing and that you feel you are struggling with your son. I am sorry for those things. But there will always be a range of opinions and advice out there, some of which may end up working for you even if you start off believing it won't. No one can really, in the end, tell you what will work for you. You have to discover that for yourself. 

 

The other thing to keep in mind is that the threads on this board are read by thousands and thousands of people. "Just let them play" and "Just read to them" may not be the advice you are looking for, but for some other struggling mom, it may be the key to a whole new understanding for her. I have, honestly, made some of the best leaps forward when I have read things here or elsewhere that have been outside the scope of what I had previously considered.

 

I do hope that you find what you are looking for.

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Expecting that a newbie will immediately recognize and discard poor or misapplied advice is expecting WAAAAY too much. Seriously.

 

I don't understand this — if it's a bad thing for a newbie to be exposed to lots of different opinions and advice from parents who have BTDT, and to sift through it and figure out what does and doesn't work for her own family, then what's the alternative?  :confused1:  

 

You seem to be arguing two contradictory points: (1) that newbies are so clueless and fragile they should not be exposed to the advice given by many older and more experienced homeschoolers to just relax and don't push academics so hard on young kids, and (2) a newbie who is asking about curriculum for preschoolers knows exactly what she's doing and should be given what she's asking for and those who disagree, no matter how experienced they are, should just keep quiet.

 

This is why I asked if people knew that other people's families could be different from their own. Maybe the person asking for a math curriculum for their 4yo isn't trying to pressure early academics. Maybe she honestly has no idea what to say to expose the 4yo to basic number sense. 

 

If a parent of a 4 year old truly has no idea how to teach number sense in the course of everyday life, she can ask how to do that.  But IMO most of the time when newbies ask about curriculum for preschoolers and are told to relax and just incorporate learning into play and everyday life, the reason they don't take that advice isn't because they have no idea how to do that; it's because they think they know better.

 

They think the moms who are telling them to relax are slackers whose kids are not getting the kind of rigorous education the newbies want for their own children. They know they won't burn out, they know their kids will thrive with rigorous academics starting in preschool and will therefore be much more advanced in HS and better prepared for college than those slacker moms who are saying to just count m&ms and read lots of books and play with plastic letters on the fridge because it's a marathon not a sprint. And yet it seems that a lot of those who are determined to sprint don't actually finish the marathon.

 

 

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I wonder what people want when it comes to humility.  Do very positive comments about their preparedness your kids' teachers gave them in college count as credibility or bragging? Do people expect us to mention those things when we offer advice or not? I assumed it would be considered bragging unless someone specifically asks something along the lines of "How have your homeschooled through high school kid's teachers commented on their preparedness and academic abilities?" But for people who want to  only take advice from those who successfully by 3rd party standards homeschooled, how will they know if someone has been successful or not? 

Would the typical new homeschooler be pleased or offended if another homeschooler assumed they had no concept of an enriching environment for preschoolers?  What obligation do we have to assume and correct unusual, extreme, rare backgrounds of neglect when answering questions about homeschooling?

What exactly is the mindset of someone bothered by getting conflicting advice and very different points of view? What was their expectation and why?

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How is that working for you? ( :lol: )

 

Seriously, I try to do the same and preface things with "This is what worked in my situation. Your situation might be different. Here is what I learned..." so that I am not telling someone what to do but giving them more information (useful or not) so that they can make their own decisions. When I come here for advice, I'm looking for all of the various possibilities of my situation so that I can make a good decision. kwim.

That's a perfectly kind way to put it. And I think the intention comes across so much better when the language isn't so condescending and head patting, which happens a lot IRL.

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They think the moms who are telling them to relax are slackers whose kids are not getting the kind of rigorous education the newbies want for their own children. They know they won't burn out, they know their kids will thrive with rigorous academics starting in preschool and will therefore be much more advanced in HS and better prepared for college than those slacker moms who are saying to just count m&ms and read lots of books and play with plastic letters on the fridge because it's a marathon not a sprint. And yet it seems that a lot of those who are determined to sprint don't actually finish the marathon.

Yes, this. It seems there have been a few backhanded slams for the veteran moms who say to relax in the younger years, comparing them to people that pretty much just neglect their kids and call it hs'ing. I wonder if people have stopped to look at what these "slacker" moms and kids have accomplished, despite their nice and easy start. I can think of half a dozen veteran moms with kids who have made tremendous accomplishments despite their "late" start. It quite reminds me of the argument for pre-school, they put these low income kids into these structured programs trying to erase the disadvantages but in the long run it doesn't make a difference because what they need is not the structured stuff at all.

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Honestly, I never experienced any head patting from the more experienced moms I knew IRL.

 

Otoh, I was appreciative of their support, recognizing that they were taking time out of a much busier life, with different priorities, to cast themselves back to 'How did you do this ? What did you use ? What did you do when...'

 

I mean really, they were doing me a favour. Did I use all the advice ? Good heavens, no. But I appreciated it :)

 

 

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This has been an interesting conversation for me to read. When I read what someone has done, be it parenting, homeschooling, or whatnot, my default assumption is that this person is just sharing their experience or thoughts that I can take or leave. Only if they make a big point of claiming expertise or use specifically "this will work for everyone" language do I think they are considering themselves experts. From what has been written here, it sounds like some others read advice as dogmatic unless it is carefully couched in caveats like "but that's just what worked for me." 

Of course, I do like it when people tell me what they based their ideas off of, whether that be from a single book, extensive research, personal experience as a learner or as a teacher, or from careful observation of others. I'll take the advice differently depending on what it is based on as well as how true it rings.

As I've been studying so that I can be prepared if we decide to homeschool my now-preschoolers, I've been very glad to hear all sorts of advice and stories. Even when someone says "homeschooling is the worst thing you can do to your children" I listen, asking follow up questions. I may disagree with their conclusion, but usually they have very real experiences that led them to that conclusion, and I can learn something from that. I can also see that it will be very different when I'm more "in the trenches" and don't have time to sift through the wheat and chaff. 

ETA: I'm one of those moms who believes my children are precocious and gifted and I'm starting the three year old learning to read and do math. This is largely through play, baking, reading storybooks, and the like, but the kid also loves worksheets (and happened to ask for one just now). I'm glad I know fully well that if she stops liking it I can dial things way back. But if you tell me that a child's work is play, be prepared for me to mostly smile and nod, because that's what my kids are doing, even if their play looks a little different than what you expect.

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I tell people when they ask me questions of advice, "I don't know if I have answers for you, but I'll share my opinion/experience."

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