I recently had a first-time CC mom message me to ask advice for her first year homeschooling her four and six year old sons. At first reading, I thought I might not have any advice to offer! But, after a little thought, I realized I had learned some things since beginning to homeschool my young ones three years ago. So, if you were to ask me for advice on homeschooling your young ones, this is what I would say…
1. Keep it simple! With CC, focus on learning the memory work. You’re not just teaching your children the memory work, but you’re teaching them how to memorize. If they don’t memorize everything right away or perfectly, that’s okay. They’re learning how to memorize. That’s good stuff and a skill that will last them for a lifetime of learning. Outside of CC, teach them math, language arts, and read together lots. There is much to be learned through the pages of a good book.
2. Teach yourself first. If you’re like me, classical education is relatively new to you and you have lots to learn. When we began three years ago, I knew basically nothing about classical education. Actually, I knew very little about education in general. I started reading and reading all about classical education. I’m still reading now. I’ve learned so much and I’m still learning. I’ve found it’s so important to first understand classical education before employing the method, because it’s so different from the traditional methods most of us are accustomed to. Without really investing the time to learn the method, you’ll find yourself falling back onto familiar ways. I encourage you to spend time learning about classical education yourself. Because really if you want the model to work, you have to work the model. And in the process of learning, I bet you’ll find yourself excited about learning which certainly helps when you’re teaching.
3. Play while they’re young. This is a lesson I’m trying to remind myself as we begin this school year. My littles will only be this little for a short time. They learn so much while playing and the work of studying will only become more rigorous as they grow older. I want to give them the freedom to play and explore while they’re young. For us, this means leaving time to play outside and play together. I never want to forget that one of the many blessings of homeschooling is the ownership of our time. We can use this time to embrace their childhoods and slow down a bit without their education suffering. Classical education allows for that time and supports the oft-held educational theory that children will learn concepts more quickly when they learn them at the right developmental time. So give them this time of play.
Well, there it is. Three things I’ve learned in my first three years of homeschooling and my humble advice to you. What about you, homeschooling mom or dad? What advice would you share?