One of the most frequent questions I get from parents concerning homeschooling is “Am I doing enough?” Homeschool parents live with this nagging doubt that they should do more. We compare our homeschool to a family we heard about where all the children began college at age 15 and feel something is wrong if our child can’t get it together to turn in their work for the day. And pity the parents with a late bloomer! They feel there is no hope and they have miserably failed their child. Children learn to read somewhere between the ages of 4 and 9 or 10 so don’t stress if your child is 7 or 8 and is still not reading. Keep plowing away and they will read. If he/she is not reading after 10 years of age, I would look at getting some type of educational evaluation (if you haven’t done it sooner).
So what does that mean for parents. For the parent with above average students, let them take the initiative in their education. Give them guidance, make sure they are following some type of scope and sequence, hold them accountable and let them go! Let them explore and learn. You will be amazed at how much they learn. When I homeschooled, I used to do unit studies and I would let the kids take turns choosing the particular unit study. Then I would check out every library book I could find on the subject and off we would go. We would do some experiments or projects depending on what the topic of study was. I also threw in a couple of studies that I thought they needed for a well rounded education. I did not do a particular number of studies per year. We simply studied something until I felt we were finished. Even in high school, there are so many different ways to take a course, just make sure your student is well rounded, works in a timely manner and doesn’t only study robots or the civil war!
The average child can take initiative with their education also. Don’t sell them short. Hold them accountable for completing their work in a timely manner and let them go. My kids were not above average in Math so we did 3-5 lessons per week, depending on our outside activities that week and difficulty of the particular skill being taught, And when we hit a new, difficult skill, we might spend 2 or even 3 days on that particular skill. However, if my kids had wanted to do more, I would not have stopped them from doing 8 or 10 lessons per week.
If you have a child who is having difficulty with a subject, take your time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you may have to go slow. Find a method that works for him/her and don’t deviate. Keep your eyes on the end result and off of everyone else. Don’t compare your child with any others, including their siblings. Remember children are individuals and each child learns at his/her own pace. Let them be independent in the areas they excel in and spend your time plowing through the things they find more challenging. It might be that your child is a fantastic musician or is extremely mechanically inclined.
One of the things I had my kids do every day was read. I read to them as well as had them read independently. The best way to learn to read is to simply read. We read both classics and pop fiction with an emphasis on classics. I did not have a standard number of books we had to read per month/semester/school year.
My daughter read constantly, to the point where I couldn’t keep up with her.
My son, on the other hand read the minimum required. I did have to give him goals and set time limits or he would have never read.
If you have a reluctant reader, hang in there, find a genre(s) that they enjoy and set goals for them. Sometimes a reluctant readers will enjoy non-fiction books over fiction. Books on tape are a great way to expose your reluctant reader to the classics or genres they don’t enjoy. If you are desperate, take a week off and let them read short stories or comic books. This may sound crazy but sometimes we work our kids so hard that they need a break. Don’t we all!!!
At this time of year, homeschool moms begin to question how well they are doing. Rest assured that you are doing better than you imagine. Remember education is a marathon and not a sprint and kids develop at different rates. Blessings to you and your family as you journey through the wonderful adventure of homeschooling.
If you have particular questions about pacing your homeschool, please ask. I would love to hear from you.