Saturday, September 22, 2012


Sometimes you really question your choices in homeschooling, partially because there are just so very many choices to make.  Which subjects to cover, which curriculum to use for each subject, how much time to spend on each subject (both per day and as a cumulative total) ... down to nitpicky details like which type of paper to use and how to teach pencil grip.  I've seen knockdown drag-out fights online  in regards to pencil grip.

And then every once in a while you get some sort of validation.  This week we had a couple of those moments.

Thalia is taking Spanish at a university, and I had heard that this was really a bad idea considering she's only piddled around with the language before this -- she was doomed to being unable to keep up since she hadn't actually studied it as a school subject before.  But she's really doing alright.  She commented the other day that part of what makes it easy is all of the Latin we did.  Not that we ever completed any particular program, and not that any of us have any fluency in Latin whatsoever.  However, she remembers conjugating Latin verbs, and the little charts I made to show the conjugations (which I based on how I learned to make charts in Spanish class, by the way).  So now when they conjugate Spanish verbs in class she realizes things like "just leave off the t in 3rd person [Latin] and you've pretty much got it."

Apparently our slovenly approach to learning non-English languages accomplished something.

Her dual enrollment English class is going well, too.  Whenever she has a question about a part of speech she diagrams the sentence, and that clarifies things in her mind.  I never learned to diagram.  Frankly, I barely learned any grammar in school at all.  But Susan Wise Bauer assured us (via her books and articles) that learning to diagram would be a good idea.  So we did, using Rod & Staff English, First Language Lessons, and, finally, Analytical Grammar.  And now, years later, Thalia is earning extra credit for speed and accuracy in her ability to analyze a sentence.

It might be enough to go to a homeschool parent's head, you know?  Except then all of these discussions of past curricula made me nostalgic for those early days of homeschooling, and I started looking through old photos....

Oh, look, an archeological dig!

And hieroglyphics!

Dying cloth purple, just like in Tyre!

Yeah, we've got tons of photos from studying ancient history.  We also have tons of maps we drew of the various countries.  We were using Story of the World, including the Activity Book -- if you've used it you know what I mean.  Do you want to know how much the kids retained of this?  Almost nothing. They remember the time we recreated the burning of London in the driveway and Annabeth was so excited that she tripped over something and bloodied her nose when she fell.  It's like all of those maps, not to mention most of the projects, never happened. Sigh.

It's sort of like we've been throwing stuff against the wall for the past 10 years and seeing what sticks.

Other notes from the homeschooling trenches:

1 comment:

Ami said...

Well, you never know what's going to 'stick', that's true. But you did what so many people do by instinct... toss a lot of stuff. Because some DOES stick. And even if the intended lesson isn't the part that sticks, it can come in handy.

I see it all the time in my own children-who-are-no-longer-children, and for a real kick in the pants, kids I have been caring for for years. I have two that started with me in K and are still with me. And the stuff they learn without being deliberately "taught" sometimes just blows me away.

And I love the photos of those two smalls having fun learning. :)