15 November 2007

The Homeschooling Post for the Year

Every year at about this time I think about how much I love homeschooling and how well it works for us. I think the only thing I don't like about it is having people ask me about it all the time. This particular neighborhood we've moved to seems particularly curious about it, more than just the typical questions from mothers with preschoolers that I usually get.

I also don't like to have people assume that I am either crazy or brilliant or a perfect mother because I homeschool. It's refreshing to talk to someone who just thinks it's something some people do. I'm not trying to make a point about how your children are schooled. Nor do I quiz you about your children's education. And no, it really isn't hard to teach second and third grade math or science or history or grammar. I bet you could do it too. You went to third grade, didn't you?

A rather typical day for us is to eat breakfast and get started on school around 9 or 10. We do math, reading, grammar, Latin, piano, scriptures, and writing daily and rotate through geography, history, science, library, and an acting class. My husband often does art and music with the boys since that's what he loves. And it's likely we'll add Persian soon. We're nearly always done before lunch, with plenty of time for more reading in the afternoon, either individually, or reading out loud, or audiobooks. I'm still a bit confused by families with elementary-aged children who take all day to get through their work.

We've been using Miquon and Singapore for math for several years now and it's gone well. I like the combination of the two programs even though I don't try to coordinate them like some homeschoolers do. We just do a page out of each every day, or two pages out of one or the other since older son like Miquon best. This will be his last year for Miquon though. I like Singapore's traditional approach to learning math mixed with Miquon's more intuitive approach, and I like Singapore's multiculturalness, especially since it just is multicultural instead of trying to be.

Story of the World is still going well, although I look forward to a few years from now when we can start the cycle over again with different sources. SOTW works well for young elementary children, but it's far from comprehensive and I have to admit that I cringe just a little when I hear of older homeschoolers using it. You'd never know a thing about Central Asia if that's all you used. :)

I dithered around on a Latin program fort months earlier this year before settling on Minimus. It has been wonderful, so much so that older son (who is not exactly what you'd call a scholarly type) told the dentist this week that Latin is his favorite subject. Minimus isn't a rigorous program and I wouldn't have chosen it if I didn't already have some knowledge of Latin (the teacher's manual is pretty expensive and the book itself isn't very self-explanatory). Since I prefer to teach my children one entire conjugation or declension at a time, I've also added that in since Minimus doesn't present the verbs in a very orderly manner. It has been perfect for us and I am so glad that older son is enjoying Latin. I'm not sure how far we'll go with Latin since I am very interested in my children learning Central Asian languages, but for now, it's an excellent introduction to language learning.

Growing with Grammar has also been excellent in every way. It is clear and comprehensive and age-appropriate and simple. It's been especially nice to start a more formal grammar program and Latin at the same time because they go together so nicely.

Maybe I'll just refer people to this post when they ask me about homeschooling.


  1. We started doing Latin after school this year and are really enjoying it. My 3rd grader loves it and I would like to go a little faster, but unfortunately my 5th grader always has so much homework from her middle school that it makes it difficult. Very frustrating.

    I thought about going with Minimus, and I think I will use that when we finish the book we're on right now. Is the teacher's manual necessary do you think?

  2. If you have some background in Latin then you don't have to have the teacher's manual. But if you don't know any Latin, then the teacher's manual would really be necessary because the workbook itself isn't self-explanatory at all.

    Minimus really is pretty basic. We're almost done with the first book and have only done present tense and nothing yet with nouns. If you've already started with another program, Minimus might just repeat what you've already learned.

    Too bad there aren't any homeschooling stores or the like where you live so you could look at Minimus. I think the nearest one to you is 5 hours away.

  3. I think it's so incredibly great that you are teaching your kids foreign languages. It sounds fun actually! Plus I'm sure you learn a lot yourself by being your children's educator.

    P.S. I am applying to the Middle East Studies masters program at University of Utah... You're in SLC, right? I've never been there. I'm wondering if you have any experience on the campus.


  4. I've only been on campus a few times. I do have a lot of friends though who got a masters there in MES. They do have a good program and when I went to the MECA Conference a few months ago there were many, many Turks there and Turkish professors.

    The area around campus is an easy place to live. There is good access to mass transit and it's a nice part of town.

    And that's about all I know about the University of Utah. I grew up farther south rooting for and attending their rivals' school. :)

  5. This sounds wonderful! I want to homeschool my children.

  6. Thanks for the info. I should probably come to visit if I get in to see for myself I suppose.