I do believe this will be the final installment of this set of homeschooling segments. I've kinda jumped around a bit and probably should have done yesterdays today and today's yesterday but this is how it worked out. There are 2 subjects I will be talking about today. Science (oooooh the dreaded experiments) and Language arts. Both of which send most people over the edge, but I'll break it down for you as to how I do it.
So the first one is Science. Now really folks how hard is this? It's not hard at all. Baking soda and vinegar is all it takes - it creates a chemical reaction and bubbles form and oh yea fun. But it's also practical as you can read here. So in one fail swoop you have taught science and a life skill. It doesn't seem like much but it really is. Now pair that with a scientific method worksheet and you have curriculum. At the last homeschooling conference we met a guy that teaches science - Mr. Science. Now we love this guy - he takes simple household items and turns them into science. We were looking at another kit that was over $200 and yes it had lots of nice things and software and a book, but when me son stood and watched this man do his experiments with simple things it clicked and he begged for the $20 kit till we bought it. Science doesn't have to be expensive or stressful to succeed. Check out his website, there is a ton of free stuff on there for you to use and counts as a full curriculum.
OK so now we are down to the last subject - Language arts. Now I have to admit this subject used to make my palms sweat until I figured out what it was - it's READING people. Yes that is simplified, but essentially that is what it is. Does a child in 4th or 5th grade need to know how to diagram a sentence? NO. When is the last time you diagrammed a sentence? Is it something that needs to be done before graduation? Yes. Now when I was in school it was called English. When I figured THAT out it helped as well. This is how we do ours. We read lots and lots and lots of books. That's pretty much it. Now you are probably thinking yea but what about writing and cursive and and and. IF they are reading quality books by quality writers - this will come. We do do cursive practice - only 1 sheet a day - nothing that is going to stress him out since he HATES to write. And writing? Well here's the deal, if the other subjects have some kind of writing, no matter what it is - I count that as his writing. Now I don't make him sit down with worksheets and write, if he wants to do it on his computer - that is where he does it. Remember we are in a technology driven society. If you are anti technology, just remember it's not going away any time soon and you are hurting your child keeping them away from it. Zach does his writing in Word on his laptop. We does the answers to his questions on his computer, is it writing? Yes, just not as it's own subject. It still counts and think about how much less stressful things would be if writing was wrapped into another subject so you and your child aren't stressed out. Let me give you an example. My son HATES to write like I said earlier, but he still has to as we know this is a skill he will use the rest of his life. In his history lesson there is a writing assignment, this assignment was to take the story he just read about (the Epic of Gilgamesh) and write his own fairy tale. So I told him to use his imagination and that he could write about whatever he wanted. Then I told him if you want to start another Minecraft world and illustrate your story in there. Then I will send it off to get it made into a book that you can keep. His eyes lit up and guess what, my son who HATES to write wrote a 4 page singe spaced story in Word. Is grammar perfect - nope. Is spelling perfect -yes. Why? Because he reads - lots. But good literature, things like Sign of the Beaver and The Chronicles of Narnia. He also read books that interest him and those I let him choose. But every time he reads guess what he's getting? He's getting grammar, and spelling, and vocabulary, and history, and and and. Now don't get me wrong there are times that we do more structured things. He takes classes in Skrafty where he has vocabulary words, a small writing assignment and then a fun building assignment. So far he has taken a just for fun Dr. Seuss class, Sign of the Beaver class, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian classes. He's also gearing up to take Little House in the Big Woods next. In the fall he will do The Borrowers. But he reads lots outside of this. His history alone has 3-4 books a day to read so yes reading is very high on our list of things to do. It's that simple folks. Break it down to what is simple and you will come away much happier with a much happier child.
So that is what I have for you in this series. I am also going to do some reviews on products that we have used and don't like or do like so be on the look out for that. Like I said we've been through a lot of curriculum so you can read what I have to say and take it for what it's worth.