The standard education every child is expected to receive is the three R’s; Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. I approach this part of our homeschooling very simplistically, like all the other subjects my children are ‘taught’.
In my opinion, the most important thing to teach your children (aside from Religion, of course) is how to read. Once they know how to read the whole world is opened up to them. They can learn anything they wish, they just need to find a book on it.
In our home, we estimate that we have over 4,000 books. Every child has different interests and to encourage them in their interests we make sure they get tons of books on their subjects. We get most of our books used as, obviously, it can get expensive buying this many books!
If you aren’t interested in owning the books you can also utilize your local library. We just choose to own the books. 🙂
Many subjects can be taught through reading. History is an excellent example. My children have a great grasp (way better than mine, by far, as I learned from a textbook) on history due to reading clean, history-based novels.
A book I highly recommend is called “Honey for a Child’s Heart”, by Gladys Hunt. This book has so many good recommendations of books for your children.
Teaching Your Children To Read
We’ve used a couple different methods to teach reading to our little’s. The one we are using right now is called “Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons”. I really like this book as it literally breaks down how to read, rhyme, spell and write lesson by lesson. Our children have rarely finished the book because they are already reading so well by the time they are only halfway done with the book.
The books we choose for math vary by their age. We start with Abeka for Kindergarten and use them through third grade. These workbooks are pretty simple, colorful, and the children actually look forward to using them.
From 4th through 12th we use Saxon. I really like the way these books are laid out. If your child has an issue with a particular problem they can look up the lesson by just looking at the problem number. Next to the problem number is the lesson they can refer to in parenthesis. My kids do this on a regular basis. Please note though that this feature isn’t in the first edition books. They started doing this from the second edition, on.
Also, Saxon sells CD-Roms that teach your student problem by problem how to do their math. My children prefer these over the D.I.V.E. Cd’s most homeschooler’s use, once they reach upper mathematics. However, early on, D.I.V.E. Cd’s are great and Christian based. A nice added benefit. 🙂
Writing is taught through a bunch of different methods. I have a few children that really enjoy writing. So much so that they are in the process of writing fiction books and are involved in NaNoWriMo.
When it comes to learning how to write (sentence, spelling, etc.) they learn a lot just by reading. Depending on the child, I do sometimes have them write spelling words 5 times each, and take tests, but not always. Some just don’t need it. They retain the knowledge by the books they read.
A few others need a little extra help. For the ones that do I like the books by Rod & Staff Publishers. They are written from a traditional Protestant viewpoint (possibly Mennonite?), which is very nice. They are also very complete and simple, so easy to learn from and understand. I highly recommend this line of books if your child is needing some English help.
I also like copy work. If they need work on their handwriting skills I prefer Seton handwriting books as they have beautiful Catholic artwork in them. If you aren’t Catholic there are tons of free online options out there that you can just print up. Do a Google search and you’ll find a bunch to choose from.
A fun way to learn writing is to find a penpal for your child. Not only do they get practice writing but they get to learn a little bit about where their penpal is from and their interests. It helps them learn to interact. My children even exchange gifts with their penpals! 🙂
Homeschooling doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated. Children are little sponges! They love to learn. We just need to provide them with what they want to learn about when they want to learn it to get the most information into their heads!