The Counsel of Trent

writing is thinking

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mailbag: Homeschooling, Unschooling

I was recently queried about how we homeschool. I paste a snippet blow.
We don’t really “do” curricula. We unschool. I think it’s just the natural, rational thing to do and I can defend that, though the natural objection is that it’s more a reflection of my antinomianism. However, in rebuttal all I can say is that I think my reasons are good reasons and that my antinomianism has subsided somewhat and my belief in unschooling has grown. Nevertheless perhaps I can say something useful.

Our focus is on the four R’s: Reading, ‘Riteing, ‘Rithmatic, and ‘Rt (love that last one).

I. Reading (by the way, do a Google Image search on “girls reading” (be sure to include the quotes)).

A. Chesney (5)
*Reading lesson each day from Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy lessons.
*She reads aloud for corrections from Scholastic Press’s Phonics Fun (why isn’t “phonetic” spelled phonetically?) book which has one or two sentences per page (Frog and Toad is great, but she gets intimidated and bored by full paragraphs. One or two sentences she gets rewarded with a picture more frequently).

B. Fiona (7)
*Reads from Bible and Catechism each day.
*Reads What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know to Chesney
N.B. Prior to this we read it to her straight. Oddly, I’ve met multiple people who think they should digest the book and work it into the “curriculum” rather than *making it* the curriculum. So each day we’d read a few pages from each category. It doesn’t have to be hard.
Reads a few chapters of some chapter book selected in consultation with parent.

II. Writing

A. Chesney
*Works on penmanship using basic sheets printed from
B. Fiona
*Writes brief book reports with illustrations
*Writes email to friends and family
*Writes brief narratives of recent special events. For example we went to Niagara Falls last weekend and she wrote about that.

III. Arithmatic

*Fiona prints off worksheets for her and Chesney from progressing a bit each day or so.
*This is occasionally supplemented with colorful workbooks from the dollar store or the Walmarts.

IV. Art: The usual stuff.

They also frequently play educational games of the Reader Rabbit variety and lately the pretty good Zoombini’s Logical Adventure (which is actually quite good).

Of course this only covers a fraction of what we do because, of course, life *is* a classroom and learning is a lifestyle for us. The thing that counts is that we set an example of reading and learning. That’s number one. If you got that, you got it all; if you don’t have that, you don’t have anything.


At Friday, July 14, 2006 2:00:00 AM, Anonymous Matthew said...

That first R may turn out to be the biggest benefit of homeschooling since it's a place where public schools have failed . Have you taken a look at Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook. He's got a web site with some good resources too.

At Friday, July 14, 2006 9:55:00 AM, Blogger Trent_Dougherty said...

Yeah, the firs R is the key that unlocks all the rest.

Thanks for the rec, I'll check that out.


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