Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Homeschooling: The Three R's

Kylen Reading Redwall, Age 8
Katrina - a blogging friend and fellow homeschooler - expressed interest in hearing more about our studies. Perhaps others are curious as well? While I LOVE talking homeschooling, interestingly enough I've been a little uncertain how to post about it. We are fairly eclectic (and becoming more so with each passing year). Much of what I consider "school" blurs with life until sometimes the two are hard to distinguish between. I will also admit that I'm not sure how to describe our son's strengths without sounding boastful or his weaknesses without sounding harsh. And how much detail to cover before losing my sparse readers to boredom? After one attempt at a post-turned-book, I thought I'd try breaking it up into a few specific areas. So here comes the big three: reading, writing, and arithmetic!

Math has probably been our number one constant (he he). We've used A Beka math workbooks since we began formal schooling in third grade - so for four years. Before that we had a very relaxed style that included a mish mash of cheap workbooks from Costco. Greg and I both developed strong math skills while at college for electrical engineering. Plus, his mother taught mathematics at a university, and his father teaches electrical engineering courses AND considers math to be beautiful. Yes, beautiful! So you might say Kylen didn't have a choice about whether he'd be good at math. But while he's proficient in this subject, he has little love for it. (Truth be told, neither do Greg or I. Shhh! Don't tell his parents, but we always viewed math more as a tool at best or . . . dare I say it? A necessary evil?)

Reading and writing are Kylen's greatest strengths. He was devouring series such as Narnia and Redwall by age 8 and continues to nourish a love for the written word. We've never used a spelling curriculum, because he never needed one. His writing will definitely surpass mine and probably already has in some ways. As such, I decided to skip English this year other than a quick review prior to testing. Sure enough, he scored perfect in almost every area, which gave me all the reassurance I needed that this was the right decision. It's been nice having a break from nouns and apostrophes! His English has consisted primarily of plays and stories he turns out for fun. When he gets in the mood, he fills a page or two in his journal.  If I had a single guess as to Kylen's future career, it would be a writer.

Here's a an excerpt from the first chapter of a book he's currently working on. Gotta love the reference to homescooling!

     “Good morning, Mark.” Trissa smiled at him from across the table. “How are you today?”
     “I’m good,” he replied. “Those pancakes smell great.”
     Trissa’s smile widened. “I hope they taste just as good as they smell then.”
     They did. Mark wolfed down five pancakes, then ate three more slowly.
     “You know,” His dad said thoughtfully, as Mark started on his ninth pancake. “You could stop any time.”
     It was an old family joke. Well, as old as when Mark had been eleven-and-a-half, anyway. This was his dad’s half of the joke.
     “Really? I can? I had no idea!” that was Mark’s half of the joke. He was contemplating whether or not to have a tenth pancake when his mom grabbed the plate off the table saying, “No more for you, young man. You’d eat all the food in the house if your stomach could hold it.
     Mark grinned at her, then washed his hands and brushed his teeth. He was home-schooled, so there was still another hour until he and his mom started school. Up in his room, Mark turned on the Imperial March from Star Wars and flopped onto his bed to listen. After laying there for a while, he became aware of a faint humming.
     “Dad? Do you hear something?”
     “Like what?” came the response.
     “Like a faint humming?” Silence for a while, then a “Nope. Must be in your head.” The noise grew steadily louder until it was a deafening roar, and before Mark had time to scream, he was sucked into… nothing. It was like being in a tornado, Mark supposed, though he had never tried it, and hoped he never would. He spun and twisted, and twirled, and just when he thought he couldn’t stand it any longer, it stopped.
     Mark looked around. It was obviously nighttime, as the sky was black and he could see stars. For a moment, he was entranced because of the sheer number of them. There were never so many stars in the city, at least, not that Mark could ever see. He was tempted to lie down on the nice, soft sand, and….


katrina said...

This was a GREAT post! Thank you!!! I really appreciate reading what your schooling is like and especially enjoyed Kylen's story...will you post more of it?!?!?! so good!!! THanks again, it is encouraging to me to hear what you are doing!!

Farrah said...

You're so very welcome!