Slow start, strong finish

This picture is from September 2009. It is one of the first pictures I ever uploaded onto TAD Town. It is a picture of my oldest working on his math which at the time was basic fractions. He was 10 years old and in fifth grade. In sixth grade he would complete pre-algebra, seventh algebra, eighth geometry, ninth algebra 2, and tenth pre-calculus. That is a good, strong math progression and yet in fifth he was just happily doing his fractions in chalk in our backyard.

Autry working in her sketchbook.

My daughter is working through several AP classes this year, and she is a very strong student especially in writing. We did not use a formal writing curriculum for years, and overall started very slow in this area. She would write what she wanted when she wanted. When she was younger this was mostly in the form of a journal entry or short stories that she would write. We worked on a few formal programs starting in seventh and eighth and completed Writing with Skill in ninth. By tenth she was writing numerous essays for her AP classes, and this year she is writing essays daily. She has become an extremely strong, creative, and capable writer who enjoys the process.

nature walk 043

My point with these two examples is to show that starting slow can work. I touched on this idea previously in this post, but I wanted to discuss it once more as I see more and more homeschooling parents scheduling massive amounts of work for their young children. It is my belief that this is not necessary at all, and in some ways I find it to be counterintuitive. If you have high goals for your child once they are in high school and college that does not mean you have to start worrying about those goals when they are elementary or middle school aged. This only creates stress for the parent and takes away from the joys of childhood and self discovery for the child.

1936840_106630620921_3327181_n

This is not to say that we did no formal schooling when they were younger because we did. What I am trying to convey is that one can be formal in their studies but do so in a very relaxed and informal way. Academics took no longer than two hours all through the elementary ages for my kids. Middle school became a little more intense, and the kids probably averaged about three hours a day on academics. We never did academics five days a week, and I always made sure they had plenty of free time to discover their own passions and to just be a kid. Whether they were playing outside for hours a day, listening to audiobooks for days on end, or messing around on their computer, the kids had plenty of free time to do what they wanted.

P1030840

Slow to start has been very successful for us. The twins now spend hours upon hours a day working because they want to. They have very specific goals that they want to attain, and they feel up to the challenge. They are not burned out from long school days and hours upon hours of school work from when they were younger. Nor have they missed out on any essential skills necessary for the work they do today. Instead they were able to learn these skills very quickly at an older age rather than trying to grasp them when they were younger and not prepared physically or emotionally.

Slow start, strong finish.

Introducing SEA Homeschoolers – We’re Secular, Eclectic, Academic

And we would like you to come join us. Are you a Secular homeschooler looking for a place where you belong? Do you feel that academics are important, and that it is important to use different materials and approaches that match your child. Do you fall somewhere between an unschooler and a classical homeschooler? If so you may consider joining us over at Facebook. We are a group of homeschooling parents who have come together to support each other and our children.

We have only been up and running for a few weeks, but we already have over 450 members. The group is a very positive place to ask questions and get support. For more information on the group please see Blair Lee’s post here. If we sound like a good match, we would love to have you join us.

Also starting up now is our own teen book club. Does your teen enjoying reading? Would he or she like to be part of an online homeschool community? If so please consider joining SEA Homeschoolers. We are hoping to create a vibrant online community for our kids. A place were they can share their opinions and make life-long friends.

IMG_0582

Our first book will be Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick. If you would like more information on the book check out this review on Common Sense Media. For more info on the bookclub please send an email to seahomeschool@gmail.com. Click here to find us on Facebook.