Our homeschooling path was turned a bit upside down last week. My 4yo daughter has been begging to start school. I was planning on holding off another year, but she was just so excited about the idea. I had a copy of the teacher’s manual for My Father’s World Kindergarten sitting around, so I decided to order the student pages so that we could use it for this year.
OK… It would be an understatement to say that she was thrilled. She was so excited to start that she stopped eating dinner when the UPS man brought the materials to the front door. She begged to start “school” that night. Her enthusiasm has not waned. As I write this, we still have not even been able to take a day off of the curriculum. Today is Sunday, and we still schooled. She refuses to take a day off. We will finish this thing at record pace if we keep on this track, lol.
So anyways, the other unexpected thing that happened is that Matt decided that he wanted to try the 1st Grade Curriculum that My Father’s World offers. He saw how much fun she was having, and he wanted something similar for himself. His reading level is above what MFW expects, so we’ll still be doing Ambleside for history, literature, character training, and several other subjects. We’ll just be adding MFW for Bible and supplementary science, language arts, and who-knows-what-else. I guess I’m flying by the seat of my pants here. I called the kind people at MFW and they suggested that I bump him up to the 2nd/3rd grade curriculum, but he’s still just a 6-year-old in so many other aspects, and I think he’ll really benefit from making the Bible notebook. It just means that we’ll have to supplement their literature and language arts, which is fine since we LOVE Ambleside, and we’re not ready or willing to abandon the Ambleside readings.
Once I started looking into MFW, I saw that they give the kids book baskets each week. You fill the baskets with books about what you’ve been studying, and let the kids have free rein. You use books that are above, below, and at their reading level, and it is up to them to decide what they want to read and how.
We went to the library today, and it was no surprise to see what my children picked. They always run straight for the dinosaur aisle, and pick out as many non-fiction books as they can hold. They are so single-minded about it. I don’t mind, and they know more about dinosaurs than most paleontologists that we’ve met, so I figure it can’t be all bad. After all, learning about dinosaurs teaches great phonics, geology, geography, biology, classification, etc., etc.
I decided to take a lesson from MFW though, and grab some books to make them a book basket. I picked out both fiction and non-fiction. I grabbed the sequel to My Father’s Dragon, a book that Matt loved, for his basket. I also picked some books for birding in Colorado (he loves birding), snakes, strange animals, a book of poetry, a few books with international fairy tales, and a biography of Benjamin Franklin that is on our Ambleside free reading list. For Julia I picked several of the Ambleside Year 0 books – Blueberries for Sal, Little Babaji, and Make Way for Ducklings. Then I also picked out some non-fiction books on sea creatures and bugs, and then a book of easy poetry. I rounded it out with a book on how to draw dinosaurs.
We came home and I filled their baskets. They were so excited. It was really cute. Tonight Julia read Little Babaji and a few of the non-fiction books. Matt read all of his non-fiction books, one of the international fairy tale books, and decided to start the sequel to My Father’s Dragon. I was reminded tonight that it is good to keep balance. Although I would never stop them from reading dinosaur books, I’m really glad that I grabbed the other books. They wouldn’t have picked them off of the shelves themselves today, and yet they were so excited to read them when we came home. Life is all about balance, isn’t it? 🙂