Minimizing for Quality

It’s quality, not ignorance that we are aiming for.

Talking with an acquaintance, and hearing how much they are trying to accomplish in homeschooling, I commented back, how we are trying to reduce our curricula and extra curricular activities.

Blank.

Starring back at me was a blank face, as if the power had been turned off and no emotion could be reflected.  A moment later the power came back on, and the questions began to fire.  In short, how could we deny our children learning, education, skills for the workforce, ability to read, appreciation for culture, and so forth.

Minimizing our homeschooling is not about creating ignorance.  It is about focus, quality, prioritizing, simplifying and going for the most abundant, rich, and deep level of education that we can achieve.  Having the time to really practice the instrument or develop the unit study to its fullest.  Instead of constantly running around to find a better math program or researching a better way to teach adjectives, we are picking the best or a couple best curriculums or approaches, and going with that.

We are still taking music lessons, just not going to every concert presented.  We are still reading the classics, but not running to every book club starting up.  We are doing math workbooks, flashcards, and story problems; but only through one curriculum and maybe one fun computer program.

The amount of time researching for something better could be used to do what we have, to its best.  At the end our our term or the end of the materials we will switch.  BUT, (said with a whine, I knew exactly what she was going to say), what if it was a bad curriculum?  She should know me better, I’ll never force a bad lesson through to the end, but I also do enough reflection before replacing what we have, that we don’t waste a lot of time stumbling through poor curriculum.

Our favorite time tested curriculum:

1.  Story of the World (Some of the activities and resources, but mostly the CD’s which start great conversations in the car.) www.peacehillpress.com

2.  Singapore Math (Tried a few other programs, but this worked well with most of our kids.  For one child, it was not enough repetition.) www.singaporemath.com

3.  Keys to Math (Used this at the end of Singapore before launching into Algebra.  Great reinforcer.  Straightforward with no busy work.  Cheap booklets.)  http://www.rainbowresource.com/searchspring.php?q=keys+to+math

4.  All About Spelling Level 1  (One child could not spell despite spelling workbooks, lists, and rules.  I was asked to test the All About Spelling for a charter school, played with it, and then tried it on our non-speller.  By the end of the year, spelling was making sense.  Since then, I’ve used it with several tutoring families.  Not my first pick, as it is time intensive for the teacher, but it will make a huge difference for non-auditory spellers and those benefitting from mixed learning styles.)  http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling

5.  Homeschool Science Club (K-8, we found an incredible group for homeschoolers run through the local science museum.  Not part of the museum, but very closely connected. www.homeschoolomsi.com)

6.  Rosetta Stone French and Bonjour Les Amis, coupled with homeschool French class.

Writing/Reading has been so individual to each child and their learning style.  Nothing has stuck it through for everyone.

Minimizing ignorance.  Maximizing learning.

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