Tuesday, February 12, 2013

This might surprise you but...

Today I'm going to let you in on a little secret... But first, a little background.

I began my homeschooling journey in 1991. The year my oldest child turned 5 in September, I already knew that I wanted to home school. My husband, though, saw that I couldn't even dependably get dinner on the table or do the dishes (with two young children, I might point out), so how could he possibly entrust the education of these children to me.
As it turned out, I had a "grace" period. The magic date for starting kindergarten in our area fell one day before my daughter's birthday. In other words, some one's arbitrary decision had concluded that everything in my daughter's life would be delayed by an entire year because I went into labor on 9/16 instead of 9/16. How absurd. 

Anyway, we went into that fall with squishy intentions of home schooling preschool. I had had the opportunity buy a used Kindergarten curriculum (published by the Adventist church -- there was next to nothing for home schoolers back then). I also found out where the local home school support group met and began attending meetings. The true home schooling pioneers laughed at my intensity and my worry ("How do I know if I am covering enough material?" "What grade are you teaching?" "Kindergarten." "HAHAHAHAHA!!!")

In spite of my effort to prepare myself, I felt unprepared. By January, though, I knew I was kidding myself on waiting til the next year to start school. My child was driving me crazy! She was so hungry to learn! I didn't have a phonics program yet, so I went to the library to find one. I picked up a book by Romalda Spaulding called The Writing Road to Reading, and spent hours every night reading, writing, taking notes, rereading, flipping pages... I was driving my husband crazy.

I also checked out every book I could find. I was finding a lot of material about the classical style of education. I was intrigued, but saw no way that I could ever teach Latin.

We started Kindergarten that January when my daughter was 5. My husband was willing to do it as a trial: if I was not doing a good job by June, then she could start Kindergarten in public school on schedule in the fall. I didn't want that to happen. I was willing to work hard! But what do they really need to learn in Kindergarten? The way I understood it, they needed to know their letters and their numbers, their colors and their shapes. It's really not that hard.

And, like I said, my daughter was so ready. So how were we doing by June? My daughter was so happy! And... she was already reading. So my husband said I could continue. And I went to a used curriculum fair to see what I could find to roll my daughter into first grade. I found Ann Ward's First Grade Learning at Home, which required some additional books, most of which I could get at the library or get a substitute. And I bought a Latin program. Three books, and an audio cassette of pronunciation.

I really tried. But the more I tried, the more I failed. So here's my secret: the subject I currently love best to teach used to scare me silly! I mean, how can you figure out how to teach a foreign language you've never learned from three small spiral books and an audio cassette. I couldn't.

So here's the wonder: how far we've come! The advancements in technology since I began my home schooling journey in 1991 have made all the difference in the world! Back in '91, I don't remember if we had a computer -- I know that I didn't use one. Our ideas of advanced technology included our microwave oven, our VCR player that we could watch and record with, and our cassette tape player that meant my kids could go to sleep listening to Adventures in Odyssey that we had bought or recorded. 

We did not have much money, so what programs might have been available to home schools on VCR never came into our home. Eventually I purchased a Latin Pronunciation tape, but I still didn't get it.

Well, a number of years ago I was blessed to receive a Latin I program that is DVD based, with all the bells and whistles (as in I received student text and workbook, teacher key to both, complete DVD set, and flash card set). Hallelujah! I get it, I get it!

So the teacher has become the student so she can teach the child. I am doing the Latin right beside my son (actually, I'm trying to stay a lesson ahead of him most of the time), and I'm loving it!

So, yeah... It might surprise you, but my favorite subject is Latin.

It might also surprise you that my 2nd favorite subject is Math, but that's a different post!


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