Friday, June 7, 2013

Preschool-Heart of Dakota-Little Hands To Heaven


(We've been using "Leading Little Ones to God" since he was a baby & "Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons" since he turned 3, but the rest is all new & from Heart of Dakota)
My son is now 4 years old.  I've known I wanted to homeschool him since he was a baby.  Actually even before I was pregnant I knew that if I was ever to have a child that I would want to homeschool my child.  I wasn't sure it would be a reality until after he was born though. 
I am a planner by nature. I am always planning things out.  So even while I was pregnant I was trying to look around at homeschool curriculums & see what I would want to use. I have to admit I knew absolutely NOTHING about homeschooling, but I do know that I LOVE to teach & the ultimate would be to teach my own child. 
One of my biggest pet peeves has been that since I first started on this journey of trying to decide on a curriculum there have been a lot (but certainly not ALL & I am so incredibly grateful to those who DON'T fall into this category) of people who wouldn't even answer my questions.  They would insist that I needed to not think about curriculum yet.  And there are even some who feel a curriculum shouldn't be used for many years (even once the child is school aged).  Now that's fine if that's what works for some people, but that just doesn't work for me & I know I am not alone in that.  People want to tell me to take him to a park & have fun, to not be teaching him anything until he's closer to age 10.  Now I am totally aware that you can teach your child a lot without having an actual curriculum, BUT again, I personally want a curriculum to follow.  Like I said, I am a planner & that means that I want to have a curriculum to follow & plan around.  Additionally, my biggest struggle, all across the board in life, is creativity.  And coming up with lesson plans without a curriculum requires a great deal of creativity.  And obviously there are so many curriculums available that they are wanted & needed by a good deal of people, so I really shouldn't have to defend my wanting a curriculum.  And the fact that he's only 4 & too young also bothers me.  That is a decision that needs to be made for each child individually.  Lots of kids begin preschool at age 3.  I did consider this when he turned 3 & he wanted to learn to read at that time, but he wasn't interested in doing any more than that at that time.  And just because I got a preschool curriculum at this time doesn't mean I'm going to tie him down to a desk for hours & hours each day, which is what people are implying.  I know the time required will vary from curriculum to curriculum, but they obviously start out short & increase in length gradually as the child grows older. 
The curriculum I chose states that it takes half an hour 5 days a week to complete & that it can be split up in multiple shorter time frames if needed.  In addition to this curriculum he is doing reading lessons, which he started when he turned 3.  But the reading lesson only takes about 5-10 minutes to complete.  Additionally, I have never made him sit down or sit still for learning time.  At his age I just don't feel it's appropriate. 
It took me a long time of looking at curriculums to come to a decision on which one I wanted to use.  I originally liked The Weaver by Alpha Omega.  There are aspects of it that I still like a great deal.  But I started following discussion boards of people using this curriculum & I could see common issues among people using it, issues that I know I wouldn't want to deal with.  So I finally admitted to myself that I needed to find something else.  As I looked around I found Sonlight & really liked it.  BUT it just wasn't Biblically centered enough for me.  As I explored more I found several more that were similar, but more Biblically based.  And as I looked those over I came to settle on Heart Of Dakota.  Of course once we get started we may find that it doesn't work for us, but one thing is for sure, I do know myself VERY well.  So I am quite certain it will be a good fit for me.  The thing I am not so sure of is my son.  And the curriculum fitting my son's needs is far more important than it fitting my needs.
When he turned 2 he learned the whole alphabet very quickly, both upper & lower case.  After that I started on numbers & colors & shapes.  And when he turned 3 I started reading lessons.  When we first started the reading lessons I didn't like the book at all.  It teaches reading by way of phonics which is not how I myself learned to read & it's just not something I'm familiar with or comfortable with.  After a couple of lessons I decided against it, BUT my son was adamant that he loved the book & wanted to continue with it so I persisted & I've gotten used to it & comfortable with it by now (we are now more than half way through the book) but most importantly he is enjoying it & he is doing very well learning from it.
I will do my best to post blogs about our homeschooling adventures as time permits once we get started.  I am planning to begin in August, maybe in July.  I would prefer to start in September, BUT it's 33 weeks long & I am worried about things coming up & possibly falling behind.  Being my first time doing this I'd prefer to start a little early just in case.  And I would really like to stop for holidays & focus on learning about the holiday itself instead at that time.  We'll see how it's still sort of up in the air at this time.


Suanna said...

I enjoyed reading about your choice of curriculum. You were trying to decide when to start. You don't have to fit into a mold. You can start and stop as you need. It sounds like he already knows a lot of what LHTH will cover. You may find it very easy to combine 2 days of material together and have school 3 days a week with two days for other activities. It is also easy to look at and if you see something that you don't think he will like, take the idea and be creative to make the same idea have a twist that fits your son better. LHTH has lots of moving activities which sounds like a good plan for your son. I hope you have a fun year. We've used LHTH for 3 children and plan on beginning it again in Jan. 2014 with 2 more.

Frau Guten Tag said...

Thank you so much, I am interested in doing less than 5 days per week. I'll just have to see how he does once we begin.