Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Gentle Art of Learning

Homeschooling has been on my mind lately. We begin officially in a couple of weeks. I have been worried if I will be able to really teach Sweetie how to read. I know I have pottied trained her, taught her colors, numbers and other things. But reading? That is a different story all together.

While I have been reading about the Charlotte Mason philosophy, the concept of not pushing a child; but allowing their natural curiosity to guide me into teaching them is brought up over and over again.

The idea sounded good, but was it true? While most kids Sweetie's age are already going into first grade, Sweetie who is now six, will be officially entering Kindergarten. I just played around with "school" last year, to see what direction I wanted to go with the "official" year.

I attempted to teach her to read. While she was grasping the concepts quite easily, she quickly would become bored and frustrated. After Christmas, I stopped pushing it. I had other things I needed to do.

Recently, Sweetie has been blossoming with her reading, on her own. She has taken an interest in words, and how they are "spelled" and sounding them out all on her own. Occasionally, she comes to me for help. And I help her with it.

Two nights ago, I spelled a word for my husband. It was the word Twix. I wanted him to get me a Twix candy bar, but I didn't want the children to know what it was. Sweetie asks, "What's a T-W-I-X? I told her to sound it out. So we went to her little chalk board, and I wrote Twix down, and she sounded it out, and read it!

She then asks, "What's a twix?" So I wrote the word "candy" on the board, and she sounded it out! By this time, she was quite taken with being able to read "hard" words, that she forgot all about the candy, and wanted me to write more words for her to figure out.

When Nana came to visit the other day, we showed Nana her abilities. Sweetie was quite proud and excited with herself.

While Nana and I were busy with something. The house grew quiet. When I walked out into the living room, I saw that Sweetie had written down many words on her white board. On her own, without *any* help from me. Without any formal curriculum. It was all just play in her mind. But she was learning! It was the Gentle Art of Learning. I took a picture of her white board:

I am so glad that I didn't push her more, and cause her to be frustrated with reading. Because now, it is fun for her, and she is enjoying it. Now, she wants to learn to read. And seeing this progress form her, has encouraged me *very* much. It is going to be a joy to teach her to "cipher" her letters, instead of a battle. :)

Speaking of the Gentle Art of Learning... My best friend has put together a Charlotte Mason Blog FULL of a tremendous amount of resources. Check it out.. It is Ancient Paths Schoolhouse She has done *alot* of work in order for other people to know where to begin with exploring the Charlotte Mason philosophy.

Also, I am working on building our home school blog. I am not sure how I am going to use it yet; I am still formulating it. But I'll let you know when it is ready to read.

Have a beautiful weekend!


Mommy said...

That is so awsome!!! It is so neat to see children loving to learn!

Charlotte said...

I really admire mothers who take the time to get involved and homeschool their children. This wasn't done in my day. With the public schools the way they are now I wouldn't want a child of mine going there. It was bad enough when my kids were in school in the 70s.

Kelli said...

That is wonderful news!

Amy said...

This post just makes my heart sing! I love everything I've read about Charlotte Mason's ideas, and it is wonderful to 'see' them in action, and proving to be true.

You guys are going to have a great year! :)

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