When to start homeschooling?

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by jpfrench81, May 7, 2010.

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  1. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore

    When do you think it is appropriate to start homeschooling a young child? Why?

    When they're five years old because that is the common age or earlier? When they seem ready? How do you know when they're ready?

    We have a son who's about 2.5 years and he loves to learn. He knows most of his ABCs, can almost county to thirty, and loves figuring things out. I'm sure he's too young now, but I am wondering what we might be looking for in the future.
  2. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    We start as soon as they are able to start learning (currently we have 3 we school and 3 more working towards it). However homeschooling laws differ between states. For example in Indiana we have no guidelines or required curriculum to follow. This isn't always good but does free us to be more categorically specific with each child. The only requirement we have is that each child must "attend" 180 days of school per year, but even that is fuzzy because there is no set definition for a school day.

    I would encourage you to start as early as you can but also to research your states homeschooling requirements to make sure that you stay within your legal bounds.
  3. dyarashus

    dyarashus Puritan Board Freshman

    It's proper to start homeschooling a child as soon as they're able to start learning. It sounds as if you've already done that, if your 2.5 year old son knows his ABC's, can count to thirty, and loves figuring things out. Those early years of homeschooling are great fun, and don't require a lot of rigor to be productive.

    If you're looking at when to get a lot more formal with it due to your state's legal requirements, that's a different conversation, but teaching everything from a true love of learning to simple obedience should start very early indeed. An age at which to formalize it is, other than legal requirements, largely a matter of individual preference, as there are many examples of those who started either early or late and did well.
  4. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    We started with Esther at a little over 2 years of age, because she was ready and asking for it. But some of the others at 4, and some even later.
  5. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Have you seen this series: Amazon.com: What Your Preschooler Needs to Know: Get Ready for Kindergarten (Core Knowledge Series) (9780385341981): Core Knowledge Foundation: Books It goes up to at least sixth grade and I have found it extremely useful to cover my bases.

    My general thought at the younger grades is to have fun, and let the learning flow from that. Read, read, and did I mention read? And use books, no matter how simple, that have an actual story line. I was anticipating starting more of a "formal" reading program with our 6 year-old this year, but with the foundation I mentioned, he flew right past what I was giving him and we went back to our reading together -- this time with him reading to me the simpler books and parts of the more advanced books. On the other hand, you may have kids at 6 or 7 that aren't quite wired yet for reading; that's OK, and the joy of homeschooling. The six-year-old I mentioned has some developmental delays, so he can actually "decode" reading to a very high grade level and can spell anything -- but we have to really work at reading comprehension.
  6. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore

    I had not seen that series. Thanks for the suggestion!
  7. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    We started right away, meaning we were always looking toward homeschooling, so we eased our children into it. Formal education started when they were required by law. When my children were in K-5, it was not required by law, now it is in SC. Even so, when we finally started going through regular curriculum, my children already knew how to count, add and their ABCs. They also had memorized some scripture, some of their catechism, had been read to a lot, and done lots and lots of artwork.

    We kept (and still do) age-appropriate art supplies around the house and gave our children plenty of opportunities to be creative with pens, paper and crayons. We also did little art projects. Play good music for them, take them to outdoor concerts (where they don't have to sit still), and I would also recommend taking them on nature walks where they can learn about God's creation. When my oldest was 5, we took a weekly visit to our local creek and watched how things changed over the year. My husband would let her watch when he was working on his research projects at home. These kinds of things are fun ways to learn that don't require "formal" training, and children remember them better.
  8. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Oh yes, thanks for mentioning the music -- good music and music to teach so many things, including Bible verses.
  9. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    Homeschooling starts at birth! Seriously.

    Formal education starting times will depend upon the ability of each child. Amy Jo was recognising letters and sounding them before two. She was reading shortly thereafter.
  10. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    Our oldest was reading when he was four. He's five now. I would say that a child's aptitude has more to do with the pace of learning than with the age you begin teaching him. Start now and the child's aptitude will determine the pace. If he learns qickly than great! move on to the next thing. If he learns slower, than relax, he'll eventually get it.

    Also remember that he'll pick up some things faster than others (every kid is different). Getting through basic math with him may have you convinced there something mentally wrong with him! Then you'll go through a reading lesson and be convinced he's a genius! He's neither; he's just better and more interested in some things rather than others.

    Right now it's just reading, writing, and arithmetic. He's future is not hanging in the balance, he'll get it all in time. The most consequential thing you have to teach him right now is his sinfulness and Christ's sufficiency to atone for it. If your unfaithful in teaching that lesson, than nothing else will matter. Keep the Gospel conscientiously at the center of his education.
  11. Mindaboo

    Mindaboo Puritan Board Graduate

    Every child learns very differently. In hind sight I should have started my oldest when she was closer to 8 or 9. My son was ready at 4 and never stopped. Daughter number three struggles with almost all school work. She needs lots of encouragement. My youngest started at 3 and is still moving right along. I have two that require me to move at a much slower pace and two that move quickly. If you have five kids they will each probably be ready at five different ages.

    If your two year old knows all of that you are already home schooling! Keep up the good work!
  12. Scot

    Scot Puritan Board Sophomore

    Or earlier. Start reading scripture to the child while still in the womb. Faith cometh by hearing.

    Deuteronomy 6 lays out God's idea of education. This should be the goal and should be started at birth.
  13. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    That is a very good practice. You could also put some headphones on the womb with an audio bible playing for those busier days.
  14. Scot

    Scot Puritan Board Sophomore

  15. LAmom

    LAmom Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with Rev. CM Sheffield and Mindy. I guess I haven't posted enough to thank them! Just depends on the kid. California law is that we don't have to report until they are 6 and in 1st grade. K is not even required. My 4yo and 2yo are natural learners. I started formally schooling my daughter at age 6 which is when she learned to read. I would probably have done it earlier and she would have been fine, but we moved to the West and I was having another baby. So we just waited for the new school year when she was 1st grade.

    The Well-Trained Mind Forum has been very helpful to me. You could do a search on your question and find lots of good answers. I know your question has been asked before!

    This link is also helpful, with some good resources. A Homeschool Curriculum for Preschool and Kindergarten, by Lillian Jones - BestHomeschooling.org
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