This mama expressed a range of questions in these two paragraphs of her frustrations with homeschooling:
“Do you ever feel like your homeschooling is not enough? - especially for the younger kids? I feel like right now should be a super fun time for me and my son, but it just seems tedious and boring. I'm starting to feel like he would have more fun in public school—though I know he would lose all of his academic achievement. I think that is part of my problem: all the fun kindergarten stuff is far too simple for him. He is 5 and reading at a 1st or 2nd grade level and id doing math at a 2nd or 3rd grade level, but physically he can only sit for about 15 minutes at a time and his hands get tired very easily. So, to read a book that is at his level would be like green eggs and ham; he knows all the words but it is too long for him to sit there and concentrate on finishing it. I guess I just second guess myself a lot. One day I think we did too much schooling, and the next I think not enough. Then there is always the thought that we should be doing fun crafts—but I feel like all my creativity has been drained.
“I think I am feeling it all come crashing down because I see my sister's fridge covered with fun papers that her son brought home from public school, and I feel guilty that we are not really doing any "fun" aspects of schooling. I know I should not be comparing myself to them, as I know that my son is getting a far better education and the quality time with us—but still it's hard. Any words of wisdom to lift my spirits?”
As a veteran in the homeschooling movement for over 30 years, it’s apparent from this vantage point that most moms' problems are not new—and some big picture perspectives can really help.
When you look at the content of the "fun" artsy-craftsy things kindergartners bring home, you can see that there is not much depth there. Gluing feathers and sequins doesn't end up contributing to a "line upon line" "precept upon precept" solid huge heavyweight foundation in the real world. The pagan world is always involved in replacing profundity with tinsel, glitter, show—often without substance. In art, the important thing is not to "manipulate stuff" but to teach your children how to see detail and how to draw precisely. Learning how to draw line drawings via sketching real objects of the real world will create a keenly perceptive "observer". Sketching cultivates a visual alphabet and language for the child to express himself in at more and more refined levels as he grows in that skill. Get our eBook/Kindle book (it's a chapter in our new book on Launching Your Homeschool), Teach Your Children to Draw, to see the infinitely superior method of using your child's time to this end, instead of inordinate preoccupation with artsy materials the products of which inevitably end up in the trash. Not so, with his progressive sketch notebooks that will grow through the years as his/her skill grows.
Re: public school
The fundamental flaw of the public school, regardless of how much transitory "fun" is presented there, is that it is anti-God, from K through 12. When you raise a child with no reference to God—no tether to his life—always giving your child the HOW of life but never the WHY, you raise a "whited sepulcher"—a DEAD person, spiritually. When such a child graduates from years of indoctrination within such a system he has no anchor with which to interpret all of the vicissitudes of life. And this is NO GIFT. Fun gets replaced 12 years later with such emptiness that it leads to thoughts of suicide for many high school graduates.
If we concentrate only on secular education, because it appears to be fun or because it seems to be delivering more than we can, it is possible to raise a BRILLIANT murderer or robber or…. For the believer, academics is not the only goal. Raising a HOLY child (who has been taught the necessary academic skills and knowledge) IS the goal. We are guardians, responsible for raising up GODLY seed from the "womb to the tomb". This is our job as parents. The godly line of godly seed is VERY fragile. It almost got snuffed out in the Garden of Eden by the killing of Abel. Seth had to be born to continue the line. Without Seth, there would have been no Messiah. And the enemy of our souls continues his stampede to try to wipe out the "seed" by offering secular paganism to us as our answer to education. Public schools are the high church of secular humanism. It IS a religion. Giving way to the temptation to put our children there can be devastating. The enemy tries to erode our resolve. Don't be surprised if the mental debate over this issue is intense in you on some days. You are in a REAL war for the soul of your child.
On some days your teaching load seems not enough for the child; on other days it seems to be too much. This will even out over time as you get to really know your child. The too-little, too-much academic challenge swings won't be so wild as he grows. If you opt for ACE’s curriculum to use as your curriculum work horse, this program allows your child to go at his own pace. If the material of one pace is too easy, your child will breeze through it and will reach the academic edge of where he really is—then he will slow down automatically. Always do academics in short spurts; 15 minutes is plenty for a youngster. The time duration will lengthen/enlarge as the child grows his mental discipline. A child always learns INTERNAL discipline by many experiences of EXTERNAL discipline, a bite-size piece at a time. The transition is seamless.
Spelling is best taught via LISTS only. This is why you do not need to order word building paces from ACE, or do any other spelling program. The research is conclusive on this, but those results have not been well advertised by mainstream textbook companies, because they want to sell more books. All you need is a list of the 1,000 most frequently used words in the English language. Just hammer that list until they are all mastered, whether it gets done in six months or six years. Wear the list out until it is mastered. Presto, you're done. Looking up words in the dictionary teaches your child no spelling skills whatsoever. They learn vocabulary content by reading. That 1,000-word master list is found on the last pages of our Zoom-Type touch-typing course. It's a real gem. We also have the most important 360 of these given orally on an audio CD with an answer booklet, so mom doesn't even have to give the spelling tests—the CD does it for you. Also, an online practice list of the most common 400 English words, formatted in forty word charts so you can master their spelling and/or test your typing speed, is available as a free download from our website.
You CAN use any curriculum. If you like what you’re doing, so be it. But if administering it all has become too exhausting and you are tempted with putting your children back in public school, try ACE. If you stick with ACE for everything, you'll put an end to spending your days and hours trying to figure out which is the best curriculum for you to use. If you settle this issue now, by choosing ACE, you can immediately go revel in your personally newfound freed up time—time that you used to spend textbook shopping and lesson planning. Go read a good book, take a hike with your child, fix a gourmet dinner, take a luxurious bath, hug your hubby! There is more to life than schooling. ACE gets your child educated, as it has in 135 countries with several million children. It is the easiest curriculum to administer. You can end your curriculum anxieties today by going with it for everything. Otherwise, curriculum wonderings and wanderings may well “eat you alive" and you can continually switch programs for 12 years, while concept after concept falls through the cracks during all of those switches/false starts in what you hope is an ever-better curriculum. Get your children on this horse to ride and you'll ride to triumph with each one of them and never cave in to the impulse to put them in public school.
May these perspectives help you.
PS: In addition to Launching Your Homeschool, order our book Teachers' Secrets and Motherhood Savvy if you want more of such ideas. It took me 25 years to discover all of this.