"...the child should have a set time everyday to read for fun. Begin with half an hour for first graders, and build up to an hour of reading time daily...

This is an important part of the child's education: it improves his reading skills, teaches him the habit of sitting still with a book, and reminds him that reading is fun...

free reading ought to be spent on literature at or slightly below the child's present reading level so that he can simply enjoy himself. The easier reading will help him increase his speed."

The Well Trained Mind: The Guide to Classical Education at Home by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer


Amy Wilson said…
Thanks for telling me to read this one! I read it as part of my pre-homeschooling planning phase. I also went to a homeschool conference this past weekend as you suggested. I got some looks since I only have a one year old, but I learned a lot! At least I have time to wrap my mind around creating a good learning environment that works for us! I thought of you often at the conference b/c you are doing so well with Norah. I even went to the Math-u-see session to see what kind of Math program Norah is having "fun" with ;)
You sound so much like me. I bet I told you this before, but I would take Norah to home school meetings and trainings when she was still an infant and other moms burdened with a life of homeschooling three to five to seven kids at once, bless their hearts, would look at me like I was crazy. But, I was just EAGER! :) Some of them were actually not so nice... I know that feels. I swore when I got more "experience," I'd never snub a "newbie" and turn into one of those bitter, old, know-it-all, got the world on their shoulders, home school mom types. You will have to hold me to that. :) Up here, most home school moms (most moms, in fact) are older and I guess the older moms felt/ feel like I didn't/ couldn't/ don't have any idea what I was/am talking about because I haven't been doing this long. But, I think it's great that you are thinking about things now, especially if you go the classical route. It takes a lot of time to grasp the strategies in The Well Trained Mind. At least it has taken a long time for me. As you can see, I am using my blog to process some of this stuff in pictures and posts. We are transitioning into the classical mode over the next two years. I was just as eager as you and I think your thinking and planning will pay off. I think mine did. I never bought stuff I didn't need or want. I always purchased furniture and things of that sort with the future in mind. But, I am also still learning about stuff all the time, too! It never stops!!!! Ahhhh!!! :) If I could go back, though, do you know what I'd do??? I do an age-appropriate Sonlight Core with Norah a year (or even two) sooner than I started. Belle will probably be ready early, too. She seems to be developing quick like Norah did. :) I say wait till she is two or three and then start Sonlight!!! I love the time I spend with Norah over Sonlight books and even though I read with her all the time when she was younger, I wish I could go back and do all the Cores with her from the beginning. I plan to do them all with Avril. ;)
Amy Wilson said…
Yes, you planted the idea in my head to go to the conference. I got some looks and questions from a few, but then some of the seasoned HS mothers were very encouraging. One lady told me it is best to start early b/c "home-educating starts the second you have a child and really involves a lifestyle change for the whole family that can't happen when you are ready for the first day of kindergarten." I agree. :) I do think the classical route is going to be the way we teach eventually. I think I may have read an older edition at the library. Do you think it is one I need to get and shelve? Do you reference it often? Thanks for the suggestion about starting Sonlight between 2-3...If Belle keeps going the way she is right now, she should be ready then, but I know I need to go at her pace. I am glad blogging is a hobby of yours, as I am reaping a lot of knowledge. Would it bother you if I recommended your blog to some of my friends who plan to HS? Also, a side note question...(maybe you wrote in another blog and I missed it) how do you organize your year? Do you take the traditional summer break with Norah? Seems to me like this style of learning just can't take a long break. I really don't know how it all works best, but it just seems like it would work best to continue all year and take short breaks and vacations as needed throughout the year...?
What that mom said is perfectly right. You and Hamilton will benefit if you go ahead and use these years to read about home school and discuss home school and hash out your concerns and think about what you both want for your kids and family and what you will need for it all to happen, etc. The unity Dwayne and I have has come from the years of talking after dinner about home school. I can't imagine homeschooling without Dwayne's FULL support of me and understanding of the whole thing. If he still thought there had to be a chalkboard on the wall for kids to do school, for example, how would he be able to be confident in me when all he sees is Norah and I sitting on the couch reading together? That doesn't look like "school." But, he and I both understand what home learning is, so he doesn't freak out when it looks different. You may want to read a book called "The Teenage Liberation Handbook" and read anything by John Taylor Gatto. These books are all radical, but they are celebrated. I'd use this time you have to read all the big-name homeschool books and glean all the good stuff from them you can before you are too busy with the work of homeschooling to read them. I don't endorse everything in these books, but reading them will give you a lot to think about and even more to talk about with Hamilton. :) About The Well Trained Mind, I read it for the first time when Norah was an infant. I think she was six months old and at that time, I found it impossible to understand the first time through. I just put it down for a while and then force myself to try again and keep going back... And, I bet your library's edition was actually newer than the one I have. The book pictured on my blog is the oldest version there is. But, I just got the third edition. It's blue and yellow and I am so excited about it! :) I has more recommended resources on it's lists since many new books and programs have been published since that first edition. I read it everyday, throughout the day and that is not an exaggeration. I am devouring it at this point because I am in the midst of purchasing books and making plans and trying some of the strategies out for next year... first grade. If I could go back to where you are, I would probably buy the book instead of borrowing it from the library like I did. This would have made it easier to read on and off. I'd make myself an expert on the "Pole Parrot Years" again and again and write out any quotes that stood out to me (like I am only just doing now on my blog), so I could get a vision of what I will be doing and remember more of what I was reading. For preschool years, you could read and study The Well Trained Mind and use the resources it suggests while also using Sonlight's plans. This should be fine because Sonlight is not too intense and "fits" the classical model in that it introduces kids to books and more books and the joy of learning through them, etc. The classical history cycle starts for Norah and I next year, so we are preparing for that. It will be out first year, so we are going to be doing ANCIENT HISTORY and we will go forward on the time line from there. It'll be awesome, but I am still learning and still need to learn a lot more. :) Yes! Tell people about my blog! I'd love more feedback. I am actually trying to make it the kind of blog I would have benefited from reading when I was just starting all this. And, I am still just "starting" technically, compared to all those home school moms with grown kids. :)
About our schedule, we go year-round. We basically do school when we are home... so that when we are on vacation or when I am pregnant and nursing or sick or she's sick or when there is a day we are too busy, we don't "get behind." Also, subjects like math and phonics and handwriting benefit from consistency. Two or three months break would set Norah back too far. This is something teacher's in school just live with and so they spend the first weeks and months reviewing because kids forget so much over summer. We don't have to follow that forced, (and inferior, in my opinion) model, so we don't! :)
One more thing, I do home school while I am nursing.. the previous comment may lead you to believe I don't. But, nursing takes time, time, and more time and so, we just do less on those days and focus on reading, writing and math, if that's all we have time for. :)

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