To homeschool or not to homeschool? I think this may be a question more parents are asking themselves as the time to enroll their child(ren) in public school approaches. I did not really consider homeschool myself at first. Although, I think as a populous we can all see that the public school system is failing. Many parents would prefer a private school, and even charter schools seem to be gaining popularity as an alternative when homeschooling just is not an option for working parents. My husband and I always kind of knew in the back of our minds that we would probably need to supplement at home what we felt our children would be missing out on at school. However, when my oldest child turned four I decided it was time for him to start learning to read. I have been able to read since the age of three so I knew it was possible and saw no reason to wait until he began school, not to mention the kid loved being read to.
So the lessons began. I will admit it was somewhat daunting at first. Nothing is easy when first learning it, and being the oldest I think he didn’t really think a child could read. Most days we would practice letter recognition, when he had this task accomplished we moved on to sounds, next came putting sounds together, and the progression to full on reading shortly followed. He was able to read very well by his fifth birthday, and with this came the idea that if I could teach him to read why not just teach him myself at home. So I did.
Now that we are on the road our book selection is limited. Living in a travel trailer means weight limits, and books are heavy. We make up for this by frequenting libraries. This is a great (and free) way for the kids to keep up on their reading without having to haul a ton of heavy books along with us. So far we have been to the library in Madison WI, Des Moines IA, and Boise ID. The kids love the big city libraries with their huge selections and they always have lots of other things to do like puzzles, board games, and coloring pages. We love it to because they always have good Wi-Fi which lets us get some work done and do some planning for the next part of our adventure. I am always glad I took the steps to teach my son to read because it made me realize that I was very capable of being his teacher along with my other two children.
It has been harder to have a routine since we are constantly traveling, but the road offers so many chances to learn that it balances out. When we were in the North Cascades we visited a dam and a power house, so the lessons that day were all about dams and power plants. When we were in Seattle we took the kids to the locks and learned about shipping channels and salmon ladders. When we are in the rain forest we talk about the ecosystem and how it is different from the sub-alpine meadow. Every state capitol has information about the history of the state and how the state government operates. We visit tons of zoos, museums and historical sites. At everyone of them the kids learn something and if you add to all this the junior ranger program you can see the kids have a new problem. We have to try not to overload them with information, so that they will be able to retain it. The only part of their
schooling we really have to be conscious of and work at is math, which requires regular use and expansion. It is always a difficult task to teach a child, but it has so many rewards that it is well worth the effort that you put into it.