Rest easy. You cannot academically ruin an elementary level student. I promise! The most typical mistake is in doing too much academically rather than too little. These little sponges will soak and soak and soak in the information as they see how pleased it makes you (with them). And then at some point around 2nd-4th grade they are saturated, may shut down, and lessen or lose their enthusiasm for learning. What happened? It used to be so easy to please you, it used to be so easy to keep up with the work? Meeting moms expectations and thrilling her with your ‘smarts’ was a breeze, but now it is hard work -and the amount of work has become heavy. So, mom, keep it light, avoid most of the fluff subjects beyond phonics, read alouds (at, below, above level), and counting. Really, if you have not opened your curriculum you can send it back or keep it for use here and there. Avoid worksheet/workbook worship, avoid more than 15-30 minutes of sit down academic work (multiply this per grade up to 5th-7th grade-ish). Utilize nature, literature, and discussion as much as possible. Create an environment of learning, a culture of curiosity, within your home rather than a classroom in your kitchen. Get excited over finding reference books at the thrift stores and build a library of $1 books one at a time.
If you find yourself on the edge or your child lacking zeal for learning, step back and look at what you are doing. And, don’t allow the student to dictate your day by his/her attitude. Have few rules but keep them consistently, keep them with love and grace and firm control. Some ideas of what I mean are: good attitude, kindness toward others, quick obedience (even, and especially, when not getting ones way), attendance to/completion of lessons in a quick, efficient and correct manner. These foundational stones will return to serve your future years of school, home or traditional, in a manner that will tickle you to your toes. Lack thereof will create an equal and opposite reaction. Have no fear. Adam and Eve homeschooled their children, so did Noah, so did Mary & Joseph. This is a natural gift that we all have. Only we have been taught that we are incapable of tapping into it unless we are issued a piece of paper by a professional. No! If one man can do it, you can do it. Pray, read, join a support group, join in groups/activities as you are able, take joy in your child every day, take joy in days that ought to be scrapped of traditional learning and turned into park days or pj days, take joy that you have freedom to teach deeply in the areas that are of importance to your family. Do not fear that someone will tell you it is inadequate. No two schools are at the same level, no two students are at the same level. Your child will learn one subject easily and one not so easily. Have a child behind in one subject and ahead in one is quite normal. You need not fit ‘someone’s’ idea of normal, you just need to follow your child’s abilities and learn precept upon precept. Completing a workbook, text, or curriculum each year does not mean the material has been learned. It has been covered. Far better it should be learned.
Okay, so I could ramble on all day as I love this stuff and want each of our Faithful Scholars families to feel empowered and confident in their roles as homeschool teacher and administrator. I am here to answer whatever question you may have- on topic or off, silly or serious. Don’t ever think you are the only one experiencing anything- it is a lie. We all go through much the same experiences and when we share our troubles we find our answers as well as love and grace!