Homeschooling 101 is not complete without the duh of reading out loud to your kids. I have great memories of reading to our eldest every night. Charley would take Erik and read "Cars, Trucks and Things That Go" in one room and I would be reading "Tikki, Tikki Tembo" and "Bedtime for Francis" in another. Of course we read a lot more than that but these books stick out in my head. I try to read to our youngest as much as I can. School for all ages has been most effective through reading to them. Why would they want to learn to read themselves if they didn't see the benefits through our reading to them? It is more of a challenge to get to the small ones now but I also have my older children read to the kids too. This benefits the older children too.
I do think we did reading out loud to the oldest ones pretty well. I think I got way too distracted in their five or six year old ages, worrying that I didn't have the right tools to teach them. I think if I were to do it all over again I would have just stuck to reading to them, alphabet books to continually go over their letters and sounds, number books for counting, shape and concept books for all the rest. Why did I think I needed a text book to do this???? I guess the Bachelor's in Education did me in. Textbooks and programs are certainly not necessary for the little people.
Curriculum guides became more necessary for me the more kids I had, to plan and keep me accountable to proceeding in some sort of order. That is why I love Sonlight as reading out loud is their main forte in the grade school area. Flying by the seat of my pants didn't work so well. The distractions of life - laundry, cooking, gardening, etc would easily have trumped school if at that point I did not have a better plan. The weak, doubtful part of me acquired too many programs which translated to spinning plates. Funny how we recognize that simplicity is more productive than ringers and dingers but the temptation to try to do school 'right' still dangles new ideas to distract the main cause.
So......Mother Goose, fairy tales, fables, great reads plus good old fashion life experience counting and explaining things to our kids and then of course writing and drawing for fun, is enough school till around seven or so for most kids. By the time you read an alphabet book one hundred times to the kiddos, taking pause to go over the sounds as you go, then reading instruction certainly can be a snap. Read more..........plan time for the cleaning in a focused time and one might not go nuts in the end.