Personally, I think anyone can get pretty far just by reading and playing alone, but there are times, of course, when one needs to learn some new skill through actual concentrated effort. Of course, the best situation is when the effort doesn’t feel like effort…when the individual actually enjoys what they’re doing so much that they don’t seem to realize they’re “learning” or have so much fun, they don’t really care why they’re working so hard.
I hope to help my children learn to read and write in a very natural, organic way primarily by reading to them and surrounding them with good books. However, there are definitely times when children can be helped along in a fun and unpressured way. Reading is so important that personally, I have a hard time just leaving this skill to chance.
I have always been a math nerd. Algebra, trigonometry, calculus, partial differential equations…it doesn’t matter. I love numbers. I hope to pass on this enjoyment of mathematics to my children.
History, geography, government, civics…there is so much to learn from the many fields within social science that is relevant to our lives.
Science is the field that tells us how the world works. I think all kids are born with an innate scientific curiosity. Many people grow out of it as they get older, but I never did. I hope my kids never do either.
I am a mechanical engineer. While science in its purest form explains the theory behind the “how”s and “why”s of the world, technology and engineering are what happen when you apply that knowledge to practical applications.
Both of my oldest children have attended a Montessori school for preschool. There are so many aspects of a Montessori education that I love, like the child-led learning philosophy, the lack of tests and grades, the self-correcting, hands-on learning material, the emphasis on nature, and the cosmological perspective.
I learned about the Charlotte Mason homeschooling philosophy through an acquaintance about a year ago when I told her I was planning to start homeschooling. It has a religious basis, but I think there are lots of really valuable aspects of this educational style that all families can benefit from, regardless of their spiritual background.
I think it is more important that kids under 5 play than perform structured learning activities. However, I also think if they learn things like colors, letters, shapes, and numbers while they are young, they will have an easier time when they are older. Therefore, I occasionally include some Pre-K learning activities into my young childrens’ day.