The Foundation Years – Homeschool Elementary School

Reading, writing, spelling and grammar are the four most important building blocks of a child’s education in homeschool elementary school. Math, science, history are also important, but experts believe that these four components of learning need to be taught well in order for all other education that follows to build on that solid foundation.

Parents need to understand how the young mind functions in order to teach them in a way that makes sense to them and that they can grasp. For example, if you were teaching simple math to a child between the ages of 5 and 7, you need to understand their need to use concrete things like toothpicks or beans or pennies as props to move around. If you ask a child of this age how many people are in their family, they will turn around and count each one. It isn’t until a child reaches 8 to 10 years of age that their mind can enters what’s called the mental image mode. At this point if asked the same question as before, they would bring up the family’s image in their mind, count the people mentally and give you an answer.

Spelling is probably the cornerstone of the foundation blocks. You must be able to spell before you can write though sometimes it can come along as the young student begins to spell. He can practice spelling by printing out the words. Phonetics is an excellent method to teach spelling. Learning to sound out a word will help not only in the beginning, but also as their education progresses and larger, more difficult words come along. There are some excellent workbooks on the market that are written as a series, getting progressively more difficult with each step. Only 10-15 minutes per day should be spent on spelling in the first year of homeschool elementary school.

Early writing should mainly involve copy work, dictation or retelling of a story that was just read to them. Their minds would have difficulty learning to write if they also had to think of something to write at the same time. At the beginning it’s basically penmanship practice, getting those letters just right, then on to copy assignments. Some experts recommend copying passages from famous authors that the children can understand. That way, they will be learning spelling, punctuation, basic grammar and vocabulary at the same time and in the style of a Master. After a time they may want to make up a story and write it down. That’s fine for a change of pace, but get right back to the copy work when done.

Homeschool elementary school also needs to teach reading. At first, children will need to be read to. Start with about twenty to thirty minutes of reading a day in the first grade moving up to letting the older student read for an hour by the fourth grade. Some excellent workbooks exist here to assist in learning to read. Spend time on it every day. Once they begin to read sufficiently on their own allow them a special fun time to read outside the lesson plan on their own. Let them choose what they want to read for fun, then get right back to the lesson plan the next day. Try to instill in them a love of reading on their own for pleasure and self-education.

Grammar during the homeschool elementary school years is basically learning parts of speech, the rules of the parts of speech and the rules of the English language and its use. First grade lessons are primarily oral proceeding on to more writing in the subsequent years to fourth grade. Narration is a tool used early on. A student is asked to repeat back a story that has just been told or read. It allows them show you how much of what they are being taught has been retained and if they understand it.

Homeschool elementary school can be challenging for parent and student alike. But if you properly prepare and arm yourself with the right teaching tools, it can be a delight for all involved.