Hello dear friends,

I fell upon your blog a couple of days ago and began reading. I am truly inspired. This is my first year to homeschool my girls (ages 8, 6, and 2). I had almost no plan going in. My husband is overseas this year so I’m navigating on my own. We have mostly focused on learning to read and some math. I want to pick up on reading literature as suggested on your blog, but I have to admit I’m a very weak reader. My reading comprehension is poor, and my mathematics is sub par. My confidence level is in the gutter. I, like any other parent, want the very best for my children.

My aching concern:
How can I hope for my children to surpass my weakness when I’m their primary educator?

Thank you for your very informative blog.
Heather Morris

This is what I hear in your letter:

1. You are highly motivated.
2. You perhaps didn’t do well in school yourself.
3. You are worried that you won’t be able to keep up with your children, academically.

Because you are highly motivated, you don’t need to worry about concerns #2 and #3. Homeschooling is how we parents are given a second chance at education. You’re going to learn along with your children. Actually, the way it will come down is, you will be educating yourself, and the kids will come along for the ride.

Concerning math, start with a 5th or 6th grade textbook when your oldest is 9 or 10 and learn right along with her, lesson by lesson. You’ll only need to do that with the oldest child. Grammar, spelling, foreign language, logic, and the upper level sciences will be handled the same way — learn along with the oldest child.

Learning to read aloud takes time and patience. Start with some easy books, not necessarily the baby picture books, but the easy readers. Some examples would be:

The Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
books by Beatrix Potter
The Blind Colt by Glen Rounds

You can find more suggestions in our book Hand That Rocks the Cradle. Start off by reading for 15 minutes and slowly work up to reading two hours per day (broken up into smaller sessions). Read books that appeal to you — this will help to motivate you. Reading aloud is a skill you have to develop over time.