Ruth Beechick & the Schoolhouse Birthday Bash

 Homeschooling naturally is natural. Don’t work too hard at making it artificially schoolish. -Dr. Ruth Beechick

The Old Schoolhouse Birthday Bash Blog HopToday I am thrilled to share a few questions that I personally got to ask Ruth Beechick as part of the Schoolhouse Birthday Bash Blog Hop. Did you know that The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is officially 10 years old this year? Why yes it is! And they are having 10 days of celebration full of fun giveaways and interviews with the new Family of Columnists on the Homeschooling with Heart blog.  Plus you can download The Curiosity Files 9-pack bundle featuring Professor Ana Lyze as a free birthday gift!

Ruth Beechick, Debbie Strayer

Ruth Beechick & her dear friend, Debbie Strayer

Many of you probably already know Ruth from her It’s Just Common Sense column in The Homeschool Minute e-Newsletter with Debbie Strayer. Maybe you’ve read some of her articles in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine before.

Or maybe you’ve heard about her common sense approach to teaching children from some of your other homeschool friends. (That’s how I first heard about her!) I was stressing about not making progress with one of my boys on something and one of my friends loaned me The Three R’s Series. I felt such freedom after reading those little books. That’s probably where I began my journey as a relaxed homeschooler.

The Three R's by Ruth Beechick

These little books made our homeschool a MUCH happier place!

Ruth is already a regular columnist at The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, but you’ll get to read even more from her as TOS launches their new monthly interactive digital format starting in January 2012. (Woo hoo!)

Dr. Ruth Beechick, a retired educator, began writing for homeschoolers in their “early” days of the 1980s and has happily watched the movement grow. She sees these families as being the strongest part of our society. From her wide knowledge of teaching, she tries to give common sense help and to encourage parents to follow their intuition and not be slaves to published curricula. Her books are available at and from other suppliers.

You can learn more of her story from this 2006 Tribute to Dr. Ruth Beechick on the TOS website.

And books? She’s written a lot of them! She’s a fountain of knowledge. Here’s a basic list:

So, without further ado, I’ll get right to the interview. (But be sure to keep reading. I’ve got an extra giveaway at the end to share with y’all!)

Nancy: Are there any common mistakes that homeschooling parents make when teaching their children to write? How can we avoid those mistakes?

Ruth: The greatest homeschool mistake in teaching writing is to emphasize grammar. Knowledge of grammar does not improve writing. Researches over and over have confirmed this. Actually, children learn much grammar through daily conversation and reading. Grammar courses add some terms like noun and verb, but children already use nouns and verbs correctly, and other parts of speech, too. When a child writes something ungrammatical, just read it aloud and ask him if that’s the way it should sound. Usually he can correct it orally. Then he will be able to correct his writing.

Nancy: Is there a certain age at which you recommend that children learn to read? If not, how can homeschooling parents decide when their children are ready for reading?

Ruth: People wonder when to begin teaching their children to read. But they usually have already begun when they read picture books or other books aloud. Through this reading, the children learn that books tell things, that words are in books. They begin to learn some of the words and letter sounds. “This word that begins with J is Jesus.”  “This word is table. It begins with T like your name Tom.” Consonants help reading more than vowels do. Try reading these lines of consonants and vowels.
Lttl Mss Mufft
St n  tfft
E  e  u  e
Lng  cm  spdr
Nd st dwn bsd r
A i  i u a a

On familiar books, you pause now and then for a child to fill in the next word or phrase. Is this reading? You could call it beginning reading. This is tutoring, the powerful method that homeschoolers use. It is individualized. You teach on-the-spot, or the many-spot teaching that happens naturally.

Sometimes children memorize whole books and can read them to you. Sometimes they read parts. For this, it is best to use real books, not the committee-written textbook readers. Real books are more interesting for the children. They help them grow a large vocabulary, as they are not limited to “grade-level” words as textbooks are.

Nancy: Do you think preschool-aged children should do “formal” school work in order to be ready for kindergarten?

Ruth: How do you help children be ready for kindergarten? This question need not worry homeschoolers. Since you always tutor at the child’s current level, you need not be concerned about schoolish terms like kindergartens or any grades. And your tutoring and parental attention usually bring high levels of learning. It is the main reason that homeschoolers do better than classroom children.

Nancy: Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, Ruth, and thanks for joining our new TOS Family of Columnists. I really look forward to reading even more of your encouraging words.

Now, are the rest of y’all ready for the big giveaway?

It’s Giveaway Time! (imagine party horns blowing and confetti flying)

Today, we’re giving away two great gifts from TOS. One winner will receive a one-year digital subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, and a second winner will receive a digital copy of the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner.

One-Year Digital Subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

What do you look for as you homeschool? Motivation? A little encouragement? Perhaps a unit study? Maybe an art activity? Within each issue of The Old Schoolhouse® you’ll find amazing resources, candid interviews with business owners, glimpses into the routines of other homeschools, articles from the experts in homeschooling, as well as up-and-coming innovators helping our days run a little more smoothly. Find them all in our pages along with their insight, expertise, and honesty as we all homeschool together!

Along with your subscription, you’ll receive free access to Teacher’s Toolbox, our exclusive, subscribers-only website packed with daily recipes, “This Day in History” lessons, printables, unit studies, and more!

E-Book: The 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner

Jump into a great year with The 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner! Erase the frazzled feel of disorganization with the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner and bring order and efficiency to your school year. Packed with relevant articles, clever calendars, useful forms, handy lists and so much more, this planner is the key to meeting your many goals for the 2011-12 school year. We put our heart into the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner so you’ll have more time to put your heart into your home. Click here to view sample pages from the Planner.

To enter, just a leave a comment here by midnight Thursday, October 6, 2011! Winners will be randomly selected from the comments and will be notified via email on October 7th. You can get an additional entry for sharing this post via Facebook, email, or Twitter (handy buttons at the bottom of this entry), or for subscribing to my blog via email (top right corner). Just leave me an extra comment for each of those that you do, m’kay?

Rules: Must be 18 or older to enter and provide a valid email address. TOS employees, contractors, product reviewers, and Crew members are not eligible to enter.

  20 comments for “Ruth Beechick & the Schoolhouse Birthday Bash

  1. Melinda
    September 30, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    The writing encouragement was helpful. We still struggle in that area. Thanks so much!

  2. September 30, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    I love reading Ruth’s advice. She has such wisdom and it has helped me relax as a homeschooler as well!

  3. Dawn Kilgore
    September 30, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Thank you so much for this wisdom..we are still learning and struggling through the writing process.

  4. Leigh Owens
    September 30, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    Thank you for a great interview. I love Dr Beechick. I, too, received a great feeling of freedom and release when I read the 3Rs series. Those books completely changed how I tackle my God-given duty to educate my children, and I think our home is a happier place for it. I would love to win the giveaway.

  5. Leigh Owens
    September 30, 2011 at 3:01 PM
  6. Leigh Owens
    September 30, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    I subscribed to your email.

  7. September 30, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    My subscription just ran out and I’d love a new digital subscription to check out the new features. Thank you for hosting a giveaway!

  8. Beth
    September 30, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Thank you, Nancy. Your ministry is appreciated and we thank Jesus for you. What a blessing to see the next generation of homeschool families coming along!

  9. September 30, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    One of the first books I read on homeschooling was You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully. I wish I still had it. I loaned it to someone and it never returned home. :( I do however still have my notes from the book.

  10. Jennifer
    September 30, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Love TOS! My subscription just ran out:)

  11. Care
    September 30, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    I love Dr. Beechick’s books…The 3 R’s was a lifesaver to me when I first began homeschooling. Thanks for the wonderful interview, Nancy. I’d love to win the digital subscription to TOS. :)

  12. Care
    September 30, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    I subscribed to your blog! :)

  13. Mom24jewels
    September 30, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    I have read a couple of Ruth’s books. They have been so encouraging. We have made a switch from very traditional learning to a more reaxed learning this year and it has been a wonderful transition. My younger two are more relaxed, desiring to learn and doing well. the older two are hs levels and we are still trying to keep our studies in depth enough for hs credits. it has been well worth the change. thank you for offering this interview and thank you Ruth for sharing your wishom.

  14. Carol Emmert
    September 30, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Ruth’s advice has always been encouraging! I’m looking forward to her as a columnist. :)

  15. September 30, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    I really enjoyed Ms. Ruth’s words of wisdom! I am always so reassured by her ideas and knowledge. Thanks for the interview! :)

  16. Diane Rothenhoefer
    October 1, 2011 at 6:41 AM

    I started homeschooling in the 80’s and I read all Ruth’s books. Now I homeschool my grandchildren. Second generation of homeschooling happening. Would love TOS or the planner. Encouragement helps keep you grounded.

  17. Amanda G
    October 1, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Ruth Beechick is my homeschool mentor and friend! Her books helped me when nobody else around me could! They continue to refresh me each time I go back to see “what it all boils down to.” I can remember what’s most important and stop worrying about all the other “fluff.” I would love to win the digital subscription as I already have a TOS planner! Thanks so much!

  18. Julie Beach
    October 1, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    What an encouragement! Thank you for sharing!

  19. Devonne
    October 4, 2011 at 9:03 AM


    I loved being reminded that I have the natural tendencies to teach or “tutor” my child! Great questions. Certainly, looking forward to catching up on your post!


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