Homeschooling naturally is natural. Don’t work too hard at making it artificially schoolish. -Dr. Ruth Beechick
Today 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!
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.
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 www.HomeschoolingBooks.com 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?
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.