We've been homeschooling since Bradon was 5 yrs old, well officially anyways. I believe you are "teaching" your kids long before they hit school books.
I've tried a few different methods of homeschooling.
Bradon's kindergarten year we used correspondence with the local public school. It was lots of learning colours that we already knew. Numbers that we already knew. Lots of crafts that were fun, and stories that were fun too. I was so glad that I had gone with my instincts and used my own Phonics Program along side these lessons. Bradon loved the Fun Family Phonics, it was his favorite part of the day. If I had only used the public schools plan Bradon would have learned the sounds of only 5 letters his first year. Instead Bradon was reading 3 letter words before he got half way through the school year. By the end of Grade K he was reading 3 word sentences.
I don't remember what we did for Grade 1, but I DO remember Grade 2! It was the worst year ever! Everyday he would cry that he didn't want to do school, I would make him do the work books. We were using Alpha Omega, which works great for some kids, but not for us. We were both in tears everyday. I felt like a failure and seriously questioned why we were homeschooling him in the first place! Then he said it, the words I dreaded, "I hate school!". I didn't know what to do. I didn't want his experience with education to be something he hated, especially this early in the game. I knew that if we continued like this I would see a bright little boy shut off learning and possibly never excel in something he could be really great at.
I prayed like crazy. God is always good, and when He tells you a direction to go He does not leave you there to fend for yourself. He is always there to lead you.
And lead me He did. I began to find out more information about homeschooling. That there were different ways to do this. The clincher for me was when a beautiful homeschool Mom said to me,
"It is not my goal to finish the curriculum, it is my goal to give my child a LOVE for LEARNING."
That rang in my ears. My child did not LOVE learning, in fact quite the opposite. I decided right then what we needed to do, and threw the work books out the window! (Not literally)
So now what? I of course started reading some great articles from Cindy Rushton. I read her Charlotte Mason Homeschooling. I gleaned so much from her. I also read her Homeschooling the Easy Way.
From Cindy Rushton I found Ambleside Online a free curriculum. I used this for Bradon's 3rd and 4th year. He loved reading the stories and learning about Vikings. I think the Viking Tales were his favorite.
By the time Bradon was finishing 4th grade there were 3 kidlets behind him. Bevan had been working through Fun Family Phonics and was moving on to bigger things. Natalie was just beginning Phonics and Numbers and Ashley was hot on Nat's heels. I need something more then Ambleside, well I felt anyway. About that time I heard about Tapestry of Grace. I downloaded the 3 week sample and fell in love. Yes I fell in love with it's design, it's worldview from a biblical perspective and it's use of great books. The weekly outlines were perfect for me as it gave me guidelines on what to do each week. Yet it left me room to decide which day we did them. I loved that we could all work in the same topic at our different levels.
I also read Teaching the Trivium and have found it to be true and so helpful in so many ways. I totally agree that Grammar and Formal Math lessons should wait until around age 10. Just like Tapestry Teaches there are 3 stages of learning, so does the Trivium. Grammar Stage Lower and Upper, Dialectic, Rhetoric.
I think I am more of a Trivium teacher rather then a Classical one, simple because I don't believe in starting things until the child is ready. I've had early readers and late ones. They all get there in good time. I have not yet started any Latin or Hebrew with my students, they aren't ready yet:)
In Part 2 I'll finish the story and tell you about our Math and Science.