My granbeanie is homeschooled, partly by her parents and partly by me. I take it very seriously. I want her to grow up smart and prepared for whatever life may hand her. Sometimes I don't feel up to the job. After all, how does one crack open a little head and pour in everything they need to know?
The tasks I set for myself are to teach her how to use language well and to understand history in the context of the times in which it occurred.
To do the former, I have made her write, and write, and write some more. I take each story, each poem, each essay and mark it up for grammar, spelling, use of language and content. I've taught her how to construct a paragraph, how to write a topic sentence and how to choose the right word. I've challenged her to write about everything from fiction to book reports. And it shows.
The granbeanie likes to talk to adults and I like to talk to kids. So, we talk about history and how so much of it revolves around war, getting resources, religion and how it is always written by the victors. We watch documentaries and read and again I challenge her with questions: What would you do? Which side would you be on? What would that mean?
What I don't do is drill her on dates or the names of generals or rulers. I have encouraged her to read biographies of people important but not necessarily the movers and shakers. She read a biography of Clara Barton and is now reading Louis Pasteur's biography. I have encouraged her to think about those who have made life better for everyone and I think these two qualify.
Most of all, I try to have fun with her. Here's one of her trinket plates with a bracelet she made. Her crafts project has been a lot of work for me but she has enjoyed it and is looking forward to her booth next week.
Someday I'll be gone and my granbeanie will be all grown up. She'll be able to write and speak and to critically analyze the events around her. I hope she will grow up smart, empathetic, and will never lose her desire to create. She'll know I had a hand in that.