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December 5th, 2013, 10:47 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: In my house :p
We are currently doing our own thing, of sorts. It's a bit hard to explain.
However I've done the online school thing too. A lot of people that give an opinion about online schools only go by what they've heard, or think they know. They're also, often wrong.
K12 is a great curriculum, and usually the one many people use, even if through their home state(through what's considered an "umbrella" school). More often than not, with those kinds of programs, everything is set up for you. You'll have everything scheduled out for you, will likely have a "teacher" assigned to you(who will check in at whatever sort of interval they set up), you'll have to "report attendance"(aka, mark what you did, how long, etc..). Your child will actually still be a public school student. All of that is usually done though the site, except for the contact with a "teacher"-which is often done both by site and by phone. Different online programs work differently, and use different curriculum, but that is the base of most of them. Most of the programs for online school are secular. Very few are faith based, and the ones that are, aren't usually considered public school at all. While the secular ones, are.
If having a set structure and being required to check in, at a frequency you may not get to decide, is not your cup of tea, most online schools won't be your cup of tea either. They are pretty structured and while you ahve some wiggle room, it's not always a whole lot. Even if you love their curriculum. Most aren't too very forgiving, you can't take off as much time here and there (if needed) like you could if you were simply doing your own thing. That's part of our problem. We tend to work too fast for most programs to accept, and I tend to work off book and supplement a lot. There are some cons, like that. That said, I do think most are very fine programs. It's more a matter of finding one that fits you, your style, your family and MOST importantly, your child. Ultimately, if the child doesn't like it, it's likely going to be a bad experience no matter what. I'm not one into forcing a kid into a learning style or program they don't like, lol.
Personally, I allow my kids a lot more freedom when it comes to their education than most. I am not saying that is ideal for all, or even the "right" way to do things, lol. But it works very well for us. I figure, if they enjoy themselves, they're far more receptive. I spent the better part of the last year, almost year and a half now, putting together this year's curriculum entirely free. I did it for a project, and research purposes primarily, but also because we really wanted to test the waters. I wanted to get a really good hold on just what my kids need AND want, for their own education. By allowing them more freedom, more choice and a true say in everything, I think they appreciate their education a little bit more than just knowing they're getting a good education. If that makes any sense. Again, totally not saying anyone else is doing anything wrong, their kids aren't getting a good education, or they don't value it. This is just what works best for my bunch, your mileage may vary.
I don't see in your post which grade you're starting with but I can assume either Kindergarten or First grade, based on the age of Ash in your sig. Might I offer a few suggestions on starting out with younger children?
Don't focus so much on the curriculum itself. Don't worry about having an all in one program. Don't worry about having all subjects covered. Don't worry about structure, scheduling and making sure each and every topic is covered at the precise moment someone else says it should.
When children are younger, even those who need structure, they need to be given the chance to have a passion for learning. You can't really instill that in them. It's there in all children, whether or not it ever comes to light, is the question. Make learning fun, not just school. Make sure they enjoy what they're doing and aren't just doing it because you said they had to. Of course you'll have moments when "because mommy said you have to" will come into play, lol. All children have moments like that. All children have stubborn days, bad days, downright nasty days sometimes. It is perfectly ok for both of you to break down crying if need be, when something isn't working. That's natural. You're going to be learning right alongside your child and you need to know that being perfect should NEVER be a goal anyone wants to achieve. It's impossible, and will only set you up to feel like a failure should something go awry. And sometimes, lots of things go awry, it happens.
Learning through play is important in the younger years. Even with children who prefer workbooks and sit down at the table sort of work, it's important they still have time to learn through play. Social studies at age 5, is not important. While it may be included in curriculum, it's not a core(if you're even concerned with such things) and really isn't important. It can be taught, sure, but it's not as important as other things. The core subjects I would stick with for younger children would be Math and Language Arts(letter recognition, phonics, reading, literature, handwriting, etc..). You will have enough with those two subjects to cover a LOT of ground. Work in the other subjects when you've got a good hold on those two and a good idea what it is you want.
Don't go right out and get any curriculum just because someone else said it's good. If you can't really try it before you get it, to see if it's a good fit, it might not be worth the money. This is why I hate the fact that so many cost so very much, and in the end a lot of people find it's not ideal for them. Sure you can resell, at least some, but it's not likely you'll ever recoup all your money spent. Most families today can't afford that kind of expense. I know we can't.
I would honestly start out before you intend to start school and see what sort of learning style your child has(and don't be surprised if it changes over the years, that's normal too). Start off small, simple, with basic concepts. Then decide if a full curriculum will really be worth your while.
I know many people who homeschool don't bother with any kind of actual curriculum until around grade 2 or 3. This gives them the chance to figure out just what their child needs, without the added expense of something that isn't going to fit, yet still keeps them teaching and the child learning. There are thousands and thousands of free resources on the net. Those really are, imo, an awesome option for people with younger children. There are quite a few posts on this forum with tons of links. I would start there.
There is a faith based free online curriculum that might suit your needs too. It's called Easy Peasy.
Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool | A complete, free online Christian homeschool for your family and mine
It's a very awesome setup and might at least give you a good idea for a starting off point. The way it is done you can see what subjects and lessons are done on a daily basis. So it sort of gives you a real peek, behind the scenes, so to speak. Not many curriculum programs offer a good enough look, behind the scenes, to really get a feel for them. Some do though. So if you're looking for a full set, I'd recommend only going with one you can get a true feel for, beforehand.
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