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How did you decide to homeschool? And what would you tell a complete newbie?


Forum: Homeschooling

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  #1  
April 16th, 2011, 04:18 PM
D@mnedYankee's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2,460
Hi everyone my name is Casey (24) DD is 7 turning 8 this summer and we're expecting #2 in December. We live in an area with extremely poor public schools and we pulled her out to send her to a Catholic school which we love but the tuition is going to be impossible to afford with another baby on the way and we dont qualify for financial aide this year due to a bonus my husband received in the fall. SO we are thinking of homeschool but I have no idea what I would need to do to start this and I am a little afraid of my daughter being receptive to me as her teacher...she is one of those kids that likes to argue....
any tips, suggestions, words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated
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  #2  
April 16th, 2011, 07:43 PM
Alison79's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 10,232
Welcome!

We decided to homeschool after looking at our public school's K and 1st grade expectations. My daughter was already at the end of 1st grade in many subjects before even starting K. My DH and I discussed various options and decided that homeschooling made the most sense for our family and for her specific needs. We started in January to make sure it would work with our schedules so that if it didn't she could start K in the fall. We are 4 months in and loving it!

I have found that my relationship with all of my children has grown deeper since we started homeschooling. Our days have more structure and that has been a benefit to all of us. Evelyn did go to preschool outside the home and I think that helped because she knows we expect the same respect that she gave her other teachers.

As for advice, my recommendation would be to start with knowing your state laws regarding homeschooling. We are in Texas and it is very easy to homeschool here. Some states require that you provide a portfolio, register with the state, etc. Once you know your laws you can decide what curriculum you want to use. There are so many excellent options out there. Feel free to ask any questions here as well. This board has been an amazing resource to me as we started our homeschool journey
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  #3  
April 16th, 2011, 08:42 PM
D@mnedYankee's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Location: Virginia
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yeah I looked into the laws here in VA and was surprised at how laxed they are! You just need a GED or HS diploma and even then if you dont you can petition the district to allow you to teach anyway!
I have been looking into curriculums and am having issues finding one that is suggested for visual learners according to one site, that isnt Christian based...any suggestions?
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  #4  
April 16th, 2011, 08:51 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Lonestar State
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I can almost ditto everything she said. We decided to start homeschooling because the PS couldn't (or WOULDN'T) meet the needs of my son. I talked at length with them, but they weren't willing to budge at all. He's ahead academically, but behind physically. We live in a great district, and of the 20-something elementary schools in the area, ours has the most money and the most active PTA. Doesn't matter. It's still a public school, and they still have to meet the needs of the 80% who fall within the "average student" category. They pull out the ones who are struggling and ignore the ones who are ahead. That's just not good enough IMO.

I'm also in TX, so yes, it's very easy to HS here. You'll need to look at the laws for your state to find out specifically what you need to do. HSLDA | Home School Laws

I'm also very close to my kids, and they've thrived on the routine we've set up. My oldest was in preschool briefly (dh's idea ), and it was horrible. It took us 3-4 months to get the sweet child back. The defiant one was making my skin crawl!

What should you know before getting started?
  • Learn your child's learning style.
  • Don't try to force your own interests on your child.
  • Don't be afraid to make a mistake, and certainly don't be afraid to admit and correct your own mistakes in front of your children.
  • Don't think you have to know it all, because you don't.
  • Don't compare yourself to other people.
  • Don't compare yourself to the public school.
  • Don't worry about socialization.
  • Don't take what a test tells you at face value, because that's only a snapshot of how your child performed on a particular set of information and on a particular day, regardless of other things the child knows or doesn't know, and regardless of how fresh the child's mind was that day.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff.
  • It's ok to ask questions ... even the ones you think are stupid... especially on this board.
  • Don't be afraid to tell someone, "We've got that covered. Would you like some bean dip?" when they ask you a million and one stupid questions about homeschooling. Unless you sense they're TRULY interested, ignore them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsMixon View Post
I have been looking into curriculums and am having issues finding one that is suggested for visual learners according to one site, that isnt Christian based...any suggestions?
I'm not sure I understand your question. Do you want, or do you not want, a Christian-based curriculum (or does it matter if it makes reference to Christianity, but doesn't throw it in your face on every page turn)? Do you want a boxed set curriculum (usually expensive and usually hard to adapt to a child who is on varying levels per subject), or do you want to mix and match from several publishers (usually cheaper, and always easier to customize)? Are you on a strict low/no budget (print off the internet, go to the library, etc.), or can you afford, for example, $500 per year for curriculum, books, and/or materials?

Last edited by BensMom; April 16th, 2011 at 08:56 PM.
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  #5  
April 16th, 2011, 08:59 PM
Alison79's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 10,232
All of our curriculum is secular, I can list what we are using and maybe something will work for you as well

We are currently using Moving Beyond the Page for our main social studies/language arts/science. There is some basic math but we use a different program for that. It is literature based which is perfect for my book worm daughter

For Math we use Singapore Math

Phonics/Spelling - All About Spelling

Handwriting - Handwriting without Tears

We started with Oak Meadow. I *loved* the concept and process behind this curriculum but it was a disaster for my daughter. It is art based and had very little reading in the 1st grade level as is typical for Waldorf style. My daughter doesn't like drawing and a lot of the lessons were drawing in a nature journal, drawing pictures with letters, etc. It is a lovely approach for children who enjoy art and are more on the creative side. My daughter loves worksheets and speed drills - it just wasn't her thing. I have several friends who use it and love it and it has worked well for their kids so it just depends on your child's personal learning style.
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  #6  
April 16th, 2011, 09:06 PM
Alison79's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BensMom View Post
"We've got that covered. Would you like some bean dip?"
I seriously laughed so hard my DH came in to ask what was so funny.

Excellent list!
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  #7  
April 16th, 2011, 09:14 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Lonestar State
Posts: 50,214
I wish I could claim originality, but I can't. I've heard that in a million places. Here's a blog post I found about it... Bean Dip! (for homeschoolers) : GOYB Parenting.

Calvert is another secular curriculum you could consider. We have a member (Butter) who's using it, so she could answer specific questions about it for you. I haven't used it. I know it's expensive compared to others, but I've only heard a couple of negative comments about it. Most of what I hear is good.
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  #8  
April 17th, 2011, 12:07 AM
D@mnedYankee's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2,460
I am so new to this so I am just really exploring our options. I would prefer a more secular based system and mixing and matching is fine with us as is accessing free materials at libraries, anything to save $$ is great. But if there is a reference to Christianity, specifically Catholicism, I'm ok with that just I dont want to work with a text, for example, that teaches just creationism.
Has anyone used Language Arts through Literature? I was looking on their site and it seems like something DD could get into.
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  #9  
April 17th, 2011, 06:08 AM
youngwoman's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Georgia
Posts: 11,950
Quote:
Originally Posted by BensMom View Post
What should you know before getting started?
  • Learn your child's learning style.
  • Don't try to force your own interests on your child.
  • Don't be afraid to make a mistake, and certainly don't be afraid to admit and correct your own mistakes in front of your children.
  • Don't think you have to know it all, because you don't.
  • Don't compare yourself to other people.
  • Don't compare yourself to the public school.
  • Don't worry about socialization.
  • Don't take what a test tells you at face value, because that's only a snapshot of how your child performed on a particular set of information and on a particular day, regardless of other things the child knows or doesn't know, and regardless of how fresh the child's mind was that day.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff.
  • It's ok to ask questions ... even the ones you think are stupid... especially on this board.
  • Don't be afraid to tell someone, "We've got that covered. Would you like some bean dip?" when they ask you a million and one stupid questions about homeschooling. Unless you sense they're TRULY interested, ignore them.
Love this! I'm bookmarking for future reference.
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  #10  
April 17th, 2011, 07:14 AM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,394
We decided to homeschool because Little Man was making straight A's with very little work being put into it. With our school system, there's no gifted program so our options were leave him in his grade & bored or move him up to the next grade level. He has Asperger's and is socially awkward because of it. I couldn't see putting him with older kids when he had trouble relating to kids his own age. Now that we homeschool, he's doing age appropriate work, but at a more challenging level.

The best way I've found is I reinforce "I'm not mom right now, I'm your teacher. Would you do this to (teacher in public school)??" That really helped.

Only you can know if it's the right thing to do. There will be people who trash talk your decision no matter which one you make. Ignore them and just do what you feel is right for your family. It will be hard, at least the first year (i don't know about future years cause this was our first) but once you establish a routine it gets easier.

Good luck!
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  #11  
April 17th, 2011, 09:45 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 8,365
We decided to because even though we were in the best school in the state my dd just didn't need to be exposed to the kind of competition and social situations that she was in K. You see our school is the best because it is in the district where the country club is and they have a ton of money. That also means that about 60% of the students live in the country club and anyone who doesn't isn't good enough because they don't have the best of everything. Also the schools were putting close to 30 kids per teacher and that is just too much for one person especially when you teaching little ones. So we are homeschooling for now. If we get into a good district that my children could benefit from then they would probably go back into a brick and mortar school.
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  #12  
April 17th, 2011, 12:31 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Lonestar State
Posts: 50,214
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsMixon View Post
I am so new to this so I am just really exploring our options. I would prefer a more secular based system and mixing and matching is fine with us as is accessing free materials at libraries, anything to save $$ is great. But if there is a reference to Christianity, specifically Catholicism, I'm ok with that just I dont want to work with a text, for example, that teaches just creationism.
Has anyone used Language Arts through Literature? I was looking on their site and it seems like something DD could get into.
Seton is a catholic curriculum, and if I remember right, it has the option of doing an accredited or a non-accredited version. FYI... accredidation isn't necessary at all, but if you choose to use that type of curriculum, it's probably best to wait until 9th grade, since nothing counts before then, anyway. You'll have to keep high school transcripts for college if that's the ultimate goal.

I haven't used LLAL myself, but it's extremely popular, especially among advanced students. If you think it'll work for you, give it a try.

Here are some free math & science programs:

Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching - MEP(Primary) (math only)
Khan Academy (math & science)
CSMP Materials (math only)
Welcome to Pearson (math & science)

There are also a ton of "math books" at the library in the non-fiction, juvenile math section. By "math book", I don't mean textbook. I mean stories (like you'd find in the picture book section) that are fun, but teach math concepts in a non-threatening way. "Sir Cumference" is an example. It's a series of 5-6 books about geometry (like "circumference") using stories told by knights and dragons and such. They're very cute, but they really work.

If you want to piece together your own curriculum, you can also use the "What Your ____ Grader Should Know" book series (available at most libraries), or you can look at scope & sequence examples from a variety of publishers. World Book has a pretty good list of what ___ graders should know as well. http://www.worldbook.com/typical_course_of_study.html

Ask as many questions as you want. We're here to help. Is there a particular subject you're having trouble finding something for?
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