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Hi, I'm Pam. I did a quick introduction in the Intro sticky, but I thought I'd get to the meat of the story here.
My DD is currently in 3rd grade - in her 5th school/4th state/2nd country since starting Kindergarten! We are a military family.
She did pre-K in one school.
K - second school/different country.
First 1/2 of 1st grade in same school as pre-K, then the second 1/2 of 1st grade in another school/state. She completed all of 2nd grade in that same school.
3rd grade started in the same school system/principal, but a different building and different support/admin staff.
Up until this time she LOVED school, LOVED learning, and couldn't wait to go in the morning, and wanted to stay late to help her teachers in the classroom after school.
Now, we are in her second school, and another state again for the last half of 3rd grade and she is a completely different child. She hates school, and many morning leaves for school in or near tears, begs to stay home, "doesn't feel well", and wants to be picked up early. I can't really seem to "get to the bottom" what is going on (ie: she likes her teachers, classes, friends, etc.) I am leaning toward it not being so much a school problem as it is a stability issue - due all the moving. Anyway...
I hadn't really considered homeschooling before. Up to this point, she seemed to be thriving in the PS system. Academically, socially, she seemed to be doing fine. But, now here I am. All of a sudden we are seriously considering homeschooling at least for 4th grade - we are due to possibly move, yet again, right in the middle of the school year.
DS will be starting K in the fall. He will go to the public school. He already goes there twice a week for speech therapy, and it won't be quite so overwhelming for me to begin this journey if I only have to deal with one. I'm hoping I will get back my daughter, the one who loves to learn, fairly quickly.
My biggest concerns as far as homeschooling goes are ME, though. I hope that I am disciplined enough, have enough patience to calmly work through any schoolwork frustrations with her, etc.
On the overwhelm scale of 1-10 when it comes to deciding on curriculum, I'm at about 135.
I have some questions, but I will continue them in a new reply to this thread. I have a tendency to be a little long winded.
Last edited by Yowza; April 27th, 2011 at 08:26 PM.
1) I'm not sure what DD's learning style is. I haven't been really observant of any strengths or weaknesses, because up until now, there didn't seem to be a problem. I know that the different curriculums (boxed, or pieced) are geared to work better for different learning styles. Is there anything I should be concentrating on for these last 4 weeks of regular school to try to discern her style?
2) Are there any tests or something that I can give her to get a feel for where she's really at, academically, and not just where the school says she's at?
3) Does anybody know of any science program that covers/combines both creation and evolution.
I'm sure there are more, I just can't think of them right at the moment. I will continue looking through the other threads to see if I can answer some of my own, and probably some that I didn't even think to ask.
First... relax! Welcome! We'll be glad to help you!
A test I'd recommend doing is on the website www.LetsGoLearn.com. (1) It's cheap. There's a reading test and a math test that are $20 each, but you can get them for $15 each going through Homeschool Buyer's Co-op. More on that in a bit. (2) The test is given by a talking monkey, so it's not intimidating like most standardized tests are. (3) You get instant results in a parent, teacher, and summary format, and it gives you helpful tips for teaching problem areas. (4) It's the type of test that gives you a grade level for each subsection and an overall grade level result, not the kind that gives you an arbitrary pass/fail. You'll know exactly which areas are doing great and which ones need help. (5) It was originally written for CA, but it has all of the states' guidelines on it, so you'll be able to compare her scores to any state you wish.
Yes, there are better tests out there, but not for that price, not with instant results, not that are able to be given at home without an official test giver of some sort, etc. This is quick, easy, cheap, and will give you what you need to get started.
Public schools are able to get discounts on things because they buy in bulk. Homeschoolers can't do that. That's why Homeschool Buyer's Co-op was created. It's free to join, and you can even get a homeschool ID to use for discounts at places like local bookstores or museums. HSBCO buys in bulk and passes the savings on to members, or they negotiate lower prices directly through publishers with the assumption that a certain number of members will buy their products. You should definitely join! Homeschool Curriculum and Affordable Homeschooling Programs - Homeschool Buyers Co-op
(more in a bit... going back to read your post again)
Ok, next, you need to check out the laws of your current state and any state you may move to. HSLDA | Home School Laws If you have specific questions, just ask.
Next, don't worry about disciplining yourself just yet. You'll probably be just fine. Why? Because you're not one of those deadbeats out there who give homeschoolers a bad name. You're here begging for help because you actually care about your kids. With one going to public school next year, you'll also be forced into a routine of one child's comings and goings, so the other child will usually follow a similar schedule. Something else you probably never knew... homeschooling doesn't take NEAR as much time as public schooling!! There's no roll call, no standing in line, no busy work, no teaching the same information 3-4 different ways to make sure everyone in the class has a chance to learn it, no assignments to turn in and pick back up, no classroom discipline issues, no school assemblies, lunch lines, etc., etc., etc. It's just you and the child. One on one. You'll know when she knows something, so you can move on to the next topic. You'll know immediately when she's struggling, so you won't have to un-teach and re-teach something she works on for days without help.
Generally speaking, and depending on the number and type of electives you choose to do, homeschooling takes an average of 30 minutes per grade level to do, and you also have to consider break times. A 4th grader should expect, give or take, about 2 hours of work each day. That's it. I used to teach public school, and I can guarantee I didn't spend all day teaching!! Not even close!! I usually ended up with about 20 minutes of instruction time per class period after all was said and done. That's why kids have so much homework in public schools.
Someone pm'd me after that looking for science and history resources, so I'll copy/paste my response to that pm here.
There aren't near as many options for science & social studies as there are for the 3 R's. Some people don't even teach s or ss in the early grades. Here's what I've got, though:
All of the "kit" curriculum publishers will include both science and social studies. Some of them are:
(secular) Calvert, Time4Learning, Steck-Vaughn, and Intelligo
(Christian) Abeka, Rod & Staff, Bob Jones, CLE, Spectrum (Spectrum is not a kit, but all subjects are available separately), Heart of Dakota, My Father's World, Answers in Genesis, and Robinson
Some individual options (which is what I've chosen to do, because they're more complete, IMO):
Apologia Science - Christian - the elementary level has 6 books called the "Young Explorer Series". They're made for any child in grades K-6th to be able to do. Seems a little overwhelming at first glance, but trust me, the grade levels are correct. You'd expect a 6th grader to be able to do the books with little or no help, and you'd expect a higher retention level. You'd expect a kindergartener to have someone read or summarize the text, and you'd do only the experiments/projects that are at the motor skill or attention span level of a 5 year old. There is notebooking, but you wouldn't expect an emerging reader/writer to do something like that. You would expect it of a 4-6 grader, though. It's a very adaptable program for siblings to use together at their own level. The 6 books can be done in any order you wish, although it's recommended that you do the three zoology books in order (air, water, and land animals), because things like animal classification are explained in the first book. The other three books are astronomy, botany, and anatomy ... all on an elementary level, of course. No talk of sex. Some people choose to do these books each over the course of a year (so one book each for 1st thru 6th), while some (like me) prefer to do one lesson per week to cover a book per semester (so you'll do all 6 books at an entry level and an advanced level before moving on to the middle/high school series). Retention is better if you do the books twice, and you'll have a chance to do notebooking for all of them that way, too.
Answers in Genesis is similar to Apologia, but I can't go into detail, because I haven't used it. There's also a social studies series for this one.
Science Excursion and Noeo are two more options, but I haven't used them. I can't comment on them.
Mystery of History & Story of the World are two very good, chronological history curricula. There are a couple of major differences in them, though. MoH is for K-12. SotW is only for early elementary. MoH is Christian. SotW is written by a Christian author, but it's completely secular. Both have a story format with activities, mapping, timelines, etc. I've chosen MoH because it's Christian, adaptable for K-12, cyclical, and because I feel it's more complete. MoH weaves Christian and secular world histories together so that you can see exactly what was going on in both timelines at the same time. It is written on a 4th-8th grade reading level. However, it includes younger, middle, and older activities that are designed to have all siblings, K-12, doing the same lesson at the same time on their own level and/or so that individual students will be able to go through the 4 year curriculum 3 times before graduation, each time at a little more advanced level. There are a few places in the text where the reader is warned to omit a section if younger children are in the room (bloody battles, sex, etc.). There are an overwhelming number of projects, worksheets, tests, timelines, maps, and research activities, so any learning style or grade level will have something appropriate to do. It weaves art, culture, music, etc. into it as well. Everything's included. It's meant to be done 2-5 days per week, depending on how in-depth you want to go with it and how much time is spent on it. It DOES NOT cover "American History" or "Civics" requirements for high school graduation, though. Those things are included, but it's a "world history" curriculum, so it's not meant to replace any specific graduation requirements like that. (Which could easily be made up during a summer session.)
Other social studies options include Galloping the Globe and Around the World in 180 Days (because most school years are 180 days). These are unit study approaches that study the history and geography of one continent or country at a time.
Learning style is something you'll have to kinda figure out on your own after working together a bit. You can try an online test for now, but they're not always completely accurate. Better than nothing, though, right? This one is nice because it doesn't make you give your email address to get the results. There are about 20 questions on it. Just have her answer them as best she can, even if they don't apply to a child. (Make up a scenario that might fit her life if you have to.) Learning Styles Quiz
Chrystal did a great job answering all your questions. But I wanted to add something to some of the things you said in your intro. We too are a military family. And my dh wasn't so sure about homeschooling even after we started. Well one day at work he started talking to a guy he knows, comes to find out they home school as well. In the past 6 months he came to find out that close to 30% of the families in his squadron homeschool. If you go to a spouses group meeting and mention homeschooling you will probably find many parents who homeschool. It helps when you can connect with other parents that you already have something in common with.
I was very worried about being disciplined enough and calm enough to teach my dd. She has special needs and can drive me crazy on her best days with her attitude and tantrums. But, it took us about 5 months and we started figuring each other out. During this time I also found what type of curriculum she needs and how to ease her frustrations. Just like with parenting your first cihld, it takes learning. You have to learn how your child's brain thinks and works. I have to be more organized than most of the people I know that homeschool partly for my dd and partly for myself. I keep a lesson plan book that has all of my daily lessons. It helps me stay organized and focused as well as the days I am not feeling too well or on Tuesdays when her ABA therapist does her school in the afternoon either one of them can read it and knwo exactly what they are needing to complete.
If yuo are planning to start in the fall, take some time over the summer to work with your daughter to learn about her learning style and her strengths and weaknesses. there are a TON a free homeschool websites out there that you can utilize to do a small educational activity to kind of get a feel for it. I just had this talk last night with my best friend who is wanting to homeschool but scared she won't be disciplined enough. She is doing weekly projects over the summer. She has found a few websites and incorporates several subjects into one project each week. For example, one week she is doing bees. They will go to the library and check out books on bees one day, another day they will make bees and beehives out of pipecleaner and another day they are making honeycombs out of paper plates, all the while reading and talking about facts about bees from the books they check out.