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Hi! I am Melinda and I am married with 3 girls (3,4,&6). I am new to this board but not new to JM. My oldest just finished K, and my middle child WAS attending Headstart at our local public school until we had a bad incident and I had to pull her out. So this year coming up we will have one in K and one in 1st. Also our 3 year old will most likely be ready for some Pre-K instruction. So after many MANY bad experiences with the school system this past year I have FINALLY talked hubby into giving homeschooling a try. Everything seems pretty overwhelming at this point and I have NO CLUE where to start! Also, we are in KY so if anyone else here is also from KY maybe you can help me out with the laws, and such. ANY info you can help me with as to how to get started is greatly appreciated! I look forward to getting to know you ladies! =)
Welcome! I am Jill, mommy to twin girls who are 3yrs old. I am pretty new here too, but the ladies here are wonderful! I am starting our homeschool routine this summer for the girls as they have been asking to learn about letters LOL. DH and I have planned all along to HS the girls - I am a school teacher and after being very frustrated with the system I couldn't see putting my kids through it and DH began to agree too after his glimpse through me into the PS world. I am in NJ however so not much help with the rules and such of KY.
The nice thing about starting so early is that it'll be easier to get your ducks in a row. It's really easy to homeschool the younger ones in the sense of time. You can figure on it taking appx 30 minutes per grade level to homeschool (give or take). That means you'd expect a K-1st grader to spend about 30 minutes on basic reading, writing, and math, but you'd expect a senior in high school to spend 6 hours doing research papers, college or career prep, higher level science & math, and things like that. Saying that a K'er only spends about 30 minutes on school means that you'll spend about 5-15 minutes each on instruction of reading, writing, and math. That doesn't mean they don't learn the rest of the day, though. There's still plenty of time for cuddling up with a good book (reading, science, history, geography, etc.), helping with cooking (math, reading, science, and health skills), playing with games and puzzles (math, reading, problem solving, motor skill development), playing outside (physical education, social education, problem solving), and things like that. There really isn't a whole lot of down time when kids are allowed to follow their own passions rather than sitting in a desk waiting for others to catch up or waiting for the teacher to help them understand something the class has already learned.
You'll find yourself overwhelmed at times. I'm not going to lie. You'll pull your hair out and wonder why the heck you chose this path, but it's well worth it in the long run. You'll get into a groove, figure out when to divide your time between your kids and when to combine lessons on a multi-level format. You'll find local groups to get involved with, too. Online forums are great, but local support and friendships are wonderful, too!
You're going to have a million questions. Feel free to ask them all, no matter how silly you think they are. If you don't know the answer, ask!
Well. Unbeknownst to me there is a Rod & Staff store literally 15 minutes from my house. So I went there this morning and was able to get TONS of helpful information. The people there are GREAT! Even though we haven't checked into many kinds of curriculum, we LOVE that the Rod&Staff stuff is so Christ centered, and SO SO SOOOO simple and SUPER CHEAP! So we are planning on starting there and changing parts of it later on if it isn't working. Now what I really need to focus on is all the legal aspects of getting things in order to start. It seems pretty simple, almost too simple to be true. I am afraid that I am going to look over something. One thing that is really confusing to me is that in KY it says that we must keep attendance records, and must go 175 or 185 6 hour days. However I have seen some people on the boards say they spend no more than 3-4 hours a day on schooling. Aside from that, I need to send my letter of intent to the board office no less than 2 weeks before school starts and keep a binder containing attendance records and progress reports (every 9 weeks). That seems so easy but I feel like it's almost TOO EASY! Also we are not required to do state testing in KY so I won't have to worry about that either. Anyone HS'ers from KY here to help me out with this???
I don't think we have any here from KY, but record keeping, time requirements, etc. are nothing new to most here. You really DON'T spend 6 hours a day teaching a 6 year old to read and count. That's insane. A lot of laws are so weirdly written, and they don't take into account the level of work necessary or the attention span of the child. There are tons and tons of things that you can count for school hours - like for science, you could include a trip to a museum or zoo, watching Sid the Science Kid on PBS, and things like that. It's a lot easier than it sounds, but you do have to keep up with which days you do which activities. That part is a pain. (I'm glad I'm in TX where there are no requirements at all!)
So will I have to write down what we do every single day? Like as in a lesson plan format or something? Or just make note of the days we DO work? I WISH we had no requirements! That would be awesome, but I am lucky still in the fact that KY isn't as strict as some other states!
I don't know Ky rules, but it sounds like if you just note which days you do work you are covered for attendance records - as for the progress reports, I would keep a summery of what was learned/taught each day and samples of work that show the skills achieved (first and last writing assignments, page of math problems the child solved on his own, list of physical activities participated in or pictures from a recital or other sport event, list of books read, etc...) This covers you if you need to show what you are teaching or if you need to prove your child is learning. If need be than you can use these items to create a "grade" in each subject area every 9 weeks for the progress report portion. Besides, it will be neat to look back at the handwriting done in 1st grade or pictures of a science experiment when the child is older!
The easiest thing for you to do is to join a local homeschool group and get a hands-on look at what others are already doing. Don't call the school district, because they'll either be clueless, or they'll make you jump through hoops. Most places are pretty easy to work with. They might require you to show a portfolio of a few assignments just to see progress, but I don't know many people who have time to look through an entire year's worth of work for every HS'ing family in their district.
Hi Melinda!! Glad you stopped over here. I was going to send you over here from our FB JM page. I remember seeing some posts from a couple of yahoo groups out of the Louisville groups on how members worked the hour deal. I think it was intended to be 180 days or x amount of hours, they just worded it like that to confuse new people. So, they are just keeping track of the days. There are several yahoo groups on KY homeschooling. How far are you from Louisville? If the occasional drive is something you could do, then check out River City Field Trips. There should be a trip coming up in about a month or 2 on the Belle of Louisville, the entire boat is filled with homeschoolers!!!
Thanks ladies! The hubby and I went back to Rod & Staff today to look around a little more (AND he was SUPER IMPRESSED with their curriculum!), and I found an AWESOME record book that has space for me to jot down what we do each day and record the dates and such for under $7! So I think that will take care of the attendance and lesson plan recording. Now I need to get us a little file cabinet or something where I can store their records from the school board, copies of our letter of intent, and some of their work. Our next order of business is to get our letter of intent ready to send out next week, and buying our curriculum. I feel like everything is coming together and I can't WAIT to get started! Thanks to all you ladies for your help and advice!