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Homechooling middle/high schoolers


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  #1  
June 17th, 2012, 06:36 PM
October 2012 DDC co-host
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,285
I'm a homeschooling newbie My husband and I have decided to homeschool our three oldest children this coming school year and possibly all of them next year. We've done a lot of research and are certain that we've made the decision to homeschool, but our kids have been in public schools their entire lives. The elementary schools were great...but as they went on through middle/high, we just weren't comfortable with the education they were receiving. I do have some questions that I haven't been able to find online and I just wanted to see if anyone here had any experience:

1. College. Ok. I'll admit...this is my BIGGEST concern right now. My oldest is an A/B student going into the 10th grade. I have NO doubts that she'll do well in a home environment (she's my easiest kid and BY FAR the most independent of them all), but I'm really worried about her ability to get into a good college? Are there certain curriculums you have to choose for colleges? What do the colleges look for when a home schooled child applies? ARe there certain things we have to do to make sure they get the accreditation they need for college? I just want to make sure I do everything right because I don't want to hold them back from a good college just because they were home schooled. I DO feel like they will get a better quality of education at home, but will the colleges honor a homeschool education? I'm ASSUMING all they have to do is take the SAT or something like that before they would graduate...but I just want to make sure. Some of this may depend on state, but since there are colleges in other states that my kids could potentially want to go to, I thought I'd ask and see if anyone here knew the answer to that.

2. I know the difference between the online cyber schools (sponsored by state that ARE accredited) and other curriculums that we control at home like abeka or something like that. Does anyone here do the cyber school that is state mandated? The only reason I ask is because it looks like those are accredited by the state and they may be better as far as colleges go OR for us to get our feet wet in homeschooling by doing that the first year. Something that would help both them and I get the hang of homeschooling before we went off on our own. Anyone have any feedback on that? I saw mixed reviews about it and just wanted to see if I could get someone with personal experience on here to tell me about the pros and cons of cyber (state mandated) homeschooling and other types of homeschooling.

3. What do you all do for social networking for your middle/high schoolers? Do you join local coops?

4. As far as structure goes, do you have certain times that you homeschool and how many hours a day do you spend physically homeschooling? I have my own business and although I do work a lot from home, I'm away from the house probably 10-15 hours a week or so. The fortunate thing about us is that I can arrange my schedule and do my work in the afternoons so that my kids can school in the mornings like they are used to.l


Thank you all for helping!
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  #2  
June 18th, 2012, 05:15 AM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: San Antonio TX
Posts: 28,853
Welcome! I've been homeschooling the kids since the start and I was homeschooled a few years myself. I'm currently homeschooling one about 3/4 of the way through pre-k, one who just finished 1st grade, one who is in the middle of 4th grade, and one who is almost done with 8th grade.

1.) Not a problem at all! In fact, many college admissions officers say they love to get homeschooled kids because they are better prepared than public schooled kids. Many colleges have on their websites what they'll need from homeschooled kids, but for most it's not much different from everyone else. They love it if a kid has taken a few courses at a community college since that shows they can already handle college level classes. Some like the student to take both the SAT and ACT, some just want one. That's stuff you have to ask the individual colleges. Homeschooling is so common now (not like when I went to college!) that colleges don't even blink anymore when presented with a homeschooled applicant.

2.) We don't have the option for cyber schools here. I very well might use it if there was because one of them (for K-8 only) is Calvert School (a brick and mortar private school in Baltimore MD) and that's what we use for homeschooling anyway. We just pay a whole lot for it while people who get it through their state get it free. Cyber schools do not make it any easier to get into college than homeschooling on your own. Some people like cyber schools, some don't. Huge positive is that there is no cost. Many homeschoolers refuse to accept cyber schoolers as "real" homeschoolers since you are still technically a public schooler. You can privately pay for many accredited curricula and get a high school diploma as well (such as Keystone, Laurel Springs, American School, etc.).

3.) We do stuff with other homeschoolers sometimes (like tomorrow is a beach day). They've got lots of public schooled friends they do stuff with. Ani's also got quite a few on-line friends around the country. Most of those she met through the Calvert School message board (they have that for 6,7,8 grades only) or friends of those kids. If anything we have too much going on with socialization here!

4.) We start school at 8 am and go for about 4ish hours.
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~Heather, wife to Jamie (15 years; June 5, 1998) and mom to
Ani - 14 (February 15, 2000), Cameron - 12 (October 3, 2001),
Fritz - 7 (July 11, 2006), and Adrian - 5 (June 19, 2008)
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  #3  
June 19th, 2012, 08:49 AM
October 2012 DDC co-host
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,285
Thank you so much for your feedback! That helped soooo much! Curriculum choices can be so overwhelming! I have one child who has several learning disabilities and is currently EIP and special ed in some areas. She's done pretty well through elementary school because she's had a lot of support through her teachers and through various tutorial programs and of course with our help at home. This year she starts middle school and her middle school is NOT supportive at all. Are there any tests or anything that we can do online to sort of determine where she's at on an academic level? Any suggestions for curriculum for children with learning disabilities? My other two girls are AP in their current situation....not challenged nearly enough, so we are sort of all over the place in trying to determine what curriculum would be appropriate for each child. Where did you guys start when you first started out?
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  #4  
June 19th, 2012, 03:29 PM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: San Antonio TX
Posts: 28,853
We've homeschooled from the start so initial placement wasn't an issue. What learning disabilities does your child have? Cameron is dyslexic, dysgraphic, and a few other things, but he still uses the regular Calvert School curriculum. He's just about a grade levelish behind where he'd be in public school. Calvert has a "sister" curriculum, Verticy, that is geared toward dyslexic kids. He does fine in the regular one, though, so we've stuck with that. He doesn't do the included spelling, though, because it just doesn't work for him. He does Sequential Spelling instead.

Every curriculum varies a little bit on what x grade means. It's less so in middle and high school, but there are still variations. The best thing to do is to take the placement tests for whatever curricula you are looking at. Usually those are free.
__________________


~Heather, wife to Jamie (15 years; June 5, 1998) and mom to
Ani - 14 (February 15, 2000), Cameron - 12 (October 3, 2001),
Fritz - 7 (July 11, 2006), and Adrian - 5 (June 19, 2008)
Smaller on the Outside

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  #5  
June 20th, 2012, 09:09 AM
October 2012 DDC co-host
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,285
ahh, thank you so much for your help again! She is dyslexic and ADD (currently undergoing neurological testing for some other issues). I wonder if we shouldn't just start her out with the regular curriculum and then go to Verticy next year if she can't keep up....or vice versa. So do you (and I know this is personal, but I thought it might help just to see what other parents are doing) just go and purchase the "6th grade year" or do you purchase the programs individually? Do you do all calvert learning? (minus the sequential spelling of course).
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  #6  
June 20th, 2012, 09:50 AM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: San Antonio TX
Posts: 28,853
We use all Calvert except the spelling for Cameron and the older three use Teaching Textbooks for math.
__________________


~Heather, wife to Jamie (15 years; June 5, 1998) and mom to
Ani - 14 (February 15, 2000), Cameron - 12 (October 3, 2001),
Fritz - 7 (July 11, 2006), and Adrian - 5 (June 19, 2008)
Smaller on the Outside

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  #7  
June 20th, 2012, 12:46 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Lonestar State
Posts: 50,214
Welcome! I'm a former middle/high school teacher for public school, but as far as homeschooling goes, my kids haven't made it that far yet. I can tell you which curricula I like, but what works for one won't necessarily work for another, even in the same family. Just take them as suggestions and try to look at them in person before buying if you can.

I think you'll find that curriculum is your most overwhelming decision in the beginning, and that you may end up with something completely different between the siblings, but once you've been doing it for a year or two, you'll have a better grasp on what everyone needs and what their learning styles are. It's hard to narrow down a choice in the beginning, I know.

I like Sequential Spelling, especially since it's not a "graded" curriculum - everyone starts on book 1 regardless of age or grade. Teaching Textbooks is a very popular choice for math, but it can be pricey. I also like Life of Fred for math (much cheaper), especially if you have a child who likes to work independently and at their own pace. Art of Problem Solving is a great curriculum for students who are naturals at math and really need a ton of challenge. Here's a free version of it (not the same as the regular version, but you can get an idea how it works: Alcumus)

I prefer Rod & Staff for English. Some people are turned off by it because it's extremely Christian, but it doesn't bother me. It's a very rigorous curriculum. The 8th grade material is what you'd expect the average 12th grader to know, and the 9th & 10th grade curriculum (as high as it gets) can be spread over 4 years. It's college level material. The younger grades (starts at 2nd) are a little behind at first, but they pick up the pace quickly and are at or above most states' standards by 5th. I prefer Apologia for science, and many around here use it for AP test prep. It's difficult and has advanced options for high school. I like Mystery of History, which is a 4 year chronological study of world history from a Christian viewpoint, and is adaptable for K-12th grades. I like Writing Strands to teach writing (although Rod & Staff English also does quite a bit of writing). I prefer the free, online version of WorldlyWise for vocabulary. You can find it here: WordlyWise3000.com — Vocabulary Reinforcement for All If you'd rather do a word root study with latin & greek for SAT prep, look at English from the Roots Up, Vocabulary from Classical Roots, and/or Vocabulary Vine (which has a sister product for science roots that goes along with Apologia Biology).

There are also a lot of college level classes available free online (MIT, Yale, etc.). Here are a few:

Open Yale Courses
https://www.coursera.org/
Homeschool College USA - Homeschool College USA
Free Online Course Materials | MIT OpenCourseWare
(Free) Online High School Courses | Hoagies' Gifted

Hope that helps!
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