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Need to homeschool. Please help!


Forum: Homeschooling

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  • 1 Post By BensMom

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  #1  
January 24th, 2013, 06:32 PM
FL Mama's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: FLA USA
Posts: 1,100
So, it has become obvious that we need to homeschool our youngest. He just doesn't do well in the classroom atmosphere, and his behavior is starting to affect his grades. He is now in first grade, but he's been having issues since Pre-K. He is very smart, but, like I said, isn't doing well in the classroom. A small part of me has always wanted to homeschool, but taking it on has always intimidated me. I do have a local acquaintance that has agreed to help me, but she can't get together for another 6 days, and I was hoping to at least learn some more and get the ball rolling before then.

Now, I have found and understand (I think) my state laws, and they seem fairly simple - at least to get started, but I still have some questions.


1. According to FL law I can switch to homeschooling mid-year, but I'm not sure how to do that curriculum-wise. Do I start in the middle of the curriculum that I choose?

2. How do I know which curriculum to choose - i.e. which one fits us best?

3. What curriculum would you recommend? I don't need a christian based one (I would like one, but it's not a must), but I would at least like a bible learning segment.



Ugh, I thought I had more questions, but now that I'm writing them down I've gone blank. LOL!! Anyway, any other advice you would like to give or think I need to know would be great, and if I think of anymore questions I will definitely ask.
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Noah Joseph - 8/22/03
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Patricia Carryl - Due 8/23/13

Missing my Heavenly Babies - 10/28/04 - 14wks & Baby Born Still - 10/18/11 - 17wks





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  #2  
January 24th, 2013, 08:02 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Lonestar State
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WELCOME!!

First: the law. Read if for yourself, of course, but it's my understanding that you'll have to keep up with a portfolio (samples of worksheets, pictures of projects, etc... not "everything", but enough to show progress) that can be reviewed as far as two years back, and you'll have to do either annual testing or an annual evaluation of the portfolio. http://www.hslda.org/laws/analysis/Florida.pdf

Second: why? Do you have any idea WHY he's not doing well in a classroom? There are a million reasons why kids might not do well, but most of the time, they all get lumped together with something like ADHD, when really it's not that at all. Is he bored? Is the work too easy, making him drift off to la-la-land or half-heartedly complete assignments? Is he struggling? If so, have you looked into learning disabilities or had his eyes & ears tested? Is it the teaching method? Is he given worksheets when he'd rather learn by doing something hands-on? Does he not get enough breaks or snacks?

Third: curriculum. The answers to #2 (along with a budget you have in mind) will really help guide you a lot when choosing the curriculum method and level. It's very important that you understand there is no such thing as "1st grade" when it comes to choosing curriculum. Each state, each curriculum publishing company, and each second-cousin-in-law will have their own idea about what a 1st grader needs to know. Don't look at the grade listed on the cover of the book. Look at the content within it. Don't assume that an all-in-one boxed curriculum will necessarily work for you, because he might be stronger in math or reading than he is in something else. You might need to buy a kindergarten math and a 2nd grade reading. That's fine!! Meet him wherever he is. You might need to buy a workbook-based curriculum for reading but an online or hands-on curriculum for math. That's ok, too. Give us a feel for what you want, and we'll suggest companies that you can explore.

Fourth: getting started. Take some time off to get to know him. Go to museums, read books together, and perhaps take quick assessment tests like Online Reading Assessment, Math Assessment and Supplemental Instruction (reading & math online tests ... only $15 each if you go through the Homeschool Buyer's Co-Op website). This will help you figure out where he stands and what he likes to do. If he really likes science, for example, tailor your reading program to include lots of non-fiction science readers. Keep learning fun!

Fifth: relax. You're not going to have all the answers this year. You may not even have all the answers next year. He's young, and you're not going to screw him up if you teach everything about math except that you forget to do a unit on reading a thermometer. All kids have gaps in learning. It's much, much, much more important to teach him to love learning, and to teach him how to problem solve or look up answers than it is to try to fill his brain full of facts as if cramming for a test. There will always be something the neighbor's kid does better, but there will also be something your kid does better.
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  #3  
January 24th, 2013, 08:54 PM
FL Mama's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Wow, thanks so much!

First to answer your question "why?". It seems to be a combination of boredom and distractions. He has stated many times that the work is too easy, so I do think it is a little beneath his level. He also has a hard time concentrating on his work. The other kids, the sounds, the movements - all the things going on in the classroom distract him and he doesn't get his work done because he's too busy goofing off, messing with other students, or making noise. Here at home when he does his homework he sits down and gets it done, no problem. We have talked to his doctor and she says he does not have ADD/ADHD, but she did send us to have him tested/observed (for a second opinion). The psychologist also stated that he is not ADD/ADHD, but he did test in the gifted range. He is high energy, though, which is another reason why I think homeschooling would really work for him. He just can't/doesn't sit still for long. He likes to move and talk and a more open environment like our home and the world around us would allow him the space/time to get that out.

Also, what you said about curriculum totally makes sense, but also confuses me...a lot. LOL!! I've been looking around at curriculums online (just browsing), but I haven't seen a way to see the specifics of the content within it. How do I figure all this out?? (or is that where the assessment tests you mentioned come in?)

I don't think I got a really clear answer to my question in #1 (if I did, I totally missed it. Sorry. Could you point it out or repeat it?)



So, while I process all of the info you just gave me, I do have a couple more questions I came up with (I will continue my numbering to avoid confusion).

4. I know i need to send a Notice of Intent to the school Board/Superintendent, but do i also need to notify the school at all?

5. Do I need to obtain his school records?


Thanks again so much. I hope I'm not being a pain in the butt. I'm just trying to understand and process all of this.
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Noah Joseph - 8/22/03
Jonah Thomas - 9/29/05
Patricia Carryl - Due 8/23/13

Missing my Heavenly Babies - 10/28/04 - 14wks & Baby Born Still - 10/18/11 - 17wks





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  #4  
January 25th, 2013, 07:08 AM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
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No, no, no! You're not being a PITB! You're being a great mom!

Yes, you'll need to contact everyone involved to let them know you're homeschooling. Do it in writing, and mail it with confirmation of receipt so they can't argue later that they didn't get it. You'll also want to ask for his records, first for your own curiosity and planning, and second in case you ever need them to enroll him in a different type of school.

Did you mean I wasn't clear about whether to start in the middle of a curriculum? You'll just have to figure that out based on what you end up choosing. Since he's bored, antsy, and tested in the gifted range, I suspect you should be on the lookout for 2nd grade material. In that case, you'd start it from the beginning just to figure out where he is. Most text or workbook based curricula have tests built in after every few chapters. Start with the tests. Use them as pretests (orally) to see which sections he does or doesn't know. As long as he's getting 70-80% right the first time, there is no need to drill those chapters. Move on. When he's only getting 50-60% right on the pretests, you'll know that's where you need to stop. That's his instructional level. For gifted children in particular, the goal shouldn't be A's, it should be B's. If a gifted child is getting A's all the time with little effort, it means the material is too easy. If he's getting B's with no effort or little effort, he's learning. If he's getting C's after trying really hard, the material is too hard for him.

Pretesting to choose level is easy to do that with something like reading, but with math or science, there are a lot of different types of skills involved. He might be great at measurement but not so great at subtraction. He might know a lot about types of animals, but not know anything about plants. For those two subjects, there are two schools of thought, and two types of curricula.... spiral and mastery. With spiral curriculum, you'll lightly touch on a variety of topics over and over and over, all within the same unit/semester/year. With mastery curriculum, you'll dig deeper into one topic until it's mastered, and then move on to another topic. The majority of curricula on the market is spiral, but in classical education (the style used for hundreds of years before public schools were reformed into a factory-like setting 50-60 years ago), everything was mastery-based. Everyone has their own opinions about this subject, just like they do diapers or formula, so read everything you can and decide for yourself. Personally, I choose mastery curriculum, but I throw in a little bit of a spiral approach myself, because I know some topics will show up on standardized tests before the text reaches them.

If you have any concerns about teaching a gifted child, you should also pop over to the gifted forum. We can help you with questions over there, too. There are gifted children represented here, but all are homeschooled. On the gifted forum, there are a variety of teaching methods used.

Last edited by BensMom; January 25th, 2013 at 07:11 AM.
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  #5  
January 25th, 2013, 02:42 PM
FL Mama's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Okay, thanks again. I think I'm getting a better idea now. Still lots to think about, though. I didn't even notice a "gifted" forum. Once I start teaching him if I feel like I need help or have questions I will definitely pop over there.

I think I'm good for now (anyone else with something to say is still very welcome, though ), but if I think of anything else I WILL be back.

You have been very helpful!
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Noah Joseph - 8/22/03
Jonah Thomas - 9/29/05
Patricia Carryl - Due 8/23/13

Missing my Heavenly Babies - 10/28/04 - 14wks & Baby Born Still - 10/18/11 - 17wks





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  #6  
February 2nd, 2013, 08:54 PM
Farmers-wife's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Posts: 6,252
I am in n fl. Our state laws are great and easy to comply with. Go to fpea.com to find local groups or resources. If you are near Tallahassee, let me know. I would be glad to meet with you. I have 9 kids, 6 are school age, all homeschooled from the beginning.
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  #7  
February 23rd, 2013, 10:20 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 6,905
I'm from Florida, too.

Definitely a good idea to home school if you live in this state...

1. According to FL law I can switch to homeschooling mid-year, but I'm not sure how to do that curriculum-wise. Do I start in the middle of the curriculum that I choose? You can start anytime you want. All you have to do is show you made "progress" each year. You send in your letter of intent and within a year you take your kid for an evaluation where they look at the work they did over the year and confirm they learned something. It's REALLY easy. (almost too easy! I will say I have higher expectations than the state apparently does...)

2. How do I know which curriculum to choose - i.e. which one fits us best?
We looked into a few and tried some samples to see what our kids liked. It's still trial and error. Sometimes we take things away or add new things to our curriculum.

3. What curriculum would you recommend? I don't need a christian based one (I would like one, but it's not a must), but I would at least like a bible learning segment.
Can't help with this! We are an "avoid religion teaching at all costs" bunch. We want our kids to choose religion for themselves. We've had great success with our "secular" curriculum, though, and our kids get religious influence through other arenas. We allow them to find their own path. But if you want to teach using religious curriculum, you should have no problem. There's a ton of options out there for religious home schoolers
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Last edited by alittlelost; February 26th, 2013 at 06:59 AM.
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  #8  
February 25th, 2013, 06:03 PM
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As to curriculum, this confused me for a long time too. Since then I've really liked
A-Beka. My kids seem to like it, too.
For math, however, we've switched to a curriculum through teachingtextbooks.com
My son (6-yrs-old) especially likes the new math program because he gets to do it on the computer. (I like it because it keeps track of his scores.)

And as another poster said, your son probably won't be in a certain grade level for every subject. My daughter, for example, ranges from 2nd to 4th grade work (she's 8) depending on the subject.

I remember feeling overwhelmed, at first, too. I had friends that homeschooled and they seemed so on top of things! However, over time I've figured it out. Trust me, it gets easier!
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