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New to homeschooling for 2014-2015. Need advice.


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#1 Melissa G

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:48 AM

I have two children.  My son is 11 and in the 6th grade this year. He has attended public school from kindergarten on.  My daughter is five and is due to begin kindergarten next year.  With my son we have faced many challenges in public school and it only keeps getting worse.  He has been described by teachers, counselors, and school psychologists as a "genius."  Maybe he is and maybe he isn't, but the public school curriculum and overworked teachers just cannot keep up with his needs.  This leads to extreme frustration for him, which causes behavioral issues. I have attempted to supplement his education at home, but it is very difficult when he is at school all day and comes home an exhausted, sullen, zombie-child.  I have kept him in public schools all this time, because I thought that it was important for him to socialize with other children every day.  I was greatly mistaken.  After intense research and consideration, I have decided that this is not the type of socialization that he needs.  He needs a real education that meets his personal needs and challenges his mind, and he needs real-life socialization.  My daughter deserves the same. 

 

I work about 30 hours per week (3 nights) and I cannot quit working, but I feel that we can work around my schedule.  There are two children who differ greatly in age and maturity.  This will be a huge challenge.  I intend to register with Carolina Homeschooler this month for next school year.  I am looking for any advice on how to withdraw my son from public school, how to get started, how to juggle and manage the two children, work, and our growing "homestead."  We live in a rural area with three dogs, two cats, a rabbit, three hermit crabs, eight chickens (currently), and an extensive garden.  We have plans to expand this to include more chickens (for eggs and meat), goats (milk and meat), and possibly rabbits (meat).  My children are learning animal husbandry, gardening, home canning and preserving, cooking (from scratch), sewing, sustainability, and self-reliance.  At the same time, we incorporate math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology and much more into all of these lessons. 

 

I feel that our family is more than equipped to handle homeschooling, but the prospect is a little overwhelming.  Any advice on this transition would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks!

 



#2 Dianna

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 11:15 AM

Melissa, you're already homeschooling with all the learning that's going on at your house. Just build on that. You don't have to stick to a school schedule - learning happens on the weekends, evenings, during the summer, during vacations, etc., so you can homeschool around your work schedule.

 

For answers to frequently asked questions, see my FAQs at http://www.carolinah...r.com/afaq.html

 

If you have any other questions after reading through those, let me know.

 

For more in-depth information, a description of different methods, typical days, favorite resources, and advice from hundreds of homeschooling parents who answered my surveys, see my guide: http://amzn.to/Mj41rh

 

Warmly,

Dianna


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#3 Melissa G

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 12:38 PM

Thank you, Dianna.  I have already read everything on your site and I ordered a copy of your book from Amazon this morning.  I suppose that I am just anxious about making the transition from public school to home.  Just need to remind myself, one step at a time.



#4 Dianna

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 01:04 PM

Melissa, once you decide what path you want to take (more structured, textbooks, no textbooks, more relaxed, etc.), and want information/reviews about specific resources, let us know. It's fine to start out with one method, and then tweak as you go along. Everyone homeschools differently, and you'll have to freedom to experiment and find what fits your family best.

 

Warmly,

Dianna


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#5 Beth62442

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 01:40 PM

Welcome, Melissa G!  

I get the anxious thing!  (I'm sure I"m not alone too!)  I just pulled my oldest out of 7th grade public school in the middle of the school year and started homeschooling him in January.  It sounds like we have a similar situation.  He went from being a child who packed his own backpack full of books, crayons and paper just to sign up for preschool to a sullen, angry, disillusioned 12 year old.  He's never been happier since we pulled him out.  It hasn't been easy - we have days where we just can't stand to be in the same room as one another... but for the most part, I've gotten a lot more hugs, kisses and "I love you"s and he's beginning to love learning again.

 

It sounds like you already have a great setup, and you've already been homeschooling without even knowing it!  Getting started is scary, (I personally am obsessed with researching curriculum) but the thing I love most about homeshooling, is if you try something and it doesn't work, it's easy enough to switch!  Knowing how your kids like to learn is important (kinesthetic, visual, auditory, etc) and there are sooooo many choices (which is why I'm obsessive about curriculum) that it will make your head spin.  Personally, I found reading reviews to be just as confusing as helpful, because what works for one family won't necessarily work for another.

 

If you're already taking care of all those animals and running your own homestead, being organized must be second-nature to you, and that will help.  Keeping track of lessons, recordkeeping, etc. all takes time and organization.  And I know you're probably thinking - I'm swamped already - but when you're not having to deal with the issues public school drops on your doorstep, you'll be amazed at the extra time you get!  (Don't know what kind of schedule your son had, but mine was having between 2-3 hours of homework every night - even on weekends.  Not dealing with that every day gave me plenty of time for lesson-planning and grading papers.) 

 

I will also be homeschooling a kindergartener this fall (as well as a 5th grader too).  Frankly, the one that scares me the most is the kindergartener - making sure he has a good foundation and praying daily that I will be up to the task!

 

I know one of the hardest things my 7th grader had adjusting to was his schedule at home.  He was under the impression that he would send a set amount of time on each subject every day -- just like public school.  So, if at the end of 45 minutes, he hadn't finished an assignment - he'd just quit (even if he'd spent 15 minutes staring out his window at the bird feeders).  I explained the freedom he had now that he was at home - if he didn't have any trouble understanding the work and could finish it in 20 minutes - GREAT!  If not, we could take and hour to really get it down.. and if we were frustrated beyond belief - we could skip it til tomorrow.  Setting goals and accomplishing them has been our main focus -- not making sure he's busy for 45 minutes in each subject each day.  Some days we do math first, some days history.  Some days its a struggle to get him to do anything, other days he can't wait to read a particular history assignment or do a particular science experiment.  One day a time (or sometimes one hour at a time - LOL!) has become my mantra...

 

Sorry that I've rambled... I'm on a super-caffeine rush today :)


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#6 Melissa G

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 01:53 PM

Thanks Dianna, I will definitely be doing that. 

 

Beth, Thank you as well.  It is a scary prospect, but one that I think is absolutely necessary.  Adjusting to that schedule is my main concern, as I think that we will probably have the same issues here.  Hearing your story really helps.  Thank you so much. 



#7 Dana

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 10:39 AM

  With my son we have faced many challenges in public school and it only keeps getting worse.  He has been described by teachers, counselors, and school psychologists as a "genius."  Maybe he is and maybe he isn't, but the public school curriculum and overworked teachers just cannot keep up with his needs.  This leads to extreme frustration for him, which causes behavioral issues. . 

 

...

 

I feel that our family is more than equipped to handle homeschooling, but the prospect is a little overwhelming.  Any advice on this transition would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks!

 

The Davidson Forum may have additional suggestions for working with your son. On their main page, they also have links to a number of articles that may provide resources as well. I've also got a thread going on this board on gifted resources that may be useful as well.

 

Definitely plan on a period (couple of months?) of deschooling for your son.

 

Finding a community in your area for socialization is important. Park days have been excellent for my son.

We've been homeschooling since he was in first grade (did a private half-day kindergarten). We went through a period in 5th grade where he wasn't listening to me, so I went on strike. I was going to put him in a virtual school, but my husband chose to teach ds after getting home from work. It was a good experience for all of us and helped us change some habits. I bit my tongue a lot, ds started guitar lessons, and when I took teaching back over a couple months later, ds worked a bit better for me. So homeschool can be done while working full time - although it is tough.

 

Remember that you're also not limited to weekdays. You could school on the weekends and have some weekdays off.

We school year-round, taking May off. We'll be finishing 6th grade in about 10 more days, then we've got May off (yea!) and then start 7th in June.

 

The first year is one of the toughest (or was for us).

It's been worth it, but it's still work!

 

Welcome & good luck!!


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#8 Melissa G

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 01:35 PM

Thank you, Dana.  This will be very helpful.



#9 ShadanJem

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 03:16 PM

A few additional thoughts....you don't have to figure it all out at once.  If he likes math, find a math program he likes.  And a good book.  Then add more, slowly if need be.  We don't actually have "lesson plans" or graded papers, and DS starts 9th next year.  We have a plan for the year.  Most days is relatively balanced.  But if we spend all day on history one day, then tomorrow might be biology.  Some days we just need a day off, so we hit the highlights (1-2 hours max) and are done.  (think of how little is done in a 1/2 day at school, but it still counts as a "day").  Outsourced classes can be great.  DS is taking an online Spanish class.  It has been hard work, but the teacher is great and he loves it.  An online logic course he was really looking forward to didn't quite live up to his hopes, but has been a good experience nonetheless.  

 

We too have a farm - and that is pretty much enough formal science for elementary school (and, um, even middle school). 

 

Even crazier - sometimes we just take off school.  Completely.  Shut the cabinets, put them up, do nothing!  This was actually DH's idea, because too often I tried to squeeze just one more thing in.  It helps, tremendously.  May  - we are stir crazy.  August - we school during the summer around camps, and we need a break in August, so we go camping as a family.  The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas - its a lost cause.  But then, it is in school too.  So plan fun stuff.....sew, science labs, extra family literature, documentaries of the history/science you are studying, make a ginger bread house.  This year, when we started back after a 3 week break, DS commented that his brain seemed fresher.  School was easier, quicker, more enjoyable.  That was HIS commentary.  

 

Its already been mentioned, but I'll restate it.  Just because you pick a book, a curriculum, a homeschooling philosophy, etc, doesn't mean you have to stick with it. If your near Columbia, there is a used curriculum sale in June.  That is a good way to see lots of things, too.


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#10 Melissa G

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 09:36 AM

Thank you all for your support.  This is an exciting and scary new journey we are undertaking, but I'm quickly getting over the fear.  We are in Lugoff, SC.  I have found The Midlands Homeschool Band for my son and dance classes for my daughter.  I think that we will start with those extras for now and not try to add any more this year (for our sanity and our wallet).  For my daughter who is beginning kindergarten, I will continue to teach her as I have been.  I will just have to document what we're doing.  That's easy.  I'm going to start my son (7th grader) out with an Elementary and Intermediate Algebra book used by Midland's Technical College.  His science lessons will come from a combination of our animal keeping, gardening, cooking, canning, and cleaning at home, with some documentaries and experiments thrown in (we already have some great books).  He is such a great reader that I want to begin to teach him about some classic literature and poetry.  I'm not yet certain about what he will be learning for social studies, but I'm looking for a way to incorporate that with the literature.  I will not be purchasing a pre-packaged curriculum this year, as I don't think that is what we need.  I think we need a more tailored learning experience.  It will be a bumpy road, but a great ride. 

 

I had several long discussions about this with my son.  He had a lot of good questions, and thanks to my research and this website I was able to answer them all.  His only reservation was that he may not be able to continue with band.  I don't want to continue with the public school at all, but I do want him to continue with band, so thankfully I had already thought of this and found the Midland's Homeschool Band.  He is willing to try this alternative, and I am so happy.  He made comments such as "Mom, I won't have to wait for the whole class to finish tests anymore." and "I'm so glad I won't have to ride the bus anymore."  He's very excited. 

 

Thank you for all the information!



#11 Dianna

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 01:13 PM

Melissa, he may be able to continue with the public school band, if that's what you want. Read the last section in this link (the equal access part): http://www.carolinah...com/alegal.html

 

Warmly,

Dianna



#12 Dana

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:50 PM

.  I'm going to start my son (7th grader) out with an Elementary and Intermediate Algebra book used by Midland's Technical College.  !


I teach at MTC and have been very pleased with the Woodbury text. It's one of the best written math texts I've taught from IMO.

http://interactmath.com/home.aspx
Here's a site where you can do online work from the Pearson texts including Woodbury. It doesn't save work from one session to another, but it does have the Help Me Solve It feature which is really good.

If he really wanted more challenge, the Art of Problem Solving texts are excellent.
www.aops.com
My son did the first 6 chapters of the Woodbury text this fall along with my class and would have had an A if he were enrolled, taking the same tests as my students. We've started AoPS Elementary Algebra and although some of it is review, he's also struggling with it in a really good way.