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    Joined: Oct 2008
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    When my DS was denied early admittance to K, I became an accidental homeschooler. I homeschooled 2 children. My DS then 4, and my DD now 14. Him because I had to do something with him, and her because prior to living with me she'd attended 11 schools by 5th grade and had enormous gaps in her learning. I was fortunate enough to meet someone who'd h/s for many years and got great advice.

    It's referred to as learning on a line.....
    Imagine reading a book about Vikings. (History)
    They used Longboats, we got a piece of string and measured out 60' so that there would be some perspective (math)
    Converted to metrics(math)
    Talked about other kinds of boats and propulsion (science)
    Built sailboats to float in the duckpond. (science)
    Talked about triangles and what angles made the most efficient sails (math and science)
    Calculated wind speed in knots (math)
    Took our metric conversions to the kitchen, converted recipes and baked cookies (math)
    Research other ways wind energy is used (science and conservation)
    Wrote an essay on alternative energies (science, language arts)

    At first glance it seems very scattered but the fact is at the end of one year my DS tested into 5th grade in all subjects on the NWEA. My DD had gained 3 grade levels in math and we had a blast! I did at some point get a subscription to T4L for the days that I had no mommy time. One of the really nice things is that you can ask your child to participate in identifying the next step in the line. The other nice thing is that the cost is extremely minimal. We made biweekly trips to the library, spent a little on crafty stuff, spent time on-line doing research and used a lot of imagination.

    I can tell you that my previously uninspired DD discovered a passion for politics and history. She developed a social conscience pouring over the Civil Rights movement. For a kid that spent the first 9 years of her life on the street, that was huge! We had amazing conversations comparing our political process with that of other countries, while my DS6 studied the countries we were discussing.

    Last but not least was the bond that developed. I have always loved my kids fiercely, but I now identify with the person they are rather than an extension of myself. Hell, I didn't even meet my DD until she was almost 10 and now..... I might as well have had her.

    If you let yourself enjoy it instead of stressing over what he might learn or not learn, it's a great experience. You have to take the pressure off yourself and off him and discover learning together!



    Shari
    Mom to DS 10, DS 11, DS 13
    Ability doesn't make us, Choices do!
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    It didn't feel like it was going to be sooo long winded!


    Shari
    Mom to DS 10, DS 11, DS 13
    Ability doesn't make us, Choices do!
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    We started at the beginning, so I had a nice long time to acclimate, which doesn't help you.... but I know when I was starting to feel like I needed to get "serious", reading The Well Trained Mind was a good starting place. Not because we actually follow it closely at all (a few things, but not the whole plan...) but because it's so neatly laid out and makes it sound like something you can handle.

    But having read it, I then happily proceeded to do my own thing. smile

    What we actually do:

    Math - Singapore, except this year (statistics)
    Science - Singapore
    History - Story of the World (which is not perfect, but easy... and sometimes easy is perfect)
    Literature - we have a book group, but I also like Lightning Literature from Hewitt Homeschooling, and we kind of juggle those two
    Language - we go a little nuts with language... Lingua Latina for Latin (excellent but not "fun"... I never know whether to recommend it or not...) and Pimsleur plus a reader and grammar workbook for Spanish, and we're dabbling in Russian vocabulary and handwriting with the help of Educational Fontware.

    We do more (and go off on tangents - we're about to add Hindi and Nepali and Devanagari script!), but this is our "core". I assign work for a week at a time and give DS more or less leeway (depending on our schedule and my mood... LOL) in figuring out how any one day will go. Mostly he gets his work done in the mornings, leaving the afternoons free for extra classes -- flute lesson, book group, math circle, lego team, physics class, rock climbing, tennis, etc. None of those are our serious-hard-work-core schooltime, except maybe book group... but they all contribute. When it's up to me, DS does math, science, history and language daily, plus flute practice. When he chooses his schedule, he sometimes crams a whole week of science or math into one day.

    I needed to know what I was aiming at before I could really start -- I actually made up the whole 12 year schedule of courses, and as silly as that sounds, we've not deviated too far from the general plan (except in terms of speed... LOL) But if I were starting now, I'd definitely suggest that you start small and add in slowly. Pick one subject, like math, that you know you can handle, and just do that for a week or two before you start anything else. It won't hurt anything to take it easy at first, and it lets you get your feet wet without drowning.

    Hope this helps!!


    Erica
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    I'm back. (Bad one! cry ) While I was suffering, you got some GREAT help! Yay! smile

    We were emergency HSers, beginning in October of 1st grade. I, too, was completely paralyzed by the curriculum websites and lists. Some people love that stuff, but I just found it overwhelming. (Still do!) Add in the fact that I had no time to research--we were just thrown into it--and you can see why we went a bit more "off-road" than most at first.

    But even this year, when I had lots of time to research, I found that curriculum makes me panicky. Lorel had to talk me down when I let it all freak me out back in July or August. She very wisely asked me why I felt the need to change everything and use a set curriculum if what I had done the previous year had been a success. Smart woman, that Lorel. laugh And last year WAS a success! I think this year has been, too.

    We are eclectic homeschoolers, which just simply means that we can do whatever we want. We are not wedded to a teaching method, but we grab whatever works and use a variety of approaches.

    I think there's some benefit in at least looking over the approaches before you buy anything. I think one approach or another tends to sound appealing when you read a list of them, and that can help to steer you toward or away from things that will never work for you. Especially for those of us who are easily overwhelmed by it all, it can be a good starting point. Take a look here: http://www.homeschooldiner.com/index.html . The quiz or the "Homeschooling Basics" might be useful for this purpose. This is a good spot, too: http://www.homeschooldiner.com/basics/curriculum/do_i_need_curriculum.html .

    As eclectic HSers, I love that we have maximum flexibility. DS7 is a GT kid with a wide variety of interests who just soaks things up and is very asynchronous. Spending a bunch of money on various curricula the wouldn't fit him in a month seemed like a big ol' waste of time and money!

    Instead, we mostly just dive into the library. We also rely on some books that help us make sure we're not missing anything important: What your Xth Grader Needs to Know by E.D. Hirsch and Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp are good ones. I like using both, snce sometimes they differ a bit. It helps me feel more sure that I'm not missing anything major. (And since I'm talking books, here's another vote for Lisa Rivero! smile )

    Using the library approach is free. It's easy. It allows us to cover anything we want to cover. It allows me to stretch his reading skills or get something easier and just quickly cover the material, depending upon what books we choose. It's great! And it's not as hard to do as as people think. All that's really involved is deciding what skills you want your child to learn, what material will suit that learning, and what books appropriately cover that material for his age and ability. That's really not hard to do for elementary school kids!

    And it lets us follow the thread, as someone was saying (Shari, I think?). That's where real connections are made! I don't think I got that sort of learning about how it all fits together until I was in grad school! Seeing connections between various subjects raises the whole tenor of a child's education, I think.

    Here's my approach in a nutshell: during the summer (and then again in December for the second half of the year), I ask DS7 what he wants to study in the coming year. We brainstorm together, discuss and expand as needed, and then I hit the library catalogue to request books on those subjects and others that I deem important for coverage. For the fall semester, I tend to follow his lead almost completely. I usually save spring for covering anything we missed that a kid his age is supposed to know. Frankly, it takes a week or two to fill in any gaps, tops! When you've got a GT kid, they tend to be so far ahead that it's not necessary to "cover" very much.

    Anytime things get boring or slow for us, we brainstorm again and pick up something new and interesting. DS7 understands that this is HIS education, and he is responsible for it as much as I am. If he's not into what he's studying, he needs to say so and--more importantly!--do something about it. That means it's never my job to "entertain" him; it's his job to dig up (or at least suggest) topics and resources that interest him. He's responsible.

    My overall goal is to be sure that I'm doing at least as well as (and generally WAY better than!) the public school would have done with him. That's setting the bar pretty low, given our particular 1st grade experience (no skips, no differentiation frown ), but I figure that's a valid option since it's what he was getting. Setting the bar low helps to keep me from making myself crazy with perfectionism. Perfectionism and HSing do NOT mix!

    Beyond that, I try to meet the following minimum time goals:

    > one day of the "S for HSers," which includes a class on fractions, decimals and percentages, a creativity class, and a social studies "kids around the world" class, plus 3 recesses.
    > 30+ min. of math, 4 days/week.
    > 30+ min. of fiction reading, 4 days/week.
    > 30+ min. of free reading (whatever he likes, fiction or nonfiction), 5 days/week.
    > 15+ min. of being read to, 7 days/week.
    > 45+ min. of nonfiction reading, 4 days/week (this includes science, history, health, etc.).
    > 3+ lines of writing, sometimes focusing on handwriting, sometimes focusing on composition. I try not to do both at the same time, since they are two different things requiring two different kinds of attention.
    > Clean up time every day.
    > Do one thing he loves every day.
    > Art class, music class, some sports (changes seasonally), and Arabic class, each once per week. Plus practice time.
    > Two weekend GT enrichment classes of his choosing. This session it's Mad Science and Japanese.

    That's pretty much it.

    And don't be fooled by how little time we seem to spend. 30 minutes of one-on-one time in math, for example, is REALLY intensive. He's done several years' worth of work in one year both last year and this year. And because it is so focused, he retains it very well. We spend almost no time reviewing. What goes in doesn't fall out!

    We did start with Singapore Math last year, which is a good choice to start out with, but we moved away from it because he needed more conceptual challenge but hadn't memorized his times tables yet. Singapore just kept hammering away at the multiplication, so we skipped WAY ahead to geometry last year, leaving even a set math curriculum behind. This year, we just worked on the times tables through math games and such, plus lots of bits and pieces from problem-solving workbooks for 3rd-8th graders depending upon the books, and DS7 did some work on experiential calculus/physics with my DH. Oh, and he covered fractions all the way from "this is half a circle" up to adding and subtracting fractions with different denominators. Yes, that was all before the math class started in January!

    BTW, Aleks is another good, flexible choice if you want your child to do his math online.

    Speaking of having a lot to say...Sorry! HTH, at least!

    laugh


    Kriston
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    I forgot to mention Homeschool Tracker. A wonderful tool for those of us who need to keep track of hs hours as part of our state requirements. It allows you to keep track of all the assignments, books your child read, field trips you took.

    The basic Tracker is FREE!


    LMom
    Joined: May 2007
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    I found my notes from our first year of homeschooling (between ages 6 and 7) for my son who had handwriting issues, vision issues that I didn't know about yet, and fatigue issues.

    Here are some of the things we did:

    Piano practice
    spelling practice--had him write the words once and also practice orally, sometimes while jumping on a trampoline and using familiar tunes for more difficult to spell words
    Used Singapore Math, multiplication and division games, word problems
    We watched a lot of science videos and educational shows together
    One day I wrote that he had watched a math show about prime factorization and exponents and I didn't make him watch it so I guess there was some interest in math that was at a higher level than what he was working on at the time. I had forgotten this. Math workbooks were a problem for him because of handwriting issues. I had to be his scribe. This is why he learned most of the math he knew doing online math games.
    I wrote that he liked to read Cam Jansen books that year and it was easy reading for him. He would also read the adult National Geographic magazine which was a little more challenging. One day I wrote that out of the 143 words in two paragraphs of National Geographic, he made 4 errors. I used to write the words that he asked me to look up for him at the top of each day's page. There were words like paradox, acquittal, indictment, and hyperbole. He saw these words in what he read and was not satisfied to just use context clues. I think this is why his comprehension has always been very high. He wanted to know the exact meaning and etymology of unfamiliar words and I let him take the time to look them up whenever we came across them.
    I had him read articles out loud to me from the science and technology section of our newspaper.
    I let him take time to figure out math problems his own way and didn't force him to do it the way the book showed it done.
    Played Tycoon games and other computer games like Grammar Rock, the Lost in Space Learning Adventures game, I Love Math with lots of word problems and adding fractions, and lots of games that he learned a lot from.
    He practiced counting back change and figuring tax
    Visited the science museum and dinosaur museum and zoo
    I never made him color in the lines or held him back from learning just because he had trouble with handwriting and I gave him plenty of free time to learn what he wanted to learn and I have always read to him and we discuss what we read.
    We never used tutors. I had to do the best I could on my own because we didn't have a lot of extra money. My spouse has always supported me in this except he thought it was important for our son to try school. When he saw that it wasn't working for our son he was very supportive.

    I might have felt overwhelmed at times but it has all been worth it.




    Joined: Feb 2009
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    I don't HS, and I'm not sure that I possess the ability, courage, strength and focus to do so, but y'all definitely make me think twice about it!

    For those of you HS older children (12+), how are you ensuring (or are you) that your DC is getting the state requirements for graduation, etc? Also, anyone have experience with having their DC enter into college after being HS?

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    If you can parent, you can homeschool. Honest!

    It does get a bit more challenging with older kids. Mostly your job becomes that of finding resources and classes rather than being the teacher. But it can definitely be done.


    Kriston
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    I guess we are a little different - we were thrown into homeschooling because there were no real choices for my DS6 for kindergarten - so we started homeschooling in August this year. We started out with Singapore math and I-Science, Handwriting without Tears along with Core Knowledge curriculum for Science and Social Studies. We battled every day to get work done and neither one of us was enjoying it and we are miserable.....the more I tried to push to do any work, the more he resisted....so after the holidays we began unschooling...which basically means he picks what he would like to pursue during the day and talk about a complete reversal! He is doing more math, science, social studies, art, reading than when I was trying to do a curriculum with him. The other day he designed and made his own Monopoly game board - drew everything, named all the properties, came up with their values and rents and then we played it. He actually got out the dictionary to look up how to properly spell some of the names he wanted on his properties. We are building our own rocket for launching and are learning all about the purpose of the tail fins and how they affect flight. We just planted a huge vegetable garden and are conducting experiments concerning various soils and plant foods. He is learning computer programming. We explore the library on a regular basis. He came up with a plan to help write his own children's book concerning Florida State Parks (he loves to go hiking and kayaking) and he wants to photograph various native plants and animals to make a scavenger hunt for children to complete for each state park in the state....the list goes on. It might not be the best for every family but it sure is a perfect fit for us!

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    Originally Posted by Belle
    We are building our own rocket for launching and are learning all about the purpose of the tail fins and how they affect flight.

    Oooh.. that sounds like fun.


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