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    Hi all,
    Well, I have alluded to my temptation to HS on numerous posts, and now I am almost there. I have a meeting with the principal/guidance counselor/& teacher at my son's school to discuss how they can meet my son's learning needs, but I can't imagine a good resolution coming from this meeting... though I am trying to be open-minded.

    Here's an example of how school affects him: over the weekend he brought home some "reading workshop" work he hadn't completed in class (because he's missed so much school lately)... because he has such difficulty writing, the teacher said it would be ok for him to dictate his answers to me. At the end of chapter 1 of this book, he was supposed to answer some questions-- describing the characters mostly. Easy stuff. But he became very anxious and fidgety and did not seem to understand the questions, which frustrated me and caused an argument between us. Later in the weekend he sat down and read a much more difficult book (a Roaold Dahl book) in one sitting, and when I asked similar (or actually harder) questions about the characters and their motivations, his answers were immediate and elaborate. No anxiety. No arguments. My intepretation: anything school-related provokes anxiety and causes him to shut down.

    Also he has these weird health problems that make it very dangerous to be exposed to strep...

    Anyway, I want him out.

    I'm just so tired of everything with my son being negative, problems, etc. I want the joy back!

    But I feel like I have no plan. Can HSers out their describe how they spend their day...Where do you get the curriculum materials? How much $$ do you spend? How much do you let your child's interest drive the curriculum? Do you use tutors? Honestly, do you feel overwhelmed? Does your spouse support you?

    Sorry for another long post, but thanks.



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    Hi Bronxmom,

    I've looked at this website and listened to a couple of her podcasts. I've always been tempted to buy this book so I can't vouch for it but look around and see if anything catches your eye. Homeschool.com

    I also wanted to ask, does your son still have his tonsils and adenoids? They can be a reservoir for strep.

    I'll post more later about our HSing journey.

    I also frequent the Well Trained Mind curriculum board for advice about various curricula and to get ideas about what others are doing for a particular grade level.

    Dazey

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    Thanks Dazey,

    He will have the tonsils and adenoids out next week and I am hoping that will help with some of our problems.

    I will check out the website... now I realize that I should probably read some books about homeschooling... maybe that will eliminate some of the anxiety and mystery for me.

    So add to my question-- can anyone recommend books about homeschooling?


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    I am not HSing yet, but I have similar trouble with the current school and I might be HSing next year.

    In our area, we have public charter home schools. You can use their materials (free), or they provide you a budget to buy any non-religious materials. There is also one day a week classes that are mostly academic like science, social science, history, math etc. There is also 1 other day that's called lab day and the kids participate in fun classes like pottery, drama, music, PE etc. Classes are all free.

    Each charter school provide different budget and classes. You don't have to participate in anything if you don't want to.

    There are also educational field trips every 5 weeks or so. Also every 5 weeks, you have to take all the works in to see the educational specialist to check your works.

    Good luck!


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    I am in the throes of a migraine, so I can't answer now. Must go lie down. But I am WAY casual, and have a near allergy to curriculum (yet am not an unschooler), so I can give you a fairly unusual perspective.

    FWIW, it doesn't have to be hard. Especially with a GT child.

    Later. Wish me luck! (I fear I'll need it...)


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    Quote
    Can HSers out their describe how they spend their day...Where do you get the curriculum materials? How much $$ do you spend? How much do you let your child's interest drive the curriculum? Do you use tutors? Honestly, do you feel overwhelmed? Does your spouse support you

    I was having some of the same problems when we took DS out of school. I felt like I lost my happy boy, and he was having migraines at school every other day. He has been out for almost 2 years now, and not a migraine since. And my happy boy is back. Not saying that every school day goes perfect, but we are both much happier.

    Our school day takes about 3 hours. We take breaks between each subject.

    There is a ton, and I mean a ton of different HS curriculum. You could spend weeks on the net looking at it all. Most veteran HSers recommend that newbies start out slow, and not buy a lot at 1st. homeschoolreviews.com is a good place to start. I would be happy to recommend the things that have worked for us.

    I spend about $500 per year on curriculum, but you can HS for free just using the library and a ton of free internet resources. And some people spend tons of $$$ on virtual academies.

    I try to follow my kids interests as much as possible. We did a unit study on auto racing because that's a passion of his. He is most advanced in math, so we spend a good bit of time on that. Writing is not his strong suit, so we take that slow so he doesn't get frustrated. But he's the type of kid that needs almost no repetition of new material. He learns it the 1st time, and feels insulted if he's forced to review over and over. That was a major aggravation in public school.

    I don't use any outside tutors except for piano. But there are HS co-ops in almost every city and state.

    I don't feel overwhelmed at all. It has been a joy and blessing for our family. My son and I have a wonderful close relationship, and I think a lot of that if from HSing.

    DH was not as thrilled at 1st about HSing as I was. I had to really convince him. I told him to give me 1 year, and then if it didn't go well we would put DS back in school. Well, after about 1 month, he was completely on board. He now tells people all the time how great HSing can be.

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    Quote
    I also frequent the Well Trained Mind curriculum board for advice about various curricula and to get ideas about what others are doing for a particular grade level.

    Ditto! This is a great board! I have found great curriculum recommendations, and wonderful support there.

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    Thanks RJH,

    Maybe I'm just a little frail emotionally right now, but when I start looking at these sites I get completely overwhelmed and start feeling panicky! There's too much information, too much stuff, I have no idea where to begin.

    Ugh, maybe this is not for me after all.

    I guess I need to calm down and just take this one step at a time...

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    You're right, it's very easy to get info overload. But if it's really what you want to do, then just jump in feet first. You can learn right along with your child smile I figure those of us on this board are already at an advantage....we could not teach our children a thing for a whole year or more, and they would still be ahead. LOL!

    There are many curriculum's that are pick-up-and-go. Lessons are already planned out, and it takes almost no planning on the parents part.

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    Hi, bronxmom,

    I'm sorry your sweetheart is having a hard time at school; it's no fun watching them be sad and anxious. I think researching another option is a good idea, even if you decide not to go ahead with it, just to make you feel not so trapped in a bad situation. I like having a Plan B in my pocket, too!

    Homeschooling works really well for us, and I'm so grateful every day--even when it's not a great day!--that we are doing this. We have three boys, 7 (Harpo, grade 2), 5 (Groucho, kindergarten), and 3 (Chico), and we've homeschooled from the beginning, partly because my husband works shifts, and this preserves our family life, and partly because Harpo seemed unlikely to have his academic needs met in school (no gifted programming at all until grade 11 in our district, no skips under any circumstances either)--also, he's a very quirky child, and I was really afraid that people might be able to see the giant invisible "bully magnet" sign on his back.

    Frenchie (my husband) was not really on board with homeschooling at the beginning, but kindergarten is optional in our province, so he agreed to let me give it a go the year Harpo was 5, and see how it went. Well before the year was over, he was well and truly converted! And he's probably even more ardent about the virtues of homeschooling (for us and our particular circumstances, anyway) now than I am.

    Our schedule has evolved quite a bit over the last three years, partly as I have figured out the boys' learning styles, and partly just as people have grown (we can do more all-together things now that I'm no longer juggling naps, diapers, etc. for Chico, for instance).

    What has worked for us pretty well this year is trying to do most of our work in the morning, and spending the afternoons outdoors (we go on long nature walks, with field guides, binoculars, magnifying glasses, sketchbooks, etc., or to historic sites, etc.) In the morning, we do some math, a lot of reading aloud (poetry, novels, plays, history, science), some art history and/or music history, and a little Latin or French. After we get home from our walks, the kids work on their own things (free reading, map projects, science projects, bike rides, etc.) At bedtime, the kids do more French with their dad when he's here, since his French is infinitely superior to mine!

    They take music lessons, and are part of a homeschool play/fieldtrip group that gets together every two weeks (this has not been unmixedly successful, but we are trying out various ways of expanding their social circles--my kids really don't like crowds, and neither do I, so we are actually happiest getting together with just one or two other families, which we also do every week). We also belong to an orienteering group, which is fun, and when they get a bit more advanced, there's a little orchestra run by their music teacher which they will join.

    It's definitely a work-in-progress; I am still trying to juggle the different needs of three kids with different personalities and different strengths, interests, and challenges. One thing I haven't pushed at all yet is handwriting--I am scribe for a fairly significant portion of their work still--and I suppose at some point I will have to get a bit more insistent about penmanship, but for now, this lets them get their ideas down without the frustration of muscles getting in the way.

    I don't want to do "school-in-a-box", but I am certainly not averse to using curriculum--I figure why reinvent the wheel if there is something already out there that will work for us. But I don't use curriculum for every subject, either--lots of "living books," if I can go all Charlotte-Mason-y on you for a minute. The most useful book I read along the way was Lisa Rivero's book about homeschooling the gifted--she's very sensible, and has lots of good booklists, and useful interviews with parents and kids who have been there and done that.

    Here's some of what we've used along the way:

    -for math, Miquon, Life of Fred (my kids love stories, and will soak up anything with a good story attached, so Fred was a real find), Don Cohen's Calculus for Kids, Borenson's Hands On Equations, and the Mathematics Enhancement Programme from the Centre for Innovative Mathematics Teaching at the University of Plymouth. Also tangrams, pentominoes, pattern blocks, cuisenaire rods, various card and board games, etc., and quite a bit of math history (check the Living Math website for lots of good ideas in that regard).
    -for language arts, we like the Royal Fireworks Press materials (Groucho used the Hegemann Aesop's workbooks this year, and Harpo has been through two years of the Michael Clay Thompson series now, which I cannot recommend too highly--really great, I think). Mostly we just read, read, read--the kids know several Shakespeare plays really well, for instance, we zoom through several novels a week, and they memorize some poetry most weeks.
    -for Latin, we've used Minimus and Minimus Secundus, as well as Learning Latin through Mythology and some Latin reading materials (Esopus Hodie and Mater Anserina)
    -for French, we just chat and read stories (Tintin in French is especially popular, as well as French versions of some of the picture books they like, such as The Hockey Sweater and so on. There's also a nice little magazine called J'aime lire that they like a lot.)
    -for history and geography, we use lots of atlases and encyclopedias (the favourite things here are the "Times History of the World" historical atlas and the Kingfisher Geography Encyclopedia), plus lots of things from our shelves, and from the library.
    -for science, we have science encyclopedias (and we have a botanist, an entomologist, two oceanographers, and a nuclear physicist in the family, so I figure we kind of have science covered!), lots of library books, a weather station in the backyard, a huge garden, some chickens, all of the great outdoors...next purchase is a microscope, I think.
    -we like the BBC dancemat typing (a lot!), but don't do anything else online or with software or video (I'm a bit paranoid about really little kids and screens), but I know a lot of people find a lot of valuable things out there. I'm about to relent and get some stuff from the Teaching Company, I think!

    It helps to be surrounded by lots of books, I think, and not to worry about finding the "best" curriculum--you can go crazy trying to figure out what would be perfect. I think, especially coming off a not very happy school experience, it might be a good plan to think about letting his interests take the lead--go to the library and just follow rabbit trails from one interesting thing to another--it's fun when their interests generate some really exciting project that absorbs them, and unites lots of areas of study, too (Harpo has been very busy working on a project about the Enigma machine this month, for instance, so a great way to integrate history and math).

    Oh dear, as usual, I have rabbited on far too long...Sorry...

    peace
    minnie

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    Yes bronxmom - take a deep breath. You can do it! Remember, education is not about content. Just think how each state has different content, how even schools in the same district have different content, and then finally how each teacher at a given school has different strengths and weaknesses and slightly different content. what you are aiming for is learning how to learn, how to think, how to be critical of information ... content is just a means to an end, not the end itself.

    Start w/ the basics first ... all else is icing.

    Math - what grade is he in? Try Singaporemath.com for a placement test to see what he knows.

    Literature - is he an avid reader? Are there specific titles you'd like to see him read and discuss with him?

    WRiting - what are you thoughts on writing? Do you want a step-by-step approach? Do you want a more holistic approach such as Bravewriter.com? Is this a strength or weakness for DC?

    Then make a list of your son's passions. Does he like history? Ancients? Modern? Medieval? Does he like science? Astronomy? Earth science? Biology? Chemistry? Physics? Ask him what he wants to learn about.

    does he want to play an instrument? Take TKD lessons? Swimming lessons? What can you do to keep him active?

    I really liked this post from a friend regarding Charlotte Mason philosophy on HSing.

    Quote
    CM is not unschooling, nor is it delight-directed. To illustrate the difference, imagine that you had a son who was interested in knights and wanted to learn more about them. With unschooling, you wouldn't plan any lessons but you would let your son read all the books he could find about knights, play knights games, look up knights on the internet. Then, you'd count those hours as school time. With delight-directed, you would note his interest in knights, and ditch your plans to teach about ancient cultures and US History, and instead plan a semester of lessons about knights. With CM, you would allow your son to learn all he wanted about knights in his spare time, but during school hours, you would continue to assign readings from chronological history and literature so he'd still be learning about ancient Egypt, Rome, US History, etc. because, as Charlotte Mason said, you never know what will ignite a passion in a child, so exposure to many topics is necessary. However, you would keep school hours short to give him plenty of time (and inclination) to learn about knights after school.

    I'm thinking for $9.95 I might pick up at that book " "Homeschooling and Loving it!"

    Last edited by Dazed&Confuzed; 03/10/09 05:30 PM.
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    Well, it took me so long to type the last one that there have been a couple more posts in between! (See the perils of gabbiness, minnie!!)

    You know, if you're feeling overwhelmed, what I would do is just get a math book (print one of the free MEP ones at CIMT) and pick a few novels you want to read together. Start small. Don't try to figure out every subject at once (I wouldn't even try to figure out if you think you're an unschooler or a classical homeschooler or a Charlotte Mason homeschooler or a unit studies homeschooler or a school-at-homer or whatever); pick two things that you'd like to do every day and leave it at that. See where the journey takes you, and take time to enjoy the scenery! If his health permits, I also think it's lovely to get outside every day--so many of our kids have "nature deficit disorder".

    And RJH is quite right about how far ahead our kids are as compared to where they'd be in school anyway--on days when we don't get as much done as I'd like, I think to myself, well, what would they be doing at school in kindergarten (or grade 2) today? That makes me feel better!

    peace
    minnie

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    for a curriculum-in-a-box, there's also www.K12.com, a school (free) online. I have to say we have no personal experience with it, but a friend just pulled her gt Ds6 from grade 1 to use this at home.

    Good luck! You're not alone!

    our ds9 lasted halfway through 2nd grade before we took him out... he's SO MUCH happier!

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    Also check out your local library for resources. A series of books by E.D. Hirsch, "What Your Nth Grader Needs to Know" will help you formulate a plan. We don't HS(yet), but a friend who does recommended that series when we weren't sure if GS would be staying with us permanently. It helps make sure there are no gaps if the child is going to different schools. We use it to round out our afterschooling. I use it for ideas on reading material for GS9. It gives the typical math sequence, and we use Singapore Challenge Word Problems for math supplements.

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    Thank you all so much! THis is such a great resource. You see, I'm feeling a little better already...

    You've given me some stuff to work with... Lisa Rivero, Charlotte Mason (never even heard of her before), those Hirsch books (which are actually sitting in front of me right now in the library I run)... I'll feel much better when I've read a little.

    Thanks, keep it coming if you're so inclined.

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    Yes I use the "what Your Nth Grader needs to know" as a general guideline. And if I need a quick read-to for my Ker, it's a great book to pick up and go.

    I would concur w/ someone above about just picking a few things you want to do everyday and start there. My point about the Charlotte Mason philosophy is you can plan to get the core done in the AM (those two things you want to do everyday) and have the afternoons free to pursue all the other stuff where the learning really happens! HSing is much more efficient than PS so you can be done in just a couple of hours w/ an efficient kid (which I don't have lol he's a dawdler).

    One thing I think most HSers would recommend is some decompression time. There is even a formula...something like a month for every year in school or every week or something. However, for HG+ kids who have been craving challenge, they may want to jump right in or may just need some decompression time to pursue his own interest. So I wouldn't go out and buy a lot of stuff until you find out what he wants to learn and do. Perhaps he has a passion for computer programming wants to spend a month pursuing that.

    I too like Lisa Rivero's book on HSing gifted kids.

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    I don't have a lot of time for a real long answer either - very sick kid at our house today! frown But I'll do my best.

    We have a math, history, and science curriculum that we kind of follow when we feel like it. Math we're pretty regimented about - everything else is up in the air. My son takes piano, which I count as music and as an art. And it's also history sometimes too! We are very casual and rarely do table kind of work for more than an hour or 2 a day. We also attend a co-op once a week. My son journals everyday too on various things - book reports, directed questions on things we're working on, grammar, creative writing. We also using writing without tears to learn cursive (DS is not the best writer). He is in 2nd grade. He uses the computer a lot - for research, math games, typing papers.

    I never imagined us homeschooling 2 years ago. The school work part of it has actually been the easy part! It's the running here there and every where that has been kind of a pain at our house. We have lots of field trips and extras available in our area.

    Good luck! I will say, homeschooling definitely gave us our son back! I can't say exactly how much we spend total with all the extras but the curriculum books I've selected tend to be pretty inexpensive. Especially good, since I use them fairly loosely. They tend to be more guidance for me. We use our library and the internet a lot.

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    We too do most of our hs in the morning. We try to do math and LA every day Mo-Th and then whatever we feel like. Some days we cover more some days less. Friday is DS6's day. He is free to choose whatever he wants to do as long as I find it educational.

    DS6 spends 2 afternoons in a small private school. He takes piano and goes to gymnastics. He attends weekend gt classes. We have a French tutor. We have 2-3 playdates each week not counting the weekends. We did one hs class but it's over now. We intended to take 1-2 next year.

    I am not sure how much $$$ we've spent on hs. I believe DS6 would still take piano, gymnastics and gt classes even if he were in school. Perhaps we wouldn't do French. Then there are books and different programs but that's much less than the classes he takes.

    I too liked the book by Lisa Rivero and own the "What should your x grader know."

    The nice thing is that you don't really have to get it right at the beginning. As a matter of fact I wouldn't even attempt to get everything right. Start with one subject find a good match and go from there. If you get a chance borrow some of the hs material before you purchase it.

    The resources we found useful this year

    Math
    Singapore - regular workbook and Challenging Word Problems
    Zaccaro

    LA
    All About Spelling
    Wordly Wise

    Science
    CyberEd (unfortunately no longer available through the hs co-op cry)

    enchantedLearning.com is a great source of maps, tests, exercises, articles, crafts, etc.

    http://www.sheppardsoftware.com
    has priceless geography games


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    I think you should frame Dazey's line above and stick it on your fridge ("what you are aiming for is learning how to learn, etc....")! (I think I'll stick it on my fridge, too!)

    Another useful book you might want to look at is Rebecca Rupp's Complete Homeschooling Sourcebook--some of her suggestions are out of print now, but there is still an awful lot of useful stuff in there. One of my favourite parts is the series of excerpts from her diaries about what each of her kids was doing at any given time--a nice snapshot of how it worked in one family.

    There's another very nice book (Learning at Home) by a woman named Marty Layne--she makes it all seem easy and warm and family-centered, so it might be a good read if you're feeling like you could use some reassurance.

    Although we do use some curriculum, the most expensive things we do (music lessons & instruments, plus lots of novels) I would have done anyway, even had they been in school, so I don't have too much guilt about expense. (I suppose the biggest real expense is the fact that I'm not working, but I choose not to think about that right now!) There actually is quite a bit of decent-to-excellent free curriculum online (there was a long thread about it on the Well-Trained Mind K-8 board recently--I lurk there occasionally looking for book ideas).

    Some other places to poke around are people's homeschooling blogs--I particularly like the Farm School blog, myself.

    I will undoubtedly drop in again later to blab some more!

    minnie

    PS--Kimck, hope your little one is better soon! And hope that your migraine passes quickly, Kriston.

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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
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    It didn't feel like it was going to be sooo long winded!


    Shari
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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!!


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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


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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!


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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.




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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.


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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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    Thanks again to everyone, this is great!

    And Belle, thanks for the perspective... we actually had a difficult experience today, I kept him home and we had an argument (including tears from both of us) when he wouldn't do what I wanted to do when I wanted him to do it. I had this instinct that I needed to be in control of the situation (I'm still not sure I wasn't right), so obviously this led to a huge power struggle.

    Daily power struggle is not what I have in mind.

    His illness may be making him more defiant than usual... it's certainly making him more anxious.

    Hoping we will find our path...


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    DS9 and I have always had this very strong connection, and it is frequently represented by power struggles between us.

    I thought I could NEVER hs him - we would just butt heads all the time. He is a very self-directed learner (read obstinate, obsessive, focused - you get the picture)

    And for a while, this was true.

    BUT! I had an ephiphany a while back that I thought I'd share with you and that was that for US, my role is not that of the "teacher" but that of the "facilitator". When I "facilitate" what he is learning, it is EASY EASY EASY. In other words, provide him with the tools that HE needs to learn what he's learning.

    When I was the "teacher" and "telling him what to do" it was disaster.

    So, I had to back off and just let him learn what he wanted - with guidance from me in terms of materials.

    I hear you, mama...

    Last edited by Barbara; 03/11/09 10:54 AM.
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    Originally Posted by bronxmom
    And Belle, thanks for the perspective... we actually had a difficult experience today, I kept him home and we had an argument (including tears from both of us) when he wouldn't do what I wanted to do when I wanted him to do it. I had this instinct that I needed to be in control of the situation (I'm still not sure I wasn't right), so obviously this led to a huge power struggle.

    It took me a few weeks to learn to trust myself. Once I got there all was well. If I feel that today is not the right time for such and such thing that we won't do it. If things start going downhill in the middle then it's time to either stop for a break or to move onto something else. It doesn't mean that things won't get done at all. They just won't get done now.


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    We had our share of power struggles a few years ago to the point that my son started asking me if I even liked him. He said I stopped smiling and I acted like I was upset with him all the time. Even when I told him I was sorry and that it wasn't him and that I just felt really stressed, I knew he sometimes he still wondered if it was his fault, especially those few times when I really lost it and threatened to send him back to public school when he didn't do what I asked him to do, when I asked him to do it.

    When I first started homeschooling I thought I had to do things closer to the way school did them because I was afraid my son might have to go back to public school at some point. My husband had cancer surgery only a few months before I was told by the principal and a teacher at our public school that I would need to homeschool my son. Co-pays and tests that insurance didn't pay for were adding up and I was afraid I might need to go back to work. As if that was not enough to deal with, my dad who lives next door to us really needed my help to look after my disabled mother. While trying to homeschool my son I was constantly going to the window to make sure my mother hadn't wandered out of her house wearing only her nightgown while my dad wasn't looking. I was often stressed out and distracted and there were no breaks at all from this stress. I was also worried because my son is twice exceptional and wasn't sure how to help him with handwriting issues. I just did the best I could and learned through trial and error.

    I also became more of a facilitator as time went on because what I was doing wasn't working for me or my son. Now my son and I learn a lot of things together. He says we are unschooling everything except math, which he admits is his least favorite subject and he probably wouldn't do much math if he didn't have to. I only have him do one or two worksheets 4 days a week and he does online math games to increase his mental math speed. Some things are better now and there isn't quite as much stress. My husband, who recently passed the 5-year anniversary of his surgery, is now considered a cancer survivor and things are little easier financially. For us, less stress equals more learning.


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    Wow, Lori, what a story... puts my stress in perspective. Thanks for sharing and I'm glad things are going better for your family.

    Just out of curiosity, did your son ever take up writing? This is our big issue--

    I definitely think the "backing off"-- facilitator-- model is the one that will work for us. Why take him out of school and then replicate the experience at home?

    Thanks again to everyone, this has really been very useful.

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    We're having similar struggles Lori H. Sigh..... In our case, the plan was to only HS for 3rd,4th and put him back in 5th grade. At the point, it was recommended to me, to insist/demand the school give him the end of year 6th grade test. IF he did well enough, he'd go into 7/8th grade math as a 6th grader as well put him on honors science track. So I do feel this need to stay on a school schedule. While I see posts about HSers who hated writing and DC did NO writing until college and did just fine....I'm not that confidant lol. I just don't know if my DS is a good unschooling candidate. I've seen posts by those who tried it for quite a long time and Dkids didn't thrive and really needed more structure. I like the idea of Bravewriter for instance that emphasizes narration, copywork, dictation once/twice per week at this age but I'd be fooling myself to think DS would voluntarily do those activities.

    I also have a 2yr old so I'm constantly being pulled between the two. I also have a Ker in PS who is having issues. It's not exactly a relaxing, stress-free household. frown

    Edited to add: I don't mean to compare my stress to yours Lori H. I don't even think I would have attempted HSing under those conditions! I'm glad things are going so much better and that your DH is a survivor!

    Last edited by Dazed&Confuzed; 03/11/09 04:03 PM.
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    I'm late to the party, but I see lots of great information has been offered. I'll try not to be redundant. I have just a few additional comments.

    1. Terrie Lynn Bittner has a great book for parents who are not sure if they can handle homeschooling. She's a fellow editor at bellaonline, and I am ashamed to say that I hadn't read her book until recently. It's really well written and has tons of suggestions. Terrie is so kind and gentle; she really understands newbie fears and how to combat them. Her kids are quite gifted too.

    2. Many libraries have homeschooling books on the shelves, where parent resources are located. Don't go spending a fortune before you know which books resonate with you.

    3. I homeschooled one child into college and another is dabbling in it now. We're not clear on when he'll go full time, but if money wasn't an issue, it would probably be sooner rather than later. Homeschoolers are absolutely getting into good colleges and succeeding. The MIT website even has a special blurb for homeschoolers.

    4. Homeschooling is a blast. There are bad days, to be sure, but they are far outnumbered by the good days. I tell my kids often that I feel so privileged to be able to be home with them like this. When our oldest was in public school, we had the worst part of him most days.

    5. Today my four year old was begging for me to read more of The Aeneid. How cool is that?

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    Originally Posted by Belle
    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.


    Good, Belle! I'm so glad you found something that works for you!

    You are a perfect example of why I think that reading up on types of homeschooling available is a good idea. smile If you know that unschooling makes sense for your child and your family, then you can practice it. If not, you keep slogging away with "school at home" or Classical HSing, until you're all miserable and wondering why it doesn't work for you.

    If you're all miserable, it may mean you're doing it wrong. (For you, I mean. Not wrong in general. LOL!)


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    Originally Posted by bronxmom
    Just out of curiosity, did your son ever take up writing? This is our big issue--

    The last time I got to compare his writing with kids his age was at Cub Scouts last fall. He was supposed to write answers to questions on a citizens badge worksheet. The other kids wrote a lot more than my son wrote and writing seemed so effortless for them. My son was hunched over his paper trying to hide it so nobody could see it, just like he does if he is asked to draw something. He didn't write compete sentences, some words that should have been capitalized were not, and his words ran together. At home, where he is allowed to type, he can get his thoughts on paper easily and there are no grammar or capitalization errors, in fact he is very careful about this and he notices other people's grammar and punctuation errors. He just can't put it all together if he has to write by hand. He will type ten times more words than he will write.

    I don't make him do book reports or essays or anything like that at home. He does send emails to his sister and types thank you notes. His sentence composition and paragraph composition skills are good, but you would never know it if you looked at something he had to write by hand.

    It is really sad that there are teachers in our public school who don't understand dysgraphia and dyspraxia, won't make any attempt to learn about it, and think in my son's case, that making him practice coloring in the lines without learning anything new for an entire year is appropriate education and that he didn't need help for this because he was above grade level in everything else in kindergarten.

    I can't imagine what it would be like for him in our public school.


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    I really enjoyed the homeschool time I had with my kids. I fully expect that in another year or two, we will be back to it as there is no way i'm sending a 7yo to middle school! The part that's hard for me is just trying to keep up. But I've already decided that I'll just line up a tutor or 3 and take it from there.


    Shari
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    My son (6) saw some homeschooling books i had bought and became very excited. Every day, he begs to be homeschooled. My husband isn't completely on board with this idea. He says that one of the reasons he can't totally endorse it is because all of my books written by pro-homeschoolers and none are available from the opposite perspective. Does anyone know of a homeschooling book written by someone who doesn't support it?

    My husband is highly gifted and has his own ideas about how we should educate our son (i.e., our son should learn how to complete the "boring" schoolwork and then enjoy the rest of his school day). I am not highly gifted, but I consider myself highly street/people smart and feel like I am better at understanding our son's unique challenges (i.e., he shouldn't have to settle for boredom). All that being said, my husband has agreed to support me in homeschooling if I make that choice. However, I'd really like it to be a joint decision, since that is our standard parenting model.

    Regarding the original post, I have the same problem with my son, he refuses to give feedback on a chapter from Judy Moody by claiming he doesn't know why the title is called that, or whatever, but we can cover a fifth grade curriculum on how the Internet started and he can answer every question, and give great overall feedback. So....I can totally relate.

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    If your DH is willing to go along w/ your decision, and you opt for HSing, let the evidence speak for itself. You can always put him back in (usually, I know some who can't b/c they lose a spot etc) if it doesn't work out. Everyone that I know of (granted a handful) whose DH wasn't on board, the DH is now the most vocal about the pros of HSing. SOmetimes I think you have to take the vision of "Ok, let's try it your way and see how it goes."

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    Sent you a PM MovingUp6...


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    Originally Posted by Dazed&Confuzed
    I've seen posts by those who tried it for quite a long time and Dkids didn't thrive and really needed more structure. I like the idea of Bravewriter for instance that emphasizes narration, copywork, dictation once/twice per week at this age but I'd be fooling myself to think DS would voluntarily do those activities.

    If my son gets to a point where I think he needs more structure, then we will change what we are doing. It won't be the first time. Right now, we are on call to provide respite care for my mother and structure isn't really even possible.

    If my son doesn't start writing more on his own in a few years, I might have him try Bravewriter, but for now the only thing I really make him do is math and sometimes handwriting. I wish I could just get him to record his thoughts, especially the funny ones, in a daily journal.

    One thing that he is doing on his own and even enjoying it is playing SAT Coach on his Nintendo DS. He wants to improve his math scores on this game. He also has an ACT prep book that he can look through to see what he needs to work on. He wants to be able to take college classes early and he is working toward this goal.




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    In regards to having DH on board. Maybe you could just ask DS to complain only to DH from now on? Have DH go to the conferences and listen to the teacher droll on about how the spaces between words are too small....travesty! Have DH volunteer in the classroom, etc.

    Also, you don't have to use a standard curriculum. There are tons of resources available to put together a very individualized curriculum of your own. That's the best part of working with your children at home, IMO.

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    LoriH - what about having your son record his thoughts on a digital recorder? At some later day, he might be inclined to transcribe them.

    Hugs on respite care for your mom. I can't even imagine the stress you're under.

    I think my son and I will find our way eventually. Right now my Ker is having huge issues and I have a meeting w/ the school psych and teacher next week. I might be bringing him home as well which adds a whole new dynamic to the situation.

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    Movingup,

    Now is the perfect time to give it a try, IMO. There's 8 weeks of school left, then you have summer break. Give it a shot and if it doesn't work, he can go back to school in August/Sept (depending on your state) That gives you about 5 months to get your feet wet. You won't be completely settle but it will give you enough time to get the overall feel and a good indication of whether you should continue.

    Tell your husband you've chosen this time frame and would like to give it a try. Then discuss it at the end of the summer and make a joint decision. Be sure to include your DS' feedback in the discussion.


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    It is so encouraging to get support on this website. Remember the Judy Moody scenario I mentioned earlier? Well, I went to school today and my son had completed the assignment (per our orders) and the teacher wanted me to review it. It had a nice summary of the chapter then it said "the end! NO MORE! Now you know BOZO!" -- He told me he wasn't calling his teacher a bozo, he just wanted to let everyone know that he wasn't doing anymore of this dumb work! -- Hard to argue with that!

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    Oh, also thanks for the suggestion Shari. I am going to talk to my husband this weekend.

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    At the risk of merely making DS6 more frustrated at school next year, we will be supplementing and possibly having a tutor help us home school over part of the summer to see if it works better. Not sure we have much to lose in trying it. Also I agree about the taping your son speaking on video, digi cam or other means. Tried that with DS6 this week and he was willing to start "typing" it into computer last night. But then realised we really need to back track and learn simply spelling too, because he tries to write very advanced sentences, but can't spell all the words yet. It's like he is putting his own cart before his own horse.

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    My husband wasn't really on board with homeschooling when we started this year. The evidence speaks for itself. Once in a while he will mention how "they aren't learning anything" because we have a more relaxed schedule. When this comes out I send the kids to him with questions and reading for a few days and that eliminates that once he sees how they are really doing. He had a hard time with the reality that one on one takes a lot less time to complete the same material than a classroom would.


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    My DH was pretty well sold when he realized a) how much we could do, and b) how little oversight there is over HSers. "If it were ineffective or bad for kids," he figured, "the state would make it a lot harder to do."

    I'm not sure his logic on b) is totally right there, but I think it's at least a point to consider. smile


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    My DH wasn't totally on board with homeschooling when I first brought it up as an option. He totally gets it now and sees how much better this is for DS compared to our current local school options. He need only page through the pile of books we're working on. We're about to go spend a week in DC which would not be doing if we were in regular school. And I can't say enough how little "work" it feels like we do. Maybe 1-2 hours a day. DS has learned typing and programming this year, completely on his own, among other things he's just picked up.

    Last night we were at a neighborhood event where my 2nd grader ran into a former classmate in K and 1st. This little boy really likes my son and hassled him about coming back to school. DS eventually said "When I homeschool, I get to learn things I didn't already know. There's no way I'm coming back!" Sometimes kids can say things best!

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    Just an update-- I had the meeting with the school and wound up agreeing to set aside my plans to homeschool for the rest of the year.

    I had the teacher, the principal, and the guidance counselor all staring at me in stunned disbelief.

    You're going to do...what?

    I don't think anyone's ever voluntarily left this school before.

    We are going to try an onslaught of positivity with him instead-- to try to ease the intense anxiety which seems to undermine his efforts.

    They are going to let him type his work and might even get him his own little hand-held word processing machine.

    I will just have to make more time to afterschool him and feed his other passions and keep his love of learning alive.

    I'm still reading The Well Trained Mind and making plans to systematize what I teach him... so all these suggestion were still really helpful... it may still happen.


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    I hope your son's anxiety gets better. I know from my own personal experience that it is difficult to learn while dealing with anxiety. It would have been harder for my son to afterschool because of his fatigue issues and sensory issues. He needed to be allowed to learn at his level and take breaks when he needed them and even then he would have been worn out by the end of the day. I think my son would very likely have suffered from anxiety trying to deal with his issues and this would have made him even more tired.

    Although our principal and some teachers told us we needed to homeschool after Kindergarten, I felt a lot of disapproval from other teachers when they heard I would be homeschooling. I didn't have a lot of confidence that I could homeschool at the time. I remember one teacher telling me "I hope you are going to teach him phonics" and I worried that I was going to do something wrong even though he was already reading at a 5th grade level in Kindergarten. I could see the disapproval in the eyes of an experienced homeschool mom when I told her I was just going to let him keep reading from the science encyclopedia that he loved to read from instead of buying a reading textbook.

    I didn't have a lot of money to buy homeschool materials so I let him do a lot of online learning. For some reason I had all these people wanting to give me advice, and they all let me know they didn't approve of him being on the computer so much.

    I had to learn to quit worrying about what other people thought and let my son learn in the way he learned best including letting him type instead of doing a lot of writing and worksheets.





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    Bronxmom, that's a great news. They are willing to change things around and give him more accommodations. Hopefully this will do the trick for your son.

    If things don't work out you can always hs. It's nice to know that there is another option even if you never end up using it.

    Good luck


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    I'm going to assume Lori H that your son doesn't have dysgraphia?

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    We had the same experience Bronxmom! In our meeting when I mentioned that we'd just homeschool if we couldn't get something worked out, you could hear a pin drop. DD6's Kindergarten teacher looked at me like I announced I was selling DD's kidneys to the highest bidder!

    We eventually moved to a place where the girls are at school half time and proceed in their own program for half the day, independent of the brick and mortar school. We've had some unfortunate issues with one of the teachers, but overall, it works well.

    Sounds like you have a great plan, good luck.

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    Can anyone else describe how they managed to do what I read Dr. Ruf did - half home school their kid and somehow still got their local school to agree to do afternoon lessons of resources like art, musi?

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    A school system in our area allows it, but not our school. It seems like who does and who doesn't allow it is rather a crapshoot. frown

    Illinois has a state law requiring it, right, 'Neato? Or do I have that wrong?


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    Originally Posted by BWBShari
    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)

    Shair, this is what I'd like to do for DS6. There are schools that do this, as well. They're sometimes called project based and sometimes called Reggio. I've read that this concept is also the basis behind gifted education. Do you have any books that would be a good starting point for someone who wants to try this?

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    Quote
    A school system in our area allows it, but not our school. It seems like who does and who doesn't allow it is rather a crapshoot.

    Same for us. frown

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    Originally Posted by IronMom
    Can anyone else describe how they managed to do what I read Dr. Ruf did - half home school their kid and somehow still got their local school to agree to do afternoon lessons of resources like art, musi?

    Our state doesn't allow p/t in PS. I looked at the hs friendly schools listed in the local hs newsletter. Some of the schools are for hs only, some are mixed. Some had a minimum time requirement or/and didn't seem like a good match for us. At the end DS6 ended up in a small private school where he goes for 2 afternoons/week. Their afternoons are pretty much nonacademic. They had hs there before but he is the only one right now. It still works and we are quite happy with the current arrangement. We will try to do the same thing next year. Fingers crossed that they are not full and can accept him.

    I would suggest looking into small private schools. You may not have too much luck at this time of the year though. The schools may be more willing to accommodate you once they know how many students are enrolled for the next school year.


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    Thanks for all the responses. And please do share anything more about learning on a line. I found I naturally fell into that with my step daugthers several years back - or at least - saw that there were opportunities to teach that way. I've found myself doing it sinc DS6 was little too - just depending on his interests. I think, even if you roughly follow a curriculum - there should be room for this - esp. with a GT kid. Hence - use whatever thier latest "fad" is to your advantage. Even Thomas the Tank and Star Wars or TV shows/icons become useful in this way!

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    IronMom,

    Pick a subject, any subject... Pull something out of the subject that comes up and follow it. It doesn't have to be concrete.

    We love to garden, have a huge one every year. All of my kids help, even the little ones.

    Plant a garden with your DS. That's science.
    Then follow the line.....
    To botany, how a plant is formed
    To recycling, how to compost, to other types of recycling
    To solar power, greenhouses
    To Global Warming, the grrenhouse effect
    To Growing food, the world food supplies
    To what different countries eat
    pick a country, do a report on their food supply
    To the food chain

    This method will go wherever you want to take it. We've even had discussions regarding vocabulary that was unfamiliar. Once we spent over 2 hours looking up the origin of different words. There really isn't any "right" way, you just follow the line, even if it's a connection that only you or your son can see.


    Shari
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    Cypher,

    I didn't see your post until just now, sorry!

    As far as I know there aren't any books specific to this method. Some will argue that it's unschooling because it is in some ways child led. I don't agree. While I always gave my DS the opportunity to identify "what comes next?" I was clear that we would always be learning something. Unschoolers allow their kids to take days off if they don't feel like learning, and never place demands on material. Neither one of those is true of us.

    When you first get started it seems like you spend a significant amount of time thinking "Oh, god, what comes next?'. Once you've been at it for a little while, things just seem to sort of flow naturally. A perfect example of this is "the great chicken project" currently going on at my house. It started as a lesson in politics for my 14 yo, moved into economics, the GDP etc. Now I have a 6 yo raising chickens for urban chicken farmers. He wrote a business plan, is calculating cost of goods and will ultimately realize a profit.

    A lot depends on you and how flexible you want to be. How far to stretch the line. Some of the stuff that we do is not reasonable for someone living in a city, just as there are things that are hard for us in the boonies! If you are determined to do an hour of math a day, then it's hard to be flexible. But we found using this method that we hit every core subject every week. Just try it! After a while, you'll have lines going in 10 different directions. Some will die, some will morph into things you never expected and some will turn your DS onto things he didn't know existed and develop new passions.


    Shari
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    Not to go too far afield, but I think there are other ways to unschool actually, Shari.

    I heard one unschooler talking about having "math time" every day, but letting her kids decide what math to do from the many choices she had made available for them. I thought that was just about the most sensible approach to unschooling that I'd ever heard, and frankly, it's kind of what we're doing. It reminds me of Montessori at its best, actually.

    Some of this just comes down to semantics, of course, and I don't mean to be difficult. smile I just thought that was a pretty smart approach regardless, and the person doing it did call herself an unschooler. FWIW...


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    I know someone that identifies herself as a radical unschooler who goes so far as to not make her kids brush their teeth! Her little darling should never be forced into something unpleasant!

    Kris... I think it's a matter of exposure. Those i've been exposed to are self identified as radical. I've never met any others.


    Shari
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    Yes, I know one 10yo (11 now?) who still can't read. I worry about that family... eek Unschooling seems to equal lazy mom in their case. frown

    Happily, most of the unschoolers I know are nothing like that. They actually seem *more* prepared and organized than the average homeschooler about having materials on-hand for their kids and encouraging some sort of productive use of time. (My kids watch TV; theirs don't. That sort of thing.) In each of the other cases, the kids are progressing quite nicely.

    One mom was talking about unschooling swimming. Basically, she took the kids to the pool and let them paddle around until one asked how to perform strokes. So she taught him. The others joined in. That's more what I think of as effective unschooling.

    Of course, I don't know anyone who would call herself a "radical" unschooler either. So there's that!

    Kriston


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    Everyone I know who actually identifies themselves as an "unschooler" in real life is very very radical, much more radical than the most out-there Waldorf method I've ever seen. Like Kriston's example of the 10 year old who can't read... I have met a few of those. A few have landed in my classes after being unschooled until junior high and then plopped in public school. Ick.

    But now that I'm learning more, "unschooling" the normal way seems to me more like what in teacher school we called "Child-centered learning". You throw them a tidbit and if it sticks, then you throw more. If not, then you try a different angle. So a child who may not get excited about math, may love cooking. You cook, convert recipes, weigh, make grocery lists and budgets, pricing, double recipes and then say "hey guess what, we did math." I only recently learned from Kriston's explanation that we are already unschoolers and are also learning on a line! (even though DS goes to "real" school...)

    For example- he went through a period of an obsession with Tutenstein (on Discovery Kids). So I watched the episode with him, then took bits and made other projects. We mummified a chicken, studied human anatomy so we could talk about how to get those organs out and into jars, read Egyptian mythology, looked at maps and pictures of modern Egypt on the net. We did something that started from mummies every day for almost two months. When he was done, we moved on.


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    Learning on a line reminds me of unit studies. But then someone showed me the official definition of unit studies and it wasn't what I thought lol.

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    child-centered learning, yeah, that sounds like us..I do make my kids brush their teeth and no they wouldn't brush their teeth unless I did! grin

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    What's the "official" definition, Dazed? Because that's kind of what I think of as unit studies, too.

    I think often people formalize it so they buy a prepackaged unit, but the concept is the same: teach everything focused on one thread of thought or topic.

    Am I way off?


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    No, I think you have it right. I thought of a unit study as just studying some topic in depth. FOr instance, you might do a unit study on WWII. You'd read non-fiction books, historical fiction books, perhaps incorporate some writing....as opposed to having a textbook and moving superficially from one topic to the next.

    Well, my current understanding of unit study is that you'd study WWII but it would encompass history, math, science, geography, social studies, art, music, and probably PE lol.

    I guess it's a bit like FIAR where using one book you do math, science, social studies, geography, lit study, art.

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    Okay, you got me: what's FIAR? confused


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    Thanks! That one is new to me.


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    I have a friend that uses Five in a Row and really likes it. Curriculum depends on temperment more than anything in my opinion. Some people like lots of structure, some don't


    Shari
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    Hi minnie -

    Have you purchased that microscope yet? With Christmas right around the corner, I think a microscope is our next purchase. Our DD4 has started asking about cells and the DNA inside them and wants to see cells divide and replicate. I have no idea where to start in regards to choosing a microscope. Any helpful hints?


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    I have a microscope - in fact I have two - and DS was the excuse. Can I help? I am no expert, but I did a lot of reading around before buying. I'm afraid I'm not sure about seeing cells divide and replicate: that's pretty hard to achieve outside a serious lab, I think, though I'm not saying it's impossible. What I got first was a good stereo microscope with a zoom, the kind sold to schools. This is good for looking at whole specimens (pieces of leaf, insects, twigs, hairs, needles...) rather than things having to be prepared on slides (though we do look at things on slides too). I do also have a compound microscope, with higher magnification, but that actually isn't so much fun at this point. Here's one site that may be useful - there are lots of others of course:
    http://www.brunelmicroscopes.co.uk/microscope-facts.html

    Key message from everyone seems to be: avoid anything which is a toy; don't worry too much about magnification, quality of optics is far more important.


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    Thanks for the link and the research you did. Saves me time.
    :-)

    Stereo Microscopes for school would work great. I think she sees the images of cells dividing on tv, and she now want to see that at home. I do not think we are in the market for anything beyond the basics for now.

    Now I am off to start shopping for the best deals on stereo microscopes.

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