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Seriously considering home school

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I need advice, tips, and how to's. Ds1 is in 3rd grade at a public school and I've had about all I can take from his teachers. They keep trying to have us get him tested for ADHD, which I don't think is the issue. He's a smart (reading at a 6th grade level at least) high energy kid. He understands the things they are teaching, and I simply think school is too boring to catch his attention for long. I would really like to home school, but I don't know what kind of cost or anything goes into getting started.
post #2 of 24
There are countless options for homeschooling!! And thus, cost varies pretty much as much as you want. We are ecclectic homeschoolers and just use a bit of this and a bit of that and a bit of unschooling...for my family of 4 "official" homeschool students right now, we spend about $400 or so a year on books and materials and then another couple hundred on museum/zoo memberships and stuff.

A good starting point for you may be to buy the book "What Your Third Grader Needs To Know" (or Fourth Grader) and then supplement out from there...most of your supplementation (except for math probably) could be done through the library so there would be no cost. Then just decide on a math program you like (we like singapore math but also know a lot of homeschoolers who use saxon) and you are all set!! Do a google search for Timez Attack...a super fun free video game you can download to teach/reinforce the times tables!

I seriously doubt half the boys diagnosed with ADHD have it....homeschooling sounds like a great option for you guys!
post #3 of 24
It is hard to say what anyone else's homeschooling will look like or how much it will cost. You can do tons of stuff with free internet resources and a library card. You can also take advantage of great curriculum that can be cheap or very expensive. There are online classes and/or community classes to take advantage of. Some are free and some can be pricey. It is really up to you.

For just starting out, I would say to just follow your son's interests for awhile. Read together, discuss books and science articles, go to museums and zoos and nature centers. You will begin to see what really attracts his attention and how he learns best. Then you can begin to ponder the huge variety of resources out there that are available. Believe me, he will not get behind!

My dd started homeschooling at 5.5 from kindergarten. She was well liked by her teachers but declared a distraction to herself and others. LOL Hey, her fantasy worlds are pretty cool places to hang out! We homeschooled for over 5 years in an increasingly relaxed manner. She attended school part-time this year at 11, taking high school level classes. She needed that high a level to engage her. Despite her distractible nature and lack of traditional seat time, she's easily managed to pay attention in 88 minute long classes (block schedule), take great notes (never worked on that), and make easy 'A's. We intend to homeschool full-time next year and through high school. She will eventually take dual enrollment classes at the local university, but I no longer doubt her ability to handle whatever comes along in future classrooms.

The scariest part of homeschooling is deciding to do it. It gets easier after that. You'll still have occasional attacks of doubt, but even those get less frequent. LOL
post #4 of 24
It can pretty much cost as much or as little as you want to invest. There are often threads here asking that question, and what the answers generally add up to is that it's up to you, and spending more money doesn't necessarily mean for a better experience or education - there's an awful lot you can find just at a library and online.

As for getting started, the first thing you want to do if find out all about your state's laws that pertain to homeschooling. Here are some good places to find links to that information:
Home Education Magazine's section on laws & regulations
A to Z's section on laws & legalities

Here's a nice little read - Home Education Magazine's Introduction to Homeschooling.

Here's a nice list of annotated books: books about homeschooling and learning - you can click on them and go to their Amazon pages where you can find out more and even "look inside" or "search inside" most of them. One good little book to give you a good overwiew of the things traditionally covered is:
Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School, by Rebecca Rupp. A detailed guide to standard subjects generally covered by schools, with suggestions for good books and resources that can be used. Keep in mind that the author has not intended to say what should be done in each school year - this book is only a guide to ways to provide more creative versions of what schools would ordinarily try to cover in each year.

Homeschooling is very different for everyone - including how a homeschooling day would look. There's wide disagreement about what, if anything in particular, should be taught at any given level. And there's even disagreement as to whether the idea of teaching is really part of the important learning that goes on. So just some thoughts: my own advice would be to try to completely step back, for a while, from the traditional form the schools have presented to us, and to think more in terms of just providing an overall education to your child in your own way. That would mean that there wouldn't necessarily be any particular schedule or plan - it can mean providing experiences and materials as they become needed. It can take up a lot less time, and yet, it can provide a lot more enrichment.

You'll want to read up on decompression/deschooling, because it's a pretty rare child who doesn't need it; parents need it too. And it honestly, cross my heart, isn't a waste of time - it will actually be a very good investment of time. You'd be best off not to impose any "work" at this point - turn instead to relaxed library visits for things that might interest him (but with no pressure), relaxed field trips with no goal but to enjoy, nature walks, playing games, leaving him to himself as much as he needs, watching some good videos together, maybe some baking and doing autumn crafts together, maybe some fun science experiments with no "lesson" attached, but simply enjoying and thinking about it, etc. (the library will have some good books of experiments). Here's a thread that has links to some good reading on all this in MDC threads and other places:
Decompression/deschooling. This is an especially good article on it by Linda Dobson, a popular homeschooling author: Transitions.

And to find a support group for social opportunities - here are some listings:
Support group listings:
HEM
A-Z

Well, I could go on and on, and I'm sure you'll get a lot of other ideas here too. I'll pop in later and put in a few links to some interesting threads in the forum. I think that if you poke around this forum a little and do a "search" of the forum for topics you're especially interested in, you'll find a lot. You can do a search on "getting started," for instance, and find quite a bit.

Have fun! Lillian

post #5 of 24
My general experience with having a child who is academically advanced is that you have some room for learning b/c, even if you don't do it perfectly off the bat, your child will either continue to pick stuff up with limited instruction or won't be behind at a bare minimum even if he doesn't learn much. They haven't been teaching him reading to a 6th grade level yet he's picked it up anyway so he has some areas where he seems capable of learning without much instruction. Not that I'm advocating that you not teach him anything !

If you want to buy some formal curriculum so you aren't piecing it all together, your costs might be higher to start, but like the pps have said there is a lot out there. We, too, are in the process of transitioning to hs for our 4th grader. Our 7th grader was hsed earlier but is in ps now and will probably be staying there for the foreseeable future.

Are you thinking about taking him out now or waiting until the fall?
post #6 of 24
Well....if you'd give me your money, I'd be happy to spend it for you I have PLENTY of homeschooling things I'd like to get

I'm "mentoring" a friend going from public to homeschool right now. I say first: What do YOU imagine homeschool to be? What do you want your days to be like? What kind of things does your son enjoy learning about??

From there....that's how you figure out where you need to go.
post #7 of 24
A few more helpful threads with lots of good ideas:
Favorite "educational" games
Favorite math games and manipulatives
Favorites to keep on hand
Good online games for 8 yr. old
Trying to trust the process - decompression, unschooling, finding a balance..

Another source for fun educational activities is in the The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas, by Linda Dobson - a categorized collection of over 500 tried-and-true educational activities for all subjects, submitted by many homeschooling families. There's one I sent in to it that I did with my son one night when he was in 1st grade - the marshmallows and toothpicks pyramid - and he took it into school the next day. When I picked him up, all his classmates were happily walking out with them - the teacher had liked it so much that she'd sent to the store for the supplies and had everyone make one. It was just a fun little thing that showed the patterns that formed.

And here's a post with links to some great threads here where people listed their favorite audio resources - recordings, free online audio stories, etc., as well as links to some good kids' software.

Lillian

post #8 of 24
My son is exactly what you described. When my oldest dd was in Kindy, I pulled her (I wanted to hs but dh was against it). We don't have money to throw around and I used mostly library books and some of the WTM books to get us started. She was gifted and wanted a challenge. I had no idea what I was doing other than stalking this board for ages.

You can homeschool for pennies or for thousands of dollars. I spent maybe $100 max the first couple of years and the past two years have spent too much trying out different methods to find our groove. You may want to look at the past Homeschool Spotlight threads (we need to do that again!) and definitely read Lillian's links!

Good luck!
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great info! Keep it coming!

We're thinking of having him finish out this school year and starting in the fall.

I still have a few more questions. How do you go about teaching the subjects that you're not very good at, like math? How do you go about structuring your day, do you school for a set block of time? Do you take weekends off like a "normal" school would? Do you have to report to a state education board or anything like that? What do you do when you pull your child out of ps?

This all seems a bit overwhelming right now, but I know it's best for him. He'll be away from teachers who want to label him, and away from the bullies on the bus.
post #10 of 24
I might be able to answer a few of your questions and will leave others to other people .
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logan's mommy View Post
...How do you go about teaching the subjects that you're not very good at, like math?
While I do actually feel competent at math, we are using EPGY for math through a homeschool co-op. Primarily, I am wanting the structure of what topics of math to cover for the year with the intent of using the syllabus, etc. and then offering additional lessons on those topics to add greater depth.

A friend and I are also trying to get together a co-op where we can run study groups with different parents helping with different topics.

Quote:
...Do you have to report to a state education board or anything like that? What do you do when you pull your child out of ps?
Check out your local district's webpage. There is likely info there about reporting requirements and what paperwork you need to fill out to officially register as homeschoolers. If you're not finding it there, try the HSLDA's webpage to get basic info on your state's requirements: http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp
post #11 of 24
We're thinking of having him finish out this school year and starting in the fall.

If it's for closure or completion of some kind, I'll just mention that I've never ever heard anyone say she wished she'd done, or was glad she'd done that, that instead of pulling her child out right away and enjoying the spring together. It's just the opposite - and I'm one who always really, really wished I'd pulled my child out right away once I realized we were going to be homeschooling. And there's really nothing you need time to research or organize, because you can easily be doing that quite comfortably during a much needed decompression/deschooling time during which you would be just relaxing and enjoying. That sounds like a waste of time, and there's often a fear of getting behind in something, but it actually doesn't work that way - it's a rewarding investment, and it's almost impossible to "get behind" in anything when you consider how fast and easily things can be learned in a home setting as compared to a classroom. If he's unhappy, I'd really try to get him out as soon as possible

How do you go about teaching the subjects that you're not very good at, like math?

Just take one thing at a time and find good resources and experiences - there are lots of wonderful possibilities - that can help both you and your child enjoy learning the subject. It's really not a common problem - because it tends to work out as you go along.

How do you go about structuring your day, do you school for a set block of time?

Some people do, but many don't. I didn't - we wove things into our days and didn't think in terms of schooling, but just in terms of casually learning about various things at different times.

Do you take weekends off like a "normal" school would?

We didn't think in terms of "school" days or "time off" - learning was just woven throughout our lives. But weekends brought lots of time with neighbor friends and others, so my son was pretty busy with them during weekends - whereas we had a lot more time to ourselves and our own activities during the week.

Do you have to report to a state education board or anything like that? What do you do when you pull your child out of ps?

Those kinds of things are very different everywhere - every state has its own laws and procedures. We didn't need to report to anyone in California except to let them know each fall that we had a "private school" in operation, but you may have entirely different procedures in your state. And pulling children out of school is handled differently in different places as well. You can find all the details you need in the first links of this post.

This all seems a bit overwhelming right now, but I know it's best for him. He'll be away from teachers who want to label him, and away from the bullies on the bus.

It's honestly only as overwhelming as you'll allow it to be - I think just about everyone here would say you'll find it a lot less daunting and a lot more fun than you have any way of knowing at this point. You can just take one thing at a time, keep doing fun and interesting things, and it will all fall into place. - Lillian
post #12 of 24
Another good thread here - people describe the math programs they've used: Let's talk math

Lillian
post #13 of 24
I read a ton about homeschooling when we began our journey. I started out doing the whole "school at home" thing, well that stank. Every day was a battle with my 8 yo (the first to be hs'd), then we fell into unschooling or deschooling. The fall was our official first year with hsing all the kids. Then I found Amblesideonline (A free curriculum following the teachings of Charlotte Mason) We loosely follow that now.

For math we use JumpMath and Kumon math workbooks (mostly JumpMath)

My 2 younger hsers are using Progressive Phonics (free printable phonics curric)

For nearly all the books we use for AO I get at the library except I purchased the ones we will be using for multiple years and the ones we love (for instance the ones by Holling C Holling...beautiful books)

We try to do math, phonics and 2 readings a day. But since it has been so warm out, we haven't been getting as much 'done'. The hsing laws here are pretty relaxed so it makes it easier on me. I dont have to keep records or anything. Just at the begining of the year, I have to submit a form saying what our basic scope and sequence is going to be. Less information is better most of the time for these types of forms
post #14 of 24
"I say first: What do YOU imagine homeschool to be? What do you want your days to be like? What kind of things does your son enjoy learning about??

From there....that's how you figure out where you need to go."



If you're going to take on the homeschooling project, then you need to have a vision. Get yourself some books about homeschooling and work on your vision. Let your son finish the school year unless he's actually requesting to be taken out of school, because why introduce a paperwork hassle into your life for no good reason - but if he IS requesting to drop out of school, then it's work the paperwork hassle to show him that you're taking this seriously and you are in his corner, and you can contact an accountability group in your state for information on how to proceed.

Before you can know what kind of curriculum (if any) to purchase, you need to know what kind of homeschool experience you want to provide. So read, read, read - books, blogs, message boards, etc. At some point another parent will describe their child's traits and what worked well for them and you'll say "Ah-Hah! That's my kid!" and then you'll have a curriculum suggestion.

I am a classical homeschooler, so I hang out on the Well-Trained Mind forums. I'm also a fan of the Latin-Centered Curriculum. You might browse those forums and see if the parents there seem to going in a direction that appeals to you.
post #15 of 24
*I am not good at math. BUT. I am smarter than a first grader. That's why you find yourself some REALLY good math books/curriculum and read through a bit before you start. If anything....well....it's a good education for you, too. Case in point: I have never done a science fair, EVER. We were involved in two this spring. The first one we did OKAY, but I really got a feeling at how it was done. Did some research and the second one we went to (a regional one involving both public and private schools)....and she WON for her grade.

*We learn in the morning. Otherwise....life happens and the next thing you know, it is 5pm and you haven't gotten near a book. We do it while we're all fresh...and I can drink my coffee.

*We don't do our work (say a worksheet or whatever) on the weekend. BUT...learning doesn't stop once you leave the table or close the binder. Say we go to an apple orchard on a Saturday, or to the zoo or a musical. All are educational experiences that you can't get staying indoors.

*We don't report and boy I'm glad. But...it depends on where you live for that.

EDIT TO ADD-- My 5-year-old is learning to read and write. She wants to add something:
ellie went to the zoo in mooon dadada on sam on nana naon papapapa onmax
(This says: Ellie went to the zoo with mom, dad and sam and nana and papa and max.)
post #16 of 24
One thing to keep in mind is that it's a rare homeschooler who feels that things picked or bought before actually being on the homeschooling journey were good investments. You might think a certain sort of way to teach or learn sounds absolutely wonderful, but it isn't until your child himself experiences it that you'll really know if it's wonderful for him, which is really all that matters. I thought I had some great ideas when I began, and I'd gone through the whole elementary education program in college, had worked in schools as a substitute and a volunteer, had been a children's nature guide, and had carefully observing how things were being done in several different kinds of school situations, including Waldorf, and I had some good books on creative ways to cover various subjects - so it came from a longterm interest - BUT my child not only didn't need all the orchestration and goodies I had to offer, he actually did a lot better without all that. He learned very simply and quickly and oftentimes without my even knowing how or where he'd learned things - we often tend to overdue the notion of lessons because that's the format we grew up in. So while it can be fun to know about a lot of different ways of teaching and learning, the only vital element is going to be simply how your child learns, not how anyone else suggests teaching him. Lillian

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
Let your son finish the school year unless he's actually requesting to be taken out of school, because why introduce a paperwork hassle into your life for no good reason - but if he IS requesting to drop out of school, then it's work the paperwork hassle to show him that you're taking this seriously and you are in his corner, and you can contact an accountability group in your state for information on how to proceed.
Although in some places, there's virtually no paperwork to deal with. In my state there's only a once a year short form that needs to be filed with the state to let them know you're operating a private school - other than that, you keep just a few papers at home that it's extremely unlikely you'd ever even have to show anyone. In some places, there's even less to it than that. So I really wouldn't assume that paperwork in your state is going to be a hassle at all. Just go take a look at your state's laws and see what all is involved - you might be pleasantly surprised and find that you can be enjoying this spring season with your child right away :
Home Education Magazine's section on laws & regulations
A to Z's section on laws & legalities

Lillian
post #18 of 24
True enough - in MY state, while there might be some hassle getting an accountability group to take you on so late in the year, all the the school-withdrawing and transcript-getting that you had to do in the spring would be stuff that you DIDN'T have to worry about in the fall, so it would all even out in the end.

But for where the OP's at, unless her kid is unhappy I think she wouldn't be wasting her time to spend a couple of months reading up on the wonderful world of homeschooling, instead of trying to jump in and finish the last 2 months of 3rd grade.
post #19 of 24
My own way of thinking about the idea of finishing up a school grade is a little different - I think the last months of the school year could much be better spent relaxing with the kinds of outings and fun things you wouldn't otherwise be able to do - just a nice decompression and deschooling time for getting reacquainted with a different way of living that the school rhythm has altered.

And spring is such a magical time for that. I always wished I'd done that for my son instead of thinking there was something that should be finished up at school. Even if the state laws require some reporting, which they may not, it can be often be done pretty easily and creatively in a perfectly honest way - here are some ideas on records and progress reports for unschoolers, and even though it was a thread in the unschooling forum, the ideas can be used for anyone.

It can be time for: taking fun trips to the library and spending time really looking around for new things; cuddling together in the morning and reading fascinating books aloud to him, as well as time for him to enjoy reading anything he wants on his own; listening to recordings such as the wonderful Boomerang Kids' Audio Magazine and some of the free online audio recordings like Kiddie Records Weekly (children's records from the early 40s and 50s, including many classic stories, some of which were extravagant Hollywood productions); watching special videos together; taking springtime walks, observing the way things are unfolding, and doing simple nature experiments and crafts; experimenting with bubbles, and exploring some of the wonderful craft projects than can be found in sites like Enchanted Learning and Artists Helping Kids' Ideas for Making Toys & Games; flying kites, and whatever the local environment and weather allows for.

When you take time to really relax and indulge in some of this stuff that doesn't ordinarily come to mind when you think about preparing for something called "homeschooling," you can begin to recognize the amazing amount that gets learned in the course of ordinary events and activities - you don't even need to point things out or anything like that, but just have conversations and enjoy together. So, by the time the 4th grade school year comes along, you can be better grounded in the more natural ways learning happens, and it won't feel so daunting to be taking on the rest of your son's education. It doesn't matter what sort of educational path you end up taking - you can still establish an underlying confidence in your child's curiosity and ability to learn in even the most wildly unstructured ways, thereby giving you all the more confidence that the journey is going to be a lot easier than you might at first suppose.

- Lillian
post #20 of 24
Personally, I'd take him out and spend the rest of the spring and summer 'deschooling', playing, exploring, just being There is so much that can be learned by just playing and living.
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