We pulled ds1 out of PS after winter break b/c it was just too slow for him. For example: the child understands and can calculate with negative numbers, and they were still telling time. I bought a few classical books (Writing with Ease, 1st Language Lessons, Spelling Workout, Singapore Math) and have been doing them for a month. He is a good-natured kid and doesn't complain much, but I think I am boring him. I am thinking that he could learn as much if not more just by reading - that the grammar and writing will flow from there, as it did for me as a child. But what, exactly, would I do?
Second is, I am in PA, and have to report as I already sent him to PS. How do people report if they are doing this form of HS?
Well, I can't help much with PA requirements. I would suggest getting on a local PA homeschool list for the details on how to fulfill their requirements. I know people do successfully unschool even in high regulation states like PA. I think you need to learn to write up what you do in 'educationese'. Watching a science video and reading books from the library can be written up to meet all sorts of standards. Once you learn the vocabulary, I think it wouldn't be too difficult.
I don't think we would qualify as unschoolers although much if not all of my daughter's educational choices are driven by her choices and interests. I have found that using some curriculum is very helpful for me. I work half-time, and particularly when dd was very young, having some sort of curriculum she could pick up and do helped reduce some of my resource finding. I would suggest looking at www.hoagiesgifted.org for book ideas as well as great internet explorations your child would enjoy. Sometimes just searching at the library I didn't always discover the types of resources my dd really enjoyed. Looking on Hoagies gave some resources other gifted kids enjoyed and that helped me find stuff that fit well.
My daughter has also really enjoyed some online classes as she's gotten older. She enjoys the interaction with other kids who enjoy learning. As your child gets older you may want to look into some like Athena's Advanced Academy and Online G3.
Yes, that is a great book. I read it our first year of homeschooling and found it very helpful.
I can't get my copy function to work or I would post a link and product description. So, google Nancy Plent Living is Learning Guides. She created the guides to help unschooling families with the documentation process.
Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.
You sent him to 1st grade? If it was just K (guessing not by the date in your siggy), you don't have to report until he is 8 at the beginning of the school year. But a student that starts 1st grade and withdraws has to start reporting immediately.
You'll want to check out Pauline's website. She's a homeschooling mother in PA with gifted kids and has a website with everything you need to know to comply with the law, including samples of objectives and affidavits you can download. http://home.comcast.net/~askpauline/index.html
Anyway, unschooling has been no problem at all for me. I sent in a vaguely worded objective (keep in mind, there is no law that you have to achieve your objectives). I looked at one of the list of objectives Pauline has on her site and tweaked it suit us. So I sent that and the affidavit when I began homeschooling.
During the year, I set aside or made copies of a few things that ds did. He liked to make up stories to go with a computer game that has a map editor. He'd design the map and then dictate (and I would type) the scenario. I copied and saved those. The first ones he did were pretty simple and they evolved to include dialogue and became longer and more complex. In the portfolio, I included one of the earlier ones and one of the later ones which showed "progress." I took photos of him doing some science projects (him with his built hydraulic machines), mounted them on a piece of paper and labeled them. That was another thing for the portfolio. Most people include a couple things for each main subject (you don't need proof of everything). It's advisable to have something from the beginning of the year and the end to show progress.
For the third grade test, we ordered a CAT and ds did it at home over the course of several days. It's a timed test but you can stop for however long in between sections. And the allotted time was plenty for my ds. The homeschool supervisor and the parents/guardians are not supposed to administer it but anyone else can (grandparent, another homeschooling parent, a babysitter, etc). The CAT is a pretty basic fill in the bubble multiple choice test. Then, you send the test in and the company sends you the score which you submit to the school district at the end of the year.
We found ourselves a nice evaluator, sent her the portfolio and test scores. She "interviewed" ds (a couple open ended questions, no big deal) and sent us a letter stating an appropriate education was taking place. We sent that and the test scores to the SD. My particular SD does not want us to send them the portfolio but most do. So only my evaluator sees it.
I'm probably forgetting something but it is much easier than it seems. Oh, I forgot the booklist and "attendance" which was just a grid of 180 boxes with checkmarks. Those got sent to the evaluator and the SD, as well.
1. Involve him in your life. Cooking, cleaning, running errands, fixing the toilet, looking after little siblings, working in the garden.
2. Talk. Just natter on about interesting things. Listen to the questions he asks and ponder them aloud with him. Share your thoughts and experiences.
3. Be an interesting person. Model being a curious, impassioned life-learner yourself. Pursue your own interests.
4. Strew around your home a few interesting resources that you think might interest him. Don't get yourself attached to the idea of him doing anything with them, but put them out there.
5. Read aloud to him. Visit the library. Choose books that are a beyond what he would likely read to himself and read for at least 45 minutes a day. Historical and cultural fiction are a great way to spark new interests.
6. Don't assume he won't want to do sit-down bookwork, but make them optional and be flexible about the level.
That's about it: facilitate, support, include, talk, model.
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
I don't have too much to add since my kids are pre-school aged, but I noticed you're in Pittsburgh, and so am I...if you're on Facebook, there's a group of moms with several unschoolers of various aged children. I mention that because it's the biggest collection of local unschoolers I'm aware of. If you're interested, I could give you the info.
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