Considering homeschooling- I have lots of questions. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 06-07-2010, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all- I'm considering homeschooling my 9-yo son. He will be in 4th grade next year but currently misses at least one day a week due to anxiety. He has recently been diagnosed with cyclothymia (mild form of bipolar) and suffers from "school phobia" as our doc calls it. When he goes he is fine, has lots of friends but several mornings he just can't get himself to walk in the door. He is also TAG so he is not falling behind. If anything he is bored at school.

Here are my questions:

What are your favorite non-religious curriculums?
I also have a child who will be in Kindergarden next year. How difficult is it to homeschool kids 4 years apart?
How do you get them social time with other kids? (Both my kids are very social and outgoing.)
How do you find time to do things for yourself- like exercise, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.
How many hours of the day do you actually spend doing sit-down "teaching" and how much is learning on-the-go?

Thank you!!!
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#2 of 9 Old 06-07-2010, 12:42 PM
 
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How do you get them social time with other kids? (Both my kids are very social and outgoing.)
Playing with neighbors, weekly Sunday School, sports through parks and rec, and for a while we had "homeschool gym" with a bunch of other families.

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How do you find time to do things for yourself- like exercise, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.
This is all just so normal for me that I don't know how to answer. It all gets done. Cleaning we often do together (or, they do a lot of tidying, I do most of the cleaning). We go grocery shopping together. I exercise during their mandatory rest/reading time and we also go hiking together.

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How many hours of the day do you actually spend doing sit-down "teaching" and how much is learning on-the-go?
Actual sit down is usually around 2 hours, more or less. Some of that they're working independantly (my 2nd grader is in the living room right now working on a fact-sheet about South Dakota), other times I'm teaching. They do learn a lot on the go, though, so actual time spent standing in front of them teaching concepts is minimal. For instance, my second grader is beginning to learn the multiplication tables. But "class time" is spent applying the concept of multiplication and practice--he learned the concept through conversation over the last several years, as we talked about grouping and adding by 2's and various other things. So now all he needs to do is practice and repeat and get the patterns cemented in his mind. They also all have supplemental computer-based lessons, which they also do independently. That's usually 30 or so.
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#3 of 9 Old 06-07-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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subbing. Have a 13 yo we want to take out of school next year for similar reasons.
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#4 of 9 Old 06-07-2010, 01:57 PM
 
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We didn't do much in the way of "sit down" time at all - but my son absorbed learning and breezed right into the college of his choice when the time came. I'm not saying you shouldn't - but it's easier to keep a realistic perspective on things when you have anxieties along the way if you know that others have been able to do well without all the structure.

As for curricula, you can easily put together all you need by gradually pulling things from individual sources that specialize in the various subjects. That way, you can get a lot juicier and more learner friendly materials that inspire the natural enjoyment of learning. My favorite source is FUN-Books - look over in the left hand column for the list of subjects. We also picked up interesting things along the way from book stores, museum stores, and so forth. And my son got a lot of his learning from exploring his interests on the computer with interesting software, as well as on the Internet. His independent reading in later years of books that interested him also inspired his own research into various subjects that caught his interest - and you might be surprised how much ends up being learned about from all that.

There's a list of books on this homeschool association's website that you can click on and find more information on in the Amazon pages or, in some cases, in the authors' websites. Try not to let yourself feel overwhelmed by all the information out there - remember that a lot of it is there to get you to buy things - you really don't need a whole lot, and the library is a wonderful source of books in the juvenile nonfiction section for every imaginable subject.

Be sure to allow for plenty of decompression/deschooling time - it's pretty unusual for a child who's been in school to be ready to plunge right in. It may look at first as though not much is going on, but a lot can be going on internally that's making for a healthier outcome. Above all, relax and have fun - the rest will start to fill in as you go.

Here's a good thread that has lots of ideas and links for getting started information - seriously considering homeschool.

Lillian
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#5 of 9 Old 06-07-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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What are your favorite non-religious curriculums?

Singapore Math, Story of the World (history)

I also have a child who will be in Kindergarden next year. How difficult is it to homeschool kids 4 years apart?

Homeschooling kindergarten is easy (for me). My homeschooled kids are currently 4th grade, 1st grade and preschool. I haven't had trouble with helping them all at their own levels.

How do you get them social time with other kids? (Both my kids are very social and outgoing.)

We're members of our local Holistic Moms Network, which has several other homeschool families in it. Someone we met there is coming over (with her 3 kids) to play this afternoon. Our kids also do a homeschool gymnastics class at a local gym and lots of activities at the YMCA.

How do you find time to do things for yourself- like exercise, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc. I work out at the YMCA almost every day. They have free babysitting for members, so the kids play while I'm exercising. Grocery shopping, I mostly do on weekends when dh is home. Sometimes I will take all the kids and go to the store if we have to.

How many hours of the day do you actually spend doing sit-down "teaching" and how much is learning on-the-go? My nine year old spends about two hours a day on sit-down work. My six year old puts in between an hour a hour and a half. We spend lots of time "learning-on-the-go."

Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds   10yo dd  8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds  
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#6 of 9 Old 06-07-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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DS is only 3 and we haven't started HSing yet, so I'll let these great moms give you advice, I just wanted to say what a great mom you are!!!

I had similar issues as a child and I didn't even know HSing (or even switching schools) was possible. So I had serious anxiety all through school. It ruined my youth--I ended up severely withdrawn and depressed and those things still affect me everyday as an adult.

You are doing such a wonderful thing for your son!
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#7 of 9 Old 06-07-2010, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your responses. He has already changed schools since his old one didn't get him enough academics (he asked to change several times before we seriously considered it). My main concern is getting him enough socializing and getting me enough free time that I'm not going crazy. Our gym has childcare for up to 6yo but not for a 9yo on school days. I would just have to get him involved in art or sports to accomplish both goals (him socializing and me exercising).
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#8 of 9 Old 06-07-2010, 06:22 PM
 
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Join all of your local homeschool groups and start becoming active immediately. I am only a member of one, because it works well for us and offers way more than we can ever participate in, but here is a list of the things that it offers:

-weekly park, beach or pool days
- family potlucks every couple of months (some with themes, like multicultural or science fair, some not)
- boys clubs, girls clubs, 6 & under clubs, teen groups, etc., that meet weekly, monthly or somewhere in between for social activities, field trips, etc.0
- 4H, book study groups, Roots & Shoots, chess club, craft club, drama club
- various year long science classes you can sign up for, where a group of homeschoolers hire a science teacher to teach an ongoing class like chemistry or biology to highschool aged kids
- field trips galore, usually 2-4 a month
- events like curriculum nights, where people bring their current and older curriculums to show them off to others, so every can chat and get a hands on view about what has worked for them best, and where people can sell used materials to each other
- and much more

There are endless amounts of curriculum choices, even secular ones (or mostly secular), things like K-12, Calvert, and all sorts of piece meal items so your son can customize his education according to where he is in each subject.

9 years old is probably old enough to just sit at the edge of the gym with a book or a hand-held game and hang out while you work out. Or once you join that homeschool group and start becoming friends with others, perhaps you could make a gym buddy, someone who will take turns with you, watching each other's children while you each work out. Or just switch your work out schedule up a bit and work out at a different time of day when your partner or a friend can watch your child for an hour.

Homeschooling siblings who are 4 years apart isn't hard at all. First of all, even if you go a curriculum-based route, remember that with an hour or two a day, your child will most likely be learning way more than their age-based peers in public or private school. If you just join some homeschool groups, become really involved, get to know other homeschoolers and see their children and ask about the wide variety of routines everyone has, I swear you will feel so relieved to know that it isn't as hard as it might seem and that children are sponges and once they are ready, everything can be a learning experience.

Social experiences are well, the easiest and best thing about homeschooling. My children have oodles of homeschooled friends, see them frequently, are always making new ones, are involved in tons of music classes, art, sport, science, history and various other classes that come up throughout the year, every year, and they love to join in on as many as they can manage, and we are unschoolers. I feel bad for kids who are confined in schools, rarely are allowed to speak freely and even if they do, it is in 10 minute snippets, hardly any sort of bastion of getting to deeply know and interact with others. I am always so happy when my children get to play and interact with others for hours at a time, regularly, and really bond with them at such a much deeper and meaningful level, at the same time enjoying plenty of lighter moments with others, too.

Of course, we don't lock them in closets and we take them with us when we go to festivals, on field trips, to grocery and drug stores, browse for furniture or clothing, go to libraries and book stores and coffee shops and restaurants, so I may be biased, but I get the feeling they have plenty of experience with social interaction!

BTW, if you talk to your gym, I imagine it would be foolish of them to not change their policies regarding older children (surely your son is not the only homeschooled kid in your town) and allow your son in the children's area for an hour a few times a week. I imagine they would be perfectly happy for the extra money? And you could sell it to them, by saying that you know of plenty of homeschooled parents who would be extremely eager to join a gym with such a fantastic service.
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#9 of 9 Old 06-08-2010, 01:46 AM
 
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What are your favorite non-religious curriculums?
I also have a child who will be in Kindergarden next year. How difficult is it to homeschool kids 4 years apart?
How do you get them social time with other kids? (Both my kids are very social and outgoing.)
How do you find time to do things for yourself- like exercise, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.
How many hours of the day do you actually spend doing sit-down "teaching" and how much is learning on-the-go?
What are your favorite non-religious curriculums? we don't use formal curriculums with the exception of Singapore math.
I also have a child who will be in Kindergarten next year. How difficult is it to homeschool kids 4 years apart? I don't know. My kids are just under 3 years apart.
How do you get them social time with other kids? join many groups and make playdates outside of group activities so the kids get to know each other on a one on basis too.
How do you find time to do things for yourself- like exercise, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc. Well I walk at night after the kids go to bed. Grocery shopping I do either with them or when DH is off from work. I also work at night so sometimes I stop after work for a smaller trip. Cleaning we do together but it IS a struggle. It does not come easily to anyone in family t keep a tidy home. We all struggle with this.
How many hours of the day do you actually spend doing sit-down "teaching" and how much is learning on-the-go? sit down learning happens in my home in less than 30 minutes. My DD does a couple pages in her Singapore math workbook and DS is learning to read. The truth is that he is only learning to read because he REALLY wants to otherwise his sit down work would be zilch. (Oh and he can read Dick and Jane now )

The first rule of homeschooling: water the plants! :
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