Thinking about homeschooling. Looking for tips, advice, encouragement, resources..... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 01-29-2012, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello! I would love to homeschool our kids because I am really frustrated with the school system, but I'm afraid of it being too overwhelming. 

 

I'm a SAHM and my husband works out at sea, around a month gone & a month home. So while he's gone, I'm by myself with our 4 kids, 8 yr old DS, 4 yr old B/G twins, and our 18 mo DD. I make it work as it is, but I'm concerned about being able to teach the 3 oldest effectively while keeping the youngest occupied. Part of me thinks that by homeschooling it will actually help me keep a more scheduled and stress free day. Our oldest is in 2nd grade and our 4 yr olds are in preschool, so when they get home they have all this energy they want to let out, there's homework for the oldest, dinner for everyone and trying to spend quality time with them all, its hectic when my husbands out at work. I think homeschooling will eliminate this evening chaos. I do wonder if learning time will be too chaotic though. I'm torn between feeling confident in my abilities and doubting myself. 

 

DH is supportive and loves the idea of homeschooling the kids, but with our way of life the end decision is up to me since I'll be the one doing the teaching and it affects me more than him. I often procrastinate and I can be scatterbrained, (4 kids can do that to a woman though winky.gif) but the things that need to get done always get done. 

 

So I guess I'm looking for some good resources, tips, and advice on homeschooling kids of different ages, levels, and personalities. I recently found a book at the library called "The Everything Homeschooling Book, 2nd Edition" by Sherri Linsenbach. I haven't read much of it yet, but does anyone have opinions of this book? 

 

Thanks in advance! And if it matters, I'm in WV

~M~

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#2 of 7 Old 01-29-2012, 11:51 AM
 
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#3 of 7 Old 01-29-2012, 12:49 PM
 
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Some points to keep in mind:

 

- Homeschooling is quite popular in the radical conservative "quiverful" type of families, which have lots and lots of kids.  So it's definitely possible.  :)

 

- Home school lessons don't take as much time as lessons in school.  So finding time to make it all happen is not as though you'd need to schedule "stuff" from 8am to 3pm.  

 

- There are many different philosophies of homeschooling, from very formal "school at home", to a strict classical education, to nature and creative play and fairy stories Waldorf style, to unschooling where everything is unstructured and child-led... And everything in between.  Structure might be just what your family needs, but alternatively, a complete and open lack of structure might be more relaxing.  Keep an open mind to whatever will work best for your situation; none of the methods are more 'right' or 'wrong' than any other, and they all result in well-adjusted and well-educated young people.  

 

- 4-year-olds don't have to do very much schooling no matter what the system.  "Better late than early" and all that.  :)  Strict classical education doesn't truly begin until 'grade 1'.  Waldorf's version of grade 1 starts the year the student turns 7, not 6.  Montessori does have lots of educational activities at this age, but they are primarily skills-based, practical life activities, rather than academics, and are entirely child-led.  Preschool-aged children learn more through play than through "lessons".  And even if they do want to do some lessons (some kids that age do enjoy it, my own daughter did), it doesn't take very long at all.  If your 4yo's are currently in a decent school, they're already playing or doing active kinds of activities much of the day and not seated at desks all the time.  

 

- Are you looking after all your kids all day on the weekends?  I assume you are, and that half the time you're doing it on your own without your husband there.  You survive that, right?  :)  Maybe even have some fun sometimes?  Now imagine adding an hour or two of some version of "lessons" to a weekend day.  Not too bad, right?  Well voila, that's your homeschool life.  

 

- Remember that the rest of life is just as important to an education as the academics.  Cooperating with each other.  Looking after the baby - and learning how sometimes the plans need to be thrown out the window when the baby needs attention (this will pay off when they have babies of their own!)  Household things like helping with cooking meals and tidying up, learning how to set the table, do laundry.  Going to the grocery store with you and learning about food issues (industrial vs local production, pesticides, nutrition, advertising, finding best value, taxes, etc) as well as interaction with the workers there.  Heck, a standard unit in early school grades is 'community workers' -- who they are and what they do.  With homeschooling you're out with them in the real world and not just in books.  :)

 

- Yes, it can sometimes be chaotic, crazy, insane.  But so can life without homeschooling too.  :)  One of the advantages of homeschooling is that if one day is just TOO crazy and you get NOTHING done... that's okay.  They won't fall 'behind'.  They'll catch up eventually.  Some days you might even get extra stuff done if they're keen and interested in a particular topic - so you're also free to follow that when it happens.

 

 


Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#4 of 7 Old 01-29-2012, 03:42 PM
 
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You'll find that things can be a whole lot more natural and easy in a home setting. You'll find over time that it doesn't necessarily need to come in lessons you teach, but in learning that happens in the most surprising, fun, and natural, ways. Lessons can work fine, of course, but they don't need to come in the more traditional format we were brought up with in schools. For example, check out FUN-Books for lots of great ideas and unusual resources you may not find elsewhere.

 

Home Education Magazine is a wonderful resource to have coming into your home on a regular basis - and their website is packed full of information and links to good articles.

 

Life Learning Magazine is another great one - and you can read some of the sample articles through the ink over in the left hand column. 


Here's a website with some very refreshing and inspiring thinking - by the author of some of the best and most thought provoking books on homeschooling - this is a link to the articles section: Skylark Sings

 

Parent at the Helm is a very encouraging resource by the author of some of the most popular books in the homeschool market - her books are packed full on good ideas from many experienced homeschoolers, encouragement, and support. 

 

This is a good, categorized, book list - and clicking on the titles takes you to Amazon or other sites where you can read more and "look inside" or "search" inside most of the books:

Books about homeschooling and learning 

 

You might also take a look through some of the articles and links on my own (non-commericial) site for ideas on getting oriented - BestHomeschooling.

 

Your concerns are not at all uncommon, but lots and lots of people who've had similar concerns in the beginning have found that homeschooling can provide for a much more fun and interesting lifestyle for the whole family. Lots of people come to homeschooling because of various problems and challenges, and then find that there's a lot more to it as a wonderful lifestyle than they'd ever imagined.  - Lillian  wink1.gif   

 

 

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#5 of 7 Old 01-31-2012, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattemma04 View Post

 I have met a lot of large familes that homeschool. It certainly does work for them. You will have to decide on a method and give it a try.If things do not work out tweak it.Also,there are times when some children will prefer or  do better in  a educational setting outside of the home.That is up for the parents to decide whether to give the choice.

 

My dh is gone often as well. I have tried many schooling options over the years,and have found that the family finds a rountine,and they all do what is expected.Sometimes there is chaos regardless of the school setting. I hope you can find a way to make it work. Give it a try and see how things go. There are so many resources online,in libraries,and through local groups. Connect with them and see what the kids like.

 

Look into your local county board of education to see what the notification and testing/portfolio requirements are for your area. We are in Ohio and when we homeschooled I sent in our letter,and in the next year I would send in the IOWA testing results along with  the notification letter..Having a teacher meet with your child   at the end of the school year was another option we are given.

 

http://www.wvhea.org/lawsection.htm

I've looked at that website to see the laws of WV, but I haven't found information specific to my county from the county's board of ed. website. A couple years back, I can't remember exactly when, our county was taken over by the state because it was doing so poorly, so things are still changing with the website and everything.There are a lot of schools closing and consolidations going on right now that I don't like. The school my kids go to right now is closing at the end of this school year. I guess flexibility is key in finding what will work for us. Thank you! Its nice knowing others with big families or households where one parent is away often working have made homeschooling work. 
 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post

You'll find that things can be a whole lot more natural and easy in a home setting. You'll find over time that it doesn't necessarily need to come in lessons you teach, but in learning that happens in the most surprising, fun, and natural, ways. Lessons can work fine, of course, but they don't need to come in the more traditional format we were brought up with in schools. For example, check out FUN-Books for lots of great ideas and unusual resources you may not find elsewhere.

 

Home Education Magazine is a wonderful resource to have coming into your home on a regular basis - and their website is packed full of information and links to good articles.

 

Life Learning Magazine is another great one - and you can read some of the sample articles through the ink over in the left hand column. 


Here's a website with some very refreshing and inspiring thinking - by the author of some of the best and most thought provoking books on homeschooling - this is a link to the articles section: Skylark Sings

 

Parent at the Helm is a very encouraging resource by the author of some of the most popular books in the homeschool market - her books are packed full on good ideas from many experienced homeschoolers, encouragement, and support. 

 

This is a good, categorized, book list - and clicking on the titles takes you to Amazon or other sites where you can read more and "look inside" or "search" inside most of the books:

Books about homeschooling and learning 

 

You might also take a look through some of the articles and links on my own (non-commericial) site for ideas on getting oriented - BestHomeschooling.

 

Your concerns are not at all uncommon, but lots and lots of people who've had similar concerns in the beginning have found that homeschooling can provide for a much more fun and interesting lifestyle for the whole family. Lots of people come to homeschooling because of various problems and challenges, and then find that there's a lot more to it as a wonderful lifestyle than they'd ever imagined.  - Lillian  wink1.gif   

 

 

Thank you! I will definitely check out those resources! One of the things I'm hoping for in homeschooling is being able to have more family time and to give our kids a chance to explore. I don't think kids are able to get limitless exploration of their interests with public schools. Kids aren't taught to think, they are taught how to pass a test. They are only able to learn a small part of limited subjects, but it has to be in a certain way. Also with the long school day and homework afterward there is little time to just be kids!
 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post

Some points to keep in mind:

 

- Homeschooling is quite popular in the radical conservative "quiverful" type of families, which have lots and lots of kids.  So it's definitely possible.  :)

 

- Home school lessons don't take as much time as lessons in school.  So finding time to make it all happen is not as though you'd need to schedule "stuff" from 8am to 3pm.  

 

- There are many different philosophies of homeschooling, from very formal "school at home", to a strict classical education, to nature and creative play and fairy stories Waldorf style, to unschooling where everything is unstructured and child-led... And everything in between.  Structure might be just what your family needs, but alternatively, a complete and open lack of structure might be more relaxing.  Keep an open mind to whatever will work best for your situation; none of the methods are more 'right' or 'wrong' than any other, and they all result in well-adjusted and well-educated young people.  

 

-4-year-olds don't have to do very much schooling no matter what the system.  "Better late than early" and all that.  :)  Strict classical education doesn't truly begin until 'grade 1'.  Waldorf's version of grade 1 starts the year the student turns 7, not 6.  Montessori does have lots of educational activities at this age, but they are primarily skills-based, practical life activities, rather than academics, and are entirely child-led.  Preschool-aged children learn more through play than through "lessons".  And even if they do want to do some lessons (some kids that age do enjoy it, my own daughter did), it doesn't take very long at all.  If your 4yo's are currently in a decent school, they're already playing or doing active kinds of activities much of the day and not seated at desks all the time.  

 

- Are you looking after all your kids all day on the weekends?  I assume you are, and that half the time you're doing it on your own without your husband there.  You survive that, right?  :)  Maybe even have some fun sometimes?  Now imagine adding an hour or two of some version of "lessons" to a weekend day.  Not too bad, right?  Well voila, that's your homeschool life.  

 

- Remember that the rest of life is just as important to an education as the academics.  Cooperating with each other.  Looking after the baby - and learning how sometimes the plans need to be thrown out the window when the baby needs attention (this will pay off when they have babies of their own!)  Household things like helping with cooking meals and tidying up, learning how to set the table, do laundry.  Going to the grocery store with you and learning about food issues (industrial vs local production, pesticides, nutrition, advertising, finding best value, taxes, etc) as well as interaction with the workers there.  Heck, a standard unit in early school grades is 'community workers' -- who they are and what they do.  With homeschooling you're out with them in the real world and not just in books.  :)

 

- Yes, it can sometimes be chaotic, crazy, insane.  But so can life without homeschooling too.  :)  One of the advantages of homeschooling is that if one day is just TOO crazy and you get NOTHING done... that's okay.  They won't fall 'behind'.  They'll catch up eventually.  Some days you might even get extra stuff done if they're keen and interested in a particular topic - so you're also free to follow that when it happens.

 

 

These are all great points that I really hadn't thought of in this way. I guess I have a public school mindset, but thats exactly what I want to get away from. I want the flexibility to teach our kids math, reading, science, social studies and geography (the last three my 2nd grader learns very little of right now!) in a way that will be enjoyable to them while also teaching them real life lessons like farming, gardening, cooking, sewing. These are things my husband and I enjoy and so the kids are growing up with and they want to learn and participate, but public school makes it difficult.

 

We decided to enroll our 4 yr olds in preschool for two reasons 1- they really wanted to go to school like their older brother, and 2- our 4 yr old DS had some social anxiety issues and we felt getting away from us (me specifically) and being around other kids his age would help and it really has. We have friends and family with kids and he was fine with familiar people and places, but he got very nervous and panicky with strange places and people. The summer before school started he really opened up a lot and being in school just furthered that. 

 

I do have our kids all the time and make daily activities work, and on weekends I do make a point to bake or do crafts with the kids instead of housework. I'm not the type of parent who gets a babysitter to go to the grocery store, and its been too long since my husband and I went on a date without the kids (something we need!). That's not a bad thing, though, in our eyes. Since half the time my husband is away working we try to do as much as a family as we can when he's home, again public school makes this difficult sometimes. 

 

So I guess I'm already homeschooling to a degree on weekends and summer trying to teach them real world things and supplement what I feel he's lacking in school. I would just need to get more focused on it and a routine going. I feel for us, somewhat of a routine or schedule would work best but nothing too strict. 

 

Thanks again for all your kind words and advice, It really made me think of things differently!

~M~
 

 

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#6 of 7 Old 01-31-2012, 07:52 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by naturalmama4 View Post

 

One of the things I'm hoping for in homeschooling is being able to have more family time and to give our kids a chance to explore. I don't think kids are able to get limitless exploration of their interests with public schools. Kids aren't taught to think, they are taught how to pass a test. They are only able to learn a small part of limited subjects, but it has to be in a certain way. Also with the long school day and homework afterward there is little time to just be kids!

 

 

Absolutely! And this is the greatest gift in homeschooling. People often start it to get away from problems they've encountered in school or because they feel they'll be able to provide a better education - but then they find that that the world opens up in a way they've never even dreamed of. Enjoy!  Lillian

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#7 of 7 Old 02-02-2012, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm hoping for the best! After everyone's encouraging words from this thread and other research I've done, I feel more confident with the decision to homeschool. If it doesn't work out for us, I guess we always have the option to go back to public school, but I don't think it will come to that. 

~M~

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