Oh, wont someone put my mind at ease? Newbie, here! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 10-02-2012, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
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So, I've been homeschooling for all of 2(ish) months. My dd was really behind in math (but doing great otherwise) and I felt terrible sending her into the 3rd grade to just continue getting further behind. I found Time4Learning, and it's been going really well for us. DD really enjoys the math and LA, but the science is really dry, and the social studies is only so-so, as far as keeping her attention goes.


So I picked up a couple of text books from a thrift store yesterday. They are new enough and seem like they'd really interest her, but upon further inspection (aka me looking them up on amazon), I realized the science book is probably for 2nd graders, and the social studies book is for 4 graders.


Again, she's in 3rd.


We started the science book today, and she really enjoyed it (other than me making her write out answers...she hates writing and has terrible writing...lefty! But being new and all, I'm always second guessing myself.


If we go on and do the lower level science book, and the upper level social studies book, am I totally messing up her chances of doing well on the stupid assessment she's going to have to take (we have an 18mo extension though, since I pulled her out in 3rd grade)? Or am I just over thinking everything?


I love the idea of kind of just studying what she's interested in. My initial thought was to just keep her doing T4L math and LA, and then just let her pick whatever she wants to learn about and figure out a way to make that tie into social studies, geography, etc. And then just do some science experiments at random.


I just want to keep this simple and uncomplicated...and FUN! For her...but me too ;)


And...reading blogs of homeschooling moms isn't as helpful as I thought it would be. Most of them are teaching their 3 year olds 20 subjects (including 3 foreign languages and  instruments) and I am just looking for the bare minimum. Okay, slight exaggeration, but still.


So here is what I was thinking we'd do (so far...)



Daily: Math, LA, reading (she looooooves reading and does it for at least an hour), journaling (whatever, i just want her writing).




Monday - crazy PE with daddy, "personal" lessons (ie: my own diy curriculum on girls health, body image, dressing herself, etc. She's 8 but lacking some necessary skills...)  (This is Dh's day off, so I'm keeping it lighter, as it's technically our wknd).


Tuesday - Science (some experiments take a few days, so we will probably do a little science here and there throughout the week as well)


Wednesday - Bean's Choice (Animals, usually. Right now it's snow leopards. I have a little curriculum, plus books and a documentary), Life skill (our first one is folding/laundry), PE (boring with mama, lol)


Thursday - Social Studies


Friday - Manners/Values/Character something or other (secular), Art & PE (not sure about an art curric yet, but I do have some ideas...)



Is this WAAAAY too laid back and unstructured? Am I gonna mess her up? Is anyone still reading this? If you are...thank you...I know you all have lives to get back to! Any advice is appreciated.


Last thing - In case the life skills and personal lessons seem odd - my dd has some issues and is a little behind, I'm to blame, I'm sure. Regardless, I think they are just as important for her to know as anything else, so yeah. There it is. I had something else...nope. I forgot.

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#2 of 8 Old 10-02-2012, 11:17 PM
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I don't think that's laid back at all, but then we're an "attempt work daily, complete if he's motivated" kind of family.  :)  FWIW, it took me a few years to figure out how to work with my son (8-1/2yo) in a way that didn't make one (or all) of us insane... 


We try to do math, handwriting and foreign language every day.  He's a math/science kid but has fully challenged me in finding appropriate science stuff for him.  This is the first year I'm making a full-on attempt at regular science.  Mine reads pretty far ahead, so he reads a lot and we're just starting to do some LA this year and going slow with it.  He's got horrible handwriting so I try to lighten that load, but we work on other things that build his hand muscles (Lego's, cutting things with scissors, hammering stuff).  So we DO work on handwriting but it's really that he's motivated (he found the cursive writing book and was enamored).  He's in a co-op class about writing that I think might be a mistake (I don't think he needs to know some of the stuff they're learning--I thought the content was different) and he has an art "class" (he's the only student) taught by another mom with a new business (which is really the only reason we're doing it and because we've never done art... ever) and piano lesson.  That's about it.  Oh, and Cub Scouts.  I document everything and man, Scouts is a great source of documenting learning.


I don't push too hard.  I could send him to school for that.  :)  By the same token, I get nervous if he's unmotivated too long and I feel like the habit will be "not doing anything but playing Legos".  (to the seasoned homeschooling mamas, yes, I realize that this is my complete lack of trust in the natural order of things--at least I know my flaws?)


I don't know what state you're in and what the backlash could be for testing results, but I would find that out and find out how other families (especially unschoolers) in your area are handling it.  What state are you in?  You might want to x-post to the unschooling forum and ask them how they deal with the testing situation in your state and if the legal scene there compels them to cover things they'd otherwise leave alone if not for the testing... kwim?

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#3 of 8 Old 10-03-2012, 04:44 AM
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We're a lot less structured and more laid back than that, so I'd say if anything it's too rigid a schedule.  (But presumably you won't stick to it rigidly if it means staying inside on a beautiful day when you'd both rather be outside, or missing out on cool  group activities, or making your kid stop learning about something she's interested in so she can focus on something that's on the schedule.)


Do you know what assessment you're going to have to take?  Do you get to pick one, or is it the one your state uses for school kids?  You should be able to find out what kinds of things are covered and see sample questions.  My state has a website where you can download (for free) sample questions used on past versions of their state assessment, with answers.  If you're not using the one your state uses, you'll probably still be able to find sample questions online or in a book.  If you get an idea what the assessment will cover, then you'll know whether she's learning what she needs to know to do well on it.  You also should find out how well she has to do and what happens if she doesn't do well.  It may be that she has to take it but the results aren't really important.

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#4 of 8 Old 10-03-2012, 07:33 AM
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It's not just the assessment.  In fact, the more important legal detail is what they do with the results.  Are they evaluated?  Or for the parent and child only?  We are in a parent-only state.


I'm coming from an unschooling (little kids) perspective, so that routine and the levels you are working on sound really good.  (My mental dictionary has had some technical difficulties this last couple of weeks!)

"She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in."
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#5 of 8 Old 10-03-2012, 08:59 AM
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As others have said, your structure sounds more than adequate. Not too laid back at all. You're considerably more structured than we have been with our kids, even at older ages.


About the level of the material: in my experience, interest and motivation should always trump level. In science and socials in particular, which are content-oriented rather than skill-oriented subjects, my conservative estimate would be that school-kids retain from year to year no more than 30% of what they are taught. I can see this in the way that our local public school's science textbooks re-teach almost everything from year to year, albeit at a slightly faster pace and deeper level as kids get older. The real lesson schoolteachers should aim for is to awaken an interest in those areas, an appreciation for the world of scientific inquiry, and for learning about other times and other places. So level doesn't matter: interest does. And so you should totally go with whatever materials your dd enjoys, regardless of level.


The only "science curriculum" my eldest dd did was a 3rd grade textbook written in French. She was enjoying learning a bit of French when she was 5th or 6th grade age, and that book was free from the thrift store and simple and illustration-laden enough that she could understand most of it. So a single "below-level" science book was all she'd done from the standpoint of curriculum. At 14 she decided to attend school. She went straight into 10th grade science, and earned an A without difficulty. 


If your dd is happy, you're good. Don't worry about level.



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#6 of 8 Old 10-03-2012, 09:46 AM
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It sounds to me like you're worrying about being in sync with other 3rd graders. When I as worried about my son being out of sync with the school, I just went to the school's website and printed the planned goals for his grade. Then I just referenced that and found resources that were fun and interesting for both of us.

I think you're doing fine! I remember being nervous the first 2-3 years. It got easier as my confidence grew (which was as I saw him learning). Do your best to relax. You can adjust the schedule whenever there seems to be a need or reason to do so. That's one of the advantages of homeschooling. And remember that schools and teachers are not perfect, so your imperfections are normal. Good luck and enjoy this time!
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#7 of 8 Old 10-03-2012, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by beansmama View Post


If we go on and do the lower level science book, and the upper level social studies book, am I totally messing up her chances of doing well on the stupid assessment she's going to have to take (we have an 18mo extension though, since I pulled her out in 3rd grade)? Or am I just over thinking everything?


So, I think you're in Oregon, because the requirements you mention sound like Oregon's...




If so, well, for starters, she's not going to have to take a standardized test until the end of fifth grade, because it's not an 18mo extension, it's just that you don't have to assess within 18 months of starting homeschooling, and she completed 2nd grade (from what I gather from your post) in public school, so she'll miss the 3rd-grade-assessment requirement, and won't have to do it until the end of 5th.


And then, depending what tester and test you choose, she could be only tested on math and reading (for example, I'm pretty sure the Stanford Achievement Test only covers math and language arts for fifth graders), so the order and content of what she learns in science, social studies, life... makes no difference. And THEN, she needs only score above the 14th percentile for you to be able to go on your merry way- if she scores lower, you can still go on your merry way, but must assess again the following year- if in that following year she scores the same percentile level or better, then you're back on schedule; if it drops, then you may be required to be supervised, and if it drops the year after that, it is possible that she might be required to return to school... so that means that if she learns [i]nothing[/i] from here forward, tests poorly and then worse, she might have to go back to school in 8th grade... This seems almost impossible to have happen, even for a lefty. ;)


So, er, I think my ultimate advice here is: relax, you're doing great.

Unschooling mama to DD1, 11/2001
and DD2, 11/2004
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#8 of 8 Old 10-03-2012, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey everyone!


My mind is sufficiently eased now, haha, thanks :D


I was getting worried about staying in sync with public schools...but i don't WANT to worry about it, kwim? I just tend to start spazzing if things seem to relaxed, and I know that list up there may not be relaxed to some, but as a hyper organized nut, it is to me, lol! And...like I said, reading bloggers posting about how their kids do....okay. comparing. I need to stop comparing!


Thank you all for your words.


Yes, i am in Oregon. HS is pretty simple here actually. I got a letter saying her assessment would be August 2015, and that they suggest teaching normal things her peers are learning, but I can teach her whatever I want and they can't stop me, lol. So. I'll stop worrying now. I showed DD our new schedule and she's super excited.


She loves science and T4L was way too much reading, too boring, not enough FUN experiments and so she's really excited about the new science book. She flipped through it and thought it looked awesome.


And social studies...I just planned on letting her pick what she wanted to learn. She loves learning about people and all that jazz. The text book is just gonna be used as she wants to ;)


Okay. Better go learn about snow leopards now...my kids are waiting!

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