how do i determine if homeschooling is right for us? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 12-18-2012, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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we will be moving to ny for only 18 months and my son is 4.5 now.  we would homeschool a semester of preschool and then kindergarten. im wondering though if he is able to learn from me?  he doesnt always listen to me and im not sure i would do a good job either:)

 

how do i make this a successful enjoyable experience for him? i also have a 4 month old at home.  sorry this is so short, im one hand typing while nursing:)

 

p.s. i know very little of homeschooling thus far, all info is welcomed:)!

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#2 of 13 Old 12-18-2012, 08:57 PM
 
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Preschool and kindergarten are fun years. Clay, crayons, glue and glitter, books, books, books, music, cooking, walks, talks, games, fond memories. I'm sure those who love to write long posts will be offering advice. I will limit myself to an "of course your child can learn from you". Your child learns from you without your knowledge, every day. Now you'll just be a bit more aware.

Reading advice -- read to your child often.
Art advice -- keep it relaxed -- that's a happy mistake, in this world a plant lives there (after green paint drips in the wrong place).
Science advice -- make it physical (we acted out the sun and Earth one year).
Math advice -- play games to count and add dice.

I'm sure you'll get much more, and more eloquently stated, too. Good luck.
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#3 of 13 Old 12-18-2012, 11:39 PM
 
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Does he walk? Does he talk? Then he's learning from you just fine, don't worry. I know, you're thinking "but he's biologically programmed to learn those things; reading and math are different." No they're not. Kids are biologically programmed to learn from the people around them, especially their parents -- and that includes all sorts of things beyond walking and talking. The sort of academic learning that makes up KG through 3rd grade can be imparted just as informally as things like walking and talking were. Be a caring and reasonably attentive parent. He'll learn.

 

How do you determine if homeschooling is right for you? You don't. You wade in and simply trust that you can make it work. I firmly believe that in the pre-teen years any parent who wants to can make it work. After that some of it is up to the child. But really, it's not rocket science. The love and understanding you have for your own child, the ability you have to individualize and respond, to follow interests, to integrate living and learning, to seize the moment and so on more than make up for any lack of teaching expertise you might feel you suffer from. Have fun!

 

Miranda

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Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

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#4 of 13 Old 12-19-2012, 08:21 AM
 
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I would make sure you look for homeschooling groups in the area you are moving to. Because I think the biggest stumbling block would be meeting other kids/families. If he was in school he would meet kids. If you had lived somewhere for a while you'd already know kids. But if you are moving to a new place temporarily it might be harder.

I think prek/k are great years to try homeschooling. There are lots if states where kindergarten isnt mandatory so it can be all child led with very little guilt about being behind if he goes to first.
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#5 of 13 Old 12-20-2012, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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im getting a happy grin on my face reading your posts, feeling like i might have just opened a key to a secret garden:)....

 

some technical questions:

 

how do i incorporate my now 4 month baby into the mix and still give my kindergartener the attention and care he needs?

 

ive been googling ny state homeschooling info, and i cant seem to find the exact info for kindergarten.  i know in june 2012, the governor passed a law stating that kindergarten was in fact mandatory.  perhaps im not finding the right website yet? im trying to research all i would have to do as ive heard ny state is more strict...

 

Do you spend a lot of money on teaching tools and supplies?

 

and my personal concern, i really dont think my child can learn the school stuff from me because he is very rebellious against me.  like, if i tell him to please do something, he says no, and i say ok, and then he says no! i want to! perhaps its a developmental thing or discipline:) but really, today i tried making reading fun cause he said he wanted to and he didnt want to do anything i suggested.

 

thanks again for all opf the replies:)!

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#6 of 13 Old 12-21-2012, 11:09 PM
 
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To me, homeschooling your child sounds like a great opportunity to build a relationship where he does not oppose you in everything.  If this were the relationship I had with my child, I would put the time and energy in to working on that relationship.  The academics will come naturally.  

 

Moominmama is right.  I'm only up to 1st now, but the academics do come naturally.  Kids want to learn.  If they are fighting on it, I tend to find I am wanting them to learn something they are not ready to learn (it is too confusing/they just aren't ready to grasp the concept/etc.).  

 

There are all sorts of curricula out there.  I have enjoyed having a literature-based approach.  Does your son like it when you read him books?  Read about all sorts of things.  There are put-together packages of books, lists of books, or you can choose your own (or let him choose).  

 

You are moving somewhere new - does your child like to be out and about?  Do lots of field trips.  

 

As far as your younger child - you are living life as a family together.  Just do things together.  Spend one-on-one time with your older child during naps.  I read books with a baby on my lap or playing with toys on the floor.  Sometimes it works great, sometimes it doesn't.  That's okay.  I learn how to sense the mood and I don't pick a long book (or we just do a few pages) if baby can't handle it for now.  We can (and do) read more later.

 

HTH

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#7 of 13 Old 12-22-2012, 05:11 AM
 
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Homeschooling is a wonderful secret garden!! I found my way here when my first was starting kindie, and I am so happy I did. (She is now 10, and working on material in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.)

I remember my dd not liking to "learn" from me -- when I was trying to provide direct instruction. Here's the thing. No 4 or 5 yo's like receiving direct instruction. Learning is a natural process, and kids at that age learn best by play. They instinctively know this, and therefore resist sitting down and doing 2+2=4. In fact, perhaps kids are diagnosed with ADHD most often at age 5 and 6 because something inappropriate is being demanded of them. As the other posters have said you really don't need to teach anything.

When I went to kindie, I finder painted, had a snack, listened to a story, and played outside. These days, kindie is more instructional, but that is mostly motivated by politics. There is very little research that supports earlier instruction, and a lot of research that says it is a bad thing. Take a look at books like The Hurried Child or Your Brain on Childhood. Don't buy workbooks. Just go to the library and take walks.

And as for the baby, are you going to be in NYC? What a great place to homeschool! Get museum memberships, and go every week. When mine were little, we went on walks in parks and collected rocks. We went to the local science museums and the zoo just about weekly. I just brought the baby along in a sling or stroller.

One more thing. I was worried when I started about my daughter falling behind her schooled peers. (Now that is funny! She is so far ahead!) I found that what calmed my fears was to let her play on some educational websites. Starfall is free, but you can subscribe to some that are really in fact very robust curriculums. Look at dreambox.com. It is excellent. My 3rd grade son still uses it. Also, look at readingeggs.com. Also very good. These sites are generally pretty fun for kids. If, like me, you can't totally quiet your fears related to academics, you can let your dc play on those sites. I wouldn't force it. Just 10 or 15 minutes 3 or 4 times a week should be plenty to "make progress." But this is something your child can do independently. You are out of the instructional role, and free to care for the baby.
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#8 of 13 Old 12-22-2012, 07:59 AM
 
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There are websites you can use to become familiar with the laws. The national home education network (nhen.org) has links to state sites where you can get the legal details. If you have more questions after reading the legal requirements for your state, post again with those questions, and good luck.
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#9 of 13 Old 12-23-2012, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you thank you thank you!!  i love hearing all of your personal stories and how you came to homeschooling:)  looks like i have to spend some more time on this forum!  

 

yes!  we would be in nyc and my son loves to be busy!  i cant wait for him to discover the city he was born in, we moved when he was 1...  he only causes trouble when bored of course.  the other day when i was internally brainstorming of our future homeschooling days, i became more attentive to "learning" opportunities and found us singing a song about the 50 states, making a subtraction and addition song up with his matchbox cars, and pretending to be different objects and animals.  it was so much fun and sparked so much more creative ideas that i began to journal about for future. and of course the baby was with us for most of that time.

 

so, do you ever actually sit down at a table and say, "homeschool time" or "work time"? like i said, i cant find the specifics of what i have to turn in for ny state yet, and i guess im a little intimidated as ive read others say how ny can be stricter with its homeschool laws....

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#10 of 13 Old 12-23-2012, 09:18 PM
 
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I believe there was already a thread this past fall regarding homeschooling in NY. If not, nyhrn.org is a good site for NY laws.

Go about your business, homeschooling, then put down what you did in terms of education. Singing the song about the 50states would be learning about the states in the U.S., and counting is math.

That song wouldn't happen to start "Fifty nifty united states from the thirteen original colonies...", would it?
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#11 of 13 Old 12-24-2012, 06:15 AM
 
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One of the really wonderful surprise benefits of homeschooling is how much more interested and curious I became! And I have learned so much. It is a basic human fact that it is just plain fun to learn. I have 2 masters degrees, and two ivy degrees, but I never knew that lady bugs have a larval stage before I started homeschooling. Now I love finding them in my garden.

Nope. At that age, I never sat down to "do school." We read about ancient Egypt, then mummified a chicken and wrote our names in hieroglyphics. We watched a documentary on ancient China and went to the Chinese New Year festival in town, and made our own dumplings. The only formal structured thing I did was with those computer curriculum programs I mentioned.

Now that they are older, we do sit down three mornings per week for an hour or two. My dd 10 is doing accelerated math online, she takes an on-line grammar and lit class, etc. but we have gotten here really slowly, and there is still a lot of down-time and opportunity for self-directed learning.

Btw, I am in Philly, and PA has some of the most stringent hs'ing regulations, but I still have pretty much unschooled. Take a look at the website askpauline dot com to see how us folks in PA manage. The year we studied China, I just said on our report that we studied China, and I listed the books we read, and the documentaries we watched, etc. it wasn't hard.
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#12 of 13 Old 12-24-2012, 08:30 AM
 
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I highly recommend keeping a calendar/diary where you record every little schoolish thing he does.  For example, my daughter would group her vast collection of animals into habitat, sometimes continent.  That counts.  If she played with her alphabet puzzle, putting it together, copying or tracing the letters, or occasionally making a string of letters she would ask me to pronounce (QWERTYUIOPASDFGHJKLZXCVBNM!) I would write those down.  When we watched a nature video, I recorded that.  

 

Not that every kid does this, but I have not had to do any "school time" whatsoever with my girls (they are 6 and 8), and with very little direction from me they are learning what they need to know--math, reading, spelling.  It can and does happen.  Some of this I credit to the general enthusiasm about "learning stuff", some credit goes to the girls themselves--that's just how they are and I am "lucky".  And much of the credit goes to that darned calendar, and the state of awareness I am in when I am using it actively.

 

The nice thing about the calendar in states where records are important is that if you are filling it with things they learn on their own, that takes the burden off you for having to cover all the ground in the form of parent-directed "school time".  Take pictures, keep samples, put them in a big binder.  The other advantage is that it is easy to do with a baby in the wrap. 

 

Also, picture books are a great resource for learning.  That's where we learn most about geography and history.  Books like "Scrambled States of America" and "President Stuck in the Bathtub" and "George Washington's Teeth" are all wonderfully engaging stories that we borrow from the library over and over.  Sitting on the couch reading is our version of "school time".  (For my 8yo, watching Olympic gymnastics over and over again on the internet has taught her the world's flags and nations.)

 

Which brings me to one point I have learned over the last couple of years: writing answers down, like in workbooks, can make the fun into the boring, especially at this stage when writing is a brand new struggle all by itself.  I have heard so many versions of this story: discovering that the problem with math was really a problem with *writing* the answers, and sitting down and saying the answers solved the problem.  It allowed parents to see that their kid knows the math they've been covering and to separate it from the real struggle-- writing.  For writing at that age, we did puzzle books, where the writing is not busy work, easily replaced by merely saying the answer.  


Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
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#13 of 13 Old 01-12-2013, 09:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nycmom18 View Post


so, do you ever actually sit down at a table and say, "homeschool time" or "work time"?

I never have for a child that age.  There is so much to learn just by living life.  Shopping together, doing the laundry, cooking.  Visiting museums, taking walks, looking at animals.  Enjoying every craft supply you can get your hands on.  The most important thing at this age is to develop the emotional attributes that will serve your child in the years ahead. 

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