new homeschoolers at middle school - advice - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 10-14-2013, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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so v. soon dd and i will start hsing. dd is in 6th grade.


we have both always dreamt about hs. finally we will be able to make it happen. 


now i had confidence to do it when dd was younger.


but now i am balking at doing it for middle school. dd at heart is an unschooler but for the time being we cant go down that route as having her attached to a charter school is the only way her father will allow her to be hsed. we are coparents. so we will have a planned curriculum and a meeting with a teacher to keep tabs on school work. 


dd and i are both excited and scared *&‡&!!!


dd will continue at her present school till the end of the month and then she will be out. 


now that you have the prologue here's my question. 


dd envisions that she will mostly be doing independent work. i will be her guide whom she will go to if she needs help. so mostly independent study. is this a realistic picture. she also envisages that most of the work will be online. esp. for math. that she can do her homework and study online so that seh doesnt have to work 50 problems everyday and as she completes a problem the computer will choose another difficult problem to see if she can do it. 


i am jumping the gun here as i havent been to the charter school yet to see what they have, but i want to know what's realistic before i make any demands.


dd main reasons for hsing are less busy work, proceeding at your own pace, and having time to do stuff she really wants to know about and learn. she is hoping she can do her school work and fun work like drama, instrument in a 6 hour day so she has free time to do whatever she wants to do. 


i have searched some blogs online to get an idea but i havent really come across any that was helpful to me.


any suggestions? 


also should she have a break btw regular school and hsing? just a week off of school to decompress?

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#2 of 10 Old 10-14-2013, 05:05 PM
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We switched from public school to home school (like you, through a charter school) between 5th and 6th grades.  Personally, I wouldn't do a "decompression/deschooling" time.  But that's just me.  It will take time to adjust to the new situation.  But that would happen if you were changing school in the middle of year, which you are, in reality, doing.  Whether or not, she will work independently depends on her.  Depending on how the charter school operates, give her the daily/weekly/monthly goal and see if she can meet them.  If she can, you can either not change what you two are doing or add to it.  If she can't, then brain storm and adjust accordingly.


My son has a problem with managing time and we are still adjusting his goals in 10th grade.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#3 of 10 Old 10-14-2013, 09:13 PM
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Meemee, just wanted to welcome you to this side of MDC :)

I have no experience with online charter schools, so I'll let others chime in with their experiences.  I do know that there are several kinds (not sure if you have multiple choices where you live) and it is worth knowing which one works in what way so as to figure out the best fitting one.  Do you know what online charter school options are available in your area (Calvert, Connections, K12 etc)?  I hear some are more flexible than others.  

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#4 of 10 Old 10-14-2013, 11:31 PM
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The first 2 years I homeschooled my kids (starting when my oldest was in K officially, but doing mostly 1st, some 2nd grade work, and my youngest unofficially starting K, a year before he was supposed to), was through some form of charter school. We lived in California at the time, and there are so many different choices there. We used 2 different ones in those 2 years, the first one was through the local public school system, the second year was a charter school for homeschoolers. Neither one of them was online. We had an ES (education specialist) who came to our house - once a week the first year, once a month the second year - to check up on the kids and what they had worked on. Both provided curriculum, which was good and bad at the same time; good because I didn't have to worry about finding curriculum, bad because I didn't have much say in the matter... The nice things was that they paid for all curriculum, and the second one even paid for several extra curricular activities such as gymnastics and ice skating lessons! 

About 2 years ago we moved to Arizona, and things seem to be quite different here than in Cali; more freedom, but also a lot less choices as far as charter schools goes. Basically, unless you do either AZVA (K12) or Connections Academy, you're on your own. It has been a bit of a daunting journey here for me, as I'm not always certain of myself that I can provide a solid education for my kid; my oldest has since preferred to go to public school, so now it's just my youngest who's left at home. He's a full grade level ahead at this point, and I just recently decided to relax a bit with him. We'll see where it leads us.

I don't really have any experience with K12 or Connections Academy (other than the fact that I had my ds (my youngest) enrolled with them for a couple of days, but ended up withdrawing him before he even really started. 

I have to say though that I can totally see that a 6th grader could be able to do a lot of learning on their own, asking for help when they need it. Even my 8 year old son does that a lot of the time. There are days that he just wants me near him (even though he doesn't necessarily need me to do the work), and then I usually try to do something I need to do in his room. Of course when he's tackling a new concept, he still does need my help. But none of his work is online at this point (aside from some research of course). My husband works from home (has an office downstairs), and I can often arrange to get some grocery shopping done while my husband is working in his office downstairs while my ds is doing his school work in his room at his desk upstairs. Just did that this morning, and it worked great; he was done with his school work by the time I got home, and we had the rest of the day together to explore some fun things!

There are a lot of possibilities with homeschooling. I think the important part is having a child that wants to be homeschooled, then together you can figure out what will work. That's the main reason why it didn't work out for my dd to be homeschooled; she truly just wanted to go to school, and did everything she possibly could to make things very difficult in our homeschooling attempts. Then it can get really tough!


Wishing you all the best!



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#5 of 10 Old 10-18-2013, 05:13 AM
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In my own experience, we've been homeschooling for almost 3 years now, and we've changed things up every year, sometimes even twice! The great thing about homeschooling is the flexibility to change things that aren't working, or aren't quite working to the standard you want them to. I do know that what I planned to do before we started homeschooling and what we actually did when we began ended up being two totally different things.


Her plans don't sound like bad ones, but I would caution her that you'll have to wait and see what the options are. I would also caution her that it's important to remember that plans that look good on paper (or in our minds) don't always turn out so well in reality, and that she needs to be open to adjusting her plans if they aren't working the way she hopes they will - she can't be so rigidly attached to what she wants that she's willing to "go down with the ship."


As far as a break - I pulled my kids from school at the start of Christmas break. So we took about 3 weeks off, for the vacation, and then started school after that. I didn't do it so much to give them a break as just that my oldest had gotten involved in chorus and wanted to finish, and Christmas break happened to be the finishing point. If I had pulled them when I originally planned to, there would have been no school break, and I probably would have just jumped into homeschooling right off the bat - whether or not that would have been the best thing, I can't say. I think the break between public school and homeschool was good for my boys, because it gave them some downtime and a bit of distance from the bad experiences they'd had at public school (chorus was the ONLY good thing for my oldest, which is why I wanted to let him have his wish to finish, since it was the only thing he actually enjoyed). I have heard, though, that many people recommend a "deschooling" period, and think that it's very important. I tend to think it's one of those things that you have to decide if it's something that your child needs/wants or not, and if so, how much they need.


Regardless of how it all works out, best of luck to you!

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#6 of 10 Old 10-23-2013, 06:59 AM
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I use online school (K12 International Academy). We live internationally and don't spend a whole school year in one place. Our family dynamics also make online school an easier choice for me. Dh was doubtful when we started, and the outside accountability and teacher involvement satisfy his need to feel like some kind of standard is being met. For my younger child, having a teacher is helpful when she is resistant to me regarding doing the work.


My MSer started in sixth grade and this year is in seventh. He is very independent with the work, but comes to me (and sometimes dh) with questions. I help him with science lab setups. I have him rewrite essays to a writing standard. I help him with grammar lessons, composition and lab. I get into his art classes with him. He usually tells me about his lit and history lessons. He has a pretty easy time with the math (pre-Algebra this year), but he brings me anything that's unclear. If I can't help, he has online access to teachers at study halls, online classes and via Skype. Each of his teachers requires a monthly meeting online, where they ask him a few questions and they discuss the material. In sixth grade, he had meetings with teachers before every unit assessment.


On the other hand, my dd has scheduled meetings with her homeroom teacher every two weeks, and we are in touch via email in between. She is assessed on math and reading skills in her meetings, and we set learning goals and make plans.


I still spend most of my days working with my students, in between keeping house and running errands. I never really dreamed of educating my own kids. I used to work FT and send them to school. I'm an introvert, so I need more alone time than I get while schooling my kids, and that's hard for me--plus, they are both pretty extroverted and really miss being around crowds of kids all day. But we're making it work.

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#7 of 10 Old 10-24-2013, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
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thank you Emaye i am :joyand :cold at the same time. 


its good advice to keep an open mind. i am not even sure what our expectations are. i will be going to the school next week to figure out details. 


it looks like we may not have the option of break.


off to post another thread on curriculum. 

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#8 of 10 Old 10-25-2013, 07:42 PM
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Just wanted to chime in to say that my middle school dd is almost completely independent.  To be honest, I think that she would like me to do more with her in some areas (science) but at the same time, we haven't found a good fit for her and science yet.  I don't know if we ever will.  However, she does English (all sub categories), Spanish, and History independently (I am a guide; I will help when needed, etc).  Science we do as a group, but she has the option to read the chapter by herself.  Math is the only thing that we do together regularly.  She hasn't like online math instruction, and I love math so this works out well.  


So, essentially, I think it is completely reasonable for her to be independent.  I haven't done a virtual school, but my dds friend does and she is completely independent. (actually 2 friends).  However, I can't comment on the busywork with those schools. 



Mom to three very active girls Anna (15), Kayla (12), Maya (9).
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#9 of 10 Old 11-06-2013, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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:joy:joy:joy:cold  we are officially homeschoolers now. 


dd has been working on khan academy independently.even before we officially started because she loves math.


we brought home some curriculum yesterday that dd is going to try out. 


at this time i feel so much better that i have support through the charter school coz really starting hsing at middle school i would be lost. 


i love how our own bond is getting back together. dd comes and asks me for help which she would never do while in school. i dont even have to explain. i just sit with her and she redoes/ rereads the stuff and gets it. but i am just so happy that she asked me. 


the hardest thing i find is i have to remove myself from the equation. i am sooooooooo tempted to micromanage. i am scared dd will slack off...  there are so many what ifs that can happen. but i need to trust the process.


she will not really have a 'decompression' time as much as she would like to. but she is ok with that and excited about her text books. 


the main thing is the stress of school is off. now she has to figure out how much she will like hs. 

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#10 of 10 Old 11-08-2013, 06:21 AM
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I'm also currently HS'ing a middle schooler in sixth grade too. I used to use an online charter school before with her for the past two years (Calvert the first year, then Laurel Springs the next) but this year I've decided to go eclectic and make up my own curriculum. Basically I bought all the necessary textbooks and workbooks and have her complete her studies independently. It usually takes her about 2-3 hours per day to complete all her work before she uses the rest of the day to pursue her own interests. Even though I have no experience with the particular charter schools you are using, I think it's a good idea to see how well your daughter adjusts to the work provided for by them before deciding whether to continue with them or not. If your daughter is fine with the workload and is able to handle it well, then I see no reason to switch (the reason why I stopped using the online programs I did was because my daughter wasn't satisfied with their curriculum and it took her longer to complete their assignments). Hope this helps and I wish you the best in your HS'ing adventure!

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