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#1 of 14 Old 04-11-2010, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know this is a pregnancy forum, but figure many of us have older kids.

I'm seriously, seriously considering not enrolling my 5 year old in school this year and trying homeschool - possibly my 7 year old as well. My 9 year old has had a great experience in our public school here but things haven't gone as I'd hoped with kid #2 so I'm gunshy.

Anyway, since I've never done it formally before and because of the timing of my EDD (within the first 2 weeks of the schoolyear where I live) I've started a homeschool curriculum with my daughter to see how it goes. So far so good. The kindergarten screening time is coming up and I'm getting nervous about actually not doing it with her, that's a bigger commitment to the idea of homeschooling!

I was just wondering if there are others out there, and how you are handling the "schoolyear" timing situation with our EDDs. (And yes, I realize you can "homeschool" preschool as well, and we do, but it's a different animal from having school-aged kids in grade levels to do it with)

Mom of 7, ages 12, 11, 8, 6, 4, 3, and 18 months!grouphug.gif
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#2 of 14 Old 04-11-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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We are! I'm a very lazy homeschooler, bordering on unschooling really. I make sure I know the grade objectives and just start crossing stuff off the list. Things like the european explorers don't often come up in daily conversation, so I made sure we read and learned a bit about them. At the same time you'd be surprised what *does* come up in daily living! Reya and I were talking about aadvarks (long story) and she informed me that they were related to the anteater.. So we decided to look up other animals that were closely related. And then charcteristics of that family. It was a great spring board for introducing taxonomy. We don't really take a summer break, Reya learns something every single day I promise you that! The one thing that I'm super careful of is Math. IMO it's very much a use it or lose it kinda skill.

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#3 of 14 Old 04-11-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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We are homeschooling preschool, but have NO intentions to put our children in school ever (until college of course, if they choose). We were really unsure, but once you get to reading (starting with Dumbing Us Down) it is hard to look back. We will be unschooling with no particular curriculum, completely child-led and unstructured. I think the hardest part for us will be the judgment we will endure from our parents...sigh, they will get over it I am sure.
I have heard if you pull your children out of school there is an adjustment period of about a month per year of school attended to de-school.
Good luck, curious to see others join this thread!

ETA: In response to the previous post, we had a fabulous conversation about blood yesterday, so interesting to have a conversation about things of the sort and do the research together! I look forward to more of this as my children get older. These days we mostly talk and read about trains

Nurse and mother to two beautiful boys, William 06/07/06, George 08/27/08, and our newest addition John Bear, born 9/20/10! Married to my lovely dh for 10 years on 06/04/10!
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#4 of 14 Old 04-11-2010, 07:38 PM
 
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Here!

My oldest just turned 5, so I guess we may not technically count as "homeschoolers" yet, but...

I, too, am an unschooler. Well, a regimented one, lol! I have a basic idea in the back of my mind of where I'm headed, and then work on getting there a little at a time. Most things, though, the kids really do teach themselves. For example, my 4 year old (now 5) taught herself all about telling time (digital and regular clocks), and how to read a calendar through a series of questions she asked on her own over the course of two or three weeks.

We are not going for a shabby education, either. I think that people often associate homeschoolers with either being ridiculously strict and all over the books all the time, OR lazy and not really teaching their kids anything. But, the middle is actually true. My 5 year old learns lengthy Bible verses, poems, etc by heart. She's able to recite more than 100 different things now, and can speak several phrases in French and Spanish. She can do basic addition, and subtraction, and even some multiplication and division. She is aquainted with a good bit of good literature, and is coming along quite nicely with her reading. She knows where quite a few countries (25+?) are on the map, and can tell you the capitals of quite a few states. She has a good grasp of history, especially of the Revolutionary War, and the 1800-1900s. She is learning to play piano. She understands the basics of electricity and magnetism, and can tell you lots and lots about space. She can tell you names and dates and tons of facts about the moon landing, and details about most of the planets...and on and on. She is easily on a second grade level on most things, reading and social skills excluded. She is not an uncommon homeschooled/unschooled kid. It just happens. Just expose them, and they will learn.

If you make a list of what your kids have learned without you directly teaching them, you may be shocked at what they know...and realize how informal and easy "school" can be.

I believe that they need to be in the habit of making themselves sit and learn something/do something they don't want to do. It's a good skill, but there's time to build it up since they are still young. Daily practice of some sort of the "three R's" is beneficial, but doesn't have to be regimented.

I have a long list, like I said, of things I want to teach her this year, but almost all of it just happens. The more the discover that they are free to discover, the more they do on their own. I have compiled a lot of songs, games, etc, that teach through play, and even my 2yo picks up a lot of it. My kids sing and dance and run around the house in Spanish...and then speak to the waitress at the Mexican restaurant with fair decent pronunciation. We read lots of varied books, and I supply lots and lots of books about their current interests. I just sorta make them "appear" on the coffee table. We talk about math all the time...how many crackers each kid gets, or how many you have left after I eat two. We write letters and color pictures for friends and family. We sing songs of countries and capitals in the car, and I mention earthquakes as they happen and we find where that is on the map. We talk about the people who live there a little, and then we talk about their feelings, etc. Everyday examples give TONS of real life learning with not much trouble at all.

As far as how to work it in with the EDD, I'm not worried at all. School is life, and we'll just keep going. It doesn't start or stop, it just is. Some days are more, some days are less. I may read fewer books, and forget to hit the three R's in some way for a bit, but that's okay. We'll work it out in the long run.

So...don't stress the formality. The best educations don't come that way, IMO. It's forced and unnatural. It will be deep and lasting if it's just encouraged as it comes. If you NEED something formal, though, try ABEKA. (Christian based). It's about as formal as it gets, but I hear you can get through it in about 2 hours a day. Maybe you can start there, and then transition a bit (if you choose?)

Hmmm...I just reread this before I posted and it sounds bossy and cocky. That's not the point at all, but I can't think how to say it better. Just that...it's easy to feel that you aren't doing right by your kids when you don't "school" them, but that in reality, often times it's easy to teach them SO much without the trappings of school. If you can let that go, then a lot of the stress surrounding it may go, too.

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#5 of 14 Old 04-11-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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We homeschool! DS will officially be starting 1st grade when the baby comes. I am not too worried about it. I guess if you had to put a label on our style, we're Waldorf inspired unschoolers. I am trying to help DS along a lot in the coming months with his reading... hoping that if he's fairly proficient by the time the babe comes, that will help cover a lot of schooling issues while I am in the newborn routine. He's very curious and self motivated, so I am not worried about school. More worried about things like feeding the family and keeping up DS's social calendar.

Mama to Zach 6-18-04 & Naia 10-13-10 Partner to the sweetest DH. Loving our life afloat. TV Free!
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#6 of 14 Old 04-12-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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Well, I don't have any children to homeschool yet, but that is the plan. I am very excited about it! I love teaching and learning and reading and the idea of sharing this with a LO that learns so quickly and (most likely) differently that me sounds wonderful.

I do have to say I am a little intimidated about it sometimes when I really think through things, but I have lots of time to figure it out and I think that as my kid grows it will come naturally.

Mama to Penelope!! born 9/19/10. Missing Elliott 10/10/09. And expecting expecting again Oct '14!
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#7 of 14 Old 04-12-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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we unschool here No curriculum or plan...just fun and learning through life.

I started homeschooling dd1 just about a month before dd2 was born. It went ok for a while, we were doing a sort of co-op with another homeschooling family but that turned into us following what the other mother wanted to do after dd2 was born and I just wasn't comfortable with how things were going. So, I enrolled dd1 in the charter Montessori school for the second half of kindergarten. She really loved it and I enjoyed my alone time with dd2. Dd1 enjoyed kindergarten so much that we decided as a family that she would go for first grade also. After first grade she was ready to come back home from school and we've been on the unschooling path ever since. I plan to send dd2 to preschool around the time that this babe is going to arrive. She's been asking all year to go with her friends and I think it will be nice to have a couple hours break three days a week where I can really focus my attention to the baby

Sarah loving wife to Scot...joyous mama to...
Emilee and Elaina and our newest addition Elliot Bell 9/15/10
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#8 of 14 Old 04-12-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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We homeschool but are still in the Pre-K/K mode and lean toward unschooling so don't face the curriculum timing issues you are facing. I guess my gut is that the beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility! If the baby comes smack at the "beginning" of the school year, then school starts later, or takes a break?

Liv, mama to three girls (September 2005, June 2007 and September 2010)
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#9 of 14 Old 04-12-2010, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ah. I'm very much NOT an unschooler (not to mention there are no fun life learning activities here - unless you want to learn about boats, rivers, salmon, fishing, native culture - etc - which we are already immersed in because we have and do and see all of that every day) so I'm an I-need-a-curriculum that I supplement myself type of person. Could explain why y'all feel laid back and I do not

Mom of 7, ages 12, 11, 8, 6, 4, 3, and 18 months!grouphug.gif
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#10 of 14 Old 04-12-2010, 09:27 PM
 
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happyblessedmama - I would think ALL of those things you mentioned (boats, rivers, salmon, native culture, etc) would be FULL of natural, life learning opportunities!
You can make math out of anything! We do most of our math grocery shopping (also practice writing with list making) When my little guy mucks around our rivers and creeks, we count and sort the critters he catches (and releases). You could graph the tides, calculate how fast the river is moving with some simple experiments, length to width ratios on boats, charting/ graphing boats types, reading boat names. Etc Etc. When you said there were no fun life learning activities in your area, I pictured you living in a boring sub-division in mid-Nebraska. It seems like being an engaged mama in the sort of environment you're in, you can't go wrong.

Mama to Zach 6-18-04 & Naia 10-13-10 Partner to the sweetest DH. Loving our life afloat. TV Free!
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#11 of 14 Old 04-12-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by happyblessedmama View Post
ah. I'm very much NOT an unschooler (not to mention there are no fun life learning activities here - unless you want to learn about boats, rivers, salmon, fishing, native culture - etc - which we are already immersed in because we have and do and see all of that every day) so I'm an I-need-a-curriculum that I supplement myself type of person. Could explain why y'all feel laid back and I do not
I'll try. Reya's 11, she was in public school til 1/2 way through 3rd grade. She's remarkably stubborn and even at 7 knew that busy work was a waste of her time.. We stuck with it. We fought over homework nightly and it was just terrible. The fact is she's pretty damn smart. Her love of the discovery channel and animal planet really started it for us.. She'd come home from school, flip on the TV and start asking questions. If I couldn't answer them (and often I couldn't) we hit google. She is naturally curious and *wants* to learn. She doesn't want to waste her time. I get that.

When she was in 1st grade, they had a math problem 3 girls had 3 ice cream cones each.. First graders are supposed to come up with 3+3+3=9 My kid corrected her teacher and informed her that it was actually 3X3=9. She's amazing at understanding concepts. She really can't be ruined. If community college would accept her I have no doubts that at 11 she could pass a pre-algebra class.

I think a lot of it has to do with your kid and who they are as a person. How much structure do they need ect. I'm not a total unschooler, but I do let her interest guide what we're learning and tailor her state objectives to her interest. I just think about how much actual class time I spent in school bored out of my mind because the teacher was going over things for the 3rd, 4th, or 5th time and how much of my life was literally wasted.

Last year we did K12 and R had to take the TAKS test (Texas assement something something). She missed 1 question on the math portion. She came out of the test and asked me about it because we hadn't covered any geometry. She knew she missed it. The reading and writing had her tracked for 8th grade at the end of the 4th and that was after doing maybe 2 hours of school a day for over a year. Many days we don't even sit down for that if I can see that she's got some project in the works.

I was very very very anti unschooling for a long time, til I started HSing and saw how much more material we covered in a way shorter amount of time than the public school was. At that point it just got easier and easier to follow her lead.

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#12 of 14 Old 04-13-2010, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well yes - and of course we take advantage of everything we have to offer here - but as far as museums, hiking, nature trails, childrens' activities - we don't even have a swimming pool - there's NONE of that here.

Mom of 7, ages 12, 11, 8, 6, 4, 3, and 18 months!grouphug.gif
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#13 of 14 Old 04-15-2010, 08:40 PM
 
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great thread, great responses, thanks so much, its felt really good reading this! I discovered free/home/unschooling philosphophies the year before I even knew I'd be a mom, and it felt so right, its definitely in the cards for this family! To all you wonderful ladies, Thanks for sharing such great experiences!

Mama to 2: 2twins.gif 12/7 and 9/10
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#14 of 14 Old 04-16-2010, 08:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by happyblessedmama View Post
Well yes - and of course we take advantage of everything we have to offer here - but as far as museums, hiking, nature trails, childrens' activities - we don't even have a swimming pool - there's NONE of that here.
I don't think that you need the extra stuff. It's the everyday HOME life used for their education. It's sending them in with a $5 and telling them to get a gallon of milk, but asking them first how much change they should get back. Or needing a shelf, and having your child build it...but showing him a bit of geometry on the way. Instead of letting them get out a 1/4t of salt for a recipe. Show them that you can put 4 of those in a teaspoon first. See! The bottom number tells you how many it will take to make the bigger unit!

It's all those little one liners of life that add up. Not fancy museums and expensive experiences.

Through a lot of experimenting over the last several years, I've found that I just can't do anything regimented and overly formal. The sit down stuff. Everytime I try, it feels so flat, and empty, and shallow compared to what we've had. Anything that I DO do formally, I cluster around times of the day that are non negotiable...mealtimes and bedtimes. Those have to happen everyday.

So, while I have them at the table, I do a bit before they get down. We have cards of various things hanging around our dining room. (Math facts, Spanish and French vocab, some vocab words, and other math cards. Also a poem we are memorizing, and a Psalm.) Before we eat, we go through the cards. It takes less than a second per card. It's the repitition that gets it in. She reads to Daddy before bed, and he reads a book about history to her. I do a little abstract math after lunch. I usually finish eating first, so I pull out the book and do it orally as they finish eating. She gets most of her writing practice by writing letters to friends and family, and she's still young enough, from stringing beads, and things like that. I've made a few "books" for her by stapling construction paper on the outsides of things I've printed from the computer. So...she has an alphabet coloring book she's welcome to work on whenever she wants. Bits get done here and there. (She's known her ABCs for forever, by the way...). I heard about a lady who got special time with each child by sharing a chore with them. She made their special thing together instead of work (doing the dishes for one, bringing in the cows with another, etc). So, even the need for one on one time can be fulfilled in our busy days.

There's more that I work in here and there, but my point is that you can work in a ton just by living and getting into the habit of explaining everything. They really only need to hear most things once, usually, and the enormous burden of "schooling" is nearly erased.

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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