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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are running on a trial this month but have decided almost certainly to withdraw ds1 and ds2 from school in the fall (public charter) at which they'd be placed in Kindergarten and Second grade. I will file my affidavit of intent to homeschool at the end of the month if they even sort of seem to continue responding positively to the increased family time together and the learning at their pace. Ds1 is really advanced in math (age 7 doing division and fractions and a grasp of theory that goes beyond many kids his age--he just finished third grade math at school) and pretty much on the higher end of normal in reading, curious about science but we don't spend much time reading or focused on him (one reason i WANT to homeschool) with the three littler ones. His enthusiasm has not been met with much challenge and encouragement from his tired parents, but we are trying to change that now. ds2 is 5 and pretty normal--he'll say a bright thing or two but he is mostly just interested in gross and yucky things, breaking stuff, physical challenges, and making jokes rather than giving a straight answer--he however is really sweet and sensitive and free-thinking and responds really well to even fifteen minutes of one on one time--he might not try to do it "perfectly" like his big brother but he is PROUD when he does it and he is creative. I am starting now in the summer because I want ot start the quality family learning time, I am ready, they are ready, and we want to make sure we are going to all be better off (i am SURE we are).<br><br>
I started just working a little more on fractions and division with ds1, giving him spelling words that relate to the human body, having him spend quiet time reading chapter books and creative writing (which he loves), writing the names of US states, capitol cities, and other countries and familiarizing himself with geography by flipping through atlases and playing find the country games...<br><br>
ds2 is on lesson 3 in Teach your child to read in 100 lessons and he is working on recognizing numbers (i know i am a bad momma that i never MADE him do this sooner, but let him romp and play) we are also doing number concepts simply by having him copy a three i drew and draw three smily faces, etc<br><br>
we are working toward five in a row later this week when i can find the right apology for the library that has not appreciated my lateness EVERY time i check out stuff...<br><br>
I don't really think I can afford a full curriculuum (i can't even spell it for goodness sakes and I am a thesis away from my master's) dh is already working 8am until 11pm most days at two jobs for the basics. I like the structured stuff a lot and want to join a local co-op which likes every member to have filed the affidavit before enrolling (so it will be a month or so) but have agreed to let me attend events at my wish). I am also looking into a pretty standard enrichment program that would be one day per week. I am most concerned about how to choose spelling words, how to teach history, how to know i have touched on the basics before moving on (like doing measurements or time before long division), and I want to know that they'll get AT LEAST as good but better be BETTER overall education in the midst of our crazy cluttered overcrowded loud lots of kids apartment and the small world of extras we have here (gosh i miss chicago museums and cultural pockets).....<br><br>
did i even ask a question here? hmmmmm<br><br>
thanks for any direction from experienced mommas <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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First of all congratulations on your decision. It's a tough one to make for a lot of people and so congratulations on that.<br><br>
I'll try to answer some of your questions.<br><br>
If you like structure you might want to read The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. It gives you basically a plan for K-12 for every topic and includes recommendations for materials, books, math curriculum etc.<br><br>
This same author also has a series called Story of the World which are 4 books and activity guides which tell the story of history and provides maps, reading suggestions, craft/cooking/game activities. It's not overly expensive and is a very popular history program.<br><br>
You might also try to find Rebecca Rupp's Home Learning Year by Year which is less structured than the Well Trained Mind and is a good place to start to figure out what kids should be learning at each grade level. She also includes suggestions for books and materials.<br><br>
We do the bulk of our homeschooling using library materials to keep the budget down. I am constantly impressed at what our library offers. We have chosen an inexpensive but wonderful math program called Miquon which is manipulative based, we do spelling (when we do it) from a very inexpensive book I got at a teacher's supply store, we use Story of the World for history, we do unit study type science using resources from the library and we do a country study co-op again with materials from the library.<br><br>
I spend my money on some good reference materials (we got a great deal on encyclopedias used from the library) and classic kids fiction. And then we supplement with good computer programs, board games and fun manipulatives and materials for science activities. And we get family passes to a couple of local museums, and a conservation area.<br><br>
You can sucessfully homeschool in a small town, with out a lot of money. You just need to be creative and work your community. Your kids might not get world class musicians, but they will still hear the same music if you attend a suzuki recital. You can have similar conversations about art in front of a Van Gogh, or at a local art show.<br><br>
As for the small space and crazy life - I have DH that works a lot, a just turned 7 year old, b/g 4 year old twins, a not quite 2 year old, a dog, a cat, fish, 4 butterfly cocoons, and a VERY small house without much of a yard. Yes it's crazy - but it is miles better than a sad, frustrated, depressed kid who felt separated from his family and a growing distance between what we wanted for our family and what school would 'allow'.<br><br>
Good luck!<br>
Karen
 

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Welcome to our board, and to homeschooling! Your kids sound adorable, and it also sounds like you are making a great decision for your family.<br><br>
I'm a homeschooling mom to two kids: My son is 10, and my daughter is 8. Each child left school at some point during 2nd grade.<br><br>
First, you and your family are in what's called a "deschooling" period, which is the period of time necessary for your family to shift gears from "school" thinking and being to "homeschool" thinking and being.<br><br>
Here's my preliminary advice to you: As far as school work goes, only do what is fun and interesting to your children for the next 3 months. That's right. Your children are very young, and have their whole lives ahead of them, so there is plenty of time for them to learn. If spelling words, and geography, and math are fun - do them! If learning numbers and letters is fun - do it! If there is boredom, or whining, sighs or tears, stop. Put it away, and do something everyone enjoys.<br><br>
Second - spend time reading all the books, and threads here that you can about the variety of styles of homeschooling, and discover what feels right for you and your family. There is no one right way, as they say, only the right way for your particular family.<br><br>
No one here is going to judge you for not teaching your young son his numbers. In fact, many of us here would applaud you for letting him grow and develop at his own pace. Yay you! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> You're in tune with the kind of kid he is, and waiting until he's really ready. And for your older son, you're seeing that he needs and wants more academic challenge, and you're providing that for him. That's exactly what homeschooling's all about.<br><br>
You don't really need to worry about any particular curriculum right now. You may find that you don't really need one, or you may want to read and read and read on homeschooling boards, and lists and figure out what might work best for each of your children. My kids use very little curriculum, but what they do use comes from a variety of sources, rather than from one supplier. This is a common way to homeschool - it's called "eclectic homeschooling."<br><br>
One more piece of advice: I have heard, and have also seen, that the families that try to duplicate school in their home are often the most stressed out, and have more of a tendency to put their kids back in school. I have a friend who just started homeschooling her dd8 in September, and all year I've told her that she does way more academically with her dd than any other homeschooler I know, or have ever met, and no wonder she's so stressed out. She constantly felt "behind" (even though her dd was working 1 - 2 grade levels *ahead* in every area) and let the curriculum control her homeschooling, rather than letting herself and her daughter dictate the pace. She didn't enjoy it enough. She's even been touring private schools and considering enrolling her dd for next school year. Just this past week, though, she had a breakthrough and realized she did about twice as much as she really needed to, and maybe that's why she was stressed.<br><br>
Think about this - I posted a link in another thread from a week or two back about time children spent on task in the classroom. They spend about 2 1/2 to 3 hours a day on task. That's it. And that includes high school classrooms! So, relax, have FUN, and read, read, read.<br><br>
Laura <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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wow mama, you are starting off with lots of energy! cool :)<br><br>
I just want to reiterate what others have said: stay relaxed, your kids are still very young and clearly already very bright. Doing less is definitely better than doing too much. Have fun, do interesting things, love your library.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks so much for the beginning advice. we aren't really spending much time doing lessons. Rather when I notice that they are starting to aggravate each other and tear things apart with boredom, I give them some *important* task they like to do and send them on an academic mission. They learn in 10-15 minute spurts throughout the day. ds1 wants to make a model of the earth tomorrow by painting a ball. not too much instruction there, just some paint and an old ball. maybe someday it will be a solar system (he suggested breaking an old umbrella to use the spines for setting the planets properly since in arizona we hardly need umbrellas, he said).<br><br>
I appreciate the feedback. I am a little familiar with the well educated mind, with which I wsa challenging myself (it is the book that indebted me to the local library when i was nine months late returning it...oops). I have a friedn who is a classical educator. I am inclined to a little more freeform with a good plan of where we want to be. I like the details of the set curriculum but not the inflexibility of it. I like feeling like i have touched all the bases but i don't want someone else writing the rules of the game.<br><br>
About the deprogramming (i mean deschooling0 i don't know if i will have too much of an issue there. ds's was in the charter school half-day for K and then full-day for first but he had independent reading and math classes and lots of influence from many different adults with their own expectations each day...he never go tot the THESE ARE THE RULES kind of stage...he was not *corrected* by me or former teachers for spelling phonetically, he was encouraged to do independent reading and writing throughout the school day, he questions EVERYTHING and he is very logical...i can just say this is how it has to be and he will say, you're right i can see why this is best for our family and ask a few questions, deal with the emotions and move on. i have MISSED him this last school year A LOT.<br><br>
I am REALLY looking forward to lots of shared learning with my four little boys.<br><br>
Thanks again. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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One thing I like about the classical approach is the chronological approach to history. You could just get a good history encyclopedia and use it as a bouncing-off point, read the stories then if something sounds interesting explore it further. No need to be rigid about it, but then you'd have some cohesion.<br><br>
Say, if I just happen to come across anything cool and science related, would you mind if I come over and get into it w/ your kids? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You can do science experiments anytime with my kids. I do NOT like science. I get angry enough when my baking doesn't come out perfectly, i could never do labs well. physics is nice and math based and i can apprecaite that, but i avoided ANY science classes in my 10 years at DePaul. Isaiah LOVES science. They are pouncing and crying and arguing again, I will have to focus--no more computer right now. catch you ladies later. thanks.
 

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<span>I know only too well how odd - and maybe even ditzy and irresponsible - this is going to sound, but I can tell you from 20/20 hindsight that your kids will learn just as much iif you do <i>not</i> do all that. You'd be <span style="color:#FF0000;">amazed</span> how much gets learned in the course of simply exploring interests and being exposed to a lot of interesting things and acivities. It's not as if you would never use a text for this or that, but that you honestly don't have to develop lists of spelling words and other facts to memorize - all that falls into place with great games, various activities, being read to, films, and all sorts of things in the course of your days. I was continually amazed in the course of our homeschooling. I have someone coming to the door any minute, so I'm going to post a link to an article about my family's experience and then get back here later for more comments:<br><a href="http://www.besthomeschooling.org/articles/lillian_jones_life.html" target="_blank">Homeschooling - A Wonderful Way of Life</a><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Lillian</span>
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">how to choose spelling words, how to teach history, how to know i have touched on the basics before moving on (like doing measurements or time before long division),</td>
</tr></table></div>
If you want to look at a typical course of study by grade level or subject this might help.<br><a href="http://www.worldbook.com/wc/browse?id=pa/tcs" target="_blank">http://www.worldbook.com/wc/browse?id=pa/tcs</a><br><a href="http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/learning/a/courseofstudy.htm" target="_blank">http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/le...rseofstudy.htm</a><br><br>
Spelling-<br><a href="http://www.edhelper.com/spelling.htm" target="_blank">http://www.edhelper.com/spelling.htm</a><br><a href="http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/toppicks/tp/learninglang.htm" target="_blank">http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/to...arninglang.htm</a><br>
Do a search for spelling list with the grade level you want and you can find a lot of them on the internet.<br><br>
History-<br><a href="http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/weblinks/lessonsSocStudies.htm" target="_blank">http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/...SocStudies.htm</a><br><a href="http://score.rims.k12.ca.us/" target="_blank">http://score.rims.k12.ca.us/</a><br>
I think a nice family project would be to research your family history and learn about events that relate them to your family tree.<br><br>
Some links to free stuff:<br><a href="http://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/teacherslounge/freebies.php" target="_blank">http://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/teac...e/freebies.php</a>
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thanks for the info. I will get tothe links later, as this is dinnertime and my kids are grating on each other's every nerve right now. i tried to get ds1 to take a placement test for singapore math and everyone's screaming and disturbing him (he really does best early in th morning, good mood, lots of energy--7pm doesn't work for focus for him) I think this is our basic plan:<br><br><b>The Story of the World</b> (susan wise bauer) volume 1 -- (i never learned world history in PS and ten years of college...sigh) with activity book<br><br><b>Singapore Math 3B</b> with workbook (to start)<br><br><b>Keep teaching ds2 to read with the 100 lessons book</b><br><br><b>Weekly science experiment</b> with dad for fun<br><br><b>Geography</b> as a fun thing<br><br>
Human Body, Environmental, US History, Social Science stuff <b>as they ask</b><br><br><b>Lots of reading and writing and art with a little unofficial grammar</b> thrown in<br><br><b>Some co-op activities or enrichment stuff</b> and lots of fun<br><br>
lots of individual family, moral, ethical, <b>discipline</b> and guidance which they will always need (be kind to others, take care of your body and your home, learn to cook, learn to clean, etc)<br><br>
no more lesson plans than that. I don't think i can do the full-out well-trained mind classical stuff just yet. we need to learn a lot about functioning together and creating a nice atmosphere.<br><br>
does this sound well-rounded enough?
 

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I think it sounds great, and similar to what we do - informally. The most structured subject we cover is math, and we also use Singapore. If your son doesn't get through the placement test, don't worry about it. My son could never have had the patience to get through that test when we started, so I just looked at what he had completed in school, and backed up one semester. I didn't choose based on the numbers on the books, which do not correspond to U.S. grade levels, rather I looked at the descriptions of what was covered and decided which level to get that way. It worked out just fine.<br><br>
If your ds finished 3rd grade math at school, you might want to start with 3A, getting the text only, and go quickly through it teaching yourself and your ds the Singapore method - especially the word problem method. This is usually what Jenny on Singaporemath.com recommends. If you've finished X grade, back up a semester OR, she often recommends starting at 3A even if you have a 4th or 5th grader, and go quickly through the text only until you hit a level where the child needs more work in the workbook, and then start at that level with the workbooks.<br><br>
My son has completed 2A through 4A, and is working in 4B, and dd also started with 2A, and is currently in 3A. We really like Singapore. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
Laura <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
thanks for the suggestion. he knows most of the 3A but has had a little trouble learning division rapidly and the words they use to ask the questions. he has always needed a little interpretation because he could do multiplication before he could really read LOL he is something else. the reason i wanted to start with 3B is purely economical. dh is already working 2 jobs and we just declared bankruptcy....we have to be REALLY careful with our money. But I do like your reasons and the suggestion to get just the book and not the workbook and get familiar. ds1 REALLY like worksheets, though. It is how he learns best, taking lots of notes on the page....maybe i should really rethink the "mental" math method of singapore, but it seems in line with what we are wanting. your recommendation is important too. ds2 will just work on numbers and simple addition this year and i won't buy a curriculum if i can get away without it. we'll see. K doesn't have to be really SERIOUS right? I was overwhelmed yesterday looking at packaged curriculum and i like the 50 bucks gets us 1 year of history and 6 months of math and a launching pad for the rest of learning, lots of goals too.....<br><br>
so much to decide. i am NOT buying ANYTHING for 2 weeks when dh gets commission and i get more ebay-related sales/profit. that's why i have been avoiding MDC...so tired of the computer (someone told me i need a rearview mirror on this thing to see my kids <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> ) here's to lots of family learning time <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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Since you're doing Story of the World for history, it's perfectly reasonable to roll DS2 in w/ DS1. You can have 1 read the stories aloud to 2, and while 1 might be writing reports or stories about it, you can just have 2 narrate what he's learned aloud, and both can do hands-on stuff that's related, with the result being at their respective levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I am actually between Story of the WOrld and Sonlight Core I (World History) buying ONLY the INSTRUCTOR'S GUIDE for 50.00 or so. For us it would be nice to incorporate biblical studies and devotion in with the reading and history. Either way, you're right, they would be best taught together and I will repeat in three or four years from the beginning of world history again.
 
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