Author Topic: Homeschooling  (Read 10436 times)

Offline Herbal Prepper

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Homeschooling
« on: May 24, 2010, 06:39:52 PM »
We're planning on homeschooling our kids.  Our goals are to raise them to be as self-sufficient as possible, as well as free-thinking adults.  While their education is going to have a lot of hands-on skills (growing food, how to build houses/barns, beekeeping, and other homesteading-related skills), they still have to learn all their regular subjects.

I'm perfectly comfortable with teaching a number of classes (Math, English, Foreign Languages, Music, basic science, etc.), I'm curious about how other survivalist homeschoolers approach teaching subjects like Social Studies, History, Economics, etc.  Most textbooks in our public schools are very one-sided, biased tomes of misinformation. 

Does anyone have any suggestions for text books or other books appropriate for teaching an alternative to what's generally crammed down the necks of schoolkids to prepare for standardized tests?

Thanks,
Cat

Offline Dagny

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2010, 06:57:30 PM »
I am currently using a curriculum that I *loosely* use called First Step (which is for K-2 - an associated curriculum called "Connect The Thoughts" is roughly for 3rd grade and up.)

I like this curriculum because it approaches these subjects almost exactly the way I would approach them, but the talking points, activities, and topics are all laid out for me.  For example, History starts out with topics such as "What is history? Why do we study it? What can we learn from it?" and then goes into truth, opinions, lies, misconception - how ALL of these can occur in real books. At the K-2 level, a lot of what is discussed is context-building - learning geography, world religion, culture, etc, to prepare the child to have a *context* for the more detailed events and progression that will be studied later on.  Science (at this age) focuses primarily on measurement, observation, activities tackling topics such as how to prove or disprove a statement, along with the typical fun/exploration stuff. He also has a Creative Writing unit which I enjoy (Starting with basics such as - how words only mean something because we agree that they mean something, etc.) and for the lower grades a unit called "Living Your Life" which outlines basic life skills for children such as time management, responsibility, money management, etc. I use all of them loosely with my own spin on them, and they are singly produced by a father/educator who does not have an editorial staff so I sometimes clean up some of the reading material before I present it to my child, but I think it's pretty good stuff that really serves as a useful tool for the purpose I want to achieve by homeschooling my kids.

Offline cliffyp

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2010, 07:11:46 PM »
My Wife and I also plan to home school our boys (currently 9 months & 2.5 years).  There is a book that I read that really helped to energize me toward homeschooling and totally got my wife on board.  The book is "The Well Trained Mind" www.welltrainedmind.com  It's written by a mother daughter duo, the daughter having been home schooled and now a college grad and master degree (maybe doctorate, can't remember).  It isn't a curriculum per se, it's more of a mile high view with recommendations for books and curricula through each stage/grade level.  If you made it threw half the recommendations of the book you would be one well educated individual.  I can't recommend it highly enough

Offline Dagny

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2010, 09:06:51 AM »
There are aspects of the classical method ("Well-Trained Mind") that I think are absolutely spot on, but I think those that stick to a classical method *too* much miss out on some of the newer approaches to education that actually are worthwhile. Not every new idea related to education has contributed to the problems in education today. I think some people who stick to classical methods throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to good, new ideas about how children learn, or even rejecting new subject matter. I question the validity of studying Latin to fluency in 2010, for example - unless you plan on going into linguistics, there's minimal purpose in doing so. It used to be Latin was the universal language for all western scholars, and that is no longer the case. I'd rather spend the time bringing my kids up to speed with modern math and science.

Offline mskoyote

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2010, 09:39:08 AM »
The goal of Latin within classical education is not so much learning a foreign language to fluency as understanding the basis of the English.

That said, I go back and forth between whether I want to actually do Latin, or start with a language currently in widespread use, and supplement with English From The Roots Up, which accomplishes similar goals, in a few years.

I think it's good to keep in mind that The Well-Trained Mind is not intended to be followed to the letter. I believe it says as much in the book, and the author says on her website that the included description of the curriculum includes much more work than her kids actually did, in order to appease the publisher who felt it wasn't "enough". You're fully expected to pick and choose what parts work for your family.

Offline javabrewer

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2010, 10:44:48 AM »
Teaching your child a working language, unless they will become a time traveler, will be infinitely more useful than learning Latin.  Infinitely.

Seriously though.  Part of keeping an open mind when teaching includes examining ideas you may not necessarily agree with.  Such as the recent controversy regarding the Texas education board's decision to exclude 'separation of church and state' from textbooks because it wasn't explicit in the Constitution.  Teaching abstract ideas as fact rather than what they are (motivators, ideology, speculation, philosophy) can cause contradictions and add confusion.

Ethereal topics like philosophy and historical interpretation are not the bulk of the teachings and too much emphasis on their importance will detract from more practical topics.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2010, 11:51:16 AM »
we are doing Latin.  We started when son was 6, and need to get the next book (using Prima Latina).  I have been very impressed with how much those 25 lessons have taught him about ENGLISH.  the grammar, the vocab......
when we come across a Spanish word, or a french or Italian, or even a new English word, and he asks what it means, I can often  ask him "well, do you know a Latin word that sounds similar?" and he usually does, so we talk about it, what the common root is and what it means, and he catches the meaning of the words quick.

I saw a study once, I will have to see if I can find it, that of SAT-takers who have studied a foreign language, those who studied Latin had the highest language scores (and Spanish had the lowest).  I am not going to go so far as to be able to read Virgil or translate High Church Latin, but I think that learning some more will be a useful tool.  We will be continuing it.

Offline mskoyote

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2010, 01:56:46 PM »
when we come across a Spanish word, or a french or Italian, or even a new English word, and he asks what it means, I can often  ask him "well, do you know a Latin word that sounds similar?" and he usually does, so we talk about it, what the common root is and what it means, and he catches the meaning of the words quick.
This is kind of what I'm thinking. When I started looking at Latin, I noticed that a lot of it (not just the vocabulary, but the grammar) seemed like it would be helpful for Spanish.

If it were a matter of choosing one language over the other, and that's all the kid was ever going to learn, Spanish would be the clear-cut winner. However, there seem to be a lot of potential benefits of starting with Latin and adding Spanish in a few years.

Quote
I saw a study once, I will have to see if I can find it, that of SAT-takers who have studied a foreign language, those who studied Latin had the highest language scores (and Spanish had the lowest).  I am not going to go so far as to be able to read Virgil or translate High Church Latin, but I think that learning some more will be a useful tool.  We will be continuing it.
I'm curious how much of this is correlation vs. causation. Obviously, Latin is going to be helpful with vocabulary, but it could be that students choosing to take Latin are likely to be, on average, more serious, dedicated, and/or intelligent, or that schools that still teach Latin tend to be more academically rigorous as a whole, while Spanish is more of a lowest common denominator.

Offline cliffyp

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2010, 02:33:24 PM »
As with most things there's no one right answer.  There is no one end all be all curricula.  The original post pertained to the future prospect of homeschooling and not knowing where to start or what to use.  The reason I mentioned The Well Trained Mind is because it is somewhat of a repository of ideas and places to look.  It lists many different curricula for different subjects.  As Jack says many times, we shouldn't be listening to one thing as god, we should pay attention and take for ourselves what makes sense for us.  If you don't think Latin is important than don't study it, study a different language, perhaps Mandarin Chinese.  Anyway, I think the Well Trained Mind is a good read for anyone homeschooling or thinking about doing it.  Take from the book what you want.

Offline Shadowrider

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2010, 09:00:44 PM »
It's been 10 years since we homeschooled, but among other texts, we used Beautiful Feet Books http://www.bfbooks.com/ for teaching history through literature. There is nothing as great as reading and loving history through fine literature. I wish I had learned history this way instead of through government schools making me memorize dates.

We also used the Principle Approach. www.principleapproach.org

And Saxon for math.

Offline Dagny

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2010, 02:03:16 AM »
A warning about Saxon Math for those with young children:

Saxon was used in the public school with my 1st grader, and it was absolutely atrocious.  Once I started homeschooling and began to look at curricula, I couldn't figure out why everyone was lauding Saxon Math, including the author of the history and science curricula I use as guides and love.

Then I saw a video for the Robinson method of homeschooling (which I think has some good stuff as well as deficiencies), which was linked to from this site. Anyways, Dr. Robinson (who used Saxon Math) mentioned off-hand in the video that the Saxon Math curriculum as originally designed started in.. I don't recall - 4th or 5th grade - that "Saxon 4" was (I think) was the original book.. there was no Saxon 1, 2, or 3 - that it was presumed (I guess) that the basic math facts could be taught absent his curriculum. However, these earlier levels of the curriculum were added later at the behest of public schools and that these early levels (to use Dr. Robinson's words) had the kids "spinning their wheels" for 3 years.

Wow, I couldn't agree more. In 1st grade public school my daughter just got worksheet after worksheet of single-digit addition problems... for months.

Now, I haven't taken a look to see if Saxon Math 4+ is what people claim it is, but I *can* say with a great deal of certitude that Saxon 1 is gawd-awful.

We are using a curriculum called Math Mammoth. You can Google it. It paces kids through those early years at a much more sensible pace, and introduces the structure and pattern when it comes to learning basic math facts - whereas Saxon 1 is just random memorization. Math Mammoth also intersperse lessons in time-telling, money counting, basic geometry, spacial reasoning, and simple fractions - and also provides a firm foundation in place value (which comes naturally for some kids, but not for others.) It is really well done and worth looking at.

I know curriculum choice is a personal matter but.. I just don't see Saxon 1 doing the job.

Offline Shadowrider

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2010, 07:00:15 AM »
Hi Dagny. Good information.

I should have clarified that we didn't start using Saxon until 6th grade or so. So to others reading my recommendation for Saxon, take note because I have no experience with the younger grades. Same with the other sources I mentioned. Our daughter came to us in 4th grade and we didn't start homeschooling until 5th grade. Worksheets as Dagny described were one of the reasons why we homeschooled! Ugh! I liked Saxon because each lesson built on the previous lesson and the math problems enforced what was learned the day before. I learned from it as well. Hey, I learned a that I missed a LOT in government schools and I had decent grades.  ::)

Offline Dagny

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2010, 08:35:56 AM »
You are not alone Shadowrider - I think a lot of people start homeschooling around grade 4 or 5  - when the pre-adolescence starts to kick in and you start really seeing some of the flawed social dynamic and agenda-driven curricula in public school. The author of the curricula I use for science and history - his original focus was "Connect The Thoughts" which starts in 3rd or 4th grade - he added his lower elementary "First Step" later and by his own admission he did not go back and look at the early levels of Saxon math that went along with his recommendations.

On a similar note the "First Step" curriculum I use is very flawed in terms of just basic copy editing etc. It is just not as thoroughly developed and edited as the material he has for higher grades which has had more use and time to have had the kinks worked out. I have had to edit First Step materials myself before using them. But I use it because it is a valuable organization of what kids should be taught at younger ages, and that is SO hard to find - especially if, like me, you are trying to stay away from a Christian-based curriculum.

I've found that the people I resonate with have the philosophy that REAL education, in the way we think of "formal education" does not really begin until about age 9 or 10 anyways. Prior to that it is mostly abound providing a foundation and context for what will be learned once the child is more mature. Reading fluency, writing proficiency, a mastery of math basics, basic life skills, and a basic understanding of the way the world works are the best things to teach your children prior to age 9 or 10. Historically, students at this early age did most of their learning by doing functional things in their environment. A lot of curricula confuse the matter and make it needlessly complicated. Trying to teach a child of 6 about ecosystems and how to protect them - common in public school these days - is a waste of time when a lot of children that age cannot yet identify their local flora and fauna.

My child in 1st grade public school spent all of "Black History Month" talking about black Americans. I am all for studying the contributions of African Americans, but what does the emphasis on "black Americans" in February teach 1st graders? It teaches them "Huh, for some reason, we must segregate historical figures due to their skin color when we study them." First graders did not walk into the classrooom with a preconceived notion that history is all about white men, but by feeding 1st graders "Black History" we are teaching them that blacks are in a separate category that must be studied independently from the rest of history. How about we teach first graders WHAT history is, WHY we study it, and then teach the geography, culture, religion - truth, opinion, lies, justice and injustice - and then when we get to the 5 W's we can incorporate people of all backgrounds and their contributions.

Anyways, a lot of these erroneous early-elementary approaches to all subjects are replicated in homeschool curricula as well. I think by upper elementary, most people figure out that kids can more or less learn the same way adults do - by reading real books and through independent study - albeit with some additional adult guidance. Lower elementary, they really can't, so a lot of the curricula falls back on the public school model and all its problems.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2010, 08:40:37 AM by Dagny »

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2010, 08:56:10 AM »
we have stepped back on our hs curriculum for the kids.  (8, 6, 3, 1)
we do math and language arts every day and piano practice.  Between those three things, we are covering a lot of skills.  Oh, and the kids read read read.  when they are not outside building sandcastles, bothering kittens and chickens, climbing on rocks and running in the fields.

oh, and I like Math-U-See for our math.  it has a great beginning skills way of teaching.  Every lesson has 3 pages of new skills and 3 pages of review from that lesson and previous.

We are also using the Well-Trained Mind as our "method" book.  i have heard Susan Bauer speak, and she is an incredible educator.  I want to be like her when I grow up  ;)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2010, 08:59:49 AM by Morning Sunshine »

Offline mskoyote

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2010, 09:04:39 AM »
Now, I haven't taken a look to see if Saxon Math 4+ is what people claim it is, but I *can* say with a great deal of certitude that Saxon 1 is gawd-awful.
I haven't used Saxon myself either, but this is exactly what I've heard from most people who have.

The main criticism of Saxon, at all ages, is that it's boring. However, it's generally considered well-designed and effective for grades 4+.


Offline LvsChant

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2010, 11:02:03 AM »
OK... I must beg to differ on Saxon Math. I like it a lot for my kids. I didn't start using it until 4th grade, however. I used a workbook system (MCP) on grades 1-3. Then, I used Saxon 5/4 3d edition in 4th grade... 6/5 in 5th, 7/6 in 6th. I'm taking my now 7th grader into Algebra 1/2 for this next year. Not sure if I should have gone directly into Algebra I instead -- I'll adjust as I see how the book is working for us.

I find that they have a very thorough understanding of the concepts and are able to apply them to real-world situations very well. I don't make them do every single problem. They do the mental math, thinking problems and new topic materials with each new lesson. Then, on the Mixed Practice (review of previous material and some of the new topic), I only require them to do 1/2 of the questions. Makes it more palatable and they still get a good solid review and don't forget concepts.

Offline kimber

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2010, 08:11:40 PM »
Hello Everyone!  I've been homeschooling for 13 years now. My oldest just graduated from our homeschool high school!! Curriculum choices are so vast and can vary from child to child. I have used a different curriculum for each child in areas such as math and language. Every child learns differently and one of the main benefits of homeschooling is being able to find a program that is just right for each child. Don't be afraid to scrap a curriculum that isn't working. Sell it on ebay!

For subjects like history, science and Bible, we study together. All the kids. I teach a subject or time period and assign projects or assignments geared toward each child's grade. Easy example: Pilgrims: Younger one may draw me a picture of what the learned from the lesson, 5th grader may do a report on Indians specific to the east coast, olderest may do a report on the Mayflower compact. You get the idea. Do the same for science and Bible.

My best advice to any new homeschooler would be to find a local and state support group and attend a state homeschool convention. At a convention not only can you attend seminars but you can actually look at and thumb through the curriculum. That is truly the best way to choose a curriculum.

The methods out there are numerous. Do some research on the internet and read some of the styles and methods. I like Charlotte Mason and lean a little toward unschooling...now.LOL! I used to think unschooling was ridiculous, but as I matured as a homeschooler I learned to appreciate that style.

Some good books: Homespun Schools by: Raymond and Dorothy Moore
For the Children's Sake by: Susan Schaeffer Macauley
Charlotte Mason Companion by: Karen Andreola


  Have fun learning with your kids because you sure will learn things!!

Offline Shiba

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2010, 09:04:44 PM »
I don't have kids myself, but I'm 28 and was homeschooled and I am so thankful to my mom for it! Kudos to the parents that are teaching their kids! I would definitely homeschool my kids. It was a great experience.
I wanted to offer two resources:

Home School Legal Defense Association
www.Hslda.org

100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy
ISBN-10: 0805431381

Offline OKGranny

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2010, 11:40:39 PM »
Hello Everyone!  I've been homeschooling for 13 years now. My oldest just graduated from our homeschool high school!! Curriculum choices are so vast and can vary from child to child. I have used a different curriculum for each child in areas such as math and language. Every child learns differently and one of the main benefits of homeschooling is being able to find a program that is just right for each child. Don't be afraid to scrap a curriculum that isn't working. Sell it on ebay!

For subjects like history, science and Bible, we study together. All the kids. I teach a subject or time period and assign projects or assignments geared toward each child's grade. Easy example: Pilgrims: Younger one may draw me a picture of what the learned from the lesson, 5th grader may do a report on Indians specific to the east coast, olderest may do a report on the Mayflower compact. You get the idea. Do the same for science and Bible.

My best advice to any new homeschooler would be to find a local and state support group and attend a state homeschool convention. At a convention not only can you attend seminars but you can actually look at and thumb through the curriculum. That is truly the best way to choose a curriculum.

The methods out there are numerous. Do some research on the internet and read some of the styles and methods. I like Charlotte Mason and lean a little toward unschooling...now.LOL! I used to think unschooling was ridiculous, but as I matured as a homeschooler I learned to appreciate that style.

Some good books: Homespun Schools by: Raymond and Dorothy Moore
For the Children's Sake by: Susan Schaeffer Macauley
Charlotte Mason Companion by: Karen Andreola


  Have fun learning with your kids because you sure will learn things!!

That's one thing I've tried to emphasize with other home schooling Mom's. My kids were so vastly different that you had to have a different curriculem or it just plain failed.

Offline frugalcountrymom

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2010, 01:29:38 AM »
Consider Unit studies that way you can fit in your own style. In a unit study you take one topic and study it in depth, exploring different angles. This is great for any age of child and can be done with different ages the same subject just different levels of study.

You can get a lot of the information via the web to be frugal

Samantha

Offline LupaWolf

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2010, 11:03:27 AM »
I homeschool my daughter.
We began in 4th grade and she just completed her freshman year of high school.
I chose enrollment in ABeka Academy.  They have a DVD program where she can watch classroom lectures.  Due to her media oriented personality, this has been great for her.  If its on a screen, she remembers it.  Over the years this has also allowed her to be self-motivated, more self-paced ( a little too self-paced sometimes ), and gives her a sense of control and personal achievement.  It is what was best for us.

I know many folks in the community who do unit studies and other self directed curriculums, but that was not good for us.  Using a set curiculum has freed us both and with the DVD teachers, we dont butt heads as much as we did in the beginning. 
"Mommy, how can they call them spelling rules when there are so many exceptions?  Spelling is dumb!  Its not logical!"  -- my child in 4th grade.   ::)


Offline dheisner

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2010, 03:00:48 PM »
We homeschool 4 right now.  We use My Father's World for most of the curriculum, but also use MathUSee and Singapore Math.

It works well as my oldest is 11 and is testing 10th grade or higher on all subjects.

We've been homeschooling from first grade on.

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2010, 06:01:46 PM »
Be open to what your children want to study.  They are naturally curious, but often times forced education kills their desire to learn.  Our oldest was homeschooled up until the 8th grade (last year) and now he's a freshman in public high school.  Last year his end of the year report card average was all A's and one B (in math).  So far this year it's been all A's and they are all Academic courses.  He also made the Academic Team.   I can't take any credit because he taught himself.  I read some homeschool books that talk about how this really does work.  Don't think that you have to use a curriculum.  This did not work in our case and I ended up wasting over $200. 

Offline cearbhaill

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2010, 07:24:31 PM »
I was homeschooled through highschool. I did the Abeka DVDs in highschool and thought it was a great eduction. Especially the history and science classes.

Offline lavendereagle

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2010, 05:03:47 PM »
All my friends rave about Abeka. I would love to home school but need to work part time. I know of home schooling schools in PA (where they go to a school type setting 2 to 3 days a week) but haven't found one in NY. So it looks like my boy will go to a school in Sept:( Really sad about that.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2010, 05:12:20 PM »
All my friends rave about Abeka. I would love to home school but need to work part time. I know of home schooling schools in PA (where they go to a school type setting 2 to 3 days a week) but haven't found one in NY. So it looks like my boy will go to a school in Sept:( Really sad about that.

don't give up on it.  there are families who make it work.  there are single working moms who homeschool.  find a group in your area and see if anyone there can give you ideas on how to manage it.  If it is important enough to you, you can make it work.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2010, 07:38:30 AM »
... and even if you just can't homeschool right now, by you taking responsibility for your child's education, you can quickly correct any errors or handle problems before they become an issue for your child. There are many great resources for teaching your child to read, for example, that you can do yourself after school in the afternoons or evenings.

For example... my husband and I had an experience that shows how much you can do:

A young single mom was telling my husband at work how distressed she was about how her son was doing in school. Apparently, he just couldn't read well and the teachers were recommending he be moved to a special ed. classroom. His self-esteem was nil and she was absolutely beside herself with worry. We suggested a book called How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Your-Child-Read-Lessons/dp/0671631985 . (This was the book we used for both of our boys. They were both reading everything (including billboards and advertisements on the highway) before they finished kindergarten.)

Well... she refused to let them shuffle her boy off to Special Ed. and began using this book in the evenings to teach her own child to read. When we last heard about his progress, he was a straight-A student and doing just fine! She was so proud of herself and him for what they accomplished together.

As Jack says... "What you do matters."

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2010, 12:23:45 PM »
We're home schooling right now.  None of my children have ever been to a public school and if I can help it, they never will.

Offline CanOpener

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Re: Homeschooling
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2010, 12:23:08 PM »
If you ask yourself what you want your children to know,
when they grow up, so they can be functioning,
contributing adults: then you have started down the
path to choosing 'the curriculum' that will be best for them.

  It's never to soon to teach children how to grow food,
plant seeds, harvest, and help prepare for storage of food.
Kids like playing in the dirt.

You can start them on Probability and Statistics (Math)
by explaining that not every seed will sprout: nor every
plant make it to maturity. 
  A lot of libraries have book sales that youngsters go
gaga over:  being able to browse, find their own interests
and choose their own (parents may want to double check
content).  If you are fortuante enough to live near a military base,
 many of the libraries have "FREEBIE SHELVES".
   You can take what you want at no charge.  And/or put back on
the shelves any of your own books no longer needed.
  Specificallly with regards to curriculum, sometimes "No" curriculum will fit.
You have to find out what your kids like, what
they are good at, and you may have to mix or match: delete or add,
depending on what works.