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If you've had/currently have a child in a classroom, I'm interested in your story.

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What's with the ads?

#1 Susan Wise Bauer

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 07:04 AM

Forum folks,


I'm really interested in hearing any stories from those of you who have had, or now have, your students part- or full-time in a classroom situation. (In this case, I'm not counting co-ops as a "classroom situation," but a nontraditional school that meets three times a week would certainly qualify.)


Here's what I'm wondering: Were you able to use any resources/techniques/ideas from home schooling to help you customize your child's situation? In what ways did the idea of a parent-directed education make you able to take charge of the classroom setting? Or the reverse--did you decide to take a more hands-off approach?


For a long time, we've talked to "afterschoolers" who are doing one or more subject at home in addition to a traditional school curriculum, and I'm also interested in hearing from you.


Thanks. I'm very curious to hear the answers. I have a theory that the home schooling movement is having a "ripple" effect that stretches far beyond the realm of traditional home educators, and since I know that this board also serves many families who are in school settings, I'd like to hear from you.


You can post your stories here, or (if you'd rather be more private), you can email your thoughts to [email protected] 


Thanks for any help,



#2 Carrie12345


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 07:32 AM

Mostly hands-off in our case.

An administrator and two or three teachers contacted me before he started and in his first few weeks.  I shared brief summaries of our homeschool, my thoughts on placement, test scores and work samples, and diagnostic papers in person, over the phone, and via email (whichever way each approached me.)  They showed me respect and sounded interested, then did the exact opposite of everything I said.  Communication fizzled quickly.


In our case, ds was not happy with homeschooling, so afterschooling wasn't really a thing for us.  He decided he didn't like school, either, so he tested out as soon as he legally could and enrolled in college.  While that wasn't my, um, "dream" for him, I do think his experience as a homeschooler helped him to consider radical alternatives.  ;)

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#3 Laura Corin

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 07:40 AM

Calvin was at a Montessori school full time from ages 5-6, then part time (2.5 days a week) from ages 6-7.  The part-time year was really quite frustrating: I was meant to be taking on English and maths; the school did everything else.  In theory this should have worked fine within Montessori, but a lot of the activities that he would have loved took place partly on the days when he was not there.  There wasn't much give and take between the teachers and me: they were very much Montessori and followed the plan.  


When the boys went to school full time. at ages 13 and 10 respectively, I decided to be quite hands off.  Several of the teachers were appreciative of the boys' qualities that resulted from the home education background, but we wanted to make sure that the boys settled in fully at the school.  We stepped in a couple of times when things really seemed to be going wrong, but otherwise we let the school handle most things.

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#4 Ravin


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 07:50 AM

DD attended Eagleridge Enrichment Program, which is offered by the Mesa Unified School District in Mesa, AZ The years we homeschooled (1st-5th). I was mostly hands-off, though some of the class choices once she was in the grades where classes were chosen (3rd and up) I chose a few that played into things I wanted reinforcement for (AR proved a good motivator), and things we couldn't do at home (drama, choir).

Once she started a regular brick and mortar school, her familiarity with the classroom environment and changing classes helped. I provided her a lot of organizational support at first, and homework help, but by mid-year she had the hang of things and prefers to go to her teachers for extra help.
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#5 Quill


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 07:50 AM

Susan, (Can I call you Susan?)
My two teens are now at a private high school after having both been homeschooled up to grade nine. (I still homeschool my 10yo.) When my oldest, who is now in 12th grade, first attended school, I could immediately see how homeschooling helped me to help her. The school uses Saxon math. I immediately bought the answer key for the math text so I would be able to help her at home when she got stuck. I don't think I would have known to do that, or even assumed I could do that, if I had not homeschooled. There were also a number of times when a history project was assigned. We have hundreds and hundreds of books that my kids can and have used for these projects. In this way, my role is almost as a librarian; I know the content we have available and can point them in the right direction. Additionally, I have learned a lot over the years just by having taught them. It is obviously easier to help any student in school if you have the knowledge at hand.

It has helped as well by having learned about different learning styles. I don't think I would have known, for example, that my son can absorb assigned novels through hearing them much more easily than by trying to read them. So this has been a big help as well.

The main difficulty we faced in sending the teens to school was the time-consuming nature of school. Both have had an adjustment to make in learning to manage expectations from multiple teachers, stay on top of work assignments, and still have time for extracurricular activities. This transition has been harder for my son than I think it was for my daughter. In retrospect, I think it would have been better had he started school in eighth grade, rather than ninth. Now, we just have to do the best we can to make sure he manages his work.

I hope that helps!

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#6 Pawz4me


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 08:11 AM

This is pretty general info, but --


Our oldest attended public elementary school through fourth grade, and youngest through first grade.  We'd always considered homeschooling, but wanted to give PS a try and were very happy with it until it became obvious it wasn't meeting our boys' academic needs.  But we were never of a mindset that PS was totally responsible for educating them, or that learning occurred only during school hours or during home work.  Our mindset has always been that learning can happen any time and all the time.  So although while they were in elementary school we didn't do any formal after schooling, we were always cognizant of teaching/learning opportunities. That attitude is probably what made us consider homeschooling in the first place.


They both chose to return to public school for high school -- oldest to our local traditional school and youngest to an early college high school.  I think their years of homeschooling taught them to be intellectually curious and to not rely solely on one textbook or one teacher for their information, but rather to go search out information and answers on their own and from a variety of sources.


One specific example of how homeschooling helped is that oldest DS was a bit intimidated about taking (honors) pre-calculus in high school.  Even though he'd always done well in math, he was really concerned about it.  So I offered to buy him Teaching Textbooks' pre-calculus curriculum to work on over the summer so he could get a jump on what would be taught in school.  He readily took me up on the offer, worked on it several hours a week over the summer, and sailed through pre-calculus (and calculus) in school.  Had we not homeschooled it might not have occurred to me that there were resources like that available, or that we could take charge of learning something so challenging on our own, outside of the school system.

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#7 Roses4


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 08:16 AM

We recently (as in January of this year) enrolled our 4 kids into the local public schools.  One in 7th grade and the others at the elementary school in 5th, 3rd and 1st grades.  We homeschooled our 7th grader exclusively since she was four years old.  The three boys went to public school for the 2013-2014 school year and then were homeschooled this fall before returning to public school.  (We had a cross-country move this fall, hence our decision to homeschool the first half of this year.)  Before the 2013-2014 school year all our of children were homeschooled.


Our 5th grader was behind in math as his math curriculum (Teaching Textbooks) did not align with the school's math curriculum's scope and sequence.  So my husband and I both tutored him at home each afternoon for about a week to help him learn how to do the math problems from school.  After the first day of that we discovered our way of solving the problem was different than the method being taught in his classroom.  So we taught him our way first.  Then we figured out his math's teacher's method.  Then we taught him her method and told our son to use her method (so he would receive full credit on the problem).  Sitting down and working through his math was second nature to us, but I can't say that that is from homeschooling necessarily.  I was public schooled and my dad always tutored me at home for my high school math classes whenever I was struggling.


I insist that our children answer sentences in complete sentences on every homework assignment they bring home whether the assignment specifies it or not.  That is a carry-over from our years of using Writing With Ease and First Language Lessons. :)


I still make them rewrite their school assignments if they don't use their best handwriting, as I did when they were homeschooled.  I'm the fun mom, can't you tell? Ha! 


For our 1st grader, I am debating about supplementing with The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading on top of his schoolwork simply because I think he could benefit from it. I taught each of his older siblings how to read with that curriculum and they all benefitted immensely.   I've also been thinking about adding in All About Spelling. However, I think I will reserve both for the summer months because I don't want to have him to go to public school all day and then homeschool all afternoon.


During the 2013-2014 school year, I read SOTW Volume 1 as the younger boys' bedtime story each evening.  Neither of them received much instruction in history at school, which is my favorite subject, so I wanted to supplement it at home.


For our 7th grader, I'd say the biggest carry-over to her public school education so far is the dialogue.  We chat about everything.  She willingly shares with us all that she is learning in her classes and we talk about the issues.  We all had a great chat about evolution the other day, she quizzed us on our knowledge of the "Roaring Twenties" and The Great Depression, we brainstormed science fair project ideas together, we tutored her in math, we laughed about her "Advanced English" course being assigned an Agatha Christie novel, and so on.  Having an open and interesting dialogue about all subjects is very second-nature to us and very integral to her education and that, happily, hasn't been lost by her enrolling in public school (though perhaps the novelty hasn't worn off yet).  If anything so far, it has enhanced it.


Another perk of all our years of homeschooling is that we have collected a very nice library of books! They have already come in handy for our 5th grader's research presentation on Captain John Smith! He was able to find several resources at home to supplement what he found at school.  Also, as a family we sat and listened to him give his presentation to us at home as a rehearsal.  No one batted an eye at this.  We all used to learning together as a family and supporting each other.


And one more side note... I can credit homeschooling with helping to foster close sibling relationships.  Every afternoon I go to pick the boys up from school.  They all meet up in the cafeteria before we head out.  Well, without fail as soon as they lay eyes on each other they run to another and share a big group hug.  It is so sweet.  They are so happy to see each other again.  I think the other parents and kids are surprised to see this, but everyone agrees it is just precious.  Ok, not the feedback you were asking for, but just wanted to share. :)


If you have any specific questions, I'm happy to answer them! 

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#8 creekland


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 08:36 AM

I preferred to be pretty hands off when my youngest opted to return to ps for high school after homeschooling.  I did use my influence to put him in courses to start with and on occasion to direct who his teachers were, but being able to do so comes from my having worked at this school for years.  I'm not sure how much a true outsider can do.  I also helped him with homework when he had questions, but he never had many.


And since I work at this school and know his teachers personally, they also tended to let me know what was going on - pros and cons.  Fortunately there were more pros than cons.  He was very loved at his high school by both teachers and students.  He did, however, have problems getting some of his work done - on time.  This did NOT come from having homeschooled.  He's always been that way.  We did actually work on it with homeschooling, but then again, we also worked on picking up clothes and throwing away garbage and other assorted tasks that he didn't really pick up.


I wrote an apology letter to my future daughter in law here:





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#9 EKS


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 09:36 AM

I wanted to be hands off, and I was able to for several classes, but my son had a math teacher who did not teach (seriously, he talked about the time he spent somewhere in Africa instead) and so every day when my son got home, we did the math lesson that was supposed to be done.  After a month of this, I ended up buying the teacher's edition of the textbook they were using because I was tired of doing all of the problems myself.


It wasn't just me that thought the teacher wasn't cutting it.  He was fired at the end of the year.  My detailed and documented feedback to the head of school that was the thing that finally convinced her that something was terribly wrong.  Most parents don't know what to look for, and so they assume that if there is a problem it is because the student is either unwilling to do what it takes to do well or unable to do so--administrators do this too.  Through my tutoring I knew that my son would get the point of each lesson within minutes and would go on to be able to do the problems easily.  


Then there was the English teacher who treated the classroom as an audience for his stand up comedy routine--which would have been fine if he had also been doing some teaching.  Since he wasn't teaching any grammar or mechanics, I had my son do Hake 8 in his spare time (and bribed him to do it).  The teacher also wasn't teaching or really even assigning any writing, so I came up with my own writing program based on MCT's Essay Voyage that we did over the summer.  My son actually ended up loving the program, and he learned how to write a basic essay.  So when this same teacher had him in class the next year, he was amazed when my son produced a decent essay (he finally assigned one) as no one else in the class could (my son had also skipped two grades at this point, so it was more impressive I guess).  


This guy hasn't been fired, but he isn't teaching much English anymore, and I had something to do with that as well--again through detailed, documented feedback to the head.


So I don't know if what I did would be considered afterschooling or parental tutoring or what.  I do know that daily, intensive tutoring like that, if it is done by enough people, will mask poor teaching, and administrators will point to the kids who are doing well and take that as proof that the teacher is doing her job.  I also know that I would never have been able to tutor properly or provide specific, detailed feedback to the head of school (or even thought to) if I hadn't have been homeschooling for so long.  It is just natural for me to teach my children and because I've homeschooled all levels K-12, I have the expertise to step in at any time.  Apparently it is also natural for me to critique other teachers' teaching practices.  But I only stepped in when teachers were not doing their jobs.

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#10 Wendy McD

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 09:58 AM

Hello Susan,


After having our oldest three children graduate from our church's private school, I read The Well Trained Mind, and it changed our lives.  My husband and I had many frustrations with our oldest children's education.  We saw gaps, and a general "un-education" going on -- by fourth grade all three of them had lost their love for learning.  


Wanting something different for our younger children, we made the decision to educate classically.  It has been so wonderful!  We are finishing our fifth year of homeschooling, and our younger two children are motivated high achievers, who still love to learn!  One of the things we ordered for curriculum was the entire Story of the World history series. Brilliantly done!  I have recommended them to our homeschool community and know many others who have been using them as well. Thank you Susan, for including interesting stories to our history studies.  No longer just dry dates and facts -- History is now one of our favorite subjects! 


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#11 faithhope


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 10:11 AM

While my firstborn was in school (k-2) we after-schooled with Story of the World.  The activities and stories didn't make it seem like schooling, just something special we did together.  We added in lots of field trips to museums, zoos, and farms.  When she got a bad teacher in 3rd grade we decided to homeschool full-time.  She started taking community college classes last year (11th grade). I was glad to not have to teach every subject.  I can't help but continue to work the material into our lifestyle.  We still go on related field trips, or watch related documentaries as a family.  It isn't so much after-schooling her, but the rest of the family learning some of the material through the extras and being able to share in that.


My youngest has never been to school, but we think she will start taking community college classes in a year or two, and I plan to continue to add it to our lifestyle where I can.


My husband and I are scientists. It was nice when the astronomy class was taken and we could share our love of science with the kids, and nice when we went to museums and our artist could share what she had learned with us.  It looks like our youngest will be concentrating in music, so I think our life will be full of concerts for a while.  It has been great for my own continued learning to have the kids drag me in directions I wouldn't have sought out on my own.  I'm sure the schedule will be a bit less full next year as the older one goes off to college.


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#12 Veritaserum


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 10:26 AM

My oldest spent the second half of 8th grade and the first quarter of 9th grade in public school. We decided to send her to school because she wasn't applying herself at home. I took a hands off approach after getting her set up with her classes. I did check in with her about how she was doing in her classes, but she preferred to handle things without my interference. My style of parenting is to transition kids to independence sooner rather than later.

We ended up pulling her out to homeschool again due to bullying. I suppose being an experienced homeschooler helped me realize that was a viable option when the school didn't help resolve the issue. She is a more attentive and appreciative homeschool student now.

We may give school another try for next year. Her name is on the lottery list for a STEM-focused public charter high school on the campus of a local university. Students at the school get to take university level courses for free. About 85% of the students graduate with an associate degree at the same time they graduate high school. The school requires all new students to take a class on how to be a successful student (time management, organizational skills, study styles, etc.).

Homeschooling her for most of her education has probably given me more insight into what she needs/what would work best for her. It has also given her time to explore passions and develop skills that will be assets for the career she wishes to pursue.

My younger children would like to attend school next year, so I've put their names in the lotteries for the two charter schools that I like. Two of those children have birthdays within a few weeks of the fall cut-off. At home they both have been working a grade level+ "ahead." If they get accepted, I will see about placing them at the grade level above. The school that has more openings does teach math by ability level rather than grade level, which I appreciate.

I've never had an elementary school aged child attend school, but I expect I would be a more involved parent for students in that age group. I've warned the children that I might afterschool them and I would definitely have educational requirements during the summer if we decide to try school next year.
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#13 SKL


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 10:36 AM

I often suggest home schooling products to parents whose kids struggle in PS, as my eldest did.  I am not sure most people realize that they can easily purchase good supplemental material to use at home.  People are appreciative of this information.  I have even given PS teachers some pointers when their own kids have struggled because the school's curriculum (which they may love) isn't a fit for their individual kid.  So yes, I think there is a market out there, if that is your question.


I worked with my eldest pretty intensely for a couple of years after school.  Over that time, she went from really struggling with classwork (especially math), to being singled out as one of the more competent math students.


Both of my kids currently welcome the attention that is afterschooling, but one of them (who is advanced in school) is not fond of additional written work on top of full time school + homework.  She would like me to hold her hand through some more interesting studies, but I don't usually have time for that.


My goal is to develop my kids' ability to do all of their school work well, without extra assistance, as soon as possible.  They are in 3rd grade now, so I am not sure what "afterschooling" / homework help will look like in the future.  If I drop it because they are quite competent without me, I will consider that a success.  We'll still do something intellectually stimulating, but I'm not sure what.

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#14 SKL


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 10:42 AM

To answer more of your question, I've never felt like I could "take charge" of my kids' education beyond enrolling them in the school I chose.  I don't find the teachers flexible beyond whatever they are used to doing in their own classroom.  Despite many conversations and explanations and documentation regarding one kid's diagnosed issues and the other kid's advanced performance, nothing really changed.  This used to bug me when my kids were younger.


Now that my kids are in the 3rd grade, I really think it is better for them to take responsibility for what goes on at school, absent major problems.

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#15 Pam in CT

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 10:50 AM

Well, we've dipped in and out of both structured and informal part-time b&m/part-time homeschooling, punctuated with intervals of full-time homeschooling for time-limited specific circumstances, throughout, including:


  1. One kid in school most-time, augmented with Singpaore Math as her formal math program and WTM-style history/literature as supplement, for four continuous years (circumstances: inadequate math program at the school)
  2. Another kid in school most-time, augmented with PAF Orton-Gillingham based structured reading program, including Merrill readers (in which I got certified first; circumstances: kid with reading difficulties)
  3. Same kid temporarily pulled out and homeschooled full time in order to blast-concentrate just on reading remediation
  4. Another kid supplemented with WTM-style history/literature throughout elementary/middle school (circumstances: enrichment)
  5. All kids temporarily pulled out and homeschooled full-time for known-to-be-finite interval (circumstances = extended family travel)
  6. One kid in b&m school, using CTY online for Chinese (circumstances: subject not available in her school)


Are you looking for feedback on particular types of homeschooling resources?  


(The year we traveled, I really longed for an appropriate, portable science program.  Didn't find one and didn't do an adequate job in that domain.)




ETA: I came across the very first edition of WTM when my eldest, now 20, was in kindergarten.  It truly did change my life -- convinced me that I was primarily responsible for my kids' education and that I was their primary teacher whether or not I outsourced some or all of the actual teaching.  I also was on the "old boards" in the olden days and learned soooooo much about children, parenting and living a life both from the boards and from SWB -- books, lived experience, balance and grace.  So yes, you could call that a 'ripple effect,' though I'm not sure that term quite covers the magnitude of the effect!

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#16 KathyBC


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 10:53 AM

My two younger kids entered ps for the first time this fall, for grades 7 and 9. I have tried to take a very hands-off approach, available to help with homework but running as little interference as possible with the school. My daughter continues to struggle with math and halfway through the schoolyear, I am now coming to terms with the need to tutor or teach beyond helping with homework. Because we have Right Start Games and Teaching Textbooks 7 kicking around, I can do a little one-on-one on weekends to try to engender some actual understanding. Hopefully. Access to well-written curricula certainly highlights the poor quality of public school resources, such as my daughter's ps math textbook. Sometimes it seems like teachers have to work so hard to patchwork together what they want to cover in areas like Language Arts and Social Studies.

Homeschooling has definitely had the ripple effect in our family that we need to take ownership of our kids' educations, regardless of the setting. As well, I feel like a more well-educated resource for them to turn to, having recently learned and relearned so much myself on our homeschooling journey.


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#17 LanaTron


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 11:04 AM

Here's what I'm wondering: Were you able to use any resources/techniques/ideas from home schooling to help you customize your child's situation? In what ways did the idea of a parent-directed education make you able to take charge of the classroom setting? Or the reverse--did you decide to take a more hands-off approach?



I home schooled dc#1 all the way through 12th grade, and he is now in college. I am currently home schooling dc#4, who is in 6th grade. My middle two children home schooled through the 8th grade, then opted to attend the local public high school. Dd17 is in 11th, ds 15 is in 9th. 


Overall, the idea of parent-directed education has guided me in being more involved in what is going on with my kids in school, mostly in their class choices.


I have started each year of the past three years trying to "afterschool" at least a little bit with enrichment-type things like poetry memorization and a set amount of time for reading quality books. But they are both in band, and have a rather aggressive practice, performance, and competition schedule in the fall, AND my dh works an excessive amount because of the nature of his job, making me responsible for most of the goings on at home, so it gets hard to maintain any after school things.


In our school district, I do get quite a bit of power when it comes to the courses they are taking, and whether they are "regular", Pre-AP, or AP level. Even if a teacher doesn't recommend that my child take a Pre-AP or AP level course, I can override that. Mainly being a classical home schooler, and having read WTM has given me a standard to compare and try to guide my ps school kids' experience. Making sure they are taking the most rigorous plan they can, and learning across all subject areas for at least the first year or two, then allowing them to specialize as much as possible.


However, I have been able to customize slightly. Dd17 loves music. She is in band, choir, and is taking AP music theory this year. The graduation requirements in our state just changed (again) and although she is not required to take a fourth year of science, I am having her do so. I did relent on my personal requirement of 4 years of foreign language. She was studying French, and did the two years that are required. The French teacher is very old and on the verge of retirement, and has poor classroom management skills. My dd was going nuts in French class because of the bad behavior of the other students and the teacher's reactionary style, so I let her drop French. Besides, I figured that taking AP music theory in place of a third year french that is only offered at the "regular" level was the more academically rigorous choice.


My son, who is coming in under the new graduation requirements is not required to take world history :confused1:   :glare:  . They offered him the chance to take a second science next year, but I insist that he take world history. He will have time to double up on sciences (and specialize) in his Junior and Senior years. In addition to his academic classes and band, he is taking some vocational courses like wood shop (which they call principles of construction and architecture lol). For him, having a hands-on class is great, and learning practical life skills... which is something that I have tried to balance with academics in my home school.


I have taken a somewhat hands-off approach, though, to them learning to be responsible for getting their work done!! I keep up with their grades, fuss and stay on top of things when it is appropriate, applaud when they do well. When dd was first in school, her math teacher constantly sent updates, etc. on what was going on in class, and how the students were doing. This year, her AP English teacher and her AP US History teacher send updates on assignments, etc. via a group text system. I always ask if they have homework, and make sure they don't wait until 9:30 p.m. to start it!!


I always say I hate having them in school, because our particular school is meh when it comes to what I consider academic rigor, BUT they are happy and smiling and laughing and super-chatty EVERY DAY when I pick them up. Each of them was pretty miserable at home in the last year they home schooled. 

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#18 Joker


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 11:04 AM

My dds were home schooled through elementary school and entered ps for middle school in sixth grade. I continued to somewhat afterschool grammar. It's not really taught in ps so I continued to go through Rod & Staff but slowly and just every now and then. Oldest still goes through them for certain things here and there.

I'm hands off for school work unless they ask. Oldest is in a magnet school for the arts in a writing program and often asks me to read her assignments. Both dds will ask for math help every so often.

I am not hands off in regards to their schedules and teachers. This year I requested a meeting to have youngest switched to a different math course and different teacher. I usually always get what I ask for because they know I successfully home schooled, I am able to present my case clearly, and they want my dds in their schools.

I have noticed in talking with other parents here that it seems they are much more involved today than when I was in school. Many order their own copies of textbooks and know everything that is going on in the classrooms. Everything is online now and I can check it daily and see what assignments are due, what's been turned in, what's late, and what's coming up. It's makes it easier to be involved.
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#19 Nan in Mass

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 11:05 AM

Ripple effect...


We started homeschooling oldest because his public school teacher had taught some children who had homeschooled for a year or two and had discovered that they were intellectually curious in a way that her regular students were not.  She felt that the year she taught our son, she had seen him lose that (6th grade) and that this was sad and in our son's case, could be reversed by a year or two of homeschooling.


When we pulled him out, an aquaintance who is a middle school math teacher declared that he thought all boys should be homeschooled for middle school because at that age, boys don't learn much in a classroom situation.  The librarian told us that she thought that all children should be homeschooled until third grade because at that age, they are better off at home.  A number of teachers told me they wished they could homeschool their children, that my worst efforts were going to be better than anything they could do in the classroom.  All the teachers I spoke to have always said something along these lines.


When we put him back into school, the principal borrowed my copy of TWTM, which he had heard of and was curious about.  Unfortunately, this was a temporary principal so I don't know if he used anything from the book.


Middle one's college drawing teacher said he wanted his children to be like middle one and was going to be homeschooling them.  (I think this was middle one's curiousness and enthusiasm.)


Experiences homeschooling changing my attitude towards classroom education...


My attitude towards education is completely different, in too many ways for me to explain.  I am much more proactive.  I was guidance counselor for oldest when he decided to go to college after several years of plumbing and guidance counselor and college coach for his girlfriend when she decided to go to college.  I volunteered to "fix" a young adult's math so she could pass the community college arithmetic placement exams and enroll.  (I took her through the Singapore Primary Math 5th grade book over the course of a year.)  I reviewed algebra 2 over the course of a few months for another student who wanted to return to college after a spell away.  I have taught study skills to students who wanted to go to college.  (These were all either my children or friends of my children, nothing for pay.)  I never would have dreamed that a non-teacher could have done this sort of thing.


I've studied things for my own pleasure using the how-to-learn-anything method explained in TWTM and TWEM.


I've taken a hands-off approach once my children were in a particular class, but I have been heavily involved with choosing the classes, making sure they knew what they wanted to get out of it before it began, and making sure they knew how to apply study skills to the class and that it was their responsibility to learn, not someone else's.


Now that I know that one's education is something one makes for oneself, not a one-size-fits-most thing handed to one by an unapproachable "them", I have tried to teach my children to pay attention to what they are learning and customize their educations for themselves.  Sometimes I don't exactly like the effects of this, but in general, I think it is a good thing.  We are a family that alters and customizes everything we use.  Why shouldn't education be like this, too?  Especially education!!!  My children, all three, even the one who only homeschooled for 7th and 8th, look on education as a life-long process that isn't ever "done".  Again, this sometimes has effects that we'd rather it didn't, but in the long run, this is going to be a good thing.


Another odd effect of homeschooling is that I now know what some of the utterly useless-seeming tasks in school are meant to accomplish. : )







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#20 tenoraddict


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 11:13 AM

I don't know if this counts as what you're looking for, but here's our story. I homeschooled my eldest only through middle school; he was in a classical Christian school before that. Additionally, he took an Omnibus class from Veritas press in 7th grade. We put him in a (different) school for high school for myriad reasons. He's our future engineer and is receiving a quality STEM education, but I'm not entirely pleased with the humanities program at his school. (It was very hard for me to let go of that when he left homeschooling, because I'm a humanities girl. Let me focus on history, writing, and literature, and I'll be happy for eternity. But I know he won't ever write a paper or study history in his future unless he has to; hopefully he'll continue to read quality literature.) His school is a fairly rigorous, private, college-prep school, where an 85 is a C. So you'd expect that the level of education would be excellent across the board...at least *I* did.


The required reading during the school year at this school is not bad...not what I would choose, not enough classics, but not horrible. He had already read some of the books required during his freshman year. But the summer reading books were rubbish - three years now, and they're rubbish. Pop culture or so tragic that we both felt mildly depressed after reading them.  I finally spoke up this summer, contacting his teacher (Junior year), who is also the department head, because one of the required books this past summer was so full of profanity and filth that I could not, in good conscience, pay thousands of dollars for him to read it. She understood and suggested an alternative: Huck Finn. Which he read in 7th grade. So she and I got into a conversation about that book ("Huck Finn should be required reading for eveyone in the world," I said. "It's too hard for my Juniors," she replied. SERIOUSLY?!?!?).


During his freshman year, I took on the History teacher, too. Everyone said, "She's a right of passage. You just have to get through the class." I don't think so. Especially not when I'm paying tuition. (Not that it should be OK in public schools, but when parents pay tuition, you're working for them, not the government.)  She made things harder for him after I spoke to her (always a risk), but she was forced to give him praise when he earned the highest grade in the entire freshman class on the Candide term paper at the end of the year.


The previously homeschooled kids we know who attend/attended this school have excelled for the most part, so the school is understanding that there just might be something to homeschooling after all. My son consistently receives the highest marks for grammar (when kids who've been educated from preschool at this school are failing).


I was trained as a teacher in college and have never been afraid to speak truth to power. But in spite of that, I think it's been homeschooling that has empowered me by teaching me that *I* (OK, my husband and I) am in charge of my child's education. Not the school. Not the teachers. The other parents at the school don't seem to grasp that. I don't expect to change that school. In fact, we pulled his younger brother from it after one year and will not send his youngest there at all. But I will keep pushing through the next 5 marking periods until he graduates, fighting for the best education he can receive there (and doing my best to not embarrass him in the process).

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#21 Plum Crazy

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 11:28 AM

When I decided to pull my son out of public school in 4th grade, I had already thought a long time about homeschooling him. I was afterschooling him before I even knew the term. He was well ahead of the class, so I decided to take a step toward homeschooling and put him in an online charter for 4th. We finished the year and I homeschooled him from 6-8th grades. He’s back at the online charter for high school.


Going back to the online charter after homeschooling, has most definitely given him an advantage. I was very hands-on the first two months and then I stepped back into a more supportive role. I sat with him for the first couple of weeks which were really rough. We made a chart of each teacher’s requirements, lesson times, extra credit opportunities, test and study guides, etc. It helped keep him organized and much less overwhelmed than some of his classmates. I think I prefer the online school to a B&M (if I couldn't homeschool) because I can be more hands-on and he can be more independent. I can see his schedule and what he's completed for the day. If I need to, I can email the teachers or remind him to do that extra-credit for geometry because he could use the practice as well as the bump in grade. ;)


Homeschooling has made us more resourceful when he can’t quite get down a topic or to supplement. Other parents may not know of the Art of Problem Solving videos, Crash Course Biology, Quizlet for vocabulary practice or have the number of reference books in their living room at the student’s disposal. Education is a lifestyle for us. We watch supplemental videos during lunch. It's integrated throughout the day, making studying less about cramming for the test and more about learning it. 


The online school shows us the entire semester of lesson plans and he knows how to look ahead and see what projects are coming up or if he doesn’t plan it out right, he’ll end up with 3 tests and an essay in one day. Well, okay I still point that out, but he is starting to see it and plan it out for himself. :rolleyes:  He’s also used to being independent. He’s a night owl and would do some work at night before bed without prompting. He gets his work done his own way.  


I will say a disadvantage is being so used to working at your own slow pace. There’s no bell that is pressuring him to finish his subject in 55 minutes. My son takes his own sweet time, sometimes working on a paper all day long to get it just right.  We’re working on that since timed essays will be in his future.


I think that because we homeschooled, the kids have a deeper knowledge of themselves and their strengths and weaknesses.  They are more resourceful in developing what really interests them and we are discovering along the way how they learn best.  My younger two are complete opposites, but I'm still able to to teach to their strengths. We look at education differently. Homeschooling teaches them that learning is fun, not boring. It doesn't have to be just lectures and input. There's a lot of hands-on fun ways to experience education. We are not bound by style or tied to a curriculum like the ps system; we are very eclectic. I entered dd7 into the lottery for a local arts-integrated charter school because I know that would be something she would thrive in. Meanwhile, ds9 will be homeschooled because that's where he thrives. My oldest will continue in the online charter until Junior year when he'll apply for an early college charter. I'm completely fine with 3 different methods of education as long as it's what suits my kids best.


She did not get into that school, she's 237 on the waiting list. What I found interesting, is when I met some of parents that entered their children into the lottery for that arts-integrated school, they couldn't explain exactly why they thought that school suited their child. They entered their kids in because it was different or seen as better than the local ps. It was a brand new school, so no proof of how much better it would be. The school did not provide any curriculum samples or titles. Maybe it was just because it was new.  :confused1:


ETA: Majority of parents not signed up for CCSD Information. They just launched the new Infinite Campus site that allows all parents in the school district access to what their kids are doing. Only a third of parents are using it. 

Edited by Plum Crazy, 20 February 2015 - 02:48 PM.

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#22 SKL


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 11:28 AM

One more thing.  My kids' 3rd grade teacher expressed a couple of things she found remarkable.  One was the math improvement I mentioned above.  The other was how well I know my kids.  We had been asked to list our kids' strengths, weaknesses, etc. in a Q&A form at the beginning of the year.  I talked specifically about my kids' strengths and challenges.  Teacher said she has reread that about once a month and she continues to be impressed by how true it all is.  I guess working so much with my kids has helped me to assess their needs and abilities better than most?  And this probably enables me to be rather proactive when my kids encounter a new difficulty.

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#23 redsquirrel


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 01:21 PM


My eldest has transitioned from always being homeschooled to public high school. He started as a 9th grader this autumn having never been in a classroom setting before. FWIW, this is a pretty good high school. I live in a town with two colleges, one is an Ivy, so the parents here have high expectations for their kids. They are also willing to pay the school taxes to get what they want.


So, how has being a homeschooler has allowed us to "customize' the classroom setting for our kid? Not in a way that involved the teacher directly. I think it manifests itself mostly in our relationship with our son and his teachers and school work. When I talk to my friends who also have kids at the high school I am so, so much more aware of what my kid is doing in the classroom. We know what homework our kid has every single night because he tells us. We make a homework schedule every friday evening to ensure that it is done well before sunday night, lol. That has really stood out when I talk to other parents. I don't mean to say that I am managing my son's schedule, but my husband and I know what is going on because we have always known what is going on. We talk about it in a very natural way. We don't expect him to be able to suddenly do all the time management b/c that isn't him right now. If it were, then it wouldn't come up, kwim? I am sure he will be able to manage it all on his own, and he will be very vocal about it when he is.


I have also done some 'read alongs' with him. When he was assigned "Of Mice and Men" I read it also and we made time to watch the movie. We seem to talk a lot more about what he is studying than his peers.


And, I just have to add, after WWE 1-4 and WWS 1-3, his writing is so much better than many of his peers and that is thanks to you!  He came home one day during the first full week of classes and asked, "Why do they keep telling us to write in complete sentences? What else are we going to do?"  :lol: 


That is about all I can think of. I can't imagine I could have any direct impact upon my son's teachers b/c at the high school level, things are pretty well set. I live in NY and we have had statewide exams in some form for a very long time, over 100 years in fact. Those kids have to take the Regents exams and AP tests and that takes the syllabus and materials out of the teacher's hands to a degree. I know for a fact that all the history students at my son's level are doing the same history, having the same tests, doing the same homework every week. One teacher can't change it up or add in new material. The state requires all students do the same 27 biology labs before the students can take the state biology exam.  The school is also expected to keep the labs for, I think, 6 months after the school year in case the state wants to inspect them. That leaves precious little wiggle room for the teachers. My son is in all honours level classes and that is above straight Regents level, but it means the teacher has to move very quickly in order to cover all state required material in addition to anything extra.



I know this isn't my personal experience, but a friend did enroll her kid in public elementary school and the teacher made a big deal about how she was totally open to hearing from parents about other materials she could use etc etc. Well, my friend is a fantastic science teacher and time and time again made science suggestions that would have been quite easy to implement in her son's class, but nothing she offered was ever used. 




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#24 Amira


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 01:47 PM

I've always homeschooled my two high schoolers, but my first grader has been going to a private bilingual school here in Mexico this year and in kindergarten.  I've done Miquon, Reading Reflex, and SOTW with him like I did with my two older boys.  I haven't tried to do much at school because I don't speak much Spanish and I've felt that our afterschooling has been enough.  I mostly wanted a place where he would have a positive school experience because I knew I could fill in any academic gaps, especially at this age.  I've definitely needed to do more with math and history, but reading and writing (they use HWT) have been good at school this year.  He's learned far more Spanish at school than he would have at home which is good (but he'll forget it all soon).


He'll be in 2nd grade in the US next year, then in an international school in Saudi Arabia for a few years.  I will continue doing SOTW with him and we'll see if we need to do more with anything else.  A lot of my expat friends are concerned about picking the right school and dealing with academics but I feel like I have a lot more flexibility when choosing a school because I can and do fill in gaps at home.  And I know that if none of the available schools work, I can easily homeschool again.  So, ironically, even though he isn't actually homeschooling, homeschooling has made things more flexible for us as we move from country to country.

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#25 Heigh Ho

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 02:09 PM

The school district here has always been firm in stating that the parent is in charge. Pre-nclb, it was very easy to get individualization as many of the K-3 teachers had training and xp in gifted and enrichment and resources such as WTM and a few of the gifted boards helped me in the conferencing. When nclb came in, individualization and enrichment were banned. Differentiation didnt work, as the disruptors wouldnt let the teacher do anything advanced. My older, pre-nclb, was discussing lit elements in 4th, and just loving school. Post nclb, he was sitting in whole class lessons targeted at below grade level students, and reading LOTR in his lap as removal procedures went on. I used the WTM resources to guide me in afterschooling writing. I used the gifted board resources to guide me in math. I was hands off once the accel program began as those teachers have freedom to teach the students depth, with the exception of math bc there are no honors math classes and I used resources from my own education to supply the missing material. One nice thing is that enough are home or afterschooling that affordable high quality online AP science classes are available.

The ripple effect I am seeing is due to the low expectations of nclb and common core....parents arent just hiring a tutor or afterschooling, but are withdrawing from public school if they cant afford to move into a district that includes their child's academic needs, or back to their home country. If one provides a good homeschooled or private schooled K-6 education, there is no need for a public school that doesnt offer honors/AP/IB and then DE at a quality college. There simply arent enough seats open at the academic level that children of educated parents need...and being of the creative class, they have moved on to other options for their children. Some of that draws on homeschooling resources, some on their own educations..and its far healthier than having their child be the unwanted and untaught child in the fully included classroom.
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#26 Kursten


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 02:24 PM

I homeschooled my sons through 8th grade.  Each of them, when given the option, chose to attend the little christian school our church operates.  I feel that after being their teacher/mom/principal for all these years it has given me a new perspective on their education.  I was astonished to find that "Freshman English" was pretty much a grammar refresher, complete with diagramming sentences and no formal reading list.  So we went the WTM and picked 10 books from the Freshman reading list and worked through them together.  I also felt like the relationship I had developed with my sons carried over into their highschool experience as well.  If they had a question about homework or a particular issue at school, there was no hesitation to ask me for help or trouble shooting, after all I had taught them everything they had learned (school wise) already.  They both were utterly surprised at how little of the "basics" ,grammar and history in particular, their classmates who had attended traditional school their whole career actually knew.  They and I both have felt like those first 9 years at home really gave them a leg up.  At parent-teacher conferences, I am consistently hearing from their teachers that they are changing their perception of home schooled children after seeing how well my boys have been able to adjust.  There is always a learning curve when you switch gears, but I am happy to report it has not been scholastically! They have had minor challenges getting used to spending all day, everyday, with teenagers, but I would say overall they have really enjoyed their experience.  I feel that home schooling has prepared me to parent better and help more during this time as well.  I have never adopted the idea that it is all the school's responsibility to educate my children.  If i feel like something is missing or not done well, I don't hesitate to fix it or add it at home.

I hope that helps answer your question.

Kursten Patrick

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#27 Sneezyone


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 03:38 PM

We had our children in private school from preK through 3rd for the oldest (with a 1st grade detour in a 'good' public school) and preK through K for the youngest before we started homeschooling. It took me that long to convince DH that homeschooling was worth a try. Because of my own school experiences and those of friends and family, I was deeply concerned about their school's ability to appropriately challenge either child and maintain high expectations for them through high school graduation.


"Here's what I'm wondering: Were you able to use any resources/techniques/ideas from home schooling to help you customize your child's situation? In what ways did the idea of a parent-directed education make you able to take charge of the classroom setting? Or the reverse--did you decide to take a more hands-off app"


The short answer is yes. Until we began homeschooling, we were very hands-on. We used several homeschool resources and techniques to build on their classroom experiences.

  • We used Primary Math Standards Ed. to after-school our oldest during first grade when I saw the disaster that was Everyday Math. This led the school to place her, at *her* her request and with my advocacy, in a math pull-out program where she "walked to" second grade math every day.
  • We used SOTW activities to generate some interest in history as opposed to social studies.
  • DD was also a struggling reader so we used Explode the Code books to supplement the phonics instruction she was getting in class. It helped her keep up with her classmates.
  • With both kids, homeschool resources, techniques and lingo gave me the confidence I needed to articulate my goals for them during parent-teacher conferences. It allowed me to spot learning issues early on, and make course corrections before they became major problems. Both of their teachers came to respect/value my insight and willingness to work as partners.

I wouldn't say that DH or I were able to take charge but we were certainly less passive and deferential than we might have been. Now that we are homeschooling full-time, I can see myself taking a more hands-off approach if/when they return to a formal school but only because they should be better able to advocate for themselves and manage their own time/schedule when they return (a function of age, maturity, and regaining their intellectual curiosity and thirst for knowledge).

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#28 mymomtime


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 04:05 PM

I did not get interested in homeschooling until my older son complained about school and was in tears about going to school, this was during 4th  grade state testing and lasted through the beginning of 5th grade.  I gave him the option and he refused.  In 5th grade he struggled in math.  I did some afterschooling in math with him and he hated every minute of it.  He just didn't care.  We muddled through.  He was very resistant to the idea of home schooling and he really wanted to know what the middle school would provide in the 6th grade.  We again had some trouble with Math in 6th grade, and I use Mammoth Math to help him practice concepts he struggles with at school on an as needed basis.


Due to researching home schooling for him, I decided that I would do some "work" with my youngest son who at the age of 2 knew all of his letter sounds.  At 3 he began blending, with slow and gentle encouragement.  He is attending a private play based preschool program, and I am after schooling him in academics-reading and math (OPGTR and MEP).  He loves it.  I want to continue home schooling in the fall when is due to go to Kindergarten.  My husband really wants him to to to Kindergarten and wants me to continue doing what I'm doing with him at home.  I know our local public school will NOT differentiate instruction for him in Kindergarten, but might later.  He is not a candidate for grade acceleration in the public school.  He will go to 1/2 day Kindergarten and I will continue after schooling him.  Due to reading the WTM, I am reading more classics aloud to him and we are loving it.  I am trying to read more aloud to my big kids as well.


My daughter, who is currently in the 8th grade, has never been after schooled because we spend HOURS doing homework during the elementary years.  She is inattentive ADHD and I would spend the evening re-teaching class work just to get the homework done. She has no desire to home school.


I feel my kids have huge gaps, especially when it comes to grammar, spelling, even math.  I wish I had known more about homeschooling and afterschooling earlier.  My youngest is in for a ride.  He will continue to be after schooled if he stays in the public school or if I get my wish, I will home school him.


I was very involved in my daughter's schooling due to reteaching, medication has helped her focus in the classroom and at home.  Life saver for all of us.  I was partially involved in my older son's schooling, but mostly for math.  My youngest....well, I'm going to be much more hands on.

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#29 Catherine


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 05:09 PM

I could probably write a book on this topic, but I'll try to answer more succinctly here : )   My oldest is a junior in college now and with him, I see the following:


1. He has had total confidence that he can find a way to learn something himself, if it is not fully absorbed in class.  He does not hesitate to look into online sources and different texts from those the prof provides if he doesn't understand something. 

2. He finds his schooled peers to often be more passive, and seek a less complete understanding of materials, than he does. 



I also have a child who is a senior in PS after home schooling grades 3-8.  He has struggled most with organizational issues, deadlines, and social interaction.  He often told me when he first started that school "felt like prison".  Not sure why he insisted on staying, sigh, but there it is.  He is...quirky...and that has NOT helped him socially at all, as you might imagine.  On the one hand, I think he would have been even more quirky if he hadn't chosen school, on the other, he probably would have been much happier.  His freshman year teachers all noticed how different he was, academically, from his peers, and some even complimented me.  In fact, one teacher and parent of a very active 4 year old boy secretly confessed he was looking for a way to home school his children as he didn't think the school environment would be good for them.  What they noticed was that he was more open, curious, and interested in discussion.  Unfortunately, this did not necessarily translate to better academic performance, as he was completely clueless, and rather a slow learner, about what exactly is needed to do well in a school setting.  I take responsibility for this, as I did not ever try to teach him organizational skills, time management, or how to study.  No one taught me, I reasoned.  Because my son is not receptive at all to coaching on academic matters, I was rather powerless to change the outcome once he was enrolled.  So in his case, I would have relished taking a bigger role in his education, but he did not want me to, until he really crashed and burned.  My take home lesson from this is to make it much clearer what our expectations are ahead of time, and what will happen if the child does poorly and cannot figure out how to turn himself around.


I have a third child who is entering ninth grade in the fall and also wishes to go to school.  I've spent far more time coaching him on organization, time management, study skills, and am able to farm some things out this year to prepare him. 


One aspect of conventional school that is definitely different from 10 years ago, IMO, is the availability of DE for students.  In the rural town where I grew up, few, if any, APs are available.  That is still the case, but now students can DE in a community college junior and senior year if they choose.  I strongly suspect home schooling encouraged this trend.  I also am aware of a self-paced math program for gifted students in my local K-8 school.  Ditto for that.  Why not extend it to all students?? 


The last place where I've seen the imprint of home schooling is in the pricey private schools in my area, where enrollment is slipping and they are sometimes making overt outreach into the home school community to try to win back some of the families that have opted to educate their own children rather than pay $$$ to have someone else do it.


Finally, I would just say that I felt pretty powerless when my sons were in school.  I think that our public schools are not very receptive to parental input and frankly 99% of communications from the school have been about administrative issues, not my child's academic performance or, God forbid, his well-being. 

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#30 Patty Joanna

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 06:21 PM

We chose my son's K-12 school because it was classical. I started to see that he needed some interesting books to read, so I checked around and found that The Well Trained Mind had some good recommendations.  


In the middle of first grade, we saw that the school was NOT going to work for our son, so we pulled him out at the end of that year.  Had I not had TWTM in my back pocket, I don't know what we would have done...that book saved my bacon.  


We homeschooled, co-oped, and did other stuff until grade 8.5, when he went to another classical school, which folded at the middle of his 10th grade year.  We got through THAT year by homeschooling again, and the last two years, he went to a blue-ribbon classical school.  


As for the question re: afterschooling, mostly it was for reading recommendations, and how to approach discussing what was going on in school.  By the time he was in the last school, he was completely done with my being involved in his school business.  That didn't work out so well, but that's the hand we had to play.  I want to say, however, that his PSAT scores were tops in his class at the school, and his SATs and ACTs are great--he won't be shut out of any college he (eventually) decides to attend.  This was a great affirmation to me that the classical stuff worked in the regular school paradigm and that we had done well be going the classical route.  TWTM was a big part of that.  

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#31 Rosie_0801


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 06:58 PM

My child has never been in school but we obviously have friends who are. We have the ripple effect happening here. I pass finished maths onto one public school friend, who passes them back so I can hand them on to another homeschooling friend with younger kids. We're all lower income so neither of them would have the interesting variety of resources to use if I didn't share. They wouldn't even know to look for these materials if I didn't pass on the hot tips I hear about here.

#32 StellaM


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 08:48 PM

Hands off.


The school does not want me to bring my pesky homeschool ripples into the equation. 

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#33 texasmama


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 09:01 PM

My older daughter (now a sophomore in college) attended the same private Christian school from kindergarten through 12th grade.  It was a good, medium-sized private school, and I was very hands off with her education aside from the typical parental involvement of attending parent-teacher conferences and looking over the occasional paper written in high school.  She was never homeschooled or afterschooled.  It was a good, college preparatory school.  This daughter is from my first marriage and so decisions regarding her education were made jointly with her father, with whom I shared custody.  At one point during her middle school years, I suggested homeschooling due to her general emotional distress, but her father was not in agreement.  She had a completely different educational experience than her siblings, though she has been well-prepared for college.


My oldest son (age 14 now) attended a small, private Christian school (not the same one older dd attended) for half day kindergarten and first grade.  He did well academically, and I did not do any afterschooling.  Put this one in the "hands off" category, as well.  Due to his anxiety about going to school, I chose to begin homeschooling at the beginning of his second grade year.


My younger two children have always been homeschooled, though they did attend a part-time, private preschool until they were kindergarten age.





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#34 Laurie4b


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 10:15 PM

I homeschooled our sons through 10th grade. In 11th, they went to a local public school on a community college campus in which they could earn dual credits, with college credits transferring directly into any schools in the state university systems. (Saves a lot on tuition. Most kids graduate with 1- almost 2 years of credit.)  At that point, the goal is to be hands off and let the kids act like college students while having a bit of a safety net.

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#35 Catherine


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 10:22 PM

One more FYI that I find interesting.  There is a Bard Early College High School opening in my area this coming fall and I have suspected that the success of this Bard franchise is partly due to home schooling.  My thinking is that more and more people are not seeing the point of the last couple of years of high school and there is a movement, at these Bard early college high schools, and of course amongst home schoolers, to CC level work in lieu of junior and senior year of high school.

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#36 Heidi


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Posted 20 February 2015 - 11:57 PM

I put my kids in public German school this year. They knew zero German going in and now halfway through the school year they are understanding most of what is being said to them and can speak a little. This is the first year they've ever been to school or in a classroom setting, and since we are moving back to the States this summer I will be homeschooling them again next year. My 1st grader I have almost been completely hands-off bc I actually approve of the methods and curriculum that they are using with her. My dd9 was advanced a year in my homeschool, so she entered in at her actual grade level of 3rd grade in public school this year, repeating the grade she completed last year. I am hands off with her mainly because I know zero German myself, but she comes home with a good amount of homework and is able to complete it and is doing very well. She is getting a great review of 3rd grade math and learning a new language. I placed my dd10 in 4th grade even though her age peers are in 5th bc she also did not know the language and I wanted her to stay in the same school as her sisters, which is just down the road from where we live and is only half-day for grades 1-4. So I remediate 5th grade math and grammar at home with her so she can jump right into 6th this fall at home.
So I guess I am mostly hands-off, letting my kids enjoy this experience, other than remediating my oldest to keep her on grade-level. It's been the highlight of our short stay in Germany.
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#37 Tsuga



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Posted 21 February 2015 - 12:49 AM

I was summer schooled as a child. My mom, who nearly dropped out of high school but came from a very literate and musical family, decided she would stop the "summer learning loss". Every year we had to do required reading and writing. She didn't do any math with us because she came from a generation traumatized by "new math" and their parents' hatred of it, but she did have us do applied math at home like helping balance her checkbook. This was in the 1980s when homeschooling and after schooling were not terms used by secular / transcendentalist families like ours. It was just what we did. She continued to rent our instruments and make us practice. When I gave up hope on homeschooling with my social magnets, I knew I'd be doing a lot of the teaching at home. School is for reinforcement, not real learning, in my opinion. That was just how it was for my family, not only myself, but my cousins as well.


The fact that the homeschooling community is so prominent on the Internet and has so many resources available has made it much easier for me.


Were you able to use any resources/techniques/ideas from home schooling to help you customize your child's situation?


My mom had us pick out our own books, but we were lost in the library. Too many books to choose from. Using Well-Trained Mind and Homeschooling Year by Year has enabled me to see what would probably be a challenge and what is normal and not normal, so I can help my kids pick out a reasonable menu of appropriate books. I also learned about read-alouds, which is allowing me to read literature with my kids. I never read literature as a child because it was hard, so I picked the easy pop kid lit books. My kids don't want to read literature but if I read it to them, at least they get an ear for it and hear the language. That has made a huge difference in my life, reading to an older kid! I learned about that from WTM.


In what ways did the idea of a parent-directed education make you able to take charge of the classroom setting? Or the reverse--did you decide to take a more hands-off approach?


We live in a superb school district in which letting teachers teach is a priority. So I don't take charge of that. I am thrilled to say that my daughter has had two totally different teachers so far in public school, and they are very thoughtful, independent, and loving people who have been great role models for my daughter. They do read alouds through second grade here, and I think third but something I heard recently makes me doubt it. I'm just very grateful to be able to rent in this school district, frankly. They get music, art, programming, all in addition to lots of good old fashioned reading, writing and exploring.


One thing I have been able to do is confidently swear off the second page of math homework (they get homework and review, one page each, pretty good curriculum, but boring for a bright child) and substitute other pages. I found Salamander Math for one and now she's started on Beast Academy. She reads then does the pages. Well, she will. Today she read 20 pages of math comics for fun and starting Monday (because we all need a rest) will substitute a page of BA 3B for her homework review. I never would have known about BA if not for the homeschooling community.


The fact that I know I could homeschool and that we do have options, at least when the kids are older and could spend some time alone while I'm at work, makes a huge difference for me. And for them. I have offered to homeschool, or to outsource homeschooling. They don't want to. What is important about this is that it's a choice. They have known four homeschooling families as neighbors growing up (and they are only five and eight). So they know it would be hard--and that a lot depends on mom. I think knowing that keeps them in public school. I make their teachers look like angels with my demanding questions and challenging curriculum.


As to what Catherine is saying, I think yes, that is true, but also Catherine there have been funding changes in higher education as well as the Running Start movement that have had a substantial effect on how high schoolers access college-level courses. It started with Running Start (CC in the last two years of high school) and has expanded to credit for AP, the IB, college in the high school and dual enrollment. While some of this is due to homeschooling, a great deal that I see at my work (I work in ed) is that people who previously thought "let a kid be a kid" and turned down free college in high school, are now really facing the seriousness of the student loan crisis. Even the students themselves are looking at the bills and it is overwhelming for them. So they are taking advantage of any and every public program to get free credits particularly for pre-reqs. I think it's a combination of factors that could be described collectively as "an educational system in crisis". And not just because public schools all suck, either. In some cases the reductions of funding even to schools which are outperforming comparable schools by far has been devastating to communities. So, to SWB, if you look at the early college phenomenon, be sure to look at the Running Start / College in the High School / AP continuum and history. It's a big debate in public higher ed and high schools right now because public funding goes per student hour. I was recently at a meeting in which, kid you not, it nearly came to shouting (one-sided--not a fight, just freaking out) over losing full-time enrollments to new entrants to get high school students their college credits. That used to be the purview of community colleges which did benefit especially when enrollment dropped among their older population, they could bring in high schoolers. No longer. Now the big fish are in the pond and it's getting real:laugh:

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#38 ebunny


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Posted 21 February 2015 - 01:54 AM

My DD went back to school at 8, after 2 yrs of homeschooling. She's in 4th grade now.



Were you able to use any resources/techniques/ideas from home schooling to help you customize your child's situation?

No. Schooling in India is notoriously rigid and I could not customize any part of my daughters learning in the time she spent or spends at school. DH and I decided it was in DD's best interest to take a hands-off approach.


Re: The ripple effect


I saw the impact more so on character than in academic excellence. Prior to homeschooling, I think I underestimated the amount and extent of influence that a parent could wield over a child.  We grew closer as a family and there was a openness about our relationship that did not exist before the homeschooling. The effect has continued even after her going back to school. She confides in me, knows that I have her back. We understand each other.


She also became quite self aware in the 2 yrs she spent at home, definitely attributable to the isolation from chronological peers.










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#39 Heigh Ho

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 09:07 AM

One more FYI that I find interesting. There is a Bard Early College High School opening in my area this coming fall and I have suspected that the success of this Bard franchise is partly due to home schooling. My thinking is that more and more people are not seeing the point of the last couple of years of high school and there is a movement, at these Bard early college high schools, and of course amongst home schoolers, to CC level work in lieu of junior and senior year of high school.

This is happening in my area too. The admin encourages the top students to DE full time on the CC campus sr. year...its a good deal for the district since the district doesnt pay a dime, but gets to keep state funding for that student. More parents are looking at the financial aid implications, and graduating the student in 3 if he will be 17 at the start of senior year. It isnt a good choice for all 16 year olds seniors though, as it can be uncomfortable dealing with the alcohol, drugs, and sex issues brought up by the students who have a decade more of life experience.
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#40 Joanne


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Posted 21 February 2015 - 10:24 AM

I homeschooled mine through my oldest's 9th grade year. The last several of the homeschooling years included me teaching additional students in my home (when I became a single mom.)


Eventually, I returned to work outside the home. Fortunately, that was at a cottage school that had formed from a mom and her mother. The Grandmother had opened a homeschool support store, and the adult daughter had begun to offer outsource classes for the homeschool community. They quickly realized the market was "better" for a small, secular school than a homeschool store. That school is now 96 students, 3rd thru 12th. When I joined, it was as teacher, and I brought my kids and additional students. I am now an administrator.

We didn't ripple, as we were homeschooling culture. Our original demographics were mostly homeschoolers, although we were not a co-op. Our demographic has changed, and homeschoolers make up less than a 1/3 of our new enrollees. We've developed a few niche markets, one being gifted students with anxiety. We've turned to mass market curriculum, but some of our teachers still use homeschool material as supplemental/enrichment.


We try hard to keep some "custom" ability and look at the students holistically. It's common and fairly easy, for example, for a student to be able to take the math and language arts for which they are qualified and able rather than their "age." That said, we don't admit students who test below grade level.


My own kids have thrived. Well, my oldest wasn't in a place to "thrive" anywhere. But he did graduate. (He's much better now.) My dd is a Senior, and has a strong transcript but not great test scores. My son (Sophomore) is also a top student.


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#41 jdahlquist


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Posted 21 February 2015 - 01:11 PM

Dd was never homesschooled.  She went to private kindergarten and public school 1-8. She then went to an all-girl's Catholic high school.  We pulled ds out of public school in 5th grade (DD was in 8th at the time) and he has been homeschooled since then.  


I think the biggest impact it had on DD was that she new going to a brick-and-mortar school was a choice she was making.  It wasn't something that was simply being done because it had to be done.  I think it changed her view regarding the idea of submitting to the authority of the school's administration and rules and her view regarding her teachers.  I think that she viewed education much more as a collaborative endeavor (but this could have been her personality).  We were "hands-off" as far as what was going on with curriculum, assignments, etc. in the classroom (but we felt comfortable with what was going on there).  When she took American History, she got concerned about some of the things that weren't on her brother's timeline on the wall at home and added to it.


DS has been in an envious position in that, as a homeschooler, he was allowed to participate in some activities at his sister's (all-girl) high school.  He could help with stage crew during the day.  (There were also fewer liability issues because he wasn't a student; so, he was allowed to use a drill or lift heavy items.)  Now, DD has graduated and he is still working with the theater department.  This spring the school has invited the local homeschool co-op to participate in its theater production.


As a college professor, I know that home educating my son has had an impact in how I do some things in my college classroom also.  It has made me focus less, for example, on "my students can't write" and more on "what developmental piece are they missing in their education..."  


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#42 Anne in CA

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 01:11 PM

My son was not in a traditional classroom setting until he was 16 and began attending CC. He LOVES the dynamic of discussion that happens in a classroom setting and he loves college, period. I am a little worried he might just attend college forever, and never have another life. Obviously I am very hands off in his CC studies.


My oldest was home schooled 5th-8th grade and attended high school. She did very well back in school the first two years, but not for the last two. The school sent home questionnaires asking how they could do better, but when I answered them honestly dh would not let her turn them in. He (probably rightly) felt that she would be penalized if I appeared to be critical in any way.


My youngest just stared high school this year, she loves some aspects of the school setting but hates others. She told me she has a "school headache" every day when she deals with her science teacher, who has become quite mean since there were several parent complaints about her talking to students while they were testing. She was very surprised to find out how many stereotypes are true about different things about the school. 


I think we are more helpful parents because we have home schooled, but I don't think the school would like us to be too hands on. We help with homework and make Booster Club contributions and that's about it. It is nice to have such great resources left over from home schooling to help with homework.  My dd is the only one in her class to have already read multiple Shakespeare plays but her teacher doesn't like her to "help teach". He wants to explain everything his own way. However, dd gets a lot of respect for her LA and foreign language ability by her teachers and other students. People think she is thoughtful and so smart to have read so many books. 



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#43 AMJ


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Posted 21 February 2015 - 05:11 PM

Our brick & mortar school days preceded our homeschooling days.


Basically, we switched to homeschooling when both public and private schools failed to work as well as we wanted.  My eldest DD's methods of learning just don't mesh well with the typical classroom environment, and so we switched to homeschooling to end the seemingly endless battle we faced.


We were after-schooling in a fashion for several years before we made this switch, so we were anything but "hands-off".  We didn't study extra subjects, but getting homework done required not only my prodding, but at times re-teaching the material the homework covered.  At one point we asked for a second set of textbooks for certain subjects for eldest DD, so we could reference them at home without her having to pack 2 packs full of books to carry back and forth.  I also volunteered on field trips and in the school library.  I have found that for the most part the schools encouraged parent involvement, though we made it clear to them that we were seeking to work cooperatively with them, and not against them.  When school teachings digressed from what we knew to be good science we taught our kids the difference (this was not always due to religious beliefs being included in the material, sometimes it was simply sloppy work on the part of the textbook publishers), but reinforced that they were to learn the stuff taught in school for school tests and discussions.  We did not undermine teachers, though we did make use of the examples of how different people believe different things, and when it is appropriate to talk about the differences and when it is better to hold one's tongue.


Homeschooling, for us right now, is definitely better than the alternatives where we live.  That doesn't mean it is perfect.  This is only our second year homeschooling, and I am still working through several challenges myself.  I expect this will be the norm until both kids are finished and in college.


One challenge is making sure the kids are challenged enough.  When we made the switch we, of course, were switching curricula, and I ran my kids through the placement tests for the math curriculum I wanted to start with.  I was surprised to see my youngest acing placement tests covering material she hadn't seen before (she figured out the logical way it seemed to go).  I jumped her two grades in math, and could have jumped her 3 or 4, had I not been worried about missing some key element along the way that she would need later.


Presentation of material is another challenge, and a big factor in why the brick & mortar schools hadn't worked so well for us.  Engagement is a constant battle, as is stubborn resistance to "boring" or difficult subjects.  While I do present things in ways that don't work so well in a classroom setting I still keep in mind that I need to gradually train them to be able to handle college classes.  These first two years I have concerned myself more with lessening the stress of school while getting information into their heads, but I am transitioning them into more analysis and more independence.  They asked for more chances to work on their own; I just have to get on their case when they start getting lazy.  I figure if I can get them to see how to find the engaging elements for themselves they will be able to stay on target when they hit college.


We use some organization that was learned in the brick & mortar school days, basically because we need some structure and this is familiar to us all.  I use a weekly At-A-Glance planner, partly for planning out the next progression in some subjects, but mostly to record what we covered each day and what was assigned for the next day or week.  By using a generic weekly planner I have the weekend days to note when we do things that relate to school, and I tend to include anything that affects our school schedule or day.  I write down my own notes in this planner, but I also write a condensed sticky note summary of assignments to be worked on.  The girls have their own preferred items they write the assignments down on -- I did not require them to do this, figuring I'd get to that habit later, but they like having their own checklist they get to mark up.  Hooray, motivation for writing down assignments!


Another element learned from the B&M school times is I insist on Math being done in the morning.  I let them try doing it later again recently, and this has only reinforced the need for Math in the morning.  After lunch their brains just don't work as well on math, logic, or analytical subjects, and they tend to zone out and not listen as much.  As a result our school days are structured something like my preferred schedule when I was in college:  "classes" first, and reading and independent throughout the afternoon.  In the kids' case this becomes math while Mom fixes breakfast, "class time" (any subject matter being studied that requires Mom's inclusion, with Mom instructing, answering questions, and assigning work to be completed) after breakfast, then independent work time, with permission always standing for either child to come get Mom if there's something puzzling or perplexing.  Lunch usually happens right about the end of "class time", though sometimes not.  Exercise workouts are part of class time, though Mom might insist on more impromptu ones if tempers are short, brains are fuzzy, or it's simply a gorgeous day outside.


I am a firm believer in the power and necessity of "recess" for ALL ages, provided it doesn't go on for too long at any go.  Too long of a break, especially if it is too engaging, makes it difficult for any of us to get back to the work that must be done.  However, when nerves are irritated, brains are foggy, or a golden day beckons it pays to take some time, 5 or 10 minutes at a whack, to get up, go outside, and just move about.  If outside isn't an option just shaking things up with some silliness works almost as well.  These brief changes of pace help a person (of any age) relax and let go of some tensions, which allows the brain to readdress the topics at hand with renewed clarity.


Looking forward I will have to transition to more and more rigor at some point, especially as eldest DD gets into high school.  My state doesn't have rigid home school requirements (Texas).  While this gives us a lot of leeway for figuring out how to do things it does leave me without guidance towards how to have my kids college- and work- and life- ready.  I'm figuring this out as we go along right now, and trying to puzzle out what we should cover over the coming years from descriptions of other places' requirements, college entrance requirements, and quizzing my niece on what she is covering in high school. 


At some point in the future I might try an online school for high school years.  One thing my kids do miss is having classmates to visit with and study with, and a friend's daughter in another state has been doing online high school with some success.  There is also one of those "iHighschools" here now, from what I've heard, which is like an online school that meets in person each week at the local community college -- my SIL is looking into the possibility of that for my nephew.

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#44 bakpak


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Posted 21 February 2015 - 05:32 PM

I've been coming here for years because of the Accelerated Learner forum. I've been inspired so often by the children described here and the parents who help their little lights shine. I've learned about resources that I would never have found on my own, but mostly I enjoy reading all the BTDT stories. My DD has been in Montessori schools to date, and each one has been different, but these forums have helped me have a better understanding of which of my expectations are reasonable, when to trust myself vs. when I'm needlessly fretting, when I should advocate harder for my child, and when I should try to fill perceived gaps myself at home. If anything, these forums have heightened my desire to home school, but given the difficulty of doing that while working full-time, I do my best to make the most of the situation and keep my child happy, healthy and learning at an appropriate level.


I suspect that you are right Susan, that these forums and home schooling in general are helping parents better meet their children's needs in schools, and hopefully even raising the bar. Our parents' generation were expected to trust the teachers as they're the 'experts', but now I feel like we have enough resources at our fingertips to not accept status quo if its not working or appropriate. The support network here is amazing and I can't imagine this information not slowly changing traditional school culture.


The only specific example I wanted to bring up is that my DD is in Montessori K. We had our first parent-teacher conference in December and I asked about math since my DD spends so much of her classroom time doing math works. I suggested she was ready for multiplication (she's been ready!!) and the teacher said 'oh we're still working on dynamic subtraction and that's a long process'. I gently pointed out that they could be worked on simultaneously instead of sequentially, as they're different skills. I was relieved to find out that the teacher had heard me and respected my suggestion when my DD came home a couple of weeks later having learned all the squares multiplication facts at school. I wouldn't have known that was ok or suggested it if I hadn't read so many stories on here about how/when children learn, and in particular how learning often happens in leaps and bounds and to take advantage of interests when they're happening, not when someone decides it's the appropriate time. I think my DD is NOT challenged at school, except socially, but at least I feel like I can help advocate for her where I can and supplement at home in areas of shared interest.

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#45 SarahW


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Posted 21 February 2015 - 08:27 PM

I read WTM partly through my oldest's stint in Public K. I found this forum as well. Because of this forum, when my son got the assignment to do a report on Alexander Fleming I had Mr Q's Life Science to find an experiment about bacteria. I also knew about copywork and used that to help him "write" his report. I printed off pictures from the internet and had him label different kinds of bacteria. The teacher mentioned that some of the other parents commented that they found the assignment difficult. I suppose it would have been for me as well, if I didn't have the background here that I did.


Oh, and before he went to Kindergarten I started teaching him how to read using 100 EZ lessons. I saw it in a bookstore, and remembered it from when I was homeschooled. And since he was showing signs of wanting to read, I just went ahead and taught him.


My son will soon be an afterschooler in Europe. Classical education is pretty unheard of there, so I'm not sure how school officials will respond to it. Ostensibly, my afterschool plans could be viewed as just a way to continue the English side of his bilingual education. 

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#46 tm919


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Posted 21 February 2015 - 11:07 PM

After lurking here forever, I finally decided to register just to reply to this.  My two daughters go to a 5 day a week half-day Montessori now, but will transition to a traditional public school over the next several years. I also teach them at their level (well, I teach the 5 year old, the 3 year old mostly begs for bob books and her own lessons throughout the day).
Their current teachers like it when students bring in extra knowledge and “spread it around.” My daughters are in an age 2.9-6 Montessori classroom and when a couple of them starting learning cursive last year, others (included my older daughter) got interested/obsessed in learning it at home.  However, while “a rising tide lifts all boats,” I think this effect is subtle because it comes through the children rather than the parents -- the parents might even look less involved. From a distance I seem more hands off than I would have seemed if I didn't teach them at home, because I don't worry about the same sort of things I would have if the classroom had been the only source of education for them. Accepting that I’ll teach them at home even though they go to school frees me to accept what their classrooms are and aren’t. There are some things that the local schools do a great job on, and some things that they barely touch. I just don’t worry too much about what’s missing because I can supplement it so easily. If the existing resources weren’t so easy to come by (and so varied), this would be a huge problem for us.
I think the effect of having all of these resources available also may work as a “financial” leveler, to a certain extent. So many of the families I know send their kids to after school math or reading programs, and those are out of our reach financially. Teaching them at home, very part-time, replaces that at a price we can manage. I guess this is only a path available to those with relatively involved parents though— where one gap shrinks a bit, another could open up still further.

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#47 Firefly


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Posted 22 February 2015 - 09:48 AM



Here's what I'm wondering: Were you able to use any resources/techniques/ideas from home schooling to help you customize your child's situation? In what ways did the idea of a parent-directed education make you able to take charge of the classroom setting? Or the reverse--did you decide to take a more hands-off approach?




DD entered our public high school this year after homeschooling K-8.  So far, we haven't had to use any of the homeschooling resources we have.  One of the key benefits of homeschooling for mine was that they learned how to LEARN, seek out information, and problem solve.  So I've been really impressed with how DD has managed her time, assignments, and even difficult teachers.  It's all still relatively new, though, and there may come a time where I might need to tap into our homeschooling resources to offer extra help.  


Regarding the second question, I've taken a hands-off approach, though I've told DD I'm available if she needs any help with studying, assignments, or the aforementioned difficult teacher.  


As an aside, DD's teachers have been so impressed with not only what she knows but the quality of her work; in Biology class the teacher once held up her paper as an example for the other students -- because she had answered in complete sentences. LOL  And on parent night so many of her teachers asked where she had gone to middle school.  We took great satisfaction in telling them she was homeschooled.  Thank you, Well Trained Mind!

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#48 Susan Wise Bauer

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 09:53 AM

I am so enjoying (and appreciating) these stories. Thank you SO much. Keep them coming!



#49 babs


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Posted 22 February 2015 - 01:16 PM

Hello Susan,


We have 3 boys and a girl at the end. They are 8 to 18 now.We sent our oldest son (18 and graduating this year) to high school the second half of his freshman year. At the time, our oldest was needing more accountability in his school and needed to learn management skills that didn't always happen with a homeschool environment where the teacher/mom was soft on deadlines. School did not save time - I spent a lot of time helping him adjust to a rigorous academic environment. My background in homeschooling certainly gave me the confidence to help him. I knew the grades were important, so I was able to help key into his learning style to get him through difficult courses that year. And he rose to the occasion. But it was tough to be focused on grades and management skills simultaneously. So, we sent ds#2 in 8th grade to a rigorous charter school and that was good experience. School also fostered a competitive environment that made my boys reach a little higher in their performance academically. They had to do the academics while dealing with social challenges, like meeting new friends and seeing a lot of worldly behavior. They are both doing great academically and socially. We were very careful about the schools we chose, making sure they were rigorous with strong behavior boundaries. My oldest son did struggle with feeling different because he had been homeschooled. It was a stigma he carried for the first 2 years. School kids do not take a kind view of homeschooling. He eventually overcame it but it took time and a great effort on his part. 


DS#1 started college classes his junior year and will have his AA when he goes off to college in the fall. As he has negotiated both high school and community college, I was there coaching him - homeschooling gave me the mindset to see the issues and the long range goals. When I talk with other parents about school, they seem clueless - very naive. Homeschoolers know the trends, issues and challenges our kids face and we network to find answers. Not so with parents I meet. For example, I knew before high school that I wanted my kids to go the dual enrollment route, so I looked into the entrance requirements for the toughest colleges (the fact that I even know dual enrollment is an option is because of my homeschool associations.) I also looked into transferable credits and coursework so I knew where my son needed to be in math in 7th grade to land in the right math in junior year of high school. In contrast, the parents of my kids' friends are on school boards, involved in classrooms, and finding tutoring for their kids, but they do not know about college entrance requirements or scholarship opportunities (these are the ones in high school now.) They seem to be focused on the here and now rather than the end game. Most of my homeschool friends have a long range view for their kids. We seem to know about all the options (CLEP v. AP v. dual credit, merit-based scholarships, part-time school options.) When I talk to others about what we are doing, they just listen without many questions. I end up keeping it short since they don't seem very interested. Homeschoolers seem interested in looking at all the possibilities. It is a different mindset. We also coach much more than parents of kids in schools. I think this grows out of the schools efforts to get the kids to be "independent." I think these parents do what the school expects, consequently taking a hands-off approach because they think that is what they are supposed to do.


My third DS will follow roughly the same path - he started the same charter school in 6th grade. Though he is doing fantastic academically, he is having challenges with being too talkative in class. He is trying really hard to fit in with the boys in his grade. But, I laid out a plan to have the teachers sign off on his behavior in his planner after EVERY class - they enthusiastically agreed. They have repeatedly expressed that they wish other parents would do the same and be so involved in following up on behavior issues. They keep me informed. I also outlined a plan for his tardies (hard to be on time when chatting between classes!), and they went with me on that, because they didn't have a plan in place. I came to them and pointed out the tardy problem. I also had a solution. Most parents don't come with a plan in hand. They (this charter school) also let me take my DS#2 out of school each Monday for a Christian speech and debate group we had been in prior to when he entered school. They resisted a bit, but we met and I laid out my reasons and demonstrated why it would not hurt him academically. They accommodated my request, though it was unusual. As a homeschooler, I think outside the school's box. I will say that school schedules have hurt our vacations - we used to ski 4 weeks a year but cannot do that now as it is tough to miss that much high school or college. Sigh...those were the days!


My daughter will be starting charter school or private school in junior high then onto high school and dual credit for an AA before she graduates HS. We are THRILLED with this option. It has had benefits beyond those we anticipated. We will tweak it a bit for each kiddo, but I am confident that I can get all of my kids through because I have learned how to do it - that is the power of homeschooling! I also think the different path we have taken will enable my son to adapt to college life more easily next year. He will go to a larger university in the fall, taking classes with junior and seniors as he is nearly done with general education. So, his varied experience in school should help him in this and in the long run as well.


School was the option that my kids needed to see that the academics were important. Recently, my son's principal told me that she was amazed at how well my son was integrating and doing in school. My oldest son's teachers RAVED about him as did the teachers of my DS#2. They were impressed both academically and socially. (We did tailor our homeschool with an eye toward college, so I was not surprised that they could excel academically.) My sons know how to interact with adults, which really fostered strong relationships with their teachers (hoping ds#3 learns this!)  Now, my son and many of his homeschool friends are in classes at the same community college. The teachers are noticing that these kids are at the top of the class and are all dual enrollment. I wonder if they will make the connection that these kids are from homeschool families?? That is a possible ripple effect of the homeschool movement.



I am thankful for the years we had at home, when I crafted my kids education and socialization to fit our "vision." We have great memories and we put down a firm foundation in those cozy homeschool years. I also found a great network of friends who pointed me in the right direction and helped inform me of issues and challenges. It is a strong community. We are better for it. And that vision is the main difference between our kids' educational path and those who do not homeschool. Most parents are just following the path that the school lays out for them. That is all that they know. We know different. We know there are choices. We are blessed. 



I rambled a bit and I apologize for that. I hope this helps!


Best regards,



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#50 TKDmom


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Posted 22 February 2015 - 07:54 PM

My youngest is going to Kindergarten at a local public school, while I homeshool my older 3. I'm am more hands-off with her than I was when my oldest was in K (middle two never went to school). I don't even do the "home-learning" assignments the teacher sends home every month, because they look like pointless busy-work. As a homeschooler, I no longer feel like the school "knows best" and I'm more comfortable trusting my judgement of how well she is learning. I think there are 3 main reasons I'm less involved:


1. She's not my oldest... ;)


2. I'm homeschooling those other 3 kids. I don't have time for all the baloney that the schools want us to participate in (Fundraisers! Book fair! Garden day! Science Fair! There's something every week where they want either my time or money). I grudgingly put in my required volunteer hours, but I hate that it causes me to miss a morning of prime homeschool time in order to go to the school and cut out paper crafts for the kindergartners. I realize that all this parent involvement is what makes her school one of the top in the state, but I can't effectively homeschool and support the public school at the same time.


3. I heartily dislike the standards and testing at schools. I don't agree with the direction public school has been going for the last 12 years (which is why I pulled out my oldest in the first place). With this particular child, the push for early reading and writing is ok. For many kids, it seems inappropriate. If she were struggling, I wouldn't hesitate to pull her out and let her be a little kid for one more year. But right now I'm shamelessly using the school system to get my most intense kid out of the house for a few hours each day--with the added benefit that she's learning to read without my having to spend everyday enduring those painful phonics lessons. Next year, I plan to homeschool her. I'm trying to wean oldest kid to almost total independence, so I'll have the time to spend teaching this intense kid next year.


Right now, my 8th grader is taking several outside classes, either online or through a co-op. She wants to try out high school next year. We find out next week if she will get into the one good high school in the area (it has a lottery system for admissions). If she doesn't get in, I'm not sure if I am willing to send her to the local high school with all it's gang activity. I'm also not sure I want to her to go off to school just when she's getting to the fun age where we can have more mature discussions and some equality in our relationship. At the same time, can see that she needs the accountability and deadlines from an outside teacher. I'm much more comfortable with testing and high expectations at the high school level than I am with elementary schools.  So we'll see how next year goes....

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