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    homeschool dad
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    upstate New York
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  1. My dd was homeschooled grades 1-7, then went to private school that started at 8:05 in 8th grade, then did homeschool in 9th grade and now is in 10th grade at public hs that starts at 7:20. There is a big difference in being able to sleep in. I think that is a big advantage in homeschooling. I have noticed better behavior if she is well-rested, better able to focus, less likely to get sick, and just a generally better attitude. We actually let her take the day off school today because she was so tired and needed to sleep in. And she says that the kids in school who don't do well aren't acting out- they are sleeping in class or not coming to class. We call them slackers, but I think they are just tired teens. I have read the sleep research and I highly recommend that all parents do so. I highly recommend 1. having white noise in the child's room, such as a fan. and 2. having something very dark over the windows so the room is totally dark- completely dark and no little lights from clocks or anything on in the room. Dark and white noise make for a much higher quality sleep. It's not just the quantity- it's the quality of the sleep. And don't stay up late, even on weekends- regular bedtime. And relaxing activities before bedtime- no screen time after 8 pm. It's crazy how early school is for teens. As parents, our number one priority is our child's health- higher priority than academics, IMHO. So, sleep should be a priority over school.
  2. We are going through something similar. I have a dd who is turning 15 tomorrow (9th grade). She was homeschooled until last year when we decided to put her in a private school. I thought, if the private school didn't work out, we could always go back to homeschooling. She loved the private school but we didn't. We felt like we lost our daughter. She wouldn't communicate with us like in the past and she was busy 24/7 with homework, extra-curriculars, etc. Stressful life. Now, she is back home. She wasn't happy with our decision, but we feel that we have our dd back. We can really connect and talk and life is more relaxing- more like before. She reads for pleasure a lot now, which she didn't have time or interest for last year. However, she isn't very motivated, especially if it is a parent teaching. So, we have opted to outsource. I feel like I am a better French teacher than her private school French teacher, but she does the work for her private school teacher (who we've hired to tutor her) and when I try to get her to work it's like pulling teeth. So, we have some tutors, some lessons, youth orchestra, musical theatre, etc. If you read the other people on here who homeschool high school, I think most of them outsource a lot. Either tutors or classes or co-op or community college or something. The co-op thing didn't work out for us- we tried that some, but it wasn't that good. We prefer being able to pick and choose excellent teachers, rather than just taking whoever is willing to teach a class. Community college is also an option but dd wants to be around kids her age, not college kids, so we're not doing that right now. She's also not that interested in online learning so we aren't doing that right now. This arrangment sort of works for everyone- she is relaxed, can still see her friends and has some quality tutoring. I think that is key-finding something that may not be 100% what one person wants, but is at least 50% of what each person wants, so everyone is mostly happy, even if it's not all their way. She's not totally happy because she's not back in her private school. On the other hand, she sees her friends and she is in activities every day. She doesn't like to just stay at home all day. And we get to have her home and it's not so stressful and we can talk with her, watch movies together, enjoy time together and we are all still connected. Best wishes for you and your family.
  3. My dd was homeschooled all her life until last year. We put her in a nice, small private school for 8th grade. She loved it but we didn't. So, she is back being homeschooled this year and not liking it. She wants to be back there with all her friends and she complains about everything not being as good as at her private school. But, I feel like we have her back. We have had good talks. She is more relaxed. Parents are no longer embarassing. She is normal again. She gets enough sleep. She is her old self- not just a carbon copy of the other kids at school. But, she is uncooperative with her homeschool work. She complains and says she wants to be in a real classroom with a real teacher and other kids. So, putting her back in school is an option, but I think I am still leaning towards homeschooling. I think that having a relaxed daughter who is more connected to her parents than her peers is worth it. And she will eventually get over it and carry on with homeschooling. Just a hard transition time right now. We thought about it and decided that we are the parents and our child's education is our responsibility, although she should have a lot of say in it. So, against her wishes, we took her out of school after a year and returned to homeschooling. I think until she is 18, she is our responsibility. When she is 18, it will be her responsibility to make decisions, with our input.
  4. Gruber's is highly rated. I like the official guide also. The important thing is to get as many of the practice tests as possible and take those.
  5. My daughter plays violin and flute (not much piano). For her, there is youth orchestra. That really helped motivate her- to be with other kids playing together. For piano, that might not work, however many youth orchestras need percussion players. Piano helps with percussion because you can learn to play various percussion instruments easily if you know piano well. A friend of ours had her child play piano at Carnegie Hall with this Royal Academy of Music program. You have to be very good and pass a music theory class also. If your teacher doesn't have recitals (really?), then you can organize your own. We've organized some of our own recitals at our church. You just invite a couple of other kids to play and organize it and hold your own recital. Good luck.
  6. For some reason, legally, you can't sue schools for educational malpractice. There is no such thing in this country. You can sue a doctor, lawyer, or other professional for malpractice, but not a school or teacher. And, we have publicly funded, free education in this country. The government has a near monopoly on education, except for the private and parochial schools and homeschoolers. This sort of situation without any real accountability on the part of the schools, either to the courts or to the parents has created the public school system we have in this country. Particularly in low-income areas, our schools are often worse than schools in developing countries. Of course, there is an upside to this for us homeschoolers. Because it creates conditions where homeschooling is becoming more popular. Taiwan and Japan don't have so many homeschoolers and it may be partly because parents there don't feel that they have to flee their local school. If you lived in inner-city Detroit, it would be almost child neglect to send your child to those schools. So, I can understand why parents in those types of places would want to sue someone. If you put your kids in those schools, there is a high likelihood they will come out as criminals or drug addicts with few prospects in life. And those parents don't have the money to move to a better school system. Middle class people can move to a better district, but if you are poor, you don't have that choice. You are stuck, unless you homeschool or you can get your child into a charter school. Rather than suing, however, I would like to see more of those inner-city parents homeschool their children. They might be struggling to get by, and need to work, but they might have a relative who could homeschool their children so they wouldn't have to go to the inner-city schools. This could make a huge difference in their children's lives.
  7. Sorry, the OP wrote, " (i5yo)". I misread it as a 5 year old, not a 15 year old. Sorry- "Better Late than Early" does not apply.
  8. See this research on learning to understand foreign language accents: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110202847.htm
  9. Admittedly, I have not been above occasionally offering bribes for what I want from my child. However, I don't know you or your child, but many 5 year old boys are just not ready for much in terms of academics. Read "Better Late than Early" by Ray Moore, an early (ironically) homeschool pioneer. One thing I did learn by homeschooling was that children are not naturally lazy and don't want to sit around doing nothing. School assumes that kids are lazy and won't do anything without the proper incentives. I have found that not to be the case. Children can and do learn without grades, stars for good behavior, punishment for bad behavior, etc. I suspect he is not lazy, but he is just not ready for academics right now. He might be more interesting in doing things than in sitting still. I would go with that- do things with him. Build things, teach him to ride a bike, to play ball, to play a musical instrument, etc. At the same time, try to read to him, even if he has to move around some when you are reading. He will eventually learn to like books and reading if you make it an enjoyable experience. IMHO, it isn't so much that the means is wrong (paying him to get grades), as the goal and the whole approach are not a fit for this child at this particular time. When he is older, he will probably happily learn what he needs to learn. But at this point, it will be difficult for him to learn in a way that he is not suited to right now. So, I recommend parental patience rather than child bribery. I know this is hard for you. I hope things go well for you and your son.
  10. I think that sewing and working at the homeless shelter are great extra-curricular activities. Colleges are first of all looking for people who can handle the work. If they have that, they are often looking for interesting people. Your daughter sounds more interesting than the typical high school student who has the same extra-curricular activities as everyone else- student government, band, football, etc. Sewing and volunteering at the homeless shelter make her sound more interesting. If you can elaborate on it, that would make it sound even more interesting. Keep track of the number and types of clothes she sews. What does she do with them? Give them as gifts to others? Keep track of the hours she works at the homeless shelter. Write down the specific tasks she does there. Write down a story or anecdote about her work there. Start writing these things now so that you have it when it comes time to put it on an application. I happen to work with low-income people, including homeless people in my work. Not everyone can handle it well. Some people are really judgmental and feel that it is their fault their are homeless because of bad decisions they made and don't interact well with homeless people. Others don't like the smell and appearance of homeless people. It takes a special sort of person to want to volunteer to work with homeless people, someone with compassion, and I think colleges will recognize that. I know your dd doesn't do it for her resume and that makes it all the more interesting and worthwhile. Many of the other college applicants only do things like student government, debate team, etc. because they think it will look good on their resume/college application. She sounds different and interesting to me just from what you said. Sewing shows she is not the typical shopaholic girl who feels entitled to money for nice clothes from her parents. If she wants something, she can do it herself. Shows self-sufficiency and initiative. Volunteering at the homeless shelter shows that she is not self-centered and cares about the less fortunate. This sets her apart from most self-centered teens. I have a friend who used to be on admissions at Yale. Places like Yale are looking for interesting people, if they can do the work there. He said they could fill the entire class with valedictorians with top SAT scores if they wanted to, but the college would be boring if they did that. They do get a lot of those types of people, but they are also looking for interesting, unique people to round out the class so it's not full of clones who all think the same. Best wishes to you and your dd.
  11. BBC has a website for learning Chinese, and there are other websites also to learn Chinese. http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/chinese/ Also, there are cheap on-line tutors from China to learn Chinese.
  12. I have a blog, but it has various topics- not just homeschooling high school. You can check it out if you want: http://rlugbill.typepad.com/my-blog/
  13. I had to share this. I was a French major and I'm a former teacher. I had to share this because it wasn't available when I learned French. Many (but not all) dvds have French and Spanish language tracks available. Many also have French and Spanish subtitles. Program the dvd to play the foreign language track with the foreign language subtitles. If you have had some instruction in the language- an elementary program, you can learn the language much better simply by watching dvds in the language with subtitles in the language also. It is entertaining, interesting, and you learn a lot of dialogue, conversation, and vocabulary. And it's all in a context and part of a story, so it embeds it in your brain because of the connections. I highly recommend this as a language learning method. It is much better than the highly-priced Rosetta Stone. It provides lots of foreign language input in an interesting context and for a low price. You should know the language some before you start right into all foreign language though, or it will go over your head. For beginners, you can use English subtitles and the foreign language soundtrack, or the foreign language subtitles and English language track at first. But if you have had the equivalent of a year of the language, the foreign language soundtrack with the foreign language subtitles works best. You can watch the same dvd multiple times and continue learning and reinforcing the language. And, you don't have to know the language for your student to learn this way. If you combine this with another method or two, such as a foreign language learning website and/or one of those cheap learn a language programs or a tutor or a standard textbok and/or a standard homeschooling language program, you would have an excellent complete program. But watching dvds in the language could be at least half of the language program, IMHO. Go look at your dvds. Many standard dvds have French and Spanish language tracks and also French and Spanish subtitles. You probably already have some you could use. Many dvds don't have both and if you are learning a different language, you would have to look around to find dvds with subtitles in that language. Interestingly, the language track and the subtitles are not the same. Different people must have translated them, so the words are often different, even though they convey the same meaning. Just passing this on FYI.
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