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Found 27 results

  1. I felt the same way as OP did. Especially when my oldest was 3 and under. I couldn’t fathom sending a child to PS, which I viewed as basically a prison giving inferior education. Then it turned out my son has autism and needs the rigid structure and workbooks I wanted to avoid. Gone went all my beautiful ideas of chasing down rabbit trails in the library and interest led learning and nature workbooks. We did homeschool for a while, but PS can offer him much more than I can. All options are open; we may homeschool the youngest two if school isn’t back to normal. My point? Don’t be so judgmental. Life likes to throw us curveballs that land us where we never expected to be.
  2. Give me some ideas of how to go about this please! My son (in 3rd grade and 8 years old) is on the autism spectrum and obsessed with insects and reptiles/amphibians, he knows quite a bit by reading online and watching anything he can about them, he also reads field guides, textbooks and encyclopedias so he knows way more than I do about them. We are considering homeschooling him again because my anxiety and his about school is pretty bad (I'm not sure I can deal with the calls I get about him and he hates school) also it seems like the timing is right again. My question is how do I do interest led learning without unschooling? I am reading all I can but as of yet I haven't found a practical guide for how to do it. Background: I was homeschooled but my parents would have fallen in the "radical unschooling" category these days even though at the time they knew nothing about that. I did not have a great experience with that way of schooling and neither did any of my 11 siblings. I do not want to follow that in my children's lives but I am seeing value (for at least one of my children) in interest led learning. Edited to add: That I've looked at insect unit studies but they are too young for him and he already knows everything they usually cover.
  3. dear son, 16 and currently at the public high school part time as a sophomore, is truly miserable in the work he does at home. Basically he is at the high school for "fun" classes like band, drama, choir, sports management (next year psychology, civics, band, choir and sports broadcasting), and is at home for the hard stuff like english, math, science and social studies. He enjoys going to school, mostly for the extra curriculars he partakes in (marching band, speech team, theatre productions, esports club) and the social aspects of school, so he does not want to give that up. However he hates anything that doesn't help him pursue his dream of being an esports coach (think League of Legends or Overwatch, online computer games that have high school, college and professional level teams) or working in the esports field in some capacity. We fully support him in his desire to get into esports, but it is extremely hard to get him motivated to do anything he deems "unnecessary" like science, writing, etc... He is extremely good at public speaking and performance and is a very good writer, so I'm not worried about sending him into the real world, as he would have no problem communicating with people in a school or job setting. In many ways he is mature beyond his years, somewhat of an "old soul". He will most likely need to go to college, but if he could find a way into the esports world without college he would absolutely do that. He is just not interested in anything else. I've tried to let him pick subjects that interest him, for example last year he did a year-long study of Korea for history. It wasn't great but not terrible either. He did it begrudgingly, even though he picked the subject and books/movies to work thru. But in his mind it didn't get him any closer to his goal of getting into esports. It has come to a point where it's really affecting his mental health. He is so unhappy doing his schoolwork. I thought perhaps he might enjoy a year-long interest led project for next year, but I just don't know how to turn that into science, math, history, etc...when it will probably have something to do with esports. Do I need to turn it into a conventional type transcript? Why do I feel like he needs to take biology, chemistry, US history, I feel so lost... It was so much easier with my daughter, who wanted to pursue music performance (bassoon). She managed to get herself thru the conventional high school classes (part-time at public, home for the rest just like her brother) but I knew that her audition would be 95% of what got her into college. The rest was just checking the boxes. Because esports is such a new thing, there isn't really a particular path needed to get into the industry. Some colleges are starting to offer esports management programs. So I have to set my sights on preparing him for college, where he will have to buckle down and take classes he's not interested in. I do have a couple of Blake Boles books on interest led learning, I am going to re-read them and have him read them as well. In the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions or ideas on what I could do for him over the next two years that would not involve traditional school type learning or school-at-home, I'd love to hear it. Attending the public high school part-time kind of prevents him from doing anything away from home. His schedule is usually every other day at the high school, but often he can have a practice or performance after school on his off-days. That doesn't leave many big chunks of time for him to work, intern, etc... I was thinking maybe of a huge project covering a few subject areas. I just can't wrap my head around not making a transcript that says 3 years of science, 4 years of english, etc...Help 😥
  4. You'd probably benefit from just reading old threads. There are some really great conversations that have taken place on these forums over the yrs. None of us need encouragement to talk about our kids. That is the only reason we are here. We are a gabby bunch. In terms of the italicized, I would suggest reading some of these threads: some of these"interest led learning"&page=1&search_and_or=or&sortby=relevancy
  5. There is so much good advice here! Time based is a really great idea and I think I could incorporate this before our summer break. I get lost in the how, like how to stretch it out but I think I can do that. The curriculum it self doesn't need to be free but I don't want to spend a lot either. If it will be the option and I have to pay for it I will do it. It does need to be somewhat independent, I don't mind reading a of bit of instruction like I do their math but no longer than 10 minutes tops, and I would like them to be able to do the rest on their own with me checking things when they are done (although I don't always get to it daily). My 3rd grader doesn't have any learning disabilities and is capable of doing grade level work. His only problem with school is his moods and tantrums, we are working on that...sigh. I have to have a schedule/plan at the beginning of the year because I can't change easily mid year without a major break down, but if I can start with something more concrete I think he will do much better. We are really only doing core academics during our school time. We go to a common wealth group that has history and other stuff taught, it is very, very light but I have just been trying to get the core done since January/February because of my lack of motivation due to tantrums. Interest led learning would be ideal and I am all for it! I have read books, blogs and even bought a few things to help but I get so overwhelmed and simply don't know how to do it! My kids don't get interested I have let them choose and we get books but it fizzles out and I can't seem to grasp the long term how in my home! I probably get too caught up in the details and I stress more than I should but I have not figured this one out for even though I think it would be the ideal learning environment for my kids especially my asd kid! If you have any resources I would gladly look them up I have just about given up on that model of learning since I can't seem to effectively incorporate it. My goals for their education...This is a very hard one for me! I have written this out so many times but ultimately I think my goals are not very well defined I need to take the summer to re-evaluate them. I have read many homeschooling books but I think its time to read a few more! I tend to lean more towards Charlotte mason in my dreams but end with traditional in my ultimate choices due to them getting done without complaint. It is always about this time of year I end up filing with the public schools as I get tired of dealing with all these details! I just want them to read, go out in nature and find things that interest them to research when we get home, and I want them to journal about all the things they do, see, think or learn, even if its just drawing some days I wouldn't mind! But they hate that kind of learning and cry when I say that's what we will do...sigh, I need to be my own home school teacher, lol!
  6. Updating. We just completed our first "term." I broke up our year into three "terms" this year (we've never been so structured in the past). I also work, and I've found that some structure helps to keep me on track when I'm exhausted from work. Here are the tweaks we are making for future terms. I consider them relatively minor. --dropping Shakespeare in the original language in favor of a children's adaptation (Nesbit). We just couldn't get into the Bard in his own words... Kids are still young, so we'll try again in a few years... We had been reading a little bit from Midsummer Night's Dream once a week. We will scrap that and read one of Nesbit's adaptations weekly instead. --Adding typing practice in for my DS. DD started typing this year, and apparently Typing Instructor is quite enticing, because DS decided he wants to do it, too. --I had planned to have my DD finish Wordly Wise Book 5 this year (she'd finish around the new year), then start book 6 but she's finding it too easy / boring. I'm going to have her finish Book 5, then likely change to Vocab from Classical Roots in the new year. Here are the tweaks I'm tempted to make but restraining my guilt-ridden conscience for now: --Readalouds have gotten squeezed this year. We used to have readaloud time daily. Now it's every other day or so. I'm pretty bummed about that but have decided to try to not feel guilty about it. --Project based learning and interest led learning. I have this ideal of doing more projects and designing our studies around my kids' interests. I still haven't figured this out. We do small projects / interest led learning, but no huge, overarching things. This, too, I have decided to try not to feel guilty about. They are involved in a maker club, and my husband says that counts as project based learning. --science. Science is really mom-driven in our home at this time. I'd love to have my kids take the "lead" on science learning for themselves, but....maybe down the line.... --History. History is really book-based in our house this year. Not a lot of hands on. Sigh. I have a friend who was asking about how homeschooling is going for us. I was telling her that I've realized it's impossible to optimize for everything - that I had this ideal that everything would be better than what they could get elsewhere, that we'd have unlimited flexibility to iterate and iterate and iterate in this ever ascending spiral until we reached...learning nirvana!!! You know, continuous cycles of homeschool curriculum PDSA!!!! (Ha!) The reality is obviously different. We are limited. We don't have unlimited flexibility. My friend was pretty incredulous and asked, "Then why do you do it?" It was a reminder that the primary reason we started homeschooling was for the family relationships. On the academic side, we are rigorous but not perfect. Quoting our wise sage, Tibbie Dunbar, I'm trying not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I realize that this post is straying from the OP's intent. No intent to derail, just reflecting on what "re-doing" has meant for me.
  7. I feel like in the early grades, they can help reinforce each other really well. I mean, if you're going to do real history with first or second graders, then the only way to do it is as a story, which is why SOTW is so good in the first place, because SWB understands that. It has to be narrative - and adding in more narratives is a huge positive for any sense of retention (which, sometimes you get and sometimes you don't...). My own feeling is that by late elementary and definitely by the logic stage, all this bending over backwards to make history cycles line up with literature hurts developing good literature appreciation in kids. I mean, the best literature for fifth or sixth graders simply has zero to do with history. There's almost no amazing literature about the ancient world for middle schoolers. We did a lot of literature centered history early on - especially in the early grades, but just generally as we did a full history cycle (with an added year of US history). But then we ditched the history cycle for the logic stage altogether. I felt that middle school was the time to dive into more interest led learning. So we did that. Now that we're in high school, so far we're back to some more directed learning with history, but I'm just coming at it from a different perspective. We're definitely not doing history cycles for high school.
  8. TJEd has some good things to offer, and community is very important. We stayed with our group until the needs of my kids weren't being met any more, but we were never a part because of the TJEd philosophy (it was more like you in that it was the only group that we could join up with, and we could "play ball" with the philosophy once a week). I am sure you are already aware, but I'll caution anyway - beware of the oddly contrasting culture that can arise in TJEd groups of laze faire approach and judgement/guilt. There are many who use the philosophy to rationalize not doing the hard work of educating their children - they take "inspire, not require" to mean if the kids aren't inspired to do it they will still be ok if they don't do it. I am of the mind that TJEd works when you have the right environment AND you have a certain innate nature compatible with it (I don't think you can "inspire" this or achieve it by ANY external means - it has a lot to do with personality). I don't believe it works for most people. And don't let anyone judge or make you feel guilty for doing what you deem to be right for your homeschool - even if it is workbooks, schedules, assignments, or any other TJEd taboos. They don't have the corner on the market of educational wisdom, and you were given stewardship of your family. Ok, now that I blew off that steam, on to your post. (1) I think that if your 8th grader has skills in place and a plan and resources/materials that are easy to use independently this could work. I question whether 10 min per subject is enough for the 6th and 4th graders. They still need instruction in skills, probably writing and math in particular, so that they have the foundation to execute independently later. I would at least be at elbow with them longer than the 10 minutes - or in the room consulting as needed - but ideally the one:one time NOW is worth ten times the effort in the future. Even if you upped that to 15-20 minutes per core subject that would be a time cost that would reap significant dividends later on. And if you reduce output to a minimum you will have more time to plan/organize because you won't be grading things so much. We gave scores for math because it was fairly objective, but I didn't start grading anyone on their output until they were 12 or 13. If you are firm about the 10 minutes per subject time frame then I would look in to some programs that are fairly self-teaching. I don't know many but here are a few: Math Mammoth, CLE, or the Growing with Grammar/Soaring with Spelling/Winning with Writing workbooks, Wordsmith Apprentice, Writing with Skill, Sequential Spelling, Phonetic Zoo. There are also a number of curricula with DVD based learning like Essentials in Writing, Math-U-SEe, IEW, CAP's Latin programs, and many others (search google for independent curriculum). If you follow WTM recommendations for copywork/dictation/narration for writing for the 4th and 6th graders you can use any books you have and do it for free, but you have to invest some time in teaching them the skills. We use Beast Academy and Art of Problem solving for mostly independent math, but the kids were able to be independent because we spent a lot of time early laying the conceptual foundations of math. (2) Routines are helpful to most everyone because it eliminates the active thinking/decision making process for the routine events. It saves you from having to recreate the day everyday, and it removes anxiety over what might be next. And it is especially helpful to those who think very rigidly, like many ASD kids. It really helped our household to have a routine in during the time my oldest three kids were in the 2nd-8th grade span (I will exclude my actually youngest from this because she was not schooling then). It wasn't scheduled by the minute, but it was a this, then this, then this, with some time boundaries. At breakfast while they were eating I did Morning Basket (this is similar to the TJEd idea of Kidschool where mom shares her thing). They were eating and therefore good listeners, and it set the tone for the beginning of work. We then started math - I would actively teach the lesson to the youngest and set her working. I would then go and work with DS who had read his lesson while I worked with DD, and made sure he understood before leaving him to work. The oldest is my math genius and began self-directed AOPS books in 5th but that was the only thing she was self-directed in and it was her innate drive. I would just touch base with her. Then we started rotations for english language arts. Either 1. work with mom, 2. independent (finish assigned work, practice memory work, copy work, assigned reading, tech-mediated work like Spelling City or DragonBox math practice, etc), or 3. play/read to preschooler or self. The rotations lasted about 20 minutes, and we rotated once for writing/spelling/grammar and once for reading/literature. Then we had lunch, and then we started Personal Study Time in the afternoon (more on that below). We also had routines for chores, personal care, winding down at night, etc. It just made life so much smoother to not have to try to think of what to do next, and my kids (not ASD but ADHD and two of them very rigid) appreciated knowing what was coming next. I really recommend Teaching from Rest. (3) I found that I needed to supply a lot of scaffolding structure to their interest led learning in the beginning. We have a meeting a month or so before each semester and talk about idea they have for what they want to study. I present certain areas of study they need to do - they need to have books they want to read, they need to have some area of personal improvement/skills development (eg music lessons, learn to sew, learn to use power tools, learn to use a planner, learn to carry conversation, learn first aid, etc), they need to have something in history to study (a person, a period of time, an event, a discovery/invention, etc), and they need to have something in science (a person, a discovery/invention, a science kit with activities, studying a principle like gravity, experience like an experiment/field trip/musuem/zoo, etc.). We write down all the big ideas and together whittle down what would could probably work on in the semester. Each week we would have a mentor meeting and pull out the notes we took from the semester meeting and plan what they would work on for that week. We would also check in on what they worked on the prior week. For example, one time at a semester meeting my dd said she wanted to learn about the human body. We got a science kit about the human body. Each week we would put down tasks like "do experiment #3 from Human Body kit" or "search for library books on human body" or "read book "How My Body Works" or "watch video about digestion system" or "go to the Science Center" or "draw pictures of the brain." All of these things would go on her weekly checklist, which we created at the weekly mentor meeting and included my required work and their decided upon work for personal study time. I sometimes had to suggest ways they could study the material - games, videos, even toys and games, building models, experimenting, creating visual representations of what they were learning about, etc. I didn't require output for these personal studies until they got to be about 12 or 13. And even then I gave them choices or they made suggestions. It takes work to set your kids up for good self-directed learning, but eventually you will be doing less work. I found the book Project-Based Homeschooling helpful, as well as the blog. There's also a TJEd related book Giving Your Child a LOLIPOP Education that has some good ideas about what is developmentally appropriate for kids, though some of her projects were too time intensive IMO and didn't give the kids enough opportunity for exploration. (4) I think you gave yourself the best advice here. There is always a lot to consider - your teaching style, their learning style, their strengths and weaknesses, your strengths and weaknesses, time frames, resources, long and short term goals. I wish I had a step-by-step for this, but it is so personal. All I can say is to really consider your children, and really consider yourself. But I do think that if you do this first the other things will begin to fall into place, you will be able to make decisions more easily, and you're less likely to sweat the small stuff. Best wishes!!!
  9. :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: I'm sorry things are so tough right now. You are in a difficult position. Gently, I think it might help to make some adjustments from your end at this point. First, I think it may help for you to adjust expectations for independent learning. Whether a child is intellectually capable of doing work or not, most kids in elementary school still need instruction from and support from their instructor/parent. Some kids can function mostly independently by that age but honestly very few, IMHO. If she is this upset then she probably needs a lot more support, whether you have the time to give it or not. Second, since you have been "threatening" public school you may have already indicated to her that public school is a bad thing, whether you intended to or not. It was apparently not presented as a positive that might work as an alternative to homeschooling but as a thing she would get stuck with instead of homeschooling (and she already is struggling with homeschooling, apparently, so public school may be perceived as even worse to her) if she didn't improve her attitude. In other words, public school is the thing she would get dumped back into because you are tired and frustrated and unhappy and are thinking of quitting homeschooling based on your own struggles with the situation, not because public school might be a really good alternative for your child. Third, most children at that age are not going to be grateful for homeschooling, or public schooling or whatever. They aren't going to see the sacrifices you are making to homeschool. That isn't part of their worldview yet. Maybe as adults. Not right now. Please try not to blame them for not cheering you on for making these sacrifices. Fourth, besides academics, are you doing anything to intentionally work with your child on areas of interest? Anything that would help her to see purpose in learning while tapping into personal interests/strengths. How much positive interaction do you have as mother and daughter, aside from academics? I assume it must be hard to squeeze everything in while trying to support your family. Perhaps working on strengthening your relationship and pursuing some interest led learning right now might work better than trying to keep her independently moving through more structured academics or putting her back in public school. :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: ETA: If you really don't have time to work with her directly and to spend some time with interest led learning then yes, you might want to put her in public school for now. But PLEASE don't make it seem like a punishment or that you are giving up on her. Be honest and explain you just physically don't have much time and it doesn't seem to be working out as you had hoped. Try to present this as a positive, maybe as a temporary solution until you and she see how things go.
  10. I agree with the comments above. Lockpicking sounds like a fascinating skill! Useful too, it just might develop into a small business..... You can help your student add in an academic component more specific than the interest led learning he is doing. Whether it be writing some papers, going through an e-course, or just keeping a log of what he explores. You might want to check out Lee Binz' Delight Directed Learning ebook on Amazon. Sometimes she gives free downloads at the beginning of the month to various titles. This book would help you word a course description and give you ideas. -- this is the first time I have seen this particular website. I usually download from Amazon when she has free stuff. Just out of curiosity, I did a quick search for course descriptions - so much came up. You have probably already done this, but here is a link to just one of the many that might be worth reading for ideas. I have a 3rd grade Tinkerbell who might be very interested in this when she is old enough :)
  11. I would also spend the money on math. We use a christian curriculum for math, so that is no help to you even though it is cheap (Christian Light Education - CLE). Your first step, however, would be to try to figure out what she's been learning in math and whether she struggles or not. For my older child we use Saxon. I don't care for it in the younger grades as when we started HS'ing I found it overwhelming! For your first year I'd de-school a bit (you've gotten some really good advice with the above) and do some interest led learning. Try not to worry. We are on our 5th year of homeschooling and I just now feel that I've gotten the curriculum down that works for us. My kids have grown exponentially in many ways that are not quantifiable on standard tests (though with individualized instruction they've done pretty well on those as well). You will probably have many days where you want to put her back on the school bus. That's normal for your first year, you wouldn't be the only one! I can honestly say now, at 5 years in, that I don't ever have those thoughts anymore and HS'ing is probably what we will always do. Seeing fruit of our choices. Good luck to you!
  12. I’ ve done this some years. We usually do a few very light things over the summer and a lot of reading. But I’ve been trying to schedule more of a break - especially for me. I take time in the summer to read books for me and to do some self-education. I give the kids craft projects or let them play outside and I take some time off while the littlest one is napping. My kids know that for a little while in the afternoon they are not to bother Mom so I can have some relaxation time. I’ve enjoyed my summers where I focused on myself and on my self-education. I was so refreshed and ready to start another year. That being said, I still had a simple routine for our summer days and my kids did different educational things and a few independent workbooks so their brains didn’t totally fall out. Lol! But I have found that taking a few months to focus on other things was a great thing for us. We also tried to do more art and science demonstrations, listen to different styles of music, practice math facts, and follow interest led learning in our book choices. I tried to fit in some things hat sometimes got pushed aside during the school year. But having things already planned and ready to go for the next year was amazing. I’m currently working on next year’s stuff right now so that by the end of May I don’t have to think about it until August.
  13. We mostly followed a classical path to content in the grammar stage, but switched to doing a lot more interest led learning in the logic stage. So in fifth grade, we started doing more unit studies instead of straight up science and history. But if you want to stay the course in order, it seems like you've got the right idea... I'd consider taking a year off from grammar. If you've done it for four years now and plan to do AG the following year, just skip it. Really. It'll be fine. That's beyond plenty. You can go back to SOTW, but there are other options. A lot of people like the Oxford University Press books. Other people use Human Odyssey. For science, if you want complete and secular for logic stage biology, you probably want Real Science Odyssey's Biology. However, I second the idea that if you have a 3rd grade tag along, you could absolutely go interest led and do something that would split the difference for them. RSO is supposed to be very solidly middle school level, so it would be a bit of a challenge program for a 5th grader. Why not do an Ellen McHenry program with them together. They could do The Brain or The Elements or Botany together (or two of them as each is really a half year thing).
  14. :grouphug: Yes, I definitely encountered this. And it stinks. It is so frustrating and annoying and hurtful and maddening. As OhE and others have said, though, try not to take it personally. (I realize that can be exceedingly hard to do.) Is what the pediatrician saying logical? In a way yes and in a way no. From his perspective he probably has had VERY little if ANY practical experience with homeschooling in any detailed way. Meaning he probably did not homeschool his own children or work directly with kids being homeschooled in an academic way. All he knows is the brief amount of information he hears from you and possibly a smattering of other parents in his practice that might be homeschooling. He hasn't lived this or studied this. Think about it from his perspective. You are coming to him with concerns and a wish to try changing his medications in a way that have the potential to cause additional health issues (even if the cardiologist says it is fine, this doctor has concerns about following this path and as a medical professional he is obviously going to value his own concerns). Those concerns you have regarding your son's behavior are honestly not easily addressed. There is no quick, clear fix, no pill he can take that will cure all. Your child doesn't have a bacterial infection or a broken leg. Now add in that you are educating your child in a way that is outside the norm (and yes homeschooling is becoming more popular but in most areas it is still not the standard way to educate a child). He has no practical experience with this type of educational environment. No basis of knowledge to inform him in a reliable way as to whether homeschooling is still the better fit. So what does he do? He defaults to something KNOWN. Does that make sense? It is simply where his comfort zone is. Most people are conditioned to think of public school as where the professional teachers are, not parents teaching at home. Because of that, if teaching at home is not going swimmingly then even if the public school had been a bad fit, if homeschooling is also not working really, really well, most professionals that I have run into see public school as the better option. They believe that ps should at least have resources to help. In reality does a school have more resources to help? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. As you experienced when your child actually was in school, for your particular child's needs, it was a really bad fit. You KNOW this because you experienced it first hand. You saw the results daily. So you made the decision to homeschool and probably did a lot of research to come at this from a basis of knowledge even if you did not yet have the experience. Now you have been at this about a year and a half. Has homeschooling actually worked out really well? No. It is still a struggle. Many of the same issues he had at school are still there. Is it a better fit than when he was in school? Probably, based on what you have posted. It certainly seems so. But it is still a struggle. Your doctor is simply taking that information and assuming that if neither worked well, he would be better off in a school where theoretically there are more resources and trained professionals to help navigate this situation. Is he right? Well, in my neck of the woods I would have to say no. Sadly, the school system here is not set up to genuinely help kids that are outside the norm. Since you already went that route I think you can say that actually no it won't help your child either, at least not right now. So what do you take from what your doctor has said? That you need to keep seeking a broader range of tools to put in your tool box to make homeschooling a better fit than it currently is. Walk away from any other implications and hurt feelings if you possible can. Are changing medications an answer? Maybe. It can certainly help, depending on the child and the circumstances. Would Cognitive Behavior or Dialectical Behavior Therapy help? That is also a very distinct possibility. Especially if you find a good one. Would a combination of the two be a good option? Actually, that usually works better than just medications alone. Keep seeking answers, but accept that this is going to be a long journey. And things will change. What works for a while may cease to work later on (as you have already experienced). I also wanted to address your statement about structure. You stated that the structure of school did not help your child so why does the doctor think that more structure at home or returning to public school for structure would help? Public school structure is different from structure provided in a home environment. In school there is virtually no flexibility (at least the way the vast majority of schools are set up). Classes are for a set time, regardless of how much material is to be covered each day or how intense/challenging/time consuming that particular lesson/concept, etc.. Also, nowadays most teachers have very set requirements and materials they are allowed to use. Not a lot of flex there, either, within the structure of a school day. For some kids this works amazingly well. For others it is TOO structured. It does not provide for the individual student's needs. In a homeschool environment structure can be provided (and for some kids they will flounder and fail without it) but can be set up to provide for the needs of that particular student. It doesn't have to be an arbitrary system created by people that never met my child. For instance, my kids are VASTLY different. Night and Day. They both need some structure to their day but that structure is different for each of them. DD needs a list and a framework of things to do each day but she is good at working through that list based on her mental and physical needs at any given moment. If she has just finished some really intense math lessons (her hardest subject) she knows she needs something lighter afterwards and probably some down time to go outside and swing (she needs movement to think and to unwind). She is old enough now that she is aware of these things and can usually choose when to do what. We work as a team but she frequently picks which topic to tackle next. She also needs quiet to think and prefers me nearby but not yammering in her ear. In other words she has structure, but it is loose structure. DS was different and I did not provide for him the intense structure and feedback he needed when we first started. He needed not just daily lists but a fairly rigid schedule that repeated the same way on most days, lots of direct feedback on every single thing, and VERY clearly laid out collaboratively created expectations for short term and long term goals. I did not initially provide that and he floundered. In other words, DS would have done better if we had kept to a more traditional public school type of schedule but it didn't have to be so rigid. He did better with each subject done at roughly the same time each day, but unlike in ps we wouldn't have to sit there until 45 min was up. Some subjects he couldn't stay focused for more than 10 minutes. Therefore that is what we scheduled. I also realized I needed to incorporate more physical activity and more interest led learning but with a framework to keep within. And he needed a LOT more positive feedback and cuddles and discussion and smiles and hugs and laughter and positive interaction UNRELATED TO SCHOOL on a daily basis than DD ever did. So in other words, yes, the structure in school did not seem to work for your child. That doesn't mean that there isn't a need for structure or that structure will not work for your child. He may need a different kind of structure from what was available in school. Hugs and best wishes. I hope you find a path that will help both of you. This is not an easy journey. :grouphug:
  15. When I was four, I wanted to become a pirate. When I was 6, I refined my choice of profession to being a French buccaneer in the king's employment. Consequently, I learned a ton about French history and naval warfare as a fairly young child because this was my burning interest. For sheer egocentric reasons. In hindsight, it was a perfect example for me how interest led learning leads to phenomenal results.
  16. My just turned 7yo would drive me nutters if he only had math and language arts. :p The history, science, and geography fire him up. He's insatiably curious about the world in general and I can barely keep up with interest led learning. A program or book to follow makes it easier on me and keeps him fed. :)
  17. This is what we have done. My dd12 (not autistic,) had an hour a day in 7th grade to work through her Thinking Tree Journal which is for interest led learning. It has worksheets to guide a child on their own through books and videos of their choice on their topics. They even have one especially for Asperber's kids, though I think any of the journals are fine for anyone. It has specific pages to work with eye contact and feelings where the others may not. But she loved that she controlled that hour and worked really hard. The rest of the day was for our required work. She personally chose Ocean animals, her Children's Bible, and a novel to read through this year for her work in the journal. She watched Ocean Mysteries for the video page, then read from her animal encyclopedia on ocean animals (sometimes she coordinated the pages to match her episode,) did a short narration of what she read in the journal, drew diagrams, did copywork from her lit books, and whatever else the journal asked of her, using her chosen materials to work from. She loved it. It's kind of like guided unschooling.
  18. Please take my responses as those of a parent with no expertise in this field. My DS has had some similar issues over the past two years but not to the extreme that you seem to be dealing with. :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: What you might consider: Backing off literally ALL structured school work for several weeks. Give her a detox period. She is still young. Don't worry about whether she is functioning at grade level/finishing the current grade level. Goodness, her academics are small potatoes compared to the other issues. She has years to learn reading/writing/math/history/science. Truly, there is time for that. Right now she is struggling in ways that could impact her forever. Those have to take precedence. Make sure her sleeping/eating schedule fits well with her natural patterns. Find a therapist that specializes in kids with these challenges and possibly does Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Is she seeing a therapist already? Maybe do some projects or work on acquiring a special skill or hobby if it would give her sense of purpose and accomplishment. Eventually, after a detox period, I would try to focus strictly on trying to rebuild confidence in her academics and reduce the anxiety and help her get over what is amounting to PTSD from her academics through interest led learning with NO pressure, as well as fun activities, lots of hugs (when accepted), smiles, listening to audio books of her choice if she likes that, letting her discuss whatever might be of interest to her, etc. Finding materials that are better suited to her interests once she is in a better place for taking on more formal academics. Make sure to start with only one or two core subjects, keep lessons VERY short, and try to make the materials fit her learning style and interests as much as possible. Build from there. I feel for you and send my empathy and hugs. It is so hard when our children struggle like this. There is no easy fix, nothing we just need them to study harder for and it all gets better, no surgery that heals the damage...and no easy, clearly laid out path for how to move forward... :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:
  19. We have still got a fair bit of stuff to finish off this month, even though our local school finishes at the end of next week. However, the kids will be on summer break from music lessons, Guides, Youth Orchestra, Drama, and gymnastics, so that means we will have extra time to get things done at home. January we will be doing something different each week, including some workshop type days focusing on one thing for the day, and some summer activities such as camping and kayaking. Also, Ms. 8 and I will be off to String Camp for a week while the elders manage the house and get some lessons with their dad. February will see the start of our Term 1 routine as the kids are officially promoted to 8th, 6th and 4th grades. This is what I have so far... Daily Subjects: *Language & Writing - Alternating between IEW (all kids doing SWI-B) one week and Fitzroy Language Skills + spelling the alternate week *Math - ICE-EM8 for Mr. 13, MM5 for the girls, and Kahn if they finish their week's work early *Music - Theory, practice (Mr. 13 trombone+composition, Ms. 11 clarinet+piano, Ms. 8 alternating with one day violin+oboe and one violin+piano [she has a big violin exam and has to increase practice on that]) *Memory Work (literature and other odd bits and pieces) Non Daily Subjects: *History - Continue loosely following SOTW, supplementing and extending as required. We did a unit on Ancient Australia this year, so next year I am thinking of either Family or Local History (or both) as our extra unit before we get to colonial Australia in 2018 *Geography, Science, Art - Probably keep following our own program of various resources I have pulled together, together with a lot of interest led learning Extra curriculars will most likely be the same as this year. I would really like to cut down a little, but everything they're doing seems important for one reason or another. Also, our state regulations require us to prove that the kids are getting adequate socialising time, so we need those outside activities on our report. Things I'm still considering: *Sports - I really would like them to try more sporting activities, but it's difficult with the time and money required, and also because dh and I aren't sporty. We might do some more 'taster' sessions as well as trying to get ds involved in something regular if possible. *LOTE - I feel bad that we haven't really done this seriously. I would love for us all to learn Latin together, but there is zero enthusiasm from anybody else, including dh. Ms. 11 is keen on learning Spanish, Ms. 8 is thinking about German, and Mr. 13 is uninterested (he considers it a serious affront that I ask him to read and write in English, let alone any other language). *Literature - I am not really satisfied with the reading choices my kids make, so I'm thinking about giving them each assigned reading, but I'm a bit overwhelmed with possibilities for what to put on their lists. *Research - I would love to do some structured teaching around finding and evaluating information online. Not yet sure how to do this. If anybody would like to offer any suggestions or feedback, I would be eternally grateful!
  20. For middle school science, I did. But I did not construct a "program". We did interest led learning with lots of library books and documentaries, field trips to science museums and nature centers. I was not concerned with systematic or comprehensive coverage, but with exposure and keeping curiosity alive.
  21. I have two homeschoolers - a freshman and a 6th grader this year. As I am planning for next year, I am wrestling with this awful feeling that the days of interest led learning are at a close. DS15 is currently interested in a military career, but my husband is adamant that both boys graduate with a college prep transcript so I feel like his high school years are already filled with "must have" courses. I would love to do a military history course with him, and he would be all over that. But where do I fit it in? With DS12 I feel like I have his 7th grade year left to pursue subjects he is interested in because by 8th grade it was all about making sure we had the classes we needed to be ready for high school. It feels like homeschooling as they are getting older is losing the passion or joy. It feels as I look ahead to next year like it is all about checking th eboxes. Does that make sense? Is this just the way of it? Or am I chaining myself to a transcript and I don't need to? What did you experienced HS homeschoolers do to keep your student's interests at the forefront of their education?
  22. You know, I'm sitting here pondering all of this and realized something. We've developed our entire homeschool around delight, interest led learning. We have worked hard to find curriculum that is challenging and interesting and provides a way to learn how to learn and to enjoy the process of learning all at the same time. Except for phonics. Phonics is dry and boring and basic drill. Is there a curriculum that is not dry? A phonics program that inspires delight instead of boring drill and practice of letters and sounds?
  23. Agree there may be more going on than just the school. Hard to know from your post. You could have a gifted youngster with delayed social skills and/or ADHD or just struggling with some emotional issues that have not yet been addressed effectively, etc. that contributed to the bullying and issues at school. Just in case there is the possibility you might just do some research first. Look into gifted kids, 2e kids, ADHD, stuff like that. Be open minded. Just read through stuff, see if anything fits. If so, then look into evaluations. In the meantime, you have a lot of littles. Mostly you are going to be needing some structure and a schedule just to keep yourself and your kids functional. Write out basic goals you have for why you are homeschooling now. Then brainstorm how to achieve your goals. Ask specific questions here. Work out a plan for household chores, snack time, lunch time, and what academics are a priority for each age. Make sure you keep in mind that you are going to need prep time and downtime for yourself. The only one I would really stress academics for right now is the 9 year old. Get him settled and work the others around that. If he is non-compliant right now that could be the result of depression and anxiety after the issues with school (BTDT). Try not to see this as being disrespectful/non-compliant but more a reaction to situations beyond his control. He may need a "detox" period where the focus is improvement in his level of confidence, his relationship with you and DH and his siblings, etc. What about some interest led learning for a bit? Is there a topic he is especially interested in? Maybe he could spin writing/reading/history/science off of that topic. For instance, maybe he really likes airplanes. Have him read some age appropriate/reading level appropriate biographies, work on writing spun off of that, along with the history and science behind airplanes. Let him watch documentaries, too. Create a structure for his day but let it be focused on things that matter to him. Keep lessons short. Don't press right now. Give him time to adapt and adjust. Give him love and grace. Smile at him. Focus on things he is doing right. Help him turn his emotional state around with a lot of love and scaffolding. Might he do better with instruction from someone other than you? If so, perhaps for math he would be happier doing something like Teaching Textbooks or CTC Math or Khan Academy, at least for now. Gotta go right now. Hugs and good luck!
  24. How cool to see this discussion continuing! What wonderfully creative and interesting kids you have! I think, especially given the ages of your kids, that for the school year you could just add in some skills-based academics - math, grammar and/or a bit of formal writing, and otherwise let them have at it. What Jackie said about colleges, especially LACs, wanting a diverse student population is indeed true. My youngest ds, who is having a wildly successful time at a small LAC, had a very non-traditional high school. And this was after a very unschooly middle school. His literature courses for 11th and 12th were totally unschooled. At the other extreme, literature in 9th and 10th grade was very much WTM inspired as it was tied in with history. I homeschooled biology. He took math, chemistry, economics and Spanish at the community college -- I joke that he "fired" me from ever teaching him math again after geometry. He turned 16 while in his chemistry course and earned the moniker of "little professor" as all the other students turned to him for help. Other than those formal courses, his transcript was filled with hands on learning experiences -- robotics, an internship with an electrical engineer, an internship with the zoo and at the local science museum. The science museum was so impressed with him that they hired him after his internship. Some of these were treated as courses with titles like "career exploration" or "project based learning" while others were just listed as outside activities. The only standardized test he took was the ACT. He only applied to 3 colleges, 2 accepted him with nice merit scholarships. The one school that didn't accept him was highly competitive and had the most stringent admissions requirements -- 4 years of this and 4 years of that. He is now a straight A rising sophomore who has been a research assistant since spring semester and has been invited to attend an academic conference in the fall. He did field research in Iceland over the summer! So yes, a non-traditional education does work, but I think it is important to remember something Nan has brought up again and again. Skills and content are different things. All this discovery led and interest led learning is the content, and it is truly valuable and important. The content is the part of learning that is life-long. BUT, academic skills are important too and should not be neglected as they are harder to remediate. When I casually say the 3Rs, as in we spent our mornings on the 3Rs, I'm usually thinking of academic skills. Math, obviously, is one of those skills. Writing is too and grammar if that is a weak point in your student's writing. Logic is a skill, too. Some kids need work with basic skills like note taking, some don't. I kept nagging my kids to keep calendars during high school thinking it was an important organizational habit to have, they refused, thought it one of those stupid mom things. Guess what? They now keep calendars and I have to bite my tongue to say "told you so". Back to the college admissions game. It is terrifying when you've gone down a non-traditional route because you have made it a bit harder on yourself. You have to write course descriptions and write answers to the questions on the homeschool supplement of the Common Application. Then you have to face that some big state schools (the University of California system, for instance) will not look at a homeschooler. (It is more nuanced with the UCs than that flat statement implies, but it is basically the truth. Many kids simply start at the community colleges while in high school then transfer to the UCs.) And yet there are hundreds of good colleges and universities to choose from. If your child is ambitious and motivated, there are AP and SATII exams galore to help improve admissions chances to the competitive big-name schools. My advice is to aim for the most basic high school course requirements but meet those courses with a combination of skills and interest-led content that fit your particular students and your own homeschool style. Your kids will grow and mature so much between now and the age of 17 or 18, and your homeschool will adapt to fit them just as it has all along. Don't be paralyzed by the thought that you have to start NOW in order to shape your 12 year old into a college applicant -- they will grow into being that college applicant. Don't be paralyzed by some ideal of what high school must be. Focus on that kid slouched at the kitchen table -- love him, teach him where he is at, enjoy the age he is at. High school is just another stage in life, another period of epic growth in our kids.
  25. Corraleno- Thank you for your wonderful contribution, as always it is so interesting to read about your hs. I believe you really lay it how to make interest-led schooling work. Often when these discussions come up it seems that the whole method hinges on your child having some deep burning interest and taking off with it and suddenly becoming engrossed in some massive inter-disciplinary project. You very aptly demonstrate the work and strategy of helping our children find interests and providing them opportunities to explore those interests. Sometimes we need to work to help our children be receptive to learning, perhaps through the limitation of electronic media as you highlighted. Once we have them receptive I think it then starts w/ demonstrating that love of learning and curiosity of the world ourselves. It is then our job to show them the world out there,often times I think it is assumed that our children have no interests but really they are not in the receptive stage, haven't seen examples of following passions, and just don't what is out there to explore. It all seems so obvious but hearing the stages you went through more clearly shows the path to interest led learning, which for most of us from the ps system, is quite a foreign concept.
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