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New to Homeschooling - Any help appreciated :)


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I have a 10 year old son, 8 year old daughter and a 2 year old son.

We are going to start homeschooling this summer!!!

We are all very excited and nervous (well that might be just me!!!)

My kids are doing very well in school (A's) and I don't have a problem with the school itself - we have just decided it doesn't work for us.

 

I have decided to keep them in Saxon Math.

However I was thinking of the Apologia for science but then after reading 'The Well Trained Mind' I have doubts.

 

What advice could you give me?? About subjects etc!!

 

What would have done differently if you could start again etc!!!

 

I would esp like to hear from anyone that started Homeschooling with older kids like mine :)

 

Thanks

 

Lisa :001_smile:

Edited by alhsjej
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Well my first advise to begin, keep it simple.

 

As your are confident with what you are doing then add other subjects. Start with Reading, Writing and Math. Its easy to incorporate spelling and handwriting. I don't know how much research you have done as far as what curriculum you would like to use or are thinking about. I would suggest getting some of these catalogs: Sonlight, Veritas Press. Also, History and Science are something both older children can do together.

 

I am sure you will get tons of good advise from this forum too!

 

Enjoy the homeschooling!:)

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Welcome, and have fun! I also highly recommend starting with skills. Only after you have those covered should you venture into the large land of science and history (in my opinion). It can get overwhelming pretty quickly if you try to figure out all of your subjects at once. Also, at those ages science and history are still pretty much 'extras'.

 

Once you narrow it down to which children you are looking for, and which subjects you need help with - ask here! There are so many knowledgeable moms around!

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I also just started homeschooling. My boys are 11 and 13. The biggest struggle so far has been keeping them on task. Maintaining a schedule is difficult. I am thinking about painting a wall with chalkboard paint just to have a visual reminder/schedule.

I haven’t fixed my hair in a week….LOL

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We use Apologia. It works really well for us (I have a nearly 10 year old and an 8 year old, with a 4 year old playing along). We absolutely love it, and I'm always amazed at how much my kids retain with it.

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We love Apologia. We are just finishing Flying Creatures and moving right into Swimming. Can't wait! So simple, easy to implement. We just read about 2 pages each day and do the experiments. We've learned so much! The Christian Liberty Press Nature Readers are also a steal - usually about $2 each used - and so sweet and full of great info. My 7 year old can read them to me well. We love that time together.

 

Edited to say - Saxon works for so many, but we've been so thankful to switch to Math Mammoth. You can read plenty about it on this board. My love stems from the kids' being able to do so much of it alone and their gain in conceptual understanding.

Edited by walkermamaof4
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I started with an 5th grader, 4th grader and a K. I knew before pulling them out what subjects I wanted to teach and had a pretty good idea of the grade level they would need to start with. I knew I had to find the best program for each dc and that I wanted programs that I would feel comfortable teaching. I wrote up a daily and yearly schedule too but after the first week tossed it in favor of just seeing how things progressed for awhile before trying to stick to a rigid schedule. I pulled my dc out toward the end of the year and so I gave them time to de-school and to work on establishing a daily routine for chores and we did some fun stuff. We also dealt with some attitude issues (some of which we resolved and some of which we still are dealing with:glare:)

 

As I said one of the first things I did was to determine learning styles of my dc (which is funny because I ended up not following what I learned and it ended up biting me in the backside:tongue_smilie:) I found that my oldest, dd13, liked programs that were self teaching as much as possible so that she wouldn't have to wait on me and she prefers traditional workbooks and texts. My second oldest, dd12, is somewhat of an enigma. There are some subjects that she prefers to be in workbook format and others that she prefers to be hands on and visual. She learns best when the information is within the context of subjects she finds interesting so she does best with integrated studies, unit studies, lapbooks, project\interest led and highly visual information (documentaries, charts, graphs, pictures...) My third dd, 8yo, seems to be able to adapt to any type of format given to her. She has preferences for certain subjects that I try to accommodate. Manipulatives and workbooks for math, workbooks for language arts, unit studies with heavy hands on, visuals and real books for history and science.

 

Then I tried to determine what type of teacher I was. I started out with a lot of scripted programs but have become more confident and feel I don't need the scripting as much if at all in the core subjects. As I have become more experienced I have found that I prefer open and go programs that do not require a lot of prep work by me. I like them to have a schedule already in place but one that I can tweak or adjust to fit our needs.

 

I started out trying to do a full load of subjects from the get go and quickly realized that it was just too much. Take the advice of the ladies that have posted so far and just stick with your skills subjects (core subjects - math, language arts, reading (phonics and then literature))until those are running smoothly. If your dc are craving science and history (content subjects) before you have committed to specific programs then just let them do interest led learning in those subjects with library books and documentaries. I wish I had spent at least 4-6 months just working on our skills subjects before adding anything else in. We didn't fall into a rhythm until the end of our first year of schooling but I still have to tweak our daily schedule every 6 months or so due to changes in our life or because the baby reaches a new level of disruptiveness. I also went from a traditional yearly schedule to a modified year round schedule that we like much better and allows for more frequent breaks throughout the year.

 

Having your household running smoothly before you start homeschooling is probably one of the most important things to do imo. Make sure everyone is comfortable in completing their chores in a timely fashion (If your dc don't help you with household chores now is the time to make that happen.) Make sure your house is de-cluttered to your standards and make sure you have a menu of easy to prepare meals. If you have any behavior issues try to get them resolved before you start schooling. Simplify your life as much as you can. If you have lots and lots of activities that take you out of the house for a large amount of time you may want to think of putting them on hold until you get at least the core subjects running smoothly. Some people may be able to dive into everything right off the bat but I tried and it was a pretty big shock to everyone.

 

Oh, one more thing, don't get discouraged with curriculum that you think will work perfectly but doesn't. Give it a good try, at least 3 months, and then if you can't tweak it, rewrite it or deal with it then get rid of it. Don't conform to a curriculum, make it conform to you.

 

I think that's it off the top of my head. It was a lot but I was on a roll because none of my dc know I'm in here on the computer and so I didn't get interrupted 10 times. :lol: Hope some of it is helpful! Good luck on your new journey!

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Aime posting before me is a voice of wisdom!

 

A sweet friend encouraged me to read Cathy Duffy's book before I began--The Top 100 Homeschool Picks http://www.amazon.com/100-Top-Picks-Homeschool-Curriculum/dp/0805431381/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1305863152&sr=8-1

 

Start slow, then ramp up.

 

Borrow if you can. Check out everything you can at your library or interlibrary loan. Then purchase. :) I was really surprised at HOW MUCH my library system had to offer--sometimes even workbooks.

 

Come frequently to the WTM boards for advice and inspiration. :)

 

blessings to you!

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  • 3 weeks later...

:grouphug:

Thanks so much for your words!! I actually feel so much better!

 

I have Saxon 3 and Saxon 6/5 for my oldest two

They chose on of the Apologia books for science and I have the notebooks to go with it!

I have some good History books laying around (both kids LOVE to read)

Plus my local library is very small but they are AWESOME at finding me what I want!!

I have Simply Grammar (not going to use straight away)

They also love doing the comprehensive grade books (we normally do those every summer anyway) that I will actually make them finish this year.

Piano Lessons

DS 10 is signed up for basketball camp and football camp - I am considering letting him do band and basketball (team) at the PS as they have allowed this in the past - Any thoughts on this??

 

Let me know what you think??

 

Thanks again, I just love this forum!!!:001_smile:

 

Lisa

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Aime posting before me is a voice of wisdom!

 

A sweet friend encouraged me to read Cathy Duffy's book before I began--The Top 100 Homeschool Picks http://www.amazon.com/100-Top-Picks-Homeschool-Curriculum/dp/0805431381/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1305863152&sr=8-1

!

 

I wholeheartedly agree. I also started with an older child. He was 8, and had been in school for four years. (K, K, 1st, 2nd) All of these moms here who have replied have a lot of wisdom, and a lot of good advice.

 

Taking it slow and easy is a very good idea. It can be easy to get over-excited and try to move full-steam ahead. But you really don't want to over-do it. Also, be aware that while you've pulled your kids out of school, you will be "pulling school out of your kids" so to speak. It will take some time for you to get to know each other, learn the boundaries of doing school at home, and falling into a nice steady groove. Don't get overwhelmed, and don't get frustrated. Take lots of breaks. I would suggest for older kids, especially new to homeschooling, 30 min. work periods and 10-15 min. breaks. Then slowly working up to longer work periods if you need to. Even if something is not done, it's okay to take a break.

 

Homeschooling is such a gift, and it's a real blessing to get to be with our kids every day. Take time to enjoy them, and get to know them. You will make mistakes, as we all do, but just keep moving forward.

 

Blessings to you as you make this transition! I know it will work out great for you.

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Welcome & congratulations on your decision to homeschool! My oldest dd's had just finished 2nd & 3rd grades when we pulled them out of ps to homeschool. Our first year was kind of crazy, but once I got the hang of it, it's been a great 6 years (so far). Don't get me wrong, it's hard, & there are some not so good days (and some just plain rotten days!), but in the long run, I love it! I get to enjoy my children so much more than if they were not home w/ me all the time.

Anyway, we have used Apologia elementary science for 2 years now, and we love it! Even if all we do is read the book, I'm amazed at how much my kids learn. The notebooks are neat, too.

If I could think of one thing I would like to do differently, I would have picked out a curriculum that worked for us as soon as I could (for us that is My Father's World) and stuck with it (I have done too much curriculum hopping in the past). I didn't realize how much it would affect my dc switching curriculum year after year, and sometimes during the middle of the year. Combining your kids for certain subjects (history, science, art, music etc.) is also a great time saver, and they seem to learn better together. I hope you enjoy your first year. Just remember to keep it simple and don't stress out. If you don't get everything done today, there's always tomorrow. Enjoy your children!

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For me (I have ADD and I tend to get off task with laundry, dishes, etc.) I had to make a school room. So that was number 1. BUT this also helped my dd who had been in public school several years take it all a little more seriously I think. I have a table and a white board behind that I write notes, etc. on, a calendar activity board, the pledge on the back of the door, everyone has their own "desk", and school posters that I add to throughout the year. We have a schedule that is flexible but mostly consistent. We start at 9. Have the ground rules set up with expectations was a biggie for me. But then, I was a teacher and so maybe that's just what I do b/c that's what I'm use to.

 

I think knowing yourself is a biggie too. Are you good at managing all kinds of things or do you need a pretty much open and go kind of curriculum? Do you LOVE a certain subject that you want to take more time on? I need my kids to be working out of a very scheduled curriculum for most subjects. I love science and so I enjoy hunting for really fun activities and doing a little more than some.

 

Those would be my suggestions. Good luck!

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Well I have two pieces of advice. One, trust your gut. You sound like you know what you and your dc like, so just run with it and stop letting the "expert" advice in WTM throw you off. :) Two, figure out what your weakest area is (be honest here) and find something to compensate for it. If you do those two things, I think you'll be great. I have a friend like you who took the plunge later, and they had a marvelous time. She just had this marvelous ability to be joyful and get it done. :)

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A couple things. First, look to other HSers for ideas for your homeschool, but not as a model to copy in detail. By this I mean that you can go NUTS (seriously!) and throw yourself into a panic if you start looking at all the things various folks do: there are so many subjects and options and curriculums and such out there, you cannot do it all. I know when I first started HSing I had moments of panic when I'd read what my friends were doing: amazing art projects / art history! piano! guitar! voice! writing! vocabulary roots! grammar! 101 types of math! 1001 amazing books to read aloud! science experiments! visiting historical sites! lapbooking! aaaarrggghh!!!) :001_smile:

 

Second, treat this year (and possibly more--it's a healthy way to live, IMO) as an experiment. take the pressure off yourself to "get it perfect" (but still have high standards to strive for). What's working well? What isn't? Do the same things work for each child? Does one need more structure? Are they enjoying the curriculum and activities you've chosen? Are they learning and retaining, or is it just busy work? Do YOU enjoy the activities and curriculum? (You count too!) Know right now that you will never "cover it all"-- we all have 'gaps' in our educations--but if you give your kids a solid grounding in skills (reading, writing, math) and a broad exposure to many other subjects, they'll have enough skills and 'latchpoints' to teach themselves whatever they need in future. I love the analogy of learning being like a webbed hammock: sure, there are gaps, but there's enough structure there to support you.

 

Good luck, and enjoy your year!

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