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What would you do if you had three years to plan?


Maplecat
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I have been lurking for a bit and really enjoying reading about everyone's experiences. My son is two and I plan on homeschooling him in a couple of years. If you could go back and have a couple of years to prepare before homeschooling, what would you do? Start hunting down used books? Further your own knowledge base? Start lesson planning? Get off the boards and relax for a couple of years? TIA! :bigear:

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I would not start hunting down books. I bought a lot of books ahead only to find out they are not our style. Now I have a whole new book list I need and have all of these books that we don't.

 

It is really hard to plan ahead because you don't have a feel for your individual child's needs.

 

I would read more "how to homeschool" type books. And you might start perusing catalogs and have a couple of ideas of curriculum you like... because that is fun!!

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I would think about furthering my own education. The "how to homeschool" stuff can wait.

 

I wish I had taken some more math. I wish I had taken Latin.

 

Fill in your gaps - explore your passions. Prepare to model a lifetime of active learning.

 

Enjoy that baby!! :)

 

Anne

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Actually, I'd just go play with my little one. The rest can wait.

 

:iagree: I would read aloud a lot of picture books as his attention span permits, just having fun. I would start training in good habits, just teaching little one how to pick up his toys, put his clothes in the hamper; as he gets older how to dust, set the table, and so on. As he stops napping I would get him used to still having a quiet time period. I would work on first time obedience, manners, etc. as it comes up in daily life. But mostly I would just go play like the other poster mentioned and not worry about all of that other stuff right now.

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This is my first year of buying a full years worth of curriculum....I agree with the others on not buying specific curric. b/c you don't know your dk learning styles, etc......but the one exception, I think, is readers. I wish I would have started buying good readers earlier. I want a whole bunch of books now but can't afford all of them at once.

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I would read tons of good kidlit, picture books, familiarize myself with the classic story-tellers, buy yourself a Five in a Row book for ideas.

 

I would look at a websites promoting toddlers and art.

 

I would teach my child sign language -- and more than just a handful of words.

 

I would familiarize myself with the homeschool lingo:

 

WTM

Charlotte Mason

Unschooling

 

etc etc, not that you have to choose a style, but that you have an idea of what's out there for resources.

 

Most importantly, I would just have fun with my child. I would do anything for a do-over during those toddler, especially for my oldest but in all honesty, I know so much more now, after hs'ing for 4 years than I ever knew then. I wish I would have puzzled, play-doh'ed, painted, glued and had teddy-bear picnics as often as we could.

 

I wish I'd made funny puppets, told funny stories and loved-on them harder!

 

Warmly, Tricia

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I wish I had spent more time reading about various educational philosophies (CM, Waldorf, Classical, Neo-Classical, etc). You won't know for sure what will work best for you til you try it, but I wish I had spent more time reading up on the vaious philosophies, so that when it came time, I would be better informed. The only thing I had really read was WTM - which was great, but I wish I had read more CM, I wish I had known more about Waldorf before I started (and of course I wish the Latin Centered Curriculum had been written! :) ). While you have the time to read, read everything you can, so when you are ready to begin, you will have abroad base to start planning from. And I definitely would not try to "plan" anything yet, like everyone else said, what you think you love now will probably change 5 times before you begin. Other than beginning to pick up classic books when you find them, I would not invest in "curriculum". If you are itching to buy things, look for things like art books on the great artists (great deals at bookstores in the bargain book sections), and great classics. I did start buying those things when my first was young, and that did help spread some costs out (I mostly bought art books - which we are now beginning to use, and some beautiful copies of books like Beatrix Potter stories, Tolkien, CS Lewis, etc).

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I wish that I had self-educated more when my kids were little.

 

Does your library have any Teaching Company Courses? If so, maybe you could find something of interest and start self-educating.

(http://www.teach12.com)

 

Or maybe you could pick up a copy of The Well-Trained Mind or The Well-Educated Mind. TWTM has great suggestions for self-education; TWEM will get you started on a life-long reading plan.

 

Lots of options. I wouldn't buy ANY curriculum yet though. Things will change a LOT in four years; you will have options that we never dreamed of. :001_smile:

 

If you really want to start exploring your library with your little one, you might pick up these books about books. These (and others!) will lead you toward fabulous picture-books that will allow you to begin "homeschooling" your little one - those cuddle-on-the-couch times with really little people are precious, precious hours.

 

Honey for a Child's Heart

ISBN-13: 978-0310242468

 

Books Children Love

ISBN-13: 978-1581341980

 

Books That Build Character

ISBN-13: 978-0671884239

 

Have fun!

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

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I would work through something like The Well-Educated Mind. I would also start reading lotshim. Play with him. Take him to the park. Do messy art. Start a garden. Teach him sign language. Let him help with the household chores. Read to him. The Ambleside Online site has a good list of what they call Year 0 books. Take him to library storytimes. Turn off the tv. Enjoy him. Oh and play with him.

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In whatever time you have for yourself, I'd work on self-educating. :001_smile: And I'm just starting this year, but reading WTM and WEM has really lit a fire in me to continue my own education as well.

 

And I'd agree with the others who said NOT to buy any curriculum... You never know what will come out in three years, or be developed, or what your child's learning style will be... Something might look great in a book and be highly regarded, but be totally and utterly wrong for your child. I'm already learning that lesson! :001_huh:

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There really is no way to plan 3 years in advance. A child might be further ahead or not as far ahead or learn a different way, etc. This is the biggest downfall of the public (and most private) schools. They think someone can simply decide what a child needs at a certain age, date, and time, without knowing much about where that child is or how that child learns or what that child's interests are at that age, date, and time.

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Start hunting down used books? Further your own knowledge base? Start lesson planning? Get off the boards and relax for a couple of years?

 

B and D. But you don't really have to leave the boards. Just put the credit card away (less temptation!) and just read, chat, absorb, and learn. :)

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I would make sure I lived in a great place. We have moved around a lot. I fell for the homeschoolers live in the country (no offense) hook line and sinker. So, we spent a lot of time going to visit the city to do things.

 

Now we live here and we can walk or ride the bus to all the places we like. When we are done we just go home, not prepare for a road trip.

 

I would put savings aside just for curriculum purchase. Let that money grow in a good account or 3 year CD. If you continue that process you will always have cash to pay for your curriculum. You will have cash when you come across a used curriculum sale.

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I like the idea of a savings account. I started researching homeschooling when dd was a baby, so I can tell you that all the theoretical doesn't really solve the nitty gritty when you get to it. What it did allow me to do was to go through the process of styles (unschooling, CM, classical) and let each pass as a fad in my mind until I had filtered down what I really wanted. My dd never liked early readers, but I guess that's uncommon. If books are cheap (25 cents), sure, buy them. Otherwise, I'd just read aloud a ton to him, take nature walks, do things together, have fun.

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I would study World History, Latin and Greek, Biology, and Chemistry.

Oh, and liturature analysis.

Those are my weak areas.

 

Actually, I have a 2yo, and I don't get to spend near as much time with her as I would like because doing lessons with her siblings (along with running the household) takes so much time. I wish I had more time to just enjoy her. She learns so much just from playing, I don't plan on doing anything formally with her for at least two more years. I'm looking forward to this summer, when we'll have less competition for time.

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I was in your situation, and what I did was:

Build a library of classics for all ages, mostly from library used book sales (cheap!)

Start setting aside a bit of money for homeschooling materials for later on.

Read a lot about child development.

Read a lot about educational theory.

Spend as much time as I could in the company of successful homeschool families.

One thing I wish I'd done differently:

Spend more time arranging my life, my home, and my organizational skills, to better suit a lifestyle where I could accomplish housekeeping *and* homeschooling.

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Read lots of homeschool how to books. Look at curriculum if you can resist buying it. I think time on self-education would be great, directly useful when you homeschool.

 

I know when you are planning you really want to buy curriculum. Try to just look at booklists for where your child is right now and get some of those used, just read a lot to them and do lots of fun art. Don't get ahead of yourself buying for later, you may never use it.

 

You could start looking into local homeschool support groups, some start there early because all the other kids are starting preschool at that age.

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One thing I did before we were "official" homeschooling age was to connect with a group of homeschoolers. There was a local "young homeschoolers" group for parents of kids who were K age and younger. We started attending, at least sporadically, when my ds was 2. He's 6 now, and having those connections has stood me in good stead.

 

I also wouldn't buy curriculum, but I do believe in expanding your home library. We've collected childrens and adult classics en masse over the years, and it is wonderful (IMHO) to have a home full of great books. We use the library a lot, but I want our kids to have instant access to Narnia or Oz or Middle Earth.

 

One good predictor of future reading is the number of books in the home... http://www.ncte.org/about/research/articles/110444.htm

You can be poor (ahem) but if your house is full of books, your kids will read and be better educated.

 

Hanging out on the boards doesn't hurt either... I can't imagine having tried to pull together my resources for K & 1st if I hadn't already read so much about all the options.

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Honestly, I think homeschooling starts now! When I look back some of the most fun teaching I ever did was in the pre-school years. We learned tons of fun, silly songs, some educational, some not. We read books, books, books!!! We went to the library and outside and explored nature. We colored pictures and talked about the colors. We memorized Bible verses and read Bible stories. I really feel like the time I spent in the pre-school ages really set the stage for the learning we were able to do when they got to school age. In fact, my two year old was actually reading short words by the time he turned 3. We didn't push it, or have long sessions, just lots of short sessions with the letters, playing games and singing songs. We also played map games, pointing out different countries. I'm not advocating pushing toddlers, I'm just talking about making the games you play with them educational.

 

I would read a few homeschooling books and think about what style really resonates with me but I wouldn't think ahead too far. Just enjoy this time period!! Have fun!!!

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I have been lurking for a bit and really enjoying reading about everyone's experiences. My son is two and I plan on homeschooling him in a couple of years. If you could go back and have a couple of years to prepare before homeschooling, what would you do? Start hunting down used books? Further your own knowledge base? Start lesson planning? Get off the boards and relax for a couple of years? TIA! :bigear:

 

3 yrs ago, I was in your shoes.

 

With him, I'd mainly work on obedience. I'd make sure I could do the teacher/student relationship okay.

 

For me, I'd do an enormous amount of research and would try things out in a fun, informal way to find out what works. (Your kid will change a lot in 3 years, but you won't. Some things that you want to do won't work for YOU!) I'd get no more than Kindergarten bought (about one year ahead), but I'd make all my lesson plans, whatever they are to be, and and photocopies, etc., for the year a month before starting school.

 

I'd start school a month early to give me time to mess up and figure things out.

 

I'd accept that things are going to happen that you'd NEVER predict! Yet I'd try to have a good idea of all your options. Math is what took me by surprise, but I was able to adapt because I already knew what the good programs were, and I'd already scoped out a bunch of possible trajectories. All it took was some tweaking, and I'm there, back on course. :-) People who know me are often amazed at my adaptability. It's not that I plan for all contingencies, but I plan for a wide enough variety of contingencies that it's close enough in practice!

 

Pick people's brains, too. Pick. Pick. Pick. :-P Nothing beats meeting real, live HSers and deciding whether you want your kids' education to look something like theirs in X years.

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If I had three years to prepare, now, I would make sure I was correctly establishing my authority as a parent and training my child(ren) to obey. I would cultivate a healthy, loving relationship with them. We would spend tons of time reading together and I'd model getting excited about books. I would pray a lot for guidance as to how our particular family should proceed, and I'd spend energy on learning about home schooling in general. Then I'd have as much fun as possible doing preschool activities.

 

Some of my most precious memories are of me and my 4yods doing "school" together while the littles were napping. I followed no curriculum at all, didn't know about any curriculum at that point, I just went with what I thought would be appropriate and fun, and we had a blast together. That's one thing I did right, anyway.

 

But if you don't teach them to respect your authority, your home school will not go very well at all, no matter how well you think you have prepared, and it will be worse when they are teenagers.

 

Blessings!

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For the education side of homeschooling:

I think I would be in a better position today if I had the chance to read thru history chronologically. I've never done that before. I'm doing it now with my kids and we are all learning a lot but I still think I'd be a better teacher if so much of it wasn't as new to me as it is to them! Same for some literature. I might take some time to read thru A History of Science just because it sounds interesting and I think it might help me to teach science a bit better. Given time and energy I might look into learning latin ... some things are just hard to teach and learn at the same time.

 

For the 'life' side of homeschooling:

Another issue that I've found hard to learn while homeschool is balancing all the cleaning, laundry, cooking, and shopping. Perhaps if I already worked out some sort of schedule instead of just doing the next thing, I might not be trying to figure out a housework schedule and a homeschooling schedule.

 

But the other posters are right: enjoy your time with your little one. Your future will work out whether you work toward it or slide right into it!;)

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No time to read the other responses, but here's mine:

 

Learn Latin.

 

Seriously. I would get the Henle books and either the Memoria Press guide (slow pace) or Mother of Divine Grace guide (fast pace) and I would STUDY.

 

We are about to start Henle next fall and I am researching for high school--and one child wants to go into astronautical engineering, so that's a huge task. I am buried in books and research. I NEED to start Henle before the children but I doubt it's going to happen. Sigh.

 

P.S. I would also read aloud a lot to my child (QUALITY children's picture books and other books as he/she would sit still) and work on first-time obedience. I recommend Five in a Row's booklist. You don't have to use the curriculum, but the booklist is great.

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Boy, what I would give to go back and play with my kids and enjoy their toddler and preschool years. My 12 yodd has hit the point in life where spending time with Mom isn't what she wants to do. In fact, I had to bribe her to go with me tomorrow to a homeschool conference. We're going to the mall afterwards ;)

 

Have fun! It goes by so quickly.

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When my ds was 2, we decided to homeschool, and I jumped full in to research curriculum. I decided on a certain curriculum when ds was about 3. I should've just read to him and stopped worrying about curriculum. There are so many developmental changes between 2 and K and time spent picking a curriculum at 2 years of age is wasted time, IMHO.

 

Spend time on character development for yourself and your son. Go to the park, library story times. Smell the roses. Honestly, I wouldn't even read books about homeschooling methods, because it would be too tempting to begin looking online for resources. Read books for yourself about history, classics of literature, etc. When your child is 4 (maybe 3.5), research learning styles and educational methods.

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If you could go back and have a couple of years to prepare before homeschooling, what would you do?

 

I'd wait until it was actually time to start homeschooling before I did anything. I developed my "plan" for homeschooling when my daughter was an infant. Of course, she has her own personality and interests and learning style that don't really mesh with my preformulated plan. :001_huh:

 

And of course we added my son, who also has his own thing.

 

The years I spent fitfully planning were fun for me, but ultimately, any plan I made wasn't helpful until I knew my kids' learning styles and interests well enough to know what would work for us.

 

I started planning ... about two weeks ago! We're starting K and 1st on 6/20. :D

 

Tara

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I would read about homeschooling on boards and through books but I would hold off on buying anything until it was actually time. And before I bought I would print off samples and try them out on my child to see what would work best with him.

 

Right now--I would concentrate on having fun. There is a ton of great resources out there for preschool in books and on the internet. I would just enjoy myself and playing with my child.

 

Also, this is a great time to build good habits. Work on things like a good morning routine that includes waking up joyfully (with song, cuddles, a game) and going through the morning routine, then make some time for play with mommy (this to become school time some day) where you play games or with toys and just sit and talk together. Then do your lunch and clean-up time letting your little one "help."

 

Be joyful and have fun with this time as it is very precious and goes so quickly. I miss these days so much.:001_smile:

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This may not be a problem for you, but if I had it to do over again, I would have spent my time getting my house organized. It's organized now, but it would have been nice to have started that way. :blush:

 

I would also do what the others said. I would read about different homeschooling styles, read history and philosophy books for me, and get out of the house and play.

 

Have fun!

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There have been a lot of good replies on this thread. I would really stress learning and getting into good routines of organization, cooking, and home duties.

 

Find a good group of friends who will be supportive and who you can rely on for the times when the going gets tough.

 

In terms of homeschooling, find out as much as you can about it. Self-educating yourself on different topics is also an excellent idea.

 

Lastly, just enjoy your time with your child and do a variety of things together.

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A little thing really, that has helped me to wade through the curriculum maze: I keep a grid - across the top are the subjects, down the side are the grades. When I come across something that sounds interesting on this board, or somewhere else, I make a note of it on the grid, in the box for that subject and grade.

 

For example, my dd will be in 6th grade. If I hear a tip about a great high school biology program, I will put that down on the grid under 9th grade science. By the time she gets near 9th grade, I will have a list of a few options to research for science for that year.

 

There is so much to think about, so many subjects, so many grades, so much curricula. It has really helped me to keep this list of what I may actually consider using for each particular grade. It gets all this stuff out of my head - I know I have made a note of it, I won't forget all about it, and then I can focus on teaching today, instead of planning tomorrow.

 

But...for now, what everybody else said about getting the house in order, and self-education. I wish I had read through the Kingfisher history encyclopedia!

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If you could go back and have a couple of years to prepare before homeschooling, what would you do? Start hunting down used books? Further your own knowledge base? Start lesson planning? Get off the boards and relax for a couple of years? TIA! :bigear:

 

I planned. I read up on hs styles (and picked WTM), I regularly hit goodwill and picked up anything good...Usborne, DK, Kingfisher, etc that was dirt cheap. I also got the odd old reader or Calvert Speller from the 30's there.

Very slowly, I started getting the reading books for the 1st two years mentioned in the WTM, but only used really good deals. Find a HWT text at a used curr sale that has writing in it for 50 cents? Get it, take it home, learn about it, and then when you need to make decisions or a change, you are informed.

 

Start of list of resources you'd consider. I'm secular. If something is interesting but from a religious company, I look at it or ask here or ask at the web site about the extent of the religious flavour, and put it on the "skip" list if it is pervasive. Similarly, science programs that teach young earth are out for me. These are just examples. If it is way above budget, put it on the skip list, etc. If it is pricey but you have seen it and would like to have it, keep an eye out used. E.g. the Miquon Lab Sheet book is pricey new, but can often be found for a couple bucks. "Good Luck shines on those who have the ability to bide their time".

 

I got some simple math manipulatives, like an abacus and rods, which baby stacked up. Unifix cubes helped with lovely game when kiddo was three. "I'd like to have 4 red ones. Can you give me four red ones?" I think kiddo learned to count with that game. The rods can be stacked up to make a car or truck and kiddo liked to make it symmetrical even when he was pre-verbal. I think that helps the brain.

 

I read a text on teaching math to younger kids (goodwill, 79 cents), going through the manipulatives with myself (this actually sped up my mental math). I thought of math as my weak link, BTW (it is actually spelling...I'm a terrible speller). This gave me an idea of what tools were out there. I did order EB math. I like the idea of Singapore math, the books weren't very expensive, and we started in a fun way just as kiddo turned 4. Even if you go onto Saxon etc, EB is just fine.

 

I read to kiddo, sometimes 2 hours a day.

 

I started educating myself. I read children's books on topics I was unfamiliar with. This is quick, gives you a basic grounding and lets you learn what kind of book you like (I do not like the "chatty" Magic School Bus type thing).

 

Am I going to use everything I looked up or bought cheap? No, and I've already carted off the Saxon text I got for a time at a garage sale, but I do feel I've seen most of the major curriculums mentioned here.

 

I will say I did not put kiddo in front of the boobtube to spend time doing any other the above AND I work full time and felt I needed to be prepared to just or mostly teach when the time came. Reading up on my options and "feeling prepared" is also my style. HTH. Best of luck!

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BEwteen the time I decided to homeschool and the time I started was a few years. I joined an local online homeschool support group. I asked a million questions, went to park days with my kids, read so so many books on the hows and whys of homeschooling. By the time I started 3 years later I felt like a vetran not a greenhorn. My kids were in ps when I started this 3 year research deal, so I did alot of afterschooling with them.

 

WIth a 2 year old you can still be doing alot, Check out the book "SLow and steady get me ready" it's a great book that has activities for birth throgh age 5 listed by the exact age of the child(2 yrs x weeks old etc) Definitely start training your little one now like others have said, that is one regret I have, thinking my kids were only little for a while so I would do everything, guess what the oldest are 8 & 9 and I still do everything and they fight non-stop if asked to help in anyway shape or form.

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