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If you were planning to send your kid to school in 5th grade

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what might you do differently in the early years of homeschooling?


My plan has generally been to homeschool all the way through. However there's a new charter school opening in my town that sounds truly awesome and like everything I'd want in a school. It will have been open for about 6 years by the time we're eligible (5th grade) so I'll have some real-life info by then on whether the reality matches the claims. :-D


But this has spurned some conversation around here. Would it change how you homeschooled or chose curricula if you expected to start your kids in school (at a classically-based charter) in 5th grade?

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Yes, if I had plans I would change. I did send my girls to school for a year ( my two middle year are finishing a 2nd year and then I'm bringing them back home) and I was able to see where our weak areas where.


I would have done more writing, practiced more with handwriting. We did but I think I was a little to laxed on it as well. Worked more on math drill as well.

Writing was our big issue though here. I just haven't found a writing program that has made much sense to me, or one that my girls enjoyed doing either.


If I had plans to send my kids to school, which the year we did I really didn't they wanted to on the spur of the moment. I would have used Christian LIght Education to prepare them more in math and Language arts.


As for schools sounding great. Be weary, be very weary. I fell for that last year. The private school we have sounded great. "We'll put your children in the grade level they need to work in. So if your daughter works at a 3rd grade level in math we'll put them in the 3rd grade level. If they need a 1st grade reading class, we'll put them there too."

My 2nd daughter was extremely borderline between 1st and 2nd grade level. I was promised that the teacher would work with her in the beginning and bump her up where she needed to be. NOPE. Never happened. No matter how much this teacher and I went round and round about where my daughter needed to be. She refused to put her in the 2nd grade class for reading where she needed to be. So wasted a whole year last year doing stuff she already knew how to do. So my 7yr old was stuck in the 1st grade reading class because the teacher felt that was where she belonged. NOT! She read very, very well. She just missed two words on a word list they used that if I had showed her and she practiced reading them she would have known them.


Now my 8yr old is in 2nd grade and still coming home with books that my 5yr old can read. Needless to say,, they are NOT going back next year.

My point is they say this , that and the other. But know that this , that and the other that sounds really good maybe implemented or not. Or may be implemented in the beginning and then slowly taken away as the charter fights to keep open as they don't pass the state testing. Trust me. Even my sister has been going through this with her children in a ps charter school that claims itself to be Montessori. But they were promised great things too in the beginning and it all sounded great to my sister. She was so excited to send them. Only to find out that this year they are constantly sending children to the "Peace Room" (detention) for every little thing they do. If they forget their homework the next day, if they don't learn their math drills when they want them. They even put kindergardeners in detention. It is twice removed and far from being a Montessori school.

My third sister's daughter started pulling her eyelashes and eyebrows due to the stress because they were constantly putting her in the "Peace Room" for every little thing she did. It was awful. So my third sister , who is single, and always bashed me for homeschooling is now homeschooling her daughter for the rest of the year. I can tell you some stories about those GREAT charter schools who claim that they are going to do great things.


Now granted my sister pulled her one son out of the school and he is attending a charter that really is good she says. So it is possible, but just be wary.

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We sent my DS 10 to a private Classical school this year in 5th grade. Had I known ahead of time I would have definitely prepared him better for their rigorous testing schedule (6-8 tests per week) and I would have worked a lot more on handwriting (they're expected to do a LOT of copy work within specific time frames). They work a grade level ahead on just about everything so I *might* have advanced him a little more, but skipping 5th grade work hasn't seemed to really matter much.


The 1st quarter was definitely a transition period, he brought home a lot of classwork because he wasn't able to finish it in school. However we just finished the 2nd quarter and he's now near the top of his class and made the honor roll so all in all it's working well! :)

Edited by Coffeetime
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Would it change how you homeschooled or chose curricula if you expected to start your kids in school (at a classically-based charter) in 5th grade?


Honestly, no it wouldn't.


We are putting our kids into ps next year and our DD will be going into 5th grade. I have known about them going since about September. I have been working with her to get her to work more independently and read directions, since that is a particular weakness of hers. I also got a Test Practice workbook for 4th grade so I can identify any holes that are easily remedied before the Fall.


Other than that, I have covered my bases. I am not perfect, but I have diligently worked with my children for the years we have hs'ed. Looking back, I would not have done anything differently.

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We enrolled younger DD in 7th grade and DS in 5th with little time between our decision and enrolling them. The only area they struggled in was handwriting. In every other area they were at or ahead of grade level but, I admit neither one had very good handwriting. I'm a lefty with awful handwriting and I just really struggled to teach my right handed children to write neatly, so I let it slide more then I should have.


So I guess handwriting is the only area I would have done differently. Not neccesarily in method used just in what I expected from them, but looking back its an area I wish I had worked with them more in whether we enrolled them in school or kept them home.

Edited by akmommy
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Now that we are PSers the only thing I think I failed at while homeschooling is music. I never thought about it. Of course, I exposed them to a lot of variety in music and musicals. I'd say we're pretty big fans of music but I never taught them about notes, measures, tempo, ect. and they never showed interest in playing an instrument.


At their elementary school they have music class twice a week. They learn to play a recorder and each grade does their own musical each year as well as holiday mini-musicals. My kids had no clue what these things were and they were a bit frustrated.

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I'd be weary of this "perfect" charter school.


The school district where we currently live is always starting new "initiative based" (whatever that means) programs that are supposed to help x or solve y and never really pan out. The program my oldest attends now is one such initiative based experimental program. This is his second year and so far, I'm ok with it but not over the moon.


Perhaps it is because they seem to assume that Boo is "speshul" and shouldn't be expected to work at his level, let alone above his level, in ANY areas. No, the child should always work at a "comfortable" pace...which to me means that the child should do as little as possible and be endlessly praised (or harshly denigrated) depending upon the quality of the work and his behavior in the classroom.


I do agree with some of the posters above that the expectations for public school are quite different than for home school. Our district expects second graders to write 4-5 sentence paragraphs (granted, grammar, spelling and punctuation don't count, so as long your kid can throw about 20-30 words together on a page, they'll be ok.) By fifth grade, the kids are expected to write "sandwich" essays (3 paragraphs, with a topic sentence, an introductory sentence and a conclusion sentence...grammar and spelling still optional.)


The math curriculum here is also pretty rigorous. Boo (who is in second grade) often brings home worksheets that require me to go back to my roots in the computer science/programming field to figure them out. We quit doing math homework in the fall because I had a falling out with the maths teacher in his program. I told her that the homework was pointless because Boo wasn't the one doing it, I was...because he didn't comprehend the concepts such as 3-4 step word problems and substituting "x" for missing numbers in problems and such.


I'd say that if you are going to plan to send your kids to public school in their later elementary years, you'd better work on penmanship, math (plan on having your kids ready to take pre-algebra by 6-7th grade imo), and writing (your kids need to be writing coherent sentences by 7-8 years of age, paragraphs by 8-9 years of age and 2-3 paragraph essays by the 5th-6th grade year).

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THanks for all the comments! I'm definitely remaining wary of the charter school - they haven't even opened their doors yet, and a lot could happen in 6 years or so!! But I'm excited about ANY alternatives in our area. Our only other alternative was a very weak public school, so I'm exited about anyone even talking about something else.


Sounds like staying on top of writing is the biggest thing, for most people. Good to know!

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