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I say we are relaxed. We go with the flow each day. We do used multiple curriculum per course, we alternate usage of them, of some we finish up and start the next, so by the end of the year we have done 2-3 but not at the same time. SOmedays really are all about video games and documentaries. Those are usually my migraine days, or days when I need to focus on getting the house in order. Some days the kids brains are bursting and they have only done 1 thing all day. That happened today. My big kids are both in an online class on the great books. Technically geared for ages 15+ (so a highschool course), they are 13 and 14 with learning disabilities. The first 2 weeks they did the Hobbit and the kids had no problem with that. Right now they are reading the Iliad. They had 1 week to read the first 8 books of the Iliad. All they did today was read this book. Normally they have a fairly decent speed reading, but this book is hard. They did not finish all their homework (they have been reading everyday since the last class and still have not finished the end of book8). Tomorrow is their online class to have a socratic discussion, and then back to reading, to not only finish to the end of book 8, but then to start on this week's homework of reading to the end of book 16. I knew this book would stretch them so I put aside everything else and focused on the book. We will be starting back into writing instruction next week even though they still have a ton of reading, because this course requires an essay at the end of the term and the kids don't yet know how to write one.

 

We take a ton of fieldtrips, I have posted about them here in thepast. I have no problem dropping everything for a field trip. Up coming trips in October: Alberta Opera Sleeping Beauty (school performance so daytime), John Walter Museum to do a pinoneer program, safety presentation day- 1 session on fire safety with sparky, and 1 on 72 hour preparedness, 1 program at the zoo. So that is 4 field trips already scheduled for October alone.

 

For my younger 2 I opted to go Waldorf with them this year. Changing the focus away from seatwork and academics for a much gentler approach.

 

We are not fully child led (they choose the lapbooks they want to do basically), we are not unschoolers at all, we use the recommended resources from WTM just at a more relaxed pace.

 

Does my method work? I don't know, get back to me in 2017 when the older 2 graduate and I will let you know. It seems to fit with our family well though.

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One of the things i let go of, mentally, yesterday was spanish. We are still doing it, but i decided to approach it in a more playful way....gameslapbooks, talking, watching videos, than a grammar based approach like we do with Latin. I do not know if it will "work" in terms of them learning anything, but it has certainly been more pleasant. Also, i decided yesterday that we dont have to make headway in every subject all the time. Sometimes it is okay if we just review what we have studied, cement older information, without tackling new information.

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Blog in siggy if you want to see our relaxed days. I looked at the big picture and said "what do I want my kids to be able to do by homeschool graduation?" The top 3 answers were: able to do basic math functions and apply to their lives, ability to read and comprehend anything they pick up, and able to express ideas and information in well written form. The secondary list was huge: fluent in a foreign language, well read in the great books, having history dates and events memorized, etc...I realized that second list seemed overwhelming, esp in light of who my dc are as people (one hates all things academic or intellectual). Driving *that* bus might take us no where. Great books seem really important, but if my dc can't remember the main theme from Beowulf and it does not spark their soul or challenge them forward, what was the point? I also have a very challenging year ahead of me: a very destructive 3yo, a sensitive turning-10yo, and a hormonal turning-12 yo (who hates everything). I sometimes feel that I'm trying to pull 3 massive boulders forward with chains. So I decided to lessen the strain a bit this year. I sought out each child's interest and am trying to plan a daily school grid around these things. 9yo: math, write a novel (I track her progress), read/journal about animals(sci), read about a country of her choice and memorize maps (geography). She takes a lot to bed with her too - she's read several good books and books about history at bedtime. She's amazing at piano so I give her a lot of free time for her to practice. The 11yo: math, writing paragraphs, essays, reading Bible, reading American Girl World series (its the facts behind the time periods, she doesnt like the novels but she likes the fact books), art&photography, science experiments (drilling those facts thru experiments and observation this yr). She is forced to do piano. For reading, I'm just leaving her to read whatever I can find that fits her interest. I'm giving her lots of space to figure out who she is and what her interests are. We've done a lot of field trips, a lot of cooking, and some great books as movies lol! Right now my job is exposure and trying to see where interests might lead them. I obviously force some things. I also decided to stop worrying about whether our school days take 2 hours or 6 hours. We've had both ends of the spectrum, but I decided to stop worrying about it (ok, confession: I still worry about it).

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It has taken me a few nights to read all that has been said on this thread. :) you all have been a blessing in ways you never know :) you inspired me and our homeschool journey has taken a 360. thank you for taking the time to type out your opinions and ideas. I posted on the forum Simply Charlotte Mason (were I get most of my curriculum ideas) the inspiration you all have given me.

 

http://simplycharlottemason.com/scmforum/topic/a-system-for-a-house-full-of-littles

 

 

hugs from the newbie.

Rachel

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I really think the opposite.....somehow, we manage a much more rigorous course when I let go of my plan and TEACH to my kids. I live in a state that is fairly regulated...and it is difficult to break out of the " school at home" mode, which very structured schooling ends up being....even if some of your subjects happen to be classical in nature.

 

Relaxing your checklist and tuning into the day to day flow of your family, kids and lifestyle is not always easy....and relaxed does not me you let go of the reins and let the cart run wild....it means as you see the educational opportunities availing, you do not worry about the 6 grammar sheets that need to be done. It means you live within the flow and sometimes free fall.

 

I find in my homeschool, we have seasons of relaxing our rein and going with the flow, and seasons of very focused, checklisted academic work.

 

No matter what, we are a homeschooling family, which is our lifestyle...not just our way of educating our kids.

 

yes. this. :iagree: "Relaxed" to me means not having outside forces dictating our schedule. It does NOT mean that we don't have rigorous academic goals. It means that we hold ourselves accountable to a standard of excellence, but we are not under unnecessary stress placed upon us by the nebulous "they" and / or a striving to be or do something that no one is requiring us to be or do.

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OK.......I just started homeschooling my 7th grade DD who had been in public school since Kindergarten. I had these visions of a very relaxed process, although I guess in my mind I didn't really call it that. I just knew we were going to do alot of reading and discussing and spending quality time together.

 

Well, what's happened is that somehow workbooks and worksheets have taken over. I originally wasn't going to have much of this type of stuff, maybe just a few minimal things. But DD likes worksheets & workbooks and likes to get "grades" since she's so used to that.........and since I had gotten various free things online and a bunch of the $1 downloads from Scholastic, I started using those alot.

 

But now, it's driving me crazy! Trying to plan them, make sure they get used, do them in the order I am trying to teach her, etc. I want to get away from all of that, but I feel guilty since I already spent money on some of it, so in my mind I think I should at least use what I have until it's gone.

 

I think I am going to just have to let that go, and forget all this workbooky stuff and just go back to what I originally wanted to do. Because right now, I feel like we aren't getting anything done, even though "on paper" it looks like we are.

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OK.......I just started homeschooling my 7th grade DD who had been in public school since Kindergarten. I had these visions of a very relaxed process, although I guess in my mind I didn't really call it that. I just knew we were going to do alot of reading and discussing and spending quality time together.

 

Well, what's happened is that somehow workbooks and worksheets have taken over. I originally wasn't going to have much of this type of stuff, maybe just a few minimal things. But DD likes worksheets & workbooks and likes to get "grades" since she's so used to that.........and since I had gotten various free things online and a bunch of the $1 downloads from Scholastic, I started using those alot.

 

But now, it's driving me crazy! Trying to plan them, make sure they get used, do them in the order I am trying to teach her, etc. I want to get away from all of that, but I feel guilty since I already spent money on some of it, so in my mind I think I should at least use what I have until it's gone.

 

I think I am going to just have to let that go, and forget all this workbooky stuff and just go back to what I originally wanted to do. Because right now, I feel like we aren't getting anything done, even though "on paper" it looks like we are.

 

Two things come into play here. One, you have to remember that just because you have something, you don't have to use it. :001_smile: And two, stay away from all those downloads and online worksheets! Honestly, sometimes the internet is a blessing to homeschoolers and sometimes a curse.

 

Worksheets feel good to us because they have a measured amount of accomplishment and there is a right answer. (They aren't inherently bad; some things are easily learned from a worksheet: math facts, spelling rules, etc.) But they should never drive your decsions or your teaching or rob you of the time to do other more valuable things.

 

There is an economic principle that says that we should not consider the past cost in our future decisions. It's the reason you should switch grocery lanes if the other one gets shorter, even if you've "put your time in" in the one you are in, for example. :D I try to remember it in my homeschooling. From this second on, what is the best course? Either way you have spent the money on those resources, but you should only consider how you can make the best use of your time and money from this moment.

 

Some dc like "paperwork" more than others. That's just different personalities, and it is best to honor that than to sacrifice the child to a homeschooling ideal. I''ve seen type-A children driven nearly crazy by anti-written-work parents. :D She can still get a grade and feel like she is producing something, but the worksheets are a crutch. It is always harder - and more meaningful - to produce something on one's own than to fill in blanks or circle answers. Ideally, most assignments, if they require written work, should start with a blank piece of notebook or printer paper, *especially* for a 7th grader. This is the age when they really take off in their ability to arrange knowledge and make connections. Worksheets don't usually allow that. If she can't let go because she is worried about getting a grade, give her a rubric, so she knows up front about the grade and can quit worrying about it. If she can't produce anything without the worksheets, well, then you will definitely know you needed to get rid of them! :D

Edited by angela in ohio
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Two things come into play here. One, you have to remember that just because you have something, you don't have to use it. :001_smile: And two, stay away from all those downloads and online worksheets! Honestly, sometimes the internet is a blessing to homeschoolers and sometimes a curse.

 

Worksheets feel good to us because they have a measured amount of accomplishment and there is a right answer. (They aren't inherently bad; some things are easily learned from a worksheet: math facts, spelling rules, etc.) But they should never drive your decsions or your teaching or rob you of the time to do other more valuable things.

 

There is an economic principle that says that we should not consider the past cost in our future decisions. It's the reason you should switch grocery lanes if the other one gets shorter, even if you've "put your time in" in the one you are in, for example. :D I try to remember it in my homeschooling. From this second on, what is the best course? Either way you have spent the money on those resources, but you should only consider how you can make the best use of your time and money from this moment.

 

Some dc like "paperwork" more than others. That's just different personalities, and it is best to honor that than to sacrifice the child to a homeschooling ideal. I''ve seen type-A children driven nearly crazy by anti-written-work parents. :D She can still get a grade and feel like she is producing something, but the worksheets are a crutch. It is always harder - and more meaningful - to produce something on one's own than to fill in blanks or circle answers. Ideally, most assignments, if they require written work, should start with a blank piece of notebook or printer paper, *especially* for a 7th grader. This is the age when they really take off in their ability to arrange knowledge and make connections. Worksheets don't usually allow that. If she can't let go because she is worried about getting a grade, give her a rubric, so she knows up front about the grade and can quit worrying about it. If she can't produce anything without the worksheets, well, then you will definitely know you needed to get rid of them! :D

 

Thank you. I definitely think I am going to go back to my original plan. DD hates to write, so that probably explains why she like worksheets and workbooks.......because it's mostly fill in and not alot of writing for her. We still haven't done much writing yet this year, because I am taking baby steps. I don't want to scare her off completely! :D

 

So, for now we are working on strengthening her vocabulary and grammar, and just started writing sentences.

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Two things come into play here. One, you have to remember that just because you have something, you don't have to use it. :001_smile: And two, stay away from all those downloads and online worksheets! Honestly, sometimes the internet is a blessing to homeschoolers and sometimes a curse.

 

You are so, so helpful... And so, so right...

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Thank you. I definitely think I am going to go back to my original plan. DD hates to write, so that probably explains why she like worksheets and workbooks.......because it's mostly fill in and not alot of writing for her. We still haven't done much writing yet this year, because I am taking baby steps. I don't want to scare her off completely! :D

 

So, for now we are working on strengthening her vocabulary and grammar, and just started writing sentences.

 

Yes, that sounds like a good plan. :)

 

I have a dd who dislikes a lot of writing. Graphic organizers and teaching her to outline or map information on the page have been helpful. We do work on writing, of course, but many assignments are more timelines, outlines, charts, etc. And she might be relieved to see that without the worksheets, so much can be done through discussion.

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New to after-schooling, so you'll find no opinions here. I began tutoring my dear ones with very specific goals in mind, and made sure to share them with my husband just in case I veer off path a bit. One of the immediate things that jumped out at me while researching homeschooling/afterschool was how stressful it could be to parents, and I refuse to put any more pressure on my family than what the outside world already does.

 

With that in mind:

 

Mon-Thursday's are pretty intense in our home. Spanish lessons, Math practice, and then we break bread as a family before jumping into Language Arts and reading, and then a quick review of their traditional school work.

 

Fridays are fun and free. No homework, or practice of anything.

 

Saturdays (depending on what else we have going on as a family) we watch a movie to emphasize something they are already learning. For example, because my youngest daughter is currently reading Jungle Book at school, next Saturday, we'll sit down as a family to watch the animated film.

 

Saturdays is also great day for tours. Last month, we went to our local You-pick farm, and learned about apples. At home, we learned about Johnny Appleseed.

 

Saturdays are mostly for us, though, my family. For us to just enjoy one another, let our hair down and remember why we are so committed to each other.

 

I use Sundays to review material from the last week, and to briefly introduce them to the lesson plan for the following week.

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You all inspired me to try something new this week. :D

Instead of sitting down with my sons every morning, and enforcing that ALL schoolwork get done in a timely fashion, I threw something new at them.

On Monday, I gave them their weekly schedule, as normal, but told them they could do it in any order, any time of day, as long as everything was completed by Friday. I also posted a schedule of times each day I was available for 'tutoring'. This meant they had to look at their schedule, figure out which subjects they needed my help with, and sign up for a block of time each day.

They loved it because even though they had the same amount of work, they felt a lot more relaxed and in control. They really surprised me with how well they could manage their own time- extra playtime, but still getting all the work done.

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You all inspired me to try something new this week. :D

Instead of sitting down with my sons every morning, and enforcing that ALL schoolwork get done in a timely fashion, I threw something new at them.

On Monday, I gave them their weekly schedule, as normal, but told them they could do it in any order, any time of day, as long as everything was completed by Friday. I also posted a schedule of times each day I was available for 'tutoring'. This meant they had to look at their schedule, figure out which subjects they needed my help with, and sign up for a block of time each day.

They loved it because even though they had the same amount of work, they felt a lot more relaxed and in control. They really surprised me with how well they could manage their own time- extra playtime, but still getting all the work done.

 

LOVE this, and I think I might try it with ds, who said already that he'd like a weekly to-do list/schedule to work from.

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I'm thinking of something similar. We use workboxes (mainly for being able to find paper and keeping books uncrumpled) and I'm thinking of putting 2 lists in them. One would cover the week's independent readings/audio books (he'll need to do about 1 a day) and the other his readings with me (about 2 a day). Then he can choose the order. I'm hoping to move him to a checklist alone next year, but I'm still too disorganized for that this year.

 

And I wanted to say how much I've enjoyed this thread. We've moved to very few workbooks (math & handwriting now) and lots more good books. And I love the change!

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Following this thread closely.... a few thoughts...

 

I started out this year very relaxed and focusing on the most important goals instead of getting through this or that book/curriculum. Dc are doing great and making huge strides in many areas. We have incorporated tons of life experiences and unscheduled rabbit trails into our studies and they have been so beneficial.

 

But.....I am the problem. That little voice has come out of hiding and keeps telling me we aren't keeping 'on schedule' enough, we don't have enough of a schedule to even say we have one, we aren't getting to enough subjects consistently, Ds's freshmen year is going to be ruined, we aren't doing enough this, too much of that...blah, blah, blah. That stupid voice (for those who read the stupid thread, notice I called myself stupid, not anyone else) keeps me anxious and has me constantly thinking we need to adopt a traditional schedule and not take advantages of opportunities for learning that are non traditional.

 

I'll just add that we do math and literature every day, and Ds keeps up with TOG reading (though we are a bit behind where I wanted to be at this point). Each course has a syllabus where he checks off his work with approximate dates (which I adjust for circumstances) so we can finish some time in June and have summer off.

 

So, how do you quiet that voice and maintain a relaxed attitude and atmosphere?

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So, how do you quiet that voice and maintain a relaxed attitude and atmosphere?

 

I started to respond, but then as usual on these relaxed threads I became befuddled. Are you wanting to maintain a relaxed feel with no schedules or schedules with a relaxed attitude?

 

We are intense scheduled homeschoolers that spend much of our 8ish hour days happily working and often laughing. We take rabbit trails, but take care to never lose our direction entirely. Rabbit trails and changing directions are two different things. It's important to know the difference.

 

I can answer from that perspective, but not the other one. If you are looking for how to not stress about not having schedules, I am clueless. ;)

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But.....I am the problem. That little voice has come out of hiding and keeps telling me we aren't keeping 'on schedule' enough, we don't have enough of a schedule to even say we have one, we aren't getting to enough subjects consistently, Ds's freshmen year is going to be ruined, we aren't doing enough this, too much of that...blah, blah, blah.

 

So, how do you quiet that voice and maintain a relaxed attitude and atmosphere?

 

I honestly haven't read this thread, only your post and the one following it.

 

I am a very relaxed homeschooler in many respects, but I have very specific input/output objectives. I believe there are many ways to meet those objectives, so rabbit trails aren't detriments as long as we are still meeting my goals.

 

That said, my "relaxed" view is far more narrow during the high school yrs than K-8. Lit and history I have more leeway (and w/in those, lit has far more freedom than history) than other subjects. Science is fairly narrow, etc.

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I honestly haven't read this thread, only your post and the one following it.

 

I am a very relaxed homeschooler in many respects, but I have very specific input/output objectives. I believe there are many ways to meet those objectives, so rabbit trails aren't detriments as long as we are still meeting my goals.

 

I was doing well with this idea when we first started this year. Now that I'm looking at all the things I planned for the year, I'm feeling more stressed about not checking boxes, and yet some of those boxes probably aren't all that important.

That said, my "relaxed" view is far more narrow during the high school yrs than K-8. Lit and history I have more leeway (and w/in those, lit has far more freedom than history) than other subjects. Science is fairly narrow, etc.

 

Yes, my approach with Dd in 5th is much more relaxed. But, I struggle with leaving Ds out of some of our so called rabbit trails b/c in the past we were able to do so much of our learning together. I think a lot of my problem is me freaking out over high school and stressing somewhat over Ds becoming so much more independent. He's getting his work done, but on his own schedule, so something like science might not be getting done daily. I think I worry about what he is getting done just b/c I'm not as much a part of it anymore. Also, there might be times I wanted to include him in a lesson with Dd, but he is in the middle of his own school work, so I am stuck waiting for him. So, I'll move on with Dd, but sometimes Ds will finish what he is doing and move on to something else!

 

I just find our schooling a bit disorganized this year, even though we are getting it done. That's why the doubts are beginning to torment me. It's more about my attitude than any particular approach. I probably should have posted this on the high school board as a freak out!

 

I think I need to spend some time reviewing my goals today and looking at Ds's syllabi, just to reassure myself.

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I started to respond, but then as usual on these relaxed threads I became befuddled. Are you wanting to maintain a relaxed feel with no schedules or schedules with a relaxed attitude?

 

I need a happy medium with scheduling. I like to have a flexible schedule that allows for some rabbit trails or community opportunities and field trips as they arise.

 

We are intense scheduled homeschoolers that spend much of our 8ish hour days happily working and often laughing. We take rabbit trails, but take care to never lose our direction entirely. Rabbit trails and changing directions are two different things. It's important to know the difference.

 

I can answer from that perspective, but not the other one. If you are looking for how to not stress about not having schedules, I am clueless. ;)

 

Maybe what I'm really looking for is how to not stress when we are off schedule but still learning and accomplishing some of the goals I have set. Actually, I have not come up with a good flexible schedule this year b/c I'm still adjusting to having a high schooler who does so much of his work independently and sorting through how he fits into the daily picture.

 

I have always struggled with the idea of 'getting behind' in our schoolwork when we take time to follow specific interests--even when those interests have helped Dc meet some of my goals far better than my original 'plan'. I was doing much better with this at the beginning of the year. I also think there is a part of me that rebells against schedules. I love the look of a completely programmed day on paper (or computer screen), but I am rarely able to stick to it. I just have to rearrange, add and take away. I can't explain it. Maybe it's an authority problem--even when I am the authority.:lol:

 

Sorry to derail the 'relaxing' part of this thread!

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I also think there is a part of me that rebells against schedules. I love the look of a completely programmed day on paper (or computer screen), but I am rarely able to stick to it. I just have to rearrange, add and take away. I can't explain it. Maybe it's an authority problem--even when I am the authority.:lol:

 

Sorry to derail the 'relaxing' part of this thread!

 

 

LOL...there is so much pressure when posting on a relaxed thread, isn't there???

 

Somehow I missed the high school part in the first post.

 

I'm a little hesitant to say anything else because I haven't dealt with high school yet, so it might all be flights of fancy. :tongue_smilie:

 

Do keep us posted as you figure out what works for you!

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We homeschool for academic reasons, but our schooling in the logic stage, i.e. before highschool, is extremely relaxed. The only subject mandatory daily is math, and it is one of the only two subjects for which we use systematic curriculum (the other is foreign language).

I require an amount of time that must be spent on school (depending on age), select materials for all subjects that "count" as school, and let my kids choose their own schedule every day. They may work on whatever topic they want for how long.

Here is what we do/ don't do:

No Spelling: Both kids being perfect spellers, we dropped spelling in 5th grade.

No Vocabulary program: I consider it unnecessary; they are good readers, and DD acquired an astonishing vocabulary just from reading.

No formal logic: Logical thinking can be develop just fine from math, computer programming and physics.

No formal grammar in English: both kids use English language correctly without making any grammar or semantics mistakes. We will do a short overview over formal grammar in high school so they are familiar with the terms. they also get formal grammar in their language studies.

 

Writing: no formal program. They write about literature and history and spend a large amount of time on creative writing. In 7th grade, I introduce the 5 paragraph persuasive essay and we practice occasionally to be prepared for the standardized tests.

Reading: they read classics that match the history era we study (we do 4 year rotation). They also read other stuff. We talk a lot about books.

Science: They read books. We do not do a formal science program before high school; I have not found any curriculum that I like for the age group, so they just read, watch documentaries, build a broad base of scientific knowledge. No worksheets, no fill-in-the-blanks.

History: Encyclopedia as a spine, DS takes notes. He reads the Universal History of the World, books from the library. Watch documentaries. To demonstrate mastery, he researches topics long term and gives an oral presentation with visuals, or writes a longer paper.

Foreign language: OK, here we do use a systematic approach, with book, CDs, workbook and online resources, because that is IMO the only way to make progress.

Arts, music,architecture, theatre: we go to concerts, museums, watch live performances, travel

PE: we hike, backpack and rock climb as a family. Kid ride horses.

 

So, until high school, we have little pressure, no must-do's (except for math where a systematic study is absolutely essential). The kids learn a ton. Most importantly: they learn to learn independently, with a teacher spoon feeding them material.

The transition to more formal studies in high school was not a problem at all for DD.

Lovely Post!Could you share Science Documentaries list for Grammer and Logic stages?Any specific lists for your Science Reading Titles from Libraries?

Thanks....

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Lovely Post!Could you share Science Documentaries list for Grammer and Logic stages?Any specific lists for your Science Reading Titles from Libraries?

 

Here are some documentaries and books my DS watched/read in 5th+6th grade.

We have tried more and were pretty much disappointed with everything that's out there for physics.

But Earth science , astronomy and bio were pretty nice.

 

Earth Science:

Books:

  • Earthquakes and volcanoes     Fiona Watt
  • Volcanoes and Earthquakes    Ken Rubin
  • Oceans                        Beverly McMillan, John A Musick
  • Weather             

Documentaries:

  • National Geographic: Nature's Fury
  • National Geographic: Amazing Planet
  • The Blue Planet: Seas of Life: Open Oceans / The Deep
  • National Geographic: Secret Yosemite; Secret Yellowstone
  • Yellowstone: Battle for Life, Winter
  • Volcanoes of the Deep Sea: IMAX
  • National Geographic: Volcano: Nature's Inferno
  • ·BBC: Before the Dinosaurs: Walking with Monsters (3 episodes)·
  • Walking with Prehistoric Beasts (6 episodes)·
  • BBC: Walking with Dinosaurs (6 episodes)·
  • History channel: How the Earth was made·
  • BBC: Earth: The Biography (5 Episodes)

Astronomy:

Books:

  • Comets and meteorites (Isaac Asimov)
  • Black holes, quasars and pulsars (Isaac Asimov)
  • Venus; Mercury; Pluto; Jupiter (Isaac Asimov)

Documentaries:

  • Planet Earth (series)
  • Miracle Planet (series)

Biology:

Documentaries:

  • Becoming Human (NOVA) 3 episodes
  • PBS Evolution (4 disks)
  • NG Inside the living Body

 

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Here are some documentaries and books my DS watched/read in 5th+6th grade.

We have tried more and were pretty much disappointed with everything that's out there for physics.

But Earth science , astronomy and bio were pretty nice.

 

Earth Science:

Books:

  • Earthquakes and volcanoes     Fiona Watt
  • Volcanoes and Earthquakes    Ken Rubin
  • Oceans                        Beverly McMillan, John A Musick
  • Weather             

Documentaries:

  • National Geographic: Nature's Fury
  • National Geographic: Amazing Planet
  • The Blue Planet: Seas of Life: Open Oceans / The Deep
  • National Geographic: Secret Yosemite; Secret Yellowstone
  • Yellowstone: Battle for Life, Winter
  • Volcanoes of the Deep Sea: IMAX
  • National Geographic: Volcano: Nature's Inferno
  • ·BBC: Before the Dinosaurs: Walking with Monsters (3 episodes)·
  • Walking with Prehistoric Beasts (6 episodes)·
  • BBC: Walking with Dinosaurs (6 episodes)·
  • History channel: How the Earth was made·
  • BBC: Earth: The Biography (5 Episodes)

Astronomy:

Books:

  • Comets and meteorites (Isaac Asimov)
  • Black holes, quasars and pulsars (Isaac Asimov)
  • Venus; Mercury; Pluto; Jupiter (Isaac Asimov)

Documentaries:

  • Planet Earth (series)
  • Miracle Planet (series)

Biology:

Documentaries:

  • Becoming Human (NOVA) 3 episodes
  • PBS Evolution (4 disks)
  • NG Inside the living Body

 

Thanks a ton for posting this!

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Here is the post that was referenced above:

 

dh reads and discusses history at night for 30-45 minutes, 5 times per week. This is all done orally. They love time with dad. No writing assignments or making time lines or drawing maps. They get out the globe and a book and talk.

 

I do the research to create the resource list based on the 4-year WTM cycle. I usually have him do 1 topic per month, like knights and castles, or the vikings, or king arthur etc. Then I find 1 or 2 historical novels to read for each topic, and go to the library and find some nonfiction on the topic. With all the resources in front of him, dh chooses what he is in the mood for - a discussion with nonfiction and a map, or just snuggling up with a novel. His choice. He has no schedule. I just try to move him along the next month to the next topic, although he often overruns if they are in the middle of a novel. Whatever. DH and kids LOVE this time. There is no pressure on any of them. The results are that my kids love history, have built a good knowledge bank of world history over the ages, and have great memories of time with dad. I am sure they do not know that many dates, and probably are only reasonably good with all the different important people. But boy do they have the big picture. We have used this approach for 7 years.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

This is what I will do with my 11yo DS next year.  This year was our first year of homeschooling and I knew I didn't want it to be "school at home" but I wasn't totally sure what I DID want it to look like.  We are doing formal math and writing and less formal history and science.  It's working good enough but it could definitely be better.  I had been thinking about trying unit studies a month at a time and he was pretty excited about that option.  The one thing that will help us next year is I need him to be more involved in picking out resources.  We planned a weekly trip to the library at the beginning of the school year but that just doesn't happen.  I have a hard time picking out books that he enjoys.  Other than that, I think this approach will be wonderful for us next year.  

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You all inspired me to try something new this week. :D

Instead of sitting down with my sons every morning, and enforcing that ALL schoolwork get done in a timely fashion, I threw something new at them.

On Monday, I gave them their weekly schedule, as normal, but told them they could do it in any order, any time of day, as long as everything was completed by Friday. I also posted a schedule of times each day I was available for 'tutoring'. This meant they had to look at their schedule, figure out which subjects they needed my help with, and sign up for a block of time each day.

They loved it because even though they had the same amount of work, they felt a lot more relaxed and in control. They really surprised me with how well they could manage their own time- extra playtime, but still getting all the work done.

 

I might have to try this with my DS.  He has a daily schedule now, but I think a weekly schedule would work better for him.  I already kind of do that with our literature books, he hated that I had him only read two chapters if he was enjoying the book and wanted to read more.  I would always tell him to read more after he finished his other work.  I think the weekly schedule will make much more sense.  I think math would be the only subject I would require daily.  Thanks for the idea!

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I wish I would have ran across this thread BEFORE I started ordering curriculum for next year. I just said to my dd two days ago that we have spent a lot of time doing school work this year but we really haven't done anything fun. She agreed. Too much of check the box of what we have accomplished every day in each subject so we can be finished by the end of the year.

 

So many great ideas! Especially love the weekly time block idea.

 

We love MOH but I feel like we have been speeding through it and haven't had a chance to really enjoy what we are learning or to dig into what interests us more. So, maybe we need to spend two years on volume 2 and I need to not stress about it. Science-find more experiments to do (which she loves) and less time reading from a boring book. Earth science is scheduled for next year so I love the above listed ideas. Continue to try and figure out how to incorporate all LA into one activity/curriculum instead of several. UGH!

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We are really continuing to work on this, and I vacillate horribly from very structured to relaxed...hopefully I will find a balance point soon!!!! 

 

Our focus subjects are Math and Latin or Math and Writing, depending on the week and where we feel we want to emphasize.

For history, we read a lot and watch videos and talk. We are forever finding new books and sites and discoveries. For example, lately we have been spending a lot of time on the Magna Carta and found a few great books and sites about it. We're talking about the impact of the Magna Carta in US history, and the concept of changing and growing rights for different groups of people. For science, we read a lot and watch videos and talk (again!!) We love the Scientists In the Field series and read a lot about the brain to correspond to McHenry's The Brain study we are using now. We all really love to read Oliver Sach's books and the like and we have also been doing research about people with unusual disorders like the girl who cannot feel pain ("what is the beneift of pain? Do we want to live in a world without pain? What would that mean, to feel no emotional or physical pain? Would that be a good thing? A bad thing? Why?)

 

We do some workbook stuff--ds11 loves Fig Speak and younger enjoys Spectrum Science workbooks but it seems with history and science we mostly do reading and watching and talking. 

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We are really continuing to work on this, and I vacillate horribly from very structured to relaxed...hopefully I will find a balance point soon!!!! 

 

 

It's not vacillating horribly from structured to relaxed, it's going with the ebb and flow. Sounds more relaxed already right?  ;)

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Another thread and a post by Ruth has really got me thinking. It seems all our subjects are so restrictive and in depth when it comes to how we do them. I have been racking my brain for weeks now trying to figure out why it seems we are spending all day doing school and not really much being accomplished. Why cant you pick a list of topics and let the child read and watch about it? I think this would really work for my kiddos but I guess I am lacking the knowledge to step out and do it. I want my kids to have more time for math not just their regular curriculum but all the extras. I want them to have more time to focus and explore in science. Both girls are excellent spellers and their writing is coming along fine. So why do I take the time out of our days to do things I don't think they need? Mainly because of the pressure I feel from other moms. I read some of the threads on here and other boards and moms are doing 3 math programs, 2-3 languages, 2 sciences multiple history and I always feel like we are lacking. So what do I do? I add more!!! This is not working! I need to find away to revamp our school days so the kiddos have more time to learn in their way. Any thoughts?

I don't feel that pressure from other moms. I do what I want. 

 

This is pressure you are putting on yourself. Do other moms come up to you and tell you that you should be doing XYZ, or do you read what other moms talk about doing and then feel you should be doing it yourself? I am not saying this is what is going on, but do consider if it is. 

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Well, we were so relaxed today that all we got done was math and free reading. lol  We had a lot of snow come through last night and this morning.  Since we only get snow once or twice every two or three years, who was I to say get to the table for grammar?  They played outside in the white stuff ALL day.  We did math after dinner, and they did their free read before bed.  We'll pick up where we left off tomorrow. :-)

 

I'm all for being relaxed.  Where I tend to freak out is when I catch sight of those state grade level requirements.  I have to talk myself back off the ledge.  When we pulled the girls from PS, the original idea was to read read and read some more, and tie everything but math into what we were reading.  I guess that would be a unit study?  Then I found Charlotte Mason and then I found the Well Trained Mind.  Now, I would say we are ecletic with a classical Charlotte Mason-esque bent.  I still feel the pull of the unit study on occassion, and quiet that voice by having dds study spiders while reading Charlotte's Web or letting them curl their hair like Laura Ingalls Wilder and learning about Wisconsin while reading Little House in the Big woods.  We read many different books and do a lot of oral narrations/discussions.  It's to the point that dd3 tells me about everything she's read whether I ask her to or not.  We don't do a lot of writing and no real projects.  We do watch a lot of documentaries and take field trips every chance we get.  Compared to homeschoolers in my area, we are rigorus, but compared to posts on these boards, not so much.  I'm ok with that.

 

As for the mom who said that she pre-reads everything and is always a step ahead of what her kids are learning, you are the WOMAN!  I keep up with dd2 and 3, but I cannot keep up with everything dd1 is doing, too.  I often reach for the teacher's manual or sparknotes.  There just are not enough hours in the day.  I hope I am not doing her an injustice.  I think if I had started homeschooling her in the beginning and then the youngers came up, it would be different.  Starting with one in 6th and 2 in 2nd, there just isn't enough of been there done that yet, kwim?

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We are really continuing to work on this, and I vacillate horribly from very structured to relaxed...hopefully I will find a balance point soon!!!! 

 

Our focus subjects are Math and Latin or Math and Writing, depending on the week and where we feel we want to emphasize.

For history, we read a lot and watch videos and talk. We are forever finding new books and sites and discoveries. For example, lately we have been spending a lot of time on the Magna Carta and found a few great books and sites about it. We're talking about the impact of the Magna Carta in US history, and the concept of changing and growing rights for different groups of people. For science, we read a lot and watch videos and talk (again!!) We love the Scientists In the Field series and read a lot about the brain to correspond to McHenry's The Brain study we are using now. We all really love to read Oliver Sach's books and the like and we have also been doing research about people with unusual disorders like the girl who cannot feel pain ("what is the beneift of pain? Do we want to live in a world without pain? What would that mean, to feel no emotional or physical pain? Would that be a good thing? A bad thing? Why?)

 

We do some workbook stuff--ds11 loves Fig Speak and younger enjoys Spectrum Science workbooks but it seems with history and science we mostly do reading and watching and talking. 

 

Halcyon, we love the Scientist in the Field series also.  But, we are not familiar with Oliver Sach, and I couldn't find it on amazon?  Could you share what those are?

 

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I think it also matters what your kids respond to. I have always enjoyed learning, and (ahem) had a few authority issues. I am an unschooler at heart. Hands down, no doubt about it. When we implemented that with my son he was an anxious wreck. He actually came to me at 6 and said, "I want a schedule and workbooks." Seriously hard for me. I was bound and determined to not be one of those parents. He is like homeschooling Alex P. Keaton. This year he asked for an alarm clock and a formal wake up time. He gets up early to play Minecraft so he "won't interrupt school." I mean really. What the hell is that?!

 

The stack of curriculum books works well for him. He wants to finish the books. He wants a progression. Occasionally I can stretch out something like showing him the Nottingham University periodic table videos as an interesting tid bit that he finds cool, but it isn't long before he wants a daily quiz on memorizing the elements.

 

Long story short, though I don't believe it is every kid, but some kids get seriously obsessive about an area of learning and how it should be done. Don't drag your kids, let them drag you. We found a spelling curriculum that rocked my learning world. We found an initial grammar curriculum that blew my mind. We all have room to throw out what we think is the way to go and go with something totally different. He is willing to let me show him cool stuff, and sort of loves listening to information now. I am looking up curriculum for his various subjects and thinking quite a few of these humanities things are fabulous with a little structure behind them.

 

Why don't you ask your kids what they want if they could have anything? What would you want if you could have anything. Maybe if everybody sat down together you could hash out something.

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Ok, I know my kids are kind of young to get really into this discussion, but I have to say this has been another mind blowingly awesome thread to stumble upon here.

 

My son is obsessed with history. He loves it. He can't get enough. So why aren't I making it the basis for all we are doing? I agree with lots of you that math, and in our case, Latin, need to be my curriculum heavy subjects, but everything else can be taught through devouring history books, then delving into corresponding lit and science. What a revelation! I signed for this homeschool journey in order to 1. Give my children a love of learning and 2. To let them explore freely their interests and to discover and hone whatever gifts they have. I have been so caught up in checking the boxes for my kid that I have not been really following 1&2 above.

 

I am so thankful that I found this thread. I'm so thankful that I have a chance to change my wonderful son's school to something based on his passion. Seriously, this has opened my eyes! Thank you to everyone who contributed their knowledge and experience in this post.

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For me, a relaxed pace means that I am geting things done and we have time to play. We use a work list to help me with it. We focus on the list and the tasks in the morning - math, writing, science, etc. When the list is done, we're done with the "school" books. I CANNOT live in an exclusively "educational" mode - and enrich and enrich and enrich. Some people can. I just find myself burned out trying to present the American Revolution 200 different ways and my kids hate it too. I feel guilty about it when I read on here about a 5 year old who "begs" to be read to in latin and wants to read more origional Homer. (I will admit, sometimes I just roll my eyes and sigh "Puhleeeze").

 

Lately, we've been getting done by 12 or 1 with the work list, and then it's free time. Today during that time we're going to meet friends to play tennis, go clean out the church library, and chill at home before TKD.

 

We try to minimize screens and make our home a place or learning during "free" time - lots of good books, make a mess building something (yes, clean it up later), do fun science experiments, play the piano, bake, go outdoors and explore, play games, volunteer, skateboard, work on scout stuff, etc. I find there is so much value to living in a rich environment - that while I feel "school" has to be done - there's a huge value in productively used free time. I try to find a balance with it all, and yes, we swing back and forth at times (usually too "schooly", then I have to lighten up).

 

Oh - another thought - I try to use the bad weather days and months to pump up the "school" time, and then coast during the nice times. We naturally want to be outdoors and this way there's no guilt about taking time off - we earned it.

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It's been a few years since this thread was started.  I was just wondering how the relaxed schooling is going?  What have you learned?  I am such a "box checker", I am afraid I am sucking the joy out of learning for my children.  Thanks for any updates!

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This all depends on your children and what form of homeschooling you are using for funding, accountability etc

 

Some children can learn in a relaxed manner. They are sponges. You could lock them up in their rooms and they would learn. They learn watching TV, on the computer etc. They ask questions and go on their own rabbit trails. 

 

Then there are some kids who need to be spoon fed. Basic common information needs to be further broken down in order to be attained, mastered and applied 

 

With all my kids.....I have four kids who could learn just by handing them books/supplies etc and let them go at it. Two of them may need me to break it down and explain it to them further. The other four would just stare at the blank walls or climb them. No major rabbit trail thoughts, ideas would come to them. With these four, I had to drag them out and set specific learning times for them and break everything down for them step by step procedures and motivate them somehow to retain and apply the information.   As a result my life is set somewhat structured. 

I do let my kids who can go on rabbit trails, go on rabbit trails however it does become distracting for those who cannot go on rabbit trails. They do sometimes join on the rabbit trails with them but not much is retained. They need things further broken down to get it. 

 

Hence we try to stay on schedule as much as possible. This year however I do want to take a break from teaching but worried that the strugglers will lose info during that time. If I let the ones who don;t struggle relax then the strugglers get jealous. 

 

We are with a homeschool charter school. I pick the curriculum and teach from it and then they get tested once a year. We do get a monthly person who comes and collects proof of attendance and sample work in each subject. We get funding about $1800 a semester per child which pays for curriculum/classes. The situation is not perfect by all means. I hate having to give samples and have them take tests but our family would really struggle without the financial help with a family this large in the SF Bay Area. It is single income family and husband is a construction worker, not a computer programmer working for Google or whatever. So the charter school allows us to continue putting food on our table so we can homeschool the kids. 

 

I have a friend who has a child who is an independent learner. I mean this kid would want to read Latin at age 5yrs old. She asks questions and goes on a lot of rabbit trials. She is fun to teach because she is so quick and hungry for information but the sad thing is that this child can't sleep. Her mind is constantly going and going and she just can;t just sit and relax. She is like a talking walking little professor. I had her spend the night over the weekend and the poor thing just couldn't sleep. Her mind was going going going and worrying and thinking. Being her mom would be exhausting because she is constantly questioning everything and is a great negotiator. Her knowledge absolutely surpasses my very slow 11yrs old. She hangs out with my 13 yrs old because she is so so bright. Emotionally it is very stressful for her. Her knowledge level does not match her emotional level. Luckily my 13yrs old are slower emotionally and they are not into boys or dating or the latest dance crazy. They still like pretend play with little kids. 

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It's been a few years since this thread was started.  I was just wondering how the relaxed schooling is going?  What have you learned?  I am such a "box checker", I am afraid I am sucking the joy out of learning for my children.  Thanks for any updates!

 

We have shifted back and forth between more interest-driven/relaxed, to more "schooly". We're currently back in more relaxed, interest-led mode, as we have just ten weeks of our academic year left.

 

What I have learned is that:

1. We need to keep assigning math and language arts. These are our absolute basics that must get done regularly.

2. I need to have goals for them for each month/have them set goals for each month. I've adapted the library list recommendations from the WTM intro, so each month they:

      Choose a person or time in history to learn about (history book, biography/autobiography)

      Choose a science topic to learn about (using books, documentaries, hands-on)

      Choose a book to read (classic fiction, not-so-classic fiction)

 

Additionally, I read aloud regularly from a book, usually a "classic", as a family activity. I sometimes read aloud from a historical or scientific overview type of book* as well, just so they really understand the flow of history, and can find topics to explore in more depth.

 

[*Examples: A Little History of the World, Science Matters...]

 

They still spend plenty of time exploring their own interests -- computer programming, sculpture, animals, gardening, German and Spanish, etc.

 

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Thank you both for replying!  I have taken and used some of your ideas and have had a happier homeschool the last couple of months.  Super busy, but generally happy.  Thanks again!

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We've actually become a little more "schooly" this year, though we are relaxed compared to some.  There are two main reasons for this: 1) dd10 is ready for a little more serious work in some subjects; 2) Because we also have to fit in a few daytime commitments and music practice, and dd7 needs a little time set aside for school, if I do not scedual things I will have conflics or things that are important will get dropped.

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SIX years ago.  Seems like a lifetime.  My older boy was 12 when this thread was ongoing, he is now at MIT.  I thought that a paragraph out of my counselor letter for university applications would be useful to see how relaxed homeschooling can mix with traditional rigor. This combination was effective to creating a keen, self-directed learner.

DS’s vision for his education revolves around deep thought and commitment to learning. He doesn’t choose classes at the beginning of the year like a traditional student; rather a portion of his homeschooled courses evolve over a period of time through his reading. DS reads every night for hours. He does not read assigned books, rather he chooses books he wants to read, books that interest and challenge him. In 10th grade, when his grandfather mentioned The Brothers Karamazov as a great philosophical book, DS chose to read it. He enjoyed it so much that he read War and Peace and Crime and Punishment that same year. These were not school books; these were DS’s books. But once it became clear that he was doing a year of Russian literature, we created an English course with that focus, and read literary analysis and wrote papers on these great works. DS had nothing to prove, nor did he have any requirements he had to meet – he wanted to read these great works because he loves philosophical novels. Most of his homeschool courses have been built out of personal interest which has led them to cover traditional topics in unique and challenging ways. But this non-traditional approach to learning has been balanced with courses he has taken with outside vendors. These educational partners have kept him honest about what level he needs to work at to be an exceptional student, and have taught him how to keep to someone else’s schedule and requirements. This blended approach of both homeschooled and external courses has allowed DS to have the best of both worlds – to follow his own interests while concurrently learning to handle external requirements and deadlines.  

Ruth in NZ

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7 hours ago, lewelma said:

SIX years ago.  Seems like a lifetime.  My older boy was 12 when this thread was ongoing, he is now at MIT.  I thought that a paragraph out of my counselor letter for university applications would be useful to see how relaxed homeschooling can mix with traditional rigor. This combination was effective to creating a keen, self-directed learner.

DS’s vision for his education revolves around deep thought and commitment to learning. He doesn’t choose classes at the beginning of the year like a traditional student; rather a portion of his homeschooled courses evolve over a period of time through his reading. DS reads every night for hours. He does not read assigned books, rather he chooses books he wants to read, books that interest and challenge him. In 10th grade, when his grandfather mentioned The Brothers Karamazov as a great philosophical book, DS chose to read it. He enjoyed it so much that he read War and Peace and Crime and Punishment that same year. These were not school books; these were DS’s books. But once it became clear that he was doing a year of Russian literature, we created an English course with that focus, and read literary analysis and wrote papers on these great works. DS had nothing to prove, nor did he have any requirements he had to meet – he wanted to read these great works because he loves philosophical novels. Most of his homeschool courses have been built out of personal interest which has led them to cover traditional topics in unique and challenging ways. But this non-traditional approach to learning has been balanced with courses he has taken with outside vendors. These educational partners have kept him honest about what level he needs to work at to be an exceptional student, and have taught him how to keep to someone else’s schedule and requirements. This blended approach of both homeschooled and external courses has allowed DS to have the best of both worlds – to follow his own interests while concurrently learning to handle external requirements and deadlines.  

Ruth in NZ

Take out the part about outside vendors and my counselor letter for Dd stated something similar. I focused on the fact that learning was internally motivated and gave examples like how she mastered French and Russian pronunciations by walking around the house doing other things while repeating sounds over and over or teaching herself French by watching French movies she knew in English, reading children's books that had been translated into French, etc. 

Homeschooling doesn't have to be cookie cutter ps course replications with APs, etc as the "crowning glory" of academic achievement. But, it does take being willing to take that chance.

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Hi to All! 

Catching up on email this morning and saw this in my inbox due to an old hit to the Subscribe button. I agree with Karen and Ruth; however, my philosophy was a mix of self-directed and horse-to-water coupled with a bit of shove the horse's face into the water till it drinks (when necessary).

All three of my kids are grown; our youngest is in grad school. In fact, he is a perfect example of how this worked. He is working on his Master's in Organ Performance at Rice University. His day in high school started with travel to a nearby church with an instrument and then two hours of bench time. Later in the day, there was two hours of piano practice here at home. This boy was very motivated and self-directed when it came to music. 

Writing? Not as much. The sputtering horse fighting at the trough is a better image. But I did get a call this fall where he thanked me for forcing him to learn to write. One of the classes he took this fall focused on learning to write/speak about music - a good performer need to be able to write and speak publicly about the music he performs. One of the texts was Strunk and White.

"Mom, Thank You."

He earned all A's this semester - including the writing class. He mentioned that class participation was part of the grade. I asked him if he participated.

"Yes, Mom. By the end of the semester, the prof would ask a question with the caveat that someone else should answer."

One of the exercises was to rewrite a published article to make it more concise without losing the tone of the piece - hmmm... ever been asked to do that before? When the prof returned his paper, he commented that ds made some revisions that were better than the prof's. 

This boy would not have gone through Strunk n White, and he would not have practiced writing and then re-writing and then re-writing again if the momma hadn't forced the issue. Now clearly this is NOT what landed him where he is today. THAT was ALL him. The Organ Dept at the Shepherd School isn't interested in writers who dabble at the keyboard. But he can hold his own when it comes to all the other bits because the momma selectively chose the things that were needed: time spent reading, thinking, and writing. Coupled with arithmetic and then math to build the rest of the neural net. And then PLENTY of time to pursue their passions. (Think machete to eliminate the unnecessary and then the self-control to ignore it as I read about all the wonderful things that the rest of you were offering your kids.. psst... not sure this boy has ever read one work of Russian literature - I can check, but I don't think there is one.) :blush:

None of my kids ever took an AP test; we have a very nice community college with a well-respected honors program within 2 miles of the house. It got them out of the house, taught them how to meet someone else's deadlines, gave them the confidence they needed to face something new, and earned them credits (some, not all) that transferred to their 4-yr institutions. But even those classes didn't interrupt bench-time for this kid. That was always first. A gamble? Yes. Tough to do. But it has paid off. He is happy and thriving. And the others are as well. 

Peace,

Janice

Enjoy your Little People

Enjoy your Journey

Edited by Janice in NJ
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I loved scrolling through everyone's responses. Wow, six years ago...I am slowly losing some of my memories of our earlier homeschooling years but I know that six years ago the kiddo (now a sophomore in college) was already into puberty (which started around age 9) and I was quite worried about challenge level but also trying to keep us "well balanced" (whatever that means) between structure and relaxed homeschooling.

What have I learned now that I'm on the other side?

  1. Our happiest homeschooling memories are from the times when we "ditched school" and learned on the fly, be it from documentaries, spur of the moment experiments, diving into books from the library (often chosen at random but kiddo tends to choose more complex/well written books anyway), meeting experts who loved their chosen subjects/life journeys (so important to have role models), or taking a walk with the dogs and just talking about everything.
  2. Our most meaningful experiences were from doing something hard, failing, crying from perfectionism/frustration, learning from the mistakes, getting mentally stronger to face the next intellectual/physical/emotional curve-ball. I think kiddo actually finds hard math relaxing! My challenge was pulling kiddo away from the computer/books to take a break and do a little more of #1 above.
  3. My most treasured memories...kiddo coming to me and saying how much math means to kiddo...and how grateful kiddo is to have been homeschooled. More than the SAT/AP/CC/UC scores or grades...this. This validates the decision I made all those years ago to grit my teeth and learn how to navigate our non-traditional math path. That linked thread by the way is a misnomer...my kid is not structure-hating. My kid loves structure (and to be a little tongue in cheek, algebraic structures!) but it needed to be structure that was self-created, not imposed (and I was struggling with that because I wanted our homeschool to look more WTM, less free-flying).
  4. Teach them what you love...because you can't fake the love. I love poetry, animals, design, music, writing, books, classic lit. My kid now loves these too (shyly came up to me during our trip to a local used book store the other day, and asked if it was okay to buy a book of annotated Emily Dickinson poems...I love those moments!). I could not get my kid to love writing in the traditional sense that we homeschoolers think of writing. Again, that was because I was imposing a specific type of writing schedule/structure/style on my child. I let it go for 2-3 years. We did not do any structured writing at all in that time (this was just before my kid started CC for high school so trust me I was second guessing this a lot!). Every bit of writing after that was self-led e.g. a puzzle blog, short stories often of a very philosophical nature, community college classes, then college classes...and my kid always did really well in writing and received great feedback from profs. (Disclaimer: kiddo does not have learning disabilities.)
  5. The most important thing that I can think of is to have an inner happiness that comes from feeling safe, well-adjusted. As in truly happy inside. An unshakeable happiness. It doesn't necessarily come from gifts or even spending money. I think it comes from trust and taking leaps of faith whatever that might mean to your family. I'm learning to trust. Sometimes I am good at it. Sometimes I am afraid and make mistakes. But eventually I want my kiddo to know I have their back. My vision was to have a relationship where kiddo would continue to confide in me and so far that's been true and I really hope I don't mess that up ever. Everything else is just a passing thing...curriculum, what books to read, what scores you get in the SATs. But to get here, you have to let go a little. Trust more than a little. Breathe more than a little. It's hard to do that if you are rushing everything or second guessing everything. I second guess a lot so I know how hard it is to let that go a little.
  6. The A's matter but not all that much. My kid is scoring a couple B's now in college, and even risking a few Cs during midterms. I do watch the GPA as far as kiddo will let me and it's still a very strong GPA but every time I learn kiddo was well challenged and had to work even harder to pull an A, I feel really proud. All that earlier crying from frustration stuff (#2 above) has built a good level of resilience...enough resilience to reach #5 above. My job now is to help kiddo stay at #5. My work is not done. Our work as parents is never done is it? That's why I think it's important to let go a little because if you don't you will burn out.

That's it from me for now! Happy New Year everyone!

Edited by quark
Typos, ugh!
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I'm glad to read a followup, Quark. 

This marks our eighth year of homeschooling, and instead of being MORE confident, I spend more time wringing my hands about decisions than ever before. I think it's because we're knocking on the door of eighth grade and I feel like we're in the "S&^%'s getting REAL" phase. You know, like now the decisions I make really matter, and I could be screwing this up royally. Basically, I just need reassurance. It's hard to get it from my husband --- he is completely supportive of homeschooling, but really doesn't know our ins and outs. 

I made a decision a few weeks ago to veer away from our recommended path (We are a MP family) for science, and I'm thinking it will pay BIG dividends for us. We'll be back to our 'school is amazing' days, instead of it being a slog --- because we're going to be doing something that my daughter LOVES, and I'm interested in learning more about. (equine studies)

Thank you again for listing these. You're exactly right ---- your kids THANKING you for homeschooling makes this marathon so worthwhile. 

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