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Curriculum that meets common core standards?


paysensmom
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I started a thread last week about homeschooling without curriculum. I am spending SOOOOO much of my time researching. I am just about ready to send them back to school. :sad: I do not want to do that.

This is my first year homeschooling my children. I have a 3rd and 5th grader and a very active 17 month old! I have ordered math mammoth curriculum 1-6 and I plan to supplement my math with MEP. We also use Khan Academy. I think I am realizing that I probably wasted my money because math seems to be the one thing I have had success with finding and putting together myself for the children..... I am using the KISS grammar and have Scott Foresman bookmarked on my computer.

This is our third week of homeschooling. I am getting pretty overwhelmed. I am pretty sure I would like to follow the common core standards at the very minimum since my children will be taking the state tests. I would love to do more though!

We have really only had the chance to focus on math, reading/literature, spelling and some vocabulary. I hardly even started and I feel like I am failing miserably. Want to know the sad part? I am a certified teacher and I used to teach special education!!! (hanging my head in shame) I just don't know how to manage my time and put things to use.

I am really looking for your advice and guidance. I am in tears over this and I don't know how to fix it.

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Have you read The Well Trained Mind? The authors offer up a curriculum plan for each year, with suggested daily schedules. Now, I personally think that the daily schedules seem a bit much (they make, IMHO, for very long days for young kids), but reading them might give you an idea of a way to fit things in?

 

I think that concentrating on English and Math is a perfectly fine way to start the year. That's what most schools do, too. They're the basis for everything else.

 

It sounds like you're looking to homeschool on a budget? I think that's very, very possible. First of all, do you have a decent library near you? See if they have a teacher resource shelf. My local library has nothing, but the library a town over has 3 entire bays of education books! Curriculum ideas for all grade levels. I have no idea why they have so much, but it's a great resource. Even if you can't find something like that, you can look for various non-fiction books to read about science and history.

 

This web site offers free lesson plans for K-5th grade that follows the Core Knowledge sequence: http://www.cstone.net/~bcp/BCPIntro2.htm It's slightly different from the Common Core, but I think close enough.

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Our library is very small. The only curriculum type books they have are what my xxx grader should know. I checked out 3-5th last week.

 

Honestly, I believe my main problem is that I am looking and researching and trying to find the best. I am a big researcher and I want to keep looking to find something better. It is a huge fault, I know.

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What do their grade level tests cover? It sounds like you are doing fine. Really what more are they doing in school? Making flap books for math? Read alouds? Nothing you can't do.

 

If you are really worried about common core, maybe you should look into virtual schooling, but I think you are just having a hard time unschooling yourself.

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:grouphug:

 

Don't give up too quickly. Humble people are often more equipped than know it alls. Just because you are aware of your weaknesses and the enormity of the responsibility doesn't mean you are less equipped than a confident person.

 

How is your library?

 

Hunter, I just love your posts. You always have such wisdom and food for thought. Thank you for your contributions to the board.

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You will be fine. I was in your shoes just recently.It gets better. I have not read that anything you are using is light. They will do fine meeting standards.Mammoth math should give you some time as it is written to the student.You can choose to cover topics early if you need to, to meet the standards. This board is great for researching if a program is solid.Give yourself a little time, keep reasearching and asking questions here. They will do fine.

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Our library is very small. The only curriculum type books they have are what my xxx grader should know. I checked out 3-5th last week.

 

Honestly, I believe my main problem is that I am looking and researching and trying to find the best. I am a big researcher and I want to keep looking to find something better. It is a huge fault, I know.

 

My pastor once told me something that has helped so much (in fact...I need to hear it again today!) Don't pursue perfection. Pursue excellence. A perfectionist is never happy with a job 95% well done, but someone who pursues excellence can take satisfaction in that.

 

It's so easy to get caught up in trying to find "best," but it's a mirage. Look for something excellent. And there are lots of excellent choices out there!

 

Are you avoiding curriculum because of $? If money isn't a huge issue, then you might consider purchasing curriculum at least for the hardest subjects, then use your talents in math and any other areas that you enjoy and find it easier to put things together.

 

Really, you have a great start already, you are hitting the core subjects. That's a great foundation to start on. I actually purposefully start some years slowly, and gradually add on more subjects.

 

If you need something easier/put together for grammar and/or writing, you might take a look at Essentials in Writing. It combines grammar and writing together and is pretty inexpensive.

 

You can do some nature walks/nature journaling while you explore science curriculum, as that's inexpensive & kids enjoy getting out, looking at new plants and animals, drawing, doing rubbings, taking pictures to google something later, observing a certain place at different times of the year etc...

 

This is your first year. You have time. It doesn't all have to be done yesterday. Kids need some time to deschool.

 

Have you asked them what they might be interested in studying for science or history? Let them help with some of this planning. Hang in there! We all feel overwhelmed at times. Merry :-)

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I decided to homeschool so my children would have a better education that what the public school can offer. I know they are capable of more and they were continually asking me to homeschool. Each of them wrote a list of why they wanted to homeschool. The answers varied from, spending more time with me and little sister to because they would learn more and have more free time.

 

I have searched through this site and many others late at night while everyone is sleeping. Not only do I see that people are spending much less time that we are on school while getting more done. I also see people teaching their children latin and spanish and many other things I didn't even consider. Being a huge perfectionist, this only added to my feelings of failure. I can hardly figure out the basics and other people are doing so much more! I am trying extremely hard to keep positive. At the moment, I just feel defeated and not good enough. My gosh, my posts are so uninspiring, I am sorry. I am usually a very happy and positive person.

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:grouphug: This is a huge thing you are doing, taking responsibility for teaching your children!

 

We sound like old hands at this because we are. We didn't come out of a box with all this confidence. We earned it. And so will you! The learning curve is steep but it's worth it.

 

I think what hasn't been spelled out, exactly is this:

 

If you use The Well-Trained Mind or very reputable homeschooling curriculum as your guide, your children will be more than prepared to do well on standardized tests. It's just proven and true. With the individual attention from a teacher who loves them as only a mother could :) , most children succeed in a homeschool setting.

 

Now on to the practical help:

 

Would you be willing to answer a few questions to help us get to know you, so our advice is more likely to be useful?

 

1. What have you read on homeschooling so far? The Well-Trained Mind? A Charlotte Mason Companion? Mary Pride's Big Book?

 

2. Math Mammoth is an excellent choice. As you've found, Maria Miller has faithfully updated it to fit Common Core standards. It's a good start. What curriculum were your children using in school, and how well were they understanding it? We have lots of parents here with experience in transitioning from Everyday Math to homeschool curriculum, so you can talk about that if you need to.

 

3. Scott Foresman and KISS are free, and Math Mammoth is cheap. Are you looking for cheap-to-free curriculum for all subjects, or do you have some funds for curriculum?

 

Keep talking to us. We'll try to help. I believe you that you are a optimistic and successful person, and I hope you'll believe me that eventually you will feel comfortable homeschooling your children.

 

~Tibbie

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Our library is very small. The only curriculum type books they have are what my xxx grader should know. I checked out 3-5th last week.

 

Honestly, I believe my main problem is that I am looking and researching and trying to find the best. I am a big researcher and I want to keep looking to find something better. It is a huge fault, I know.

 

How is the library for REAL books? :001_smile: Not everything needs to be curricula.

 

Is interlibrary loan free?

 

I'm not sure if you are a christian or not. I was. Now I'm not. LOOOOONG story. But I still think the STORY of Adam is a good one. He was cursed with weeds. We are cursed with lousy curricula that is never quite good enough. I now call curricula "weedy" :lol: I have begun to rest more, thinking of homeschooling/tutoring as being cursed. I'm not expected to teach beyond the curse.

 

Find things that are good enough, and just USE them. I know I'm OCD and it was just recently that I now know I MUST only use 3R's and Latin/Greek curricula written by OCD authors. The author can be crazy, and she can be "wrong", but as long as she is OCD I can tweak it. I can be a little less obsessive and systematic about content subjects.

 

I just downloaded the $1.00 Teaching with Dear America Books. More resources here. I was looking at a much more expensive similar program today and was thrilled to see this today. I think my library will be able to get me all the books.

Edited by Hunter
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You're doing great.

 

Start small with the 3Rs (or add the 4th R, "Religion") Pick one and flesh it out. While you're doing that, take lots of walks, do art projects, and read aloud. When you've got that down, add in another R. Within a few weeks you'll start to get your sea legs and get the basics down.

 

It's a learning curve and while I don't have a teaching credential, I think in some ways that makes it harder.

 

Hang in there!

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I have read about Charlotte Mason, I do like the sound of that approach. I have not read A well trained mind or any actual book. I have a difficult time commiting to something until I have thoroughly researched it and that is how I found my way to these forums. Then, I read about those things that you mention and of course, everyone has a different opinion on which is the better choice. Thus, leaving me as indecisive as ever.

I am not sure what curriculum the school was using. Last year was our first year in this town, my husband is in the military and we move often. My daughter was in second grade and during math she sat in the back of the room doing math on her own on the computer since she was so far ahead of everyone else. Another reason I chose to homeschool. She would come home with 2nd grade math homework :banghead:

I am able to purchase curriculum if necessary. My search for the perfect thing is what holds me back more than anything. I do not like to waste money and I really don't like to be disappointed.

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First, start slow and simple. Figure out what your minimum daily or weekly "requirements" are to satisfy your schooling goals.

 

For instance, you might start with math, social studies and language arts. Decide how much you want to accomplish as a minimum in each of these areas and work out how to get that done.

 

Once you have a schedule and routine in place for the basics, then look to your "extras." I have chose to really streamline math in order to spend extra time on other subjects. I have in the past chosen to focus on science and give history less attention (but still cover the basics). This year, I'm going with the reverse. I feel like the kids have a solid base in science so we are spending more of our discretionary time on social studies.

 

Language Arts is hard for me to manage. There are so many sub-categories to cover. I have dozens of programs and options and seem to always find something that might work better. I usually end up reading the materials myself and then just teaching using the whiteboard rather than sticking with any one curricula. If you can find something you really like to teach the fundamentals of grammar and composition- grab it! ;)

 

Over time you should get into a rhythm that fits you and your family. But, unless you are super-organized and energized (I am not) it will be hard to do it all. Remember that you have time, and that your school day and year are not limited to set times. If you were planning to take summers off, take them off except for daily Latin lessons. Watch a science documentary in the evening. Find enjoyable and fun ways to learn and teach those things that you want to share with your children. :001_smile:

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Just sending you a big :grouphug: as you ponder all this. I was much like you starting out, and I'm afraid it hasn't worn off all the way yet, LOL!! This is our second year homeschooling... pulling things together for my son last year was sort of a nightmare, and I feel like I'm finally settling on some things.

 

Let me try to give you a little reassurance, from wisdom that I've gained in large part from these boards.

 

First, there is no truly perfect curriculum. A person that raves about curriculum X may have only found it after going through five different other options. And that curriculum X may not be the right fit for YOUR child. It makes it tough, but it's also freeing in a way... I don't have to use "curriculum X" even if half the board uses it... because it may not be the right thing for US.

 

You have great reasons for wanting to homeschool. Regardless of which curricula you choose, your kids WILL get a great education for two reasons... one, you can provide continuity, rather than the crapshoot that is a new school each time you move. And two, you can tailor the levels, subjects, and assignments to YOUR kids, meeting them at their level.

 

Things that you have already chosen are good. KISS Grammar goes deep and is very popular. And the beautiful thing about a free program? Even if you try it and toss it, you're not out anything but some time, and you can regain that. Math Mammoth is a great curriculum... Maria has amazing explanations and has worked hard, as someone else said, to align most of the curriculum with core standards.

 

You can easily start off with reading, writing, and math for the first couple months. Really!! There's no reason to have everything lined up perfectly today. In the meantime, have your kids check out a couple books from the library each week on a science or history topic. Even if you have a small library, there are probably some items that will work to get you started.

 

It's hard being a perfectionist... been there, done that, still digging out (or deeper, depending on the day). Just take a deep breath, do a math lesson, and read a book. There... you've started. :grouphug:

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OK, then my advice is this:

 

Don't spend one thin dime. Everybody has to pay teacher training fees of some kind, though. Some pay it in curriculum that fails and has to be re-sold. Others pay it in time spent learning pedagogy and methodology. The latter sounds like a good option for you, in my opinion. Remove the money aspect and free yourself to get started on that learning curve.

 

If Charlotte Mason appeals to you, you can learn how to use her methods for absolutely free. You could be busy and learning while you keep researching to hone your philosophy and choose the materials you want to purchase, and these methods definitely hit your goal of increasing family togetherness. It's a wonderful way to start homeschooling.

 

It could look kind of like this:

 

History

 

SETUP

 

1. Pick a historical era, for example, Colonial America and the Revolutionary War.

2. Get a main book, a "spine" from the library or free online.

3. Create a Book of Centuries, to add all dates and events as you come across them in your studies.

4. Find an online source of printable maps to color and label as you read about various locations in your history and literature books.

 

HOW TO USE

 

1. Three days per week, read one chapter of your spine.

2. Have the children narrate back to you, telling you what they just read. Start with oral narrations and work up to short written ones. These are your history compositions.

3. Add all dates from the day's reading to the Book of Centuries.

4. Add all locations to maps.

 

Literature

 

1. Find really great children's literature through online lists, appropriate to your children's grade level and ability.

2. Include a few biographies and other books about the historical era you are studying, and a poetry anthology.

3. Read a section or chapter a day, and use Charlotte Mason's methods to teach language arts through literature.

.....a. keep a dictionary handy to look up unfamiliar words

.....b. copywork

.....c. narration

.....d. dictation

.....e. reading aloud

5. Read poetry twice per week.

.....a. memorize poetry, starting with very short poems

 

Language Arts

 

SETUP

 

Buy a lined notebook for each child and locate these recommended resources for free online:

 

Recognizing that you are still in the learning stages of teaching English through copywork, narration, and dictation, consider using some Charlotte Mason-friendly lessons that are free online.

 

Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serl for your 3rd grader

Intermediate Language Lessons by Emma Serl for your 5th grader

 

In each of these, doing three lessons per week will advance your child through one grade level. Easy-peasy. These deceptively simple little books are incredibly effective.

 

Foreign Language

 

See if your local library has Mango, which is free and pretty good.

 

Math

 

Math Mammoth is awesome.

 

Science

 

Pick a topic, any topic. Go to the library and get books about it. Read them. Let your children narrate back what they've read, first orally and then written. Get a related activity book or search for related activities on the internet. Read some of the book, narrate it or copy from it or draw it, twice a week. Do an activity or experiment session once per week.

 

Go on a daily walk outdoors. This is very important! And once per week, go on a nature walk as Charlotte Mason recommends. Let each student keep a nature journal to draw, paint, or glue in what he discovers. Come home and look up the leaves, nuts, seeds, etc. that you found on your walk.

 

Art

 

Charlotte Mason recommended studying one artist at a time, and spending lots of time with several of that artist's work. Pick somebody and find free galleries online.

 

As far as creative art goes, provide (and allow time for) coloring, drawing, painting, and modeling. It's enough to start with.

 

Music

 

Composer study. One at a time, learning about his life, creating a notebooking page about him, listening to several of his works until the children can recognize them. Youtube has everything, but there are also websites like classicalkids.

 

Habits

 

Charlotte's methods include short lessons, high-quality books instead of twaddle, lots of outdoor and free time, handicrafts and life skills, and plenty of exercise. These things make the day go faster and help the children be healthy and ready to learn.

 

____________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________

 

To learn about all these methods, go to A Charlotte Mason Education and Simply Charlotte Mason. And the granddaddy of all Charlotte Mason sites is Ambleside Online.

 

At these sites you can find booklists and tons of free materials online, plus information on how exactly to do what I've mentioned here:

 

Living Books

Book of Centuries

CM-style Map Work

Copywork

Narration

Dictation

Memorization

Art Study

Composer Study

Nature Walks

Nature Journals

Handicrafts

 

and much more.

 

I hope this will help you move out of the paralysis stage. I hope you'll find some great ways to get started in history and science, and have more fun, while you are still deciding how you want to do this homeschooling thing.

 

Best of luck to you.

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I think Tibbie gave you a wonderful plan. I'd start with the basics- Math, Language Arts- Grammar, Writing, and Good Literature. Just do it and see how you like what you have and the kids like it. Research but don't go changing every time you read about the next best thing. Give the ideas a while to settle in before you make a move. Try getting books about homeschooling inter-library- loan and read as many different ones as you can and then just sit and think. I find that when I read something I might think it just sounds so great and want to do everything just like that but after I think awhile I realize that while it might be good for that particular family it might be an exact fit for our family, so we take what works and leave the rest.

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The people who are doing a million things and appear to be confident have usually been homeschooling a while. They likely didn't start that way. Most of us fumbled around a bit until we found our sea legs. :)

 

The first 3 weeks of homeschooling, I changed spelling 3 times! And there were many other subjects that changed also that year. You have to figure out what your teaching style is and what your students' learning style is.

 

The choices you've made so far look great. Use them for a few months, then reevaluate to see if they're working well. We used MM when I pulled my mathy son out of school, and it was perfect for acceleration to where he really was in math. The teaching is excellent. Just don't make your child do every single problem!!! Accelerating MM was very helpful for me as a teacher to set aside my box checker, OCD attitude. :D After that, it became a lot easier to use the curriculum to help ME teach instead of relying on the curriculum to teach.

 

We also use KISS Grammar (after finding most traditional curricula to be to slow/easy for DS1). It is quite advanced. Your children will be learning grammar topics years ahead of the public school schedule. For standardized testing, you may need to practice editing, but that doesn't necessitate a curriculum change.

 

Also, if you aren't required to standardized test, you may want to think about whether you really need to worry about that. You sound like you would understand where your kids are without one. I teach my kids such that I know they could pass the skills portion of standardized tests, but I haven't actually tested them. I know exactly where they are because I work with them every day. Content subjects may be a different matter, since I teach a different scope and sequence. As long as my kids are prepared for high school science and history by time they get to high school, I'm happy.

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The people who are doing a million things and appear to be confident have usually been homeschooling a while. They likely didn't start that way. Most of us fumbled around a bit until we found our sea legs. :)

 

YOU should've seen our first year homeschooling! It was a mess! :D We also spent the first 1-2 years constantly changing curricula until I basically threw it all to the wind.

 

Read The Well-Trained Mind. It will help you visualize the big picture. Also, she has audio lectures on the Peace Hill Press website (and she has a YouTube channel where she answers questions). The Well-Trained Mind shows exactly how to set up your history, writing and literature for your middle schooler - which writing assignments to do, etc. You really don't even need to buy a curriculum for that stuff. Just references, living books, etc.

 

Also, your math choices are excellent. My oldest daughter loved Math Mammoth. My 2nd grader is also using MM. It's a very solid program and you don't even need to supplement with anything else.

 

As far as foreign languages...for some reason...this year...we can NOT get to our foreign languages. We're spending so much time on writing, history and science that our foreign languages are really being neglected. I might just call it quits with Latin this year. And I don't even feel guilty about it. :tongue_smilie:

 

Don't give up! :grouphug:

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I have read about Charlotte Mason, I do like the sound of that approach. I have not read A well trained mind or any actual book. I have a difficult time commiting to something until I have thoroughly researched it and that is how I found my way to these forums. Then, I read about those things that you mention and of course, everyone has a different opinion on which is the better choice. Thus, leaving me as indecisive as ever.

I am not sure what curriculum the school was using. Last year was our first year in this town, my husband is in the military and we move often. My daughter was in second grade and during math she sat in the back of the room doing math on her own on the computer since she was so far ahead of everyone else. Another reason I chose to homeschool. She would come home with 2nd grade math homework :banghead:

I am able to purchase curriculum if necessary. My search for the perfect thing is what holds me back more than anything. I do not like to waste money and I really don't like to be disappointed.

 

There are fifty million curricula, and everyone has different opinions of them. Why? Because we are all different people with different kids and ideas about what OUR homeschooling should look and be like. What is good for you might be horrible for me.:D Don't worry about what other people think is good... you have to figue out what is good for you guys, and that might change multiple times....but you can also do it without a "curriculum." It is hard when you first start, but don't go searching for the ever-elusive, non-existent perfect piece of curriculum. Just pick something and start. You will see if it is a good fit or not as you go along.

 

Even those of us who have been doing this a long time keep looking for the perfect curriculum, even though we know better!

 

Don't worry so much. You'll do great. Remember the big picture, not the day to day. ;)

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The people who are doing a million things and appear to be confident have usually been homeschooling a while. They likely didn't start that way. Most of us fumbled around a bit until we found our sea legs. :)

 

 

:iagree:

 

And some of us were lucky enough to start before the internet. Seriously. The internet is a big help, but it is also a confidence crusher. :smash:

 

We oldschoolers just dove in, and we gained confidence by DOING. We had no one to compare ourselves to. No one expected us to be successful. The fact that our kids could go out into public not picking their nose and scratching their private parts was all the success others were expecting of us. :lol: It was instant success!

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Never let yourself stay up night trying to "figure it all out" (ask me how I know). Allow your fears to settle without comparing yourself to everyone else in some idealized fashion. None of us have it all figured out. None of us are doing exactly the perfect thing for each of our children.

 

Be confident that your chlidren are loved, are being educated, and are learning to love it :) Have patience with yourself and them. You are in a transition.

 

Personally, I have put the "common core standards" bit to the back of my mind to ponder in the future. My children are getting a solid education and I can't worry about governmental requirements right now. The path I have laid out will make my children BETTER thinkers and writers than the public school system could ever produce.

 

I know how very important this is, but fear never produces good fruit.

 

I love Merry's discussion about setting the expectations for excellence, not perfectionism. Brilliant!

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And whatever you do, don't go down the rabbit hole of reading all the homeschool blogs about everyone doing amazing craft projects in between preschool calculus, all with beautiful photographs of children in lovely hand-made frocks and totally clean houses in the background. :lol:

 

Nothing kills confidence like some homeschooling blogs. Just remember that most of us don't keep blogs... for a reason ;) And those that do selectively show what they want to.

 

I agree to read The Well Trained Mind. It looks long, but an awful lot of it is lists or about specific ages, so the meat is a very quick read. It offers an outline of what to study each year. Even if you decide against their schedule, it gives a place to start and might give you some ideas for how to structure your day, your year, and your overall lifetime curriculum. They even have suggested school day schedules (though, IMHO, they're a bit long for little kids).

 

I over-research everything too, so I definitely know where you're coming from. FWIW, in all my research I've decided that we'll use the Pandia Press curricula for Science and History, both supplemented with Intelligo Unit Studies. For Language Arts, I hear excellent things about the Michael Clay Thomas series and Shurley Grammar for grammar, and Wordly Wise for vocabulary (it's on sale as Homeschool Buyer's Coop right now). For math, we're also using Math Mammoth supplemented with MEP, though I just ordered Life of Fred so I think we'll take a break and try one of those.

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You are doing great. I was in your shoes just a few days ago. It gets better. Slowly, but surely, like everyone said.

 

From researching this board, I agree, all your choices look solid. I've been researching standards and you should have no problem meeting the standards. You are off to a great start. Mammoth Math will give you some free time to research since it is written to the student. And you can do topics ahead if you need to in order to meet the standards.

 

I would stick with the main subjects and add the rest in slowly. You will get to that point sooner than you think. Just hang in there, keep going, keep researching, and asking questions. This board is great for recommending solid resources/curriculum.

 

We are hard to fit, so I have been trying the free stuff now and limiting spending each month so I don't waste as much.

 

Check out my blog if you want. I try and keep a list for myself of the free/cheaper resources that looked really good/were helpful to me.

 

You will do great!

Edited by cmac
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I agree about just plugging along with the math you've chosen, any grammar and just reading to your children. Seriously, I'd mark 4 months on my calendar and not think about it till after Christmas. Have fun... do field trips... That's it. Then revisit with a clearer mind what you need to do :)

Work on Character issues.... on working together.... on making lunch and dinner... you get the idea :)

Try to ENJOY :) You get to do that because you.... didn't start in Highschool!! :)

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A note on worrying about the tests:

 

Give your kids a solid, classical education, give your kids fun books to read (like "You Wouldn't Want to be a...") don't worry about matching test content; the tests will take care of themselves.

 

We have not done any 'social studies,' we have not begun any American History yet, and we are just starting biology (proper bio, not just "life science") this year for DS9 and 11. I gave them the Stanford 10 last year, and they blew it out of the water, even my special needs kid.

 

Let your educational plan drive your days, and testing will take care of itself. What truly matters in testing is not any specific year anyway, but trends over time.

 

Relax, breathe, plan. You will be okay.

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I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but you need to repeat this phrase over and over...THERE IS NO PERFECT PROGRAM. Programs are tools that you use to guide you in teaching your children. YOU are the teacher, not the program or book that you are using. I've seen people take excellent, expensive programs and fail miserably at utilizing them, and I've seen people take a single dog eared vintage book they found in an old bookstore and do amazing things with it. Stop searching for the perfect program, get a few programs that will get the job done (don't get bogged down in all the choices, just pick some that seem to be well liked by the seasoned homeschoolers here), and focus all that time and energy on learning how to teach, and how to take a few solid programs, resources, and supplies, and create your own homeschooling curriculum. You are of the mindset that your success is dependent on the programs you choose...it isn't. Your success is dependent on what you do with those programs.

 

When I started homeschooling I was doing the same thing you are doing. I was paralyzed by all of the choices out there, and confused at the inconsistencies in opinions on the perfect program. I realized, eventually, and with the help of many wise people on this board, that a program's ability to be effective was completely dependent on my ability to teach, my children, our schedule, my teaching style, my philosophy...there are just too many variables at play in order to be able to say program x will be the perfect program for every family. The problem is, that until you actually start teaching, you aren't going to figure out how you teach best, your dc's learning preferences, your philosophy, the best schedule, or which programs you can teach and which you are going to need to educate yourself more on. You have to do some time slopping along in the muck and mire path of trying out programs and teaching methods before you can find the smoother paved path of knowing what to stay away from and knowing how to choose programs that will help you accomplish your goals.

 

Did you notice the sayings at the end of Hunter's posts? If not go back and read them. They sum up beautifully what I've stumbled around saying above.

 

One other thing...don't be afraid of messing up, of choosing something that doesn't work, of starting with this or that method and then realizing it isn't your thing. ENJOY your children, enjoy being with them and learning together, enjoy the process of finding your path together. :grouphug:

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Here is the best piece of advice I recieved from a friend when I was starting. The first year is the hardest. Take the first year and just do the basics. Learn about your children. How they learn, what they know, what they like etc. During this time you can look over different curriculums and decide how they fit FOR YOUR FAMILY. It doesn't matter what anyone else likes, as long as it works for your family. Everyone raves about Saxon. So I did Saxon. My kids HATED it. They would have rather been waterboarded than do saxon. I hear lots of good things about Five In A Row. I bought it (used) to use with my K. I just don't get it. I wouldn't have been happy with it, so I sold it (for what I paid). You have to learn what will work for you and your family.

 

Our first year we did a Virtual Academy. My son hated it, I hated it, but it gave me time to figure out what would work/wouldn't work with my children. And, you know what, A lot of my curriculum is a little know company that hardly anyone uses and it's cheap.

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One thing that I believe makes the brain cells grow is to memorize. A really fun thing to memorize is poetry. Pick any poem. Robert Louis Stephenson, Frost, anything. And memorize it. Another fun thing is to memorize geography. This week we typed seas, rivers, mountains of Europe into google. We found a game to practice them. We looked them all up on our map on the wall and on the globe. In 2 days ds9 knew them all. Now he'll practice them. SimplyCharlotteMason.com has a great practice system for memory work, as well as a free schedule of artists and hymns and other things to study over 6 years time. HTH! HAVE FUN!!!

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First, I wanted to give you a great big HUG!! :grouphug: Second, I want to reassure you that you ARE doing the right thing and it will be okay. This is our first year as well and I felt the same way that you did at first. I swear that I think I changed my curriculum a thousand times. My biggest fear was (and still is) that my kids will do poorly on those standardized tests. At this point, I don't know what the outcome of those tests will be but at some point I had to just stop, make some decisions, and dig in. If something isn't going to work, there's really only one way to find out and that's by trying. So I decided on my 'method' and jumped in.

 

I think that we are predominately a Charlotte Mason family here as well. Tibbie has given you excellent advice! One of the biggest things that I have learned is that these forums are great because of all of the knowledge here but they can also be very confusing. Mainly because my method is different than many of those here. Many people here are WTM method (hence the name of the site). So if I read too much then I start to feel inadequate because I am not doing what they are doing. It's not that I'm inadequate. I'm just different. And guess what? My kids are learning all kinds of stuff anyway!

 

I know that it's very hard but try not to think about all of the things that you are 'not' doing. Like Latin. There will be plenty of time for that. :grouphug:

 

Seriously, just follow what Tibbie has laid out for you and you'll be as fine as wine!

Edited by MiniBlondes
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Start with reading The Well Trained Mind. For me it really cut to the chase and I felt I Susan had saved me tons of time and effort. Every time I find myself getting lost in the weeds, I go back to WTM and find the problem I'm having has been addressed. I've read it multiple times but like a lot of books, some parts don't resonate until you need them. So read it, then read it again next year. It's full of recommendations, providing a starting place and a platform. Start from there and then customize.

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Our library is very small. The only curriculum type books they have are what my xxx grader should know. I checked out 3-5th last week.

 

Honestly, I believe my main problem is that I am looking and researching and trying to find the best. I am a big researcher and I want to keep looking to find something better. It is a huge fault, I know.

 

This made me chuckle. Not at you, but with you. You say this is your first year homeschooling? I'd say you are going to LOVE it here. I think most new-to-homeschooling moms have this EXACT feeling when we start trying to get a grip on what all this means. You've got to love research to do this job right. You will get it. Keep researching. Don't give up! You will find the best. And even if it takes you awhile and you feel like the kids are falling behind, don't give up! Just read to them/make them read while you are researching and trying new things and know that they are going to be fine. When you get it all together, you'll be teaching them more in less time and they will be just fine - if not better - than they were before.

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Have you checked your library for homeschooling books? Not cirriculum, but books about it like Lisa Rivero's http://www.amazon.ca/Creative-Home-Schooling-Resource-Families/dp/0910707480 or other such books?

 

It sounds like you could use learning about homeschooling and THEN trying to figure out what resources you want to use. I think Cathy Duffy's 100 top picks is another handy place to start.

 

You'll be fine. Just try to relax and you can consider this as a time to teach your kids practical life skills for now (bring them grocery shopping and get them to figure out prices/budgeting - that sort of thing). Learning in your everyday life.

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I started a thread last week about homeschooling without curriculum. I am spending SOOOOO much of my time researching. I am just about ready to send them back to school. :sad: I do not want to do that.

This is my first year homeschooling my children. I have a 3rd and 5th grader and a very active 17 month old! I have ordered math mammoth curriculum 1-6 and I plan to supplement my math with MEP. We also use Khan Academy. I think I am realizing that I probably wasted my money because math seems to be the one thing I have had success with finding and putting together myself for the children..... I am using the KISS grammar and have Scott Foresman bookmarked on my computer.

This is our third week of homeschooling. I am getting pretty overwhelmed. I am pretty sure I would like to follow the common core standards at the very minimum since my children will be taking the state tests. I would love to do more though!

We have really only had the chance to focus on math, reading/literature, spelling and some vocabulary. I hardly even started and I feel like I am failing miserably. Want to know the sad part? I am a certified teacher and I used to teach special education!!! (hanging my head in shame) I just don't know how to manage my time and put things to use.

I am really looking for your advice and guidance. I am in tears over this and I don't know how to fix it.

 

 

1st - HSing without a curriculum can be done, but you need to expect a learning curve of longer than 3 weeks. Keep going. You are doing fine. Focus on today. Plan for next week.

 

2nd - You have covered math, reading, spelling, and vocab.:hurray: Don't fret about what you are NOT doing! Simply add in the next most important thing next week. (KISS grammar maybe?)

 

In my humble opinion: Math, Reading, Writing, Spelling, and Grammar are the *core.* History and science can be covered through their reading, and books you read aloud to them.

 

 

3rd - ENJOY!!! Narrow your focus, put some blinders on to the rest of the world (core standards, tests, 1000000000 curricula that diaper the baby and bake the bread too....), and ENJOY some good books/nature walks/science experiments/museums/etc with your dc. If your kids simply read for an hour by themselves everyday, and listen to high quality read alouds daily...do you know how much they will cover!?! (Be picky about the books that enter your home, and then relax and enjoy!)

 

 

 

 

 

...and it's worth a little $ to spend on a curric that you need, a curric that frees up your *time* to actually teach and chase your toddler in the same day.

 

 

...and with two so close in age, look for ways to combine so that you all have more time to read good books.

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Guest rsbladon

Dear paysensmom,

You're putting to much pressure on yourself. You only started a few weeks ago. John Holt, an influential homeschooling revolutionary in the '80s, made this statement in an interview several years ago (I've made minor changes so it's understandable by itself):

"The hardest [thing] is learning to trust children, learning that [parents] don’t have to make learning happen. Learning that [they] don’t have to be stimulating [their children] all the time. Parents start teaching their kids because they feel a strong sense of responsibility but they tend to sometimes feel more responsible than they [actually] are. The hardest thing to do is learn to back off. Home-schoolers ask questions like, "How can I be sure I’m giving my child enough?" I have to say, just the world out there as it is has plenty of food for thought. You don’t have to make your life one long field trip or turn your home into a miniature of the Smithsonian or the Metropolitan Museum."

 

In other words, enjoy your journey, give yourself some time to settle in and figure things out, and most importantly you don't have to be Wonder Woman to make well-educated, well-rounded, happy children. By the way, they do learn everyday but it's like how they grow. You're with them so you don't necessarily notice it everyday.

 

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