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pulling out of PS to homeschool NOW!


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so I am pulling them out! so excited so scared WHOOHOOO!


anyways, I have a bright 2nd grader. reads well, math well, loves to learn, isnt challaged. VERY VERY VERY low budget since i am doing this all of a sudden. what on earth do i use? I need this all figured out for the IHIP. she reads at a 3/4 grade level, her teacher has sucked and doesnt challenge her, i have no idea what they have done for science and social studies this year since nothing has come home.....but i did email the teacher!



MY son is in K. I dont have to submit anything till next year for him, NYS K isnt mandatory so thats a breeze. Im going to focus on handwriting, reading, math ect.....


thank you all1 remeber the budget is close to none! but i am doing this so educate them so i dont want to take the sit and enjoy each other approach. we will do that, but i want them home to learn since they are wasting 6 hours a day in PS

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Well first off-YAY!


If it were me, and we had little to no budget, I would buy a great math program and that's about it. Maybe Story of the World as well, if you are planning on using that in the future. I would take the rest of the year to read, read, read. There are many science and social studies projects that can be done for free or cheap, and I would plan that as I go.


Good luck!

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Since you're in NY (if I'm reading that right), it's quite possible that your child's school district uses Everyday Math or one of those type in PS. Even if she's good at math -- and enjoys it! -- you may find that she'll have gaps in her knowledge because EM just doesn't cover to mastery certain concepts that a more traditional math program does. Of course, she is still just in 2nd grade so if you find she, for instance, doesn't know her single digit math facts without pulling out her fingers (a common EM problem) or somesuch, it's not that big of a deal yet.


I just want to throw that out there so if you do a math placement test for something like, say, Singapore and get disappointing results ("What?? My kid *loves* math and got good grades!"), it doesn't come as a strange shock. I have a lot of friends in PS in NY and have heard a lot of similar stories, over and over again.



On another note: yay! I'm excited for you. Give your library card a workout and just read a lot of great books for awhile while you take time to wrap your head around things.

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Yay!! Good for you. Very exciting for you!


I concur with the pps: focus on math, and use your library card! Math Mammoth is an inexpensive, deep, complete conceptual math program, which is very inexpensive but excellent.


Other than that - I would be doing writing (dictation and narrations) - you don't need a curriculum for that, and I would be reading tons of stories, as well as non-fiction which can cover history and science. enjoy your small people and this time you have together!

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In your situation (with limited budget), I would make a trip to your friendly neighborhood library.


1) Reading: We would read many many many Caldecott Award books. If you feel that your dd is ready for Newberry Award winners (chapter books), you could explore (read) them mostly together. Some would be okay for that age (Little House on the Prairie, for example), and some would not be. Hopefully you have a good children's librarian, or you can get some support from the hive for which of these books would be age appropriate for a younger audience.


Other options are to read through a series together, award winning or not. Little House, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, American Girls, etc. should all be available through your library.


Cost: Library Fines


2) Math: Learn where you dd is for math facts. Get (or make) a pile of flashcards. Set a timer for 3 minutes. See how many your dd can do in 3 minutes. If she can get through them all (more than 50 in the cheap $3 packs), then she is extremely proficient. If she is competent in math facts:

--start teaching fractions, decimals, area, percent


Cost: flashcards and a timer


3 ) Writing: Have your dd write two sentences to describe each story or chapter she reads. For example: Peter Rabbit:

"Peter Rabbit did not obey is mother. He went to Mr. MacGregor's garden instead and got into trouble!"


Rebecca and Ana (American Girls)

"Rebecca got in trouble at school for speaking Yiddish. She was trying to help her cousin Ana understand the assignment."


You can use these sentences to teach punctuation, spelling, capitalization, handwriting, and even word choice. (Use "was disciplined" instead of "got in trouble.")


I would also make a master sheet for each book for dd to fill in: title, main characters, author, publisher, copyright, etc.


Cost: Paper, both computer and writing; pencils; a pencil sharpener; dictionary or thesaurus


4) Science: Lots of science books from the library. Check out every children's book in the library on the subject (lizards, bears, mammals, dangerous creatures,etc). Don't depend upon just one book about lizards. Read several.


***Someone posted a few months ago what their son does for a science report. I may have it saved. PM me if no one else has it, and I will look.***


We would also collect whatever we wanted from nature (acorns, locust shells, dead butterflies, rocks) and keep it in a box IN the house.


We would draw or write about our nature treasures. (Nature journals are very "in" right now.) Even for winter, there are good websites that list nature projects you can do with your nature journal:

rubbings of tree bark

draw a tree in winter

draw animals we see in our yard (birds, bunnies, the neighbor's cat, etc).

Use one page as a master list of animals or birds seen.

Put up a bird feeder and identify birds.

Start a master list of birds sighted.

Go for a walk in the snow and identify tracks. Go home and draw them.


Learn about latin names, and look unknown species up online.


Cost: Computer access, birdhouse, Fancy Journals (Hobby Lobby) or plain computer paper to be bound later, bird feeder, bird identification book.


5) History: Lots of library books. Read several books on a topic, not just one.


Start a timeline. you can get endrolls of paper at the local newspaper. We pay less than $5. Hang it in the hallway.


Cost: Library fines and paper for timeline.




Gotta go. Someone's gotta nurse!!!

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I don't home-school but I am amazed at the range of free stuff. If you have a computer, internet access and a printer and can afford paper and ink you should be fine.


MEP is a free maths programme that is printable.


Progressive phonics is fun and reading bear looks good too, there is some free stuff on starfall. I can't search but there was a fairly detailed thread on free resources a few months ago.


Also the first year of Mr Q science is free and your kids could do it together.

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awsome replies thank you! I agree about PS math being very gappy. she is very very good with her math facts, i mean very good! Where would i have her take a placement test?


she can write creative stories , actaully just started one called "The Last Wind"


She completely understand a paragraph, topic sentence, supporting sentences and closing. she is also very careful with punctuatoion


i still dont know where to begin with this child! my son is easy :)

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The thread linked above is full of great ideas. I don't know how NY laws work (other than being stricter than most), but I'd take at least a few weeks off from school so you can figure out what you're doing. After all, it's Christmas break, right?


My favorite free resources right now are

MEP for math http://www.cimt.plymouth.ac.uk/projects/mepres/primary/default.htm

And http://amblesideonline.org/ for just about everything else.


Both of them took me some time to wrap my head around, but they've been worth it for me. AO also has a relatively new forum if you have questions. https://amblesideonline.org/forum/index.php they have shut down most of the forums for Christmas, but you might be able to register and post on the Q&A forum if you have questions that aren't answered on their main website.

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Great suggestions so far. I know you had another thread on box curriculum. But if funds are limited I would seriously consider these other resources first. They are much more affordable. And there is a big benefit in not doing box programs. This way every subject isn't so tightly coupled with the others. So if math isn't working out or some other subject it is much easier to change. As you go you will discover many new, interesting things you will want to try. Separating subject areas lends itself to this much more naturally.


Our favorite low cost math is CLE. Math Mammoth is another affordable program which many seem to like. If you invest in anything at this age I recommend that it be Math.


Language arts can begin with the library and reading many books as others have stated. Utilizing Living Books is the basis for many homeschool LA programs. Charlotte Mason really emphasized their importance in learning, reading comprehension, language structure, grammar, writing, etc... Many of the classics are also free now in the public domain available for download to your computer. You can find them at places like Gutenberg which we use a lot.

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Congrats! How exciting! I am in NY State, too. So if you need help understanding the laws or putting together your IHIP and such, feel free to pm me. I also highly recommend that you get a LEAH (Loving Education At Home, which is a NYS support group) regulatory manual to help you understand the ins and outs of dealing with your school district legally. You can order one here: http://www.leah.org/...ory-manual��You do not have to be a member to order the manual.


A word of caution: In NYS you can be charged with truancy if you pull your child out of school and your child accrues "unexcused absences." You are supposed to let your superintendent know that you are homeschooling right away (within 14 days of starting homeschooling/pulling her out of school but I would do it asap and write the "first date of homeschooling" as the very next week day after you take her out). Those who aren't impressed with your decision may be measuring the gap between the day you take her out of ps and the day you start homeschooling. Just be careful that you don't get off on the wrong foot. What *I* would do is do one day of "homeschooling" (anything - read a couple library books, watch a netflix documentary, write a paragraph on the movie, do one math page printed off the computer) and count that as your 1st official day of homeschooling, and then go on "Christmas break" (which is totally legit considering the timing; Our break literally starts Thurs) and during that break, get everything you need together, get your curriculum ordered, look it over, make a plan, and be ready to start in Jan after Christmas break. That way you get a little breathing room to get it together, but you also can't get charged with any gap in her education. A couple weeks is still an insanely short time to make all these decisions, but you can get a rough and ready plan to get you through the rest of this year.


As far as placement, you will have to pick a curriculum that looks good to you, all things considering (budget, approach, whatever) and then have her take a placement test offered by that specific curriculum company. Maybe you already know this, but I thought perhaps you were thinking you could get a placement test to tell you your dd needs to be doing "3rd grade math" but it varies according to the curriculum. If you go to the Singapore Math website there is a placement test... which will tell you what level to start her in for Singapore. If you look at MCP Math, or MUS, the level she starts in varies (and half the time homeschool curricula isn't even named according to "grades" but "levels" instead... like A, B, C), so you have to place her in each program separately.


I would buy Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks (or, it's so popular, your library may have it), STAT. It's easy enough to read, but super helpful when you are just starting out. Don't worry about philosophies and all that if you need to start schooling asap. But it will give you the "big ones" in terms of curriculum and there are very helpful charts to help you pin down which program would be best for you and your kids. 100 Top Picks doesn't sound like it's narrowing it down much, but it really is because she covers all subjects, high school curriculum, etc. So when you are looking for "elementary math" your choices really are narrowed down which I think helps if you are not terribly familiar with all the names yet.


Really cheap stuff I can think of off the top of my head:


Handwriting: Handwriting Practice Books by Essential Learning Products are 5 bucks OR you can use www.HandwritingWorksheets.com which is free, last I knew.


Reading: Look at Sonlight's leveled Reader Packages and write down all the books your library has and you might find you'd only have to buy maybe 5 of them.


Math: MCP Math is $15.00. This is a simple to use, straight-forward curriculum that has no learning curve. Everything else that I can think of would take some getting used to so if you need something cheap and simple to open and get going, this is it. You can easily add manipulatives if you buy them separately, if that's something you want in a program.


Grammar / Writing: Evan-Moor workbooks are simple, straight-forward, and get the job done. They are also cheap. You'd have to look at Table of Contents to see where she'd need to be. Easy Grammar is also on the cheaper side, I think, but I've never used it so I don't know if you need the teacher's manual, etc. If she has a really good handle on writing for her age, maybe Jump In! would be good for her? Not sure if that would be too advanced for her or not. It focuses on the process of writing instead of the grammar & punctuation.


Science: I would probably use documentaries & library books if I had to go on the mega-cheap. You can totally get away with that with Science and your dd will still learn a lot, especially if you go for the stuff that interests her. My kids love the Nova movies and things like that and they don't really know it's "school" but they remember a lot from them. You could have her write a paragraph on what she learned, if that would make it seem more official. ;)


History: I would pick one spine to read/listen to and then check out library books to go along with each chapter. Some simple, affordable options are A Child's History of the World ($29.00) or Story of the World ($11.00 for softcover text).


Spelling: Spelling Workout... again, another workbook, but workbooks are cheaper and simpler than other programs. $10.00


Geography: Memoria Press's States & Capitals (I don't know if she already knows this). I am going to order this one myself soon. Only $30 for the set. Also good chances your library has the "Don't Know Much About the 50 States" book that goes with it, if you need to go even cheaper. Map Skills for Today is also a popular series. Galloping the Globe is $22.00. Also, people on here just told me recently about Seterra which has a bunch of free online geography quizzes/games.


First thing to do if you haven't already is make a list of all the subjects you need/want to cover and then start filling them in. Unfortunately, boxed curriculums tend to be very expensive.


Just some ideas. Hope that helps. :)

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Another NY homeschooler here. yes you need to send a letter to your district coordinator. You need to send you "LOI" aka Letter of Intent. It just needs to say something like


This letter is to inform you that we are intending to home school our daughter for the 2012-2013 school year. Her name is XXX XXX, her birthdate is XX/XX/XX we live in the blah blah school district.


Once you send in your letter of intent you have a couple weeks to send in your IHIP. Then the school has a few weeks in which they have to inform you if they accepted it. I have never had it not accepted, but I think I live in an 'easy' county.


here is the link to NY regs. http://www.nyhen.org/RegsSum.htm



You might also want to go to your county's BOCES site because that is where the homeschool coordinator is. At least it has been every I have heard about it in a NY but not NYC situation. I know that our BOCES has homeschooling forms there and lots of useful information.


in fact, here is a link to a county's BOCES that has all the forms available for downloading. I find it very helpful:


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Okay! Everyone's finally nursed and asleep!




I also wanted to add that there is no hurry. Your children are still young, and both are plenty bright. If you spend a five months doing nothing but reading a lot and playing games* while taking the time to make wise choices about curriculum, it will be time well spent.


1) Research what you want for curriculum. Figure out what your daughter knows. Read hive reviews of the curriculum or ask for reviews to determine if it is a GOOD FIT FOR YOUR FAMILY. Test your dd to see exactly what level she needs so the money will be well spent.


2) Wise advice from an experienced homeschool mom to me a few months ago:


"You don't need to have everything on September 1st! We're homeschoolers! We're always adding stuff and changing stuff and discontinuing stuff!"


So, if money is tight and you can only buy one subject in February; and another in March, and another in May, it's okay. Many homeschoolers school year round. This year, everyone in our group did not plan to school year round, but all went past June 1st finishing things up. (Brace your older daughter now that this may be the case for some subjects...or not). And if you start a curriculum in March but take a break June 1st, that's okay, too, because We're Homeschoolers!!!



*Put "playing games" on your list of curriculum choices. A few years ago, Science Magazine had a research article about "How can parents with few resources teach kids math skills without big fancy curriculum?" The answer was games. Chutes and Ladders teaches counting to 100. Monopoly teaches money, and how to double. I haven't played Yahtzee in years, but doesn't it teach some multiplication? Whatever you have in the closet is a good choice.


ETA: Egads! NY as a state sounds demanding for curriculum! Would they let you create your own from library books? I hope anything I have said here doesn't get you in trouble!

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Congrats on homeschooling. After my year in NY I don't envy the paperworrk, but homeschooling is totally worth it.


You have gotten a lot of good advice. I thought I would make one suggestion. To help you get started I would try and fin the bool "What You're (fill in the grade) should know". If your library doesn't have them, you can usually find them used, cheap.


This will help give you a spine from which to teach. You can find library books to supplement and a good math program if you are not comfortable with making your own problems.nnI would also find a good grammar program. i know when I first started these books helped give me a sense of knowing what to teach. HTH


ETA: Once you have gotten your feet wet, I recommend reading "The Well Trained Mind" if you haven't already.

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Math- I'd go with Math Mammoth (MM), not only is it easy to implement (teaches to the student) it's PDF so you can use it for your son later. See if it's on sale through Homeschool Buyers Co-op(HSBC).

History- The Story of the World (SOTW)books are fun to read for most kids and very reasonable $ I got vol. 1 for $5 on ebay.

Science- Nature study is great at this age. Keep a Journal, use the library, include art projects. You can even include Earth Science in with it. Lots of resources on internet for project/experiment ideas.

Lang. Arts- We really like Michael Clay Thompson's (MCT) Grammar Island. It is a bit $ but worth it. Again think of it as an investment for your son as well. If the full program is too much this year you could just get the Grammar book.

Writing- a pretty good program for not a lot of $ is Winning with Writing(WWW). Covers the skills.


We use or have used all the above.

My favorite though is Connect the Thoughts for History/Science. Very outside the box. Teaches student how to think for themselves. I do have to tweak it some but my kids really enjoy CTT.

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Hi! I've completely convinced myself that I could homeschool for *almost* free if I had to. Do you have a copy of The Well-Trained Mind? Writing, literature and history is all laid out for you in there. And you do not need to buy programs for those.


The one thing I would buy is Singapore Math (or MM), a phonics book (if still needed) and a copy of TWTM. I would use the library for everything else. You can use living books to cover science, literature, history, geography and our library even has living language arts books. Copywork, dictation, narration exercises are all free. Just pick your own passages to copy, summarize, etc.


If you need cheap language arts, I would buy Rod and Staff English. It's non-consumable. My oldest daughter is using R&S English 5 and I found both the TM and textbook used for $15 (as a set).


Another cheap option...do you have a homeschool store that sells used curriculum? That's the only place I buy schoolbooks.


Good luck!! How exciting!!


edited to say: my friend's library has SOTW - maybe your library has it, too!

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I would add KISS is a free online grammar program. Miquon Math is $5-6 dollars per book. A library card is magic. Ours has a HS resource section that includes some textbooks/curriculum. Also, interlibrary loan can get other curricula. If you have a nearby University check out their library. Often they will have a teaching materials section. Under certain conditions, including HS our local University allows the public to have full access to the library. Join any local HS groups. They often know of community events. Check if any community places have free or reduced programs for HSers (parks, museums, YMCA).

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I looked up the requirements for the IHIP you mentioned:



IMO you have two separate objectives. 1. To satisfy the IHIP requirements so your state will leave you alone, so you can 2. Teach your children. It's lovely when what you need for both objectives matches up. But if I was in this situation, as a brand new homeschooler, I would want to start with things that the state was least likely to want to ask more questions about. That means materials that have been written to "align with" state standards.


So, I would dig around on Ebay, Half.com, Amazon etc. and look for used copies of school textbooks, because they can be purchased for great prices. I have some...I don't have our son actually doing work out of the textbooks, because he needs larger print and less cluttered pages...but I do use them as a guide for what to cover. and to read aloud from.


For the actual work that he does, I love workbooks and printable e-books that either teach on the page or provide good exercises to do without needing to re-write anything. I buy ones that are published by companies that also sell to the public school market, so these materials are aligned to PS standards. Publishers like Steck Vaughn, Evan Moor, Scholastic and EPS School Specialty Publishing have some great workbooks. I usually buy Evan Moor directly from them as e-books. The others I buy through Rainbow Resource because they have great prices, or as e-books from the Scholastic TeacherDirect website.


Another option for getting inexpensive worksheets in various subjects for young kids on a budget would be a subscription like Evan Moor's TeacherFileBox, abcteach, or other resources like that (I can't think of them all) where you pay once and have access to all of the materials to print.


I have also found a lot of good workbooks for very good prices just by checking out the selection on the shelf at Barnes & Noble.


For math, I had to try many different things before I found what worked for our son. We ended up with a program called Mastering Mathematics that I got from Rainbow. It is totally mastery based, very simple and incremental, can be accelerated as necessary, and covers the four operations, memorizing all the facts, fractions, decimals, and beginning geometry. You pay once and get the whole program in a box. I am combining this with the Horizons workbooks, which spiral, provides fabulous practice, and are colorful but uncluttered enough for our son (and have hardly any religious content at all if anyone was wondering).


If you need to write a scope and sequence, if you buy used PS textbooks, you can use the TOC or look on the publisher's website. Another way to do it is go into the Calvert website for the grade and look at their scope and sequence and use that as a model for how to write one. It is also possible to get the scope and sequence pages from K12.com, although it takes more googling to get around their block screen, or you can submit your email address and just get email from them every once in a while.


Good luck !

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I don't know anything about NY requirements, but if you are looking for fast start up and cheap you might try Easy Peasy. http://allinonehomeschool.wordpress.com/. Uses ebooks, printables, online games, etc. includes lesson plans for 180 days, and would be easy to add to if you need/want more.


I haven't used it much but am planning on using some of it next year.


Best wishes as you start the HS adventure.

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Don't post often, always lurking... But, in a pinch for material I always use CurrClick. (everything is downloadable in PDF)


They have alot of material and usually they're pretty cheap. They do have Math Mammoth there, as well as every other subject you could need..

That being said, I agree with everyone else. Focus on MATH and Writing. It's super easy to add everything else with books from the library.

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if i had to homeschool for free, i would utilize the library a lot. i would get ideas for books to incorporate for science & history from core knowledge, ambleside online, or an old fashioned education. there are also lesson plans that follow the core knowldege sequence here & they are very good (and easy to follow).


i would invest in math curriculum (CLE is affordable and very good imo). for grammar, i would use grammar-land and the go-along worksheets. for geography, we love google books (our book choices are here and here) & we use seterra too.


if you want to incorporate typing, we like dancemat and rapid typing. if you would like art, we enjoy this version of meet the masters (for crafts we like crayola or dick blick).


for spelling, just google free spelling lists. there are SO many to choose from. or you can go to spellingcity and look at their lists & let your kids play there.


for writing, it just depends on what your expectations are, so i'll leave that alone.


for handwriting, i would just use copy work (there are free sheets online or you can make your own). if you want to teach cursive, i personally prefer handwriting without tears, but there are many options (including free).



for organization, we use the free donna young sheets. my state requires record keeping though...not sure if your's does.






above all, have fun!

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This is what the OP has to satisfy:



Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP)

  1. Are parents required to submit more than a list of textbooks in the IHIP to comply with the requirements of subdivision (d) of Section 100.10?
    The IHIP must include for each of the required courses either a list of syllabi, curriculum materials and textbooks to be used or a plan of instruction to be followed. A different alternative may be used for different subjects. While a list of textbooks may be submitted, it is reasonable for the district to require more than the name, publisher, copyright date and author's name if the district is not familiar with the textbook's content. If the district requests additional information beyond the list of textbooks, the parents may, at their option, submit either a written scope and sequence describing the text or a copy of the text for the district's review (which copy shall be promptly returned to the parents). The purpose of such review is not to compare the text with those employed by the district, but rather: 1) to insure that the parent is providing the mandated subjects for the grade level in question, and 2) to provide the district with more complete information to assist its review of quarterly reports and annual assessments.
  2. When the IHIP is submitted by the parents, does the school district have the responsibility to make a subjective judgment of the substantial equivalency of the home instruction program?
    No. The purpose of these regulations is to provide a basis for objective determinations of substantial equivalence. IHIP submissions are to be evaluated to determine compliance with subdivisions (d) and (e) of Section 100.10. Quarterly reports are to be evaluated to determine compliance with subdivision (g). Annual assessments must comply with the requirements of subdivision (h). A home instruction program that adheres to the standards of the regulations at each stage of the process should be deemed to be substantially equivalent.
  3. Must the parents indicate on the IHIP what will be taught and the total time of instruction?
    The IHIP must include a list of the syllabi, curriculum materials, or plan of instruction to be used in each of the subjects required for that grade level. The total number of hours of instruction per quarter must be documented on the quarterly report. It is recommended that, in the secondary grades, hours per subject be included in each quarterly report.

There are many things out there that homeschoolers love, but that may be difficult to "sell" to the state as meeting their requirements. I have no idea how difficult this is or is not in NY. Perhaps some NYers could chime in ? OP, I strongly suggest you find a homeschool support group in your state with people who can give you NY-specific advice on satisfying the requirements.


Materials from major educational publishers that will be easily recognized by the school system, and that are already documented by the publisher as being aligned with state standards, may be more likely to be approved on the first pass. I have also found these types of things to be overall much less expensive than most of the "boutique" products created just for the homeschooling population.

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mlgbug, I also wanted to add that there is no hurry. Your children are still young, and both are plenty bright. If you spend a five months doing nothing but reading a lot and playing games* while taking the time to make wise choices about curriculum, it will be time well spent.


Not saying this is a terrible idea in itself, but in NY state, she doesn't have the option to do just this. Especially with pulling her dd out of school suddenly, she needs to be homeschooling "for real" for the rest of the year or she could get into trouble. She will need to send in 2 quarterly reports and a year-end assessment to her superintendent to show what they have covered.

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I don't know where you are in NY, but here in the Southern Tier there is a wonderful library system called STARCAT which connects all the libraries. Using this, you have access to many books from all the libraries not just your local one. They do have the latest edition of WTM if your interested in reading it. Just don't let it overwhelm you.


I'm sure other libraries do this too. Your best bet is to get to know the librarians as they can be very helpful. My library will also let me check items out for much longer, so I don't have to go very often. I do try to be mindful though that there may be others waiting for it.



I am editing to add that I also have a 2nd grader. Except for history, which he does with his older brothers, his day is usually done by noon. For that age, don't think school has to take all day. The one on one time is invaluable. He does have a handwritten schedule I quickly fill in each week into a form so he knows what he needs to do. It is basically just a "do the next thing" schedule. For example, lesson 23 on Monday, lesson 24 on Tuesday etc.

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I've been homeschooling in New York for four years now; started out homeschooling here. Since your budget is tight, I would also use the available funds for a good math curriculum (good idea posted before me). You don't have to buy much starting out. I would spend a few months reading online and checking out homeschool books from the library.


I used the library almost completely for science books at that age. In fact, this year was the first year I purchased a science textbook to use. My DS 10 is at a high school+ level in certain science subjects, because he was an early reader and has been avidly reading science since he began reading independently. I have purchased high school science books only to figure out that he already knew that body of information. The fear of missing something was a hard fear to get past the first few years of homeschooling. I spent too much money on things that were not necessary. Spend the extra cash on setting up a burning interest in various science topics with things like snap circuits, science kits, and interesting science books. I have given my DS science stuff as gifts for Christmas and B-day (two birds one stone). You can fill in any missed areas with a general science book when they are older. When I filled out my quarterly reports I would list the books read and activities completed or I would list topics covered. You can use the table of contents in the book generally, as a jumping off point for the quarterly report.


There is usually a section in the public library for children's biographies a couple of those per quarter would be sufficient at that age level. There are also many wonderful free resources online, I have used www.mainlesson.com for history and literature more than once. Sometimes I use www.librivox.org for free audio of history and literature, and usually the books listed at mainlesson are also on librivox. Another good site for free stuff is www.worksheetworks.com I've used this for handwriting and copywork.


To answer your question about the IHIP, you don't need a planned out syllabus to submit. I list my "methods" if you read the regulation closely, you will notice that tagged on at the end. I used the quarterly reports to list books and what we covered. My first year homeschooling I listed books on the IHIP and thereafter felt chained to the "plan".


For example (steal it, edit it, and pass it on):


Reading: We will use literature to teach reading skills, strategies, and comprehension. New vocabulary will be integrated within all subject areas. Reading material will be a mix of fiction and nonfiction, and will contain various genres.


Writing: Writing instruction will be covered through the creation of original stories and poems as well as written letters, narratives, summaries, journals, and list. Grammar will be studied through reading literature, writing, and speaking.


Spelling: We will study spelling within the context of writing; using copywork, dictation, and a personalized spelling list. We will use materials such as literature and dictionaries.


Science: Selected topics from life and physical science will be researched through reading, writing, documentaries, field trips, observation, and experimentation. We will use various science equipment and miscellaneous supplies as needed.


History: The history of the world and the United States will be studied chronologically by reading stories and biographies from the eras. Current events will be used to inspire discussions regarding civics and social responsibility. Patriotism will be addressed through our everyday lives as a military family. (You could use boy scouts or girl scouts for patriotism or reading about patriots and patriotism.)


Geography: We will teach locations and geographical features, to include, continents, countries, bodies of water, landforms, and biomes. We will also focus on specific skills such as maps and globes. Various cultures will be learned through history and studies of modern civilizations.


Art: The elements of art will be explored with a variety of mediums to include clay, pastels, paint, crayons, pencils, and markers.


Music: Various artist and genres will be introduced through recordings and concerts.


Health and Safety: Health education will be covered through healthy living practices, planning healthy meals, shopping, cooking, and cleaning. First aid will be taught along with safety awareness.


For math I use the math curriculum I purchase and list the topics to be covered broadly, using the table of contents. You can also list your materials in a general way, like a globe for geography, or a dictionary for spelling.


Geography at this age could be entirely taught with wall maps, a globe (could be inflatable one), and library books. There are plenty of children’s books and atlases that teach map skills. I also read a blog last year that used children’s books about individual states to teach geography. The children narrated each book by drawing pictures of things related to each state on a piece of printer paper. Both of your kids could do that together.


I have submitted a variation of this IHIP plan to two different districts in New York. I have never had an issue, although I've read stories from others who have had small battles. My husband always tells me it's better to ask forgiveness than permission. I think once they have a well thought out plan it's hard to argue with it, because they can't tell you that you won't do what you said you will, before you've had a chance to do it. If I ever had an issue with a district and my IHIP I would reply with a copy of the regulations with the methods phrase highlighted. You could get valuable information regarding your local district from your local homeschooling support group. They can tell you how relaxed or difficult the district is to deal with. However, I have found there is power in understanding the regulations completely and almost to the point of memorization.

Good luck!

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As a NY homeschooler, it depends on your district, to some extent. Your local district cannot ask for MORE than the state requires, but they can be pretty relaxed about things. Every now and again a district gets in a new homeschool coordinator who thinks s/he is tasked with creating a whole new set of requirements for homeschoolers and is SHOCKED to find that the state actually has requirements. Oy, the pearl clutching.


You can list something like "library books" but I would be more likely to tell them "a variety of books on the topic, as needed" I would not say "play games' as the focus of math etc but I would def. have it in there as part of the plan. I would prob say "SM2a & 2b and a variety of mathematical games and manipulatives as needed"


They want you to have core curriculum, at least that is how it feels to me. That said, there are lots of hardcore unschoolers around here and they seem to manage.


See if you can find a local homeschoolling group, secular or not. Sometimes people will let you read their IHIP and it can really help.


Oh, and you don't have to be creative or original. I say the same thing every year, just change the materials and the dates.

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