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Hi! My name is Kurstin, and I am a former public school teacher. I taught high school English for 18 years. My subjects included AP English, Journalism/Yearbook, and Drama/Acting. I moved out of teaching into a School Improvement Facilitator position and also worked as an Asst. Professor in the Curriculum & Instruction/Instructional Technology program at UT Austin. I am happily married and have a 10 yo son who is GT, 2e, and has Aspergers. My son was enrolled in a fabulous charter school, but we have moved, and I plan on homeschooling him this year. He is entering 5th grade but is academically performing on a 6th and 7th grade level. I have been building the curriculum to use this year since I found out we were moving a month ago, which isn't much time. I'm hoping to get some feedback and learn from everyone here so I avoid as many pitfalls as possible. I've browsed through several forums, and my biggest problem is that I'm not familiar with the acronyms used for many curricula. Is there a list somewhere?

 

Here is what I am planning to use so far (this is not set in stone, as I want feedback first):

 

Vocabulary--Wordly Wise

Math: Life of Fred and Teaching Textbooks (this is his strongest subject and my weakest)

Science: Apologia

History & Geography: Story of the World & Mapping the World with Art

Spanish: ?

Reading, Writing, and Grammar I'm creating myself from the tons of resources I've collected over the years; however, I'm wondering which grammar books you suggest and am open to any suggested reading comp. and writing curricula most enjoyed by kids in middle school.

I plan to supplement with Minecraft Homeschool (he's a Minecraft addict) and CTY online courses.

Art: Atelier

Music: World's Greatest Composers & singing lessons/choir

Eco-Wellness: hands-on gardening, upcycling, recycling, composting, etcetera.

Keyboarding: ?

PE: fencing and swim teams

Drama: community theater

Technology: Hopscotch

 

I would truly appreciate any and all feedback. Am I trying to cover too much? Are these good choices? Any recommendations? I definitely need to find a Spanish curriculum for beginners and a quick keyboarding curriculum because I want him to be able to type properly and quickly so he can create a portfolio website full of his work, a daily blog, and a dialectical reading journal. I thought this would be a great visual way to track his growth. Do any of you do something similar?

 

Thank you so much! I look forward to learning from all of you!

~Kurstin

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I'm a former teacher as well, and I learned pretty quickly that homeschooling is a completely different creature than working with a classroom of students. It took some time and frustration (for me and my kids) to finally realize that I couldn't plan out our days like I was used to doing in the classroom. Homeschooling is very intense, and work gets completed (usually) a lot faster than with a group. Lots of breaks are needed both for "teacher" and student. And there is more dialogue and negotiation between parent and child than usually happens in a classroom. Listen to your son's comments and try to reach a balance of expectations for you and him.

 

Also, remember that you have many years to cover all the subjects you'd like to do with your son. Don't try to do it all this year, not all on your own, and not all at the same time. The list of subjects looks wonderful, but you may want to temper your expectations. I've discovered over my 10 years of homeschooling that I cannot teach every single subject consistently over a year. I don't have the energy, interest, endurance, expertise, time or money to do it all. I pick the subjects I will do, "farm" out others to private teacher/homeschool activities/community activities, and put one or two on the "wish list" for the future.

 

Try making up a weekly schedule and perhaps a year semester schedule. See where you can fit in your priority subjects in one week, add in the activities done outside the home, meals, etc. Some activities are offered only in the fall, winter or spring, which is where the semester idea works. So art, for example, may only be included in the fall for this year.

 

Then try out your schedule. It can sometimes take a few weeks to "get up to speed" and into a routine. I'll often start up with only 2 subjects and gradually add in the others. After a couple months, re-evaluation how things are going. Tweek your schedule, materials, etc. Don't beat yourself up if you're not getting everything accomplished that you thought you would. Or maybe you'll be flying high and doing great things in the fall, only to slow down in the winter when you get tired.

 

All the best on your journey!

 

P.S. Remember to schedule in activities for yourself! This includes exercise, relaxation, time with dh alone. Homeschooling is a bit like training for and running a marathon. It's a long-term, exhausting and worth-while endeavor. YOU need to be in top form. So eat right, sleep, be fit, manage stress and maintain social support relationships.

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Welcome! I haven't used it yet, but I have Typing Instructor for Kids in my Amazon cart waiting to be purchased. I found out about it on a thread here with great reviews of it. I know Handwriting without Tears has typing now, but I haven't seen many reviews yet.

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Hi! My name is Kurstin, and I am a former public school teacher. I taught high school English for 18 years. My subjects included AP English, Journalism/Yearbook, and Drama/Acting. I moved out of teaching into a School Improvement Facilitator position and also worked as an Asst. Professor in the Curriculum & Instruction/Instructional Technology program at UT Austin. I am happily married and have a 10 yo son who is GT, 2e, and has Aspergers. My son was enrolled in a fabulous charter school, but we have moved, and I plan on homeschooling him this year. He is entering 5th grade but is academically performing on a 6th and 7th grade level. I have been building the curriculum to use this year since I found out we were moving a month ago, which isn't much time. I'm hoping to get some feedback and learn from everyone here so I avoid as many pitfalls as possible. I've browsed through several forums, and my biggest problem is that I'm not familiar with the acronyms used for many curricula. Is there a list somewhere?

 

Here is what I am planning to use so far (this is not set in stone, as I want feedback first):

 

Vocabulary--Wordly Wise

Math: Life of Fred and Teaching Textbooks (this is his strongest subject and my weakest)

Science: Apologia

History & Geography: Story of the World & Mapping the World with Art

Spanish: ?

Reading, Writing, and Grammar I'm creating myself from the tons of resources I've collected over the years; however, I'm wondering which grammar books you suggest and am open to any suggested reading comp. and writing curricula most enjoyed by kids in middle school.

I plan to supplement with Minecraft Homeschool (he's a Minecraft addict) and CTY online courses.

Art: Atelier

Music: World's Greatest Composers & singing lessons/choir

Eco-Wellness: hands-on gardening, upcycling, recycling, composting, etcetera.

Keyboarding: ?

PE: fencing and swim teams

Drama: community theater

Technology: Hopscotch

 

I would truly appreciate any and all feedback. Am I trying to cover too much? Are these good choices? Any recommendations? I definitely need to find a Spanish curriculum for beginners and a quick keyboarding curriculum because I want him to be able to type properly and quickly so he can create a portfolio website full of his work, a daily blog, and a dialectical reading journal. I thought this would be a great visual way to track his growth. Do any of you do something similar?

 

Thank you so much! I look forward to learning from all of you!

~Kurstin

 

Welcome. :-)

 

It takes most of us several--yes, several--years to figure out what works best for us. Crazy, isn't it?  In a classroom, you tend to get children of about the same age every year, and you choose what you're going to teach and BOOM...you teach it. At home, you get your whole school every year, and doggonit, those children keep changing and maturing and coming up with ideas on their own, and you have to keep adjusting!!!

 

:D

 

I like grammar to be direct and effective. There are only eight parts of speech and some thingummies like clauses and gerunds; it shouldn't take 12 years of instruction, you know? My favorite has been Easy Grammar. It doesn't do diagramming, which is fine by me. :-)

 

You might not need anything published to teach composition--I think many products are just overkill--but my favorite is Writing Strands. Simple, direct, effective. The author, Dave Marks, was an English teacher for 30 years (his wife, Lee, was also an English teacher; their son, Cory, earned a Master's degree in poetry.), and he wrote Writing Strands when he realized that his son was not actually being taught *how to write.*

 

I was wondering if SOTW *and* Mapping the World by Heart *and* Artelier might be too much.

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Rod and Staff Grammar covers everything in great depth. We love it here.

 

If your son is strong in math, then you will want to research AoPS--which stands for The Art of Problem Solving. It is well loved by many around here. My kid is normal in math and AoPS would be too much for him, but for many they just adore that program.

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Welcome! 

 

I have only been homeschooling a little over a year, so the veteran's on the board probably have more to offer, but I found a schedule to be helpful to me.  Not a rigid schedule, but a general outline of what I wanted to accomplish for the year, set out by week.  It helped keep me on the rails and focused. 

 

For grammar, we found MCT (Michael Clay Thompson) quick, effective, and entertaining, so you might want to look at that.  My 12 year old (7th grade) DD also enjoys WWS, but I think to ask a 5th grader to do that book might be a bit much unless they are verbally adept.  Nevertheless, stow it in the back of your mind for a year or two down the line, because it really is very good.  You can find sample pages at Peace Hill Press.  If your DS is strong in math, have you considered AoPS?  It is highly recommended on here for those adept with math, although I have not used it (DD is resistant to anything except Saxon  - *eye roll*).

 

Good luck with your school year!  We had such a fun time this past year and now DS (dear son) will be joining DD (dear daughter) for homeschool this coming year!

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Dance Mat Typing is a free learn-to-type program from the BBC. He may find it childish, but you could balance that with one of the practice tipping games where you fight bad guys. Haha.

 

For Spanish look at Getting Started With Spanish (GSWS) by Linney and also So You Really Want to Learn Spanish (SYRWTLS). I don't have personal experience with those, but both get good reviews.

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Welcome. It sounds like from the standpoint of being able to plan and teach academics you are fine.

 

I would strongly recommend you be flexible and allow negotiation as to what is being learned. As others said, homeschooling is a different beast and you can't just plan on paper what will be done each day and expect it to be done. Do what is best for YOUR child and keep your relationship a priority. Don't make all the interaction teacher/student, but have real conversations. Don't feel restricted to your schedule. Feel free to take breaks (hours or days). Give yourself permission to waste some money and scrap a curriculum choice that is just not working. LISTEN to your child. Take care of yourself. Ask lots of questions, but remember that other's answers are not necessarily the best for your family. Don't try to create "school at home". ENJOY the process.

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Welcome! If math is his strongest subject, you may want to try Art of Problem Solving or Math Mammoth.

 

I would ease into a bit and not try to do everything that first week. Maybe you could start with math and science the first week or so, and then add grammar and literature, and so forth.

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Hi! My name is Kurstin, and I am a former public school teacher. I taught high school English for 18 years. My subjects included AP English, Journalism/Yearbook, and Drama/Acting. I moved out of teaching into a School Improvement Facilitator position and also worked as an Asst. Professor in the Curriculum & Instruction/Instructional Technology program at UT Austin. I am happily married and have a 10 yo son who is GT, 2e, and has Aspergers. My son was enrolled in a fabulous charter school, but we have moved, and I plan on homeschooling him this year. He is entering 5th grade but is academically performing on a 6th and 7th grade level. I have been building the curriculum to use this year since I found out we were moving a month ago, which isn't much time. I'm hoping to get some feedback and learn from everyone here so I avoid as many pitfalls as possible. I've browsed through several forums, and my biggest problem is that I'm not familiar with the acronyms used for many curricula. Is there a list somewhere?

 

Here is what I am planning to use so far (this is not set in stone, as I want feedback first):

 

Vocabulary--Wordly Wise

Math: Life of Fred and Teaching Textbooks (this is his strongest subject and my weakest)

Science: Apologia

History & Geography: Story of the World & Mapping the World with Art

Spanish: ?

Reading, Writing, and Grammar I'm creating myself from the tons of resources I've collected over the years; however, I'm wondering which grammar books you suggest and am open to any suggested reading comp. and writing curricula most enjoyed by kids in middle school.

I plan to supplement with Minecraft Homeschool (he's a Minecraft addict) and CTY online courses.

Art: Atelier

Music: World's Greatest Composers & singing lessons/choir

Eco-Wellness: hands-on gardening, upcycling, recycling, composting, etcetera.

Keyboarding: ?

PE: fencing and swim teams

Drama: community theater

Technology: Hopscotch

 

I would truly appreciate any and all feedback. Am I trying to cover too much? Are these good choices? Any recommendations? I definitely need to find a Spanish curriculum for beginners and a quick keyboarding curriculum because I want him to be able to type properly and quickly so he can create a portfolio website full of his work, a daily blog, and a dialectical reading journal. I thought this would be a great visual way to track his growth. Do any of you do something similar?

 

Thank you so much! I look forward to learning from all of you!

~Kurstin

 

Welcome to the forum. 

 

I believe Teaching Textbooks is something your ds can do independently,but I have read that it can be slow. If your ds excels in math you may want to prepare yourself for the possibility that he may become bored with TT (Teaching Textbooks). CTY is an online math program correct? I'm wondering if there's a reason to do two online math programs?

 

I agree with Ellie-- doing two art programs may be too much, unless your ds is really excelling in art. 

 

I like Easy Grammar and I've recently been very interested in Winston Grammar. If your ds needs to refresh his grammar knowledge, those two will do the trick. I found Wordly Wise to be a bit of a drag, but Vocabulary From Classical Roots, by the same publisher, was more interesting to my ds and I. 

 

BBC DanceMat typing is free and it's been effective in helping my ds with his keyboarding skills. I'm sure there are other free online typing resources. 

 

I plan on using Galore Park's So You Really Want to Learn French supplemented with the free Duolingo website and app. They also have Spanish. It would be abbreviated like this on these forums-- SYRWTL  I've found Book Depository a good resource for finding Galore Park books. 

 

Bravewriter is my go to for all things writing and language arts. http://www.bravewriter.com/

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Coming from public education to. Homeschooling was quite a shift for me. I would suggest doing a learning styles profile of your son so that you can work out any kinks in the ways that you and your son think differently. My son is my total opposite - visual/kinesthetic where I am sequential/analytic. It would have smoothed out the first year immensely for me to have known that. He also likes a teaching style very oosite to my own as well - he likes intense structure and I am unschooling. It is rally important to remember that when homeschooling you only have to work with one child, so you really can tailor this approach to that one kid. In the classroom it is about the teacher because there are 25 kids. At home, it is much more student centered.

 

The only other bit would be remembering to still be Mom. I switched into teacher mode far too much my first year or so. My son still needs silly mom time. Now I "clock off." What he does during school hours does not bleed over in punishments or any others. It stays in school time. The only difference would be if he is not getting work done, as that bleeds over regardless of home versus public school.

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Yet another teacher with a math-y kid.  (He is rapidly out-pacing me!  ;) )

 

I think you look pretty full too.  BUT--I would recommend starting out with whatever you want, as much as you want.  And let things slide here and there when it looks like it might be too much.  I'd rather have a packed schedule that can be trimmed, than find out I wasn't asking enough in the first place, KWIM?  

 

Good luck!  

And remember-- Homeschooling is more closely related to parenting than it is teaching.  :)

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WELCOME! :party: :grouphug:

 

Back in the 1990's. I pulled out my 2E fifth grader from a charter school. It was a different world back then and my educational background was so much less than yours, but I wish I'd known that I couldn't expect my son to write better than his ability to communicate in general. And I wish I'd known I needed to read some K-3 spelling and language arts books and to start some things all the way back at K.

 

For Spanish, I'm still using a very OLD text. Berlitz Self-Teacher. I've never accomplished great things with Spanish as neither I nor the students had big goals.

http://www.amazon.com/Berlitz-Self-Teacher-Spanish-Editors/dp/0399513248

 

In recent years, I have appreciated the addition of Say it Right in Spanish, for confirmation on pronunciation of the words in the Berlitz book.

http://www.amazon.com/Say-Right-Spanish-2nd/dp/007176691X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406991299&sr=1-2&keywords=say+it+right+spanish

 

Good luck!

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What level of SOTW are you considering?

 

Are you looking at Apologia General or elementary?

 

Will your child be returning to school the following year?

I was going to just start with vol. 1 of the elementary SOTW. DS loves when I read to him, and he always has questions that take us on a new learning adventure. I want his curiosity and inquisitiveness to guide everything we learn together, not a set-in-stone curriculum.

 

I was looking at the Apologia elementary set because his charter school covered bits and pieces here and there, but he wants to be an engineer or architect, and I think he'll need a more thorough curriculum in science. However, after further research and feedback, I think it will be too Bible-based for him. I was looking at Oak Meadow, and I'm liking what I'm seeing so far.

 

Good question. That will all depend on my DS and what he wants and how he's doing. If we are enjoying our learning adventure and I feel he's continuously showing progress, I'll just keep homeschooling him. If I find I'm out of my depth and can't keep up with his needs, I'll try to find the perfect charter school for him. :)

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I'm a former teacher as well, and I learned pretty quickly that homeschooling is a completely different creature than working with a classroom of students. It took some time and frustration (for me and my kids) to finally realize that I couldn't plan out our days like I was used to doing in the classroom. Homeschooling is very intense, and work gets completed (usually) a lot faster than with a group. Lots of breaks are needed both for "teacher" and student. And there is more dialogue and negotiation between parent and child than usually happens in a classroom. Listen to your son's comments and try to reach a balance of expectations for you and him.

 

Also, remember that you have many years to cover all the subjects you'd like to do with your son. Don't try to do it all this year, not all on your own, and not all at the same time. The list of subjects looks wonderful, but you may want to temper your expectations. I've discovered over my 10 years of homeschooling that I cannot teach every single subject consistently over a year. I don't have the energy, interest, endurance, expertise, time or money to do it all. I pick the subjects I will do, "farm" out others to private teacher/homeschool activities/community activities, and put one or two on the "wish list" for the future.

 

Try making up a weekly schedule and perhaps a year semester schedule. See where you can fit in your priority subjects in one week, add in the activities done outside the home, meals, etc. Some activities are offered only in the fall, winter or spring, which is where the semester idea works. So art, for example, may only be included in the fall for this year.

 

Then try out your schedule. It can sometimes take a few weeks to "get up to speed" and into a routine. I'll often start up with only 2 subjects and gradually add in the others. After a couple months, re-evaluation how things are going. Tweek your schedule, materials, etc. Don't beat yourself up if you're not getting everything accomplished that you thought you would. Or maybe you'll be flying high and doing great things in the fall, only to slow down in the winter when you get tired.

 

All the best on your journey!

 

P.S. Remember to schedule in activities for yourself! This includes exercise, relaxation, time with dh alone. Homeschooling is a bit like training for and running a marathon. It's a long-term, exhausting and worth-while endeavor. YOU need to be in top form. So eat right, sleep, be fit, manage stress and maintain social support relationships.

Thank you! This was great info and very helpful. I was getting a bit overwhelmed trying to fit in everything, but that's the exact reason I think public schools fail our children. It's just ingrained in me to get it all done and get it all done NOW! I have to really work to shift my mind because I do have that PS mentality from so many years in PS, but as a mother, I'm a huge proponent of unschooling. Lol. I definitely want my son's interests and curiosity to drive what we learn together. I just want to have the resources on hand. I want to teach half as much, twice as well. :)

 

I know this may sound dorky, but I wanted to start each day by asking him, "What do you want to learn about today?" If he says something like, "Where did clocks come from?" then I would weave in history, non-fiction reading, writing, math, and possibly geography, but just enough of each to answer his question, enhance his knowledge/skill/understanding, and further pique his curiosity.

 

I'm one of those teachers who threw out the state test workbooks full of drills and created lessons that had components of every learning style--visual, auditory, kinesthetic, verbal, logical. I pretty much killed myself. I lived at the school. Sure, I had better results than those teaching drill and kill, but it was at the cost of my own health. I definitely don't want to let myself do that with my ds. This should be FUN for both of us. :) If it feels like a job more than a learning adventure and quality time with my ds, then I'll know I'm doing something wrong.

 

I will definitely carve out time for myself! Thank you so much!

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Welcome. :-)

 

It takes most of us several--yes, several--years to figure out what works best for us. Crazy, isn't it? In a classroom, you tend to get children of about the same age every year, and you choose what you're going to teach and BOOM...you teach it. At home, you get your whole school every year, and doggonit, those children keep changing and maturing and coming up with ideas on their own, and you have to keep adjusting!!!

 

:D

 

I like grammar to be direct and effective. There are only eight parts of speech and some thingummies like clauses and gerunds; it shouldn't take 12 years of instruction, you know? My favorite has been Easy Grammar. It doesn't do diagramming, which is fine by me. :-)

 

You might not need anything published to teach composition--I think many products are just overkill--but my favorite is Writing Strands. Simple, direct, effective. The author, Dave Marks, was an English teacher for 30 years (his wife, Lee, was also an English teacher; their son, Cory, earned a Master's degree in poetry.), and he wrote Writing Strands when he realized that his son was not actually being taught *how to write.*

 

I was wondering if SOTW *and* Mapping the World by Heart *and* Artelier might be too much.

Thank you! I will definitely prepare myself to experience the roller coaster ride full of unexpected twists and turns! :)

 

I will have to check out Writing Strands. Thank you for the suggestion. I'm also going to look at Brave Writer, which someone else suggested.

 

Even though I consider myself a "cool" mom and was a "modern" teacher, I have one very old-fashioned English teacher belief: having a thorough understanding of grammar and usage leads to better writing and reading comprehension. I don't mean diagraming, but my method is similar. I use labeling. And I think the 8 parts of speech are just a very shallow base for the intricacies involved in understanding and appreciating language. It's the phrases, clauses, and modifiers that are the most important parts to learn. Once a child understands that these act as single parts of speech and they have learned the basic sentence structures, it all falls into place and is actually quite easy to understand. Kids go from ok writers to exceptional writers. They move up in reading levels, and they can communicate more effectively. I have witnessed first-hand the decline of the English language. It started when schools got rid of basic grammar and started embedding mini-lessons out of context from grammar as a whole into larger lessons. Now we have kids using textese and emoticons in their essays. :( Teaching something in bits and pieces can work great with many other subjects but not grammar. I started getting AP kiddos who would turn in essays full of serious sentence errors, like fragments and comma splices--errors that would cost them college credit because they wouldn't pass the tests, let alone set them up for failure in college. I was not taught grammar well in HS, and when I ended up in my writing courses in college, my papers were hacked to shreds with a bleeding red pen. I was very angry at my HS English teachers for not giving me the tools I needed to succeed in college and for giving me a false sense of achievement in my college prep courses by awarding me high marks. I went to the college writing lab, learned about grammar and usage finally, and my writing improved a thousandfold. Having the experience myself and watching my own students' writing blossom once they mastered grammar has ingrained this belief in me. Sorry I hopped up on a soapbox! I just want everyone to know what a huge difference grammar can make overall. :)

 

Maybe I should nix the Artelier and just use the MTWWA since that combines geography and art. The year I was supposed to have geography, they replaced it with Civics, which was just a fluff course in how to become a good citizen. I hate not knowing geography and have tried to learn it on my own but never had time, so I was thinking this would be a great way to learn together. He hates art, but he loves maps. What kid hates art?! Lol.

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Rod and Staff Grammar covers everything in great depth. We love it here.

 

If your son is strong in math, then you will want to research AoPS--which stands for The Art of Problem Solving. It is well loved by many around here. My kid is normal in math and AoPS would be too much for him, but for many they just adore that program.

Thank you! I will definitely check both of these out!

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Hi! My name is Kurstin, and I am a former public school teacher. I taught high school English for 18 years. My subjects included AP English, Journalism/Yearbook, and Drama/Acting. I moved out of teaching into a School Improvement Facilitator position and also worked as an Asst. Professor in the Curriculum & Instruction/Instructional Technology program at UT Austin. I am happily married and have a 10 yo son who is GT, 2e, and has Aspergers. My son was enrolled in a fabulous charter school, but we have moved, and I plan on homeschooling him this year. He is entering 5th grade but is academically performing on a 6th and 7th grade level. I have been building the curriculum to use this year since I found out we were moving a month ago, which isn't much time. I'm hoping to get some feedback and learn from everyone here so I avoid as many pitfalls as possible. I've browsed through several forums, and my biggest problem is that I'm not familiar with the acronyms used for many curricula. Is there a list somewhere?

 

Here is what I am planning to use so far (this is not set in stone, as I want feedback first):

 

Vocabulary--Wordly Wise

 

Look up threads related to vocabulary for recommendations. Typical Vocabulary workbooks are a waste of time and money.  Instead, reading great literature (aloud and discussing it) and doing some Latin and Greek Roots are the most effective way to teach an excellent vocabulary.  If you use the SOTW Activity Book along with SOTW, there will be lists and lists of recommended reading related to each chapter of SOTW you read.  You can also go to the American Library Association's website for lists of award winning books.  Between my husband and I, we read aloud great literature about 2 hours per day 5 days per week. Not all in one sitting.  If this is new to your family, you may need to start with shorter read loud times and work up to longer ones.

 

There are lots of different Latin and Greek word root options out there.

 

 

Math: Life of Fred and Teaching Textbooks (this is his strongest subject and my weakest)

Science: Apologia

History & Geography: Story of the World & Mapping the World with Art

 

The SOTW Activity Books include mapwork directly related to each chapter of SOTW.  Mapping the World with Art is good, but it's also time consuming, so I'd only use it if my child was particularly interested in art.  Once you get to copying the coast of Greece, you're going to see if this is a good fit for your child or not.

Spanish: ?

Reading, Writing, and Grammar I'm creating myself from the tons of resources I've collected over the years; however, I'm wondering which grammar books you suggest and am open to any suggested reading comp. and writing curricula most enjoyed by kids in middle school.

 

In the SOTW Activity books Bauer recommends a more parts to whole approach to narrations. There are detailed instructions at the beginning of each book.  If your child hasn't done narrations yet, I would prioritize that to lay the foundation for writing. A child who can't retain what he's heard or read and articulate a summary will struggle with reading something and then putting thoughts about it on paper.  If your child struggles with a more parts to whole approach, or if you just prefer it, you can try a more whole to parts approach like Charlotte Mason recommends.

I plan to supplement with Minecraft Homeschool (he's a Minecraft addict) and CTY online courses.

Art: Atelier

Music: World's Greatest Composers & singing lessons/choir

 

If you use the SOTW Activity books, the great composers are part of the recommended reading lists in the relevant chapters.  We've combined that Beethoven's Wig Sing Along Symphonies as they apply. 

 

Choir-1 outside activity.

 

Eco-Wellness: hands-on gardening, upcycling, recycling, composting, etcetera.

Keyboarding: ?

PE: fencing and swim teams

 

Fencing team -2 outside activities

Swim Team-3 outside activities

 

Drama: community theater

 

Community Theater-4 outside activities

Technology: Hopscotch

 

I would truly appreciate any and all feedback. Am I trying to cover too much?

 

Your outside activities sound terribly unrealistic to me.  When will you do school?  Laundry?  Grocery shop? Have down time so your son can get bored sometimes and come up with creative ways to entertain himself or pursue his own interests to read about or tinker with?  When will he play with friends in an unstructured way? When will you have family time? When will he do his chores?

 

 

Are these good choices? Any recommendations? I definitely need to find a Spanish curriculum for beginners and a quick keyboarding curriculum because I want him to be able to type properly and quickly so he can create a portfolio website full of his work,

 

You can simply keep is work in 3 ring binder type notebook(s) and keep your plans on file so you can keep track of what he's been doing.

 

a daily blog,

 

Why does he need a blog?

 

and a dialectical reading journal. I thought this would be a great visual way to track his growth. Do any of you do something similar?

 

Thank you so much! I look forward to learning from all of you!

~Kurstin

 

 

 

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Welcome!

 

I have only been homeschooling a little over a year, so the veteran's on the board probably have more to offer, but I found a schedule to be helpful to me. Not a rigid schedule, but a general outline of what I wanted to accomplish for the year, set out by week. It helped keep me on the rails and focused.

 

For grammar, we found MCT (Michael Clay Thompson) quick, effective, and entertaining, so you might want to look at that. My 12 year old (7th grade) DD also enjoys WWS, but I think to ask a 5th grader to do that book might be a bit much unless they are verbally adept. Nevertheless, stow it in the back of your mind for a year or two down the line, because it really is very good. You can find sample pages at Peace Hill Press. If your DS is strong in math, have you considered AoPS? It is highly recommended on here for those adept with math, although I have not used it (DD is resistant to anything except Saxon - *eye roll*).

 

Good luck with your school year! We had such a fun time this past year and now DS (dear son) will be joining DD (dear daughter) for homeschool this coming year!

Thank you for the suggestions! I'm definitely going to check out AoPS, as that seems to be the consensus for kids strong in math. As for verbal skills, he's at a crazy 10th grade level, yet his writing is at 7th because he's a reluctant writer even though he could write something wonderful if he wanted to. He just gets bored writing and hates anything timed, too. He always wants to know how much he has to write instead of worrying about how well he writes, which is what I want to emphasize. How do they become so externally motivated so fast? I've done everything I know of to keep him intrinsically motivated to learn and produce good work. I like WWS because it isn't about rote memorization. He has to use context clues and understand the various parts of speech one word can act as, which often stumps students. I planned to use the words for spelling, as well. However, just because I love WWS doesn't mean he will, so I'll try some sample lessons with him before shelling out the $ for it. :)

 

I will definitely set up a flexible schedule with his input. I know letting him make choices is one of the most important parts of keeping him engaged and excited about learning.

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Dance Mat Typing is a free learn-to-type program from the BBC. He may find it childish, but you could balance that with one of the practice tipping games where you fight bad guys. Haha.

 

For Spanish look at Getting Started With Spanish (GSWS) by Linney and also So You Really Want to Learn Spanish (SYRWTLS). I don't have personal experience with those, but both get good reviews.

Thank you! Free is great, and I love BBC. He'd definitely like fighting bad guys. :)

 

I will file the Spanish suggestion away because just from reading everyone's awesome replies, I can see that would be biting off more than I can chew my first year. :)

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Welcome. It sounds like from the standpoint of being able to plan and teach academics you are fine.

 

I would strongly recommend you be flexible and allow negotiation as to what is being learned. As others said, homeschooling is a different beast and you can't just plan on paper what will be done each day and expect it to be done. Do what is best for YOUR child and keep your relationship a priority. Don't make all the interaction teacher/student, but have real conversations. Don't feel restricted to your schedule. Feel free to take breaks (hours or days). Give yourself permission to waste some money and scrap a curriculum choice that is just not working. LISTEN to your child. Take care of yourself. Ask lots of questions, but remember that other's answers are not necessarily the best for your family. Don't try to create "school at home". ENJOY the process.

Thank you! This is GREAT advice! In fact, I'm going to print it out and tape it inside my journal! I definitely want to let my ds guide the learning because I know he'll be more interested. The more he's interested, the more he'll absorb. I definitely don't want this to be stressful. It should be fun for both of us; otherwise, what's the point? It'll be so freeing to finally be able to take TIME, to go off on learning tangents, and to be able to scrap whatever isn't working. I'm going to take a 180 from traditional teaching, which I've always wanted to do but was never allowed to because I was embedded in education politics where kids DO NOT come first--test scores do!

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Even though I consider myself a "cool" mom and was a "modern" teacher, I have one very old-fashioned English teacher belief: having a thorough understanding of grammar and usage leads to better writing and reading comprehension. I don't mean diagraming, but my method is similar. I use labeling. And I think the 8 parts of speech are just a very shallow base for the intricacies involved in understanding and appreciating language. It's the phrases, clauses, and modifiers that are the most important parts to learn. Once a child understands that these act as single parts of speech and they have learned the basic sentence structures, it all falls into place and is actually quite easy to understand. Kids go from ok writers to exceptional writers. They move up in reading levels, and they can communicate more effectively. I have witnessed first-hand the decline of the English language. It started when schools got rid of basic grammar and started embedding mini-lessons out of context from grammar as a whole into larger lessons. Now we have kids using textese and emoticons in their essays. :( Teaching something in bits and pieces can work great with many other subjects but not grammar. I started getting AP kiddos who would turn in essays full of serious sentence errors, like fragments and comma splices--errors that would cost them college credit because they wouldn't pass the tests, let alone set them up for failure in college. I was not taught grammar well in HS, and when I ended up in my writing courses in college, my papers were hacked to shreds with a bleeding red pen. I was very angry at my HS English teachers for not giving me the tools I needed to succeed in college and for giving me a false sense of achievement in my college prep courses by awarding me high marks. I went to the college writing lab, learned about grammar and usage finally, and my writing improved a thousandfold. Having the experience myself and watching my own students' writing blossom once they mastered grammar has ingrained this belief in me. Sorry I hopped up on a soapbox! I just want everyone to know what a huge difference grammar can make overall. :)

 

 

 

I'm sorry for the lack of response from the majority on this topic but I can assure you that most classical home educators feel exactly as you do about grammar instruction! And for the same reasons; although I would add at least one more, which is that teaching Latin and Greek to students who have been well-trained in English grammar is a far simpler endeavor than trying to help them understand their English grammar rules through their Latin grammar lessons. (This is an old debate.)

 

I like Rod and Staff for grammar. It is very religious and very heavy on diagraming so I'm not sure you'd like it, but if other options fail for some reason you might want to keep it in the back of your mind. You can find samples online at www.milestonebooks.com. For a more creative style that is very thorough but does not emphasize diagraming, MCT seems to be the frontrunner. I've never used it, but fellow grammar snobs of my acquaintance love it with all their hearts so it's definitely worth mentioning!

 

About your son's internal motivation to write well: I have homeschooled four sons so I know a little about teaching boys to write in a homeschool setting. Can I tell you something? Your son is way ahead of the game. According to your information, his intake is 10th grade level, his output is 7th grade level, but his real-time, actual, age-appropriate academic grade level is only 5th grade. You think he can do better but he's reluctant to write, and bored by it...

 

I'm here to tell you that time and maturity will fill those gaps better than curriculum choices will. He is just now entering the logic stage, which means that he is just now making connections and analyzing and synthesizing information and ideas. Sometimes it can take a few more years for boys to be able to write well about their discoveries in learning, even though they can verbally tell you (or show you in another way, perhaps through projects or art). Now that your son will be home with you overseeing all his lessons and helping him to see, and to express, the ways that history, music, art, science, religion, and literature fit together, he will have more to say when it's time to write. He is already ahead, but you will be amazed as his skills grow very quickly from here on out. He will grow into this potential you know you are seeing. I've BTDT and it's pretty neat to watch. The fifth grader is still taking in, taking in, taking in. The 9th-12th grader will astound you as he writes better than college students you have known, because his writing skills will catch up with his knowledge which will be so profoundly different and advanced than the norm. You'll see.

 

Your job in the meantime is to keep him writing. Use appropriate curriculum and pedagogy but do not require more than is required of others his age (or by the curriculum). Those expectations have more to do with developmental stages than with intelligence or even with understanding. It's normal for his ability to read, think, and talk to outstrip his ability to write by a LOT at this stage.

 

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Welcome to the forum.

 

I believe Teaching Textbooks is something your ds can do independently,but I have read that it can be slow. If your ds excels in math you may want to prepare yourself for the possibility that he may become bored with TT (Teaching Textbooks). CTY is an online math program correct? I'm wondering if there's a reason to do two online math programs?

 

I agree with Ellie-- doing two art programs may be too much, unless your ds is really excelling in art.

 

I like Easy Grammar and I've recently been very interested in Winston Grammar. If your ds needs to refresh his grammar knowledge, those two will do the trick. I found Wordly Wise to be a bit of a drag, but Vocabulary From Classical Roots, by the same publisher, was more interesting to my ds and I.

 

BBC DanceMat typing is free and it's been effective in helping my ds with his keyboarding skills. I'm sure there are other free online typing resources.

 

I plan on using Galore Park's So You Really Want to Learn French supplemented with the free Duolingo website and app. They also have Spanish. It would be abbreviated like this on these forums-- SYRWTL I've found Book Depository a good resource for finding Galore Park books.

 

Bravewriter is my go to for all things writing and language arts. http://www.bravewriter.com/

Thank you for your feedback! I really like what I've seen on Bravewriter so far. The CTY is a talent program he was accepted into--it's from Johns Hopkins. He can take whatever online class he wants. They offer some really fun ones, not just math. He's not doing the big tuition-paid program. He just gets one class per semester. He loves the computer, so I know he'll enjoy having an online class, and he specifically asked to do the Minecraft homeschool online class where he builds his own world and writes an adventure story he sends the other kids on inside the world he creates. That's all him, as I'm not a Minecraft kind of gal. Lol.

 

I agree with both you and Ellie, especially since he hates art. All I can think is that it has something to do with textures. Aspie kids get freaked out by certain textures, and the feeling can even be painful for them. That's why so many of them don't like clothing. He'll be thrilled when I tell him he can practically live in his boxer shorts if we are inside learning. Lol! :) I'm thinking of just doing the MTWWA because he likes maps, and it combines geography and art.

 

I'm definitely going to use the BBC free typing program, and I'm filing the foreign language suggestions away for now so I don't try to do too much. :)

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Coming from public education to. Homeschooling was quite a shift for me. I would suggest doing a learning styles profile of your son so that you can work out any kinks in the ways that you and your son think differently. My son is my total opposite - visual/kinesthetic where I am sequential/analytic. It would have smoothed out the first year immensely for me to have known that. He also likes a teaching style very oosite to my own as well - he likes intense structure and I am unschooling. It is rally important to remember that when homeschooling you only have to work with one child, so you really can tailor this approach to that one kid. In the classroom it is about the teacher because there are 25 kids. At home, it is much more student centered.

 

The only other bit would be remembering to still be Mom. I switched into teacher mode far too much my first year or so. My son still needs silly mom time. Now I "clock off." What he does during school hours does not bleed over in punishments or any others. It stays in school time. The only difference would be if he is not getting work done, as that bleeds over regardless of home versus public school.

Thanks for the great advice! I know I'll have to work hard to stay mom and not go into "teacher mode," but with all this support, advice, and encouragement, I'm hoping I can have a successful first year!

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WELCOME! :party: :grouphug:

 

Back in the 1990's. I pulled out my 2E fifth grader from a charter school. It was a different world back then and my educational background was so much less than yours, but I wish I'd known that I couldn't expect my son to write better than his ability to communicate in general. And I wish I'd known I needed to read some K-3 spelling and language arts books and to start some things all the way back at K.

 

For Spanish, I'm still using a very OLD text. Berlitz Self-Teacher. I've never accomplished great things with Spanish as neither I nor the students had big goals.

http://www.amazon.com/Berlitz-Self-Teacher-Spanish-Editors/dp/0399513248

 

In recent years, I have appreciated the addition of Say it Right in Spanish, for confirmation on pronunciation of the words in the Berlitz book.

http://www.amazon.com/Say-Right-Spanish-2nd/dp/007176691X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406991299&sr=1-2&keywords=say+it+right+spanish

 

Good luck!

Thank you! It's those stupid standardized tests that are always making me think he's behind in writing, but when he cares about something, he writes brilliantly. It's so frustrating. And every teacher he's had has said he's a "reluctant writer" like it's a bad thing. I never taught elementary kids, so I only had what the teachers said to go on. I ended up teaching him how to fake his way through the STAAR writing test with the ridiculous cookie-cutter 5-paragraph method they push us to teach HS kiddos. At least he was able to write something! Otherwise, he wouldn't have written a thing because he didn't like the prompt. They're so generic, who would? Of course, the AP kids could NEVER write like that and get away with it because, well, it's awful! Just shows us how much PS kids are being dumbed down.

 

I'm filing all the foreign language suggestions away for the future so I don't bite off more than I can chew my first year, but thanks so much!

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I'm sorry for the lack of response from the majority on this topic but I can assure you that most classical home educators feel exactly as you do about grammar instruction! And for the same reasons; although I would add at least one more, which is that teaching Latin and Greek to students who have been well-trained in English grammar is a far simpler endeavor than trying to help them understand their English grammar rules through their Latin grammar lessons. (This is an old debate.)

 

I like Rod and Staff for grammar. It is very religious and very heavy on diagraming so I'm not sure you'd like it, but if other options fail for some reason you might want to keep it in the back of your mind. You can find samples online at www.milestonebooks.com. For a more creative style that is very thorough but does not emphasize diagraming, MCT seems to be the frontrunner. I've never used it, but fellow grammar snobs of my acquaintance love it with all their hearts so it's definitely worth mentioning!

 

About your son's internal motivation to write well: I have homeschooled four sons so I know a little about teaching boys to write in a homeschool setting. Can I tell you something? Your son is way ahead of the game. According to your information, his intake is 10th grade level, his output is 7th grade level, but his real-time, actual, age-appropriate academic grade level is only 5th grade. You think he can do better but he's reluctant to write, and bored by it...

 

I'm here to tell you that time and maturity will fill those gaps better than curriculum choices will. He is just now entering the logic stage, which means that he is just now making connections and analyzing and synthesizing information and ideas. Sometimes it can take a few more years for boys to be able to write well about their discoveries in learning, even though they can verbally tell you (or show you in another way, perhaps through projects or art). Now that your son will be home with you overseeing all his lessons and helping him to see, and to express, the ways that history, music, art, science, religion, and literature fit together, he will have more to say when it's time to write. He is already ahead, but you will be amazed as his skills grow very quickly from here on out. He will grow into this potential you know you are seeing. I've BTDT and it's pretty neat to watch. The fifth grader is still taking in, taking in, taking in. The 9th-12th grader will astound you as he writes better than college students you have known, because his writing skills will catch up with his knowledge which will be so profoundly different and advanced than the norm. You'll see.

 

Your job in the meantime is to keep him writing. Use appropriate curriculum and pedagogy but do not require more than is required of others his age (or by the curriculum). Those expectations have more to do with developmental stages than with intelligence or even with understanding. It's normal for his ability to read, think, and talk to outstrip his ability to write by a LOT at this stage.

 

Thank you! This helps tremendously! I'm used to teaching 17-18 yo AP kiddos, and I'm an only child with an only child, so I was relying on his teachers to tell me how he was performing, and it always seemed like his gap between input and output was so great there must be something wrong. Your message has made me feel so much better! :)

 

I'll repost what I said above since it's the same sentiment:

Thank you! It's those stupid standardized tests that are always making me think he's behind in writing, but when he cares about something, he writes brilliantly. It's so frustrating. And every teacher he's had has said he's a "reluctant writer" like it's a bad thing. I never taught elementary kids, so I only had what the teachers said to go on. I ended up teaching him how to fake his way through the STAAR writing test with the ridiculous cookie-cutter 5-paragraph method they push us to teach HS kiddos. At least he was able to write something! Otherwise, he wouldn't have written a thing because he didn't like the prompt. They're so generic, who would? Of course, the AP kids could NEVER write like that and get away with it because, well, it's awful! Just shows us how much PS kids are being dumbed down.

 

I will focus on just helping him grow in all areas and forget the difference in levels of performance.

You made my day! :) :) :)

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I don't know how to post what you said so my reply makes sense because your reply was within my original post (how do I do that?), so I just copy/pasted it:

 

>>>Look up threads related to vocabulary for recommendations. Typical Vocabulary workbooks are a waste of time and money. Instead, reading great literature (aloud and discussing it) and doing some Latin and Greek Roots are the most effective way to teach an excellent vocabulary. If you use the SOTW Activity Book along with SOTW, there will be lists and lists of recommended reading related to each chapter of SOTW you read. You can also go to the American Library Association's website for lists of award winning books. Between my husband and I, we read aloud great literature about 2 hours per day 5 days per week. Not all in one sitting. If this is new to your family, you may need to start with shorter read loud times and work up to longer ones.

There are lots of different Latin and Greek word root options out there.

The SOTW Activity Books include mapwork directly related to each chapter of SOTW. Mapping the World with Art is good, but it's also time consuming, so I'd only use it if my child was particularly interested in art. Once you get to copying the coast of Greece, you're going to see if this is a good fit for your child or not.

In the SOTW Activity books Bauer recommends a more parts to whole approach to narrations. There are detailed instructions at the beginning of each book. If your child hasn't done narrations yet, I would prioritize that to lay the foundation for writing. A child who can't retain what he's heard or read and articulate a summary will struggle with reading something and then putting thoughts about it on paper. If your child struggles with a more parts to whole approach, or if you just prefer it, you can try a more whole to parts approach like Charlotte Mason recommends.

If you use the SOTW Activity books, the great composers are part of the recommended reading lists in the relevant chapters. We've combined that Beethoven's Wig Sing Along Symphonies as they apply. <<<<

 

Thank you for your response! Sounds like the SOTW books will cover the majority of the curriculum if supplemented with fiction and nonfiction reading selections. I think I should get it first before making other choices, as it sounds like it will cover history, reading, geography, art, and music!

 

>>>Choir-1 outside activity.

Fencing team -2 outside activities

Swim Team-3 outside activities

Community Theater-4 outside activities

Your outside activities sound terribly unrealistic to me. When will you do school? Laundry? Grocery shop? Have down time so your son can get bored sometimes and come up with creative ways to entertain himself or pursue his own interests to read about or tinker with? When will he play with friends in an unstructured way? When will you have family time? When will he do his chores?<<<

 

I should have been more clear. Choir is at church one night a week. Fencing is offered once a week in Fall. Swimming is offered once a week the latter part of Spring. His age group only attends 3 local meets at the start of summer. His age group for fencing doesn't have matches against other teams. He has to be in HS for that. He specifically asked to do community theater again after being cast in his first play, so I don't want to squelch that. I can work curriculum around the subject and time period of the play if he gets cast again. His chores include the gardening, recycling, and composting, which will also cover some science. I'm lucky in that he's not a messy kid. He has Aspergers, so he's pretty meticulous about his room though he refuses to brush his hair, which many Aspie's have issues with. :)

 

>>>You can simply keep is work in 3 ring binder type notebook(s) and keep your plans on file so you can keep track of what he's been doing.

Why does he need a blog?<<<

 

A website and blog he maintains would be better, IMHO, because, like it or not, we are immersed in the age of technology. Many universities require online portfolios now, and it would be a great way to show his progress. Too, he loves using the computer, as do I. I earned my PhD in Instructional Technology, so I know first-hand that we are quickly moving away from consumables into the digital world. He wants to be a computer engineer or architect. He will need as much hands-on technology as I can provide to succeed in both college and the workforce. Even at UT, all our work was submitted electronically within the Blackboard program. We never turned in paper copies of anything, and as an instructor, I provided handouts, notes, feedback, and grades through the same system. Gone are the days of overflowing filing cabinets, binders, and backpacks full of notebooks. Now we just have laptops or tablets and a textbook, many of which are also digital now. Of course, I'm still a proponent of hands-on learning, and I don't want my son stuck in front of the computer all day, so I thought maintaining his own website with his dialectical reading response journal and blog about what he's learning would be a great way to incorporate technology. Believe it or not, kindergartners are learning to create their own websites! I've seen amazing things in regard to technology in education if it's used properly. :)

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Welcome, Kurstin!

 

I hope that homeschooling proves to be a wonderful choice for both your son and you. My daughter started homeschooling in 7th grade, and I had her schedule filled out in fifteen minute increments. I also had a tendency to over assign work. I gave her so much Spanish work to do in 8th grade that I fear she hates the subject to this day.

 

We did relax a bit as time went by while keeping our standards high. She's now a college graduate who majored in Latin and minored in Geology (while totally steering away from Spanish!)

 

All this to suggest that you be flexible and willing to adjust your plans as time goes by.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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My favorite piece of advice you've received above is that homeschooling is more about parenting than education. While it is definitely about providing an education, I think it is more about parents passing on to kids a desire to learn more, and the skills to keep learning throughout life. Of course some of this is the nuts and bolts of academia like the skill set to be able to get into college so that a child can pursue a passion to learn more about math or whatever else. For me it's also the mindset that learning doesn't have an endpoint.

 

... I'm in the camp of Art of Problem solving lovers so if you have a mathy kid, you should definitely check our AoPS. I also agree with above posters that understanding the building blocks of grammar/sentence structure like phrases and clauses will greatly improve writing as well as reading lots of great literature. I wouldn't worry about your son being "behind" in writing. Just meet him where he is and encourage him in the next steps. He's young and with some maturity he is likely to put all the pieces together if you keep moving along.

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Welcome. It sounds like from the standpoint of being able to plan and teach academics you are fine.

 

I would strongly recommend you be flexible and allow negotiation as to what is being learned. 

 

I wanted to pull down and repeat Julie's advice to you to make sure you saw it, since I think it's going to turn out to be prescient for you.  You can follow the board advice but have a dc who is very different from the norm on the board and find the accepted advice doesn't work out so well.  So I'll give you my opinions, for what they're worth, just to show contrast and say you were warned.  :)  R&S grammar is disgusting and I wouldn't dream of using it with him.  TT is too low level.  (Note I'm using it, so I should know.)  SOTW is both juvenile and dull of writing style.  My dd despised it and I would never use it with a super bright 5th grader.  Apologia's GS (general science text) is dull.  The elementary is fine, though frankly I think your dc would probably enjoy self-selected topical units better.

 

Move up to light high school level texts for everything.  There IS NO great stuff for 5th grade.  I take that back, MOH is good.  His real struggle is going to be seeing things the way the WTM paradigm means him to.  You're taking someone who has a particular way of thinking and relating, someone who is incredibly bright, someone who has perseverative interests, someone who probably thinks in a connected, non-linear fashion, and you're telling him to engage with something because he's told to and go through it in the most linear fashion possible.  

 

I know you said you want to work with him, but I'm just showing you where the curriculum you're listing goes.  It's convenient for you, but you're going to have to open up WAY more to get into his brain and connect with him.  Or maybe he's just way more compliant than I expect.

 

My dd doesn't have Aspergers, so what do I know?  :)  She has a different label though, one step down, and she certainly wouldn't sit through what you've listed.  And she doesn't have as high an IQ or as strong an issue with perseverations.  My ds, on the other hand, is his own ball of wax and may be on the spectrum.  He's at least kissing the spectrum.  I wouldn't even dream of teaching him traditionally.  To me the idea of curriculum is *my* reference and *my* comfort zone, but everything can revolve around what he relates to.  There is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED for curriculum with an exceptionally bright dc.  Take what he's into and start using it.  Dump the curriculum.

 

Have you read WEM yet?  Not WTM but the sequel, WEM...  Basically she says to do what I'm talking about: take your thing and see it across time.  She's still stuck in linear mode, but you don't HAVE to be.  Weapons across time, snakes across time, weather across time.  Whatever his thing is, just explore it and happen to go into it from lots of angles: from the arts, from history, from literature.  See?  

 

Curriculum is NOT your friend with a very connected thinker.  It becomes more of a prison.  

 

Decide whether you want to fight your child or work with him.  The more you free yourself from things that keep tugging you, saying "BUT, BUT YOU DIDN'T DO THIS THING!" the happier you'll be.

 

There, chaste advice from the woman without a formally diagnosed aspie.  Welcome to the boards.  :)

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DS and I loved 5th grade.  I pulled him mid-year from regular classroom and we had a blast.  My son is very kinesthetic and visual so for science I used an integrated science text as spine and then we read extra books and performed many experiments. For history, we read, kept a history notebook, visited museums, and watched documentaries, and I made learning to type a priority.

 

Since your DS is Aspie, he may be highly VSL.  Consider exploring mindmapping software such as Inspiration.  

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Also a former classroom teacher, and agreeing with above posts - homeschooling is very different from classroom teaching. That isn't to say your teaching experience won't be valuable, but that you will have less strife and more success if you put aside expectations based on a school setting. I find teaching my own children both difficult and refreshingly joyful.

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I was going to just start with vol. 1 of the elementary SOTW. DS loves when I read to him, and he always has questions that take us on a new learning adventure. I want his curiosity and inquisitiveness to guide everything we learn together, not a set-in-stone curriculum.

 

I was looking at the Apologia elementary set because his charter school covered bits and pieces here and there, but he wants to be an engineer or architect, and I think he'll need a more thorough curriculum in science. However, after further research and feedback, I think it will be too Bible-based for him. I was looking at Oak Meadow, and I'm liking what I'm seeing so far.

 

Good question. That will all depend on my DS and what he wants and how he's doing. If we are enjoying our learning adventure and I feel he's continuously showing progress, I'll just keep homeschooling him. If I find I'm out of my depth and can't keep up with his needs, I'll try to find the perfect charter school for him. :)

I agree with OhE about SOTW, Apologia, and TT for your bright 5th grader. You seem quite likely to use these in a fuller way, so it might work out fine. I think you should keep looking. ;)

 

What math did he use at school?

 

My fifth grader has a blog. It motivates her to improve her writing and photography. She is much more critical of herself when she is published. :)

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Welcome to homeschooling. Another former teacher here. I taught science in Christian schools for 11 years. And science is my weakest subject in homeschool. Being a former teacher does have some advantages, but it doesn't always translate into homeschool success. Homeschooling is a whole different ball of wax.

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Welcome to the forum! I also have a math-minded 9-year old. As others before me have done, I would caution you to reconsider your choice of Teaching Textbooks for math. I've looked at it several times (borrowing copies from friends), but each time have decided that my mathy girl would find it rather flat and uninspiring (although I know it is a perfect fit for some kids). Math Mammoth, Singapore PM & AOPS would all be worth examining.

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Another former teacher here...I echo the sound advice from the previous posters who introduced themselves as former teachers. This is my second year homeschooling my son who is going into first grade this year. My professional educational experiences were helpful in the homeschooling process, but also hindering in many ways. It is hard to remember and apply out of the box thinking in the homeschool setting after years of public school teaching (5th and 6th grade). My hardest transition was remembering to not be stuck in the curriculum, but use it to serve my DS purposes (I still struggle with this) also, less is more, and I'm not trying to do school (b & m) at home.

 

The previous poster who spoke of dumping the curriculum to teach to your child and the way he thinks is right on. Be prepared to 'let go' of the scope and sequence and the books if he ends up needing a different approach. (Hard to break all that training! Lol)

 

This forum has been my biggest source of support and information. I also highly recommend an IRL support network (a homeschool group). Invaluable.

 

Most of all, remember to have fun and enjoy the relationship you are building with your child. :)

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I know a lot of advice you've been given is about thinking "out of the box" with curriculum and stuff, but my biggest problem was management and expectations of learning. When you have a classroom full of kids, you can get kind of a momentum going and even the more hesitant kids can get caught up in the learning process. I remember having great times with activities and experiments because the kids worked together, and got excited and if one kid's experiment flopped, his neighbor's worked, and so on. We had a great time in my science class. That doesn't happen when it's one on one. If your kid isn't interested, he's not going to have five others in the class who might be interested, and therefore, either hide his disinterest, or get him interested. It's just your kid. Not interested. Also, if there's 30 of them and 1 of you, they can have a lot more "spacing out time" and you won't notice it. When it's one on one... you do notice it. And it may bug you.

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My 2e son with ASD loved SOTW when he was in 3rd and 4th grade but by 5th grade it was wearing thin. We finished SOTW 3 and have decided not to continue it for SOTW 4 (he's starting 6th grade by age). For an academically gifted older child working at a junior high school level it might just not be ideal. It's written for elementary school students.

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I wanted to pull down and repeat Julie's advice to you to make sure you saw it, since I think it's going to turn out to be prescient for you. You can follow the board advice but have a dc who is very different from the norm on the board and find the accepted advice doesn't work out so well. So I'll give you my opinions, for what they're worth, just to show contrast and say you were warned. :) R&S grammar is disgusting and I wouldn't dream of using it with him. TT is too low level. (Note I'm using it, so I should know.) SOTW is both juvenile and dull of writing style. My dd despised it and I would never use it with a super bright 5th grader. Apologia's GS (general science text) is dull. The elementary is fine, though frankly I think your dc would probably enjoy self-selected topical units better.

 

Move up to light high school level texts for everything. There IS NO great stuff for 5th grade. I take that back, MOH is good. His real struggle is going to be seeing things the way the WTM paradigm means him to. You're taking someone who has a particular way of thinking and relating, someone who is incredibly bright, someone who has perseverative interests, someone who probably thinks in a connected, non-linear fashion, and you're telling him to engage with something because he's told to and go through it in the most linear fashion possible.

 

I know you said you want to work with him, but I'm just showing you where the curriculum you're listing goes. It's convenient for you, but you're going to have to open up WAY more to get into his brain and connect with him. Or maybe he's just way more compliant than I expect.

 

My dd doesn't have Aspergers, so what do I know? :) She has a different label though, one step down, and she certainly wouldn't sit through what you've listed. And she doesn't have as high an IQ or as strong an issue with perseverations. My ds, on the other hand, is his own ball of wax and may be on the spectrum. He's at least kissing the spectrum. I wouldn't even dream of teaching him traditionally. To me the idea of curriculum is *my* reference and *my* comfort zone, but everything can revolve around what he relates to. There is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED for curriculum with an exceptionally bright dc. Take what he's into and start using it. Dump the curriculum.

 

Have you read WEM yet? Not WTM but the sequel, WEM... Basically she says to do what I'm talking about: take your thing and see it across time. She's still stuck in linear mode, but you don't HAVE to be. Weapons across time, snakes across time, weather across time. Whatever his thing is, just explore it and happen to go into it from lots of angles: from the arts, from history, from literature. See?

 

Curriculum is NOT your friend with a very connected thinker. It becomes more of a prison.

 

Decide whether you want to fight your child or work with him. The more you free yourself from things that keep tugging you, saying "BUT, BUT YOU DIDN'T DO THIS THING!" the happier you'll be.

 

There, chaste advice from the woman without a formally diagnosed aspie. Welcome to the boards. :)

This is GREAT advice! Thank you so much for taking time to explain your standpoint. I see what you're saying. The curriculum really is for me, like you said, especially for the subjects I'm not as skilled with. I can use them as reference but use his interests to dealve into what HE wants to learn about and help him make connections through various subjects.

 

He seems to work best on his own or if he's a leader of a group. He was more advanced than his peers in math, so he was being used as the classroom tutor, and he loved that. The best way to learn something is to teach it, so maybe I should let him use whatever "curriculum references" I choose so he can teach ME. What do you think of that idea?

 

No, I haven't read the sequel but will do so immediately. Thanks for the tip!

 

Looking through the 5th grade curriculum offerings, you are right. He's definitely at an upper middle school/lower high school level, and if he's not challenged, he gets bored fast. He doesn't like dull, which is why my first math choice was Life of Fred, as it seems fun and engaging. I do like the Oakmeadow Boomerang program where he gets a book each month and can then discuss it with other kids in an online forum; however, I'm not sure about the copy/dictation element. The rest of the stuff seems pretty good though, but if I understand you correctly, I just need the novel and go explore with him from there, right?

 

You said to just start with what he's into and go from there, but as an Aspie, he gets obsessed with one thing. It started with Thomas the Tank Engine and trains, moved to Legos, and now he wants to eat, breathe, and live Minecraft. I'm not into Minecraft at all. :( I know he'll enjoy the Minecraft Homeschool classes that run like 6 weeks each; they're really inexpensive, too. But I can't see just "running" with this one thing. He also loves Magic: The Gathering. Our whole family plays and goes to competitions. I can't tell you how much it improved both his vocabulary and math skills.

 

I guess I need to read WEM to get a concrete idea of what you mean. I hope I'm at least getting the gist of it. :) Thank you, again!

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I agree with OhE about SOTW, Apologia, and TT for your bright 5th grader. You seem quite likely to use these in a fuller way, so it might work out fine. I think you should keep looking. ;)

 

What math did he use at school?

 

My fifth grader has a blog. It motivates her to improve her writing and photography. She is much more critical of herself when she is published. :)

He used Singapore Math. He already completed the 5th grade curriculum and was moving into pre-algebra when they pulled the plug in the advanced pull-out classes he was in, so he ended up repeating 4th grade math and working as the classroom tutor. :(. I wonder now if I need to review 5th grade math before moving on.

 

Yes! My son is like your dd. He is much more thorough and careful in his writing when he knows it's being published. He also enjoys anything online much more than paper and pencil, but he's already mastered handwriting and cursive, so I think it's fine he goes digital. :)

 

So do you prefer AoPS for math? I haven't heard anything about LoF here. It looked good to me because it was fun and interesting, but he's the one it needs to work for. I think I'm going to have him help me pick out the curriculum that I'll use for my own reference, as it was highly suggested I don't focus heavily on curriculum in and of itself.

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Welcome to the forum! I also have a math-minded 9-year old. As others before me have done, I would caution you to reconsider your choice of Teaching Textbooks for math. I've looked at it several times (borrowing copies from friends), but each time have decided that my mathy girl would find it rather flat and uninspiring (although I know it is a perfect fit for some kids). Math Mammoth, Singapore PM & AOPS would all be worth examining.

He did really well with Singapore math in school. I checked out AoPS and love it, but it looks like he'd be in their Beast category, and they've yet to publish a 5th grade book. Maybe it's coming soon. I don't want to dive into pre-algebra, as that is my very weak spot--Algebra. I was a geometry girl. He had some pre-algebra in 3rd in his advanced math class where he was doing 5th grade work. In 4th grade, he had to redo the 4th grade math, which really irked me. Now I'm stuck wondering if I should go 5th grade or 6th grade. He was 100% on the state test for math for 4th, but since he hasn't done 5th since 3rd, maybe I need to help him refresh. I'll definitely give him a bunch of the diagnostic tests to see where he falls. He'll love that! Not! :)

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Another former teacher here...I echo the sound advice from the previous posters who introduced themselves as former teachers. This is my second year homeschooling my son who is going into first grade this year. My professional educational experiences were helpful in the homeschooling process, but also hindering in many ways. It is hard to remember and apply out of the box thinking in the homeschool setting after years of public school teaching (5th and 6th grade). My hardest transition was remembering to not be stuck in the curriculum, but use it to serve my DS purposes (I still struggle with this) also, less is more, and I'm not trying to do school (b & m) at home.

 

The previous poster who spoke of dumping the curriculum to teach to your child and the way he thinks is right on. Be prepared to 'let go' of the scope and sequence and the books if he ends up needing a different approach. (Hard to break all that training! Lol)

 

This forum has been my biggest source of support and information. I also highly recommend an IRL support network (a homeschool group). Invaluable.

 

Most of all, remember to have fun and enjoy the relationship you are building with your child. :)

Thank you, Lisa! Yes, I know it will be hardest on me because of my background. Thankfully, I was one of those teachers who broke the rules and taught outside of the box successfully, much to the chagrin of my administration, but my kids' achievement kept them from forcing me to do it their way. Now you can't get away with not following scope and sequence, just leaving kids dangling along the way. I hate that! I could never go back to public school teaching. I'd pull my hair out being micromanaged! I've always tried to meet my students where they were and to adapt my curriculum to meet the needs of my various students, but it was not without sacrificing my time, sleep, and even health. It's just impossible when you have 30-40 kids crammed in one 90-minute block! I need to remember I'm not trying to replicate the public school setting. I need to go back and re-read my unschooling books. I need to wrap my head around the freedom I now have in homeschooling. Ironically, it's harder to teach without constraints than it is to teach with them. I admire every homeschooler that takes on this challenge! I'm so thankful I found this site and these boards to help me along the way!

Thank you, again, for your advice! :)

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I know a lot of advice you've been given is about thinking "out of the box" with curriculum and stuff, but my biggest problem was management and expectations of learning. When you have a classroom full of kids, you can get kind of a momentum going and even the more hesitant kids can get caught up in the learning process. I remember having great times with activities and experiments because the kids worked together, and got excited and if one kid's experiment flopped, his neighbor's worked, and so on. We had a great time in my science class. That doesn't happen when it's one on one. If your kid isn't interested, he's not going to have five others in the class who might be interested, and therefore, either hide his disinterest, or get him interested. It's just your kid. Not interested. Also, if there's 30 of them and 1 of you, they can have a lot more "spacing out time" and you won't notice it. When it's one on one... you do notice it. And it may bug you.

This is good wisdom for me to remember! Thank you! I'm sure the first week will be a huge eye- opener for me! I'm hoping that by letting him choose what we learn, he will be interested. It'll be hard when I weave in other subjects, though, as they may not be as interesting to him. If he chooses to study about biology, for example, he would love labeling a plant or the body, but when it comes time to read about a famous biologist or write about it, he could very easily lose interest. What do you do in these situations? I don't want to force him, but if he had his way, he'd never write. And I let him write however he wants, too. I let him make a comic strip or write a short story or even create an advertisement or PowerPoint to show me he's understood what he's learned. It's not like I'd assign an essay a day or anything, but if he doesn't want to write in any form, what do you suggest I do? Thank you in advance! :)

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My 2e son with ASD loved SOTW when he was in 3rd and 4th grade but by 5th grade it was wearing thin. We finished SOTW 3 and have decided not to continue it for SOTW 4 (he's starting 6th grade by age). For an academically gifted older child working at a junior high school level it might just not be ideal. It's written for elementary school students.

Thank you! Would it be better for me to just start researching together the history behind what we are learning, or as was suggested, one item over time? What are you planning to do with your 2e ds?

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I just wanted to post a huge thank you to everyone who has replied to me. I'm so glad I found these boards! I am learning so much and getting great advice! Thank you for taking the time to help out a newbie like me! :grouphug:

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