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For the BTDT moms- How do you know

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. . . I can't take credit for that, since so much of her success has to do with her innate ability. I guess at least I can feel good about not messing her up, huh?


I've sat and mulled over your question for several minutes, but I'm honestly not sure how to answer it. I guess I've always just evaluated where we are one step at a time. I select curriculum with care, after doing a lot of research, then feel good as long as my kids are moving through the materials at an appropriate pace and I can see that they are learning. If ever that is not happening, I take a step back and try to decide whether the problem has to do with the curriculum or whether my child just isn't ready for it.


We do occasional standardized testing, both at age-by-grade level and at what I think is each child's functional level. That feedback helps assure me that my kids are doing just fine (or better) and also tells me plainly when there is an area that needs more attention.


Every now and then, usually when I'm starting to plan curriculum for the following year, I take a look at what schools both public and private are doing at the same level, and it is usually obvious that we're doing at least that much at home.


And, frankly, whenever we spend any time with other families who have kids of similar ages, I come home feeling really good about our choices.


It's nothing scienctific, but it all adds up to create a certain comfort level for me. And, having seen one successfully out the door, I've more or less quit worrying about the second. His path will be a bit different, but I feel sure he'll be absolutely fine.



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I had a bit of a panic about a month ago and decided that I needed to do some testing. Hobbes is testing this week and Calvin will be testing in May. I don't think that the tests will tell me everything about the quality of their education, but they will give clues.


Best wishes



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I think an important first question to ask is, what do you mean by "works"? A homeschool experience that "works" can mean many different things to different people. So, that would be my first question. But, if by "works" you mean have my students succeeded in getting into college and becoming caring members of society, well, I have one who has graduated and is now working toward his PhD in English literature. He's a great guy, too! So, I guess it worked for him. My second son is a junior in high school, doing very well, taking AP courses, and I expect he'll not have problems getting into the college of his choice and doing well there. So, I think it will have worked for him, too.


Beyond that, I have wonderful relationships with both of my sons. They are warm, caring young men who love God. That's success in my book (by the grace of God).

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I have one in college, one a junior in hs...and a first grader. My oldest received a great scholarship to a private university and is currently serving as the president of the English honor society there. Much of that is due to her own initiative, but I do think that what we did at home enabled her academic success.


My hs junior is taking SATs for the first time March 1...he did very well on the PSAT and I expect that he'll get great scores on the SAT.


And like Kathleen, I enjoy a great relationship with both of my teens, which I am immensely thankful for.

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Well, there will always be experiences that don't work. Some curriculum just doesn't work out. Some classes are flops. Sometimes coop is a bust. Outings can go wrong. But all in all, I think the total experience for my children and the sum total of what they've learned is more than I could have hoped for even with private school.


I think we can always second guess ourselves that our children might be "smarter" or more successful given some other set of circumstances. But I also think that if they're naturally smart, even if we do short change them in some way, they will be able to make up for that themselves when they get out in the world.


Learning doesn't ever have to stop. Smart, talented people have a natural tendency to continue growth throughout their lives. Whether that's through higher education, on the job learning experiences, or other world experiences isn't really important. If we give our kids the desire to learn, a curiosity about the world around them, and a need for intellectual growth, then we've set the stage for them to be successful life-long learners.


So maybe I have a differing view of what constitutes success. I don't count success as kids who love every single piece of work I set for them to do (in fact, I'd be concerned that there was something wrong with them, LOL). I don't count success as certain "grades" or being considered "advanced" in any way (there's *always* more to learn, no matter how much you've covered already). I don't count success as some sort of keep up with the Joneses resume that garners invitation to a "select" college. Learning can take place anywhere. And I won't count success as completing college and getting what can be considered a "good" job, either. Good jobs can turn into bad jobs.


So if my children grow up to be well-adjusted adults who can lead healthy, happy lives, then I guess I'll count that our homeschooling was at least partly successful in contributing to that. Other than that, I'm not sure I can make a hard and fast judgment about it at this time.



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I share Kathleen's thoughts about "success" in homeschooling.


I hs'ed my older dd through 9th gr., and then she went to ps. She has done very well, and made the National Honor Society this year, as well as the Honor Society for Spanish.


I am currently hs'ing my younger dd. (7th gr.)


They are both lovely, sweet, talented young ladies, who have real servant's hearts. My dh and I have a *great* relationship with them, and they are our treasures.


We have always treated hs'ing holistically. It is part of the bigger picture of our vision and goals for our children. We hs'ed because we felt that we were the best ones to instill in them the values that we hold important, and the unique faith that we have in being Messianic believers. Academically, we also felt that we could give them a better education than the private/public schools in our area.


When my older dd began having trouble focusing on her studies, it became apparent that hs'ing was no longer working for her. She needed to be part of a different learning environment. Since my goal has always been to give my dc the best education I could give them, ps became the best choice for my older dd. My younger dd will be going to ps in 10th gr. as well, unless the L-rd leads otherwise. :)


So, yes, hs'ing definitely does work, as long as you set goals, and put in the time and hard work that this journey calls for. Some people in the hs movement have been a bit silly in telling people that hs'ing, by nature, is a better form of education than ps or private. I must strongly disagree. It is only as good as the teacher is dedicated and willing to do what it takes to *make* hs'ing work.:)

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I know it is working because I have happy, well adjusted, considerate, thoughtful and interesting kids who are well liked and respected by their peers and by the adults they are around. It works because my kids know themselves and have the luxury of delving deep into their interests while their peers are trapped in a world where conformity and standardization are the hallmarks of success.


I fret all the time that I'm blowing it, that I should have drilled more in grammar or math, should have insisted on more writing, should have done any number of things differently or better. Every single conscientious homeschool parent has these anxieties. But, the good news is, based on the homeschool families I know, every conscientious homeschool parent turns out successful children. Maybe not every one of these homeschool kids has gone to an Ivy League school, though some have, but they are kids to be proud of.


Hope these posts help reassure you, and help you focus on your own personal goals and definition of "success".

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Pulled ds out of ps at the end of 6th and he is now a sophomore in college.


1. His ACT scores blew away all his elem. school friends who were thought to be "smarter" than him (and the parents finally figured out that I did the right thing for him).

2. Taking a kid who still counted on his fingers in 6th (and getting A's) and didn't know his math facts to the point where he got a 4 on the AP Calculus test.

3. His continured comments (again yesterday) thanking me for going the TWTM route. He is the only one in his required two semester Cultural History classes that know or have read the whole books (his class only reads excerpts. Yesterday it was a comment on Machiavelli.

4. A great kid who is well grounded, knows himself well, everyone likes, and has a great relationship with all our family.


Hope this helps.

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We've been homeschooling since 1986. My oldest ds graduated from our homeschool in 1999. He is currently working on a double doctorate at UTSA Health Science Center. He has a $171,000 grant from The National Center of Cranium and Dental Research. He has been there for 3 years and the school had paid for everything including $23,000 a year to live on. He is getting one of his doctorates in Biochemistry and doing research on tumor suppression. My oldest dd gratuated from our homeschool in 2003. She works fulltime for Dillards and is going to UTPB working on a degree in Elementary Ed. She had top sales at Dillards for this past year, $250,000, in men's fragrances. She is engaged and will marry after graduation. She received a scholarships for her first 2 years. My middle ds is 19 and graduated in 2006. He works fulltime at Avis at the airport. He has taken some college classes and received a scholarship for 2006. He still doesn't know what he wants to do and is taking this semester off. I still have 2 at home, my 16 yr. old dd and my 11 yr. old ds. Homeschooling worked for us.

God bless,


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I know homeschooling works for us.


Dd, 19, is now in college. She is a Biology major with a mostly "A" average. She tutors, for pay, in the science tutoring center. Her teachers adore her. She was inducted into the National Honor Society of Two Year Colleges this year. She plans to transfer next year to finish her bs degree. This is my kid who the pre-school teachers claimed would never make anything of herself because she was a day-dreamer and couldn't sit through circle time. They had me in tears when she was only 5. We pulled her out of ps at the end of 6th grade because she only wrote one essay all year in English class. Last year her college English professor asked her is she would consider changing majors to English. He was greatly disappointed when she declined!


Ds, 17, left school and came home to school at the end of 3rd grade. He was in the bottom 10% of his class in English skills and they wanted to label him LD. I said no and brought him home. Within a few years he was testing post-secondary level on standardized tests. He is mildly dyslexic, but even with the label the schools would have done little that would have really helped him achieve his potential. He is an excellent student now with a bright future. Before leaving ps he was experiencing stomach issues from the stress. I should have pulled him out sooner than I did. I just about cry when I think of what he went through.


Also, both kids are solid Christians with a heart for God and for other people. They both love animals and love their families:) and they both have very interesting hobbies. I not only love my kids, I like them and look forward to our growing friendship as they blossom into fine young adults.

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I think an important first question to ask is, what do you mean by "works"? A homeschool experience that "works" can mean many different things to different people. So, that would be my first question.

Agree with this. I guess what I see "working" is my 16 yo dd is engaged in learning, she's interesting and interested in others, and God has taken hold of her heart.

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I used many things over the years. For my dyslexic son it was mostly a matter of loads of one-on-one time with him. At first, I had to read everything to him no matter what curriculum materials we used because his comprehension level was so far above his reading level. With time, patience, and consistant practice he was able to learn skilss and to compensate. He still hates to read and does it for pleasure very sparingly, but his comprehension is very good and his speed has greatly improved. While he was still elementary age I would never had subjected him to anything remotely close to TWTM lists and choices. Pathway readers and their accompanying workbook and vocabulary book along with Easy Grammar and Sequential Spelling were the "tools" of choice. For math, he struggled with Saxon 54, but then spent two wonderful years with horizons Math 5 and 6. By middle school he was using the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia and working through history ala TWTM and doing very well. Since he is a concrete learner, Jensen's Format Writing and A Beka English have worked well for high school. We have followed a more traditional path in hs with: Geography, World History, American History, Gov't and Economics, but I have left his senior year open to delve into the area of history of his choosing (Medieval) and we will probably cover that more TWTM style. I have used A Beka's lit books through high school as well, but supplimented them with good (and sometimes great) books from TWTM lists.


For Dd, her writing really took off using most of the Writing Strands series. We used A Beka for grammar and various things that are recommended in TWTM for writing including working through books like The Elements of Style and On Writing Well. She used a more tradional approach to history and worked in a year of Ancient history and lit using the Beautiful Feet guide. Her lit was set up the same as ds's, using A Beka and a great books list. Her science was Apologia for Bio and Chem and Astronomy Today, then college courses.


Both used Saxon through the first part of Advanced Math for high school. Neither did really well with the Saxon approach, but it was sufficient for our needs.


Dd started to incorportate some Latin, but we stalled out because I had no background in it and ds took up a lot of my time. Dd did cover two years of Spanish with Switched on Schoolhouse, but she really is not a language sort of kid, unless you're talking Klingon or Elvish (which she tried to teach to herself!). Ds, whose spelling is still and always will be an issue, is going very slowly with German using the Learnables. Dd also had Introductory Logic.


Wow, so that's it in a nutshell. Of course there was lots more to it than that, but those were the basic foundations to what we have done.


Hope that helps,


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Oh, not much time to share, but your question hits home with me. We are finishing up year 13 homeschooling at our house of 6 sons. I've done a few things just right, many things wrong, but most of it just somewhere in the middle. I've worried myself into fits of stress over which curriculum or style of homeschooling to follow. Should I really be doing this? What do the neighbors and extended family think of us? I'm tired with not enough time. I was committed to homeschool each child K-12, but I always had the worries waiting on the sidelines to upset me--daily.


It wasn't until this 13th year began that I truly started to feel completely comfortable with our decision to homeschool. DS17 1/2 years old has been taking college courses offered at our high school through distance ed for the past year. He came home about 2 weeks into the 1st semester and just began to praise me about everything I had ever done with him in homeschool. You should know that he is very independent, so we fought constantly about school work. He said to me this particular day, "Mom, THANK YOU! All that stuff you made me read, all the sentences you made me learn to diagram, all the writing lessons, the science experiments, the nature walks, art and music appreciation, visits to the actual museum, and time management lessons, it was all just what I needed to be ready for college work. Mom, the other kids are lost in my classes--except for the other homeschooled kids. I even want to thank you for making me redo every math problem and write out each step NEATLY. Mom, thank you, and be sure you keep it up with all the brothers. They will thank you later, too."


I have to tell you that after his little/big speech I just sat there speechless (not typical me). He has since repeated the "Thank You" speech 2 or 3 times. Just last Friday he came home from another humanities class and professed that he had learned nothing from his textbook, but instead got the A on the test because of stuff in learned in Homeschool. He is enjoying tutoring some of the algebra II students, especially since he hasn't finished algebra II yet. He loves math.


The regrets we have are the days and weeks and months spent stressing over the "perfect curriculum". It doesn't exist. Enjoy the children. Read up about the stages of growth kids go through and adapt to their maturity and needs. Then make a good curriculum work for you. I wish I had found TWTM sooner. Even after reading the book I didn't switch over to the method completely. As I have finally switched over with my younger sons we have found a peaceable way to homeschool and accomplish much. Be consistent, patient, and kind. The best thing I've learned is to expect a bit and then as you see the child master than add a bit more. Speed is not important, just keep moving forward one step at a time.


Homeschool Rocks!! The thanks will be few and far between. Yet, when they come, they are sweeter than candy.


P.S. Here are some of the books that have helped me:

"The Well Trained Mind", revised edition, by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise

Susan Wise Bauer's writing tape

"Organizing from the Inside Out" and "Time Management from the Inside Out" by Julie Morgenstern

"The 7 Habit's of Highly Effective People " and "First Things First" by Steven R. Covey

Books by Karen Andreola

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