Friday, January 6, 2017

What I learned in the first 16 weeks of homeschooling

In the half a year of schooling I have been asked about so many aspects of homeschooling. The number one question is why do you homeschool and there are a ton of reasons people homeschool so we will touch base on why and how we homeschool in this blog post.
True homeschool Christmas gift is microscope!
He has asked to pull it out on his own a few times 
   I have heard people homeschool for very different reasons and some have one reason and others like us have a variety of reasons we homeschool.  Let's start with some of the most common reasons people homeschool.  One of my friends homeschools strictly because her child struggled academically in the traditional school.  We have friends that do it for the fact of Christian values they want to instill in their children and the peer influence that comes from the other classmates in the traditional school whether public or private school. Other people, I have heard of homeschool for health issues that their kids may have low immune systems.  There is also the fact that the child may be advanced in their academics and want to advance faster that the traditional classroom can push them.
   For us it was all of these issues at once that brought us to homeschool.  It was just under a year ago when I was tired of my oldest causing trouble in school and finding out that it was her lack of a challenge that made her board in the classes she had quite doing the work because she figured out how much she had to do just to get through then would ace the test to make up the rest of her grade. Her peers had pushed her to a point that she would come home so stressed and anxious that our house was walking on egg shells. The opposite was my son he struggled with his reading but was getting the help he needed and we getting caught up to his class. My middle child was another story of being the one that the teacher used as a buffer for the naughty kids. In the past 3 grades, she was the quite one that didn't let the boys get her involved in their schemes. She also came home stressed by what they would say and try to get her to get upset. She is my low immune system child that has been the healthiest in the past 16 weeks as she has ever been over the Christmas break, (yes I know I may get in trouble for posting that).  I wanted to also instill in my children the Christian values that had been taken a beating in the public school system.  Last night I was at the grocery store and I was questioned, again on this and I know many people think of homeschoolers as a cult type thing that we just brainwash our children to think and act in a certain way.  I have my kids in the 4H and public school for band and sports in Minnesota we can do that so they are not closed off to the world.
   That brings me to the next question i have been asked a lot in the past 16 weeks as our community realizes that we homeschool. How can your kids be in the public school for band and sports well in our state we have the right to anything our school offers the other citizens. With that I report my grades on a weekly basis to our AD at the school so that we meet the school's participation standards.  If my DD were to fall under the ineligibility grades she could not participate just like any other student in our district grant it She is currently in 8th grade so we will have to look at what is required in 9th and up next year. My other DD has band three days a week so every Tuesday and Thursdays I bring her in at the end of the day for 45mins and Wednesday its a 15 min practice in the morning. Next year my son will have her schedule and she will be in Wed and Mon afternoons and every other Friday.
 
This is our Friday educational movie cuddle!
   The hardest thing to answer for me is "Where do you get the books?" I have three kids that learn differently and I have already figured out that what my plan at the beginning of the year was, didn't work for my younger two so they have switched. We started with what some friends had recommended.  Less than a week in I realized that didn't work for my son the science was way too advanced and history was deeper than he was ready for so I ordered him the Abeka Books 4th grade Science and History WE LOVE IT for him.   My middle one tolerated the science for a few weeks longer before we switched her Science to Abeka also. She stuck with the history for half the year and is now just getting switched to a curriculum called Heart Of Dakota and we are only a week in and it seems to be such a good fit and my son is following along with it to the point I am going to switch him over too. I can now concentrate on both of them more by doing the history and Science from that curriculum and it will be less work to have the two togeather. we have peeked at a few other HOD mom blogs and they are loving the hands on stuff they see so for a boy and a girl that learns kinesthetically this seems to be a good fit. My oldest will as I said earlier stay with her same plan since day one. Notgrass From Adam to Us for her world history. I do love this curriculum it was just not sticking for my middle child and was above my 4th grader. For science my oldest is still liking Exploring Creation with General Science from Apologia This also was just advanced for my younger two and hard for me to dumb down. I love the Student Notebook that came with it. I did keep my other two kids notebooks and will probably have them do it in 7th or 8th grade. For Language my oldest is online with Monarch from Alpha Omega publishing this also works very well for her as she can just go on and do her lessons each day and I pretty much just grade her essays. My younger two are doing Rod and Staff this program is very in depth and well written. I don't do every problem with them and we do 75-85 %of the problems orally or on the white board they do all the workbook pages and the tests. I will have to say that my language has never been a place i did well with as you can tell on reading my posts.   Math we have stayed with our original plan as well, of my kids are doing Teaching Textbooks for math another program that is well worth the cost in my book. I didn't change any with our math and don't plan to.
 That is our option but there is a whole world of things that you can do for homeschooling from online public schools like K-12 or Connect Academy, there are so many resources at Rainbow Resources. The best thing I would say to do is look at the style of learner your child is. I took the quiz for each of my kids as I have watched them learn how to do things in the past and what stuck with them the best.
   The next best thing I hear is I could never do that homeschool thing you do. Well that is true many people can't and back when my oldest was in 4th grade I could not do it we had done it her 3rd grade year and the younger years but know that she is mainly independent on her classes we are much better off she has been a faster reader than m since she was in 2nd grade and that made it very hard along with other life circumstances.  My kids have also been much better after having 4 years of traditional school they realize the benefits of being at home. We start anywhere between 8-9 am and last until noon or 3pm depending on their work effort put forth.  they love that we run our school on a 4 day a week schedule that gives us Friday for appointments, group, or like today educational videos. If we have disrespect there is the consequence that is enforced and they are quickly reminded that I am the teacher and have the same respect as the teachers in the school did. (I was told most of the time my kids were very well behaved.)
   So all in all this is what we do and why we do it if you would like more to know more about homeschooling feel free to ask I am open about almost everything in life.  I hope to do a week by week post of our history as we go from Resureccion to Reformation in the next year. I guess we just switched our curriculum to a calendar year vs. a typical school year and that ok because we school on and off during the summer to have more freedom in the winter when my husband is home.

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