We weren't happy with my son's progress in public school for a few reasons. The upshot is that we have finally made the decision to homeschool my 5 year old - rather abruptly.
We've done some research, got some books from the library, found some good resources for homeschooling online, and I will definitely be reading this section of the forum, but if anyone knows of any resources that cover topics like "So, you've decided to homeschool your kid..." I would sure appreciate hearing about it.
Check out "What your Kindergartner Needs to Know" by E. D. Hirsch, Jr. Also get the 1st Grade book in the same series.
Your school district should supply you with an explanation of the skills covered at each grade level -- check out your State's Dept of Ed website, too. Often they have pages of their current standards (what is to be taught when), with in-depth explanations and examples, for each grade level.
Keep up with or (preferably) exceed what the kids in your area learn in the public schools. I am a teacher, and more often than not, children transfering to us from private schools and from being homeschooled are working well below grade level. Not to disparage homeschooling; probably the folks who are best at it never send their kids back to public school.
If I had school-age children and could afford it, I'd homeschool, too. Mostly because I value academic excellence and teachers are forced to spend too much time dealing with poor behavior and have to pace their lessons for the low-average members of the class.
If you are only dealing with a small handful of children, you can stay on top of every little thing and move on to the next concept as soon as one is mastered. You can also indulge the personal interests of the children with whom you are working. With 20-35 kids it's impossible to do that.
Proud father mode - my 5 year old (almost 6 now) was tested and found to be reading between 2nd and 3rd grade level when he entered kindergarten. He knew all his upper case letters at age 2. This is mainly because my wife worked with him with the Glenn Doman program. I was skeptical at first, but this stuff works, let me tell you.
The class I just pulled him from is focused right now on learning upper and lower case ABC's, and basic math that he has known for a long time. His teacher originally didn't think he was being challenged, so she devised other assignments for him (she is really great, and has his best interest in mind) but he felt singled out, frusterated and unfairly treated (she gave him exponentially harder work to do than the rest of the class). So he kind of rebelled at this. Basically he was hating life and turning into a dicipline problem for the school. While he is a very challenging, strong-willed child, he is normally a very well-behaved child in other settings (he has his moments, don't get me wrong). We don't expect the teacher to have to put up with this, or to have to cater to his special needs.
Also, there are some personal problems I have with the administration that have nothing to do with education. Like at Christmas time, one of my neighbors made rocking horse shaped cookies that were red and green for the "holiday party", and they were deemed inappropriate by the administration, because they were "too christmas-y". Just an example of something that bothered me personally.
Also I hear stories about public high schools in the area omitting documents that contain the word "god" from the history lessons - I have to wonder what they are teaching kids and if I want my kids learning it.
Also call me paranoid, but the public school system seems to be taking increasingly sovereign role over kids whose parents are not involved enough to care, and we aren't those kind of parents.
Anyway, sorry for the long post. Since we have the option, we are going to try something different.
Nope, it doesn't sound to me like you're paranoid at all. Our public schools do have an increasing number of challenges to face (some of them self-imposed)! And we think the administration is out of line a lot of the time, too!
Best of luck to you -- you sound like you have things under control and that your son is going to enjoy and benefit from the homeschooling experience.
A small suggestion? Since you said that your son's teacher was really good and went out of her way to try to accomodate his needs (and I can guarantee this was all done on her own time, and she probably spent her own money to put together activities for him), send her a card or something and let her know that you appreciate all she did for you and your son.
Teachers, despite what the politians say, are for the most part a dedicated and extremely hard-working bunch. They also take things to heart a little more than they should. She may feel that you pulled your son from school because you were disatisfied with her. I am sure she'd appreciate knowing that this was not the case.
You know, over the last couple days people have really come out of the woodwork to help us get started with this. There are all kinds of people in the area who are excited to spend time talking with us and advising us about it and share resources for homeschooling. I think it's going to turn out to be a great decision to do this for our kids. Thanks for the advice and support everyone.
Thanks for the reference, there's a lot of good info on the site.
Since you mention legal kung fu, actually the school did agrue with us a little bit. When we told the school we were planning to withdraw our son, they told my wife something like "You can only do that at certain times. This is not one of those times."
So I looked on http://washhomeschool.org/ and found that they were completely incorrect. I could read the law just fine, but I have legal insurance through work that allows me to give a call to a lawyer and get a consultation. So I decided to cover the bases and make sure we aren't on the wrong side of the law. The lawyer said I wasn't missing anything, and that we were probably just dealing with a person who is opposed to it personally. Of course schools get paid per head per day, so I can understand if there is some financial motivation there.
So I go up to the school and say to them again (except this time it's me, in person, not my wife on the phone) I want to withdraw my son. They asked where he would be going to school, and when I told them we would be homeschooling, they told me the same thing they told my wife, something like "You can only do that at certain times. This isn't one of those times."
So I politely said something like "Well, no, actually here are the applicable statutes, which I have printed for your convenience. I've consulted my attorney and we don't think we are missing anything, however the last thing we want to do is have a problem with legal compliance. So if you can point out what we are missing, we'd appreciate it and be happy to take that into consideration."
I pulled out my little manilla folder with the 2 Washington statutes printed off for their convenience and set it on the desk in front of the lady.
She didn't even look at it. It could have been toilet paper in there for all she knew.
End of conversation. "OK, well I will withdraw your son right now. I'll call you if it turns out I need anything else. And have a great day." She even stopped me before I left and gave me some homeschooling resources in the area, which have turned out to be great!
So I guess the strategy is to throw fear and uncertainty until you stand up to them?
So glad you are doing this. I agree with others above about the HSLDA. It is worth the peace of mind and has a monthly newsletter that is helpful. Our three children have been homeschooled for the past 9 years. Over the years we have read many articles about how to homeschool. From unschooling to homeschooling to interest-based learning to structured learning. Most important is to foster your families morals and beliefs and build on those. We discovered that children are innate scholars and if you have "items" (interesting books, crafts, etc., very little TV, just VCR choices, & very little computer or none for some time) lying about and open their world to exploring it just comes so naturally it is amazing. Love of learning is caught, not taught. We initially built on the Robinson Curriculum (can be found by internet search at Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine) and also used Saxon Math. My husband is a high school physics teacher who has interesting discussions with us about Public School! He is so burned out and would love a chance to start over doing something else, but we need the health care coverage and his retirement..........is that just an excuse?? (a topic for some other time.) If I can I will email you a few articles of interest. You will find much support by internet searching homeschool sites. Our home is located one block from the local school and we feel we live in a fish bowl at times, but we just go on our merry way. Some folks have been curious, but so far we have never had any problems. Perhaps one of John Holt's book might be helpful in which he discusses the importance of allowing children time to grow and explore until about age 10, then begin some type of formal training. That is not what our Robinson Curriculum did, but as parents you have to pick and choose what you feel is right.......and for us it has basically been interest-based learning with the 3 R's enforced. What we have enjoyed most is the family closeness, lack of peer pressure and herd mentality, sharing their "aha" moments, and just being together. We may not be current with appropriate age level subjects, but we are not trying to be........it will work out when the time requires it. They are self-motivated, self-assured, leader types, who are quite discerning of what is right and wrong and do not march to the beat of current PC tripe. It truly is an adventure..........enjoy your journey!! Den mother
Home schooling is an adventure that you will never regret or forget. The rewards of seeing your child progress by leaps and bounds (unlike public schools) is well worth the time, effort, and expense. Go for it! Both of our kids were home schooled, and now we've started with the grands. It is so exciting to watch them when they reach that AHA! stage. Good luck, and don't let the "system" slow you down.
I think its a hoot that the school said you couldnt withdraw your child, like what if you were moving to another state, they gonna say you cant?
Notice that all the spelling bee winners are homechooled, and lots of colleges are waking up to the fact that hs;ers are smarter than the average bear, Belhaven in JAckson Miss welcomes homeschoolers and its a great school
I am always glad when I hear of someone pulling their children out of the state-run brain-washing system passing itself off as education. Biblically, the only ones mandated to raise and educate their children are the parents. (Samuel possibly is one exception) I will pray for you.
fulenchek we use http://www.conectionsacademy.com as our curriculum provider, but then again it's nice to know that our tax’s go to them, not the idiots that make up our district. You can build Incredibly uppon their curriculm, to teach your own morals. You do have to all the "no child left behind" tests but you have full control from there.
My 14 year old builds his own curruculum, and is currently studying game development / programming in addition to his basic core subjects, and also some geology research for his gold panning efforts.
Homes school is hurting the image of "free ed."
They tried all kinds of "guilt trips" to keep us and my son from leaving public school, but the smoke screen is all that it was.
Also reccommend HSLDA. Great peace of mind, costs only $60 per year through our "covering school" at church. (Alabama requires a covering school for homeschoolers unless a teacher in the family qualifies. No big deal, costs $30 per year, and has access to resources at the church if desired or needed.)
I am homeschooling my kindergartener. We would not have made it into K during the 2004/2005 year, but started working on a Kindergarten curriculum anyway. I figure it is a practice year to work out the bugs of getting the house on a scedule, and training customers not to bother us during that time as I run a business from home part time also.
I have been using alpha omegas Horizons K program. It was about 170.00 for the year of material. We have made it about 1/3 through and will keep on through the summer. We only do a bout 1/2 what I intend to do in the fall. School, weekly field trips, church, playdates, and swimming will keep the summer active.
I figure I will have the discipline and practice needed by fall and we will kick off K more formerly in mid August. I figure I will give the student a certificate for passing pre-school. Having a newborn made progress a bit less than desired this year. We will finish the K material mid year, and will likely press on with the first grade material.
In addition to the curriculum, I use printout pages from the internet, computer games on the student computer, and books from the library. Additionally we have about 400 volumes of kids books and reference materials collected from rummage and library sales. We also have various sets of manipulatives, and games, and do small arts and crafts once a week, and coloring pages along the way.
We will be experimenting with how to do music this summer and may participate in instrument lessons in fall or spring.
Have just this last week learned about connections curriculum mentioned by another. We will be looking into that also.