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Looking for the perfect recipe for homeschooling success?  You won't find it here!  You see... homeschooling is like making bread... everybody has their own way of doing it.  But you will find a variety of techniques.  Pick and choose the parts you like and create your own unique recipe!

HOMESCHOOL SCHEDULE

QUESTION: Do you guys keep a schedule for school?  Do you guys use a schedule, or do you just get things done without one?  Do you keep track of grades and whether you did school that day??  I am curious to know how everyone else keeps track of this part of their busy lives. ~ Karen

ANSWERS:

I have found that the best for me is to keep a schedule. But, that does not mean that we always keep one. This year I'm going to keep track of grades from tests only and see what that gives me. I want to keep 'grades' because it makes it easier to take a glance and see what she is doing over all on one certain subject. However, for your little ones I don't think I'd even bother. Ask me in 3 months and I may say I'm not keeping grades because it's too much work! ~Mary

I have a grade sheet on each child that I do on Thur. every week. Now that the computer grades some of the school work - that is easier. I daily grade my second grader. I do through third or fourth grade depending on how they are doing. Group lessons and oral lessons, of course I hear. The writing and the math are what I dread correcting. My husband wanted report cards so we have those also, every 9 weeks I fill them out and for those who have excellent grades - they recieve a Daddy prize. Which is a least a 'date' for lunch with Dad only, or shopping for something they've really been wanting, lego's computer game etc. And dad is the one that takes them, so it is a special reward. Yes, he has to go 3 different times. It seems to not count if others are with you.  ~Connie

I use my computer and make a schedule for two weeks. On each day, I will have what I expect us to get done, for example, math at 9, writing practice at 10:30, Social Studies at 11:00, piano at noon, lunch at 12:30 and then reading after lunch is done. Sometimes we get everything done, sometimes not. We do math 4 days a week, social studies and health twice a week, writing practice and music twice a week and lastly grammar, spelling test and perusal of the National Geographic once a week. I only grade math. I have a sheet that I keep all of each child's grades for the year. Of course I keep the CAT test results in their file folder too. I make notations on the schedule if we did not do lessons that day for some reason. I keep all the schedules, both on the computer and hard copy for future reference.  ~Tina

Thanks everyone who shared how they organize their homeschools, etc.  I have always had to keep a schedule, I haven't always worried a lot about grades, until the kids got older, but I am definitely out of control without some type of schedule.  I usually set up a daily lesson plan so that I can keep on track with where we should be.  If we have a day off, I rearrange things, I try to do school in the same order or subjects, and in the mornings, but if we have something come up, we do it when we can.  I just look and see what should be done, and keep track that way.  I enjoy hearing how everyone else does things.  I am a list person by nature.  If it's not on paper, I forget it to easily.  I've downloaded a couple different computer programs for homeschool schedules, trying to find which I like best.  Free is always nice, though! LOL  Karen

HOMESCHOOLING A DIFFICULT CHILD 

QUESTION: Help!  I'm going crazy!  My daughter has ADD and refuses to do her schoolwork.  She just wants to watch TV all day.

ANSWER:  I've got two ADD kids and a husband with it too.

I'd say, your best bet is to say this:  "Going places, watching TV, playing videos, (insert activity here) are not your right, they are a privilege that you earn with good behavior.  If you want to do those things, then you need to treat me with respect.  Because when I'm *not* treated with respect, I don't feel like taking you places or
allowing you extra privileges."

Or something like that.  It was the mantra I used while my ADD kids were growing up.

STICK TO IT!!!!  Don't give in.  Unless you have a very good reason to do so.  Because once you do give in, they've got you.  And the behavior will begin again.  And... you lose even more respect for giving in.

If you're out in public and the behavior starts.  Go home.

My children did a lot better when I started holding them accountable in this way.  Even though they say they don't... they do want limits.  (Not that you don't have them already)

Some people think it's just too tough.  But when you've got kids who are out of control, you can't just let them run amok.  Their lack of respect probably shows with other people as well.

Once my kids reached 18, and were out on their own, I noticed they made better choices than other kids with ADD.  I believe it's because they saw the results they got with good behavior.

Statistically speaking, people with ADD and Bipolar are the ones most likely to end up in jail because of their impulsivity.  They also have higher insurance rates because they have more car accidents than other kids their age.  Their teen pregnancy rate is very high as well. (I got this information from the CHADD organization)  So... teaching them the benefit of following the rules is something they really need to have reinforced.

Whether you medicate them or not, is a choice only you can make and I don't plan to get in that debate!

But I will tell you that I did a lot of research on the subject and found
that some scientists believe that ADD can be caused by a vitamin B
deficiency.  The health food store had lots of information on the best
vitamin therapy for them.  And we did try various medications as well, some with better results that others.

SAXON MATH WITH GEOMETRY
QUESTION:  Why doesn't Saxon have a geometry book?
 
ANSWER FROM SAXON'S WEBSITE:
Students completing Algebra 2 will have studied the equivalent of one
semester of informal geometry.

COMMENT FROM MARGARET:
Geometry is integrated throughout the Saxon mathematics program. The United States remains the only industrialized country in which students normally take a separate course in geometry. Saxon follows the example of the Asian and European countries by offering an integrated curriculum instead of one comprising separate, compartmentalized courses. The treatment of geometry is integrated throughout the entire series and is most heavily concentrated in Algebra 2 and Advanced Mathematics. Students who complete both Algebra 2 and Advanced Mathematics will have completed one full year of Euclidean geometry.  We have used a separate geometry book  (Jacob's) after Alg II as we felt the children benefited from longer time spent on geometry. Btw-I know many folks say Adv Math cannot be done in one year-poppycock! Both of my older two have/will have finished the book in 7 months. One will be doing Calculus in college and one will be doing it as a senior in high school. NARS counts Saxon as credit in Plane Geometry when Alg I and II are done in sequence.
They then count first sem of Adv Math =1/2 credit in analytic geometry w/Adv Alg; 2nd sem=1/2 credit in Trig; 3rd sem= credit in Adv Trig w/ Adv Alg; 4th sem=1/2 credit in Pre-calc.
We just do the whole book in one year and count it as one year of Adv Math/Trig/Pre-calc. Much simpler!
 
ADVICE TO A NEW HOMESCHOOLER
 
HEATHER:  I went in today to talk to the principle to let him know that I would pull my son out if they can't put him with a different teacher. I told him that I had talked to his teacher and we had worked on some concerns of ours with her and then I realized last night that I don't like her teaching approach at all. She is a very nice person but as a teacher, her approach with the children is negative and not pleasant. I realized that no matter how much we worked together on trying to get my son okay with her and comfortable in her class, I would never like how she comes across to the kids and why should my son have to put up with that? So my only options were to teach him myself or get him into another classroom. I really thought that they would work with us and move him, especially when they will lose money on him not being there. But much to my surprise, they would not move him, do to oversized classrooms and because the teacher thought we were trying to work it out. So we pulled him out! WOW! We're official homeschoolers now! I'm actually very excited! All things, I believe, work out for a reason and as much as I'm shocked and disappointed with the school for not working with us, I say, "Good enough, I can do better with him myself anyway!" They say that if you want something done right, then you have to do it yourself. Isn't that the truth! So here we are. I really need you guys more than ever. You're my main support now and I might have a lot of questions in the near future and feelings of being overwhelmed at times. Please bear with us as we enter the wonderful world of homeschool. Don't even ask how my husband is feeling about all this. Let's just say that I have a lot of proving to him that this will be great and that it will all work out fine, and that I can do this and do it well. We can succeed in this, I am confident, with God's help, and this supportive group Thanks for everything!
 
RESPONSES:
 
Heather,
You just gave your son a wonderful gift!  You taught him how to stand up for himself and do the right thing.  You're homeschooling already! My kids thank me all the time for pulling them out of school.  I just wish I'd done it sooner!

Guess it's time for the homeschool happy dance!

     .. ))  -::-
         . .))
       ((.  ..   -::-   Wooo Hoooo!
      -::-    ((.*


~Kate
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Hey Heather, It's official!!  Well, you were already doing stuff with your son anyway, so it won't be "totally" new to you.  I think at your son's age, it's a good time to get the hang of it, because it isn't so complicated.  Also, he might have a harder time getting used to it if he were older.  Your biggest challenge will be to win John to it!!  I'll be praying for you.  I think his support will be really good, so we will pray toward that. I know that's what you're wanting.  Well, you're on a new adventure, and I am excited for you.  Love, Karen

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Congratulations!!! Welcome to the wonderful world of HomeSchooling. :) You are truly giving your son the best gift God has given you to give him, your time. ~Mary
 
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Heather,
I've been in that very same position and I am so proud of you!! I don't have time to type write now but I may have some things for you, give me a call.     I'll be praying for you and your husband, ~Carrie :)

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Congrats Heather!  I know how you feel! Last April we finally had enough of our daughter's teacher and the principal's feeble attempts to "work it out".  We went as far as the school board with no luck and pulled our kids out.  Just a month prior, I wouldn't have dreamed of homeschooling.  My husband was a skeptical supporter, and now he is my biggest support!  I'm sure you'll be just fine!  If you would like to know what helped us adjust to homeschool life, or if you just want to talk, call me anytime! ~ Debbie

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I want to say 'Good for both of you"! I hope you both love to homeschool as much as the rest of us. Most dads end up liking having their kids around more and spending more time together as a family! Be creative with your learning especially for first grade and go at your son's pace- if they get it great move on , and if it takes awhile- go slower, take a break and smile  that's why we homeschool ,so that everyone gets to move at their own learning level!  ~Connie

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Heather...anytime you want to come over and visit and see what we are doing with my daughter you are welcome. We are new ourselves and still learning but its gone well so far. I also just ordered a education standards book from the Dept. of Education that lists the public school requirements for each grade that I am planning to look at and see how what we are learning at home compares to what is at least expected in public school. I have a lot to learn myself but since our kids are close to the same age it may help you to see what we are doing. I also may have some extra supplies you can have but I am not using a specific curriculum if thats what you would prefer. Email me anytime if you'd like to do that. ~Kristen

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My husband was a skeptical supporter, and now he is my biggest support!

This reminds me of when I started homeschooling.  In 1986 homeschooling was still new in this area to the community.  When we took the kids to town during school hours, people would ask why they weren't in school, then they'd say, "What's homeschool?"  Heather, you probably heard this, as you are a second generation homeschooler.  For some reason, nowadays even public school kids are around town in the daytime, so you can't tell if they are skipping or if they're homeschooled. 

But what I was going to say is that my parents about had a fit for us taking the kids out of school.  Many people did, in fact.  But now my parents are glad our kids are homeschooled.  My mom has said that with the way the school is now, she's glad she doesn't have to worry about it affecting her grandkids.  It didn't take long for her to see the benefits.  In fact, my dad loved it, and took too much advantage of it sometimes, because he'd get my son and take him to work with him.  But on the other hand, I'm glad he learned to work with Grandpa.  He was driving my dad's tractor by the time he was 10.  I about freaked when he drove up one day about a month after he had been driving it.  I had thought he meant he was driving his lawnmower!!  I don't know if you've ever driven a tractor, but I used to drive dad's tractor and one day, I was going downhill, my little niece was on the front, and I put the clutch in to shift down.  Wrong!  You don't do that the way I did it.  We sailed down the hill.  I yelled, "Hang on Stacy!!"  I've always had a deep respect for having the tractor in the right gear before I took it down the hill from then on!!  To see my son driving it, you can imagine...  Well, he did better than me!  ~  Karen

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Good Morning Sister,
I'm sorry to hear about the school, and how they can't meet your sons needs. I lost faith in the public schools a long time ago, due to the fact that my daughter has graduated now and reads at a 4th grade level!  She had special needs but wasn't able to receive them. Anyway.... Welcome to homeschool!!  I think you did the right thing.  We are our children's best teachers anyway. I'm new at it too, as you know, but the Lord knows our heart and He will  bless our efforts.  I'll pray for you.  You pray for me too. Adrian has a hard  time getting settled down to do his work. He can find a million things he needs
to do first! ~Robin Z.

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Thanks to all for your support once again.  I never doubted it.  I will
definitely call when I could use some encouraging. Thanks.  Our first day today went well.  We did reading, math, spelling, handwriting, and worked on the calendar.  Everything went really well.  I'm very happy. I went up to the school to let my son get his things and say goodbye, to make sure we didn't owe on any lunches, and to see if I needed to officially sign him out.  I couldn't believe how nonchalant it all was.  No signing him out or anything.
Another mother that I know is also having a problem with this teacher and although she plans on talking to her first and then the principle, she feels like there won't be any other choice in the end but to homeschool her son also.  So I guess that I'm glad I'm not the only one who is having a problem, that it's not me or my child that is the problem or exaggerating this whole thing. It really is sad.  Okay not really.  I get to keep my child home so actually it's great!  I just wish it hadn't had to happen like this.  But maybe I just needed a good kick in the pants to do the right thing in the end anyway. ~Heather

HOMESCHOOLING MOMENTS TO TREASURE...
 
Tonight we had a wonderful homeschooling moment.  Whenever someone asks me how I teach things like science I just laugh and say, "We homeschoolers use roadkill biology 101."  It used to be a joke.  Until tonight.

Jenny found a large dead frog on the side of the road this morning.  It hadn't been there last night so she knew it was... well... fresh.  So she brought it in the kitchen wrapped in a little sarcophagus of fern leaves and suggested we dissect it.  I knew it would be a while before we'd have time, so we placed him gently in a lettuce wrapper in the fridge.

A few weeks ago, I'd given Mike "Dissection Works" software.  You can dissect frogs and fish and even a pig by computer.  Lots of little quicktime movies and a realistic looking pair of scissors and forceps.  So we plugged in the frog video and Mike did it for real while we used the software as a guide.

It was gross.  It was messy.  It was totally cool!

And much better than when I did it in school because there was no formaldehyde smell!

Mike was like a scientist in the making, cataloguing everything and trying to diagnose how frogger died. My vote was that he died of fright because his inner organs weren't smooshed at all.  Oh and he wasn't actually a he.  He was a she!  Because there were loads of eggs inside.

Anyway, just wanted to share this weird homeschooling moment.  Anybody else want to confide a strange homeschooling adventure?

~Kate
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When I got out of the shower and went to check on the kids today I was quite plesantly surprised. Usually they have forgotten everyting I have asked them to do as well as where they put their brains. I looked down stairs and my youngest daughter was using her microphone hooked up to the portable stereo (like her voice is not loud enough already) and she was reading to a pretend class our of her History book. This is a real mile stone because like I said usually they are everywhere but in the classroom. Yes, my oldest daughter was even doing school. Dave was home to see this which added to the moment. Usually all he sees is me telling them to "Sit back down and finish your work" or "No you can't have a break you have not even started anything yet!"

I just had to share.

If you have a moment to share please share, I would all love to hear them.

Mary
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Great story, it is very cool when kids surprise you. I have a story.......

The last couple days we have been learning about mythology with my older two who are 13 and 10. Well, the twins who are 7 would stay around the table and listen to the stories and I was surprised that they were really into this. This afternoon when I went out to check on the animals I noticed my three boys playing over on this big stump. I went over to investigate to make sure one of them didn't bury their brother in the dirt like last week. I was very surprised to hear them playing "Mt. Olympus". One son was Zeus, who had the power thunderbolt, one was Hermes who had wings on his feet and would jump off the stump to run errands for Zeus. The other son was Pan and he was walking around like a goat. They were all getting along great and really into their roles, so I left them. As I was walking away a stick sailed over my head and I turned to see my 13 year old daughter jump behind a tree. I walked over to her and she was giggling. I asked her what she was doing and she said she didn't want to play with her brothers, but got bored and decided to be Aphrodite and sling love arrows at her brothers!! 

I can honestly say that they passed mythology. :-)

Debbie
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Wednesday we went to view the Declaration of Independence, my children got to practice waiting in line, while I read the Declaration to those standing around us. I have to say the youngest one got a little antsy, but did pretty good for a 40 minute wait. It made me realize how little my children really wait in line, stand in line, keep your hands to yourself and wait. You know that thing we did a lot of in public school. Today my son watched and asked many questions while my other son filleted tuna for me to can and my son had his first trip to the veterinarian. We took our kitten in for her shots. He got to see that the kitten wasn't bothered at all and learned the official name for her - Seal point, snow shoe foot siamese! These are the little things that I like about homeschooling. Normally my other son, the animal lover takes all the trips to the vet. My children are all once again excited about science because we have experiments again! we have a lot of things 'growing ' right now at our house!  Happy homeschooling to you all ! Connie

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This morning my son was sitting on the couch in his pajamas with a large golden crown on his head that kept slipping down over one eye, and a black rubber swimming inner tube around his waist. He was reading a book about the presidents and kept passing along interesting facts about Zachary Taylor. In between the factoids he was humming Christmas Carols. Just an average, run of the mill, homeschooling moment! ~ Kate
 

Children need models rather than critics ~Joseph Joubert