Need Some Homeschooling Info...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Catwmn, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. Catwmn

    Catwmn New Member

    I am sick to death of dealing with the school where Aaron is concerned...

    He has had so many absences due to his epilepsy that they are telling me now that he will more than likely fail this year.

    I am SERIOUSLY considering pulling him out after Christmas Break and homeschooling him.

    I have been looking into a lot of different types of curricula and I am thinking of going with Switched On Schoolhouse CDROM based curriculum.

    Anyone using this? Any tips for homeschooling? Anyone have multiple kids and only homeschool one??

    Just looking for some advice...

  2. helpmehelphim

    helpmehelphim New Member

    Hi! I started homeschooling last year and it's gone very well. I have twins who are 12 and a toddler. I offered the option to both older boys since I felt that best for our situation. They both decided to try it. We have a large homeschooling group here. It is fabulous! There are 3 major Universities in the area and the group gets resources from all of them (my kids take a class through one of them that meets monthly). We also provide twice yearly activities (I just led a class at our library to share resources for keeping toddlers busy with- activities while spending time teaching to the in a bag for toddlers kinda stuff). There are so many activities and learning opportunities for us. It's a great group!

    If you'd like other information and any insights into the downside of it (because there are downsides of course and one really has to take the time to nurture themselves or patience runs really thin at least for me) or anything (like curriculum or websites), please feel free to pm. I have found that actually both of my kids are more successful now in their learning (they were in middle school though which can be brutal) than before and for my difficult child, success is crucial and really turns things around. I also see in the big picture, a time where they will go back to public school and difficult child will have more tools to help with- coping. Good luck!
  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I did it for about 5 years. It is a challenge, but it can be worth it.

    Definitely join a home school group or 2, because they do a lot of fun activities and field trips, just like a school environment.

    As far as curriculum, we did try many different ones. Switched on SchoolHouse, was OK for awhile, but it did not hold my son's attention. It was too monotonous for him. I ended up just creating our own curriculum with workbooks, worksheets I downloaded from on-line, videos, projects.......just whatever kept him learning in an engaging way. There is so much out there.

    I think it is worth a try, for sure! Good luck!
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I can't advise about curriculum because our situation is different. But something we put in place ages ago that has helped - "school work during school hours." So even when he was in mainstream and home due to illness, he HAD to do schoolwork at home. Even if he was ill, running a fever or whatever - in some way, he had to have books open or computer programs being worked on. The only way out was to go to bed AND sleep (which he would only do if he was REALLY sick).

    I did use a number of computer programs to fill in gaps in his knowledge; we try to work on the gaps as well as consolidate the stuff he's good at (I uses the good stuff as a reward for digging in and working on the tricky stuff).

    Various outings can be used as lessons too - because difficult child 3 is autistic, he's got more of his social interaction from going shopping with me (which sometimes has to be done during school hours). I would get him to load the shopping onto the checkout and if we were paying cash, I would get difficult child 3 to work out how much to hand over, and how much change we should expect. And while scanning the shelves I would also get difficult child 3 to work out the 'best buy'. Example - baked beans come in a number of brands and a range of stupid sizes (thanks to manufacturers refusing to accept metrication, and now simply sticking with what they know). We have baked beans in 100g, 124g, 125g, 150g, 175g, 225g, 240g, 250g, 275g. And many others. We DO NOT have unit pricing (ie price per 100g). So I would get difficult child 3 to work out the unit price, in his head, for each product AND mentally compare them to see which had the lowest unit price. It's a tall order but it taught him to estimate (difficult for an autistic, because they like to be precise and HATE to rely on estimates). He had to learn to trust instincts. And you can't just assume the larger will be better value - for years, 500g frozen Birds Eye peas have been cheaper per kilo than the kilo bag. Only by 2c, but it's crazy. I buy 2 500g bags instead of the kilo bag.
    As difficult child 3 got the hang of handling money and shopping routine, I began to send him on his own to buy one or two items - we buy olives and feta cheese in a large deli in the middle of the mall - I can watch him from the supermarket checkout or the café. I would send him there alone and watch - and because he did it with me a few times, he did well on his own (and they knew him).
    difficult child 3 also loves computer games and gadgets, he spends a lot of his shopping time on his own now, scouting around for a particular game and comparison-shopping for the best deal. He's learning independence, he's communicating well with people, he's learning to understand commercial transactions.

    And when you get home from shopping to fill in what lessons he did that day - you can say he did estimation (Mathematics), money transactions (Economics, Commerce and Mathematics), reading (all those signs, labels, specials etc), map-reading to find the shop he wanted (Geography), as well as personal organisation (following a shopping list, managing time and money, bank transactions etc). Not to mention the social interactions. All from one shopping trip. Go on a field trip to a museum, a park, a beach - you can learn so much more AND have fun yourself.

    I have found that teaching difficult child 3 at home has required us to be joined at the hip; I'm often studying the work too, just so I can help him. I use what knowledge I have to teach even more and together we have fun. Last year he had to write a report on rainforests so we went for a short drive to a temperate rainforest south of Sydney. We walked right in, crossed a creek (the upper reaches of a major river system, ankle deep at this point) and saw leeches looping across the moss to get to us. We looked at the tangle of roots and creepers, the really tall trees blocking out the sun, we heard the trickle of water, the calls of birds and insects and we smelt the damp, the fungus and the cool air. He touched the trees, the leaves, felt the water (and drank some). It took half an hour.
    Then a couple of months ago he saw a talk on mangroves on one of our educational TV shows. "I want to visit mangroves," he told me, so that afternoon when he'd finished his book work, we took an even shorter drive to the next village, where the tidal flats are covered on one side with mangroves. We waded through the edge, saw the buzzing of insects, looked at the amazing diversity of creatures sheltering in the roots, saw the way the sand is eroded when not protected by mangroves, then looked behind the mangroves to see which trees came next after mangroves reclaimed the land. I was then able to tell him that when I was his age, Sydney councils and government were trying to eradicate mangroves along the river because they were considered unsightly and worthless. They've begun to put it all back now and there are some wonderful boardwalks and parks in Sydney, through mangroves. There is a beauty near what used to be Olympic Village (2000). It's called Bicentennial Park and even though a major expressway is running on the other side of the mangrove boardwalk, you can't see or hear it while you're in the mangroves.
    That took an hour, but it DID include a stop at the shop for an ice cream!

    When you look around, you can find things in your area which he can learn about and use. It's the sort of thing you tell yourself, "I must get around to it one day," and eventually your visitors will see more of your area than you. But home-schooling your child can give you an opportunity to discover your neighbourhood along with him.

    And the best thing? No more phone calls from the school to upset you and totally blow your plans for the day out of the water. If I need to see a doctor, I take him with me with his work in tow, or nowadays I can leave him at home knowing he will work in my absence. Or we plan an educational outing in the area we're visiting. But as I drive to my appointment I KNOW I will not have to cancel everything and turn back, because the school rang begging me to collect my sick kid (who, it turned out, was only 'sick' because the school was too stressful a place for him). AND he is getting more work done this way, than he ever did at school.

    Another good thing - no more planning holidays around school holiday times. difficult child 3 is now totally portable. He got a vast amount of work done while we were in New Zealand, and all of the time there was during school term. We might be on a boat trip and he would be writing in his books, looking up to see the next amazing sight. We visited educational museums that taught us about the area we were visiting - the Volcano Museum at Taupo was brilliant, it had seismographs, film of lahar flows from the nearby volcano Mt Ruapehu, a relief map of the area also showing the degree of volcanic activity in each area - so much. We only had an hour there but it taught him so much. The Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in him had him watching the seismograph screens and he saw one earthquake as it happened, on White Island. He was surprised when told that people on White Island wouldn't have felt it. It all helped him finally understand what I'd been trying to teach him.

    We don't do holidays like that often, but we do more day trips now. And every afternoon after school hours finish, he takes himself for a walk on the headland and immerses himself in the wildlife and comes home covered in the Geology (white clay from an eroded ancient volcano relic).

    I'm much more involved, but he is doing so much better and is so much happier. And if he's happier, so are we all.

  5. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    I did homeschool for 2 of my 3 for a year and a half. easy child and difficult child 2 were homeschooled using a program I got from the christian book store. It is in the basement so I don't remember what it was now. With easy child for part of the year she was actually duel enrolled which means I did most of the classes but she could take gym, art and extra stuff from the school. It also meant I could get books from the school if I wanted to follow their courses.

    It really depends on what you are looking for. We have been redoing our house so like Marg on the excursions we made about an hour a day remodeling. Math skills are heavily used not to mention the hands on skills. I also did some field trips even without a group. Our local fire department had no problem giving a tour and talking with them.

    I could not do it after that as it was too much stress with difficult child 2. I decided that it would be easier at that point to learn what I needed to in order to make it work better with the school. I accomplished alot with both of them though.

  6. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Just saw you live pretty close to Dallas, which is where I reside. Let me know if you need any resources in the Dallas area, and I would be more than glad to help. You can PM if you want.