Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Homeschooling Readers - I need your help!!!!

The crazy man you see pictured here is about to tackle the most thankless job ever! Not only is he going to become a stay at home dad, but he is gonna start homeschooling those two little hooligans you see in the picture ACK!!!!

So, for all you peeps that home school or know of someone that does, I am asking your help! My husband is going to be spending the summer months researching to prepare his lesson plans for the fall and I want to know what resources or groups you guys use. I want the good, the bad, the ugly. What to avoid and what you love! Please comment here your homeschooling resources.

Thanks :)

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Reagan said...

Welcome to the club! We made the decision 2 years ago after pulling my daughter from Kindergarten. It's the best thing we've ever done.

The question you'll be asked most is "why" and you'll often be questioned about "socialization". We personally do more now than ever before!

Since ya'll have little ones my suggestion would be DON'T spend a lot of money! There are too many resources for the PreK-1st grade crowd. Checkout 1plus1plus1equals1.com, confessionsofahomeschooler.com and homeschoolcreations.com for great lessons, lapbooks and more.

I'd be glad to help more if you need it!

Audrey said...

wow! that is a big undertaking! We're Catholic and are part of the Holy Family Homeschooling yahoo group. I also use the 4 real learning forums A LOT.

Blessings on your new endeavor!

Amie said...

Disclaimer: Only my oldest is being homeschooled right now. He's 5 & supposed to be starting K in the fall even though we'll be doing first grade instead.

I used Hooked on Phonics to teach him to read. We also really like Singapore Math and will be continuing with that. Saxon Math might be more popular but it didn't appear to be the best fit for DS.

Starting in the fall we'll be using The Well Trained Mind as our guide, specifically for grammar/language arts in general. I do really recommend seeing if the library has a copy of The Well Trained Mind and giving it a read as part of the research. Charlotte Mason is another one.

I know some people that use the books, "What your _____ Grader Needs to Know" as a guide for what they should be teaching.

After nearly 2 years of researching all of this we just never found a boxed curriculum that we liked enough to use. That would be why we're piecing it together.

We do tons of field trips. I don't call them field trips but we just try to make everything fun and learning without realizing it. Random thought: Have you heard of geocaching? That might be fun and it would be a great way to teach many things. Our kids love "treasure hunting" as they call it.

Good Luck and don't let it stress you (him) out. I was so overwhelmed until I finally settled on a method and then it just fell into place.

Anonymous said...

I'm distracted from the post because I'm excited you put a picture up! That is a SUPER DE DUPER picture of the family! Absolutely love it! - Katherine H.

Stephanie (aka zoeys_mom, ZM) said...

Lol Katherine. My very creative (and talented) friend Kim took this photo for us a while back (it really is time to schedule a new one) http://www.asliceoflifecreativephotography.com/

Busy Mama said...

I loved being a public school teacher for 11 years before staying home with my baby. I've been home for 11 years now with my kids and have ironically chosen to home educate them. Although I never thought I would, it is a decision I do not regret and love being able to invest so much into them.

I agree with not spending too much at the earlier grades. Used curriculum can be purchased reasonably from ebay, vegsource.com, and home school convention book sales.

I am sure that the greater Houston area must have some great home school groups. Check with your state home school office to try and link up with a group that you can plug into. You will probably have the luxury of more than one to choose from. You will find support as parents, friends for your kids, and loads of opportunities for socialization (maybe the greatest criticism of home education) and field trips.

As far as socialization and the criticism that comes - I often state the my kids are being socialized properly. Almost the only time kids are segrated by age and gender is within an educational setting. With home education, that changes. For example, my 11yo DD does not know she is should only enjoy hanging out with other 11yo girls. Her circle of friends is large and not at all limited by age or gender. In addition, both of my kids are very comfortable conversing with adults. Think about any employmenet situation and it is obvious that real life does not reflect the school model of age (and often gender) segratation.

I would echo the recommendation to read The Well Trained Mind for a great overview on a quality home school. Also, check out any home school conventions available. These offer the opportunity to actually hold and read various curricula so you have a much better idea of what they are than just reading the promo in a sales catalog.

Busy Mama said...

Busy Mama - II

With my background, I find I am better at identifying what I do not like about a curriculum and eliminating it, rather than knowing what I like and finding something that fits. For that reason, I tend to pick and choose from a variety of publishers and give myself the freedom to supplement (or skip if I feel strongly about it) to make sure it works for my kids.

For Reading and Phonics, I am sold on the Abeka curriculum because it is very structured and systematic. As it teaches the myriad of special sounds in English, the kids are learning in a way which will help them with their spelling as well. Other than Reading and Phonics, I do not recommend Abeka at all. It is pricey, watered down, and incomplete at the elementary levels. If you do choose to purchase some of their materials, check ebay for better prices.

I love Math-U-See, although it is somewhat expensive to begin. The scope and sequence is different than a traditional approach to Math, but it completely takes away the abstract nature of the material and makes it very concrete for the kids. It includes cummulative review with each lesson, so the kids are practicing skills they have learned in previous years. I love it, and consider it well worth the investment.

Shurley English provides a structured approach to grammar and writing. A common complaint is that all the writing tends to be the same; however, I find that as I am teaching my kids proven frameworks they are able over time to be more creative within the structure they have learned. It doesn't limit them, but rather teaches them models which have been great springboards for improved writing. I started my kids with Shurley in 1st grade and am pleased with how they are doing. (I am, however, a bit of a language fiend and feel there are some holes, so my kids currently complete two Language Arts curricula. Good English is a pet peeve of mine.)

Almost anything by Critical Thinking Press is worth the investment, and the kids love the activities. It is never too early to teach your kids to think. I believe we need to teach our kids how to think on their own and not just accept everything thrown at them. We work on problem solving, logic skills, and recognizing bias regularly, as well as how to communicate their positions effectively.

Busy Mama said...

Busy Mama - III

Utilize your local library. Larger ones often have curricula available - great for unit studies. Check if your state level home school group offers IDs - great for discounts at museums. Don't forget about educator discounts at bookstores - both Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million offer 20% for anything you use with your home school. Also, loads of companies offer incentives, and our kids qualify - Pizza Hut Book-It, Six Flags, Barnes & Noble, Borders, HEB, and many more.

Enjoy! Hats off to you and your husband for making the leap, and to him for being willing to make the investment into your beautiful daughters. Some days will be tough, but don't be discouraged. Your kids are worth it.

Busy Mama

Stephanie (aka zoeys_mom, ZM) said...

Wow! This information is great, keep the comments coming. I am reading all this and have told my husband he better do the same, lol. Busy Mama, I know what you mean on the socialization at different age levels. We currently have our children in Montessori school, but with the increased cost of tuition, and prices of gas and everything else rising, it makes NO sense for us to not homeschool. I truly think my husband was BORN to be a teacher and I know he will do a wonderful job and our kids will get a much stronger education than we feel the public schools can provide.

Avery Q. Poner said...

The first stop The Home School Store on 1355 Judiway Street
Houston, TX 77018-6141
(713) 683-8894

Bus: Ella Blvd @ Judiway St
owner: Randy (homeschool dad)

There is plenty of used or new material. You can spend a day or two looking at all thats available for homeschooling.

The library will let you check books out for 6 weeks instead of two.

Half Price gives you a 10% discount.

A great book to get (the older editions)(preK-6th grade) is Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills. You can pick these up at Half Price Books. The reason I purchase these each year was If you don't have time to put your curriculum together for some reason or you are going out of town you can just take the book along and lessons are already prepared for you.

For languages I used Hey Andrew, Teach Me Greek and the Latin Video program you will find at the Home School Store.

I used the Saxon Math Series Saxon54-Algrebra. This series is great but it takes longer to do But it is worth it. Because after you complete it you will be able to work from up any math book with ease. You can not skip any problems through because it builds upon itself. I didn't use the books before Saxon 5/4 ( advanced 4th or regular 5th grade) This math series prepare you for the SAT or ACT.

Avery Q. Poner said...

And the money you save from private school tuition can go for vacation field trips which will become your geography lessons.

You will love it.

You can even let the girls do coupons shopping for math class.

Anel @ T.N.C. mom said...

I use "the complete daily curriculum for early childhood" i bought this at borders for about $30 and it is quite complete, it gives you the lesson and activities and references resources for the stories that you will need, but it's meant for 3-5 year olds [im not sure if your kiddos are in that range] i use the leapfrog wipe-off workbooks [found them at dollar tree on mason road] we also go to the library at lone star college every week for preschool time, it lasts 45 mins and there's stories and singing time, this gives my little boy the interaction with other kids. i would suggest you find if there are programs like that at your local library. we also do field trips or sometimes we have class in the backyard, he loves that. hope this helps, good luck :)

Anonymous said...

Would it be possible for a few people to comment on one or two reasons why they decided to homeschool? I have thought about going this way but don't want to hurt my child. I definitely wouldn't try it past 2nd grade because I wouldn't want us to fall behind, but I have thought about it for kindergarten to 1st. But then I feel like I would be denying my child from the experience and the more relaxed/playful school years, and I already carry so much guilt for other things already.
A few of the reasons I have been thinking about it are...
We still live where I definitely know I don't want him going to the school we are zoned to, and we can't afford to pay for school.
The day seems so long even though I know thousands of other kids the same age are handling it. My kindergarten day in a different state was a couple of hours less, and still is.
I feel like a part of me was broken by the kindergarten teacher when my time as the class leader for the afternoon was taken away from me and scolded for it in front of all the other kids. All I can remember is that I was in front of the class pointing to the board like a teacher and being only as assertive as a nice kindergarten girl could be, and bam, my time was gone. This might be why I rarely put my hand up to answer questions and my stomach was in knots when the teacher picked randomly for the rest of my schooling years, even when I was positive I knew the answer.
My child gets upset whenever I mention getting ready for school.
I also have several other reasons.

I just don't want my sensitive, quick thinking, playful 5 year old to be broken, by a teacher or a bully. My child stands up for himself with us, and has a fast answer to challenge us when we reply with an answer he can "fix".

I know I could always take him out of school, but I live in Houston where I think, and others agree, that CPS seems to harsh in some cases where it's not needed.

Mommarock said...

Hi Zm.. this is mommarock from Hotcouponworlds chatroom.. when there was one.. LOL. I homeschool my 13yo son. We are just finishing 7th grade. Now he did spend many years in public school when we moved to Tx. I thought things would be different here. He also homeschooled in 1st, and 2nd grade when we lived in Maine. When he returned to public school, he was well ahead of where everyone else is. I would say you have to #1 Make school time school time.. it isn't optional. It can be fun.. yes of course, and I do think they learn better when it is.. but We always had a special space we went to so that the kids knew we were going to school. (My older kids homeschooled as well). I looked at many curriculums. My first year I ever homeschooled, I purchased a book that had everything I needed included in one book, so that I could just get the hang of the fact that I was homeschooling. It took a lot of weight off my shoulders. I learned what did work, and what didn't work with my kids. Were they hands on crafty learners, or were they workbook kids. It makes a difference in what kind of curriculum you want to follow. How old are the girls now? I had kids in 5th and 3rd, and combined them in one curriculum so that I didn't have two separate curriculums to write. I just modified things for the age differences and abilities. If you would like to know more I am happy to share.. you can e-mail me at mommarock at verizon dot net

Avery Q. Poner said...

@ KatyCouponers

You can check out Joyce Swann & Accelerated Education. Her kids finish at 16 and got their BA at 18

Avery Q. Poner said...

@ Anonymous - after the first year you will be able to teach all grades. ABeka has a video program that does all the work for you if you would like to try that the first year to get a feel of it.

It only takes 2-3 hours to teach the lower levels. If you use the puplic school time frame you will finish 2 grade levels in a year.

Ryan said...

I am going to homeschool too. I live in Pearland and we have the Pearland Homeschool Alliance. Surely the Katy area has something like that too. www.thsc.org is a good site and they have a yearly convention every summer in The WOODLANDS.

Kathy said...

Way to go, Stephanie! I'm not homeschooling but I always wanted to. Check this link out for some homeschool tips: http://www.facebook.com/smockityfrocks?sk=app_176217385757369

I also find useful information from these websites: http://www.currclick.com/ (there are tons of free materials on this sites along with live interactive classes)


Good luck and have fun!


Avery Q. Poner said...

@katycouponer you can check out Bear Creek HomeSchool Group. Good news Homeschool.com is using the Cash Flow game with Rebecca Kochenderfer/Robert and Kim Kiyosaki with the Homeschool Groups. I asked you about it a while ago but I didn't get a chance to read your reply. Im a math major too. I think if we can save on coupons imagine what we can do with finances. Im just going to have to invest in the game. Its expensive but I will save my overages to get.

Stephanie (aka zoeys_mom, ZM) said...

Thanks for all the help so far everyone, wow a wealth of knowledge. I have lots of reading to do this weekend. Avery I have the cashflow game :)

Anonymous said...

That's so awesome! There are several home school dads out there. I have always home schooled. I would agree with the others. Don't get caught up in spending lots of money to begin with on curriculum, instead, read, read, read. Join a local home school group! Math U See is great, but I've heard more and more about Saxon and will be switching to that. Check out Apologia Science and History of the World. And for a almost full curriculum, My Father's World is awesome.

As for the comment from someone about why to home school, for me, all I can say is, it's something I always knew I should do. Don't worry about getting behind, you are working one on one where as in public school, the teacher has 30plus kids and spends most of the day disciplining. Have you ever wondered after 8 hours of school, why the kids come home with so much work?

Just my two cents ;)

Avery Q. Poner said...

Wow! Katycouponers, How much did you pay for the game?

kimberly Wieberg said...

Here are a few websites that I like: www.abcteach.com

Mary Farmer said...

Loving the picture! :)

Kelli said...

I am starting this fall as well! I have a 2 year old and 3 year old (will be 3&4). I ordered mother goose time. It comes with all of your craft supplies and lesson plans ready to go.

Local Deal Finder-Huntsville-Conroe-The Woodlands said...

I'll be starting my oldest this year on the K4 level. I've been trying to spend this past year getting acquainted with the terminology and choosing curriculum and I can't say that I'm any less overwhelmed-feeling! Ha! I know it'd be a drive for you guys, BUT if you can make it to at least one day of the Homeschool Convention in July in The Woodlands, it is awesome and so uplifting and encouraging. I'm so ready to go again so I can get my enthusiasm back!! And they often offer discounts if you buy there (although you may be able to find used curriculum cheaper). http://www.thsc.org/Categories3.aspx?Id=Convention

Shannon (Living Life at Home) said...

There are three local YAHOO homeschool groups you might like. Look at Yahoo Groups for:
G-HAH (Greater Houston Area Homeschoolers)
WHHE (West Houston Home Educators)
KACH (Katy Association of Christain Homeschoolers)

There's a very large homeschooling community in Katy and west houston, with lots of opportunities.

Enjoy the Journey!

Reagan said...

Check out:

Great for the preK crowd up to upper elementary. Most of their stuff is free too!

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