19 answers

I Would like to Home School My Kids but Need Help Starting

I have lots of questions. First of all this is something I've always thought about but never thought I could actually do. Right now my kids are in a private school, my daughter is in 2nd grade and is very social so I'd be worried about her more than my other one (in kindergarten) who still just cries and wants to stay home with me everyday.I've been keeping track and writing questions down as I think of them...

Pros and Cons
How to get started
What do you do with the little ones when you teach the older ones?
What if they fight learning or don't want to do their work?
Where in your house? Do you have a special room?
When? What time of day is best to work? How long each day?
Good websites
How do I get started
Social problems

Thanks ladies. Any advice will be helpful.

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

More Answers

First off, I was homeschooled from the 6th grade on. My mother pulled me out of public school when she did her student teaching to become a teacher. She realized then that the public school system just doesn't work for most learning types.

The woman that left the other comment that says you need special training to teach reading and basic math was exaggerating in my opinion. I do agree that there will be many things when a child gets older that you won't be able to teach, but there are always resources (which should be used to the maximum) to help you in such areas.

You will have to be dedicated to making sure that some work gets done everyday. I would make a "school" area with designated space for school-work. Kids are curious and want to learn, so if you make it interesting and cater to their learning style's they'll want to be there. I used to do 2-3 hours of work a day and I was always up with my peers.

There are many resources in Oregon for homeschool tutors, classes and social events. I'm not sure where they're located here in Portland because I was homeschooled in NE Oregon. The facility was called ESD when I was younger. ESD offered group classes several times a week, public computers and tutors for free. I'm sure there are many homeschool groups around here that will do field trips, etc. It's easy to get enough social time if you're dedicated to it.

I recommend group classes through a program like EDS (they're small and only a couple hours a week), this allows some social time. I took group classes for Spanish, Latin, math, etc. I would also suggest that both of your kids have some extra curricular activities such as soccer, karate, art, gymnastics, boy scouts, or anything else in a group setting. Kids need to be around children of ALL ages, not just their own age.

My brother, my younger sister and I all started college at 16, which was an appropriate age for all of us. We're all years ahead of our peers because we didn't waste 2 years in high school learning the same things they teach in college.

The other lady who responded was correct in stating that you HAVE TO BE DEDICATED. It is a lot of work to home school children. Even though I strongly preferred home-schooling to public school (I always hated public school, it was so boring to me), I'm still not sure that I will home-school my own son. I just don't think that I personally would dedicate the time it takes to make sure all of this educational needs are met.

Good luck with this. I think it's a much better option than the public school system. :)

1 mom found this helpful

You've received some great advice from other mammas. Read it all!

Homeschooling is not ideal for every family, but I've been watching the growing movement for years (my husband and I produce science and math curricula that homeschoolers really like), and I can honestly say that I would have LOVED to have homeschooled my daughter if my life circumstances had allowed. It is truly the best choice for many children.

Homeschooling also has its problems and trade-offs. This is true of any major life journey we might choose, though, so don't let it stop you. Just do your homework first and get clear about what you want and why you want it.

I strongly recommend that you start by joining a support group to help you consider the legal ramifications and requirements for your state. And you will get loads of practical advice and creative ideas as well. Google "homeschool support groups, your state or city," to find local groups that meet your philosophical requirements. There are also a few exceptionally good magazines out there (there are also a few pretty marginal ones, in my observation). If your wish is to focus on Christianity, I really like Home School Enrichment http://homeschoolenrichment.com/magazine/. If your tastes are more secular or eclectic, Home Education Magazine <http://www.homeedmag.com/&gt; and Life Learning Magazine http://www.lifelearningmagazine.com/ are really excellent. Their websites offer lots of information that will help answer the questions you have asked, and possibly archived articles that will help you get a feel for their orientation.

I wish you well - this is a huge undertaking. But then, parenting is a huge undertaking, yes?

(If you'd like to look at the materials my husband writes and I illustrate, go to www.topscience.org for dozens of free sample science and math activities that run on simple materials.)

1 mom found this helpful

I home schooled our daughter from 5th grade thru high school and found it was the best thing for both of us. She did well when entering college. I tried several things to start with, Abecka, just putting together various items such as Saxon math etc., then we tried ACE from the School of Tommorrow which worked really well for us. It is a christian curriculum and very easy to use. Some of the more difficult classes had video's you could rent, kind of a remote teacher idea, that made a lot of difference. I do daycare so we needed something that could be mostly self dirrected. She went on field trips with a homeschool group and had lots of people around her most of the time between daycare and church. We did schooling just about anywhere but mostly at the dining room table. young children and you will need to establish a place, time, andschedule that you stick to until it is just a natural for all of you to do this at this time in this place. Mornings are best so if things get delayed you don't miss out entirely for the day and because you are fresher in the morning. 2 to 4 hours a day is plenty if the child does not procrastenate. (No lunch until your math is done!) www.schooloftomorrow.com was there address. They have a brochure that usually can answer all your questions and I found them very helpful when I had questions or concerns. They can help answer questions about how to get started in your state as each state is different. It takes commitment on your part and dicipline to stick with it but the long term results are worth it. My daughter is about to graduate from college with 2 associates degrees.

1 mom found this helpful

A friend just loaned me a book called Child's Work: Taking children's choices seriously by Nancy Wallace. It's published by John Holt, an unschooling author. I recommend reading this book, I believe it will answer many of your questions and probably ease your mind. I am not finished with it but so far it seems this book is important for every parent, not just home schooling/unschooling ones.

I would check out the other publications by John Holt as well, Holt Associates Publications. You may also want to get a subscription to Mothering magazine and check out their web site, I'm pretty certain they have many wonderful resources on-line.


1 mom found this helpful

I am currently homeschooling my 7-yr-old ADD son and homeschooled my daughter through 9th grade, when she asked to go to "real" school, so we put her in private school, and then the last 3 years she did a combination of private school (for subjects I'm not good at; literature and history) and homeschool.

I decided to homeschool my daughter when I saw what kindergarten did to my best friend's little girl. She went from a respectful, obedient little girl to a disrespectful, sassy kid (which she still is). My daughter was past the cut-off for starting (she was born in October) and although I could have put her in school early, her best friends weren't going in early, and I thought I would just wait, so she could start school with her best friends. But in that year that we waited, she learned, just in the course of playing and talking and living, all the stuff they teach in kindergarten, and by the time it came to put her in, I realized she had nothing to learn academically in kindergarten, and all she would be learning was the snotty, bad behavior of other kids (like my best friend's daughter had done) and I didn't want to lose my well-behaved little girl! So we started homeschooling and never looked back. I would never do anything differentnly! Besides, God give your child for YOU to raise. Why would you turn them over for 7 hours per day to people you don't know who may or may not have the same value system you have? (Incidentally, my daughter graduated high school at 17, took the GED test and scored so high that they gave her a silver embossed GED certificate. She had no trouble at all in college. We handled socialization by outside activities, ballet, choir, art class, Sunday school...she certainly never suffered in that regard...and in fact, when she learned all the "politics" in 9th grade, was glad i had spared her all that garbage all along.)

I don't know how you get started in the middle, as we started at the beginning. I used "Writing Road to Reading" which is phonics based (and trust me, whatever reading program you use, be sure it is phonics based, not "whole language"). It teaches the sounds of letters and letter groups, and the children first learn to write language, and I have never actually "taught" reading. It just happens with this program. My daughter and son were not ready to read at 6 (although both my dh and I read at 4). But both knew all the letters and the sounds they made, and both of them, overnight it seemed, just began reading. With my son, he has had severe vision problems, and we have had big breaks in his education for various reasons, but during those breaks, he just kept on learning.

You DO have to work hard in the first few years making sure you drill the addition/subtraction, multiplication/division facts, because it needs to be right there, and the only way to make it that way is to drill, drill...but there are lots of fun ways to practice (and games, like Monopoly Jr, reinforce the addition and subtraction, and they don't realize they are learning).

My son is right now at the tail end of first grade in math, second grade in science and history (which you don't even have to do in 2nd grade, if you don't want to--we just do it because he loves it) and third grade in reading. We spend 2 to 3 hours per day homeschooling.

The main thing is to get the basics in math down really good (Abeka is a wonderful math program) and encourage them to read read read. The elementary years are when children's mind are like sponges, and these are the best years to get lots of facts into their heads (the presidents, the states, scripture memorization, memorize poems, whatever they are interested in).

Kids naturally want to learn and are curious. Follow their interests and their learning styles, and they will not fight. If they do fight, there is a reason. When my son was first starting to read, he could hold his attention on a book for about 15 minutes, and when we got to harder books (and the print got smaller) he got down to 5, then he would fidget, change the subject, cry, kick, anything but read. We did not understand it until we realized how severe his vision problem was. He was able to hyperfocus for about 5 minutes, and then he could not force his eyes to see anymore, and what he could read 5 minutes ago, he could not read now...and that was the confusing part. We thought it was ADD or stubbornness. But when we got his glasses right, he just took off. He reads everything now. He has been reading for a year and is at 3rd grade level.

We go to the library a lot and get simple books on things he is interested, trains, bugs, etc.

Curricula: There is no end to the amount of curricula available for homeschoolers. We have had great success with Abeka. if you get the lesson plans, it gives you everything you are supposed to do every day.

Where do you work? We have done school in varioius places over the years. My daughter is distracted by everything that goes on, so we finally had to set aside a room for her to work in. Now we don't have extra space, so have a special shelf for books in the dining room and just work at the dining table. But that might be too high for a small child (my 7 tr old is almost 5 feet tall) for writing, so you might want to get a lower table/desk for her to work at if she is small.

We have always worked in the mornings, and we usually start with a fun thing, like Bible or Science and then hit the hardest, like math or reading. I think it depends on both you and your child. If your child focuses best in the morning, do it in the morning, if she is better able to sit still in the afternoon, do it in the afternoon. Or do part in the morning and part in the afternoon. There is no rule tha says you have to do it all at once. In fact, with my daughter, we broke it up into an hour in the mid morning, then an hour in the afternoon for first and second grade. You can usually amuse your younger ones with something for short periods like that.

Greg Harris has written a good book called "The Christian Homeschool" that talks about a lot of these issues. Socialization happens, if you talk to your kids, interact with them respectfully, and just expose them to other people, which unless you live in a monastery, is going to happen...you see people at the store, at the park, anywhere you go you interact with people, and your kids interact with people. There are countless extracurricular activities you will likely involve your child in, sports, dance, playing with friends...

We have a homeschool group that has about 50 kids in it now, and we do field trips as a group twice per month and that is fun. You might be able to find a homeschool group with people of similar interests as you in your area. (wow this got long...hope it helps).

You are asking a lot of very good questions. My 2 boys are about the same age as the ones you mentioned.
One thing to keep in mind is you don't have to hs all the children....decide what is best for each child.
As for the social child, you can join a co-op and meet w/other families once a week for classes and then have play dates other times.
as for curriculums, what are you looking for? I could give you the specifics of what we do and know that there are a lot more. we use Spell to Write and Read (www.bhi.com I believe) and www.mathusee.com for math. bible, history and science are done w/our co-op. we try to follow The Well Trained Mind book by Susuan Wise Baur. History utilizes the story of the world, veritas press cards, and Usborne world history ency. Science uses the usborne scienced encyclopedia.
Special room? kitchen table has the most light. I tried our dining room table but it's just too dark, plus the table is an old drop leaf and I'm afraid that ds will break it w/all the leaning he does on it. ds also has a desk in his room, so he can retreat there as needed.
what to do w/the other kids? some can play quietly/entertain themselves, others not so well so maybe more intense schooling is done during their nap time. above all be flexible...don't worry for a few more years.
how much time? 3-5 hours pending how focused he is.
What if they fight? they will....just remember you are the parent and the teacher. It's a real judgement call sometimes between whining to get out of work and simply I don't get it. I try to do just 2 more problems to let him know I am deciding the work level but this way have given him an out.
I know there is a lot to consider, please let me know if I can help you more.

I have just one beautiful little daughter that my husband and I decided to home school much to the dismay of family. We looked through a tons of curriculum and got busy looking up the requirements for the state. We finally settled on the most amazing in between option: Connections Academy Charter School. It's been so wonderful that now my sister (who was so sure that I was making a mistake) is talking of doing the same with her boys.

The entire curriculum, placement, and progress is tracked by the "school", but we teach everything at home. We control her schedule and the speed, but all of the curriculum meets the same materials as public schools. It's the best of both worlds: You don't have to research and plan, you just get to spend time teaching and playing. I am having SO MUCH fun with my daughter and she loves it!

The best part is that the entire curriculum is paid for by the public school system and you have a "teacher" who checks in and makes sure everything is going well. All already paid with tax dollars and it's considered public school so in the end they get a high school diploma.

Any things with a cultural slant (such as holidays) are considered optional, and, as the learning coach, you choose what and how you teach it. This has given us multiple opportunities to seamlessly include our values.
I highly recommend it and have more anecdotes from my kid and others that gave me the idea to check it out if you're interested.


I just wanted to chime in as another "vote of confidence" for the ACE program through www.schooloftomorrow.com. I did this program for 7 years as a child. I am now using it with my kids. Since it is so self-directed, it allows my 11 year old to get studies in while I am taking care of the house and 3 year old. I am the Supervisor who checks work and answers questions. I don't have to create any lessons. I'm busy enough without reinventing the wheel! :) Good luck! Homeschooling is totally worth it!

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