Wow! So overwhelmed & new to homeschooling. Pleeease H

Having problems figuring out where to start? Let other homeschoolers offer you some advice!

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Wow! So overwhelmed & new to homeschooling. Pleeease H

Postby i8urchicken » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:50 pm

This is my first post, so first off I would like to introduce myself. My name is Holly, and I am a 34 year old happily married mother of 3 from Southwestern Indiana (Sullivan, Indiana to be exact). Aside from my family I love the outdoors, digging in the gravel for intersting rocks, gardening, couponing (and no I am NOT an extreme couponer, i'm far from greedy like those portrayed on TLC), freebies and antiques. This is just to name a few things.

Now for the backstory - My middle child, my only daughter, has struggled terribly in the 4th grade. So much so that I ended up withdrawling her from the public school system and took over her education here at home. The teachers were mean (I do know this for a fact, and I heard it from more then just my daughter, but other teachers and parents as well), they refused to help her 1 on 1, and the kids at school picked on her for being just slightly overweight. It all came to a blow for me, and I found myself out of patience with the public school system, so I just withdrew her in March of this year. I even quit my job so that I could devote my time to not only her education, but all of my childrens education. Since we already had the books, I continued with her current school assigned curriculum through the end of this school year.

My problem is, what now? I have poured over all of the different curriculums available for a 5th grader, and just when I find one I think I might like, I read mixed reviews on it. So that's where I need help, in picking the right curriculum for my daughter. My sons will both continue with public school atleast for the 2011-2012 school year.

I was leaning towards the Lifepac set by Alpha Omega, and I even reviewed a 7th grade curriculum to get an idea (it was a family members) and I liked how it was set up, but upon reading further into reviews online, I am seeing where people say it's not challenging, their children fall behind where they should be, there isn't enough explanation....... Now I know we are all different, and each child learns at a different pace, so I am still not sure. Then there are parents who loved it and think it's great.

I've also seen other curriculums online, such as BJU, Abeka, Apologia and Saxon. So what I need is for anyone who will, please give me your insight, and if you have tried any of these curriculums, how do you feel about it? And the curriculum doesn't have to be Christian based either. I read that the Lifepacs push religion really hard. We are Christian, so some Christian based learning would be okay, but I want to keep the focus on the core subjects that HAVE to be learned. Church is for learning the Bible in large doses. For 5th grade, I only want Math, Science, History/Geography, Language Arts and possibly Health as an extra or Art, because my daughter daydreams about being a famous designer someday, lol.

Now as for my daughter, this may give some of you that are really experienced in homeschooling a better idea on what would work best for her. She is a dreamer, her comprehension is slower then the "normal" and it takes her sometimes reading something a few times to grasp it. She is not highly motivated, she would rather be drawing and designing clothes instead of paying attention. Her attention span is low, simply because she can't get her head out of the sand. She does have ADD, and she is not being medicated for it yet. It was never that bad, and she did well in school all the way until 4th grade. She just had to push harder then the average student. But in 4th grade, no amount of pushing seemed to work, and she just gave up, burned out. She does better with visual learning, so I considered doing something like Switched on Schoolhouse, but I think really for now, she isn't self disciplined enough for a computer program, and I will have better control and help over her learning through books. And, I am afraid on a computer she would stray to a game, rather then her schooling. Atleast through textbooks, she is confined to a room with no TV and distraction. And lastly, she is not dumb, she is very intelligent, and she does great in the things that DO interest her. But if she isn't interested, it can be like trying to teach a rock.

But, I am also new at this. I have so much to learn, and I could be wrong in what would work best for her. In time, I will learn from mistakes, but I want to keep them to a minimum.

I hope atleast a few of you here will offer advice. I am in desperate need of it right now. :-)

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Postby elliemaejune » Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:53 am

Welcome. :D

Personally, *I* would not recommend buying a box of books from a single school publisher (i.e., ABeka, BJUP, Alpha Omega, etc.). Materials and methods which allow for mother-daughter discussions and interactions would be much better for many subjects, IMHO. Also, the first few months at home you'll be finding out what she actually does and does not know, because frankly, you can't depend on test scores or reports from teachers to figure that out.

Happily, Indiana has a great homeschool law: no testing, no approval of any kind (although if you haven't done so, it would be a good idea to officially notify your dd's school that she isn't coming back; otherwise, they'll just think she's truant, and that could get dicey. Also, you should request her cumulative records.).

Over the summer you do some things like read to her and let her read to you, and have her do some copy work (copying Bible verses or a paragraph or two out of a good book). Also, she could write letters to a couple of friends or grandparents. These things would give you a better idea of her reading and writing skills, which will affect the way you do all her subjects.

Here are some things to look at:

Total Language Plus
Common Sense Press: Learning Language Arts Through Literature
Queen Homeschool Supplies: Charlotte Mason, all subjects
Mystery of History
Married to Mr. Ellie for over 30 years
Mother to 2 dds and 2 dsil
Grandmother to 1 sweet boy
Caretaker of 2 budgies

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Postby hscoach » Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:19 am

I agree with elliemaejune, that I would not recommend buying a boxed set of curriculum either. I don't think it would be best for your daughter and it would be quite expensive.

Since she is a dreamer and might have ADD, I think you should research what curriculum typically works best for that type of child. Here are a couple of links: ... tml?cat=25 ... ild-a35775

Here's a book that you might want to read. See if your public library has it. If they don't, you can ask them to order it.- ... 0761535691

You should see if you can figure out her learning style. Here's one link for that, but I am sure there are more.........or good books you could check out at the library on that subject. Then try to match your curriculum choices to her learning style.

If you put together a curriculum for her, based on her needs and learning style, it may take more time but will probably be less money. You should buy used items whenever possible, instead of new. You could use Switched on Schoolhouse, if you want to...............but buy it used and only for ONE subject. That way, you can see how she does with it. We've bought it for only one subject many times.

It is also a good idea to go to a store that sells homeschool curriculum and get your hands on what you are considering. If you look through it yourself, it can give you a better idea of what it is really like.

Choosing curriculum can be overwhelming because there are so many choices out there; it becomes confusing. Don't feel rushed. Take your time to make the right decision. You have the whole summer, so that is good. Best wishes!

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Postby i8urchicken » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:20 am

Thanks so much for your reply. I have picked up, "Exploring Creation with Astronomy" textbook & workbook by Apologia for a total of only $13. The workbook & textbook are barely used, and have almost no writing. It is set up to be used 2x/week for the entire school year. I'm trying to decide now though, should I make this her science curriculum? It doesn't teach about anything outside of Astronomy, which atleast is a subject that does intrigue her.

I never knew you could buy SOS for just one subject. That's something I think could be highly helpful for her in math, which is her weakest subject.

Then perhaps I could focus on the Lifepacs for just her geography/history & language arts, and perhaps supplement science here and there with videos/hands on projects of plants & animals.

And also since she is 10, I was thinking of making Health an elective for her. I feel it is time she start learning in depth more then just how to eat correctly. But I don't know if the Lifepac health curriculum touches on the subject of what a 10 year old girl has to look forward to in the near future. Have any of you taught with a health curriculum? What one is best for a 10 year old female?

I'm off to check out those links now. Thanks again!

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Postby six » Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:43 pm

I would let her alone for quite a while. Let her express an interest and go from there, The design is great because you can integrate math,history , art and more. the label ADD is probably from the school so let her express herself without the school baggage.
The curriculum is the last thing you need. Just let her decompress from the desk. Ask yourself do you want to school her at home or do you want her to learn at her pace.
Children learn. they do it at their pace. they do not remain infantile. :o
Do things that the family likes, that she likes and that you like . the learning and enthusiasm will carry through. :lol:

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Postby hsingscrapper » Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:35 pm

I agree with all of the ladies. Glad to see another Hoosier mom!!

Decompression time is a good thing, dear.

I would, however, consider using the tests from Alpha Omega for language arts and math to see what she really knows and if there are any major skill gaps that need filled in.

Public school officials (teachers and admin alike) really seem to enjoy the ADD label. I think half the time, they just can't accept that a child has a different learning style. The only time my older two sit still is when they are reading but the rest of the time it's an exercise in frustration to get them to focus.

I wouldn't stress too much right now about her learning pace. So long as she is on par or beyond her peers when she hits 18, I think you've done your job!! :D

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