I have a list of topics I want to cover. I don't have it broken down by grades, since we go all year long with interval breaks and days off.
My question is mainly, what do you do to keep your kids going? What happens when it's hard for them to stay motivated or focused enough to complete one task? Some days I feel like I'm pulling my hair out and other days I feel like we're not getting anything done and I end up questioning my ability to homeshool. We have days where we get so much accomplished, but they're so few and far between I feel like I'm putting them at a disadvantage by homeschooling them. (them: I also work with my four year old on math, since he's even better at reading, at times, than his older sister.)
What tips or advice do you have to feel like you're on-track?
What do you do to feel like you're not a failure at this?
What do you say to yourself to convince yourself to not give up?
I try to switch subjects when my son is uninterested. Or try to make it fun to talk about or play a game or just take a break. I'm really unorganized though and trying to work on that so I'm no help, sorry! He is 8 and he loves talking about the civil war so even though it wasn't in any of our plans for a long time I went out and bought stuff and we put together a board for him to keep in his room and I'm going to try n set up a day for him to go to my class and present it. Lol he's really excited about it and after we did that we have had a better time.
by jeweldragonsApril 3, 2013 at 4:41 AM
Lilrocker Mama: That Civil War poster looks amazing! Last time I had to do something like that was in 6th grade for the book I had been reading which is Ghost Cadet.
To OP: If your kids just have a day they don't feel like doing anything then take a break. Play a game like Monopoloy (they'll learn math that way) or some other board educational game or even just a regular old fashioned board game. Why not make a calendar or get a notebook and write down what you want to accomplish in this year per grade (say one grade per notebook) and break that down by weeks and break it down further by days. That way you can stay organized. I recommend getting those plastic clear tubs and sticking supplies in them and then labeling those supplies so everything will be easier to find and more organized for everyone.
Ask yourself why you wanted to homeschool and remind yourself that you are giving them a better education than your local schools ever could.
We also watch educational shows if they are having an off day. We love leapfrog and word girl and cyberchase (all on netflix). But I have been blessed with children who love documentaries so we watch those too. My kids are 7,6,4 and 3 (this month). So it is a miracle and a blessing.
We go to the park and talk about the animals and plants, colors and shapes we see. It is fun.
I use websites like the head of the class to make sure i am still on track.
With your oldest only being First grade, it would be hard to be OFF track! So much of learning at this age is done through play and life experiences. Curriculum IMO wouldn't help you feel more motivated or keep you guys more on track. Curriculum is just a tool, not a slave driver. When you have days when you feel like you get so much accomplished, how do you measure that? Worksheets accomplished? pages read? Most of us have a hard time getting out of the ps mindset that work must be done sitting at a desk and must have measurable results. Try to see every single day as a learning experience. Look at school as just another part of life, like chores, or personal hygiene, or family time. If you can teach your kids these basic skills, you can homeschool succesfully. Its just an extension of parenting, not a separate event you need a curriculum for. Libraries, Netflix, and pencils, paper and art supplies are all you need!
When I started doing my own curriculum, my baseline became - "As long as they are learning every day, then I'm happy"
But I'm a type A personality, so I likke having things written out. What I did was make a 3 ring binder. I printed several scope & sequences for every single grade. I organized them by grade and put them all in the one giant notebook. Whenever my kids master a concept, I go into the notebook and highlight it - no matter the grade it's listed under. So the kids aren't learning in the same linear fashion the PS follows. They might do a concept found in grade K one day and grade 11 the next. I don't care about that. We go toward mastery - as long as the kids are learning, absorbing and mastering the concepts? I'm a happy girl.
I live in pa so I have to report to the state. They require a list of materials we plan on using and an outline of our plans for the year by August. By the end of June I have to send a portfolio that includes: samples of the work we completed throughout the year, attendance (days/hours), and a reading log. Plus, the kids have to be seen by an evaluator (every year) and send in state testing results (in grades 3, 5, and 8). I am already an uber-organized person, but these requirements help me maintain that with homeschooling.
I keep all this info on the computer - even pictures related to homeschooling. I scan images of some of their work at the end of each week. I keep daily/ weekly notes - which help me. To get the kids to also feel accountable and proud of their work, they help keep a blog of our homeschooling. Plus, when it is time to hand in our portfolio at the end of the year - I just put it all on a disk for the school - and also make one for our own family.
I have been trying to perfect a schedule. I believe in short days - but we homeschooling year round. So far... Monday - Thursday: wake up at 7am, get dressed, breakfast, and go for walk. By 8am our school day starts: 30 mins of Singapore math, 30 mins for science, 30min nature study, 30 min of reading, 30 mins for English, 30 min break for art/music 30mins for social studies, 30mins Saxon math, and lunch by 12pm - which is the end of our day. On Fridays: we have a more relaxed day - but longer. Same morning of breakfast, walk and math. But then we go to the library, the farmers market, the park (read, art, science, play), then we go to the YMCA. Later that evening we have pizza and the kids do a show and tell about whatever they want concerning things learned/done throughout that week. Every evening - 7 days a week - is a required hour of additional reading time.
My kids are 8 and 10.
We also live in PA and I have a portfolio to turn in each year. I like to know that if I ever chose to send them back to PS they would be on track or ahead, so I like to do an online diagnostic test near the end of the year. I use the DORA and the ADAMk-7. They are 20 bucks a year, but they really give a good report that shows just what I need to concentrate on and any gaps the boys have in their learning. My boys always score well above their grade level, but it still shows where we may be slacking. I actually tested my oldest with that test before pulling him out of the ps and k12 used it (I was surprised) at the end of his 1st grade year. We are buying it again here at the end of his 2nd grade year. It was engaging, fun (according to both boys!), and very helpful to me since I completely make up my own Language Arts curriculum. I am putting the results in my portfolio this year.
by Kat0038April 3, 2013 at 12:28 PM
I too have a first grader and a four year old and they both learn differently. But I know we are on track when my first grader explains to her grandmother how a plant grows and gives us oxygen while my four year old reads his numbers books. A lot of times when I quiz them they blank out but when they are relaxed I realize they are learning. And they are defiantly better off at home one on one then being put into a class room full of twenty five other kids and one adult.