Homeschooling Moms

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celticdragon77
Finding The Right Thing
July 6, 2013 at 11:58 PM

Don't read this post if you do not like copyright infringement. This likely violates it somehow. 

People are always seem to be asking what curriculum they should use. Usually, the question is just met with more questions... are you looking for secular or religious? How old is your kid? What learning style do they have? What method of homeschooling do you use? Truth is, we do not have the answers, you do. 

When the question is asked, I usually post a link to the Rainbow Resources free catalog ordering page. It is huge, has everything in it, and has excellent descriptions of the products! The catalog gets to you faster if you order something and then request the catalog. Otherwise, expect a few weeks to receive this mammoth of catalog. You won't regret ordering it.

While you wait for it, learn all that you can about learning styles and homeschool methods. Books are NOT needed for this. There is TONS of free information online. 

I am always tempted to recommend Cathy Duffys 101 Top Picks. Not because you should listen to what her top picks are. I have the book and personally, I think only the first few sections have any real value. All her top picks are online for free. What I can't seem to find on her website for free, is the useful info at the front of her book. If you can find a cheap used copy, then it is worth picking up (in my opinion). 

I am going to post some of it here. It isn't all of it. 

"It is easy to be intimidated into thinking that your homeschool should mimic those of seasoned veterans."

"But, the real question you really need to consider is whether or not what they are doing is right for you."

"It doesn't take long to figure out that veteran homeschoolers, overall, are very independent and strong minded. Chances are you could poll half a dozen such parents and discover they have half a dozen  different ways to homeschool. There is no single right way to homeschool that everyone figures out after a few years."

She asks you to think about various things and then rank them in the order of importance.

"What do you think is most important for your child to learn?" Examples: strong academics, work skills, study habits, love for reading, familiarity with scriptures, physical fitness, artistic expression, practical life skills, computer knowledge, ethical attitudes, etc.

"How do you think learning should happen?" (keeping in mind that this answer is heavily influenced by your child). A quiet studious child might prefer tradiotional or classical education. An active child might prefer more hands on. 

"How do you want to teach or operate your school?" 

"Do you want to try to teach most or all of your children together? Which subjects?"

"How much of the time do you want (or are you able) to work directly with your child?"

"How much of the time do you expect your children to work independently?"

"Do you want to use real books (biographies, historical novels, books written about particcular topics) as part of your curriculum?

"Do you want to include field trips?"

"Do you like to "make up" curriculum as you go, adapting to the needs and interests of your children, or do you prefer things well planned out in advance?"

"Do you need a set schedule to get things done or would you refer more flexibility?" 

"Do you prefer a curriculum that is thoroughly laid out in advance by someone else and that tells you what to do when?"

"Any additional thoughts about how you would want to operate?"

"Writing down your thoughts about the above questions should have helped you clarify some of your goals and preferences."

The next section of the book is called " Approaches To Edeucation". It is a chart that lists various preferences related to homeschooling. You calculate your score at the end and supposingly it tells you the homeschool method that best suits you. I did it three times and it never adds up to the ones that I prefer and use. lol.

Instead, I will list the approaches, you can look them up and see which ones you prefer:

Traditional

Charlotte Mason

Classical

Unit Study

Unschooling or Relaxed schooling

Independent Study

Eclectic 

Umbrella School / Charter school

She doesn't include all the options. Off hand, I notice that she is excluding Waldorf

She has a section where she has good info about each of these methods. However, you can find ALL of this info, online, for free. 

Then she asks more questions... 

"How much confidence and/or experience do you have regarding homeschooling?" She says that she asks this because you need to know that you might get overwhelmed if you choose create your own lessons (or etc) for the first year.

"How much time do you have available to work directly with your kids (do school with them) AND plan / research their lessons?"

"How much money can you spend?"

"How do your religious beliefs impact your homeschooling?"

In the next section, she talks about learning styles. She has listed: Auditory, visual, kinesthetic 

I want to add that not everyone believes that you should teach to just one learning style / sense. They are used and needed in life. When you go to college, you will need to be able to take in large volumes of text and lectures. If you go to trade school, you will need to do all of those, plus be very hands on with the course. If your boss ask you to do something - you will need to be able to take in auditory directions, most likely. So making sure they are all are trained, seems best (in my opinion). 

She then further breaks kids down into types of learners... Wiggly Willy, Perfect Paula, competent Carl, Sociable Sue. I was unable to define my kids - nor myself, using her descriptions here. I am not going to list here all the traits. Here is a very general guideline... 

wiggly willy - hands on and multi sensory

perfect paula - structure and rule oriented

competent carl - logical and analytical 

sociable sue - social interaction

There are some very small sections regarding learning disabilities and such. All of it is very basic info.

She has a section called "Who should learn what and when?" She lists the common core state standards website, and the dept of education website - as go to resources. There are MUCH better resources than these. Especially for homeschoolers. She then suggests that you list your ideal goals for the year and then compare those to the states goals. (I live in a strict state and I have to teach the main subjects, but I am not told what has to be covered within those subjects - so I doubt any homeschooler is "made" to do this).

The final section before she lists her 101 top picks, is a chart that tries to best match you to a curriculum. She takes what kind of kid you have (wiggly willy, perfect paula, etc) and tells you which curriculums best would work for them.   

I was given this book AFTER I bought my curriculum. When I looked, I actually use at least one thing that she has listed for each subject (well almost every subject). I used the chart backwards to see what columns they fell into. Mine showed up mainly as competent carl - but also fell in every other category as well. I don't use a math curriculum this year, doing something outside the box, so I couldn't get a read on that - it is the one I am most torn about buying a curriculum for.

But anyways, hopefully this helps someone else out there.  

Replies

  • KickButtMama
    July 7, 2013 at 12:41 AM

    Wow that's a lot of helpful info! 

    When it comes to learning styles, I don't recommend thinking of job setting, or even college learning, until your child is closer to their teens. IMO kids learning styles evolve as they mature - most youngsters like a hands on, then they can incorporate more auditory, etc. some just do much better with visuals. The point of using specific learning styles isn't to get the child into a rut of learning/processing info in only that one manner - it's just to help the child begin to understand how their mind works. For instance. I dropped out of high school believing I was an idiot. I didn't think I was very smart, definitely didn't understand math/science. I got a home-study diploma, then entered a community college. I got sick my first semester, and had to miss 99% of the lectures. When I got my associates degree and transferred to a 4 year school, I met w/ a guidance counselor to determine my major. She recommended I choose a math or science, I explained I wasn't really smart enough for that. She looked like I was nuts and explained I had taken every math and science course offered in my previous college and graduated w/ a 4.0 GPA. It was then I realized I wasn't stupid, I just don't process information the way it was taught in public schools. When I was stuck in a hospital, I was free to absorb the information however my mind needed me to. (Something my 9 y/o now completely understands thanks to HS). 

    So (my long rambling point is..lol) learning styles are not ment to be a rut, or a crutch, just a means of helping kids discover tricks to absorb/recall information. I'm a note taker. When I got a job as an aeronautical engineer, I still took copious notes. 

    I hope my homeschooling lives by one adage "a diploma (even a college one) does not mean you know all there is to know. It simply means you've learned how to learn."

  • celticdragon77
    July 7, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    Everyone has to do what makes sense to them and their kids.

    I can only speak for myself - what makes sense with my experiences and knowledge of things thus far.

    What I am mindful of, is this...

    Many kids/people today live a life that is more fast paced, simplified, and automated. Where their brain is more often visually and passively engaged. 

    There is a lot of information out there saying that this lifestyle is changing and rewiring how our brains work. 

    There is information out there about how the brain and neurons develop and need to be used and "exercised". 

    I also am aware of the skills needed for college, tech schools, careers, and real life experiences.

    Obviously there are differences between everyone. People will have strengths more so in certain areas than others. 

    I have a terrible memory and compensate for that in many ways. However, I also do mental exercises to try and improve my memory. I am terrible with auditory skills and so I do dictation exercises. I am very creative and a hands on person, so I tend to do and enjoy things in that capacity. When learning something, I have learned good study skills. I know how the brain best operates to learn. I take small chunks at a time, take frequent breaks, and several other tricks.

    I just simply do not subscribe to simply being a "hands on learner" (or what not). I do not think that the human brain is that simple when it comes to learning. 

    I have a different philosophy of what education is. I think that learning how to learn is a small percentage of what education / academics is. In fact, it seems more like tools or stepping stones to the main idea. An important role, yes. However, I believe education to be more about opening up the world, the humanities... discovering great ideas and information about the world around us. Asking questions. Maximizing our exposure.  

    But I appreciate that we have differences of opinions on the topic. Hell, maybe I am totally off base with my thoughts on the topic.  

     

     

    Quoting KickButtMama:

    Wow that's a lot of helpful info! 

    When it comes to learning styles, I don't recommend thinking of job setting, or even college learning, until your child is closer to their teens. IMO kids learning styles evolve as they mature - most youngsters like a hands on, then they can incorporate more auditory, etc. some just do much better with visuals. The point of using specific learning styles isn't to get the child into a rut of learning/processing info in only that one manner - it's just to help the child begin to understand how their mind works. For instance. I dropped out of high school believing I was an idiot. I didn't think I was very smart, definitely didn't understand math/science. I got a home-study diploma, then entered a community college. I got sick my first semester, and had to miss 99% of the lectures. When I got my associates degree and transferred to a 4 year school, I met w/ a guidance counselor to determine my major. She recommended I choose a math or science, I explained I wasn't really smart enough for that. She looked like I was nuts and explained I had taken every math and science course offered in my previous college and graduated w/ a 4.0 GPA. It was then I realized I wasn't stupid, I just don't process information the way it was taught in public schools. When I was stuck in a hospital, I was free to absorb the information however my mind needed me to. (Something my 9 y/o now completely understands thanks to HS). 

    So (my long rambling point is..lol) learning styles are not ment to be a rut, or a crutch, just a means of helping kids discover tricks to absorb/recall information. I'm a note taker. When I got a job as an aeronautical engineer, I still took copious notes. 

    I hope my homeschooling lives by one adage "a diploma (even a college one) does not mean you know all there is to know. It simply means you've learned how to learn."


  • AutymsMommy
    July 7, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    That's a ton of info! You go girl!

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. The only thing I would recommend otherwise is that if you are Catholic (such as I am), you look elsewhere (not Rainbow Resource) if you are seeking Catholic specific curricula for any subjects (they carry none there).

    Love Cathy Duffy's site!

  • KickButtMama
    July 7, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    We are totally agreement. All i was saying is that even those who choose to implement 'learning styles' don't stick w/ that one style permanently. 

    Quoting celticdragon77:

    Everyone has to do what makes sense to them and their kids.

    I can only speak for myself - what makes sense with my experiences and knowledge of things thus far.

    What I am mindful of, is this...

    Many kids/people today live a life that is more fast paced, simplified, and automated. Where their brain is more often visually and passively engaged. 

    There is a lot of information out there saying that this lifestyle is changing and rewiring how our brains work. 

    There is information out there about how the brain and neurons develop and need to be used and "exercised". 

    I also am aware of the skills needed for college, tech schools, careers, and real life experiences.

    Obviously there are differences between everyone. People will have strengths more so in certain areas than others. 

    I have a terrible memory and compensate for that in many ways. However, I also do mental exercises to try and improve my memory. I am terrible with auditory skills and so I do dictation exercises. I am very creative and a hands on person, so I tend to do and enjoy things in that capacity. When learning something, I have learned good study skills. I know how the brain best operates to learn. I take small chunks at a time, take frequent breaks, and several other tricks.

    I just simply do not subscribe to simply being a "hands on learner" (or what not). I do not think that the human brain is that simple when it comes to learning. 

    I have a different philosophy of what education is. I think that learning how to learn is a small percentage of what education / academics is. In fact, it seems more like tools or stepping stones to the main idea. An important role, yes. However, I believe education to be more about opening up the world, the humanities... discovering great ideas and information about the world around us. Asking questions. Maximizing our exposure.  

    But I appreciate that we have differences of opinions on the topic. Hell, maybe I am totally off base with my thoughts on the topic.  

     

     

    Quoting KickButtMama:

    Wow that's a lot of helpful info! 

    When it comes to learning styles, I don't recommend thinking of job setting, or even college learning, until your child is closer to their teens. IMO kids learning styles evolve as they mature - most youngsters like a hands on, then they can incorporate more auditory, etc. some just do much better with visuals. The point of using specific learning styles isn't to get the child into a rut of learning/processing info in only that one manner - it's just to help the child begin to understand how their mind works. For instance. I dropped out of high school believing I was an idiot. I didn't think I was very smart, definitely didn't understand math/science. I got a home-study diploma, then entered a community college. I got sick my first semester, and had to miss 99% of the lectures. When I got my associates degree and transferred to a 4 year school, I met w/ a guidance counselor to determine my major. She recommended I choose a math or science, I explained I wasn't really smart enough for that. She looked like I was nuts and explained I had taken every math and science course offered in my previous college and graduated w/ a 4.0 GPA. It was then I realized I wasn't stupid, I just don't process information the way it was taught in public schools. When I was stuck in a hospital, I was free to absorb the information however my mind needed me to. (Something my 9 y/o now completely understands thanks to HS). 

    So (my long rambling point is..lol) learning styles are not ment to be a rut, or a crutch, just a means of helping kids discover tricks to absorb/recall information. I'm a note taker. When I got a job as an aeronautical engineer, I still took copious notes. 

    I hope my homeschooling lives by one adage "a diploma (even a college one) does not mean you know all there is to know. It simply means you've learned how to learn."



  • oredeb
    by oredeb
    July 7, 2013 at 7:01 PM

     so true!!!

    Quoting KickButtMama:

    We are totally agreement. All i was saying is that even those who choose to implement 'learning styles' don't stick w/ that one style permanently. 

  • Boobah
    by Boobah
    July 7, 2013 at 8:46 PM
    Very good info!
  • bluerooffarm
    July 8, 2013 at 7:36 AM

     Bump!

    This is great info!

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