Hi all you wonderful mamas! My name is Kelsi and I have 3 boys... 5,3 and 1. I have been thinking about home schooling for a long time but it looks like we are really wanting to make it a reality. My hubs and I are going to have our oldest finish up the rest of the kindergarten year this year then start homeschooling next year. But the more research I do, the more overwhelmed I feel. How do I choose a curriculum? What if I can't do it the way it needs to be done and my son doesn't learn what he needs to. I still really feel like homeschooling would be perfect for my family. But I just don't know where to start! Please HELP! Any advice would be awesome! Thanks ladies!!!
I think the overwhelmed feeling is something to contend with again and again. It's a lot of responsibility, but give yourself permission to not get it PERFECT. I don't use a store bought curriculum, I hack things together as need be. My kids have diverse interests, which can be used to learn other things. When my kids were in ps, their administrators even commented on how much science they know. I don't want to follow an age curriculum, I want to follow their interests. And for the love of pete, if something hasn't caught their fancy, I don't want to put them inot a more simplified program because the knowledge isn't there, but the brain processing skills might be. Does this make sense? That said, there are many days I wish someone would just tell me how and what to teach my kiddos. Kids are natural learners, and I'm sure you'll find your groove. It's toughest thinking about it, much easier to just jump in and do it. Change if you need to, be flexible, pay attention.
The best thing that helped me was finding a local support group through yahoo groups. It is overwhelming but you should write down and remember your reasons for wanting to homeschool during the hard times. Looking back now 3 years later my biggest regret with my now 9 y/o was the pressure I put on him with schoolwork, I was scared and stressed and sadly my oldest suffered the most. I regret trying to do school at home instead of enjoying the learning through play that we have discovered. I am a big fan of Charlotte Mason style learning, especially for boys. You can homeschool by spending as little or as much as you want (or are able to) but a lot of times spending more money isn't going to get you better results. It's so easy to feel the pressure of having the perfect curriculum but from experience and from others' that I know, often times buying a whole curriculum is often a waste of money. The best things we have done, enjoyed and learned from are nature walks, science stuff, museums, and just reading aloud to our boys as well as not forgetting the basics like playing! Have fun, enjoy your young family.
I too agree with support groups. You can find them through your State Home School Association
Understanding your child's learning style is also helpful
Bluerooffarm once wrote post here that gives a good insight into what works and what doesn't My Journey From Public School Teacher To Homeschooling Mom (homeschool is not the classroom)
Cathy Duffys "101 top picks" - she asks questions that help you think about why you are homeschooling and what priorities you have. Then it talks about "learning styles" (I dont prescribe to these the same as others do). Then recommends curriculums. I have been homeschooling for awhile and only recently used her book and found that it recommended to me the very things that we already use - so it seems somewhat accurate.
These following books mainly go through and recommend what should be taught each year: Rebecca Rupps "Home Learning Year by Year" (spiral learning method is more recommended). The Well Trained Mind (mastery based learning is more recommended).
Rainbow Resources has a HUGE catalogue of curriculum choices with great descriptions. They have great prices too.
Homeschool Reviews is a great website for curriculum reviews.
Pinterest has great educational ideas. Homeschooling blogs might give some ideas of what homeschooling can look like in various homes. Youtube is just a wealth of information on any topic.
Other than that, things aren't too difficult. It can be as simple or as complex as you wish to make it. With time and experience, you will figure out the direction that best suits your family.
Listen to your kids and yourself more than anyone else.
...and Good Luck! = )
Welcome! I agree, feeling overwhelmed is completely common. But I think the number 1 piece of advice I could give is that no 2 homeschool homes look the same. I'd say get some workbooks. Check out websites like letteroftheweek.com. And other free resources. I don't recommend spending tons on curriculum as you don't know what will work for your family.
my daughter is in 3rd grade and i havebeen wanting to homeschool since she started school. we are taking the plung this fall. i will have a 4th grader and a pre schooler. i am excited but scared too. i am morescared about my little guy. learning to read is like thebiggest thing they do in school it is themain focus in ps until 2nd or 3rd grade. that scares me lol.
i just breath. i am looking at lesson pathways and easy peasy for the kids (both free) for now. i also follow blogs that give helpful information too . i know we can do this. i have read many times that homeschooling is a life style. also if you were raised in a public school it is hard to tstop thinking with a public school brain. if my son takes longer to learn to read its ok if he does better in math it is ok. if my daughter advances in reading andloves science thats ok. we can move ahead in science and math and takemore time for reading. itis so great that we can do whatever is best forourindividual kids this way. i just giveme alittle pep talk once in a while lol
I usually go to different book stores anf place things together look on line what reading i thought would interest them. I went the library asked for a home school teacher card. Then i brought a Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp(go on line and type in what age they needs to know. Then i seen if i can buy books at the second store.
What I did with ds was look at which subjects I wanted to teach and what I wanted him to accomplish.
L.A: I wanted to spark a love of reading and writing. So I have him do fun writting activities. Making comic strips, writing notes, making lists and I leave interesting things for him to read, lying around.
Math: Everyday math skills. We do Life of Fred so he doesn't even know he's learning math ;-)
Science: His love of nature and how things work. Netflix and library books.
History: Cool stories from the past and how people lived. Also Netflix and library books.
Art: Painting, clay, drawing, sewing. Really anything that piques his interest.
Check to see if there is an Expo in your area. There is one in the SE and it's awesome!
From what I've seen there isn't one package that will fill all of your needs you will need to decide on packages by subject and some subjects you might decide to do your own research and not buy a packaged program.
My DD is 4 but is more like a 1st grade level. We're doing Handwriting Without Tears (awesome!), RightStart Math, Apologia Science (I also have Real Science 4 Kids), Magic School Bus DVDs, books and experiment kids (monthly subscrip), DH teaches her French and I just purchased All About Spelling.
Just hearing the names of various packages helps so that you can do your own research to see what will fit best with your kids.
It's not nearly as overwhelming once you start. Give yourself some time.
No matter what package you get, you will find yourself tweaking it, sometimes skipping ahead, sometimes looking for more to supplement.
Yahoo groups, the library, etc might help you meet other moms in your area. We have a HUGE homeschool group here. They do all sorts of field trips, newsletters, classes, park days, etc. DD is still a little young for some of the activities but it's so awesome to see and hear what others are doing.