Monday, April 15, 2013

Homeschool thoughts today...

more homeschool thoughts...

beware, there are some opinions here,
I also talk about Kix cereal though so we should be good.

#1 - Why are you soooo confident in your homeschooling Holly?  (no one actually asked this but I see it behind the other questions asked so I'm answering it to let you off the hook and so you know that it's ok to be apprehensive right now where you are!)

I see the fears that others have.
I understand that I don't have them.
There are a lot of reasons but one really big one:

I am a graduated homeschooler.
From fourth grade on, minus six miserable months or so in sixth grade, I was homeschooled.
I forget that others may not know this or may not take this into consideration when they think about how I do things.

I know what the end result looks like.
I knew what a homeschool day looked like (vaguely anyway, from the perspective of a child).

Those are the two biggest fears we have as mothers when entering into homeschooling in our families.

What will the day look like?
Will I ruin my child as an adult? (interpret...Will I kill my child? I fear for his safety if we are together all day.)

Your day will be great, trust me, it just will be.  Even if you don't 'get along' with your kids.
BE TEACHABLE, teach them to be teachable and it will be great.
You'll have to work on it, tweak it and rearrange it, die to some stuff but it will be great.

Your child will turn out like me.
(hee hee....ok...maybe not exactly but hey, it could be worse!)

#2 - Breakfast.
Oh boy...why do I feel apprehensive about telling you our breakfast menu!?
I want to write:
Fresh vegetable omelet with homemade salsa
Spinach smoothies with wheat germ
Uncured local bacon with whole wheat pancakes....

but alas, this is what we actually choose from:

Plain Cheerios - with milk and a dash of sugar that they have been taught to measure out, it's about 2 tsp.
Kix  - with milk
Toast with peanut butter
Toast with eggs (they have all been taught to fry or scramble an egg)
Oatmeal (one of those packet kinds with the flax seeds and stuff)
Yogurt and a banana.

And yes, they are all starving by 10 am.
At that time they are allowed to have one of three things:
2 Cheese sticks
1 Yogurt (you can put granola on this if you want)
1 piece of fruit

Everyone knows that "10 o'clock snack" means you choose from those. may judge us now....but not before you see this cute picture of the girls:

#3 - Language Arts.
(there are opinions here, but I was asked for my opinion so here goes nothin'...)

a seasoned homeschooler knows that this can be the most annoying program to choose.
because it includes many subjects:
Reading Comp,
and...and I feel like that isn't even all of it.

Most programs split those all into separate books.
That is not a bad thing.
Unless you have four students.
That is 16 books my friends.

If you have 1-2 students, that's probably not a big deal for you.
The student will spend 5-8 minutes in each book so it's not even a huge time consumer (in the grades I'm working with).

Some kids LOVE workbooks.
Some kids see them and shrivel up.

I have a few of each.

There are programs that combine all of LA's into one book.
There are programs that steer clear of workbook type of work.
The workbook ones are great if you have an independent learner (No MOMMY, I DO IT!).
I have two of those and two of the other kind (Mommy, will you do it with me?).

Workbooks are great for independent work, you teach a little, they do the work in the books.
I'm putting that out there because there are schooling situations that need that.  (and for that child I would strongly recommend the Bob Jones stuff...Lydia is this learner and she still does the books, FOR FUN...'cause she's weird, another one of my friend highly recommend the Rod and Staff stuff and I've always been a fan of theirs so check that out too)

It all depends upon the mom's personality and the child's....

Like I said, I have a few of each but my brain can only handle so much so, I was looking for the dream program.
The one that would allow both learners to flourish and that would allow me to only have to keep track of one program

Just going over the basic ideas here.

On top of the different formats there are about 55 million different philosophies on HOW to teach it.
Phonics vs. Memorization
Which type of phonics (meaning, which PhD wrote a book about it), how early, how late, how strong, how fast, how slow....blah blah blah...
Cursive or not.
Spelling lists or not.
And those are just the basics....all the philosophies go into how the brain works scientifically and it gets very overwhelming.

They all have good points.
This world needs most all of them because we are all so different and the English Language is such a beast!

I had read and settled on a philosophy called the Spalding Method - The Write Road to Reading.

I could go into why but let's just say that I liked what I read.
It was my personality and it was student driven (went at their pace) and there was a ton of room to customize it to their learning personalities.

So, I was just out there, trying to do it on my own....sorta, I had a book but it was like a textbook for teachers in schools and I was trying to tweak it for our homeschooling situation.

It was going but not awesome.

I went to a homeschool conference and there was this SHINING LIGHT over a particular booth.
I was drawn to the light like a half dead fly....

The Phonics Road

She uses so much of what the Spalding method uses and adds Latin.
She combines it all.
The handwriting, the spelling, the grammar, the literature study, the everything.

The program comes with DVD's to watch FOR teach me how to teach them.
I watch them every few weeks.
I think you're supposed to watch them every week and each week is about 15 min's (except to start, the intros are much longer but very good).

It's hard to 'get' what this program is from the website.
I have sent people there and it's lost on them.
You can get free samples of the DVD's and see samples of the pages.

It looks expensive but trust me...I have done the math.
It. is. not.

With the other programs you nickel and dime it and it doesn't feel like you're spending as much, but you are, in the end.

The reviews on this program floating around the internet are all amazing and I agree, wholeheartedly!
We all love it.
All my different learners love it.

It doesn't take us hours to complete, the DVD's are such a help to me and it's not four thousand workbooks, it's just one program.

She does not do grades, you just start with her program and do the four levels, by the time you're done, you have all sorts of Latin and literature and vocabulary and crazy stuff in your head.

There are flashcards, games, spelling lists, wipe off stuff, notebooks, the kids make books, it's easy, pretty quick if you need it to be but easily slowed just works for us.

Zero to no independent work.
But I wanted that.
There will be more independent work as they get older but right now, it's all hands on for me.  BUT, we are talking 15 min's per student on average, a day....that's 45 min's (Nora and Sophie kinda go at the same pace) for us.

It's great and I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend the program to ..... EVERYONE....
People get hung up on:
#1 - the price
#2 - it's hard to tell what it all is from the website
#3 - sometimes, we just don't have the effort to put into something that that something needs (like this program needs you to watch the DVD's before you teach it...)....

all of those are ok, there are hangups with each program - I have them with the workbook ones, obviously!

I would be more than willing to privately email you if you wanted to know if this program was for you or if you should not even bother and instead look into one of the other programs I mentioned....I would do that for you (if I know you) but will only do that if asked.

#4 - Curriculums that are all put together.

I hate them.
I have friends that wouldn't be able to homeschool without them.

This is a personal personal personal thing.

I didn't know I hated them until I tried them.

I will say this:

Are you a rule follower by nature?

Then get a curriculum that is put together for you, your rule-following self will be in love and at peace with this, your day will run smooth and you'll have so much more time than you'd ever imagine to do everything else you want to do.

Are you the girl who sees the list of rules and immediately starts questioning the spirit of the rules and when you 'cheat' at games you like to call it 'strategy', not 'cheating'?

Then you should run very very far away from pre-set curriculums.
Write a list of subjects you'd like to see in your child's week,
it will look something like this:

Language Arts

and, IN ORDER, go through that list researching programs until you find one that speaks to you.
Don't worry, when you get all your books in, you may not feel like you have a plan but most all books come with a plan so you'll be ok!
The little bit of overwhelm when you start this way will pale in comparison to the frustration you'll feel all year with the other way (um....I might possibly know this from experience...might....).

Some people thrive following the rules - I need to hang out with you because I need more of this in my life.
Some people shrivel up and die at the are my people.


Mandy said...

will you write a homeschooling post like once a month?

or is that too much like a "rule"?

oh crap, you totally won't do it now ;)

Mandy said...

and also, you've convinced me (along with one other mama from avery's homeschool "school") we are starting the phonices road in the fall! yay! :) i get to get my hands on the stuff on friday. can't wait to look at it!

Mandy said...

and isn't it ironic that i spelled "phonics" wrong in my comment. oh dear.

Heidi said...

O Mandy..... :) (thanks for the link, girl!)

And yes, I love this blog and I'm almost about ready to shell out the dolla billzzzz.

I wish I had a money tree.