Breaking the ice: Homeschool Experiences

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    • #86692

        This is great Max, I admit I did get a chuckle when I saw the blog post announcing this section.

        I know many here are ‘older’ with kids who are grown already, but maybe there’s some parent-teachers on here, or former home-schoolers. Are there any highlights that any of you care to share?

        I have to say that it was great being homeschooled myself. Being able to work at my own pace was useful (sometimes ahead a grade in some subjects, sometimes behind a grade). Also, don’t let the school systems rigid 7-8 hours a day for 12 grades box you in. You have the freedom to get all the schoolwork done in less time, maybe just in the morning (although it can take ALL day too).

        Also, if you’re interested in college at all down the road, you can start taking CLEP tests around the age 16 and do highschool and college at the same time (I finished a BA in History at 19) since the last two years of highschool and the first two years of college are very similar.

        There, I broke the ice. :bye:

        –This is not meant to exclude those who don’t homeschool– (I don’t judge your personal decisions).

      • #86693

          Excellent idea starting this forum. My wife and I (mostly my wife, she is a stay at home mom) homeschool our two daughters. Our oldest daughter though is autistic, so it can be challenging at times. But we wouldn’t change our minds about homeschooling, especially with the common core coming out now. My oldest daughter was being sent to the local public school district but they seemed to want her there more for the federal money coming in than helping her out with her education. We pulled her last year, she is a lot happier, and is learning well. Good to have this forum! Thanks!

        • #86694

            IMO and it means little, but from what I read those mean male hating spinsters at the PScrewl were painting a bullseye upon your boy’s back, and again, IMO that would be the evil.

            I’m old but let me say back in the day the screwl system did let boys be boys.

            My only advice, lots of field trips. In my area of northern Illinois we had one in grade school where we went to a local graveyard and there was a grave stone of a man who fought in the Rev war against the bad smelly Brits and who settled there, lived and was buried, so it was cool to see a headstone with a 1734 birth date, piqued my interest in history to say the least.

          • #86695

              I have actually never attended a public school for more than a few weeks. I have been in either a private religious school or homeschooled my whole life, ending up with about 5 years of homeschooling. Most of this was in a foreign country.

              There are many advantages, for example I have never been indoctrinated with the leftist bend of the public education system. I have dealt with many peers who are. My parents, who are fine upstanding citizens and both well educated (Dad has a master’s degree and basically a doctorate certification in his field) greatly impacted who I am as a person. I also was blessed with patient parents who encouraged my reading habit from a young age, and especially my dad who always answered questions I had, about history, theology, philosphy and politics.

              A word of caution…

              There are lots of different ways to homeschool. There can be a lack of social perceptiveness and ability in homeschooled children, which is why they are often stigmatized and made fun of in media and culture. If you are the parent, YOU are responsible for socializing and societally maturing your child. There are lots of great ways to do this. A kid who sits at home 6 days a week with only his family around will turn out odd, weird, socially inept, and hopeless with the opposite gender, which will only fuel other socialization shortcomings. This is a common issue I see. Also, remember that if your child spends more time with you, then there is great potential for good influence (e.g. you are a curious and kind person, your child will also likely end up curious and kind) and also for bad (e.g. you are impatient, aloof, and have poor communication skills, you child will also develop those traits due to many many hours a day spent with you). I am more like my parents than many of my peers are like theirs. I am still close to both of my parents to this day, and I’m 25 now. I see more of them in me every year it seems.

              One excellent way that the community has developed to combat the issues of poor socialization and “cloistering” is the co-op. One of my younger siblings went this route, and it defintely helped her. She was struggling in the traditional classroom environment to learn, and she excelled at a part class/part home learning approach. I never had the chance to try it, but I know that kids who did were usually “cooler” than I was at that stage in life.

              Another perk is the child has more spare time…I would often “finish” schoolwork for the day in middle school and high school at lunch time. Then what? I read. And read and read and read. Fiction, non-fiction, biographies, but especially military history and weapons. I scored a 36 in reading on the ACT when I took college entrance exams, in large part to how much time I spent doing it in my formative years. I actually read some 7th grade textbooks in second grade since I had read every other book in the house. This can also backfire (again, on you as the parent) if the child wants to use his time on facebook, TV, or other useless endeavors for 6 hours a day. Sports or active things is a must, even if it is working on your homestead in the afternoons or early mornings. Sports can also provide the socialization aspect for your kids.

              So there is my perspective, as a 25 year old who homeschooled from grades 5-10. I attended a religious university, and graduated cum laude in my field (music) which now has nothing whatsoever to do with my profession. I have thrived in the corporate world, which was due to my work experience during college, not my relatively professionally useless liberal arts degree.

              Even with its potential downfalls, the issues with homeschooling are minor compared to having your child chafe against the collectivist horde, and being shaped and molded by enemies of freedom, and being held back due to other parent’s inability to raise their children correctly. My wife went to school to be a teacher, and student taught at one of the best schools in our area, teaching first graders. She also has experience as a teacher’s aide in K4-2nd. After that she decided that she couldn’t do it for a career and is in another field now. We haven’t been blessed with children yet, but we have basically agreed that she will home school them, since she is certified in the state to teach and has a degree in early childhool education and development. This comforts me a lot.

              Kudos to you Max for putting your money where your mouth is. I wish you the best of luck for your family.


            • #86696

                We have 5 girls (i know – i have heard it all) my wife is also stay at home and teaches them. like Baldrick says we have seen some creepy HS families, but just stay cool don’t freak about every little think our kids are done by noon most days (some days are better than others). My oldest is in online high school and is already in AP and should have about 3 semesters of her college classes complete at graduation. plus she thinks it is cool to tell her friends she is in college already and wearing a BYU shirt to school makes her feel good. the college does a great job of keeping things organized – she started in 7th grade and has been loving it.

                my father was a school teach and thinks that PS is crap! I think so too. plus, we have 230 acres I make the girls “patrol” once a week, which comes to a nice 4.5 mile hike with a load out. P90X is our PE program.

                have fun the kids will love it. might try to get Max to come out and do some remote training – gonna have to do some sweet talking and getting my “team” in shape.

              • #86697

                  . A kid who sits at home 6 days a week with only his family around will turn out odd, weird, socially inept, and hopeless with the opposite gender, which will only fuel other socialization shortcomings.

                  I haven’t really seen that as an issue with homeschooling families, but all HS families that I know have their kids in socialization activities.
                  On the other hand, I have seen that aplenty with PS students.

                • #86698

                    We home schooled our two youngest daughters using an outfit called Global Student Network. Pretty good secular stuff.

                    Colleges had no problem accepting them.

                    Daughter #3 just had her second baby (girl this time) this morning and daughter #4 will be going into the Marines next month and they can’t wait to get her. No brag just fact.

                  • #86699

                      We are homeschooling 4 children (3 really, one is a bit young yet) and have been doing so for 5 years or so. It can be daunting to start but always remember two things if you are actually trying…
                      1) Yes, your child is learning.
                      2) Public school children are not any smarter or better socially adjusted than home schooled children. I know kids from both and its a mixed bag both ways, but I prefer the home schooled kids I know, personally.

                      We use the Robinson Curriculum as it was designed to teach students to teach themselves and allow the parent time to get his or her work done during the day. Its creator ran a chemical analysis lab from home, which was a farm. His wife suddenly died and he came up with a way for him to take over the home schooling. Anyway, we have used it and a few others and it seems to be working well enough. Some criticize it as being too harsh or strict, so to each his own.

                      I truly believe that expanding home schooling in our culture will be an important part of any successful restoration effort. So for Max or any others checking things out…


                      YHVH Blessings from Mid TN.

                    • #86700

                        I started this journey with our family one year ago. As happy as we were with the private school our boys were attending we just couldn’t afford it anymore. Government schools were out of the question. They would be better off if I let them dig holes in the back yard and look for bugs than to put them through that torture. What with the SOL(standards of learning), NCLB (no child left behind), and Common Core, how could I prepare them for a life as men of adventure when all around us are mediocre schools, teaching to tests, and dumbing kids down.

                        Our first year has been great. I know this isn’t always the case for many families. And don’t get me wrong it hasn’t all been perfect. But if you have one parent who is home there is very little excuse left to you. “oh, but I’m not wired for it” Twaddle!!!


                        trivial or foolish speech or writing; nonsense.
                        “he dismissed the novel as self-indulgent twaddle”

                        If this 40 year old man can do it anyone can. My work gives me the freedom to do website development from home. My wife is a counselor who works outside of the home. So for us the choice was. A. I get a job in a market with no jobs and no degree to support that idea even if there were. B. I work from home and educate the kids.

                        It’s not normal. I’m a mans man. I have a beard. I shoot guns. I go camping in the woods. I like things that go boom. I hate skinny jeans. But you know what; I was made for this. and maybe you were too.

                        The first thing I would say is that you can’t take any of this too seriously your first year. Take it easy. This is hard for you type A people. But do it. Go slow.

                        7 GreatHomeschoolConventionsOur first step was to visit the homeschool convention in Greenville,SC. It’s a great convention and if you are anywhere within reach of one I can’t recommend it highly enough. Great speakers and great workshops. Further, there is a kids camp you can send your kids to in parallel with the convention.

                        We just got back from the convention again. Bonus: Krispy Cream donuts are within walking distance.
                        Note: stay at the Hilton as it’s only 1 freeway exit away from the convention.

                        When you hit the show you’ll walk into a huge room with hundreds of vendors. Don’t panic. It’s really not that hard. All these people are there to help and they love talking to you. They are there to do so in fact. I myself have done different trade shows and love when people stop to talk to me.

                        Step two was to sort out what type of schooling you want to do.

                        There is Classical, UnSchooling, Eclectic, Hands On, Hand Off, and lots more. For Curriculum; There is Abecca, BJU Press, Son Light, Fathers World, Christian Liberty Press, And a host of other providers. There are also TONS of vendors that just specialize in one subject or concept; Writing, Bible, Reading, Etc. Like old books? Yep they have people selling those too.

                        I’m not a type A person. Not really. While I like structure I’m Gen X and don’t like structure. This is a paradox but one I’ve found to be true. With that I discovered that I like an Eclectic approach. Imagine a big wagon and I went from table to table randomly grabbing curriculum. That’s me. But for simplicity we settled on what many people call “curriculum in a box” and ordered from Christian Liberty Press. It was an eclectic mix of curriculum. I loved their spelling and phonics and history. the English was from BJU Press but with a teachers manual and tests crafted by them. We then chose Math U See for…math.

                        9I knew going into this that I’d be taking it easy. So while I intended to do all the stuff they sent me, I found that I didn’t do it. Frankly I wasn’t trilled with their science books and while I liked the theology of their Bible books it just wasn’t me. I knew that my main focus would be on Reading, Writing/English, Math. Take a deep breath, it’s OK. Some of you are thinking “that’s it? You must be nuts!!! “ This is year one. Don’t take it so seriously remember?. You can add in stuff you are passionate about. If you are a big history buff add it in. Art? Add it. Music? Yep.

                        Step Three you’ll need to do some planning. How do you want to teach your kids; One at a time? In a group? All around the table?

                        You will need to do some trial and error. I’ve found that with about half the subjects my boys at age 7 and 9 needed some hands on. I tried staggering stuff they could do on their own with stuff they needed help with. For example I’d do spelling with my 7 year old while my 9 year old was doing his math assignments. This was OK but I found it to involve a lot of “go read something or take a break while I help your brother”. So about half way through the year I switched to one on one instruction for each child. the other can do whatever he wants while waiting.

                        Another thing you will need to do is pick a target start and end date for school. You will want to leave 2 to 3 weeks of cushion in your planning to deal with trips, sickness, etc. I like to have 5 solid days of class. I like to do my testing on Friday’s. If anything gets in the way of that I bag the whole week. We began school at the end of August and will be done mid may. Does this mean that we take the summer off? No. But it’s mostly filled with reading, art, and other things I think need work oh and fun SUMMER IS ABOUT FUN!!!

                        So that gives us about 40 weeks of instruction. What you will need to do is figure out pace. This is easier than you think, but I found NOBODY that explained this to me. So I spent a good week looking at my books on the table trying to sort this out.

                        Massive secret equation:

                        Take your # of weeks divided by the number of chapters in each book = pace ( W / Chapters = Pace )

                        Something I liked to do if we had a week it was going to snow a lot. I’d drop History because I knew I only had 28 weeks worth of it. And keep math because I knew I had 40 weeks of that. It made a fun surprise for the kids and they loved “doing less work”. The jokes on them. they would have had less work anyway.

                        One of the neat things about homeschooling is that we get to discover the weaknesses and strengths of our children. My youngest is very self driven. But he is struggling with reading. It’s driven me to help him read better because he wants to do the work on his own and I want that for him. I’ve also discovered he has a knack for art and can do a great job, with no art classes, at copying a picture by just looking at it. With my oldest I’ve discovered a mind filled with wonder and he is a great story teller. I’d heard (see video at the bottom of my site) that young people often test at genius level and as they get older the group think of school dumbs them down. It’s a shame. Not going to happen with my kids.

                        What does this year hold? More work. More subjects.

                        My attitude in year one was very Generation X “whatever man”. What’s the worst that could happen? we suck at this and put them back in private school. Well we don’t suck at this. It’s actually a lot of fun.

                        Some curriculum changes.

                        BJU Press for Science, History, and English
                        Art is a DVD curriculum that we discovered at the convention
                        Bible too
                        We will be adding in Writing for my 4th grader to expand his abilities
                        Reading expansion for my 2nd grader
                        Language: Russian – Introduction level stuff. Alphabet and such.

                        The first year we tried very hard to get an understanding of the process and how our family fit into it. We now have that and can expand their learning. Because we made this year fun they enjoyed it and are looking forward to it.

                        Want to know how many hours I spend every day doing school? Usually less than 2. And yet my boys are both doing mostly “A” level work in all their classes. Next year will involve more time. At least 1 to 2 hours more. Still at 3 to 4 hours a day I’m still educating my kids better than the government.

                        YOU CAN DO THIS. If you want to. You can homeschool your kids. It’s easier than you might think.

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