Homeschool Curriculum Suggestions

Question
I am a mother of three great kids ages 13, 10 and 7.

During the 2010 - 2011 school year, my 13 and 10 year old were enrolled in public school, but my 7 year old was homeschooled. Although they have all been homeschooled in the past, we decided a few years ago to try public school. Like everything in life, it has advantages and disadvantages. My oldest daughter loves public school and does very well academically. She will be in the 8th grade this fall and will be taking some advanced courses.

My son, who is 10, loves learning. This year he was in the 4th grade and because he is so advanced he was doing all 6th grade school work. Our problem with him is that although he is very academically advanced, he is not socially. He grasps things very quickly and gets his work done very quickly and then becomes bored. When this happens he starts annoying others and being disruptive. He was a young 4th grader - he just turned 10 in late May and he is a boy after all.

Our local elementary school only has about 45 kids from PreK thru 6; therefore, they teach three grades in one classroom. Unfortunately, he moved to a new classroom this year and the teacher he got was to me not a good fit for my son or most of the class for that matter. Many parents had complaints this year. My oldest daughter had her for only one year and I did not have any issues, but this year was a constant issue. Although my son was able to keep up with the academic portion, he had trouble keeping up with what she expected on a day to day basis. Needless to say, we had a difficult year. His teacher from before was wonderful and although he was sometimes disruptive in her class when he was bored, she seemed to have a better handle on it.

This year all I heard was this, that and the other things from his new teacher especially ADHD. He does not want to go back to school this year because he will have her again this year. Like I said, my youngest one was homeschooled this year, but to me she does not have a love for learning like my other two do. She was very difficult and it took a toll on me. I had decided that I would be sending all of them to public school this fall because unfortunately I felt like I needed a break from it all.

I have been homeschooling for about 8 or 9 years now. As summer ticks away, I am starting to doubt my decision and I am considering keeping my 10 and 7 year old home. My heart is very heavy for several reasons. Although I feel like I need a break and being away from me might do my youngest one some good, I also feel like they would be better at home with me. In all my years of homeschooling, I have always gathered all my materials and done all my own preparing, grading and paperwork. Because I was so sure they were all going to school, I have not done any of that and I am feeling overwhelmed.

I have started looking into Switched on Schoolhouse for my 10 year old only because it seem to take care of alot of the paperwork portion for you, but they do not have a Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum for 2nd grade. Do you have any suggestions for a curriculum that is comparable to SOS? I know a lady who uses Time 4 Learning and she likes it alot. My problem is I dislike spending money on something that I have nothing to show for. At least with SOS, I can reuse it down the road or resell it and recoop some of my money.

Sorry for the lengthy email and sorry for any typos. I am hurrying because my husband is off today and he wants me to go outside to help him with some yard work. Thanks in advance for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.

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Answer

Hi there,
We have never used a homeschool curriculum so I asked my friend Claudette from All About Homeschool Curriculum what she would recommend. Here is her reply.


    "Congratulations on your commitment to home school your children for nine years. I am sure they have benefited tremendously from your efforts. As far as feeling like you "need a break" you are not alone in thinking like that.


    Some of the ways that I overcome that challenge include:


  • Re-work our weekly schedule and have four academic days during the week and an easier day/field trip on the fifth day.

  • Take some time away from the rigors of our curriculum and spend time doing a fun unit study or create lapbooks on a topic we studied in history or science.

  • Schedule a two-day mini vacation so I can regroup and allow the children to pursue whatever they are interested in.

  • Watch educational videos/dvds and discuss them.

  • Mostly, I try to arrange my schedule so that I have sufficient time to plan and arrange our daily lessons. I plan for regular "Teacher In-service" days like the traditional schools and I always take my birthday as a holiday, too!


    Regarding testing, it might not be a bad idea to have your son tested. I never did it but have several friends who have. It could possibly silence a teacher from nagging you or reveal an issue. Although I didn't test, I recognized that one of my children had an issue with dyslexia and another would have been "labelled" if he attended traditional school.


    I adjusted my methods of teaching them and recognized they would learn but required additional help. I also had to emphasize ways for them to locate information themselves because they lacked some retention/recall skills.


    Similarly, a neighbor whose daughter was really struggling in mathematics was just diagnosed with Turner's Syndrome which has difficulty with mathematics as one of it's complications. Now, mother, teacher, and child can make more informed choices for her instruction.


    I have used SOS software in the past and we really liked it. I have no experience with Time 4 Learning but it looks interesting. The Bob Jones Distance Learning curriculum might be an option for you. It is a complete online program and includes materials, planning, and record keeping. You have access to the online instruction for one year and can resell the teacher and student materials if you purchase them.


    Another option would be to use some of the many free, online open resources on the Internet. It would be economical but you would have to do all the planning and record keeping, unless you trained your children to help with that. See SelfmadeScolar.com, GCFLearnFree or DistanceLearn, to check out free resources.


    Two other options are the Robinson Curriculum which uses cds to teach all grades and requires minimal preparation/record keeping and Christian Liberty Press' CLASS program, which suggests a course of study for your child after a placement test is given. They pull it all together and ship you exactly what you need.

    I have more Homeschool Curriculum Reviews on my site that may also be helpful to you.

    May you have a great school and much success to your children in their studies."



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