View Full Version : Newby - Need Help Please

05-15-2014, 03:28 PM
Hi everybody. I am new here but badly in need of assistance. I am hoping someone here can help me and provide some advice. I have four children 7th, 4th, 3rd and pre-K this year. They are in parochial school and we have determined we will home school starting next year. For my 7th grader however, we are looking at online accredited program. I need some hints on which one is best? My thoughts why online and accredited? This particular child of ours is smart, but he does not test well. Standardized testing has shown him to be about one year behind consistently. He is diagnosed with ADHD and takes a medication for this. I am afraid he won't test well on his ACT and as a result won't get into college unless we go an accredited route where his daily work may also be given more consideration. If I am badly off the mark on my reasoning, please tell me that too. We have looked at private schools for him as well, but are having problems finding something within a reasonable distance and cost. Any thoughts on which online programs are best, or reasons that I don't need one are appreciated as well as ideas on what I can do to help him with his ACT scores. I know he is only in 7th grade, but I'm worried. We live in Kentucky and the public school system in my area is not an option. Thanks in advance.

05-15-2014, 03:56 PM
In my opinion, there is no reason to go through an accredited school. Really, you give up the flexibility of homeschooling when you enroll in a private online school and it sounds like your oldest could benefit from flexibility.
Do you know what Kentucky's laws are for homeschoolers?

05-15-2014, 04:58 PM
Often kids who test poorly will have the same frustration with online schools. No matter how much lip service they pay to being flexible, they just arent. The best way to teach a struggling student, imo, is to find a way to reach him. for some kids, this means a lot of one-on-one time. for some it means something consistent and predictable, such as an online program (time4learning is one option a lot of us have used, as it is fully secular). For some kids, that means having more ownership of their education - letting them help pick the curriculum, letting them choose what subjects to cover in history and science and what to read and write in english, and encouraging their special outside interests, which can often inspire a deeper learning - once they find a passion, then they WANT to learn more, and they will be willing to read more, to do research, to write about their passions.

If they dont test well, an option is to go to community college first and then transfer to a 4-year college. it saves money, they are easier to get in to, and if you get great grades there, it should be easy to transfer. Ok, not to ivy leagues, but most kids arent heading to the ivies.

jmo - with two very challenging boys

05-15-2014, 05:14 PM
Agreed with the above... unless there's a specific reason not yet stated to go with an accredited program, I definitely wouldn't. You can still go back to school for high school, get into college down the line, etc. without going that route.

05-15-2014, 05:21 PM
Hi Hickory

I live in KY too (the tri-state area of OH-KY-WV) and have a 9th-grader who has special needs. Regular school is just not for him. I am from NZ but DS was largely raised in Australia; we moved here September 2013. We enrolled DS in the local high school at the start of the current semester and it was a fecking disaster. We are still fighting the school for certain records they promised us even though he left the Friday just prior to Spring Break!

Anyway, have a looksee at Kentucky Department of Education : Home School (http://education.ky.gov/federal/fed/pages/home-school.aspx), which ought to give you some idea of what is expected of you. However as Teri says, don't worry about an accredited program. Plenty of homeschoolers do very well, if not better, when NOT in accredited programs, especially when starting homeschooling for the first time.

Where in KY are you?


05-15-2014, 08:35 PM
Thanks everybody for the advice. We are located south of Louisville. I really don't understand why the schools here are as bad as They are. A newspaper article recently indicated only 27 pct of students in the local HS are ready for college. Any way, we have joined HSLDA and are aware of what we have to do legally. I am not worried about the other three home schooling but the oldest does have me staying awake at night.

05-15-2014, 09:53 PM
Your oldest is at that "worrying" age. From around grade 7, we are told we have to get our kids serious about their schooling - even prep them for career paths, for goodness' sake. You honestly don't have to worry so much about even your 7th-grader as the education system has us panicking waaaay too far in advance about our kids' tertiary education. What if a child ends up wanting to do a trade? Or go to community college? We certainly don't, if choosing homeschooling, need to start treating them as if they are back at regular school.

Many universities take homeschooled students on their roll. In fact, most universities know that the educational proficiency of homeschooled students is above and beyond that of regular-schooled students. So long as your kid does well on the SAT/ACT and you have sufficient proof through transcripts that your child has covered the basics of what is considered necessary to commence tertiary study, then there is usually no real issue in college entry. Some universities LOVE having homeschooled kids study with them!

My DS is doing a mix of accredited and non-accredited courses. Sure, I could enroll him in Oak Meadow or similar, to get him the credits in accordance with the KDE, but apart from the costs involved, they are not flexible enough for DS. I'm not really worried about the accreditation, as the path he is wanting to go - community college to study criminal justice, with gopher work at an attorney's office or a courthouse, followed by law at university. He wants to do some IT, theatre and psychology prior to college, too, so homeschooling means he will have lots of electives that not all schools can offer. And depending on the school he wants to attend (community, undergrad, grad), he will have a far more colourful resume than other kids competing for the same spot.

You are the only Kentucky-based secular homeschool mum I have met on this site so far! And wow, you are only about an hour away! LOL


05-16-2014, 09:47 AM
Hi Aspie! Kind of nice to find somebody close by. :o) We are new at home schooling and freaking out a little in general. I think what's driving us to the secular site is that our primary driver is excellence in education. We're Christian, but I need school to be about education and the best one I can get for our children.

Our three younger children are going to be home schooled without a problem. They will test well and everything will be fine. The oldest (of the four elementary age kids) though, does NOT test well. I'm afraid that he will bomb his ACT so I'm trying to do what I can to mitigate it. We may end up at CC and then transfer or do something online. I'm just trying to push as far as we can, to do as well as we can. I've gotten myself wrapped up in knots the last month trying to figure out what to do. I'm a little hyper focused on the education thing. :o) I'm guessing a lot of people on this board are.

Glad I found another Kentucky-ite here!

05-16-2014, 10:36 AM
Hi HickoryGlen - Welcome to the site and to HS'ing. This is a great forum with lots of awesome, experienced and helpful people.

My DS (also ADHD) is just 6 and this is our first year of HS'ing - so I don't have much to offer on accredited/not/upper grades.

But I do know about worrying. Just wondering - is it possible that you are worried about HS'ing your DS in general, esp b/c of the ADHD issues? I know that when I am stressed I can laser in on one thing and make it the whole of my worries, when that one thing isn't the real/whole picture. Like a defense mechanism against too much stress over big, complicated, unsolvable-in-a-day issues. So maybe you are focused on the ACT thing b/c it's a definite concern, but also a more tangible/symbolic one? Not that it isn't or won't be a valid concern you'll have to work to address. Ok, just tossing that out there. If I am way off base, feel free to ignore the above. :rolleyes:

Either way - my suggestion is to start putting together (with your DS) your overall plan for DS 7th grader: schedule, outline of subjects, potential resources, expectations and priorities, etc. The plan will probably change/have to adjust, but it usually feels better to at least start with a plan. You've got time on the ACT issue. Accredited program, PS diploma, or no it would still likely be an issue. But preparing for that test is not the best foundation on which to build your HS plan. Start with your plan and then on the side, figure out strategies for that test when the time comes.

This site has a great resource section on the drop down above. Once you have some curriculum/resource ideas - ask more questions - do a search - there's lots of old threads that are really useful on all things curriculum/learning styles/teaching methods. And plenty of commiseration for stressful times!

Welcome to the forum!

05-16-2014, 07:12 PM
1st, 7th and 8th grade the body focuses on development. There is a lot of stuff going on with boys and girls that age and very little of it has to do with active learning. (Hormones are worse for boys than girls - girls get surges monthly, but boys can get them several times a day until they calm down.) As such, pulling him away from the distraction of girls at school will be good - he WILL get more out of the next two years than most boys in regular or private school.

As to the testing...there are lots of programs out there to aid with testing. Khan Academy has sample tests and practice problems for the SAT. (I am not sure how similar ACT and SAT are, but I suspect that they are pretty close.) I know that there are other practice sites out there as well, some that are free like Khan, and some that you pay for. I wouldn't worry too much about this yet - he has up to 6 years, with a lot of maturity going on in between.

Don't do a K12 Virtual Academy if he is behind. 7th and 8th grade are mostly online, but are very advanced. They no longer allow kids to test in, they put them automatically at the grade they are in. Which is a disservice for kids who are behind because of crappy schools. It is a good curriculum - if you look it over and do like it for the next couple of years, pay out of pocket for it. Then you can go at his pace, and really focus on mastery. The Virtual Academies have to focus on state standards, which would be hard for your son to keep up with if you don't have the option of going at his pace. If you go it independently, you can go for as long as you need, leave out stuff that is busy work, (like Study Island and weekly meetings) and just really learn the material. You can look at lessons online, they tend to be from the first couple of months of the year, if you son has issues with them, you can look at 6th grade and see if they would be a better fit. Do expect that you WILL be involved to some extend in the lessons if he does K12. This is not a hand it all over to the kid type of program, especially for a a kid with ADHD.

I expect that others will speak about other online or boxed curriculum. K12 is the one I happen to know.

05-17-2014, 08:35 AM
Hi HickoryGlenFarms,

I have an ADHD daughter who is finishing up 7th grade now. This is our 2nd year of homeschooling. Both my kids are "college-bound". I am quite focused on making sure my kids are getting the "requirements" and more.

The first year of homeschooling for us was the hardest. I stressed and worried the most. Had many moments of "what am I doing? have I ruined them?" as well as "I'm so glad we did this!" Still happens in our 2nd year but not as much of the "what am I doing?" moments. You may have similar experiences. :-)

What I have noticed the 2nd year is that the ADHD almost doesn't exist for us when schooling anymore. After working through it the first year I've learned to teach in a way that works for her and she's learned how it works for her. Granted she has mild ADHD and isn't on medication but we've tweaked school to make it work for her and I, and I think without compromising quality. You will find your way too. And it may not be through traditional methods.

We use an eclectic mix of purchased curricula. Researching and deciding on the individual curriculum is time-consuming, obsessive work. ;-) But I've learned (still learning) what works better for us, by each different type of subject. For instance Singapore Math made us into wrecks (but it's super for my younger son). Saxon was too slow for her quick, easily bored mind. Math-U-See was super but then we later switched to Thinkwell Math which is pretty on target for her (quick video demonstrations that she sometimes supplements with Khan Academy videos, worksheets to practice the learning and online quizzes and tests). She is partially independent in math now! (mom doing the happy dance!) While for creative writing we did Cover Story this year and boy do we LOVE that program! Her writing has improved in leaps and bounds. For vocabulary we have been doing a latin roots program and it's just not working for her. We will switch for next year but I've tweaked it over time so we can get through it (we don't do 2 lessons at a time as the workbook is structured, we do 1 at a time. I make her flashcards and rewrite the definitions into something she can understand and she is to memorise only 4 words a day--before I'd give her the list of all 12 at a time. And now she is to write her own sentences for each). Whew! A lot of tweaking but we have the freedom to do that instead of trying to push down only one method. We've never done an all-in-one program but I don't think I could give up the ability to pick and choose, change course, tweak things and go at our own pace. Something to consider?

Another thought for you is to think about whether repeating a grade might make sense? My daughter is bright, she does not test well (skipping through half the problems and not even realising she has skipped doesn't help!) and her focus maturity is at least one grade behind. We have this rock and a hard place position of needing to keep her engaged and interested but also consider putting her behind on some subjects (like math). Culturally we seem to have this belief that we must keep kids at a grade level based on their age. Sir Ken Robinson talks about this in his speeches. As far as I know, it really doesn't make a difference if a child graduates at a later age. I'd rather have my daughter learn it well than to skim through it and just get by. And the more they just get by, I think the harder it is to catch up.

Lastly one of the moms in our homeschooling support group just announced that the last of her children have applied for college. He, as well as his older sibilings, has been accepted into several prestigious universities in the U.S. ....and they unschooled! ;-) Goes to show you...a traditional, accredited, etc. approach isn't the only way to get there.

I wish you a treasure trove of precious memories and accomplishments (little and big) as you embark on this journey.

05-17-2014, 08:54 AM
K12 is not supported here in Kentucky. You have to join one of their affiliated private online schools that use the K12 curriculum. So there is no temptation to use the K12 system in this State if you cannot afford the private options (or just doing think you should have to pay that much).

I agree, Hickory, with the other posters who say using an accredited program may well only upset the applecart. Kids who are behind in even just one area are best off doing schoolwork from a program that allows the child to go at their own pace, or doing it all piecemeal.

When going into homeschooling for the first time, it's very tempting to go straight for a package curriculum, so everything we're used to being told is what our children "need" to be educated is right there in front of us. However, don't be fooled by that. Many colleges accept homeschoolers who have gone an alternative route with their studies - even to the point where they prefer the kids who have been taught outside the box. Homeschooled kids in general have a MUCH higher proficiency level in all areas than regularly-schooled students (86% compared with 50%...how can one argue with that?) and their SAT/ACT scores are often much better than the PS' scores.

You will definitely want to look at unschooling all your kids for a while. Just let them be themselves for a bit and let yourself have fun as their mum. Talk to them about how much fun it will be to homeschool, and how they'll be able to choose many of their own assignment topics, which is something that usually brings a gasp of "really?!?" and a smile.