View Full Version : Hello from Arkansas!

05-25-2010, 01:04 PM
Hi there! I'm Courtney. My husband and I live in Northwest Arkansas. We have just made the decision to homeschool our two oldest daughters - they would be going into 4th and 6th grade. I also have a stepdaughter who attends public school and a 17 month old who is very "busy"!

I'm extremely nervous about homeschooling, but looking forward to it. The public schools here are good, but my daughters are both in GT and I don't like the way the program is handled. They need to be able to work at their own pace and have more individual attention. Who better to give them that than me?

My main concerns are getting the support of their father (he lives out of state and sees them rarely, but is concerned about the school situation), handling homeschooling with a toddler in the house, and the cost of homeschooling materials. We've been unsuccessful at obtaining the K12 curricula for free (didn't make our state's Virtual Academy lottery and a proposed loophole didn't work out), so I'm panicking a little at the potential cost and work involved. I guess I'm a little nervous about my abilities, but I would imagine that's fairly normal.

So, looking forward to lurking around a bit and gleaning some info. Trying to get prepared for next year!

05-25-2010, 01:25 PM
Welcome to the group! Don't be nervous, we all were at the beginning! You can definitely find alot of free resources online, and discounts on programs via ebay, craigslist and amazon. A wordof advice from someone who went a bit crazy at first, really think about the items before you buy them, do research online to see what others have send about programs. Find a great homeschooling group in your area, I have a couple of veterans in my group that have let me see or borrow books from them to see if they fit our needs!
Happy Homeschooling!

05-25-2010, 01:47 PM
Hi and welcome Courtney. I've got a 6th grade daughter with whom I'll be starting homeschooling next year too (I'm already homeschooling my soon to be 8th grade son for the past year). I can sympathize with the nervousness, but don't worry, I'm sure you'll do fine.

Cost doesn't have to be prohibitive-although it can be. Look around and see what you need, not simply want or think might be useful, before buying. Don't forget to use your local library as well.

I look forward to getting to know you better, and I'm sure you'll get a lot of good advice and support from the friendly folks around here.


05-25-2010, 05:59 PM
Welcome to the group. I homeschool our youngest while our other kids (we are a blended family as well) go to p.s. (we have 5 other kids) so I understand. It is kind of nerve wracking at first because you are taking on an awesome responsbility, but rest assured that is is normal. As others have suggested, try to find a local support group (this list of local groups by state (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/content/203-Secular-Homeschool-Support-Groups-by-State)is a good start point) to get more personalized help and find veterans close to you who can SHOW you what they use, how they use it, etc. But everything is pretty much up to YOU. Make sure you are familiar with your state's homeschooling laws and requirements (if any) since it changes from state to state.

As far as spending money, don't rush into buying anything! Take plenty of time to read all the past posts here in various forums, there is tons of great information that gets posted every day. It might help if you had an idea of what approach you want to use (Charlotte Mason? unschooling? Classical Education? or other?) and we have forums for the main homeschooling methods as well. Don't hesitate to ask questions, there are no dumb questions. And there are lots of FREE resources online and, as Shoe said, don't forget to use your library. Trust me, you will become your librarian's new best friend, they usually love us (because we help provide job security for them, lol!).

As far as organizing your day, yes, it is going to be a challenge but yes, it can be done. At their age, your kiddos should be able to do a lot of work independently, freeing you to work with your toddler, however, yes, you ARE going to feel pulled in all directions, so steel yourself for that and give yourselves a break once in a while. Since your ex lives out of state, you really only will have to live up to your own expectations (I mean of course he has a say but he won't be constantly over your shoulder so that should make things easier). If this helps, you might want to look up the educational standards for each grade for your state and explain to him how you will meet or exceed them (at least just to put his mind at ease initially and then you can just toss them!).

Can I ask what GT means? I haven't heard of this abbreviation before. Good luck with everything!

05-25-2010, 07:02 PM
Good to see you here, Courtney. As someone new to the homeschooling idea as well, I can tell you that this site is wonderful at assuaging a lot of those concerns.

Nathalie and Shoe are spot on - the more I look, the more free resources I find. The other thing that I try to remember is that children are resilient, and we're not going to break them if the first (or second, or...) thing we try doesn't work.

Can I ask what GT means? I haven't heard of this abbreviation before. Good luck with everything!

I think it stands for gifted and talented. My impression thus far is that homeschooling is a good fit for gifted kids, as you can loosen the reins and let them go as far as they want to go, without having to go at the pace of the rest of the class. I hope this is the case, anyway...there's also that whole self-motivation thing, the importance of which I'm trying to impress upon Max!

05-25-2010, 08:09 PM
Hey Courtney!

I'm next door to you in OK. I will actually be in Bentonville this weekend at a swim meet with my 2 younger dds, who are in 4th and 6th. Anything to do there in the mornings and evenings?

Homeschooling can be a daunting challenge. Fortunately there is a huge support network out there, and this board is on of the best.

PM me if you know anything about Bentonville!

05-25-2010, 08:12 PM
I think it stands for gifted and talented. Thanks, Ben :)

05-25-2010, 10:30 PM
Yes, GT means gifted and talented. The way the program is handled here is that the kids who are identified as GT (through testing) are pulled out of regular classes for 2 hours 2 days a week. They don't have to make up work from those classes, but are expected to continue at the same pace as the other kids. My oldest daughter feels like she is behind in Math all the time, but when I spoke to teachers/administrators about it (at her current school and the middle school she's zoned for next year), our options are basically for her to continue struggling in Math or to quit GT, which she enjoys. What I would like to happen is for her to feel the way she does in GT about all learning - excited and challenged and interested.

05-26-2010, 09:40 AM
Oh, and I should add that I'm actually kind of disenchanted with the concept of GT anyway. I do think there are kids who are quite bright and love learning. The thing is - I think that's MOST kids! My kids are great and I love them to pieces, but I don't think they're necessarily geniuses compared to others. I think the thing that sets them apart is that they love learning and are eager to express themselves. GT actually helps them with that and I honestly think that if all kids were given the kind of attention they are in GT, schools might not be so bad. Here, GT is set up in a unit study format where they get very involved learning about a specific area of interest. If their entire school day were like GT, there wouldn't be a problem!

And thanks for the welcome, everyone! Wilma, I don't know a lot about Bentonville - I live in Fayetteville. I did work at the Bentonville Crumpet Tea Room Express for a while, though, and the orange rolls are to die for! I think they're still closed on weekends, though (it was one of the reasons I took the job!).

Snoopy, it's good to see another blended family. I would imagine it's a more common thing to find homeschooling blended families than people think. We do really well working with our exes, but my ex is (understandably) concerned about the schooling choices. He was more ok with the concept of having a teacher-supported curriculum, but not ok enough to help pay for one!

05-26-2010, 09:16 PM
Hi Courtney, and welcome to SHS.com!! We have a great combo of first-timers homeschoolers here and old-hands (and I use "old" in only the utilitarian sense of the word, of course!!) ;) So there is plenty of advice and encouragement to go around. I hope you will find the site to be one of your go-to sources of info as you begin your journey.

You mentioned K-12, and not being able to get it for free. I would suggest that you take a look at Time4Learning (http://www.time4learning.com) which has some significant similarities in application. It is $20 for the first child, and $15 for the second, but honestly $35 monthly isn't too bad when you understand the scope of the curriculum. There would be very little supplemental costs with it. We've used it for over three years now and have been extremely pleased. Just wanted to throw that out there because I've talked to a lot of homeschoolers who have made the switch from K12 to T4L and have been quite happy with the alternative.

Looking forward to getting to know you better!