View Full Version : School at home

Kelly Cyr-Levesque
10-28-2012, 08:39 PM
How many of you school at home? Meaning, you use textbooks for your curriculum just like the public schools do.

10-28-2012, 09:09 PM
i use some textbooks, but very little of it is much like school. I am sometimes labeled as 'school at home' because i do have assignments and a schedule.

10-28-2012, 09:17 PM
We use K12 which is pretty much school at home w/the computer. We like it like that. :)

Crabby Lioness
10-28-2012, 09:57 PM
I have a curriculum and use textbooks, but they're not the same as the ones the public school uses. Dh the public schoolteacher was outraged at how much higher quality the Usborne and DK textbooks were compared to what he had to use in class. He could only order textbooks from "pre-approved" sources, and they weren't on the list. He tried for years to come up with some way to sneak those books into the ps curriculum.

10-28-2012, 10:03 PM
i use some textbooks, but very little of it is much like school. I am sometimes labeled as 'school at home' because i do have assignments and a schedule.

Ditto. Plus our curriculum textbooks aren't as disjointed and dry as the ones I had to use in PS.

Stella M
10-28-2012, 10:06 PM
My eldest uses some textbooks. It's hard in the upper years to avoid them. I've been impressed with the quality of the ones we've used.

10-28-2012, 10:15 PM
We use curricula and have used some texts. But generally no. I'm not out to imitate the school model in general, though I'm happy to borrow elements that work.

Kelly Cyr-Levesque
10-28-2012, 10:32 PM
So far for DS's 1st grade (some courses will start by Spring because he is ahead) I plan on the following:

Scott Foresman Science
Scott Foresman Social Studies
Scott Foresman Math
Spectrum Series of Language Arts workbooks (sight words, writing, reading, spelling, phonics and language arts)

For 2nd grade I plan on using all Scott Foresman and adding in SF Reading Street.

I can order it all rather inexpensively through Amazon. I love Amazon!

We don't really have a schedule for Kindergarten. We usually start around 10. We'll do 1 or 2 subjects then he gets a break for an hour or so. Then finish up the day. If I don't add a break or let him take one when he asks, it's just a complete waste of time because he shuts down.

I kinda like it this way. I don't really follow any lesson plan. He just works at his own pace. Some days, math for example, he'll do 2 pages and other days he'll do 9.

I guess I could call myself a relaxed school at home homeschooler.

I may change my way of doing things in the future but for now it's where we fit.

10-29-2012, 06:21 AM
We do Calvert, but it takes us longer than most because I use a lot of it as a spine and jumping off point, especially for science and history.

10-29-2012, 12:46 PM
We use some Spectrum workbooks, a lot of Evan Moor and Scholastic stuff, Explode the Code, All About Spelling, REAL Science Odyssey. So, curriculum but not really textbooks. We probably resemble a very relaxed, school-at-home since we don't follow a strict schedule and I don't plan out the year but we do sit at a table with books and paper.

10-29-2012, 01:22 PM
We use Calvert, so I guess we count. Their texts are so much better than ps, though. It's hard to compare. I recently got a look at their 7th grade history book and was blown away. It would make an outstanding spine and is far and away better than what I had in school. Here's the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Across-Centuries-Littell-McDougal/dp/0395930669 The reviews are interesting. It seems like lots of people are complaining that the book is Anti-Christian and that too much attention is given to Islam. That made me perk up a bit.

I don't know about the whole "school at home" label. I get exasperated when the term is used in a pejorative way. (I know you didn't, OP! ;-) ) Worksheets or no, I can be (and am) so much more flexible and creative with the kids than ps could ever be, that I don't feel like it's very accurate.

Um, sorry to get a little off-topic.

10-29-2012, 01:45 PM
We definitely "school at home" after elementary. For ds10 (HG), high school texts for middle and non-major college texts for high (that is the plan for high, anyway). I supplement heavily from the internet (software, games, multimedia) but it is still school and we have a "classroom", too. It works well for us.

10-29-2012, 02:27 PM
I don't know about the whole "school at home" label. I get exasperated when the term is used in a pejorative way. (I know you didn't, OP! ;-) ) Worksheets or no, I can be (and am) so much more flexible and creative with the kids than ps could ever be, that I don't feel like it's very accurate.

That's what bugs me about it too. I mean, we use some curriculum, including some workbooky stuff. I don't think the vast majority of elementary level curricula geared toward the school market is anywhere near as good as the stuff geared toward the homeschool market, but that starts to change in the upper levels somewhat. But no matter what you're using, you're probably doing things really differently from the way they're done in school, which is probably a good thing.

Stella M
10-29-2012, 02:52 PM
Yep, the way dd uses a textbook is not the way she'd be using it in school. We also skip high school text books for the most part and use college intro level - better texts, IMO.

We've only really used them for psychology and anthropology so far.

10-29-2012, 03:38 PM
I think the negative way its used is to help newbies realize that, if its not working for them, its not that they are bad homeschoolers, but that its not intrinsically better than other approaches ...but since it is the only approach we know and the only approach most ppl think is valid, they have to add on that emotional layer . .. and for some, school at home implies kids are not partners in the approach, which may or may not be the case

10-29-2012, 04:40 PM
I use workbooks and worksheets, and some books that I read aloud from. Very occasionally, I will read aloud from an actual PS textbook. I have a McGraw Hill science textbook that I am reading from this year and it has some great pictures. I consider WWE to be a textbook, but it's written more for HSers, not for the PS market.

10-29-2012, 05:01 PM
That's true, Cara. Occasionally I meet a newbie who thinks you need a desk and to get whatever the ps are using. That's very strange to me. But if, after seeing your options, that's what someone wants to go with, then fine, but know that's not what most homeschools look like first.

10-29-2012, 06:29 PM
We use some school at home elements. We use a science textbook, but it's the same textbook Calvert uses for 2nd grade. I kind of worked my own curriculum around the science workbook. I'm adding on to it with worksheets, experiment kits, and extra library books. I'm also using Calvert math, which I suppose also counts as school at home. We use a lot of workbooks though, but my daughter loves workbooks and worksheets.

11-11-2012, 06:33 PM
I am yet to use what i would consider a traditional school text book, but I do use curriculum. It just makes me feel more at ease that I am not going to miss something. Although, the more we get into this, the more I feel like I end up using the curriculum more as a guide of topics to cover than anything else. This is true more for some subjects than for others.

I do have a "to do" list for school each day. So that is kind of schoolish. I found that having a list that we could cross off helped things get done with less resistance.

11-11-2012, 09:24 PM
Even though I felt a kindredness with what I read of John Holt, and liked what I felt was his meaning, when coining the term "unschooling", I wasn't devoted to an ideology that a parent must never lead, guide, or direct a child (which is what I see the declared unschoolers I have met, practicing), so if that's unschooling, we were never that to begin with.

Eclectic seemed a safe label, as labels go. Because I cherished a viewpoint against "school at home" (after all, why not have them go to school, unless you don't like how schools do things?) eclectic fit, and allowed for trying things.
But I think anyone in any category, tries things, and most aren't so stupid as to resist trying something else, if what they tried first, didn't work out. Some people are that dogmatic, but not most, I think.

But if using any sort of textbook and active instruction is "School at home" then we fit that category in at least one area.

My daughter is using The Logic of English to undo the harm I unwittingly inflicted on her with what I thought was phonics but wasn't (Dick and Jane with encouragement to use context clues and sound things out...turns out it was just dressed-up sight reading, and she had phonetic decoding weakness typical of sight-reading).

I thought all was well because she was learning to read just fine except the occasional hiccup when she would guess wrongly from context instead of reading what was really there, or couldn't sound out a large, unfamiliar word by dividing it up into syllables. Trying to get from reading to being able to write (without asking me over and over how to spell every single word) was not working out. Copying lists and sentences wasn't working out either.

So now, with Logic of English, which is a hefty and meaty textbook and really great workbook, she's doing great, and her ability to decode unfamiliar words and write words she hasn't memorized, accurately, has improved dramatically.

But it doesn't just come on its own. LoE combines phonics, spelling, cursive, and grammar, into well-planned and pithy lessons, and I found out that my daughter can do 2 lessons per week, no more, because each lesson is taking her 4-6 hours to complete, which breaks into manageable chunks over 3 days. However, she already writes and spells better than her 10 year old neighbor kids who go to school, and she's only on Lesson 8. By the time she completes the massive workbook, she'll have a mastery of mechanics, punctuation, Latin root words, vocabulary, parts of speech and sentence labeling, etc that surpasses ps kids' knowledge many grade levels above her.

Once again, the reality of kids' changing needs and individuality, challenges my assumptions about what I "believe" in. I didn't believe in workbooks and texts, and here we are, benefiting from exactly that, though only for an hour or two a day, and only in one subject area.

However, I do have plans to get the Japanese Soroban Abacus plus teaching manual (because I never learned on one, so I need help!) for arithmetic instead of the rote and drill which actually kills mathematical reasoning in so many kids. My daughter did GREAT in mathematical and spatial reasoning even from age 5, UNTIL we touched rote drill arithmetic, and then the need to memorize "facts" and spit them out, caused her to see math as a series of memorized but inherently nonsensical sentences. Before that version of arithmetic, does the same harm to her math ability, that Whole Language Learning had done to her reading ability, we have stopped, to resume when we get the abacus curriculum.

So score 2 for "school at home". Who knew?
I'm also using disposable diapers for the first time, on Child #3, after using cloth with the first 2...because it's complicated, and my cloth bit the dust, and suffice it to say, I still prefer cloth, but am learning never to say never (or die). Goonies Rule!

11-12-2012, 07:14 AM
We use Calvert with all it's accompanying textbooks, so I suppose it definitely qualifies as "school at home." And that's perfectly fine with us. We actually really, really like most textbooks. We like working through them and seeing our progress as we get closer to the end. Does that mean we're tied to them and that's all we do? Absolutely not. But they do form the core of our studies and we like it that way. Maybe I'm clueless because we've always relied on Calvert, but I don't understand how you could effectively do middle or high school w/o relying on some textbooks. Elementary . . . sure, you could do it and never miss them.

12-21-2012, 12:31 AM
We also do K12, and therefore are certainly school at home. Like others have said though, there are so many ways we are not "like a school." My students can choose the order of their studies and work throughout the week. They can do large blocks and do a week's worth of math at once, they can choose to take a spelling test first, or do French in the evening. They can also so whatever extra research and study they wish about a subject in, for example, science or history. Both kids are really enjoying their K12 history, and neither had thought much of history before. They also seem to be getting a lot out of science and composition. I wonder how much of this is the curriculum itself, and how much might be a result of their autonomy and/or the one-on-one instruction they're getting.

Also, because we're not PS enrollees, they don't have requirements to attend online classes. This helps us with the flexibility thing. As drawn as I am to something more eclectic, I am still pulling dh into the homeschooling universe, so I guess I am thankful an option like this exists. He gets to see progress reports and assessment scores, and I get to see the kids feeling a lot more enthusiastic, relaxed, and happy about their studies.

We don't have a school room, though. We live in a small apartment, so we use the dining table as our primary school space. We have maps and whiteboards mounted on the walls, and bookshelves wherever there is space. I have a second desk area set up in a bedroom, so ds can study in silence when he needs to. I do wish we had more space, but even then I don't think we'd ever make a dedicated "school room." I like the idea that "school" is all over the place.

12-21-2012, 02:12 AM
We use K12 which is pretty much school at home w/the computer. We like it like that. :)

Ditto. I like it like that and my 5 year old seems to be thriving. She asks to do school work if she is bored.

12-21-2012, 08:38 AM
By my unschooling friends I am considered school at home. We use text books and they have weekly assignments and I force them to learn things on occassion when I think it is time they know something (such as counting change or checking out of a hotel). I consider us eclectic. I have no problem ditching the curriculum if something interesting pops up or we just want a change of pace. I like the structure the currriculum brings me. It is measurable. It makes my dh happy, it makes me happy because someone else figured it out for me, and it makes my kids happy most of the time.

01-13-2013, 08:25 AM
It makes me feel less of an oddity knowing others are also schooling at home. That is what we are doing. So far, in my area, I’ve only found parents who are either extreme unschoolers or religious based (and opposed to evolution).

My son is doing fine with the different groups, because we just meet for social things. But, I’m feeling isolated with no one to talk with about curriculum.

01-13-2013, 09:05 AM
We have very few textbooks in our house. If there is a way to cover the material using any kind of book other than a text, I will do that. Even if that means having 10 books that would cover what a text would cover. A text might be one of 10 if there is something in the text that I can't find elsewhere (Like Hakim's history books pulled in with countless other books).
I am more likely to use a text if it is small and very narrow in focus. We have one right now that we used for reference for our Future City essay that is called Science Explorer: Earth's Waters because we needed information on storm water run-off. We used about 10 pages of the book.
I guess living in Texas has made me a little wary of textbook editors. ;)

01-13-2013, 03:49 PM
I consider us schooling at home, but is it if we don’t use textbooks? I pull from a wide range of resources to create a custom curriculum. I also write a large portion myself.

We are definitely following a structured curriculum. Lessons are planned out for each day, assignments are due (on time, a major reason we are home schooling to begin with), and my son must demonstrate understanding of the concepts before we move to the next ones.
Math, reading and writing are taught across the curriculum, not just as stand along subjects. We spend however much time is needed each on a lesson. If something piques his interest, we take side trips.

So, what style are we? Just curious!

01-13-2013, 04:46 PM
different people seem to have different definitions. i tried hard to figure out what I was and someone wise finally said I was doing "Cara" homeschooling. She was right and i gave up trying to classify.

To some people, unschooling means not following the school's yearly guidelines, to some it means following your kids lead, and to some, if you are using a textbook you arent unschooling . . . despite some people saying they ARE unschooling with a textbook because their kids wanted it.

To some people, school-at-home means a boxed set. To some people, it means anything that has a schedule imposed by mom.

I call myself 'relaxed eclectic' - relaxed because i dont follow any guidelines strictly or worry too much about grade level and by MY standards, we dont spend a huge amount of time on school. Eclectic because i use a little of this and a little of that, choosing what i do depending on the child, the subject, the goals for that year.

01-13-2013, 05:12 PM
Yeah, I generally just say eclectic too. But it also kind of bugs me sometimes because "eclectic" doesn't really mean anything. But whatever. I think probably less than a quarter of secular homeschoolers are actually following a method - Classical, Waldorf, Project-Based, etc. - with any real adherence.

01-13-2013, 05:30 PM
and i once saw something on line saying that eclectic meant unschooling lol.

01-22-2013, 09:48 PM
I can't pry the Saxon math textbook out of my daughter's hands.........and I've TRIED. I found the next three years worth of the older Saxon editions at a curriculum sale and brought them home and the child DANCED AND SANG AND INSISTED ON KEEPING THEM IN HER BEDROOM.

I have the weirdest kids.........

01-26-2013, 01:39 AM
We use textbooks, Right start math, Alpha-phonics, Spelling power, Grammer book from the Well Trained Mind, and on occasion REAL science, oh and History WTM so basically we get to the math, spelling, reading and grammar, most every day. Science and History I use the books as a starting point but mostly we look up stuff the kids are interested in and discuss it and explore the idea. My kids are 1st and 2nd grade though so I think it is not as important as the older grades. We try to do school in the morning but my kids try to take as many breaks as possible. The days I try to do something artsy in the morning and then do the work in the afternoon have been disastrous so I keep on a schedule so we get it all done before one as much as possible and then do the artsy fun stuff and the field trips.

01-31-2013, 05:36 PM
We used Laurel Springs last year, so it was definitely school-at-home for 5th grade. This year we are following the Well Trained Mind guidelines for a classical education. (Which I'm loving, BTW.) We are using textbooks for Math (Saxon, which DD actually used in PS, too), and Rod & Staff for grammar, which are awesome, and (as an atheist) give me a good laugh every day. I'm not sure what we are "classified" as now. I have to confess, after a year and a half as a homeschooler - I still don't really get the labels. LOL

04-19-2013, 02:04 PM
My friend gave me a bunch of old school textbooks she found at a yard sale, but I threw them out, because school textbooks are mostly awful stuff. I'm sure there are exceptions, but the ones I have seen are usually written by some politically correct, sanitized "committee" someplace, who have to put their own spin on every word.

04-19-2013, 04:16 PM
I like a lot of math textbooks, and some science. I have not seen any of the curriculum for higher level math from companies like Saxon, but a good Algebra textbook can get you through easily, IMO.

04-19-2013, 11:37 PM
Yes, we have school-at-home. My school is created to meet the needs to my particular students and offers a completely customized education. We have a schoolroom, do lessons regularly in the traditional subjects, and keep regular hours, and I have no problem using curriculum developed for the public school market if that's the best fit. I even enrolled my kid with a public school district's homeschool support program, so I report to a teacher. However, that teacher just checks boxes and doesn't get involved unless I ask her to.

I think the big difference is that I have control over what I teach and how I teach it. Because my kids thrive on structure and clear expectations, my school might look a little similar to PS classroom. But I have so much more freedom than any school teacher has, and my teaching methods are adjusted to what my kids need.

When I let things get too relaxed, the skills quickly slip and attitudes become difficult, so keeping things consistent is necessary here. If that makes it look "too much like school" to someone else, then that's not my concern.

04-22-2013, 11:28 PM
We are such a mish-mash here! Some subjects are more "school at home", and yet a good portion of my son's learning is free-wheeling. I guess we do both, really, now that I think about it.

I purchase some K12 curriculum, at my son's request (history, art, music, science). I create our own Language Arts, with grammar workbooks and websites, and writing he just does about everything that interests him, and I use a grade level book to guide him. We use reading materials that pertain to his interests, or tie in with the things he is studying in the K12 subjects. I also use those K12 subjects as a spine, a jumping off point, to delve deeper and tie everything he studies into a 'holistic' sort of unit. If he is studying Feudal Japan, then the art ties in (I re-arrange K12's lesson plans so it does) and find other resources to add in to that. I supplement the basics in the music curriculum to tie in with history as well, at least to expose him to the music of whichever time period and/or culture he is studying.

Science I tend to tie in with math if possible. We use Math on the Level for math, but that is also just a spine. I plan a week at time, but only about 10-20 minutes of 5 subjects per day. The rest of the time is free-range and yet I find my child usually inspired by what he was introduced to in his "school" lessons.

Science is about 1/5 curriculum, and the rest my son's own research and reading and experiments with his fish tank, hermit crabs, and love of wildlife. Bird watching, gardening, cooking lunch, hiking, all those types of activities end up as part of art, science, math. I have a kid who loves structure - he researches and writes reports on animals - for "fun". He would love to get "grades" but I just can't ! I mean, he either gets it, or he doesn't, and I feel grades do not truly reflect knowledge, mastery, or effort. We live in a highly regulated state so I have a portfolio (by subject!) to submit and testing to complete anyway.

So far, the way we "school" has evolved to be school-y enough for my son (and to be legal), and relaxed enough for me to feel he is getting SO much more than he would at any school, and for him to still love learning, ask endless questions and know how to seek answers on his own. After 4 years, I'm finally accepting that our weird way of combining opposite concepts works for us and that is just fine.

04-23-2013, 09:58 AM
This year my daughter is in an online public charter school, so it is definitely school at home. Both of us are so bored with it. I think it would be more interesting if she were in a B&M school around other children. And, this is a reflection of this particular online school and not "school-at-home."

So, we are switching it up next year. In fact, my daughter asked if we could just study what she wants. Clearly, she would like to be an unschooler, but I don't think I'm quite ready for that. I am anxious for her to have a say, because I want her engaged. Who knows how that will end up? Next year we will also have my current kindergartener at home, so I have no clue how that will change the dynamic.

04-23-2013, 10:20 AM
We use text books for math only (currently using Singapore challenging word problems, Modern Curriculum Press and Abeka Math), everything else is improvisation based on our passions.

We don't have a set curriculum. This semester we are focusing on science and history in addition to our non negotiable daily reading, writing and math. For history/geography/social studies we are listening to the audio book "Things Fall Apart" and using visual geography books to learn more about Nigeria. For science we are learning about botany through gardening, nature walks and plant microscopy.

I compiled a list of literature from which the boys choose their books from, writing is inspired by books they deem worthy of reviewing and cool things they've learned about. We do use Writing Strands curriculum for Kbook (7).

04-23-2013, 07:27 PM
You might call me a halfschooler. I do use some school materials and a set pace (e.g., front and back of a math page each day), but only for a part of the morning. Even when we get to the later grades, I'd like to be done with instruction/teacher-selected stuff by lunch and turn DS loose for free reading and projects of his own choosing. One of my objections to school as a student was that I did not have enough time to read books.

Anonymous Me
05-13-2013, 07:53 AM
My daughter and I have a set-up that LOOKS like school, but it really isn't... We kept all of the parts about institutionalized school that we liked - sound-spelling cards displayed on the wall, pocket charts, colorful posters, etc. - and got rid of all the parts we didn't like (we don't do homework packets, or weekly assessments). I do not correct her worksheets with red pen or any other kind of pen. I attach those small size post-its with a correction written on it, and then she pulls it off when she's made the correction. I display work that she is proud of, we decide what we want on the walls together... When we first started homeschooling, we sat in our empty "classroom" with a plastic cauldron from Halloween. We filled it with water, and made "wishes" with a small pile of pennies for what we wanted to happen in our homeschool. Our biggest wish was to have fun, be creative, and use our imaginations to the fullest. Our classroom is more of our "learning clubhouse." We looked at a bunch of pictures of fun and creative classrooms and went gaga with all the inspiration...Room Setup - The School Supply Addict (http://www.theschoolsupplyaddict.com/room-setup.html)