View Full Version : New to home-school and really nervous about it

07-09-2010, 12:17 PM
So we've decided not to send my 7 yr old son back to the Christian private school we've been sending him to for the past couple of years. While I think that it's been beneficial for him in some areas, we're tired of paying for him to get Christian rhetoric crammed down his throat when we could be teaching him something else. The amount of learning they actually do isn't that great... they spend so much time at lunch and on the playground, watching movies, taking days off for everything, and doing fundraisers and sports activities, that the three Rs often take a backseat. I hope that I can do a decent job of educating him. I'd really like to take a hands-on, child-guided approach to learning with him, but I want him to stay on grade-level for when we move to a city with a better school system. I can see my biggest problems being #1 he loves to play computer games and watch TV & #2 he hates math. He loves science and likes reading, but he doesn't particularly like storybooks, more non-fiction type stuff.

I guess my worst fear is that we won't stick to the program and we'll fall behind and he won't be able catch up to his peers when we send him back to public school. We're planning to send him back when we move to an area with a better school system.

07-09-2010, 06:21 PM
Congratulations! We are new homeschoolers as well and I just started dipping our toes in earlier than what I had told our state. It isn't always easy, I have 3 kids at various levels and I am trying to balance all that out. Good news is, you can use the things that he loves to help with the things he hates. There are lots of educational computer games. My daughters often visit primarygames.com and mathplayground.com. There are tons of educational dvd's available as well. The first year is one big transition, the time that you spend getting used to each other and finding what works. Keep an open mind to various methods and techniques and if he doesn't get it, it's ok. You have plenty of time to 'catch up'. Since most states require he is schooling for 180 days, it won't be hard to keep up. And he can't fall behind since you go at his pace. He will get it in his own time and that is ok.

07-09-2010, 07:48 PM
I wish I had some awesome advice, but I think Angela just covered it all! :)

We're new to homeschooling this year too (also a 7 yo), although we did a get an early start since we pulled DS out of ps in March. I have to agree with Angela that there are so many ways to learn (and different ways to learn different things), but that it will take some time to figure out what works best for your family. I think, for example, that it's really common that young boys aren't always interested in reading fiction (mine just told me he doesn't see the point in reading fiction because he doesn't learn anything!), so the key is to find the stuff that does turn him on. He's into science? Perfect! There are tons of books in that category for kids that age, no matter what his reading level. Math can be learned by playing games, math war for example is a fave in our house (adding and subtracting for now, but can also be for multiplying or whatever). Like Angela said too, there are tons of fun math centered websites that might totally excite him. I am a firm believer that we learn best when we're inspired and having fun, and that most real learning is done without us even realizing it.

I know it's difficult to think in terms of homeschooling as a temporary solution. We found ourselves in a terrible district as well when DS started K, and when we finally pulled him mid-grade 1, DH was on board as a temporary fix until we move (hopefully in the near future). I think, though (and again, we're really new to this!), he is starting to see that it just might be a long term solution after all. Hooray! The good news is that there are lots of resources out there to help you make sure you are staying "on track"--your state's education website for example, should list the curriculum or requirements for each grade.

Good luck and have fun! :)

07-09-2010, 07:58 PM
Ack! I just read the earlier responses more closely. I'm just repeating what others have said, so I'm deleting my original response.

However, I would add that although you fear ending up behind, what you might find is that your son ends up so far ahead, it's hard to put him back in school. It's amazing what you can accomplish when your son's time isn't taken up with recesses and excessive holidays, etc.

When my oldest was four, I decided to research my state's Kindergarten requirements to see if I could teach him. By the time he was old enough to enroll in Kindergarten, he was ready for first grade academically. Homeschooling wasn't really an option any more. It was really our only choice.

The things you worry about the most aren't the ones that happen. :)

07-10-2010, 11:47 AM
Hi Serenyd, we just completed our first year of homeschooling, grade 2 with our oldest son and a bit of pre-K with our twins. It was overwhelming, fun, educational (for all of us!) and frustrating, sometimes all on the same day. ;) But we all made it through, I think Mitchell even learned something. LOL

He is very addicted to electronics, so we let him play a lot of math games online (laptop or on my touch). And i'm slowly removing a lot of the nonsense games from his Nintendo DS as well.

We bought an ELA curriculum and ended up ignoring it the last part of the school year. He now gets his grammar, punctuation and whatnot through his essays and science experiment write-ups. Next school year we're going to try his spelling & grammar workbooks he used in public school. We go with what he enjoys and build from there. He can quote you detailed specs from war planes and race cars (his interests) and so we research and write about those. I'd like to find some chapter novels to build on his desire to read but most of what I find are girl-oriented.

It may be a semi-structured child-led homeschool kind of system. But it works!

Good luck to you on your new adventure! This group is awesome for their support and suggestions.

07-10-2010, 06:26 PM
I'd like to find some chapter novels to build on his desire to read but most of what I find are girl-oriented.

Might want to look at sci-fi/fantasy books such as Deltora's Quest and. Pick Your Own Adventures are hard to find but Amazon has a few, in those you pick what you would do next. You can re-read often and the story changes depending on what changes in the choices you make. Also take a look at Hardy Boys, mysteries sometimes get boys interested in reading.

07-11-2010, 08:02 AM
What level is he reading? There are lots of great books and series out there for boys, and at a full range of reading ability. Magic Tree House (history and geography), Magic School Bus (science), and Time Warp Trio (history, geography, science and silliness) are just a few faves for our DS. Geronimo Stilton, Horrible Harry, anything by Beverly Cleary (Ralph and the Motorcycle, etc), and Droon are other popular series for boys this age. Amazon can be a great help in finding age appropriate books that you can tailor to your son's interests. And of course science books--there are tons and tons for this age group. Hope this helps!

07-11-2010, 08:27 AM
Welcome to the group! Believe me most of us had that feeling when we pulled our kids out of PS or private school. Check out our resource page (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/content/192-resources)for alot of helpful hints.

I have two boys 13 and 8, and I can tell you that I was scared to death when I pulled them out after 5th and K from PS. My best advice is to take everything slowing and enjoy the learning process. The rest will come in time, even I know that you are still thinking of placing him back in at a later date (you may not want to once you try this ;)
My boys are into TV, video and computer games as well, but I am not like alot of moms I know they are allowed so much time a day(when we are on breaks) or on the weekend to play those games. I looked for an online programs that made it seem like you were not learning or at least gave them the visual stimulation they wanted. And I found time4learning (http://www.time4learning.com/) to help me and them, it has cartoon based lessons and they actually were laughing at some of the things the cartoons say or do. We of course supplement with history and science (right now we are using story of the world and I am just piecing together the science from online sources and books we have along with Science in a bag activities) We are a math family or I should say that I love math so the boys also do Singapore math. We are also using all about spelling for help with our terrible spelling which yes they got from me. There have been many discussions on this forum about all of these subjects so take a look around to see if any of the info up here might help you.

Feel free to ask us anything that you are nervous about up here this is a helpful bunch;)

07-14-2010, 02:32 PM
Hi and welcome. I think the first you should do if figure out your childs learning style. A great book I could recommend is The Big What Now Book of Learning Styles. Very informative and entertaining. I also wrote a post about this on my blog. You can check it out here (http://homegrownmosaic.blogspot.com/2010/05/curriculum-to-inspire.html)

I hope it helps you out and good luck in your journey. Just remember to try to make it fun and everything else will often fall into place.

Theresa Holland Ryder
07-16-2010, 02:05 PM
Hi there!

Once you've homeschooled for a bit, you'll be wondering just what it is they do in public school all day since for most kids it takes about 1/3 of the time to do the same amount of work at home. It's not because we all have genius kids or something, it's that teachers are dealing with 30 kids at a time and have a bunch of administrative tasks that we don't do.

I used to make my kids "buy" computer game time and tv time with work that they didn't favor. For example finish this much Math and you get 30 minutes of tv/games. It worked pretty well for us.

07-16-2010, 03:41 PM
I think if you aren't a bit nervous there has to be something wrong. It is a big responsibility that we take on. But I think that any parent that takes on this job will do what ever is necessary to succeed ! You will be an old pro before you know it. We are here to help all we can.

08-03-2010, 11:25 PM
Serenyd, welcome to the site, even if I'm a bit late in saying so. I would say it's normal to be a bit nervous when you start homeschooling, but all the studies out there suggest that we do a better job educating our kids than do the public schools. So just hang in there and do your best. I'm sure you'll find this site a great resource and support.


08-04-2010, 11:17 AM
Hey Serenyd, I am right there with you. Getting ready to homeschool my 8-year-old son after four years of Catholic school. He's finally stopped asking me if he's going to hell. *rolls eyes* I have no advice for you since I'm new, too, but I'll hold your hand, okay? I'm scared, too.