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  1. #1

    Default Having a hard time deciding to homeschool and what type of online program to use

    Thank you in advance for any input you all may have, it is appreciated!
    My almost 12 your old DD has been asking to homeschool for the last 18 months, she is in 6th grade currently. We went from a public charter school last year in 5th grade to pulling her out and putting her in a very small private Christian school the last part of 5th grade. She tests as academically gifted and we have never had issues with her grades, at the private school she seems to be almost 1 year ahead of her classmates, which is an issue, but not my main concern.
    Last year she cried almost every day going to school (did better at the private school, but only until the last month and now she is back to being very down about going to school and crying). I would think she was depressed, but when she is out of school she is a normal tween, some emotions but generally happy, has friends, is not sullen at all. There is no bullying going on, she is social enough and has friends from her old school that she has kept since kindergarten. We have seen 2 therapists and they diagnosed her with ADD, she has no hyperactivity, but has a very hard time staying focused at times and finds all of the talking and interuptions by other children very irritating and makes it difficult for her to learn. She also has mild sensory processing issues and cannot stand loud noises. She is also very introverted, she just prefers to be at home. She tells me she just hates being gone at school all day. She does do the schoolwork, and is usually pretty motivated, but hates and resents homework at night when she has been on all day.
    She is not on ADD medications, her neurologist did not think she needed them as she performs so well in school and is never a behavioral problem. I am just struggling seeing her so sad every day, she begs me to just homeschool.
    My main concern is having enough socialization for her, and also the fact that I work outside of the home 3 days per week. I have already looked into having someone come at least for a large portion of the days that I work to oversee her work and take her to any activities. I have also found a sewing group for her to join and homeschool gymnastics class.
    I am so scared of totally messing this up, I want her to have lots of college options, she is such a smart child, and the NC online school connections academy has really bad reviews.
    I am open to and we have the financial ability to pay for a private online school and I am looking at laurel springs academy. It is based out of California and the east coast, but I am having a hard time really knowing if taking classes there will be an issue for her when she applies for college or if she decides to go to public school in high school,
    Thank you for any help with this, feeling very overwhelmed.

  2. T4L In Forum Nov19
  3. #2

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    Welcome, and hugs!

    Homeschooling shouldnt be expensive, rest your mind that this wont break your budget.
    Instead of an online school (I dont think those work, tbh), why not approach each subject independently? If she doesnt mind the workload from a school, she might be fine with textbooks and workbooks for the majority of her stuff.

    If she needs time with friends, think of that as separate from “learning”.

    As a transitional thing, will the private school allow “home study”? Where she does all the same work as her classmates, but at home? Or she goes in on the days where you work? Being a private school, they may be able to work with you. (Unlike public schools where they only get paid for a butt in a seat.)

    You wont screw up her life by ending the situation where she is in tears daily. Really. You care, and want her to not be miserable, so whatever you do to try fixing the situation will be an improvement.

    Good luck! Members here have a lot of suggestions for homeschooling products, but not so many online schools, because they dont seem to work for us.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3

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    ^^^^^^^ What Alexsmom said!

    Seriously, if your daughter is begging you to homeschool, it's better to bring her home for her education.

    As long as you are both committed to this, you can't mess up. As one who homeschooled her kids through high school and into college, you are not shutting any doors for her by homeschooling. Both of my kids were admitted to multiple universities and received some scholarships.

    You just need to keep on top of things. Make sure she has the standard requirements for admission--4 years of English, 3-4 years of math, 2-3 years of foreign language, etc. These can be found on college admission websites.

    Instead of an online school (I dont think those work, tbh), why not approach each subject independently? If she doesnt mind the workload from a school, she might be fine with textbooks and workbooks for the majority of her stuff.
    This is what we did. For example, my kids picked a general genre for a year of language arts--English Lit, World Lit, short stories, women writers, science fiction.....Then together we'd figure out what books they would read. If you want "official" work for your daughter to do, most books have lesson plans of some sort online.

    Math--there are self-teaching programs (like Teaching Textbooks) and Khan Academy, or she can work through a book on her own. There are also tutors out there for extra help.

    For more ideas, be sure to check out the Homeschooling Middle/High School forum and the College Prep forum.

    I know it can seem daunting right now, but it is totally possible. Keep asking questions. Many of us have homeschooled our kids through high school.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  5. #4

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    Thank you both for your replies!
    My first question is why do most feel like online programs do not work, is it lack of flexibility, curriculum issues? I am so new to this I am not sure what to really look for.
    So far the downsides I see to online is that it is more regimented as far as assignments due, amount of work, type of assignments. I can see that being a downside, but it also takes curriculum decisions away and she would have a teacher available and someone to evaluate her work. I honestly do not feel like I have the time to be able to grade everything she does, and even though I have two college degrees the thought of having to help her with writing does not sound appealing. I am being completely honest, I think I would enjoy picking out a curriculum, but the day to day teaching I really do not want to do without some sort of help.
    I am thinking about setting her up to go to a local tutor company that is really good a couple days a week, possibly picking out curriculum and overseeing everything but having her go to them to grade and give feedback on her writing or hard math concepts. Thanks again for the help, I will be checking out the middle school forum to see about recommendations there as well.

  6. #5

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    The problem I see with most online school options is that it is not personalized for the child so it doesn't take into account your child's strengths and weaknesses. It also tends to be a "canned" version of public school curriculum. Many homeschoolers are trying to get away from the one-size-fits-all approach. Homeschooling allows you to create a much richer education for your child than any form of public school, in the schools or online.

    I've also heard people complain about the teachers that are suppose to be helping their child are no help at all. It is really luck of the draw whether or not you get a helpful teacher or not. From what I've heard about these free academies, many of the teachers have hundreds of students so it is hard for them to personalize comments for every student.

    Just because these online academies don't get good reviews doesn't mean they don't serve a purpose. They just don't serve the needs of most homeschoolers very well. If they sound like something that you are interested in you can try it out. Maybe it is just the right balance for you and your situation.

    Many homeschoolers outsource one or more of their children's classes, especially as they get older. Bravewriter has online classes that could have a teacher help critique and comment on your daughter's writing. There are all kinds of classes at community centers and libraries that could be included as part of your daughter's homeschool experience. I've heard of children as young as 13 taking community college classes as part of their homeschool curriculum. She can have her Associate's by the end of high school and be ready to transfer to university as a junior. I know many bright homeschoolers who have done just that. While many people choose to homeschool because they like the idea of being in full control of child's education, there is nothing wrong with outsourcing the things you don't feel comfortable teaching.

  7. #6

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    We did an online school for 10 weeks when we first started homeschooling. It was a smaller one that was meant to be more targeted to the student. But both DD and I just found it was not a good fit.

    DD found it boring. The teacher did not actually listen that much to what the students wanted. She had her curriculum she wanted to teach and was quite set on doing that. The class was not allowed to make good use of the video function in the online classroom; the teacher thought it "distracted" them too much. So most of the time DD did not get to see or discuss things with the other students. It was all the teacher giving her lecture and then sending them away to do stuff. We also got really tired of how absolutely everything was online. All the reading, all the writing, the art etc. I get that it made it easier for the teacher to assign and receive stuff, but if I had to do an online school again, I would want to find one where they assigned texts in real books, had writing and assignments on paper, and did actual art not just online drawing programs.

    It all ended up actually more work (and $) for me to try get her to do the work than if I had made up a curriculum myself. It was like enforcing homework constantly at home when I had to get DD to do what the teacher asked. Cost wise, I paid about $650 US for those 10 weeks, so for a full year it would be about $2,600, which is way more than I spend on our own stuff.

    But that was just our experience. You probably have more options than us for online schools, and you may be able to find one that suits you well. I would just check the policies on withdrawal and fees if you only want to try it out for a while to start with.

    I think the going for a real-life tutor route sounds like a good option if you can make that work, or asking your private school if you can have her home 2 days a week to do part-time homeschool.

    My DD sounds very similar to yours. I took her out of school at age 8 and she has been overwhelmingly much happier and more positive. Academically she has been much better off than at school even though we have done quite an eclectic mix of things to date. Socially, she is completely happy with the odd thing with the local homeschool group, we might do one thing every 2 weeks, and regular after school activities (4 days a week) and volunteering (one morning a week). I also think her social experiences now are more positive than what she got at school, even if she has less time around other kids.

    Good luck, let us know how you go!

    Edited to add: I don't want you to think that you can't homeschool because online schools are somehow "bad" and that is the only option you can see working for you with how your schedule is. Your daughter sounds like she would greatly benefit from being home, and if online school is the way that you can see to do it, go for it. But just check those withdrawal legalities in case once you get into it you find that it does not suit you and you would like to set it up differently. The only reason I felt confident enough to start homeschooling was with an online school. For us, we found it did not work and we were much happier organizing our own things. And the barriers I had envisaged about how much time that would take and how much time I would have to spend teaching her, I found they actually did not exist and online school used up more of our time than doing our own thing.
    Last edited by NZ_Mama; 10-06-2019 at 08:43 PM.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

  8. #7

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    Thank you so much for the replies.
    I am still very much on the fence about curriculum versus online and homeschooling at all. I really have no support in homeschooling at all, my husband is ok with it if I think it is best, but still thinks she should just have to be in school. My friends and family think it isn't a good idea, mostly because I work, and I think they just don't see how it can be done with my work schedule and that it will be good for her in the long run. I even talked to my SIL who homeschooled her kids for 4 years and she felt like the middle school years are really important for making relationships and friendships and that being in school would help with that. My daughter really is not into any after school activities except art, which is concerning for me, I would really have to push her/figure out other activites if we did the homeschool, otherwise I can see her having limited socialization. The thing is she is actually quite happy with that, which makes it difficult as a parent. She does have two really good friends that she sees every couple weeks and talks on the phone to, we also see cousins at least once a week and go to church. We are a pretty active family, but she just prefers to be home.
    Thank you all so much for your help and insight, I still have alot to think about.

  9. #8

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    There is a book about homeschooling middle schoolers (Tweens, Tough Times, and Triumphs: Homeschooling the Middle Grades) that a past member on here wrote. It might bring you a different perspective on homeschooling middle school than what you got from your SIL. I have bought it but not read it yet. The reviews for it are good.

    For me, from the socialization side of it, if my child is happy with limited social time, then it is ok even if it does not meet others expectations of how much they think kids should be socializing. And middle school is one period I am greatly hoping to continue homeschooling for because I think that is the worst period of school socializing in terms of bullying, puberty awkwardness, and being exposed to things other kids may be into.

    What helped me decide to homeschool was that I knew I would never know what it was like if I never tried. I could never cross that option off my list because I would not have tried it, and I would always wonder what it would have been like. And that really the only thing I was afraid of was that it would fail. And if it did fail, I could always send her back to school as it was not a one-way road.

    Everyone around me was also ranging from indifferent (DH) to total against (my mother), so I understand the not having support in making the decision. Sometimes you just need to trust your instinct. The thing I am majorly grateful about from choosing homeschooling is that I got my daughter back. She had been so angry and depressed at school and it was so nice to see her smile and relax again.

    I also work, but from home, so it is a bit different in that I am still there to provide supervision. It's a juggle but it can be done. If you can find someone to supervise her for the time you are away, that will make it a lot easier.
    Last edited by NZ_Mama; 10-06-2019 at 08:45 PM.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

  10. #9

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    You indicate “socialization” and you not having enough time to devote to homeschooling.

    Socialization - Really, I think what you mean is “time with friends”... we socialize dogs, not people. If she is content and not crawling the walls wishing for and moping about for want of friends, then her opinion is worth a lot here. I never needed hordes of friends around, my husband is the same way. My oldest son, though, constantly wants to be playing with others. People are wired differently. Different strokes for different folks. Some people like being homebodies and having a couple really close friends, others need a wide network of companions.
    How much sense does this statement make? “My daughter cries every day and is becoming worrisomely miserable, but its important for her to continue because otherwise she wont have enough friends and activities.”
    Shes in pain! End the pain! Dont swallow anyones BS that “its for the best, she will get over it.”

    Not having enough time - To me, this is an additional argument against an online school. Online schools take away your control over curriculum and pacing... and dont give you any guarantees that the information will be learned. For the elementary years, yes, your job is to play schoolteacher, and carefully attend and re-present material so that it makes sense to your kid. Once theyre in the middle grades, though, it becomes a bit more independent. But you still should be there to verify that the material is sinking in.... which a computer screen cant tell. Which, if you care about what shes learning, will require a lot more work on your part to figure out 1) what theyre trying to teach, and 2) whether shes understanding it.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  11. #10

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    Thank you for all the feedback, really helpful, but I still do not feel like I am close to making a decision, ugh..... I honestly am only hesitant because I work 3 days a week outside of the home, this to me has been a major hurdle. Even if she can do most of the work herself, she would be by herself until the regular sitter I have for afterschool comes in at 330. I was leaning towards an online school because I want something that is all set up to go that I can just oversee, but I am seeing some of the downsides to this. Her private school tuition at 800 a month will probably be about the same as I would pay for extra sitters, tutor and an online school or curriculum, so cost savings isn't there either.
    I talked to her teacher at the private school and she is doing really well, no social issues, her grades are all As, and her teacher is adding more challenging work for her, because she has realized she is really far ahead of the other kids in her grade. There are no social issues, she is not bullied and her teachers are so positive and just wonderful at this school. There is no question I would take her out if her teachers were demeaning (which is why we left her old school) or if there was bullying.
    Do you feel like by 7th or 8th grade an online program, or a full curriculum that she could see a tutor twice a week would be more realistic? I guess what I am hearing so far is that until the higher grades they really need more oversight to make sure they are learning the material. My 9th grader who is at a charter school is doing so much of her work online now, it seems to become so much more independent by the high school grades, so I keep thinking that may be a better time to jump in and right now continue at the private school. Thank you for your help!

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