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Thread: Hi Ya'll

  1. #1

    Default Hi Ya'll

    Hello everyone!
    I am a stay at home mom to five kids, and married to an amazing guy! My kids are three, five (public preschool), nine (homeschooler), 14 (public school - starts college high school next year) and 16 (public high school).
    We chose homeschool for our middle child because of a few reasons, he was picking up on some seriously insanely inappropriate things in public school and was getting harassed as well. I actually just started with him a few weeks ago, so this is all very new to me!
    I do intend on homeschooling my preschooler next year, and my youngest once she finishes preschool.
    My life is currently completely nuts! Not that it wasn't before I started homeschooling, but I'm hanging on for dear life!
    Hopeful I'll find some friends and good advice here...we are doing alright, but I know it could be better. I have already given up on one free "curriculum" ezpeasyhomeschool.com. We are currently using mobymax and thankfully finding more success with this one, although the read out loud voice is awful, and my son struggles with reading. I am grateful for the placement tests though, as the first thing I did was to give me son the appropriate grade level state assessment test and he did pretty badly. I am still looking for a different long term option because in the social studies he is just clicking through it as quickly as his finger can and then failing the assignments.
    I welcome any and all advice!
    Thanks for reading, and I am looking forward to hearing from everyone!

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  3. #2

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    Welcome Wtxgrl! I think you will find all kinds of advice and experience among the members here.
    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 graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  4. #3

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    Welcome! Having long term goals is great, I think it gives you more perspective on what you are trying to accomplish.
    You may find that grabbing individual products for each subject area will serve you better. For example, your son may need more help with reading, but his science, math, and social studies may be “on target” for his age. The math you choose may be too manipulative-intensive, so you try a couple before you find one that works well. Then, when you start your littles, you will want them tagging along with their older brother as far as social studies and science (trust me, theyre going to be interested in what hes doing anyways, and its a lot easier to check out a couple of age-appropriate books for them from the library about the topic than to teach a whole nother set of lessons), so you will need to find stuff that works for both. (This year, Im doing Build Your Library’s 7th grade World Geography for my 6th grader* along with their Kindergarten Around the World with my little one. *Not because my older is “advanced”.... just because its close enough to be im the age range.
    This spring, we will be learning Anatomy / body systems for our “science”. Older one will be going in more depth memorizing bone and muscle names, parts of cells, etc, and younger will be doing more simple crafts and learning the different body systems.
    You will find what works for you, but try to let go of expectations that there are certain things that need to be covered each grade level. For high school age, perhaps there is a more structured sequence. Before then, we are trying to give our kids a well-rounded, pleasant exposure to learning and the world around us.

    Do you want help finding something for reading? What are your son’s difficulties, his strengths, when it comes to it?
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  5. #4

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    Thanks so much for the welcome!
    I appreciate the advice on combining the science and social studies in age groups. I honestly hadn't thought that far in advance. To be honest, I'm so stressed about what were doing today that I haven't been able to look out that far. But combining totally makes sense!
    I think my stress, and I'm aware that it doesn't have to be this way (just accepting this is the problem!) but I'm kind of attached to the thought of covering five or more subjects a day. LOL (right?!?)
    I don't know if anyone here is familiar with mobymax, but it offers placement tests to gauge where you are in each subject. So my son actually has a pretty high placement (I want to say it was 3.7 - so 3/4 of the way through third grade) and this is after his third grade teacher from public school had said he was behind. I have also watched him read. He's not bad at it, he just doesn't like it! This is foreign to me and I'm not sure how to work with him on it- I have always loved reading and the same is true of my husband, and the other two children that can read already.
    We have started looking for things that interest him, and that's the struggle. I will say though his science placement was almost 6th grade, and mobymax also tracks his "focus" and science has consistently been at 100%! (YAY!!!)
    Now, I just wish I could find a way to get him excited about social studies. If anyone had advice I am ALL ears!
    Thanks so much!

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by wtxgrl View Post
    Now, I just wish I could find a way to get him excited about social studies. If anyone had advice I am ALL ears!
    Thanks so much!
    For social studies at your son's age, it could be just about anything:

    Is he into maps? Try geography.

    Is he into a certain culture or part of the world? Tackle that. Read about it's history, foods, traditions. Try some at home.

    If your family is like mine, we are really into current events. There are some websites that deliver daily news to kids, but I can't recall them at the moment. Related to this, he could study government: the 3 branches, how a bill becomes law, etc. (Think Schoolhouse Rock!)

    Look into different world ecosystems (rainforests, deserts, grasslands, etc.). Why are they the way they are? How has man affected them?

    Anthropology can also be a part of social studies.

    All of these can be done using the library, internet, and videos. When my kids were that age, we just sort of followed their interests in social studies (and science) where they led. It didn't get more formal until high school.

    Also, don't think you have to replicate school at home. Many families have a routine where they learn social studies on Tues and Thurs and science on Mon and Wed. That way you can spend more focused time on it if needed, especially if your son is into hands-on projects.

    Don't be surprised if your routine changes often. It will take a while to find what works. Our routine changed every year, simply because of the kids' changing maturity levels.
    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 graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  7. #6

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    Alas, love of reading doesnt seem to have a genetic or environmental component. Maybe it’s a boy thing (for certain boys), or an age thing (9 yr old boys and lamguage arts woes are a common heme). Reading literature has seemed important to me, so my son has been subjugated to a stream of litersture. Now in 6th, he seems to be enjoying it a bit more. We have had no duds with any of the BraveWriter or the BuildYourLibrary literature selections.
    BYL will give you combined social studies and literature.... which is nice. BW will give you lamguage arts lessons based on the literature you’re reading, which is also nice. Both will wean you away from “school at home” mentalities.
    Social studies has also been a challenge through the elementary years. If he doesnt like history, hes not alone, dont sweat it. Does he play Minecraft, Roblox, Pokemon? Some Roblox games can have a historical context that can be explored. Minecraft has geography and other social elements. Pokemon has Japanese cultural elements. Foreign languages and cooking are social studies, too! Karate (whatever variant) is social studies if you put some thought into it. History of a sport is social studies.... he doesnt need to understand the causes of the War of 1812 at this stage. Keep it light and interesting, and when hes older he wont run away screaming when hes shown a history book.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  8. #7

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    Welcome!

    I homeschooled my oldest two boys from the beginning through middle school and they could not have been more different. My oldest son seemed like he would never learn to read and didn't start reading on his own until he was 9. The younger one just started reading one day when he was 4 without any formal instruction. The older one enjoyed history as long as it was about warriors and battles. The younger one asked for a new history encyclopedia for his thirteenth birthday because he had already read every other history encyclopedia we owned at least twice. The older one had been writing multiple page stories since before he was school age. The younger one seemed to be allergic to pencils and paper until we later found out he is dysgraphic.

    I really like doing interest led history in elementary school with a timeline where we continually add things to show how everything ties together. I also like using the "sneaky learning" tactics. Sometimes I sneak in some information to them when I see a teachable moment present itself. Sometimes I just show an interest in some topic and pull them in with me (they don't have to know that I already knew the information, but if I get excited about something, they tend to get excited too). Sometimes I will steer an interest into a learning rabbit trail or widen it a bit so they learn more than just what they are focused on. When my oldest was 11 or so, he wanted to learn about WWI, which we did but I also expanded it to include the Erie Canal, Thomas Edison, Victorian era and other information from that general time period. He didn't ask to learn about the other stuff but he did end up enjoying it along with the WWI stuff.

    Pre-teen boys tend to love the Horrible Histories show from the BBC. There are also books by the same name. You can purchase single episodes on Amazon and see if it's worth buying a whole season for your son. They do different humorous skits about historical people and events. My kids can still tell you who all of King Henry VIII's wives were and how King Edmund II died... on the toilet. It's most UK and European history but they do have some skits that are on world history. It is definitely a good way to get a kid interested in history.

    As I mentioned my oldest didn't read on his own until age 9 so we read aloud A LOT. Also tandem reading is a great way to get them reading without making them shoulder all the work. Listening to audio books is another way to enjoy literature in they act like reading a book is akin to torture. Despite my oldest son's very late start to reading (he had nothing wrong with him and it wasn't for lack of trying, he was just a very very late bloomer) he still eventually became a voracious reader in his teen years. He always had some kind of fantasy adventure book he was reading. He ended up reading every Rick Riordan book he could find on his own accord. My best advice is do not try to force your son to enjoy reading by making him do it more than necessary. Have him keep practicing with small bites that stretch his mind a little each time but do not over challenge him.

    Mix it up with interesting reading that is an easy read for him. Not everything he reads has to be on the edge of too hard for him to build fluency and a love of reading. I love the Harry Potter series but it is definitely not a challenging read for me. Does that mean that I shouldn't read it because it's not challenging? Of course not. Reading good literature that is an easy read doesn't just build confidence, it makes reading as a pastime enjoyable.

  9. #8

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    Sigh. I typed a great reply...and then I suddenly wasn't logged in and it got lost!
    So - thanks so much for the replies! And the Minecraft and Pokemon thing?!!? Wow! Mind blown! I'm excited to get back to it - we've been lax because the other kids are on break. But the gears are spinning with the above advice!! Really grateful!

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Hi Ya'll