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  1. #1

    Default New Homeschooling Family in Colorado

    Good Morning-

    My name is Belinda Martin, and my husband and I (after a year of debate) have finally taken the plunge and are going to homeschool our son. He will be three in September, so he would be going into preschool, but since he's already a bit advanced in terms of knowing the letters, shapes, colors,numbers,spelling a few words, etc. we've decided to go with the Pre-K curriculum from Book Shark, and the current plan is to skip the preschool curriculum alltogether.

    There are two things (besides our not choosing homeschool for religious reasons) that make our family a bit different from typical homeschoolers, though: first, we both work full-time outside of the home, and second, I am a public school employee.

    We're very fortunate to have my retired parents watching my son while we work, and they have been advocates for either homeschool or private school since our son was born. They're going to help a lot. I have taught high school English for ten years,and I recently finished my requirements for licensure as a school administrator. This academic year, I'll be working in human resources for the same school district in which I've taught for most of my career. My husband works for a beer distributor/sales company, so we both work pretty typical 8-4 schedules.

    I've done a lot of digging on blogs and websites and YouTube, but I haven't found many homeschooling families with situations similar to ours. Many parents work from home or work opposite shifts, but what we're trying to do seems unsettlingly unique... I'd love to hear about the experiences of any parents here who are successfully managing any version of working and homeschooling.

    I'm so glad to be here! Thanks for creating a community for secular homeschoolers!

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  3. #2

    Default

    Welcome!

    Interestingly enough, there are a bunch of (albeit former) public school teachers here.
    I understand the newness of homeschooling and wanting to buy a shiny packaged curriculum. Bookshark (and other “packaged all in ones”) will probably end up being horribly disappointing, since your baby seems to be “ahead” in some areas. (And Bookshark is Sonlight scrubbed for religious reference so it can be passed off as secular for charter homeschools.... its more accurate to say its “less religious” than “secular”.)

    Three is still awfully young for starting formal curriculum, even if you feel he is ready for it. (When my oldest was yours age, I bought pre-school and Kindy curriculums too, it was all so new to me, I wanted to try it out, and thought having something all laid out would be perfect!)
    If you want more of a “structured” learning right now, you might consider something that is mostly reading aloud to the child, like the book list from Build Your Library’s Level 0 “Around the World”. They spend a couple months visiting each continent, learning about the people there, the animals, the countries, making recipes, doing art projects, etc. Lots of things to do and library trips for Grama and Grampa to take him on during the week! Written by an actual homeschooler, so flexibility is built into it, along with a commitment to adapting to the needs and interests of your situation.
    http://buildyourlibrary.com
    Here is Some Random Lady’s review of it:
    https://thehomeschoolresourceroom.co...d+your+library

    You might also look at something like KiwiCrates, if youre dying to spend money under the guise of education. For the less extravagent, they have a free online newsletter with lots of fun, appropriate projects.
    https://www.kiwico.com

    My in laws (my boys’ grandparents) have spent a couple days each week with my older since he was a toddler - and have been involved with his schooling (including going on field trips with him!). Its been great! Id advise checking with yours before spending on curriculum.

    Good luck, ask when you have questions!
    Last edited by alexsmom; 06-30-2018 at 12:23 PM.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3

    Default

    Hi there!

    Are you planning on continuing to work outside the home while homeschooling? That could work especially if your parents are willing to do some of the schooling while he is in their care during the day but at some point someone, whether it be you or your husband or your parents, is going to have to commit to being a full time homeschool parent or guardian. Preschool and kindergarten could definitely be done in the evening after work but first grade might be a little harder and by second grade it might be almost impossible to get school crammed in after work for you and before bed for him.

    Being a solely responsible for your child's education and not delegating it to a public or private school or to someone else that you trust like your parents or a hired private teacher is a full time job in itself. Being a teacher, I'm sure you know that your job doesn't end when the kids go home for the day. In the same vein, while you won't likely spend 8 hours a day actively teaching your son, you will still have planning, research, organizing, grading, administrative tasks just as I'm sure you do now teaching in the schools. You will need to do all this in addition to being a parent, household tasks, any outside commitments you have and then add a full time job outside the home on top of that? Will you be able to find enough hours in the day most days to get it all done?

    If you, your husband and your parents work well together and can divy up all the necessary tasks and needs of two working parents, a homeschooled child and two retired adults then I think this could be an awesome adventure for all of you. But if there is any doubt in your mind about it at all, you may need to take a hard look at your options.

    Oh and some states will not allow anyone to homeschool any other children but their own so you could be toeing the legality line in your state if you are thinking that your parents will do any of the teaching. I would check your state laws and make sure that you can delegate some of the teaching tasks to them before proceeding any further.

  5. #4

    Default

    Hello! I am also a new homeschooler in Colorado I have no homeschool experience yet, but I also was drawn to Bookshark at first just because it seemed "school-like," with things laid out and easy to follow. Now that I've done more research, I'm really glad I didn't buy it! First off, I did not understand that like Alexsmom said, it's just "less religious," not really secular. Also, it kinda takes away the freedom for your child to learn whatever he is drawn to that is a major benefit of homeschool.

    We actually did 2 years of preschool starting at 3, because we wanted DS to continue speech therapy, and then kinder last year before deciding to stop and homeschool. Preschool was great - while they did Handwriting without Tears, the rest was all set up as unit studies and "centers." They had a theme each month (dinosaurs, helpers in our community, planets, etc.) and then center time (writing center, dress-up center, library/reading center, art center, science center, etc.). While he learned what he needed to know in kinder, he remembers far more about what he learned in preschool than in kinder, because it was mostly child-led. I am looking forward to getting back to "centers" in our home as I think that was really missed in kinder.

    Also like Alexsmom suggested, we did decide to do BYL. I was hoping he'd choose level 0 because it seems adorable but he wanted level 1. Oh well, there's always little sis It fits with the philosophy we wanted, plus it's really not that expensive (the program plus the spines, but all but 1 or 2 of the suggested books we can get at the library).

    Whatever you choose, I respect that. I've been in school my whole life so I totally think in those terms as well. But, the flexibility to have your child choose what they are interested in, plus the ability to switch gears right away if your child isn't into what you've selected is a major benefit to the less is more approach in the beginning. Of course I haven't begun yet, but we did the more is more approach by starting school so soon and now I will take a different approach from here on out.

    I'm not sure how well our schedules align but if you ever want to meet up for a field trip let's do it

  6. #5

    Default

    I am one of the former schoolteachers (high school physics and math) here that Alexsmom alluded to in her post. We homeschooled our kids after pulling them from elementary school after grades 2 and 1, respectively. We considered homeschooling a year-to-year idea, always giving the kids the option to return to school if they wished. However, we ended up homeschooling all the way through to their high school graduations.

    I had planned to return to teaching myself when the kids were still young. However, between homeschooling and tutoring, I kept fairly busy. Not being tied to a school schedule gave us the best part of homeschooling-flexibility. Traveling at off-times, traveling with dh when he had business trips in interesting locations, volunteering at the local national park, etc.

    Of course, your family has to decide what works for you. I'm assuming you would get summers off in your school district? If so, you could use that time to be more highly involved with your child's schooling. Having homeschooled all the way from elementary through high school, I can tell you that homeschooling kids between the ages of about 8-13 seems to require the most time from parents. Even in high school, they do so much more on their own, but then you need to act as their guidance counselor--finding appropriate classes, keeping records, researching with them what they need for their prospective life paths (college, military, trades, etc).

    I also agree with Alexsmom that a child so young really doesn't need a strict curriculum. Exploration, arts and crafts, local field trips, conversations, read-alouds, etc are great for this age.
    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

  7. #6

    Default

    Welcome.

    I am assuming your parents are going to be doing the schooling here? Do you want a laid out curriculum so that since you are not there during the day, you at least know what is being taught/learnt and they have a good plan to follow and don't have the stress/time of organizing stuff?

    If so, I understand wanting to have something to use. I have no experience of Book Shark; I just steered clear of it after what I read on this forum about it not really being secular and the lack of flexibility.

    When we started homeschooling, we went with Build Your Library. I agree with others that you should look at that. It is pretty cheap if you can get most of the books from your local library, and it is flexible, so you can sub in other books if you cannot get some and change around how you do it and how much you do of it. I am looking at doing the level 0 with my 5.5 year old next year.

    In terms of accelerating, my oldest has tested as gifted my youngest is probably the same. My youngest started asking to be taught to read when she was about 3 years old. Between then and now (she just turned 5), we just did some online programs (Starfall, Reading Eggs, Progressive Phonics), and a phonics reader series from the library. We also did some basic writing. I had some letter tracing type workbooks left over from her older sister, and she used them. She also liked to write "stories" and would dictate them to me and I would write them down. We also use some of the projects from BraveWriter Jot it Down. She did these along with her older sister when her sister was 8 and she was 3. For specific words she wanted to practice, I would dot the words into a handwriting book and she would trace over them. For math we used a book called Preschool Math at Home by Kate Snow. It is all activities based around early math skills.

    Pretty much we only did these when she went and got them out on her own (I left them where she could get them) and we would only do them until she started losing interest. So we might do something only one or two days a week for about 15 min, or not at all. She also went to a play-based child-led preschool three mornings a week, where it was all fun stuff. Even now at 5 she is not that interested in doing more traditional school work type stuff, she prefers to do activity-based learning. Her latest thing was she wanted to feed the birds (it is winter here in NZ), and that has turned into weeks of making them different types of food and feeders/houses, bird watching/photography/art, visiting the birds part of the museum, reading books about birds, writing a bird watching diary, watching things online about birds, etc.

    I understand having a child who is really into learning and being the parent wanting to do something with them. To me, one of your options is to accelerate them so they are doing something at a higher age level that is challenging, which it sounds like your plan is currently. Or you could let them explore things at their actual age level and with age appropriate structure/activities but do it in a wider/deeper manner, and leave out extra writing/reading/math materials that they can pick up if they want but don't schedule it. Just because they might do the basics quickly, I don't think you need to jump ahead to the next level of basics. Let them go off on tangents and explore other interests and things that they otherwise might not get the time to.

    For work, I work and homeschool. My husband works full time out of the home. I work part time from home. My mum lives in the same city as us but probably only has the kids about one afternoon a week as she has her own stuff she is involved in even though she is retired. Its a struggle to fit it all in, and in my dreams, I get to send them to school and school is amazing and not what we experienced for my oldest's 3 years in public school. But I know that is not what it would be. So I have to compromise. Either compromise on their education and happiness by sending them to school, or compromise on what I can do with my time by having them at home. For now, I choose the latter. I don't think you can really do it all. Unless your parents are willing to homeschool your child for you full time for the long-term. Have you chatted to them to really see how they feel about that commitment with their retirement plans?
    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.

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New Homeschooling Family in Colorado