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  1. #1

    Default New and not sure how to start!

    Hello, all!
    Boy am I glad I stumbled onto this site.
    I'm sure I'll learn a lot here.
    I've been homeschooling my little guy through preschool and we are halfway through kindergarten now.
    Up until now I've been able to just sort of do my own thing, and I've been picking and choosing bits of curriculum here and there, and enriching with my own activities.
    We are coming to a point, though, where I think we need more.
    He has trouble remembering letter sounds, writing letters and numbers, and he desperately wants to learn to read - but he doesn't yet have a solid enough foundation.
    I've tried lots of creative and fantastic things, but some have backfired and some seem to go over his head.
    I suppose I am here to find new inspirations, look into some curricula, and meet some great homeschoolers.
    Happy to be here!

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  3. #2

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    Welcome! I noticed you had questions in a few other posts, too.

    About state requirements - homeschooling is pretty easy and legal in each state. If you have questions about your state, you could tell us where you live (thats why we ask it in the profile, not to stalk you!). We can either tell you our personal experiences there, or guide you where to look!

    About reading - Have you tried controlled phonics programs, like BOB books, Hooked on Phonics, or All About Reading? Where is he in his reading development - does he recognize and can he give you the sounds each letter makes? Progressive Phonics is free, and fun to start with as well. Teach Your Monster to Read is a fun reading app (also free), and there are videos like Letter Factory and Word Factory. For that matter, Word World on PBS gets the blending going on too.
    Depending on your sons disposition, I might not worry about sight words yet - if youre trying to teach him that letters make certain sounds, it might just be frustrating him that these other words dont follow the rules.
    For my older son, we used the Explode the Code workbooks along with leveled readers (Like Frog and Toad). My younger son has some major language difficulties, so we have tried about everything. Hes now 7, and Im finally relaxing about it, as hes nearly functionally literate - at about the same age as my older, neurotypical son was.

    So. Try free things, having a tried-and-true scope and sequence helps, and try to not panic about it. Be patient, encouraging, and sympathetic to him when the rules he has just learned are tossed out the window in real life applications.

    Keep asking questions, and when you want the most helpful answers, give specifics!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3

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    Welcome! I'm going to do the same as Alexsmom and just try to answer your questions here.

    To help you with legal/state stuff we need to know what state or country you are in. It really does vary a lot so there aren't a lot of general things to say about it other than don't sweat it too much. I've homeschooled in many states and outside the US. Never once have I had a legal issue about homeschooling, knock on wood. There are horror stories about homeschooling legal problems but they really are the exception, not the norm. Homeschooling has become so much more mainstream in the almost twenty years since I started homeschool (sheesh I feel really old now lol) It's rare to find someone who hasn't at least heard of homeschooling these days. I can't remember the last time a random stranger asked me if it was legal to homeschool my kids lol!

    At five and a half, it is still fairly normal for kiddos to still be learning letter sounds and still forgetting them sometimes. Heck, my youngest kiddo is 7 and still has brain glitches now and then and forgets letter sounds that he had down solid just last week! lol It happens. Just keep working on the letter sounds and blending letter sounds to make cvc words. The "I See Sam" books are free to print readers you could try if you are comfortable teaching phonics yourself. I personally don't teach sight words. None of my kids did well with "look say" methods like sight words. Phonics just makes so much more sense and while it takes longer to see results, it better prepares them to read any word or book they want in the future in my not-so-humble opinion.

    There is a huge push to get kids reading in kindergarten these days and while some kids are perfectly capable reading at 5 or even earlier in some cases, I don't believe it is developmentally appropriate to push all kids to read in kindergarten. Most parents do not push their babies to walk earlier or talk earlier. You just keep practicing with them and then one day, when their little minds and bodies are ready to do it, they take off and don't look back. Reading is the same way. Not every child is developmentally ready to read at 4 or 5 or even 6 sometimes. But eventually, with enough gentle practice and working on the fundamental skills of reading like phonemic awareness, letter sounds and identification, exposure to books and literature of all kinds, etc. he will be able to read. If he is getting frustrated, I would just explain to him that when he was a baby he didn't talk when he was born but after lots of mistakes and practice, he talked when his mind and body were ready and that reading will come the same way, with lots of practice and learning from his mistakes, he will be able to read when his mind and body are ready.

    As for a "best" program to teach him, there is a running joke in the homeschool community that goes when ever you ask an experienced homeschool mom which reading program is the one that got her kids reading, she will answer, "the seventh one I tried". There is no "best" program because all kids learn differently and have different strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I lean toward phonics based programs that don't emphasize sight words. I really like Logic of English and I personally think any wiggly 5yo would benefit from going through Foundations A in Logic of English. But you can also go with Progressive Phonics like AM suggested. "The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading" is a no frills program you might be able to find at your library. Teach Your Monster To Read is a fun game based way to work on letter sounds. Reading Eggs and their sister program MathSeeds are fun for a lot of kids to learn how to read. Also the Leapfrog Letter Factory videos are great for teaching letter sounds and blending skills. Here they are on Amazon Prime Video (you don't have to have Prime Video to buy or rent the movies as far as I know):

    Letter Factory
    Talking Words Factory
    I can't seem to find the third reading one online but here is a link to the DVD version
    Talking Words Factory II: The Code Word Caper

    There is a math one as well called The Math Circus if you are interested. Fair warning, the songs are catchy and if your son likes the videos, you will find yourself humming the songs even when he isn't around. lol

    So bottom line, just keep working with him and encouraging him to practice and make mistakes so he can learn from them. I have a little perfectionist learning to read right now and I have to remind him that he can't learn from his mistakes if he's too afraid to make them. Just keep trying and keep reading to him as much as possible. He will get there.

  5. #4

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    Ladies!
    Thank you so much for your replies.
    It's so good to meet you.
    It seems I need to figure out how to set up my profile!

    I'm Shannon and we are located in North Carolina.
    I'm wondering how to connect with others in the same state.
    As far as legal stuff for NC goes, I'm aware that I need to open my homeschool by the time my child turns 7, and once that happens we must standardized test each and every year.
    Does anybody know what else I need to worry about while homeschooling in NC?
    Seems it's not as relaxed here as in some other states - booooooo.

    I agree with you both on the sight words and have already ditched them.
    It didn't seem to make any sense to him, and it didn't to me either.
    I think I just felt pressured to try it because I see it all over the place.
    All over the internet, people are posting their toddlers doing sight words and it made me feel like we were really behind or something was wrong.
    So weird, since I never saw a sight word until I was an adult.
    I was taught this letter makes that sound, then you put some together and sound them out and it's a word.
    ::shrug::

    Happily, I realized I was caught up in the adult version of giving in to peer pressure (SIGH) and I've been able to break free of that problematic train of thought; as it stands now, I don't think anything is truly wrong.
    I think he just wants to do something he isn't able to grasp quite yet, and it's normal for his age, but he's really frustrated over it.
    I've been lost with how to help him feel better about it as I don't have any experience with a reading struggle - all the women in my family were educators who taught me and I was reading before I entered kindergarten myself.
    So I'm delighted by all your helpful suggestions, recommendations, support, and encouragement!
    I think I really needed to be here and I'm so looking forward to more interaction on these boards.
    I cannot wait to look into all of your mentions and I plan to try the first Alphabetti booklet from Progressive Phonics this very afternoon.
    Thank you so much!

  6. #5

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    New and not sure how to start!
    North Carolina actually looks pretty easy and laid back. You file, take attendance, and do a test every year. There is no portfolio review, procedurized audit of your schooling, or anything else. There are no subject requirements or consequences for “underperformance” either with attendance or test scores.
    So basically, turn in your paperwork to get started, then take a test every year.
    https://ncadmin.nc.gov/citizens/home...ecommendations

    There are more details and specifications on how to name your school than what you need to teach! I think standardized tests are generally given in the spring, you might want to look locally when the time comes to figure out which test to take. My boys had never faced a formal test before the first state test, and my older did fine. (Youngest is too young still.)


    Your attendance requirement is very vague.... no specific number of days or hours. As far as attendance logs, you could probably just use a calendar with check marks. I need to report more information to the charter school we are enrolled with, I typically write each subject covered each day. (Even with all this accountability, all that gets turned in is a monthly log showing one topic taught per day.)
    image.jpg

    But remember, there is no schoolteacher-on-the-shelf, spying on you and waiting to report your every action to santa-department-of-education.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by RiverKnollAcademy View Post
    I'm Shannon and we are located in North Carolina.
    I'm wondering how to connect with others in the same state.
    As far as legal stuff for NC goes, I'm aware that I need to open my homeschool by the time my child turns 7, and once that happens we must standardized test each and every year.
    Does anybody know what else I need to worry about while homeschooling in NC?
    Seems it's not as relaxed here as in some other states - booooooo.
    I've homeschooled in NC and SC. Both have pretty moderate amounts of regulations. Not easy states to homeschool in but not the worst regulation-wise either. I don't live in that area anymore but I never had too much issue in either state in terms of legally homeschooling.

    As I remember, in NC I had to register our homeschool with the state and then local homeschool groups or the public schools would allow homeschoolers to participate in group standardized testing. The testing has to be done by a proctor with a bachelor's degree so if you have a degree you might be able to administer it yourself when the time comes. Or one of the educator's in your family might be able to be the proctor. Then you need to keep the test results on hand for review or send them in to the state to keep on record I can't remember which it is (NC did it one way, SC did it another). Also, they don't need to score fantastically, just show progress if I remember right. No one I knew had ever been called up for a review in our area so I can't really talk about that.

    Just general advice that I give anyone who has to do anything more than give notice to the state they live in, don't try to go over the top with impressing anyone you have to turn things in to for homeschooling. You are not trying to impress them with how well you are doing, you are just trying to meet the requirements of the law. You don't go to the DMV with a video compilation of how good of a driver you are and letters of recommendation from 3 different people vouching for your driving skills. You go into the DMV, fill out the forms and you leave without giving them any more of your time and energy than you have to, to be able to legally drive. Treat homeschooling legal compliance the same way, give them what they ask for and no more. Going overboard and trying to prove what a good homeschool mom you are and how great your child is doing doesn't help anyone. If you need to gush and be validated about how your child is doing, post it here! We love to cheer each other on or help you find places for improvement.

    It sounds like you've found a good direction to go with your son and reading. He is in no way behind on reading. Of all my kids, two basically taught themselves by the time they were in kindergarten, two were reading by the end of what would have been their first grade year in public school, the one I'm still homeschooling is half way through first grade and not quite there yet (but still making progress) and my oldest didn't read on his own until he was 9! Nothing wrong with him (we had him tested lol) and it wasn't because we hadn't been trying and trying since he was in kindergarten because we did try everything to get him reading. His 2 years younger brother and 3 years younger sister left him in the dust with reading on their own. It was like he just woke up one day when he was nine and said to himself, "I think I'm going to start reading today." and he was up to grade level within a month or two and then above grade level not long after that. He's an adult now and likes to read in his spare time so even though he was a late reader and would have been labeled with a learning disability had he been in public school, you would never know it now.

  8. #7

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    I have heard we must keep our testing scores for one year and that they may be subject to review by an authorized representative of the state... whatever that means.
    As far as attendance goes, I agree with you that it seems vague.
    I've only been able to ascertain that we must keep a "reasonable" schedule for nine months out of the year.
    I mean I guess that's actually kind of great - but still, I do wish there was some sort of outline telling me what they consider reasonable.
    I wouldn't want to underperform in some way and end up in hot water or fail my kid.
    (Schoolteacher-on-the-shelf! Santa-department-of-education!!! Oh my god!!!)

  9. #8

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    MapleHill, love the comparison here to the DMV.
    You are so right!
    I already have this feeling that I'm going to have to prove to everybody and their mother AND the government that we are doing well with teaching him.
    I already feel pressured to make portfolios (even though they aren't required here) and all sorts of things that I can pull out to impress someone when they question my homeschooling.
    I would say it's in my head except I've already had several people grill me and make me feel uncomfortable and inadequate for having chosen the homeschool route...
    It makes me sad and pisses me off, honestly.
    So I'm already in this mindset that I have to be amazing and have to go above and beyond.
    I feel already burnt out on all that, and we have literally barely begun.
    So I have GOT to take a page from your book.

  10. #9

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    For the people you think are judging you (which they may or may not be doing), a comment like “I love watching my son learning”, “I love spending time with him”, or even “it works for our family” will generally suffice, especially when followed by a change of topic like “please pass the bean dip”.
    If you have judgy, critical and doubting family members, invite them go play homeschooling with you for a couple days so they will see how it goes. If they “cant” for whatever reason, you can always put that at them, “You couldnt be bothered to find out what we are doing, you have no idea what he is learning, so please pass the bean dip.” If they actually appear interested in learning, have them participate. You might get a relief teacher (because homeschooling is fun!) but at least they will get off your back about your son needing a school to learn. (Then they can only quibble at you about him learning to get along with others... smh.)

    As far as keeping the standardized test for a year, that seems just like evidence that your son took the test. Nowhere does it say you have to be making progress or showing a certain level of proficiency. If 10% of kids fall into the bottom 10th percentile, its not like theyre going to take away he parent cards for public school families (or homeschool families). Dont sweat it. The results will probably just reassure you (and doubting relatives) that youre not failing your kid. Santa isnt going to look over your test results and put you in jail if he isnt impressed!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

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