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  1. #1

    Default New to the Forums!

    Hi! I'm new to the forum and looking into homeschooling options! Any advice would be great!

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  3. #2

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    Welcome! What sort of advice are you looking for? Tell us a little about your situation, your kid(s) dispositions and strengths, what you are envisioning, that sort of thing.

    Otherwise, the advice is: Dont buy anything expensive, dont buy anything that promises to do all the work and turn your kid into a genius, and dont buy anything that is “everything for grade x”.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3

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    Thanks for the advice! Things have been a bit up in the air due to Covid-19. The kids are currently home and so we're trying to keep them engaged academically as much as possible. The youngest is in 1st grade and loves reading, while the 3rd grader seems to do pretty well in math. We've been looking into programs, so I figured it would make sense to ask like minded parents what works best for their kids too.

  5. #4

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    With two kids so close in age, you can probably do a lot of the schoolwork together. (Science, social studies, literature, etc.) Those subjects especially dont have discrete tiers. Obviously you would expect a little more from your older. If your kids are working together, they will get more out of each schoolday, and not doing so will double your workload. The less you have to take turns with them, the happier everyone will be, really!
    For science and social studies, pick topics that are interesting to all of you. The idea is to get them interested and willing to learn about these subjects, not to have them memorize the names of egyptian pharaohs or tell you the differences between telophase and anaphase in mitosis.
    You could look around the webs for some unit studies, or find some general subject courses that allow you to easily modify to suit your days. Science and social studies are the worst for finding secular materials (because religious agendas conflict the most with these). If you envision your science being full of kitchen ingredient experiments, you could look at pandiapress’s Real Science Odyssey. (Forgive my spelling.)
    https://www.pandiapress.com/
    They have a “try before you buy”, always a good thing to look for before shelling out money. Try it out, see if it will work for you or not.
    Anothher source that comes to mind for unit studies is BuildYourLibrary. Her unit studies are packed with supplements that you can pick and choose from.
    https://buildyourlibrary.com/
    Look under Curriculum - Unit Studies, and you can scroll below the Harry Potter ones to the more sciencey and history related topics. If you like the style of the unit studies, you can look at her year-long curriculums. Generally, the elementary ages get a pass through world history over 4 years.... a holdover from the days when homeschooling wasnt for secular people. Public schools seem to do whatever... there is no golden standard of what kids need to know each grade. (The USAs last attempt at that - “Common ore State Standards” got a lot of derision and was poorly implemented.)

    Is your youngest fully literate, able to read chapter books? If not, you will want to find a phonics program that lets you jump in at whatever stage theyre at. Explode the Code makes a series of 8 inexpensive workbooks you may want to look at.
    You dont need to teach handwriting as a separate subject.... unless they havent mastered it yet. If they havent, then dont demand good writing in other subjects - you can scribe for them (probably more the first grader), and judge by the content, not that the writing looks atrocious. HandwritingWithoutTears is a good program (Every Occupational Therapist my son has ever had uses it), and the workbooks are inexpensive. If you want them to know how to write in cursive, its entirely up to you. A quick course in it, so theyre familiar with the funky letters, and decoding old ladies holiday cards will probably suffice. There are plenty of free typing programs.... my youngest enjoyed BBC’s Dance Mat Typing (free web app). Typing Club.com is a little more formal (it remembers where youre at), but also recommended.
    For literature, you can do both kids together - in our house, DH read the stories to the kid at bedtime, and schoolwork relating to comprehension would take place during the day. Short insipid stories from a reader dont really make anyone enjoy reading!
    For book selections (and literature philosophy), you might look at BraveWriter. Or some of the secularized Charlotte Mason stuff. Here is a compilation:
    https://upabovetherowantree.com/secu...ource-roundup/

    For math, without knowing more about the kids its hard to suggest something. Stay away from anything expensive, because its likely to disappoint. Saxon math is common in homeschool world, but may be a little drill and kill (love of math) if you try it. My boys are both very mathy, and we have had success with Singapore Math, Standards Edition (Not US Edition). They both grasp the concepts intuitively, and there arent too many problems in each section. If they do better using manipulatives, then you would probably want something else.

    The more we know about your kids, the easier it is to recommend stuff! It takes a lot of trial and error to find stuff that works for us, and its not that what doesnt is a bad product!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  6. #5

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    Hello and welcome! You've gotten some pretty sound advice so far. I know that it can be overwhelming choosing curriculum when you first start out, so first, take a deep breath and give yourself grace. There's no one-size-fits-all answer.

    One of the suggestions given was Build Your Library and I'd like the second that as something to *look into*. I'm combining my 7yo DD and autistic 12yo DD in Level 1 this coming year, since developmentally they're closer in age. They will do everything together except math (which has to be done separately from the BYL curriculum). I will have both doing Math Mammoth but with one in Grade 2 and the other in Grade 3.

    Be sure to ask lots of questions and most of all, TRUST YOUR GUT. You know your children best!

  7. #6

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    That's amazing thank you. I'll take a look into these suggestions!

  8. #7

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    You're very welcome! We've done the trial and error to see what works for our family so I get it. Finding the right fit can be a challenge but the beauty of homeschooling is that if something isn't working, you can change it! That's why nearly all of us will recommend to not buy anything expensive. If it doesn't work then you've wasted a ton of money. I like BYL because it's cheap ($34.95 for our curriculum plus our literature, which can mostly be found at the library or on archive. org, or in swap groups for dirt cheap) and I get lesson plans to use as guides for our days. You'll find something that works for your family eventually. Just try to go easy on your budget until you know what that something is!

  9. #8

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    Have you also heard of a program called Beestar (Beestar.org - Math and Reading for Kids) as well? What are your thoughts on a program like that?

  10. #9

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    Beestar looks like a supplemental program to in person learning. If that is what youre looking for, and it is free, there is no harm in trying it. 20 minutes a week is basically one activity. You could likely find free apps and games that are possibly more engaging and instructional. It depends on what youre looking for!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  11. #10

    Default

    I got the vibe that it was more supplemental. From what I've seen, it's not a replacement for a teacher's program. We've tried out the program as a way to do drills, usually as a supplement after the kids normal school work is done.

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