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Thread: Back again :)

  1. #1

    Default Back again :)

    I was here in January researching. After 2 months of distance learning, and not being happy with the plans to reopen schools, we have decided to homeschool. I am sad, happy, excited, nervous. I did hours and hours of research and still feel like I don't know where to start.

    I am a school nurse, and for one thing, if my kids are only in school part time I can't work anyway, and for another, I am seeing the plans for reopening and it isn't something I want to subject my children to.

    Honestly, distance learning hasn't been going great, which makes me nervous. My kids love school and they want to go back, even with the changes, but I feel that they are too young to fully understand what it will really be like to go to school and have no recess, no lunch in the cafeteria, not being able to socialize or play, specials won't be the same, no field trips... and I haven't told them that I don't plan to send them back yet.

    my kids are

    7 almost 8 (going into 3rd grade)

    6 (going into 1st grade)

    4 (going into her second year of preschool)

    and almost 1 (she likes to interrupt school time lol)

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  3. #2

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    Congratulations on your decision to homeschool! I know it seems scary right now but it really is a lot of fun.

    I would recommend starting with a routine. Get into a routine of how you would like school to go. When my kiddos were your kiddos ages, I liked to start with cuddling on the couch reading a book or 3 on topics we were studying. We were doing Five In A Row when my kids were that age (which does mention religion here and there in the teacher's guide only but the remaining content is good enough to over look a few mentions of god) so our FIAR book for the week was almost always a part of this morning routine. I also made sure every one had a job to do or a playmate to play with while I was working with other kids. I didn't try to set them all down at the table together very often. That almost always ended in disaster. I would however give a toddler a snack or something messy but non-toxic (or even edible like pudding) to play with in a high chair near by and just plan on bath time after school was done.

    Your kiddos are still young so short and sweet is the name of the game. I would only count on 30 minutes of focused attention tops for a young third grader. But you can have several 30 minute lessons a day with breaks in between (preferably outside to run off some energy). Your 6yo, I would start the year with 10 - 15 minutes of focused attention and work up to 20 minutes by the end of the school year. Your 4 year old could maybe do 5 - 10 minutes or work up to that. What I'm trying to say here is, take your child attention span in to consideration. Spending a 90 minute block to get something done seems simple enough for an adult and then we understand we have the rest of the day. Kids don't always think that way and can't sustain focus on the task at hand for that long. Trying to force them to just get it all done is most likely end in mutiny.

    Good luck on your homeschooling adventure and don't hesitate to ask any questions you might have.

  4. #3

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    MHA gives solid advice!

    I would also suggest going with more gentle homeschooling philosophies to cope with having 4 kids all vying for your attention.
    Oak Meadow, which I think of as “Waldorf without all the woo”, talks about expanding and contracting activities, related to the kids energy levels. (As a metaphor, I hope!) With the routines like MHA mentioned, you will want them organized into alternating states. Too many expanding (energy) activities, and your kids are running wild and chaotic through the house. Get them into a contracting activity, and you can work more one on one, and the rest wont be crazy. Just be sure to follow it up with an expanding activity, or your kids may explode!
    If you can stomach doing craft projects, thats an easy way to keep your posse wrangled, and of course expect different levels of work product. Have you seen lapbooks? My oldest enjoyed making those in the elementary ages. (Google and free are your friends!)

    If you find curriculum made for homeschoolers, it will probably be suitable for your preschooler through 3rd grader (Im thinking something covering science or social studies). Never be afraid to cut extra stuff out, or supplement with more learning if you feel like it! The internet is bursting with free unit studies and activities for about every subject for every grade level.
    BuildYourLibrary is still my favorite recommendation for multiple ages at once. I did their Around the World (Level “0”) and their World Geography (Level 8) together with a Kindergartener and Sixth grader. We had a blast, and I basically used the resources from each and combined them. (And made lots of yummy recipes, that was my favorite part.)

    Good luck, and ask when you have questions! Those of us here have survived years of homeschooling, usually with multiple kids!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  5. #4

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    Fortunately your kids are young enough that you can do any kind of learning and it all works!
    You may want to consider grouping some of the lessons for the older ones, particularly science/nature and social studies because there can be lots of overlap. Also storytime, if they are audio books or reading aloud can be family activities. For example, nature walks can involved everyone. Science experiments can be easy enough for the older ones to learn something and the younger ones to be impressed. Have art time with everyone involved!
    The things that you will have to customize would be numbers/math and literacy/reading/writing skills, because they might be on different levels. If your kids like workbooks, then Critical Thinking Company has some good ones for all levels.

    Also, take it easy on yourself. Especially when you are just starting out. Give yourself time to adjust. Also, don't feel that you have to buy a full curriculum. I did quite a bit in piecing things together through elementary school. And some trail and error. I didn't stick with anything that really didn't work, which is why I didn't invest lots of money on curriculum. (On the other hand, books, DVDs and other fun resources were a huge part of our investment.)

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