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  1. #1
    Junior Member Newbie JeffChapman's Avatar
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    Default New (and Overwhelmed) Homeschooler in Michigan

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm Jeff. We have a daughter who's 14 (going into 9th grade) and a son who's 5 (going into Kindergarten). I've been reading through a lot of the recent forum posts and I think I am in the same boat as many here: I doubt that our schools (we live a little bit outside of Detroit) will be in session in the fall, and even if they were, we're not really comfortable sending our kids back yet. We've had almost no information or communication about what's going to happen, and yet we're supposed to start school in about a month. Rather than wait and hope for the best, we've basically decided to be proactive and decide to spend at least fall, maybe the whole year, homeschooling.

    The shutdown in spring didn't go great. It also didn't go awfully, either; however, that was mostly because we had the luxury to get quite involved and establish a daily schedule and quasi-curriculum. But we got almost nothing from our kids' schools. Our daughter, Leia, didn't have one live meeting with a teacher the whole time. Gabriel's teachers posted occasional things to do on Seesaw, but with no real rhythm or organization, so most kids stopped participating. He's young, so I didn't much care about the loss of curriculum...I just feel bad that he lost out on 20 playmates (for what looks like it will be a year by the time it's done?). He loves playing with other kids and I am just not the same as another five-year-old. I can only play with action figures for so long.

    However you cut it, though, our approach in the spring was half-assed and hodge-podge. We want to be more systematic and organized in our approach this next year. But my wife and I both work full-time (at home and with flexible hours, but full-time), so I am worried about taking on a system that will take time and preparation that we just don't have, especially because Kindergarten and 9th grade have such different needs (it seems).

    I've started researching homeschooling more. I've checked out a bunch of books that have shown up on people's top-10 lists but it's very overwhelming. There are parts of all the strategies that sound very appealing: I'm a bit of a classicist at heart; unit studies seem a nice way to make connections; I love the freedom suggested by unschooling. But time and energy, again, are limiting factors.

    Both my wife and I are book-y people and love the idea of imbuing our with this love, so I immediately found myself drawn to Build Your Library. I also just read in another thread about Moving Beyond the Page. My five-year-old spends about 2-3 hours a day drawing right now, and so I want to build on his creativity. I also want to make sure that the kids are getting strong math and science. In other words, I want everything. LOL.

    I'm just glad to find a community dedicated to secular homeschooling and I'm excited to get more invested in this exploration. These are strange times, but sometimes strange times beget good side effects.

    Thanks!

    Jeff

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  3. #2

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    Hi Jeff,

    Welcome to Accidental Homeschooling.
    A lot of the “in the box” curriculum that may seem beforehand to save you time and effort wind up not being useful enough to be worth it. (or you end up supplementing so much that you end up spending more time customizing and enriching than if you had just bought something better suited in the first place.

    Your little one probably wont take much time any given day. Something to practice reading, writing (if hes an avid drawer you dont need this daily), math, and some science / social studies activity to make you feel hes getting a rounded education. He could probably tag along and absorb through osmosis a light version of what your older daughter is learning about.

    Look over the curriculum youre thinking of piecing together, ask if you think it will work for your kids, let us know how you think they learn best...
    (Its clear that youd do well with reading / literature based. )
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3

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    Hello! Having used both Build Your Library 0 and 1 and Moving Beyond the Page 6-8, I can share my experience.

    BYL feels more organic and cozy. It includes more books and more literature. MBtP covers all the bases but feels more like traditional schoolwork with lots of worksheets. (The worksheets don't quite feel like busywork, but they are worksheets and there are a lot of them.)

    BYL is less expensive and takes less time per day, at least with the levels I used.

    I think there are good things about both programs. At the time, I felt good about the work my son did in MBtP (little sister tagged along). I also felt the science was a little stronger than BYL's. Now, however, my kids don't seem to remember much of what we covered in MBtP, even if they grasped the concepts.

    On the other hand, they DO talk about the BYL books we read all the time. They make connections; they reference characters, geography, and history in their play, and they ask to reread their favorites. I think BYL broadened their horizons and helped them enjoy learning more than MBtP.

    Edit: I'll add that I think the beneficial part is the good books, not necessarily the curriculum. But it's nice to have BYL as a guide.
    Last edited by Sea-and-Sky; 08-03-2020 at 08:36 AM.

  5. #4

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    You may also want to consider Global Village School, they are a literature-based curriculum and have a social & environmental slant to their education.

    One thing you will want to consider with the 9th grader is if you plan for her to go back to the school. In K-8 there does not seem to be many issues with a homeschooled child going back into their grade level. That is not the case with high school. Depending on what you do, if she goes back, she may be placed back in 9th grade. You should first check with your school to see if your transcript will be enough for them to place her in the correct grade. If not, you will need to figure out what they will accept.

    One option is you could enroll her in a homeschooled-supported school such as Oak Meadow or Global Village. They both have some degree of flexibility.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Arrived RTB's Avatar
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    Hello and welcome,

    Just a second for what Mariam said - first find out what the transition will be for your daughter to re-enter high school if the plan is to send her back eventually. That way you'll know if a) you need to enroll her in some form of an accredited school or b) if you can create a program with a transcript that will be accepted by the school.
    Rebecca
    DS 15, DD 13
    Year 9

  7. #6
    Junior Member Newbie JeffChapman's Avatar
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    Thank you all so much for your help. I already feel a little less overwhelmed and a little more...whelmed? I will definitely check in to find out more about the transition back to high school.

    Since I posted, I found out that our school district is going to start out entirely online. I'm now torn between letting my daughter just follow her school's program or do it entirely on our own. I'm thinking of letting her do her school online, but supplement it with other things, while finding a homeschool curriculum for the five year old.

    Are there any great math programs for a 9th grader? She's supposed to doing geometry and she's not a natural mathematician, so I'd love to help her out.

    Thanks again!

  8. #7

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    Welcome. I understand the feeling of wanting to be more systematic and organized! I feel like that when I start every year. I work part-time freelance on short deadlines (2–5 days), so I sort of understand the juggle (full-time is a much bigger commitment, I know). We have done this for 4 years now (for DD12; DD7 just started homeschooling in Feb), and I have never reached the systematic/organized feeling for every subject simultaneously. We do an eclectic mix of curricula, and sometimes it will be like math is great, language arts is great, history/social studies is ok, but what happened to science?! So we will get science good and realize we have been coasting on reading. So I also understand the want for an all in one to feel like all your bases are being covered.

    Rather than having a schedule, we like having a routine of what we do at certain times of the day. Then if we miss something, it does not matter, we just keep up with the daily routine. My kids also like it because on days when I am busy working, they know what the general plan is (math, music, writing, and reading before lunch, then social studies, science, art, or foreign language after lunch).

    Good luck finding something that suits.
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

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New (and Overwhelmed) Homeschooler in Michigan