Monday, March 12, 2012

Can we talk about homeschooling?

So. I know we have blah blah blah'ed about Jack and school before.

But I think my problems are not getting any better and are not likely to get any better any time in the foreseeable future.

(If you are new here the long and short of it is this - Jack is exceptionally smart. He is what our ped calls "twice exceptional"- very, very high IQ and "quirky" on top of it. Jack does the gifted program at school one day a week. I finally got them to send him to second grade for math two days a week. Additionally he does one day a week of Khan academy for math. Dave and I are both feeling like Jack has pretty much stagnated this year. His behavior at home continues to fall apart and I believe 100% that this is because of the school situation. We did NOT have these issues when he only went to public school part time. His school days now are from 8 am to 4 30 pm.)

So. I want to think a little more about homeschooling. I am still not sure this is really the answer for us, but I need to sort out the logistics of how it works to see if it is at all feasible for us.

Here's what I want to know -
*How many hours a day do you devote to it?
*Where do you get your curriculum?
*If you use an online curriculum how on earth do you deal with kids who overload when they spend too much time looking at screens? (Jack loves Khan academy, but any more than 2 hours a day of screens and he is OVERLOADED).
*If you plan to reenter public school what is the road map for that? Sometime in elementary? Middle school?
*Are you worried about how that affects the outlook for college?
*What about managing a herd of littles while trying to manage a homeschooling kid?
*What stuff do you meet with a "homeschooling group" for? (I have signed up for a local list serv but that seems completely useless.)
*Are you using the public school for anything? Special services? Gifted programs? Part time enrollment?
*If you have a challenging kid does it make you feel more burned out than if you just gave in and sent them to school? (Be honest! Jack and I butt heads A LOT and I am worried this might be hard on us both.)
*How do your kids feel about it? Totally on board? Iffy? Would rather be in school? Wonder what they are missing? (I haven't asked Jack about it yet.)
*Anything else?

Feel free to email me at if you don't want to spew your business all over the internets. ;-)


  1. I'll leave a comment just so you know people are reading and not just sending out hateful emails to you. :) Our kids are too far apart in age to talk actual Homeschooling curriculum. I will say that there is a lot of time together with only the two of you - if that works for you, that is great. But, if there is headbutting as you say, it might be hard. But, you have been a teacher, so you probably know how to work through and around that. I was only a Substitute Teacher which means the kids walked all over me. Luckily, my kid was one of the ones that behaved and worked hard, so I knew he would do it for me. I will say concerning curriculum - you can go to a Teachers store and buy books and workbooks geared toward the right grade - meaning you could do sixth grade math and third grade English if that's what you kid needs. We did the completely on the computer route one year and it was awful. Mostly because it was all religious based and we did not need or want that type of schooling. If that's what a family wants, then it is great. But, we spent more time on the Math questions looking up how many days did so and so travel plus how many such and such were in the Bible that we learned more about the Bible than Math. Workbooks are great because you can open and close them whenever you want! You can take them with you to the doctor's office or on vacation. You can skip sections or go over them again if needed. We are to the age level now where he just learns as he goes and we look up things and read and watch documentaries about things. You certainly do not have to just buy a curriculum and go with it day after day. I say Homeschooling is about doing what the kid needs to do when the kid wants to do it. If mine wants to learn about Dolphins because we watched A Dolphin's Tale, then that is okay bu me - a good jumping off point. We looked up skeletons of Dolphins, mating habits, habitat, diet, etc. All just because of a movie.

    I suppose none of this is too helpful with your decision with Jack. I just think that some people put too little into it and some people WAY overdo it.

    **I tried to "join" a group and they treated me like a leper. Oh, we have to meet you and do a background check and three people have to refer you and blah, blah, blah.....Screw that.

  2. Having had similar situations although not the same as your Jack. I now have one in High School and if I did it again I would have home schooled. I say that at least once a month. Don't think twice. We should have done it with all three. The mother behind me does it and she is such a success at it. Her kids are even better people for it. Best of luck to you...smiles..Renee

  3. my kids love school and never complain about going (plus i work so i would have to quit to homeschool). i think my kids would throw a fit if i took them out of school, they love their teachers and being with friends. that said, with class sizes at 30 plus kids a class now (my older daughter was lucky to get through 2nd grade with just 20 but my youngest has had 30 in 1st and 2nd) i know their education is suffering. so here's what i do. i send them to school, but i get math and language arts workbooks from the teacher supply store and work on it with them on the weekends and school breaks (we have some in the car for long rides as well). we go on big trips each year and do lots of research before we go. they write a report about the trip when we return. since i am the leader of both their camp fire groups, i add lots of art (including art history), music and creative writing to our meetings. i think that the supplementing i do makes a big difference and it is my responsibility to fill in the gaps the school misses. there is no way a teacher can really teach well in a class of 30, thats the future of public education unfortunately. oh and we do a lot of reading too! hope that helps!

  4. I don't homeschool ( I went the parochial school route), but if you don't read it already, check out She homeschools her 4 children and just did a post on this recently.

  5. are you nuts? :) I say that with love.

    what about the big yellow angel?

    I could never do it but I totally do admire those that do. Good luck figuring it all out, Sarah. I know you'll make the right decision for all of you.

  6. alright, let's do this! :)

    This is our 7th year homeschooling (!) and I didn't expect to like it as much as I do/find so many side benefits of it.

    time: we do our 'boxes' (they have math workbooks, explode the code, handwriting, time/money, games, puzzles, mazes, etc.) all before lunch. then we do art or music, history or science, and spelling after lunch. teaching one kid, you could be done with everything before lunch. easy. my 6yo likes to do all of his boxes in a row to get them over with, my 9yo does 4, takes a break and comes back to finish later.

    curriculum: we don't use a packaged curriculum - you will be tempted by them, but I wouldn't recommend them. I've known several people who were ovewhelmed with the decision to homeschool and bought a packaged curriculum only to be overwhelmed part-way through the year, at the same time becoming a more confident h'schooler and knowing what would be better for their kid. But they're expensive, and hard to just toss. Find which programs work best for your kid. read 'the well-trained mind' for ideas of good books to use/what subjects to teach (she goes a bit overboard, i think, but this book is an excellent resource!). we order books from amazon, rainbow resource, and

    online curriculum: nope. my daughter does a little khan academy, but that's it. so the only screen-time is during breaks they're allowed to play a little DS, or after school's over in the afternoon they can watch a show. i am hoping for an ipad soon, though, and educational apps will be used - but not for everything.

    re-entering school: I have no plans for that. people always expect me to have plans for that, but once you see the benefits of h'schooling (the benefits for your specific children esp) it's hard to want to send them to middle school/hell. there are TONS of h.s. resources now + open-enrollment community colleges + online high schools from universities. Right now our plan is having our oldest (11) get her associates from the nearby community college instead of her h.s diploma.

    college: colleges are more and more accepting of homeschoolers. I think the test scores are going to be important for h'schoolers + if you already have your associates, that will look good.

    (part two next - apparently my comment was too long -ha!)

  7. (cont'd)
    managing smaller kiddos: yeah, that can be tricky. I used to do a lot with my oldest when she was younger while her brother was napping. school doesn't have to follow a school schedule. then there's the idea of a 'school box' where the littles get certain toys only while you're doing school to keep them entertained. it' WAY do-able, but some years will go better than others.

    homeschooling group: you don't need them. I thought I wanted one when we first started, but we don't have tons around here (even though h'schooling is really popular here). i found a list serv, too - and went to a playgroup and there was no way i was hanging out with those people! ;) they were sterotypical h'schoolers. some areas have awesome co-ops or part-time schools that are 2 days a week. you kind of think 'field trips' are good with a group, but really they're better w/o a group. kids always want to go look at different stuff while on trips. I like field trips to be just our family mostly.

    public school: we use them for speech and most recently started math help - both for my 9yo autistic son. the school has been great to work with. i was going to have my daughter go to orchestra a few years ago to learn violin, but she chose piano instead. oh, and we looked at the gifted program before deciding on h'schooling and it was NOT nearly enough. If i remember right, ours accepted the top 20% of kids. I'm sorry, but that's not gifted.

    Do I ever have a challenging kid! ;) VERY. But it's been easier having him at home than when he was at school. REALLY. I'm not fighting the school anymore, he has less anxiety/tantrums than he did when he was in school. He calmed down significantly. And some days are still hard, but we work through them. I just remember how awful it was having him in school with a crappy teacher/mean kids/not learning anything. he wasn't happy. plus, no rushing him out the door (that was hard!), no keeping up with weekly/bi-weekly/monthly homework and returning everything at the right time, no fighting him to DO the homework when he's so burned out from school he doesn't want to touch it. Homeschooling is easier. I swear.

    My kids love being at home. Seriously. I think mostly because they know they get more time to play/build/create/read. They know their friends don't get home until 4, and they've been free for a while. We also play games a lot, go on surprise trips to the park in the middle of the day, or go for walks, or drop everything and play in the snow. And more field trips than in school. better ones, too. ;)

    As a h'schooling parent, there is surprising satisfaction in teaching them 'real' history and science, not just snippets/vocabulary words from every time period/category. this year is colonial times/american revolution and it's way fun!

    Anyway, good luck, Sarah, this is not an easy decision, whichever way you go. I would look up 'workboxes' - it works really well for my boys. i have a post somewhere on it, too - check my 'school' category.

  8. Sounds like Jack is a normal boy with lots of good energy and curiosity. Homeschooling is the easy part. Unschooling is even better. Read Mary Hood's 'The Relaxed Homeschooler' and Linda Dobson's 'The Homeschooling Book of Answers'. Get Jack home, relax, let him heal from his public school experience and take it day by day. Let life unfold. Welcome Jack back into your life (he's been separated far too long while being bored in public school and missing his family) and include him in everyday things you do. Homeschooling will bring you peace, confidence and healing. It opens a whole new world of learning that will challenge Jack's energies and abilities.

  9. Check out the homeschooling section of The Pioneer Woman's blog

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  11. Sarah - I've been meaning to comment and am just now getting around to it. I am a teacher at a public cyber charter school in Pennsylvania. I teach 2nd Grade. We are a public school for people who homeschool. Parents are given all the curriculum, materials and lessons that are prepared by the teachers. You are also given a computer. You have no out of pocket expense. We also offer opportunities for the students to come to the school periodically to have social time together. Just wanted to mention this option for you to look into in your state. If you have any questions email me. I can give you a perspective from the other side - the teacher's. This type of school is a great alternative for families who want to home school but don't want to go it alone.


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