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Homeschooling: Freeper Needs Guidance on *Effective* and *Proven* Programs
quesney | quesney

Posted on 11/16/2006 7:13:57 AM PST by quesney

I'm looking into effective, *proven* home schooling programs and curricula as I come across ongoing reports on the many failings of the US school system. I have an eye toward a future family w/kids, but have a limited budget to pay for private school.

Can expert Freepers out there advise me on the best home schooling programs, curricula, support groups and testing programs out there? I could also use any advice on the U.S. states most receptive to and supportive of home schooling programs.

I'd really appreciate the help, especially from homeschooling parents.


TOPICS: Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: homeschooling; mathinstruction
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1 posted on 11/16/2006 7:13:59 AM PST by quesney
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To: quesney

Sonlight is a Christian-oriented curriculum that does most of the planning for you. We've found after years we use that as our foundation and mix and match in others for specific subjects.


2 posted on 11/16/2006 7:16:18 AM PST by AT7Saluki
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To: quesney

ABEKA has a good program. If Catholic, check out Kolbe Academy.


3 posted on 11/16/2006 7:16:59 AM PST by Armando Guerra
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To: quesney

My sister uses Seton (Catholic) and really likes their books and program (includes online tests, etc)


4 posted on 11/16/2006 7:18:01 AM PST by NewCenturions
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To: quesney
Check into the K12 Curriculum.

Here in Colorado, it's actually offered through Adams County school district (the Colorado Virtual Academy), and they supply on-line teachers.

It worked very well for us. Don't know what state you're in, but it's worth a look.

5 posted on 11/16/2006 7:18:04 AM PST by r9etb
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To: quesney

My sister uses Seton (Catholic) and really likes their books and program (includes online tests, etc)


6 posted on 11/16/2006 7:18:06 AM PST by NewCenturions
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To: quesney

Re you looking for a Christian type curriculum?

My favs:

Math to 6th grade: Rod & Staff or Bob Jones Univ. Press
SPelling: BJUP
Literature: ABeka
Bible: Rod & Staff or BJUP
Penmanship/Creative Writing: ABeka or BJUP
Science: ABeka
History: ABeka
English: Rod and Staff to 8th grade

Did I forget anything?


7 posted on 11/16/2006 7:18:07 AM PST by hsmomx3 (Steelers in '07--Go BIG BEN!!!)
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To: quesney

Oklahoma.

Secular program, Calvert School.
Protestant, Alpha-Omega, Christian Light, Veritas
Protestant, Kolbe or Seton School


8 posted on 11/16/2006 7:18:39 AM PST by Tax-chick (Your friends are very small. They do not speak Greek.)
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To: quesney

There are many. We use A Beka because (a) it is known to be very academically rigorous, (b) it’s used by many of the top private schools in the area [and familiar to universities], and (c) it’s what my wife used when she was in school. If you have a child that is very strong in math, you may want to consider switching to Saxon math when they start 6th grade. We also use Rosetta Stone for Spanish.


9 posted on 11/16/2006 7:18:41 AM PST by Stat-boy
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To: NewCenturions

Oops. sorry for the double post


10 posted on 11/16/2006 7:18:43 AM PST by NewCenturions
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To: quesney; DaveLoneRanger; Tired of Taxes

Ping...


11 posted on 11/16/2006 7:19:54 AM PST by cgk (I don't see myself as a conservative. I see myself as a religious, right-wing, wacko extremist.)
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To: hsmomx3

Forgot to add:

My kids preferred BJUP early high school math as opposed to Saxon. My son, who now attends a private high school and is getting A's in math said that if he had to do it all over again, he would not use Saxon for algebra and above. Just his opinion.


12 posted on 11/16/2006 7:20:21 AM PST by hsmomx3 (Steelers in '07--Go BIG BEN!!!)
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To: quesney

Also-for Reading my kids absolutely loved the Pathway Readers. Good, wholesome stories that kept my kids wanting to read all the time.

For phonics, we used Rod and Staff.


13 posted on 11/16/2006 7:21:28 AM PST by hsmomx3 (Steelers in '07--Go BIG BEN!!!)
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To: quesney
We've been very happy for years home schooling our kids out here in the rainforest with Texas Tech.  They give us all the control we want and it's a fully accredited program.
14 posted on 11/16/2006 7:22:46 AM PST by expat_panama
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To: quesney

We use Seton. I like it a lot. Fundamentals are very good. Creative, out of the box, fun activities you must come up with on your own, though.


15 posted on 11/16/2006 7:23:53 AM PST by rightthinkingwoman
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To: quesney

We use Virtual Charter School here in PA... its great!


16 posted on 11/16/2006 7:24:07 AM PST by dubie
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To: quesney

Here are a few of the programs that we've enjoyed.

Five in a row
Easy Grammar / Easy Writing
WriteShop
greenleaf press - famous men series
Sonlight (excellent literature based curriculum)
Saxon math
alpha omega curriculum (lifepac, horizon, sos)
Memoria Press (Latin)
Apologia (science)


17 posted on 11/16/2006 7:25:01 AM PST by INhsmom
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To: quesney
ABEKA, hands down. Home schooled my daughter for 11 years. Tried a couple of others, but ABEKA is it.
18 posted on 11/16/2006 7:27:55 AM PST by chuckles
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To: NewCenturions; quesney

I used Seton Home Study for all twelve years of education. Now I tutor high school students, mostly homeschooled, and from what I've seen, Seton's English program is unrivaled. There is quite a bit of online support available, along with teachers accessable by phone during the day.

K-12 is also very indeapth. I am still deciding which of these two I will use with my children. At least for starters, I will definitely be using Seton from middle school on.


19 posted on 11/16/2006 7:28:53 AM PST by mockingbyrd (Good heavens! What women these Christians have-----Libanus)
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To: quesney
I don't think there's one perfect curriculum. The beauty of homeschooling is the ability to choose curricula which fits your child's interests, learning styles and needs. Sadly for our pocketbooks, this may differ from child to child or even year to year with the same child. Cynthia Tobias has great info on learning styles -- you might want to start with her books. You can probably find them in the library.

I'm not big on canned programs or textbooks for most subjects. I like unit studies like KONOS, Diana Waring, Greenleaf, WinterPromise, etc. For little guys, Five-in-a-Row is great. In the younger grades, the only textbook I use is for math. I've used Miquon and Saxon -- like both.

I've been homeschooling for 13 years -- my oldest is a senior this year. My youngest is in first grade.

20 posted on 11/16/2006 7:30:18 AM PST by Chanticleer (Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point. Lewis)
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To: quesney

My wife and I (mainly her) home schooled our kids for several years, using the Abeka curriculum(http://www.abeka.com/), supplemented by Saxon math (http://saxonpublishers.harcourtachieve.com/en-US/saxonpublishers.htm) in junior high.

The Abeka curriculum is excellent, and many institutions will also provide the grading and report card functions if you want. We bought from Pensacola Christian Academy and had them do this the first year so my wife could focus on teaching. For the next 6 years, we kept our own records and made our own report cards.

Our kids went to government schools in 9th and 6th grades, respectively, and excelled there and have graduated into young adult life.

Abeka taught us as we taught the kids. We re-learned this country's Christian foundation and established our children on the bedrock of Truth before turning them out into the world.


21 posted on 11/16/2006 7:30:25 AM PST by Manfred the Wonder Dawg (Test ALL things, hold to that which is True.)
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To: quesney; hsmomx3
I agree with these, as we used them successfully:

Literature: ABeka
Penmanship/Creative Writing: ABeka or BJUP
Science: ABeka
History: ABeka
English: Rod and Staff to 8th grade

I liked BJU's penmanship, we never used Abeka. Two of my kids were good spellers so I just corrected what I saw wrong as we went; the third, well, she's come along but I did pretty much the same with her. We did do word lists sometimes and it helped a little. Some kids just don't get it.

The math is where I have the big disagreement. We used Saxon Math all the way through Saxon Physics and Calculus (which is the main reason we chose it) and have had tremendous success with it. The two oldest have had great SAT scores and the oldest who is in college and taking calculus now, says she still hasn't learned anything new.
My husband, who is an engineer, says that other engineers he knows who are familiar with Saxon say it's the best curriculum for preparing students for the real life application of math. I found it so easy to use that even I learned all the math I missed in high school as I taught the kids myself. I would encourage you to take a serious look at it before deciding against it.

Rod & Staff English is very thorough and by 8th grade goes way beyond what most people are going to need for life. I loved it but never really got through 8th, as I found it too intense.
22 posted on 11/16/2006 7:33:49 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: quesney

As a teacher, I would suggest you put your kids in private schools and seek a job to pay the tuition.


23 posted on 11/16/2006 7:34:36 AM PST by meandog (These are the times that try men's souls!)
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To: quesney

You should know that there are many, many effective programs that hs'ers use these days. Our choices are so varied that you're going to get several different answers. In my ten years of hs'ing I've used BJU, Rod & Staff, Abeka, Teaching textbooks (for high school Math), Apologia Science, and other programs too numerous to mention. It changes from year to year. For instance, I used Rod and Staff for Math until the ninth grade, but found Teaching Textbooks and switched to that for high school. I reevaluate very year.

It's a matter of researching the materials and finding what's best for you and your child. If you have a hs'er close by, spend time with them and pick their brain. If you have a hs support group in your town (and most towns do), ask for one-on-one advice from them. There are often curriculum fairs in every town or neighboring town once or twice a year. I highly recommend going to them and looking at the materials for yourself.

Hs'ers have a vast amount of resources available to them. You're not going to be able to find one answer to your question, because most programs out there have been proven to be effective. It's a matter of finding the right one for your family.

If you need any more advice, feel free to ask. Hs'ers love to help newbies. :-)


24 posted on 11/16/2006 7:34:38 AM PST by Homeschoolmom
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To: Homeschoolmom

What helps you evaluate what works best for your child year to year? And how do I find out about support groups in the Maryland area?


25 posted on 11/16/2006 7:36:37 AM PST by quesney
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To: quesney
Veritas Press publishes their own set of curricula that are highly effective. They write their materials from a Reformed Christian (i.e. Calvinist Protestant) point of view, just FYI. The materials are still excellent for homeschooling parents of a more Catholic or Arminian bent, but such folks should understand that going in.

How would you know that such material is proven good? Because it's what's used at the Veritas Academy, the private Christian classical school affiliated with Veritas Press, and located in Leola, Pennsylvania. Veritas Academy is a classical school of the Doug Wilson model, strong and rigorous and good. They graduate whole classes of leaders every spring.

I and a friend of mine are team-teaching our high schoolers with Veritas's Omnibus curriculum. Their reading list for this semester includes Homer, Herodotus, R. C. Sproul, C. S. Lewis (Till We Have Faces and all the Narnia books), Tolkien, Genesis, Exodus, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Code of Hammurabi, plus other authors and books that I fail to remember at the moment. Before it's over they will have read Darwin's Origin of Species, with an eye toward being able to discuss it intelligently.

It doesn't just teach them information; it teaches them how to think for themselves.

26 posted on 11/16/2006 7:37:35 AM PST by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
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To: quesney

bttt


27 posted on 11/16/2006 7:37:49 AM PST by paradoxical
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To: Trillian
Ping for additional reference.

We homeschool our children and are relatively below middle income. We keep our own records and use alot of the cheaper curriculum from SAM'S Club and used school books. We also refer to several websites for tests and additional information. In addition to that, we take vacations for history field trips which in turn is more memorable than reading about history from a possibly biased book.
28 posted on 11/16/2006 7:39:35 AM PST by Conservative4Life (Blaming GUNS for crimes is like Blaming SPOONS for Rosie's morbid obesity....)
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To: quesney

ping


29 posted on 11/16/2006 7:42:42 AM PST by cblue55
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To: quesney
We use the CLASS program from Christian Liberty Academy in Illinois. The curriculum is a mixture of Saxon, Abeka and others. They grade the tests, keep records, and send out report cards. A large part focuses on history. In the lower grades, the history books are in a storybook format. It helped to foster a love of history in my kids. Our son graduates this year and our daughter is a sophomore.
30 posted on 11/16/2006 7:43:46 AM PST by AZHSer
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To: meandog
Why do you say that? I see nothing wrong with homeschooling as the parents are committed to this.

Tuition can be very expensive as you well know, and that is not an option for many.
31 posted on 11/16/2006 7:44:09 AM PST by hsmomx3 (Steelers in '07--Go BIG BEN!!!)
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To: quesney

Calvert School, founded in 1906. Secular.


32 posted on 11/16/2006 7:45:03 AM PST by voiceinthewind
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To: quesney
Google is a useful thing:

Google: homeschool|homeschooling curriculum gives these as some top picks:

Homeschool.com
Robinson Homeschool Curriculum
Homeschool Curriculum Reviews
Homeschooler's Curriculum Swap
Homeschool Curriculum, Advice and Resources

Those ought to get you started.

33 posted on 11/16/2006 7:47:13 AM PST by TChris (We scoff at honor and are shocked to find traitors among us. - C.S. Lewis)
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To: Homeschoolmom

And there are many churches who now have homeschool support groups.

Our church has a Friday co-op for the homeschoolers. The homeschoolers are also able to participate in some of the classes that the private schoolers are taking at the school located right there on the premises such as band and choir, PE, etc.


34 posted on 11/16/2006 7:49:01 AM PST by hsmomx3 (Steelers in '07--Go BIG BEN!!!)
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To: quesney

To evaluate what works best, I first try to find someone who actually has the program I'm thinking about using. This is where a curriculum fair comes in real handy! If there's no curriculum fair coming when you're making your decision, you can ask around at the local hs group and see if anyone is willing to let you just look at the program.

After I use it for several months, I ask myself if my child is comprehending what's taught, if there's a lot of resistance, and if he's retaining what's being taught.

You will want to be cautious about switching around too much because it can cause confusion. Whatever you choose, try to stick with it for the school year, unless it's just abundantly clear that it's not going to work for your family.

Here's a link to find out about Maryland hs laws and groups.

http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/regional/Maryland.htm


35 posted on 11/16/2006 7:53:04 AM PST by Homeschoolmom
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To: quesney

Previous post about Calvert on Free Republic:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1599746/posts


36 posted on 11/16/2006 7:53:13 AM PST by voiceinthewind
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To: quesney

We've homeschooled since - hmmm - 1988 or so: through 8th grade with our first (now out of college), through 10th with the next (in college), in 10th (and planning to go all the way to 12th) with our 3rd child, and just starting up with the younger ones. Several primary recommendations that precede the choice of curriculum or programs:

1) Most importantly, find people who homeschool and learn from them. This will yield not only information but also modeling and encouragement.

2) Join a local support group. We are members of the local chapter of New York we have LEAH (Loving Education At Home), a Christian homeschooling group. The annual convention in the Syracuse area started out in high schools, the moved to the OnCenter (convention center) and now has to be held at the State Fairgrounds.

3) Consider co-ops: homeschool cooperatives can do core curriculum together or just some fun enrichment activities. Works best with like-minded people. Can be everything from two families meeting once a week to a large weekly gathering. We're doing both at the moment. My wife and 2 moms meet once a week for some enrichment activities related to the curriculum they're using. Then another afternoon is the local LEAH chapter's weekly co-op meeting with two classes and a recess gym period in between. The classes chnge each semester - this fall there's a major play, birdwatching, art, crafts, cultures around the world ... you name it. Past classes included logic, language, history, CPR certification for teens, too many to remember, but you get the picture.

4) Asking about curricula is asking for a case of "option overload" - there are mountains of choices, from prepackaged programs all the way to general guides that let you tailor everything. There are guidebooks written to help you walk through the choices (One author is Cathy Duffy - there are others that I forget at the moment.) The most important thing is matching curriculua to your teaching style and your kids' learning style. My wife employs a range of sources and adapts from year to year.

5) Costs? We seem to average about $75 per month, but that's with a great local library and a huge annual booksale close by.

6) Plan ahead to have room for a bunch of bookshelves :)


37 posted on 11/16/2006 7:55:03 AM PST by Tirian
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To: quesney
ABeka is a non-denominational program that I use. What I particularly like is that they set up video cameras in their Pensacola Christian Academy class rooms and make it available to home schoolers. They should be coming to a town near you with a homeschooling display. Check their website for time and location,

www.abeka.com
38 posted on 11/16/2006 7:55:38 AM PST by Jeffrey_D. (Seek first to understand, then to be understood)
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To: quesney

Ping for research & followup.


39 posted on 11/16/2006 7:59:23 AM PST by Moose Dung (Perquacky is a fools game.)
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To: quesney

bttt


40 posted on 11/16/2006 8:00:07 AM PST by diamond6 (Everyone who is for abortion has been born. Ronald Reagan)
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To: hsmomx3

Yes, our town has several "Friday Schools". They teach everything from Art to Chemistry. The programs and resources available to hs'ers are wonderful!


41 posted on 11/16/2006 8:03:00 AM PST by Homeschoolmom
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To: hsmomx3
Why do you say that? I see nothing wrong with homeschooling as the parents are committed to this. Tuition can be very expensive as you well know, and that is not an option for many.

The average non-boarding private school tuition is about $4K, well within the means of a job at McDonalds serving hamburgers. Additionally, there are scholarships to many schools...teachers are extremely more qualified than parents in the education of children (especially if the child is gifted or talented). Here is some information about private school tuition choices if you desire click here

42 posted on 11/16/2006 8:03:11 AM PST by meandog (These are the times that try men's souls!)
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To: quesney
Regarding your more general question about states receptive to home schooling, it's legal in all states, but some have more hassles than others. We have always been members of Home School Legal Defense Association, which provides free legal defense to its members. (A few local school types, overzealous truant officers or even disgruntled neighbors have been known to file false anonymous abuse charges against homeschoolers, so this protection alone is worth the fee). HSLDA has pioneered many of the pivotal court cases and is the primary advocacy/watchdog group, a win-win in our opinion, even if you never need their services. If you are a member of your state homeschooling group, the annual fee drops to something like $85 or $90. Their web site www.hslda.org is full of links and information. Their monthly magazine has state-by-state rundowns of what's happening re: the homeschooling climate.
43 posted on 11/16/2006 8:08:31 AM PST by Tirian
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To: meandog

Many hs'es who could afford private school still choose to homeschool. I don't hs simply because it's a last choice. It was and has always been our first choice in the education of our children.

I'm not someone who believes that it's "wrong" to send a child to public or private school, but neither do I believe those institutions are superior to homeschooling. Homeschoolers have proven themselves to be capable of outperforming most public and private schools. Homeschooling is just as much a legitimate choice as a private school. The added bonus of knowing my children, and being the primary influence in their lives is just icing on the cake. :-)


44 posted on 11/16/2006 8:13:05 AM PST by Homeschoolmom
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To: meandog

I disagree with you.

Someone working at McD's is not going to work there to pay for tuition and most couples have more than one child.

Please forgive me, but if "qualified" teachers are the answer, then why are so many kids failing and why are so many kids not able to read by 3rd grade?

I think you have to look at this as openly as possible. Parents know what is best for their kids, not teachers or anyone else.

Are you a qualified teacher? Just wondering.


45 posted on 11/16/2006 8:14:04 AM PST by hsmomx3 (Steelers in '07--Go BIG BEN!!!)
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To: meandog

"The average non-boarding private school tuition is about $4K"

In Maryland?!


46 posted on 11/16/2006 8:14:05 AM PST by quesney
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To: quesney

I have been told that some private Catholic schools in Phoenix charge over $10k per child.


47 posted on 11/16/2006 8:16:22 AM PST by hsmomx3 (Steelers in '07--Go BIG BEN!!!)
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To: All

I'm extremely grateful for all of these helpful responses -- keep 'em coming. This is such a great forum. Thank you!!


48 posted on 11/16/2006 8:17:59 AM PST by quesney
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To: meandog

Regarding teacher qualification -- studies have shown that the homeschooling environment produces better results. The average homeschooled child scores on the 75th percentile on standardized tests (where by definition the average student in the US is 50th %ile.) Even if many parents feels ill-equipped, they can learn to teach their children and given them a supportive environment ESPECIALLY up through 6th grade. Having children who simply love to read and learn at this level puts them ahead of the game, irrespective of whether the latest teaching trends were used. (We typically had to turn off the main power to our kids' rooms at night to get them to put down their books and go to sleep!)

In my mind socialization is even more important and, contrary to claims by the NEA, it is the homeschooled kids who are far more socially adapted to life in the real world, (which is usually not age segregated!) One of our eldest's college profs turned one day and said, "You were home schooled, weren't you?" and then rattled off a list of observations that supported his conclusion: less affected by peer pressure, very free and comfortable interaction with professors, inquiring mind, etc. A very revealing interaction.


49 posted on 11/16/2006 8:19:10 AM PST by Tirian
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To: meandog; hsmomx3; quesney

Mrs.. Moose says:

As a mother, and a homeschooling one at that, I respectfully disagree. Our children need their moms! Especially in this day and age where children are going up way to fast (thanks to their peers who we can't choose for them when they are in school public or private). Children need mom to be there in the morning and be there when they come home from school (if they go to school).

The beauty of homeschooling is being able to choose the education your child receives, choose their peers/friends, choose the activities they are involved in, etc. I realize that many teachers do not believe that parents can teach their own, but we can, we are in large numbers, and we do a wonderful job! I am part of a homeschooling charter school and I could introduce you to many parents who are very successful. Further, I KNOW that teachers do not parent the children in their care--and are not supposed to! Children need parents much more than they need teachers!

Lest you believe I am being too controlling of my children, try seeing that I am being a parent who isn't afraid to lead my children, protect their childhood, and educate their head, heart and hands in the best way I know how. Far superior to any school choices we have here.

As for homeschooling methods I personally recommend Waldorf Education which educates the child through his head (thinking), his heart (feeling) and his hands (doing). We focus on nature, art, beauty of the world around us. We explore topics from learning our letters to Physics with our thinking, our feelings and our doing. We don't limit education to a desk and paper, but bring in the world to our learning. Children educated through Waldorf have a love of learning and a strong ability to continue learning throughout their whole life, and they know where to find what they want to learn! For more information on Waldorf Homeschooling you can visit my website: www.therapeutichomeshcooling.org, and these others www.live-education.com www.christopherushomeschool.org

Thanks for letting Mrs. MooseDung put in her two cents!


50 posted on 11/16/2006 8:25:38 AM PST by Moose Dung (Perquacky is a fools game.)
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