Skip to comments.Homeschooling: Freeper Needs Guidance on *Effective* and *Proven* Programs
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.
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.
ABEKA has a good program. If Catholic, check out Kolbe Academy.
My sister uses Seton (Catholic) and really likes their books and program (includes online tests, etc)
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.
My sister uses Seton (Catholic) and really likes their books and program (includes online tests, etc)
Re you looking for a Christian type curriculum?
Math to 6th grade: Rod & Staff or Bob Jones Univ. Press
Bible: Rod & Staff or BJUP
Penmanship/Creative Writing: ABeka or BJUP
English: Rod and Staff to 8th grade
Did I forget anything?
Secular program, Calvert School.
Protestant, Alpha-Omega, Christian Light, Veritas
Protestant, Kolbe or Seton School
There are many. We use A Beka because (a) it is known to be very academically rigorous, (b) its used by many of the top private schools in the area [and familiar to universities], and (c) its 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.
Oops. sorry for the double post
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.
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.
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.
We use Virtual Charter School here in PA... its great!
Here are a few of the programs that we've enjoyed.
Five in a row
Easy Grammar / Easy Writing
greenleaf press - famous men series
Sonlight (excellent literature based curriculum)
alpha omega curriculum (lifepac, horizon, sos)
Memoria Press (Latin)
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.
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.
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.
As a teacher, I would suggest you put your kids in private schools and seek a job to pay the tuition.
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. :-)
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?
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.
Calvert School, founded in 1906. Secular.
Google: homeschool|homeschooling curriculum gives these as some top picks:
Those ought to get you started.
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.
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.
Previous post about Calvert on Free Republic:
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 :)
Ping for research & followup.
Yes, our town has several "Friday Schools". They teach everything from Art to Chemistry. The programs and resources available to hs'ers are wonderful!
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
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. :-)
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.
"The average non-boarding private school tuition is about $4K"
I have been told that some private Catholic schools in Phoenix charge over $10k per child.
I'm extremely grateful for all of these helpful responses -- keep 'em coming. This is such a great forum. Thank you!!
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.
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!