Skip to comments.(vanity) Seeking GA Freeper advice on homeschooling my daughter
Posted on 10/03/2007 10:42:03 AM PDT by Blueflag
I seek the advice of FReepers on home-schooling an academically gifted 8 year-old. We've had it up to 'here' with Creekland Middle School in Gwinnett County. (Georgia)
How to get started? Best Curricula? Best web sites? Ideas? Challenges? Risks?
How to get started? Best Curricula? Best web sites? Ideas? Challenges? Risks?
All well-reasoned FReeper replies welcomed
A little too emotional at the moment. My daughter is an academically gifted 8th grader, not an 8 year old. (sigh)
She’s 13, not 8.
We homeschool in Florida. I’d suggest finding a homeschool group, usually thru a church. They can provide lots of information. Be careful purchasing curriculum as there are tons and tons of options. Many good and many not as good. Consider options such as online, DVD, computer based, and books. Different kids do better with different formats.
Its challenging but also rewarding. My kids do not want to go back to public school. Socialization is an issue so be sure to budget time for field trips and other events.
Lol, I was going to ask if you were time traveling. I wouldn’t send my kids to public school either, if I had any.
Hopefully metmom and/or Dave will ping their lists to get you some good advice.
I was homeschooled from Day One so I don’t really know what I’d advise someone transitioning other than this: don’t tie yourself to the public school’s schedule. Not their class schedule - it shouldn’t take you seven hours to teach your daughter what she needs to know. Give her time for her own hobbies and interests. Not their what-should-be-taught schedule: if they would teach World History this year but you think she needs American History, teach that. And not their school year - modify it to work for you. School year round and take two week breaks every two months, if that works for you. Teach on Saturdays and take Wednesdays off. Whatever works for you.
First and foremost, check out the law in Georgia. Go to the HSLDA’s website and seriously consider joining the HSLDA - at the very least for your peace of mind. Their webiste also has very good resources to learn the laws.
Ask metmom for help. There are many really nice & helpful freepers who will be able to help you. Many are helping me as I try to convince my husband to let me home school our 7 yr old. Get on metmom’s ping list too. ~Pandora~
Can you get her into Gwinnett Charter School of Advanced Mathematics, Science and Technology instead???
Thanks. Turns out we have 8 kids just in our neighborhood who are home schooled. AND our church does have some good resouces. Also, one of our church-lady :-) friends is also one of the head administrators at the HS. The HS is fine, but the middle school has turned into a prison culture. It’s no way to treat academically gifted, socially responsible kids. We want to make certain the program we pick is a good one — cuz it’s only going to have to be good for one year - for my daughter to finish 8th grade. She’s totally absorbed in her friends’ activities and also in competitive swimming — both of which would be unaffected by homeschooling.
We are fortunate to have all the options readily available — PC, supportive homeschooling familes (younger kids though) and a daughter who hungers for learning. We just want as always to present the best choices and options to her.
She took the SATs as a 7th grader and scored in the top 5% of all HIGH SCHOOL students. Yikes. We know she has a bright academic future if we can just make the right paths available to her.
If you happen to watch the TV show BONES, my daughter is a lot like the character who plays “Bones” the forensic anthropologist, except she is very socially adept and not nearly as literal.
If you don’t mind me asking, what curriculum do you use? Which did you choose to NOT use?
CHECK YOUR PRIVATE MESSAGES!
Worth a shot. Never heard of it. Imagine that.
I’ll check it out.
We homeschool from a Christian perspective, so we have used Rod & Staff, Bob Jones, and others.
Good for you in your decision to homeschool. I think you will be surprised at just how much support is available for you out there.
Thanks, but it won’t open til next year :-(
Will do. thx as always.
We’ve tried Abeka, Bob Jones, and a couple others I can’t remember. They were ok but our boys have a tough time only using a book. And for the higher math learning from a DVD can be tough when Mom or Dad can’t remember. This year we are using an online public school our county offers and an online private school.
Seems more interactive and catches their attention a bit more. Also keep em active in sports, and church activities. All in all the socialization isn’t the problem many of the anti-home schoolers preach. You have more control over who your kids spend time with which is a good thing IMO.
Many people will critisize homeschoolers saying your child isnt around other kids their age. To that I make the argument that at no other time in our life are we segregated by age so why is it so good for our kids.
All in all its much better but more expensive. metmom is a good source so ask her like the other folks have suggested.
The great thing about home-schooling is that one can develop unique courses. In addition to the 3 Rs, marksmanship, Bible, and riding can be taught. Build on her strengths. If she doesn’t like math then just teach to the SAT/ACT and do some practical math (word problems, metric conversions, and all manner of percentage problems). If she loves literature then make it at least 30 percent of your schedule.
I don’t know how feasible this is, but you could relocate in order to get her into new school until the magnet school is open (note: don’t let the move jeopardize chance of getting into the magnet school).
You could also do a “send her to live with grandma ;-)” for a change of address (like A LOT of Georgians do).
My oldest falls into that category also.
For math, Saxon Math, hands down. An engineer friend of mr. mm’s said it’s absolutely the best for real life applications.
We used Abeka for science, SS, and health and found them quite thorough. The history was actually pretty rigorous. If you have a real history buff on your hands, it’ll be fine, but I thought there was stuff in there that was unnecessary to know (Like who DL Moody’s songleader was).
We tried Alpha-Omega LifePacs for history one year and my daughter liked that a little better because she said it explained why things happened in history instead of just memorizing facts.
For English and reading, I think what the schools do is fine, read books and do book reports. Maybe if you could find someone who is an English major or supportive teacher, they could help you in that area.
Here’s a link for a place to get curriculum about as cheap as I’ve seen it:
I think for just the remainder of the year, see if you can borrow some Saxon Math and give the Alpha-Omega LifePacs a shot, along with the local library.
College and university libraries are sometimes open to the public. In NYS, if you’re a resident, you used to be able to borrow from the SUNY college libraries. That was some years ago and I don’t know if that’s changed, but it’s worth a shot. You’ll probably get better resources.
Who does your daughter swim with? Our kids did the Y and my son decided to do this year also, his last.
Just graduated my two homeschooled boys.
Best advice? Try and find a curriculum fair, and a homeschool group. Even if you have to travel out of state to visit a fair, it’s worth it. All the vendors carry all the curriculum around with them, and you can pick and choose.
If you can’t find curriculum and aren’t sure, just buy a few booklets or such to start. I’ve never known hardly anyone to finish using their first choice. Find experienced homeschoolers in your area. They will help you. Usually they have a coop or support group with helpful women.
Just not that some support groups can center in on some strange beliefs. You do have to be aware of that.
thx — I’ll check those out. She is a whiz at math, science and verabl skills. Not so much a history buff, but has a photographic memory when she’s interested. In fact her older brothers used to resolve arguments by saying “Let’s go ask J___!”
rocksolidinc looks interesting.
yes, that would be the *P*SATs. :-)
HEr older bro’s did fine at Collins Hill, as they are truly good at handling gifted students and pointing them into the right courses/teachers AND early enrollment classes etc etc. Not so worried about HS, but middle school is driving her nuts. And worse than that, she’s bored with her gifted curriculum.
Saxon and Alph-Omega sound promising. Good FReeper creds ;-)
We can check out virtually all content from UGA, GGC and GSU (all reasonably local to us) because my dad is a retired prof. (NCSU)
My daughter swims with Swim Atlanta, a large private swim club/instruction/practice in the area. She’s already “lettered” (based on times in meets) for HS times, and lacks 1.2 seconds to qualify for Sr High State times in Freestyle and Backstroke. (her biggest bro was 2-time Ga state champ in 50/100 Free.)
You might look into distance education classes too. I know that LSU offers advanced level high school and college classes through correspondence or online. The courses are well designed and with parental assistance I would think she would be more than capable of doing that level work. They offer a large variety or coursework, and they are relatively inexpensive. 3 college credits for $229, and one high school class is $88.00. My son has taken a couple of them, and I was impressed with the level of instruction. You can check out the program at http://is.lsu.edu/.
I have a degree in computer science, and I love math.
My daughters use Saxon math in their private school, and we all agree “WE HATE SAXON MATH”.
It’s too repetitive and boring. It might be good for a kid that is poor at math, but it is way too repetitive for a gifted kid.
I don’t really have a recommendation on middle school math. My son likes his math that he uses in middle school. He’s in the advanced class and is taking Geometry. I think he likes it more because he has a good teacher and he all the kids are gifted at math and motivated to learn.
My third son is in ninth grade, a year ahead of her. Here is what we are doing with him this year. FReepmail me for any discussion. I’ve hs’d a boy to UCLA, have another in “11th”, and have two girls in the elementary ages, so I have some experience.
Math - Saxon Algebra 1/2 or Saxon 87 if she’s not ready
English - (Spelling) Spelling Power
English (Grammar and Literature) Writing and Grammar 8, A Beka
Science - Exploring Creation with General Science, Apologia
World History - History Of The World In Christian Perspective (A Beka) If she is an enthusiastic reader, supplement with good biographies, or if she is tv oriented, good movies.
Foreign Language - The Learnables
Art - History of Art by How Great Thou Art
For an elective let her pursue an interest (sports, scouts, veterinary medicine, botany, home ec, wood shop, whatever)
Most if not all of these texts available at 1 800 Christian, no I’m not a rep, just giving you the info!
I liked that Saxon goes up through Physics and Calculus. My daughter thought AP Physics was easier than Saxon.
I know there’s a lot of repetition so I never made them do everything, even though you’re *supposed* to. I learned a lot from Saxon myself and found it very easy to use for someone who was weak in math to begin with.
My kids have scored very high on the SAT tests in the Math section. So, anyway, we loved it and found it useful.
Yes, you will love it. DO NOT buy a lot of curriculum. We did, we seldom used any of it. Pick up a book on this, do a project on that, read read and read. Teach her math — we like Saxon at the Algebra level, liked Straight-Forward math too. Talk to other homeschoolers. They will be your best resource.
Have fun. It is a great adventure. I HIGHLY recommend it.
I suggest contacting the local Mensa group at: http://www.georgia.us.mensa.org/ . They have a Gifted Childen Coordinator, (as we do in Memphis) who can direct you to other resources. Mensa accepts scores from over 200 standard tests of general intelligence for admission, and administers 5 of these tests in the field at frequent intervals. However, the minimum age for all of these field tests is 14, so we could not test your daughter yet.
Local libraries usually have a lot of information and home schooling group references.
Check out the website k12.com. You have a virtual charter school (online charter school) available to you in Georgia. You are very fortunate to live in a state that offers this option. The curriculum is based on the Core Knowledge sequence. (Formulated by E.D. Hirsch author of the series of books “What Your ? Grader Needs to Know”.) Your child will take a pretest to determine her placement. She’ll be placed at the appropriate level based on her pretest. A certified teacher will be assigned to you to mentor you as you teach the material.
Just check out their site. There are sample lessons which you can see. The curriculum is quite good. Have fun checking it out. In my opinion, it’s outstanding.
It’s not easy finding the states that have signed up with K12 to offer these virtual schools. On their website, k12.com, look under the tab Schooling Programs. Then select Virtual Public School (K-8) Overview. The states are listed at the bottom of that page.
I strongly suggest that you check out the Robinson curriculum! From the Oregon Institute of Science and Math,if I remember correctly! IT is CD based and a self taught program. The Professor ran his kids through the curriculum and both scored over 1500 on 1st shot at SAT’s! The cost is 295 for the Cd’s! PM me if you need more direction! tajgirvan
I homeschooled for 10.5 years and am an area admin for a private ISP for homeschoolers.
That said, go to HSLDA and follow the trail for their high school information as well as state law/requirements for home education. If your daughter *is* gifted then there’s no reason to wait to begin high school work. In a couple years check on concurrent enrollment through a community college for some classes. Allow her some freedom to pursue interests aside from academics. Give her a couple months to ‘deprogram’ from a not-so-great situation.
Blessings to you...
I, too, am homeschooling an 8th grader here in N. Georgia (North Fulton). I was going to suggest the same as homes+cool, above, that you might want to check out the new K12 Virtual School option, which is newly available this year. I have heard wonderful things about this curriculum from fellow homeschoolers! The possibly convenient part for you is that it is still within the school system.
Our family, however, has been homeschooling for eight years, and we have chosen a different path, which you may like to explore as well. Our children attend a “hybrid” school (the school has 6 campuses in the metro area, including in Sugarloaf, Alpharetta, and Cumming), where they spend one full day per week in a classroom, doing language arts and humanities. It is a very extensive and challenging, nondenominational Christian curriculum. On a second day per week, the children have the option to attend a full day of class at a facility in Alpharetta for science and math. The math is through the school they attend, and the science is done through a partner school which is a science academy, with a very extensive and challenging science program, complete with labwork (They use the same classrooms and facility).
We find this to be the best of both worlds for us. The children get the experience of being in a classroom environment with their peers, and taking tests under time constraints, as well as meeting deadlines, and doing public speaking (huge in this school!), but they retain the flexibility that homeschooling offers as far as making our own hours the rest of the week, and allowing us to travel when it suits our family. (The school just gives us the children’s assignments ahead of time). Plus, the fact that the curriculum is accredited gives me a modicum of peace when considering college applications, which will be here before we know it! (A preponderance of the school’s graduates have received Hope scholarships).
If you’d prefer to completely homeschool, A Beka is a great option, and the Sonlight curriculum might also be of interest (the parent chooses and controls the books, for the most part).
There are two resources you might want to check out before making your decision:
One is the Homeschool Hangout (very near Rte. 9 in Alpharetta), which is owned by a family which has homeschooled or is homeschooling a very large family, and thus has experience with teaching every type of learner. They are very informative and helpful, and you can see and touch and explore all of the books at your leisure (its a very welcoming place, with lots of tables and chairs to linger in. They even have snacks).
The second is a publication called “The Old Schoolhouse” magazine, which comes out quarterly (available at the Homeschool Hangout or Barnes & Noble), which has been a huge help to me over the years, as it is a compendium of knowledge garnered from other homeschooling families, resources for homeschoolers, and lesson plans included in each issue for different units of study. I have kept most of my issues over the years, as I find myself going back to them as our needs and issues change. One issue each year is devoted to reviewing the “best of” the various learning tools available, as chosen by their staff and readers, and that is, of course, priceless information when you are feeling swamped with options! (Back issues are available at the magazine’s website, so you need not wait until this year’s review issue is published to find this information!)
Please feel free to freepmail me if there is anything you’d like to ask, I am happy to help! I really believe in what we do (and what you are about to do!), and I applaud you for being such a good and concerned parent. Good job!
My sister is in Gwinnett and has homeschooled both her children during Middle School. Her sentiments were similar to yours, the Middle School was the problem, HS seems to be going fine. (P.S. Her daughter swims also with Swim Atlanta.)
You say you only need a one year curriculum. Well, that may be so, but you may find this is something that really works for your daughter.
There are so many programs available it could make your head spin. I have heard good things about Apologia (science), IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing), and Teaching Textbooks (mathematics) to name a few. For history we use the WinterPromise programs, though Sonlight is also popular.
Do not stress out over programs too much. Take it easy, and find your groove. Pulling children out of school and then replicating school at home is not always successful. Everyone I know advocates learning through literature. Check out your local library and let your daughter pick out a subject and check out everything she can to learn about it. Then have her write (and present orally to you and your spouse) a report to show what she learned.
But, before you do anything, find out what you need to do legally. Your state may have requirements for you to homeschool. Every state is different.
Here is another thought. Here in Texas, we have an option of dual enrollment in college classes. If you can do this, your daughter will get both high school and college credit for her coursework. So, check out the local community college or university and see if they will accept her.
This article totally changed my approach to homeschooling : Home Schools: The Hope Of America
We use an approach similar to that explained here: Robinson Curriculum
Hopefully these ideas will help.
Hi. Last year, we homeschoolers here on Free Republic put together a listing of homeschool resources. You can look through it by clicking this link:
Of course, it’s not a complete list, but it’s a nice start. It shows the materials homeschoolers here on FR have used and recommend to others.
The book many homeschoolers consider the best guide on choosing a curriculum is “The Well-Trained Mind” by Susan Wise Bauer.
We used K12.com with great success. Now we’re using “Teaching Textbook” for Geometry, and we love it. www.teachingtextbooks.com
This is the Florida virtual school has pick and choose classes just like college or HS. Middle school kids can take some classes for high school credit and HS can take college courses. Check into Georgia’s maybe it is as good but FLVS has been around for a few years and has the bugs worked out. It will cost something for non Fl resident don’t know what. The plus of a “state” virtual school is the classes will readily transfer back into the system other home school options may not without a lot of hassle.
I’d recommend the following, since you only plan to do this for 1 year. I’d highly recommend that you push the self-teaching aspect, since it will do her a world of good in high school.
You already have the phys ed and social aspect, so here’s recommendations for the academics for a gifted child.
Math - take the placement test on Saxon’s website to see what her math skill level is. I’d recommend Saxon 1/2, Saxon Algebra I or Jacob’s Algebra, depending on the results. If she’s gifted in math, then Algebra is the curriculum for her. Saxon is tops for self-taught learning.
Science - by all means have her do a physical science curriculum. I’d add in a lot of hands-on type learning. It’ll help in high school in labs. Get a good chemistry kit, some biology experiments, and some physics labs. You’ll find some great stuff at Carolina Biological, Tobin’s Lab, and Rainbow Resources. I found Apologia to be very good, especially for a kid to start learning how to teach themselves. Plus, if you search on the web there are all kinds of things to do from build a telescope to build a trebuchet to build a solar oven and the like. You can also get involved in the sheep, chicken or beef programs with 4H and have that be your science. This is a great time to experiment and get hands-on with science projects.
Language Arts - Design your own by all means. This is no place for a canned curriculum. Assuming she’s a strong reader, pick out 15-20 classics - http://www.classicauthors.net/ - here’s a handy list - and have her write a 3-4 page paper on at least 10 of them. I don’t mean just book reports - I mean themes, comparisons, world view, historical context, etc. Add in a book on Latin Roots (vocabulary) and the really good book “Eats, Shoots, Leaves” by Lynn Truss and you have a full language arts curriculum. If you want a really good addition, look up your local 4H chapter and see if they sponsor a Toastmaster’s course in public speaking, or contact your local Toastmaster’s chapter directly. We did this and it makes a huge difference in their level of confidence.
History (notice I didn’t say Social Studies) - OK, here’s the important thing. You can choose to do history within the literature context, or you can stick with a straight history curriculum. Both are valid; one is more fun than the other :) However, since your daughter is unlikely to get a really good American History class in either high school or college, you do it now. I can’t recommend highly enough the American History books “A Basic History of the United States” by Clarence Carson. It is a college freshmen-level series of 6 paperback books from the 1600s to 1985. The writing is very, very accessible to an 8th grade or better level reader, and it’s the real, non-PC history of the US with a VERY strong constitutionalist slant. For a fun project to go along with the books and to further writing skills, have per pick say 26 topics on which she’ll write a one page paper, and a 5 page research paper using outside resources on a US history topic of interest.
All I can say is, don’t stress, enjoy the process, and she’ll learn more than you will realize.
I homeschooled mine for 6 years. She just finished h.s. at home at age 17 and is now in college, making As on everything. She says the relaxed nature of her homeschooling has made her a better student in college.
Above all, as parents, you should have fun with this too.
I think it’s good to get different opinions. I know of lots of other people that really like Saxon also.
Personally, I think every kid is different, and that is one of the benefits of homeschooling. You can meet the needs of your individual child.
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