Any homeschool parents out there?

I know many parents have had to homeschool in the past couple of years whether they wanted to or not.
Have any of you set out to intentionally homeschool? [name_u]Or[/name_u] maybe having got a taste of it decided to continue?

If so, what curriculum have you found most useful?

[name_u]Or[/name_u] maybe you are/were homeschooled. I’d love to hear your experience as well. :blush:

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I homeschool my four and always have :blush: There are lots of “right” ways to do it. The most important thing is determining what your family’s educational philosophy is; what is it that you most want your children to come away with? Also, it’s important to consider your strengths as Mom and teacher. I loathe all cutesy things and am awful with projecty stuff. There’s room for me to grow, of course, but I’ve stopped beating myself over it. I bring other strengths to the table, and I’ve learned to play into those. So, I read to the kids quite a bit, and we have lots of discussions. We focus more on the subjects I care about at this point, because if Mom’s excited, then the kids will pick up on that. As my kids get older and more independent, their schooling becomes more geared toward their personal interests and strengths.

Nothing we do is Pinterest-worthy, but I wouldn’t give up this time for anything. Not that I love every minute of it, but our family does life together, and that’s invaluable.

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i was homeschooled for a few years before secondary / high school, and i loved it! the freedom it provided me was so wonderful. i got to learn at my own pace and this made it so i could really understand the material, rather than just memorizing key words and forgetting them after a test, which was what happened in school. i got to really explore my interests, like geography and dance at the time, and i spent most of the day in an environment that was comfortable and familiar. also, being able to get up and walk around, flap my hands, go outside for a minute, sit somewhere else to do schoolwork, etc was lovely for me who has a hard time sitting still in one place for so long. i also loved being able to add subjects into my own curriculum, like Bible memorizing + study and dance practice. i didn’t find it hard to socialize at all. i was a part of two homeschooling groups, dance classes, church youth group, and i would go to another homeschooling family’s house once a week to have classes with them. in my experience, it’s harder to socialize in school! in school, i had a set time of 20 minutes for recess and other than that, you’re not allowed to talk with one another. as for curriculums, my mother followed the government curriculum for my age. i integrated well curriculum-wise back into secondary / high school. homeschooling was fantastic and i wouldn’t trade it for the world! i enjoyed my time homeschooling so so much and i’m so glad i had the experience.

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I was homeschooled K through 12, and I really enjoyed it overall! It gave me a much more flexible schedule, and allowed for plenty of hands-on learning. I would recommend putting them in some sort of co-op, so they can grow up with friends their age and get some classroom experience.

I’m not sure on specific curricula, but I did enjoy [name_u]Saxon[/name_u] for math!

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Yes! I’ll modify the reply I made in a recent conversation about homeschooling. [name_f]My[/name_f] kids are 2nd-gen, since my husband and I were both homeschooled, but they’re only 4, 2 and 1, so I don’t yet have firsthand experience educating my own “school-age” children. Be warned, I wrote quite an essay :laughing:

Since my kids were little babies, I’ve tried to intentionally include them in everyday activity and talk them through what we’re doing, both so they’ll feel a part of the family “team” and so they’ll be learning basics. [name_m]Ransom[/name_m] (4) and [name_m]Tobias[/name_m] (2) could both identify their colors long ago. [name_m]Ransom[/name_m] knows all his letters and many of their sounds; [name_m]Tobias[/name_m] knows some of them. Same with numbers. We have digital thermometer displays in our entry and on our oil stove, plus a digital display for volts and amps on our battery bank since we’re off-grid. [name_m]Ransom[/name_m] loves checking them all and so has learned most of his double-digit numbers that way. We sing hymns in church and at home, and he’s learned a lot of 3-digit numbers from the hymnbook. Cooking is good for reading and math, too. [name_m]Ransom[/name_m] likes to ask addition questions.

I have a world map and a US map on the walls in the boys’ room. They ask “What’s that country?” and we say things like “That’s Tanzania, where Mr. [name_u]George[/name_u] and Miss [name_f]Joy[/name_f] have been living. There are giraffes and zebras there…”

The boys don’t have much screen time, but if a science question comes up (“What noises does a hippo make?”) we sometimes Google it and find a YouTube video. Right now they’re into asking “What does this fruit/nut/vegetable grow on?” so we’ve looked up a lot of pictures of trees/vines/bushes.

[name_m]Ransom[/name_m] is not reading independently yet. I haven’t pushed it. He loves to be read to, and we read a lot, especially during the winter when we can’t be outside as much.
A few months ago, I was trying to be consistent with a study of my own, and [name_m]Ransom[/name_m] starting asking to “do schoolwork” (I think he’d been talking to his teenage aunts about their homeschool studies.) I’d also been talking to my husband about how we wanted to progress academically with the boys. So, we now do maybe a 10-20-minute “study and school time” in the mornings. I got out some of the lined handwriting-practice paper my mom passed along to us and started doing a simple drawing at the top, and writing a name or description underneath, using dotted lines so [name_m]Ransom[/name_m] could trace them. We have a giant binder full of aircraft pictures and descriptions, so these days he usually chooses an airplane. (My husband is a pilot and aircraft mechanic.) I sound out the words as I write them, and then he spends a few minutes tracing. He’s starting to form letters independently, during play, and I’ve introduced the idea that there’s a correct way to form each one.
I hope to stay consistent with “study and school time” so that as the kids get older and start doing some more book work, we’ll already have the habit in place and can expand the time as necessary.

[name_f]My[/name_f] parents and my in-laws came to similar conclusions about how they wanted to raise their children. For my dad, school was a square-peg-in-round-hole situation; he hated being told what, when, and how to learn, and he never thrived. [name_f]My[/name_f] mom came from a troubled home and enjoyed school; top of her class, that sort of thing. So for her, it was more the morals of the school system no longer fitting what they wanted for their kids.

[name_f]My[/name_f] mom had us on a pretty flexible schedule, and she chose a fairly eclectic curriculum, rather than doing all “A Beka” as many of her slightly later contemporaries did. (And now the packaged, all-in-one curricula are legion.) But we had textbooks for everything. A Beka science, [name_u]Saxon[/name_u] math (hi @MG1257 :smile:), a couple different histories; Wordly Wise [name_f]English[/name_f] workbooks, a couple different grammars. She started “school” on the first [name_f]Monday[/name_f] in September; we had our assignments every day and were expected to complete them, though we might take [name_m]Friday[/name_m] off to go sledding or [name_f]Monday[/name_f] for a field trip, etc. We finished sometime in [name_f]May[/name_f], typically. If those math books weren’t finished, it was “summer school” for us until they were. [name_m]Math[/name_m] was very important to her. She read to us a lot; we had bedtime stories for years. We all took music lessons, and some of us still play. We were expected to finish twelfth grade, but so far none of us have been to college. It was talked about as an option “if we needed it.” I became an artist and art teacher, giving private lessons and selling my work in my dad’s studio and a few other places. In the couple years before I was married, I started traveling more and taking my portfolio to galleries. I have a few paintings in a gallery in Cincinnati. I’m still teaching a few lessons, trying to keep my hand in while the kids are little and planning to pursue that route afresh as they get older. One brother is curator of a local art gallery/museum; one is pursuing filmmaking while funding it with all sorts of odd jobs, carpentry, etc. The third owns his own rain gutter installation business with a couple employees. One sister is a seamstress (with her own online shop) and music teacher, one is a part-time nanny, part-time barista at the moment.

In a family of friends who were raised similarly, several of the sons did attend college. One is a PA, two are electrical engineers. One of the daughters earned a business degree after her marriage.

[name_f]My[/name_f] mother-in-law was even more scheduled; she sat my husband and his siblings down on school days and kept up with the clock. “10 o’clock, time for math. Ok, it’s 10:45, now it’s time for science.” He was a whiz at academics till he lost interest in around 9th grade and wanted to go learn to fly. And they let him. His dad could take apart and reassemble anything mechanical, so the kids grew up working on cars and farm equipment. [name_f]My[/name_f] husband rebuilt several vehicles as a teen.

So, coming from that background, what we want for our kids is mainly the same freedom from both the moral influence of the current public school climate, broadly speaking, which doesn’t align very well with our values; and the restricted learning environment, with its testing schedule and over-many workbooks.
What I would like to do a little differently is to try to keep the curiosity and the love of learning that I see in my kids right now. They ask so many questions. They want to know so many things. They want to do big things. I don’t at all resent how I was raised and taught, but I lost that somewhere in the grove of textbooks growing up. I looked at the algebra and sentence diagramming and irritably demanded when in life I was going to need those things.
It’s especially important to my husband that the kids develop self-discipline and a good work ethic, which is one of the reasons I’m doing the morning “study and school time” and intend to expand it as they grow, rather than going full-on unschooling. I see myself trying a few textbooks in a couple of years, especially for math, and working more intentionally on handwriting in the next year.

Some things I’ve read that have been influential:

• The Well-Trained Mind, by [name_u]Jessie[/name_u] Wise and [name_f]Susan[/name_f] Wise [name_m]Bauer[/name_m] (it was fairly recently that I went through it purposefully. I have friends who have their kids in Classical Conversations co-ops, which use this classical model*)
• Creating a Better [name_m]Brain[/name_m] Through Neuroplasticity, by [name_f]Debi[/name_f] [name_f]Pearl[/name_f] (you don’t have to subscribe to the Pearls’ whole child-training philosophy to find value in this, though you may find the Bible references tedious if you don’t believe in some sort of [name_u]Christian[/name_u] framework)
• I haven’t read him extensively, but I like what I’ve seen of the blog [name_u]Stark[/name_u] Raving Dad and his Life Without School podcast. There was a recent episode where he turned around the questions people ask homeschoolers all the time and applied them to parents who send their kids to public school.
• Austin [name_m]Kleon[/name_m] is a favorite author of mine (I have his books, Steal Like [name_u]An[/name_u] [name_u]Artist[/name_u], Show Your Work! and Keep Going.) His boys are in school, but he admires the unschooling mindset, and I’ve greatly enjoyed browsing his “unschooling” tags, particularly the writing of [name_u]John[/name_u] [name_m]Holt[/name_m]: Austin Kleon (Posts tagged unschooling)
Austin Kleon — John Holt, How Children Learn Children do not...

*We don’t intend to put our kids in Classical Conversations; we’ve joked that it sounds too much like “real school”; but I appreciate several things about it. I like the educational songs, which make memorization so much easier; and I like the logical step-by-step of the classical model. I find the moms who love CC most are the ones who are most concerned about their kids “keeping up” and “learning everything they should.”

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I was homeschooled for several years as a kid and I homeschooled my daughter beginning of 2020-June 2021. We did a lot of Structured Word Inquiry, which doesn’t have a curriculum but there’s a lot you can learn online–it’s an etymology-focused approach to reading, spelling, and grammar. (Did you know that the spelling of [name_f]English[/name_f] words is almost always determined by the word’s etymological origin? It’s fascinating!)

I personally loved being homeschooled and it worked well for me. I was a compliant child who loved to read and enjoyed the quiet and cozy environment of home. [name_f]My[/name_f] daughter and I had our great homeschooling days, but it’s not the ideal learning environment for her. She loves competing with other kids in a classroom setting and having other authority figures in her life, and I love that I don’t have to be both mom and teacher to my little take-charge questioner. Homeschooling is not an ideal solution for every child, but it can be wonderful if it’s the right fit for your child (and you).

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I’m not homeschooling yet (kids 1 and 3) but am keeping the option open. [name_f]My[/name_f] sister homeschools her kids.

Personally I don’t think I’d purchase any curriculum - but I’m also a trained teacher so have pretty good knowledge of my country’s (very broad, flexible) curriculum and teaching methods, at least for primary years.

I think I’d prefer to do unschooling. [name_f]My[/name_f] main aim, while also ensuring my kids have a broad knowledge and skill base, would be to keep that curiosity, that spark, alive.

Watching my kids learning is amazing. That toddler motivation, questioning, connection-making. [name_f]My[/name_f] daughter taught herself to recognise the whole uppercase and lowercase alphabet, and most sounds, before the age of 2. At 3 she occasionally tries writing or reading words herself, but her best work is always when there’s no push from me - e.g. she’s making a birthday card for one of her toys. I’m there to help rather than there to force. She asks awesome questions such as, when seeing one of those balls that have flashing lights which turn on when you shake it, “where does it get the energy from?”. [name_u]Or[/name_u] “I thought you said cars were meant to be able to handle getting wet. Then how come they have windscreen wipers?”. At the moment we’re working on a little ‘book’ mini-project about insects (she asked the other morning how bees make honey), where we’re typing together a bit about life cycles, diets, body parts, species. That’s kind of how I’d envision homeschooling going if we do go that path: really child-led, sometimes bigger projects, sometimes just museum trips etc. With me helping to extend them to take things a bit further, expose them to lines of thinking or critical thinking they might not have come up with themselves.

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As a kid I did traditional (as well as nontraditional) homeschool, cyber, and public. I LOVED homeschooling. highly recommend! There is so much freedom, time and all. I will say it takes a lot of dedication for the teacher. I think if you have opportunities to go places(parks, museums, etc) and do things (music, paint, etc) then it is a wonderful option. I believe it also helped me bond with my brother ALOT and care less about things such as appearance. With a natural reader and some curiosity, I think they’d love it. Plus, you can start school earlier (still pre-k) than at traditional. I was homeschooled from K to 3rd, so my brother was the only social interaction I needed. So, with older kids, that’s something to watch out for. Of course, motivation and all as well, but I think if you homeschool your kids, you most likely have taught them striving skills young. I don’t recommend going to public/private and homeschooling back and forth though. It was very hard for me to catch up, and I had a lot of unnecessary stress at a young age. I plan to homeschool my kiddos in the future!

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We are an intentionally homeschooling family. My husband and I both grew up in public school and with just personal experiences and what we see today in public school and what we want out of our children’s experiences with education the joint decision to homeschool was something we decided in before even getting married.

When it came to decide on what curriculums to utilize I found what worked best as deciding what my top education goals were.

For us:

  1. We are a Christian family so a Christ-centered faith based curriculum
  2. Hands on- I wanted to avoid feeling like every day was just a bunch of worksheets
  3. My husband loathed school. He and his siblings have all done very academically well. And he testifies his parents weren’t ones who put much stress over things like grades BUT the school experience wasn’t fun or enjoyable for him and he wanted to avoid that for our children. He wanted a love of learning to be instilled.

Well how I found are perfect match to those three top criteria was by thinking and then Facebook but My Fathers World - a box curriculum in our path. Several years in we’re hooked. It’s Charlotte Mason inspired which means it focuses on instilling a love of learning in the early years through quality books, gentle introductions to subjects and hands in learning.

No curriculum is a completely perfect fit for every family so while we love MFW I have had to branch off in the area of math. Again having to learn my goals and what I’m searching for:

  1. Hands on
  2. Laid out for me / Easy to teach (math is not my forte).

So this time I found myself browsing MFW-related groups to see what recommendations were out there. And from there I found another winner - not faith based (but that wasn’t a requirement because well…. Math. ) Math with Confidence. Scripted, hands on, game oriented, includes weekly book suggestions and my son loves it. He’s asked to start with math first.

No current experience but as our years progress I do have All About Spelling and Logic of English for cursive learning on my radar.

We are still relatively new to homeschooling- started with Pre-k and now I’m prepping for first grade and Pre-k in the fall. Our reasons for homeschooling have been met. But additionally I love that school is not an all day behind the desk affair, my children aren’t out in the rain waiting for the bus to arrive, the aren’t rushing to eat their lunch. With kindergarten last year my son could do the bulk if not all of his school before he even ate breakfast…… he’s not having to fight for attention from the teacher with 30 other kids. If he’s mentally needing a break he can get it. If he needs more explanation he can get it. If the assignment is too easy he doesn’t have to do it. Thanks to my states homeschooling laws- testing is an option not a
Requirement. As time goes he has the ability to delve into subjects and topics that interest him. He doesn’t have to be schooling until close to July because there aren’t snow days, teacher workshop days, covid stay at home policies, there aren’t active shooter drills. But there are more opportunities for field trips and beach days and trips to the park……and hours a day are spent outside. So thankful for the opportunity!

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