Sunday, March 10, 2013

Answering a Question about Homeschool...

A friend of mine posed this question on Facebook:

"I am seriously considering homeschooling next year. I know a little bit about the K-12 program, but I'm also wondering what other programs homeschoolers use. I'd love to find a program that would include some seminary/religious time daily, although I suppose I could add it in on my own."

So here is my response:

The way I understand it, in California you can basically either register yourself as a private school (and teach whatever the heck you want to), or you could enroll with one of the charter schools. 

We decided to go the charter school route.  Which means that they give us a budget of about $1600 per year per student to spend on curriculum, supplies, and enrichment classes.  I also have an "Educational Specialist" who checks in on us every month and collects samples of work. 

I've heard that some of the charters are more strict than mine.  But with mine, I can teach my kid whatever curriculum I want.  The only exceptions are that the school won't pay for religion-based books (like Apologia) and my ES makes sure that we are hitting all the state standards (which isn't very hard). 

I like the freedom to choose whatever sources I think will interest my children the most and will complement my goals for them and their learning style.  I definitely took one of my friends with me my first time to the local homeschool store to help navigate me through all the choices, though!

For teaching them to read, I have used "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons"  (I've known about it for years as SRA/Distar.)

I love the publisher Evan Moor and have used them for our science, literature, writing, spelling, and Daily Language Review. 

Last year we spent a lot of time learning to read and write the Dolch sight word lists.

For math, we are using Modern Curriculum Press

For history, we are using Story of the World.

Aside from my local homeschool supply store, my two favorite places to shop for supplies are:  Rainbow Resource and Lakeshore Learning

I highly recommend you check out some of the homeschool blogs and free resources on my side bar.  Those women are amazing and often do reviews about different curriculum.  In particular, since you mentioned K-12, you should check out the one (1+1+1=1) who uses something called Calvert with her boys (1st and 5th grade.)

Finally, in regards to adding religion to your day, this is what has worked for our family:
I try to wake up before the kids.  As soon as I get up, I go sit in the living room and study my scriptures.  When the kids get up, they get to pick one of our childrens' scripture story books from a stool next to my chair and read to themselves.  As soon as I am done, we say prayer together and then work on our scripture memorization.  I talked about the Charlotte Mason method that we use here.  The things we add to our binder to work on are all the scriptures and songs from the Primary Outline for Sharing Time and any other Primary songs I want us to learn (like Latter Day Prophets and the songs where you name all the books in the scriptures in order.)

Good luck in all your decisions!  And feel free to ask any other questions you may have!

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