Hi everyone, I am new to the message board and am considering homeschooling my 6-yo daughter. We have been fortunate in that her APS teachers have been very dedicated, but the classrooms are overcrowded and it is impossible for even the best teacher to give every child individual attention.
I have volunteered in her classroom on several occasions. The teacher conducts reading groups while the students do their morning worksheets. This would be fine, except that the classroom environment is very distracting. Many children are chattering, bickering, wandering around, and staring into space (my daughter included). She tells me that it is hard for her to pay attention because it is so loud.
My daughter is falling through the cracks. Often, she is unable to complete her schoolwork and must bring it home. So after attending school for over 6 1/2 hours every day, she then spends another 2 hours doing homework every night (and still doesn't finish everything she is supposed to do). She does well when I work with her one on one, yet she is still not meeting the "standards" of the standardized tests. I wonder if those 6 1/2 hours a day might be better spent working at home one on one with me.
To be honest, I feel like 8 1/2 hours of school/schoolwork is too much for an elementary school child. How much time per day do homeschooling families spend on school? What kind of schedules do you follow?
Also, do you separate your children when you teach them? My son is four and is sometimes disruptive during a lesson. I've tried to include him and provide work for him, but his attention span is much shorter than my daughter's. I feel guilty shooing him away when he gets too rowdy.
Sara - I had the same situation. My son, who is a 2nd grader, had a great Kindergarten teacher and a great 1st grade teacher. By the time 1st grade was ending, the school said that he was doing fractions in math. He was doing enough to get by, but when I really began working with him, he barely knew simple addition and subtraction. And I too, was really involved with his school.
I started homeschooling at the first of this year, and we've been back stepping with alot of 1st grade stuff. At first, I really wondered if I'd made a mistake. I was so frustrated. I kept trying to make it like a real school here at home. When I finally, relaxed a bit, he started working. Don't misunderstand me, I have to stay right on him. SHORT ATTENTION SPAN.
BUT --- we've just finished 1st grade math and he really is about half way through 2nd grade math too. His reading has increased. The other day he read a WHOLE 'SUPER DIAPER BABY' book to me. It took him about 45 minutes. I wasn't pushing him, he didn't want to stop!
We spend about 3 to 3 1/2 hours a day on "school". I have a second grader and a 4 year old. It took them both a few weeks to adjust to our new approach, but they eventually got "it". I have a preschool curriculum for the 4 year old which does not take as much time as the second grader's work. After I finish the 4 year olds "work" she plays educational computer games, colors, plays quietly in her room etc. She had to learn not to interupt me and her sister when we are working, and the second grader had to learn to do some work alone to start off the morning or afternoon. I am sitting right there with both of them so it is not too hard to redirect them. It was hard at first, but they "get it" now. You might be frustrated at first but it is worth it! We can do so much more together at home. My daughter was in a great public school for two years, and I used to teach school myself but I love this so much more. Both of my kids enjoy being homeschooled, and are even proud to tell people that is what we do. Let me know if you have any specific questions I can help you with... I hope you have an easy time deciding what to do. There are some amazing programs and people out there who can help you!
Hey Sara, I have a six year old boy and a 4 year old boy and this is my second year homeschooling. I have found it to be great!! Some days are better than others in terms of them understanding that the other one needs my attention, but all in all it is not a big issue. I have also found that there is a huge amount of information and support out there. The only thing that it really takes to get started is desire. It seems that every homeschooling parents has his or her own way to do almost everything. I would be more than happy to share what I do with you. Rebekah
Sarah, I have a 6 year old son (with short attention span!) and a 3 year old daughter. We also had a bit of trouble getting my daughter to leave us alone long enough to do schoolwork, but after a while she "got it" and will play for short stretches on her own. What works for us is for me to do some work with my son one-on-one, then leave him for a short time to do exercises on his own. During that time, I do something in another room with my daughter, like read a story, or (what she loves) do some pre-schoolwork with a workbook/stickers. Then I go back to my son, more one-on-one with him while daughter plays on her own, then back to daughter. You get the idea.
I have to say that I also agree that you can get by on A LOT less time schooling when you're at home. Depending on your homeschooling persuasion, this could amount to anywhere from 0 to maybe 4 or 5 hours! We actually do no more, and often less, than about an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Much of the afternoon schoolwork is self-directed on the computer with a few carefully chosen titles (currently Rosetta Stone Spanish, DK I Love Science, Garfield Typing on alternating days), which frees up time for my 3 year old.
Give it a try! At best, you guys will love it, and at worst at least by working with her you'll have her ready to go back to school next year without falling through the cracks.
You just described the exact reasons I started homeschooling my 1st grader. He would go to school for hours on end come home and have hours of home work and half way through the year they wanted to hold him back a grade because he couldn't work on a first grade level. He couldn't keep up. Heck I couldn't keep up.
I have three boys, Bobby a third grader, Brandon my 7 year old old (who I am re doing 1st grade with to give him a sold foundation, and he is excelling beyond my wildest dreams) and Nicholas my 21 month old. I do homeschool my two together and the toddler does get in the way a lot of the time. Ultimately I try to homeschool while he is napping but that does not always happen. With the curriculum I use it takes me about 2 to 3 hours to get through my 1st graders work and about 3 to 4 hours to get through my 3rd graders work. But the 3rd grader can do a lot more work on his own than the first grader.
It can be very overwhelming but finding a great support group is a great first step! That is what everyone is here for to support you and give you guidance.
We pulled my daughter from public school because she hated being there. She was doing fine, even excelling in public school, but every morning she would say she felt sick and did not want to go. She also saw all the things that I was doing with her brothers and she did not want to miss out. I think she in a way felt pushed out of the family. She never saw us and the relationship we had was not what it had once been.
When we really started considering homeschool, the greatest advantage we could find was the time. We did not have time with my daughter before. She was up and out the door for school, came home, did homework, ate dinner, got ready for and went to bed and then the next day it would happen all over again. Since we have a complex visitation schedule, (long story) we did not have her on breaks from school and only every other weekend.
I figure even if we spent the same amount of time on school work as she was before, atleast we are doing it together. Of course, that has never been the case. I would say a long day now would be three, maybe four hours and that would include some type of outing. Jordan is still doing fine educationally, but the greatest reward we have received is the improved stregnth of our family connections. I see the bonds that Jordan is making with her brothers and how close we are now is amazing. We are a family unit and it is awesome!
Personally I think that homeschooling is the BEST option for families, if you are able to do it. If you are able to give it a shot, GO FOR IT!!! I don't think anyone could ever regret taking time to be with their child and working with them one on one. It is amazing how much better you know your child and they know you. Even if their test scores do not go up, they gain so much that is worth more than any test score.
There is lots of homeschooling groups and tons of information out there. You won't be doing this alone if you make this choice. There are many others out there willing to lend a hand and plenty of resources to make it work.
Thank you so much for your positive words. It is reassuring to know I am not the only one who feels this way.
The benefits you all have reported are very encouraging to my husband and I. It sounds like there are a lot of resources and support here, which is exactly what I need. I worry that I may not have the patience or skills to teach my children what they need to know, or that we may not always be in a financial situation where I can stay home. But on the other hand, most of the homeschooled adults I know were just fine with alternating home school and public school when they had to.
I will probably research curriculum options for the next few months, and pester you all with questions from time to time.