I am very new to the homeschooling idea. My 3 kids have always been in public or private school. Now that I have two Middle School aged kids I am having BIG reservations about keeping them in the public school system. The study units that they are teaching these kids are scary, not to mention the bomb threats, school lock downs, bullies, drugs, guns and the list goes on.
Does anyone have middle schoolers that they are homeschooling? I would love to home school. It would be a dream come true. I have a B.S. in Education and a Masters in Business. I am qualified for teaching K-8 english, reading, literature, social studies, history, economics, and even art. What do you do about subjects (like math, physics etc.) that you are not as good at? Are their tutors or classes that the kids can take to supplement the home schooling?
We've heard a little about a program called (?) APS Home Schooling. For now, I am looking for basic information so we can either pursue this path or not. My husband and I have set a tentative dead line of May 08 to decide if this is the right path for our family.
Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated!
I just wanted to tell you that I completely understand how you are feeling. I pulled my sons out of public school in 2nd grade and haven't looked back since. It was the best decision I may have ever made. My sons are now '5th graders' and I also have a daughter who is almost 5.
New Mexico is one of the most relaxed and supportive homeschooling states. We started off homeschooling in South Carolina and were surprised and pleased with the way homeschoolers are treated here. There is never a lapse in available classes, field trips, educational learning opportunities and social activities available here. We can easily get bogged down with too busy of a schedule if we don't reel ourselves in sometimes. "HOME" school is a real oxymoron in this area. hehe
Sounds like you are fully quailified to 'teach' your children. In New Mexico, the only requirements are that parents have graduated from High School or have a GED. And that you are sure the number of days your child is learning is at least 180 (same as public schools), which is not difficult to meet.
Our homeschool philosophy tends to be more "Whole Life Learning" and less structured. We believe the world is our classroom and that by exploring the world around us we cannot help but learn valuable life lessons and educational material. So we tend to be out in the world and not sitting at home poring through workbooks every day. And we visit museums, attend workshops and classes, do nature hikes, go camping, Letterbox, travel, care for our animals, play with friends, and attend church. We lead a very full enriching life.
That being said, whenever my sons show an interest in something I feel that my knowledge of and strengths are weak, we either do research together or we sign up for a class. My sons currently take chemistry classes, PE classes, Band practice, Guitar lessons, and have a college student math tutor. They also are on a baseball team and basketball team.
All of these classes are something they were interested in learning more about or being involved in, so we don't have to coerce them to go. They look forward to participating each week. We've found that it's very important to communicate with our kids concerning their education, because, ultimately it is THEIR education. Homeschooling gives families that freedom and flexibility to assist their kids in meeting their own individual educational goals. And most importantly, remember that, unlike public schools, each family who chooses to walk down the homeschooling path, is walking their own path. Homeschoolers tend not to fit a basic mold or cookie cutter design.
I hope I've helped ease some of your fears and answered some of your questions.
Hi there , you're in the same boat I was in last year. HOMESCHOOL? ME? Yes, that was a very scary decission, but one I'm SO glad we made. I have 2 boys I homeschool that are 15 and 12. We have recently moved to Albuquerque from Michigan which is the easiest homeschool state, and I guess New Mexico is close behind. When my boys were in the public school system, they were getting behind in their work and chose to hang out with a rebellious group. The teachers were not very good at keeping me updated with their progress, mainly my 15 year old. He was becoming depressed and withdrawn. My husband and I prayed about homeschooling for 6 months, and we both felt it was the right thing to do.
All I have is a GED, but it sure is fun learning with my kids! I was in a homeschool Co-op last year that was fantastic. I received so much encouragement from other families who had been schooling their children for years. There is one mom that really impressed me beyond words. She homeschooled one child through high school and she graduated an honor student. Her daughter took her SAT and made very high scores, and now her daughter is finishing up college. This mom only has an 8th grade education, and yet she learned with her daughter.
I had the opportunity to go to a homeschool convention. I highly recommend going to one....it is informative and fun. I used to have the same concerns you do about high school, but not as much anymore. Yeah, it IS a little scary at times when you come across different areas of study your not sure about, but friends and family are a big help. My 15 year is very happy now and is excelling academically. We get alot of compliments on our boys' behaviour and mannners. I will never place my kids back in the public school system again. The results of homeschooling this last year and a half have been so rewarding. We have developed a very close bond and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
There's a couple of good books that are eye opening. If you can, try to get them. They're called, "The Underground History of American Education" by John Taylor Gatto and "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America" by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt. Also, "The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling" by Debra Bell has helped me immensely. These books were recommended by my Co-op last year. I would be happy to answer anymore questions you have if I can. It might be easier to talk in an email or something. Just let me know and I'll PM you my email addy.
Last year my kids told me that I was best teacher they've ever had and that I helped them solve problems that the teachers didn't have time for. I wanted to cry....what a BLESSING to hear something like that from your own children. I have alot of respect for public school teachers. It's a challenge to teach a couple of students, let alone a very large class. There is no way the teacher can work one on one with all of his/her students.
BTW...my elder son protested being home schooled at first, but now he loves it. If I can do this, anyone can..
While I don't have any experience homeschooling a middle school aged child, I wanted to pop in and welcome you to the wild and wooly world of homeschooling. The jitters are a very normal part of making this huge decision, especially in the beginning. But take heart, I've NEVER met a homeschooling parent who regrets the decision.
I also want to remind you that this section of the boards is the public section, so anyone can read it. I would advise sending personal contact information via Private Message. You could also become Members of the Co-Op and have access to our Members section. As the name implies, the Members section is not viewable by non-members.
Congratulations on taking the first step down this very exciting path!
I am homeschooling my 7th grade daughter. This is our second year of home schooling after relocating here from Arizona. We found APS school system appalling which is scary when you consider they are actually above Arizona on the national list. A lot of families us curriculum for teaching and I've heard that this can help the "teacher" in weak areas. I have 3.5 other children so curriculum was a bit cost prohibitive for us. I take a more ecclectic appraoch and we shop each summer at Title Wave Books. I make a list of what shubjects I feel are age and level appropriate for my kids and I buy text books, work books, activity kits, etc that fit our needs.
As for my middle schooler, the only "experience" or education I have in this stuff is what I learned in school and the few college classes I've taken since then. I will echo what I've seen posted above, "If I can do this anyone can!" My daughter was doing well in public school. I was very involved with all of my kids classrooms and never had an issue in AZ. I have found that my daughter's main struggles in homeschool are mostly a lack of self discipline (probably a lot my fault) and feeling like she's got more freedom because there is no "report card" getting her in trouble if she doens't do well. These are hurdles we are conquering as time goes on and we both learn our roles in this new world.
Fear is a normal reaction to homeschooling at first for some. I know it was for me. I can't even imagine going back and readinng my first few posts! This is a great community of resources and support. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!
I'm a Mom and a Foster Mom. Because of this, I have a different perspective than most. Foster children are required to go to a "real school" so the foster kids in my house go to public school. They struggle through piles of homework, tests and report cards. The kids in my house that are biological or legally adopted, homeschool. The most apparent difference isin attitude. Homeschool kids tend to have a completely different attitude when it comes to learning. They understand that everything you do can qualify as education, they learn to have opinions and demand discussion in areas that would normally never occur to a child their age. They become over time, much more mature in their thinking and excited by the prospect of being able in some way, to direct their learning.
We do what we call "learning on a line". Here is an example. My young son read a book in the Magic Treehouse series that was about Vikings. From there, we did some additional research to learn more about Vikings and their culture. We had a geography lesson on where Vikings lived and raided. We drew pictures of longboats. We went outside and measured out 60' which is the length of an average longboat. From there, we progressed onto propultion methods, ie: rowing, sails etc. Then we looked at modern methods as compared to what was available then. You can follow these "lines" forever. Something will always branch off into another subject.
For the basics, we use a web-based curriculum called Time4Learning. It covers math, language, social studies and science. It has helped us in having structure in our days without being completely rigid. The kids can do their computer work at any time, the lessons are short and can be fit in to our schedule easily.
When I first started I only had to worry about pre-school, but with the adoption of my daughter, who's 12, I am moving into the realm of middle school as well. The absolute best part of home-schooling is the bond you get to have with your kids. Because you spend so much more time together, you get to have a relationship that most people never will. It's time that can't be replaced, to watch them grow into the adults they will become.
Why wait??? Do it now!! IF you feel like it is the right thing to do just dive in. I have home schooled 5 kids during mid school years. It is actually the easiest grades because they can work pretty independently. You can assign the work and then they come to you with questions. You can also do some fun stuff/units/field trips with kids that age. There are lots of activities and things to be involved with if you look around. There are classes, tutors, and other resources for subjects you are not comfortable with, but it sounds like you have a great background and should be fine. There are good books/workbooks that you can use that you can learn along with the kids.
APS Family School is hard to get into mid year I think. It has advantages and disadvantages. You are still prisoner to APS and their whims and schedules. But it does offer a certain amount of reassurance that all the subjects are being covered. I have known people that were enrolled and there seemed to be a lot of homework. But it is a smaller environment and in general a better population of kids/parents.
If you have two that are mid school age, I would teach several of the subjects (Social studies, Science, Literature) together. I have an 8th and 6th grader and we do those unit together. I have them do math and spelling separate.
What grades and sex are your kids? Mine are both boys. My background is Chemistry and Biology with a lot of math. There are also people that kind of coop classes. I am always interested if the mix is right. There is an International Club that meets once a month and it is a great way to painlessly learn Geography and Social Studies.
You can do it, it's not that hard. Bear in mind that you can teach your kids more than they would learn at school all day in about 2 hours!! REALLY!! School is a lot of busy work and wasted time. Feel free to email me off-list and we can chat or I can answer questions. firstname.lastname@example.org Rebeeca