I am a fan of this book we are currently using: 50 Things Every Young Gentleman Should Know.
It is to the point and humorous...two things I have found that young gentlemen appreciate.
You can read sample pages of this book at Amazon.com by following this link.
We go through a few items each week.
For example, last week was about the importance of saying Please and Thank you.
It helped the kids to learn why it is important and when it is needed.
(They already knew they were supposed to say it.)
I think grown ups take for granted that kids know to say thank you when someone tells them something random: like that they look like their grandfather. This explains to them that even if they do not think that is true, say thank you. The person may be referring to how their grandfather used to look or something about their smile..not necessarily the gray hair. Considering I have a few very logically minded boys, this is good information for them to have.
We also started what I call "Man Books" of things they need to learn to grow up to be Men.
They made lists in them a while back that included the following:
Drive a car
Figure out what kind of job I want
Have a cell phone (I am impressed at the opportunites they use to plug this one)
Become an animator
We use these notebooks for 2 things:
1. The boys take notes and write comics about they things were learn from The 50 Things book or situations that come up in every day life.
(Alex's page on "how to great someone" from a year ago. We went over this because Alex did not put down his book to greet his friend when he walked up. We talked about the importance of eye contact, making the person feel valued, how you would want to be treat, etc.)
2. The other thing we use this book for is for me to see what is important to them.
If I read that becoming an animator is important to David, then when we learn math or any other skill that may be needed for an animator I can make it feel relevant to David by putting it in those terms. An animator needs good penmanship for someone to be able to read their word bubbles. And animator needs computer skills for adding color to their drawings. Or, learning to read a map is important if you want to drive a car.
Of course, David has no desire to drive a car and is happy for me to tote him around forever. Knowing one's audience is key.
We deal with some social skills on a more basic level because of David's Asperger's Syndrome.
But I have found real value in discussing with the boys why we do things to make us more polite than just telling them to do it.
Ok, so I am not organized at all in any natural way when it comes to time management. I can not put it in a container - so I can not keep it tidy that way.
There are several way awesome computer programs for keeping track of grades and plans. Once again - they are in that Dummies book. If you have trouble finding them - let me know and I can look them up in another source. I do not use the computer programs. I may down the road. I use a cheesy looking teacher's planner book.
Down the left side are the days of the week. Across the top - my subjects/items to assomplish (like the Pledge). I plan out 6 weeks at a time. I regroup on Sunday night for the upcoming week. I planned the whole fall last year - was great for a while - but it was easier to stay on track in 6 week blocks.
We start at the begining of Aug. so we ca take off a lot of time during the year. We are going to Disney for a week in Sept. and the beach for 2 weeks in Oct. (Hubby has business at the beach - so yippee for the kids and me)
Both sets of the kid's grandparents are very happy to travel to see us and us to them. When family visits like that - we do not do school. I think that time with grandparents is so valuable. So - with all those breaks...and 3 weeks off at Christmas:) - it takes us until mid June to get our 180 days accounted for by the State of Ga. 4 hours a day, 180 days.
That is really all Ga requires. I send in attendance reports monthly. I send in a letter of intent to homeschool before Aug. How do you find out about your state - the Dummy book gives ref. web sites. Seriously - get the book.
I write in the planner what I want to do. I highlight what we actually do. I write in pencil because it changes. There are some days where we get a lot done. Some...not so much. I add things on Wed. that we did on Tues that may count in a category from the previous day. I count setting the table or unloading the dishwasher from the night before as home ec skills (life skills) for the kids. Not to mention, sorting and counting skills. I write it all down. Everything I can think of. The categories at the top help me to remember what is important to me to teach the kids. That may sound silly - but I need that.
The kids can also see what is coming up. Alex loves to work ahead in Math. He will do several days worth in one sitting so that he has shorter school at the end of the week. I write in holidays and travel. I write in things I need to do in the house and errands. Appointments.
A glorified day planner. Just don't try to stick it in your purse. It won't fit.
Me? I needed more. So where do I get my stuff? There are so many resources. So many. I think I got all of mine from that Dummies book.
Here is my fave: I get almost everything from Rainbow Resources. I get a catalogue once a year...almost 1000 pages. It looks a lot like a phone book. Anything I could think of using from games, to early reading books to actual text books.
I own other "how to" books on homeschooling. I have other catalogues. But really - I get everything from the dummies book and this ordering catalogue. Now - there may be a homeschool store close by. Or a Homeschool Expo - even better. If you could possibly look at or hold an item in your hand...that is ideal.
Back to my list of things I want the kids to learn - here is my reference book / text book for each subject item: Adventure Bible Study: My Bible. My husband. Ideas from thier Sunday school class. I didn't buy anything for this. (SO we call it Adventure b/c we have it in a fort we made. We read by flashlight. It just makes it more interesting and blocks out distractions for them. Adventure = fun.
Pledge & memory verse: I bought a small flag that the kids take turns holding as we say the Pledge. I looked the Pledge up on line...Hey, I know it....but just not something I wanted to accidentally teach them wrong.
Memory verse - my Bible. So far I bought a flag.
Journal / Calendar / Weather: Journal = those black and white bound notebooks. They started by just drawing a picture based on a question I asked. Sometimes I got my questions based on what we learned the previous day (draw a pyramid, etc.) Sometimes it was just to know what they thought, to solve a problem about sharing, things that related to our family at the time. I would write what they said. Now they do some writing too. This was one of those long term skills of writing daily / creatively/ expressively that I wanted to start working towards early.
Cal & weather - kept track of that with a big desk calendar from Wal-mart.
Math U Can See - Yep - the first chink in my armor of knowledge. I stink at Math. This has a DVD for me, manipulatives for the kids and books at diff levels. web site: www.mathusee.com 1-888-854-math (6284) Some companies have local reps that you order thru (Usborn books is like that...like Tupperwear) This company is like that too. So, local person to talk to...nice. There were cheaper programs than this - but this was a weak point of mine - so I needed extra help for ME.
Art - my computer, my kid's magazines like Family Fun, Martha Stewart Kids. I am using this year Drawing with Children by Mona Brooks. Got it at Barnes & Noble. Broken down into lessons. This is one of my strong areas - so not a lot was invested in this. I did make a list of artists and then showed my kids their style. We would each week pick a diff one. Like Jackson Pollack was our first one. We just happened to have a children's story book about him already. I took old wrapping paper (UGLY stuff for 90% off a few weeks after Christmas) and rolled out on the yard face down (white side up). And I let them fling paint to music just like JP did.
Def. make a list before you go to Michael's because it is easy to rack up a big bill there with lots of $2.99 items. I stock up when they have sales. Pipe cleaners can be used to teach ANYTHING:)
Creativity - fun thing on Fri, I keep two big containers of mostly recyle items, show boxes, etc. The kids get to just build, create, paint whatever....I help - but they have to pick what to make and figure out how to make it work. Creativity, scientific method, simple machines, self expression, role play all have come into play when letting them work on this. Then they have a show and tell for Daddy (public speaking:) that night. Warning - boys WILL make guns at some point. So - bought nothing really.
History - www.susanwisebauer.com or www.peacehillpress.com That is where I got the Well Trained Mind book (which is an over view of classical ed. for k-12) I use her The Story of the World books. The history of the world in 4 years. Literature, history religion all tied in with stories, crafts and skits and food. I took a humanities course in college that combined all three of these primary subjects together and it really made sense to me to learn about all three at once. Now - my kids' peers in school are not learning some of this stuff right now. They are learning about the USA, their neighborhood, maps, etc. That is ok. We will get to that. This is the main area we have that doesn't match up with reg. school. I bought reference books - atlas, history time line books for this. BUT - these are reference books I will use all 12 years.
Spanish - I stink at Spanish. I taught the kids this year ok. But I want them to learn from someone who can really pronounce things properly. My kids are going to take a class one day a week for an hour. There are most likely lots of these classes the kids can take in your area. We checked with out city and county first, YMCA, homeschool groups and then finally, a friend who already knows the language is a resource. Not a huge deal to me - I NEVER learned another lang in elem. school. So I consider this a luxury item.
Science - At this age - science = FUN! I want the kids to love science way before we get to the heavy stuff. The Well Trained Mind suggests who to plan for each year and topics to explore. I bought an animal encyclopedia. Science projects are way easy to find on line and at Family Fun mag. We subscribe to National Geographic for Kids. The web site - www.nationalgeographic.com/ngkids
Social - I keep track of this b/c I want to be able to show anyone who is worried about my poor sheltered kids that they are out there and a part of society. Any place where they interact with kids, or have meaningful interaction with adults counts for me. Their Bible study at church, play dates b-day parties, teams they play on, clubs, etc....I write it down.
Reading for David - my practical kid. $20 for Teach Your Child to read in 100 Easy Lessons by Englemann, Haddox & Bruner. It took us a lot more than 100 days to do these lessons. A LOT MORE. I started using Bob books (sold in box sets that are super simple early readers) about half way through.
Reading for Alex - loves interaction. I just broke down and bought Hooked on Phonics for him. $$$ - yes. There were lots of these sets on e-bay. But really - it was the timing and his love of computers and sticker charts and bells and whistles (which this has) that works for him. I had tried several other programs and they just were not working for us.
PE - Ick. We have a trampoline outside, a small one inside (fidgety kids have to jump and count to 100 on it for me if they are having trouble paying attention...pe and math:) We go to the pool in the summer, the kids do stretching with me in morning (my exercises...just making them do it too) They have taken gym classes and played soccer and karate. They just haven't found a sport they love. We try to get them, with us, to do athletic stuff. There are classes they can take that are like sports basics kind of classes. Alex will probably take golf lessons this fall from Daddy and a tennis clinic. David doesn't care a thing about sports.
Extra - Ya know - only in elementary school and Jr high do we expect kids to excel at everything. When else in life is any person...adult...expected to do well in every subject and do ok in each sport? When I declared my major in college, it was the first time that it was acknowledged that I stink in higher level math and science. "OH, you want to be an English major? Well, are you interested in this science class for NON - science majors? We have a math class for math loosers...I mean, non - math majors as well." IT ROCKED. I learned the important stuff. There just wasn't the expectation that I should be an A student in everything anymore. I got to specialize in my areas of interest while still learning important stuff across the board. I want my kids to get a chance to specialize now.
Alex is gonna learn step by step with me how to run the Adobe software I just got. (E-bay and then bought the upgrade.....saved $100's) Last year, I gave him lessons with my video camera and my digital camera. Alex is going to take gutar lessons from the teenager down the street.
David loves to draw and build. I try to get him around local artists. He had art lessons this past year. My kids are going to take art lessons from a local artist this year along with another family.
Ok - so that was a lot. These are my resources. There is so much out there. It is easy to get bogged down in choices and spend money unwisely. That is why I made the list and filled in the blanks. And you don't have to learn everything right this minute. Look through your house - I bet you have cookbooks, games, toys, books that are educational in some way. In the early freak out phase - it is easy to forget how much YOU already know and how much you already have. I freak out every year. It is ok and normal.
At least that is what I keep telling myself:) kelli
What I used to get started homeschooling: This Idiot's Guide book is great.
I love how these things are written. Here are the chapter titles:
What is homschooling?
Homeschooling facts and figures
Quick answers to beginner's questions
Getting legal: alternatives to compulsory attendance
Approaches to home education
Choosing curriculum: so much to choose from
Sixth grade in a box: using a full service program
Out of the box: planning your own curriculum
Learning at home with 3 and 5 year olds
Homeschooling 6-8 year olds
Homeschooling 9-12 year olds
Teenagers and homeschool
Homeschooling kids with special needs
Testing Other assessments for measuring progress
Getting a grip - keeping burnout at bay
Self directed learning: the key to motivation
Dealing with doubts Involvement in the homeschool community
There is a glossary Curric. and web sites Homeschool support org. Independent study programs all in the appendix.
So I read this book and I renewed my subscription to Family Fun Magazine. It has great craft/party/experiment's/food info/travel info in it. I keep all of mine. I flip thru them at the beginning of the year and make notes on what might apply to our studies. They have a web site too to ref. stuff. That is it.
My first year was K - so we didn't have to do anything legal with the state of Ga. We read a lot from the kid's own books. Pretty easy way to get started. That was phase 1 of starting. Once I read that book, I made a list of goals for my kids for the school year. What did I want them to learn? The list looked long.
Well, I realized you can learn math skills, listening skills, following directions, socialization and home ec. all by helping mommy make brownies. A lot of things over lap. Now this next part may sound huge - don't panic. We wrote down long term goals we wanted for our kids before we sent them out into the world.
Abbie, who lives with us, is 20. She was homeschooled all 12 years. Yep - back before it was super cool. She helped her dad with his book keeping around the age of 13. She is really handy with tools because she helped her family build her house. (This makes them sound like pioneers...really they live at the beach and are very normal:) She is very capable & mature for her age. Her parents educated her for life..not just the next grade or the next standardized test. That is what we wanted for our kids. Yep - I want them to understand how to diagram a sentence...but I want them to also be able to balance a checkbook, plan and prepare a meal, do their own laundry, etc.
Steven Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People ( I am second guessing the title all of the sudden...) he says to begin with the end in mind. Make a plan for how you want the year to turn out. If that doesn't freak you out too much - think 5 years...etc. These plans can change. You don't have to think of everything right now. Now, once you are overwhelmed by all the information and all you want your kids to learn.
Chill. Grab a Dr. Pepper and some chocolates. Watch a movie. (I ALWAYS suggest Pride and Prejudice - the BBC version on DVD...but a nice musical is always a lovely diversion). Then go back and really only focus on what you need for this year. 1 year at a time. Sometimes I only think about 6 weeks at a time. Keep you notes from these early times. How wonderful a thing to look back on one day. Just remember - everything you know, you learned You have a vast experience in learning You have taught your child a ton already so you have experience teaching.
Life Skills for Kids by Christine Field So if you have Jury Duty this is a good book to take along to read during all the waiting. About 300 pages, plus an Appendix that is quite helpful, of life skills grouped into the following categories: people skills, home skills, getting around in the world, managing your time, managing your stuff, fixing and maintaining your stuff, money, self care, your brain, spiritual habits, decision making, creativity and celebration. I knew some of this stuff. Ok, so there is actually a lot in this book that never would have crossed my mind to teach my children. For example, it suggests you teach you High School student about different health insurance plans and insurance. Learning to use public transportation, creating lists of pros and cons when decision making, organizing your time are others that I were not on my radar as items to actively teach my kids. Glad I have the book because I don't know about some of this stuff myself.
It provided a great service to me in that it really brought home the importance of some of these skills and the long reaching effects of obtaining them. For example, the importance of learning to settle disagreements with a sibling on his own. I would think - of course that is important because I want my son to have good people skills. This book took it a step further and put it to me this way - learning how to handle differences between siblings is a skill that will aid my son in having a positive marriage. Hey...wait. That puts WAY more pressure on me! Then I got to thinking (yikes) that my son's marriage will of course affect my grandchildren.
It is a quick read. I was done by the time Marta deposited me back at my car after Jury Duty. The book, and I, suggest reading it all the way through first. Now I am making a list of life skills for my boys that we will learn (quite literally together in some cases) over the next year. I made notes of items for the next few years. The insurance stuff...we'll talk about that down the road. The thing is with these kids, we are moving down this road much more quickly than I ever thought. Time is flying by. It isn't so far away that my boys will need this information. In the mean time, info on learning to take care of their own shoes is pretty helpful on the pocket book as well.
The book is a great resource. It is one of the few that I would recommend that you get your own because you are gonna want to look back at it over the years. It does not tell you how to teach them everything - but most. There are quite a few references to scripture and Bible stories. This is a good book. kc