Completely Lost...homeschoolers, Please Help!

Lounge By Tita9499 Updated 3 Aug 2009 , 1:11am by Justbeck101

Tita9499 Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 12:38am
post #1 of 18

Hi All!

I have begun the process of homeschooling my 4 year old twins (they just turned 4 on the 1st of July). I've already enrolled in a homeschoolers association on the Army base I live on, the first meeting I'll go to is the 25th of July.

Here are my questions:

1) Is there a curriculum that I can start with them now that is worth the money? I've checked out A Beka, Alpha Omega and BJU.
I wanted to do A Beka but they won't let 4 year olds start their accredited program until they're 5. The issue with that is my 4 year olds already know their ABC's, how to write their alphabet, their numbers up to 30, their colors, shapes, days of the week, months of the year, and basic math. So I'm left feeling like will be going backwards and paying for it.

2) Are there any programs that offer discounts for parents of multiples or do I just reproduce the materials from what I get? I want to make sure they both get what they need, but at the same time paying for two separate programs seems redundant (and expensive).

Any help and/or tips is greatly appreciated!

17 replies
xstitcher Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 6:18am
post #2 of 18

Is there possibly a homeschool store near you. If there is my best suggestion to you would be to go there and check out all of the curriculums first hand.
I personally really like the Rod and Staff and Singapore Math curriculums. But then again I'm still pretty new to this stuff myself. Last year (2007/200icon_cool.gif was my first year and I was still in Canada and I used the curriculum through our board of education. This past year I was in NC so I decided to get the ABeka but I actually ended up returning it because I did not like the teaching method (personal preference). I have heard a lot of good things about it but it was just not me. I then found a local homeschool store and I ended up buying a used Rod and Staff English book and really liked it. I ended up ordering the whole grade 2 curriculum from them except for the math as my son was enjoying and doing well with Singapore Math.

Are you thinking of starting your twins at the kindergarten level or grade 1? If your thinking grade 1 you could always try the Rod and Staff and buy just double of the consumable workbooks only and just one of the textbooks.



There are also some homeschooling forums that might help as I know that you can read up on other's feedback on certain curriculum you are looking at.

Here's one that I went to when I started out:

http://www.home-school.com/

Hope that helps somewhat. Good luck. icon_smile.gif

xstitcher Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 6:44am
post #3 of 18

I wanted to add that I used the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons when my 2nd son turned 5 and he did amazing well with it. Explode the Code is supposed to be another excellent source as well. I haven't tried it yet but plan on ordering it.
I think your twins are off to an excellent start already. I never did purchase any preschool curriculum so if that is what you were asking about I cannot help unfortunately. I started teaching both my kids the day after they turned 5 basically what you have done with your twins and both were ready within a month or 2 to tackle grade 1.

bharbor Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 1:16pm
post #4 of 18

At their age, instead of using a purchased curriculum, I would use the natural resources and places around your area and get ideas from the internet on lesson plans based on them. There is plenty to be found on plants, animals, historical places. They will have plenty of time to sit and work on worksheets. You can visit the botanical gardens and help them learn the names of the plants and how the plant root systems work and then plant seeds yourself and watch them grow. Or visit the beach and teach them about the tides and sealife. It is a lot cheaper than premade curriculum and they have a lot more fun with it.

I homeschooled my youngest son through middle school and high school. Curriculum can be very expensive. I would save my money while you can and just have fun with it.

Doug Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 2:16pm
post #5 of 18

ditto to bharbor's advice w/ these comments (based on 30+ years as a teacher, 24 in Lutheran parochial school)

the best teaching happens naturally.

take any interest the child has and run with it.

example dinosaurs.
field trip to museum, camera (still or video or both) in tow. Take pictures of the dino's & the explanatory plaques (the start of multi-media project which will work on sequencing, reading writing, art skills)
off to library for books (reading and research)
then can do a powerpoint or video
could make a model or diorama (mini museum display) (art, writing)
write a books about dinosaurs and illustrate it (writing, art, sequencing)
science is blended throughout. math enters with the measuring for model, diorama and building scale models (fractions in disguise!)

be sure computer and media (video, photos, sound, music) are a part of it all, as media and digital literacy are ever important skills in today's business and personal world.

granted it will be like eating PBJ sandwiches all the time until the interest is exhausted, but that's ok too.

integrating all areas, rather than compartmentalizing them, helps make child more easily able to shift gears and find solutions using multiple techniques.

=================

question for home schoolers: how does the cost of purchasing curriculum compare to tuition at private parochial school?

Tita9499 Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 3:01pm
post #6 of 18

Thanks for the responses everyone. I've read that actual life experiences and getting out to see the world are the best tools of education. I would LOVE to go to a Botanical Garden/Beach/decent history museum, but I live in El Paso- self-explanatory.

I've received the same advice to just chill out for now and let them learn on the fly. My DS already knows how to read so he'll become even more bored if I do put him into a "schoolhouse" setting that's repetitive. I have to lay of the temptation to "encourage" my DD to read to his level as well.

I will look into Rod and Staff and Singapore Math (never heard of them). I guess my best option is to continue on teaching them life skills and the things I can (without curriculum)- ie, no diaromas or scale models Doug, cause I suck at math- I'll leave that to DH. I can save the money for when I do start purchasing the homeschool stuff.


Thanks again for the input.

diane706 Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 4:51pm
post #7 of 18

[quote="bharbor"]At their age, instead of using a purchased curriculum, I would use the natural resources and places around your area and get ideas from the internet on lesson plans based on them. There is plenty to be found on plants, animals, historical places. They will have plenty of time to sit and work on worksheets. You can visit the botanical gardens and help them learn the names of the plants and how the plant root systems work and then plant seeds yourself and watch them grow. Or visit the beach and teach them about the tides and sealife. It is a lot cheaper than premade curriculum and they have a lot more fun with it.

I homeschooled my youngest son through middle school and high school. Curriculum can be very expensive. I would save my money while you can and just have fun with it.[/quot

I couldn't agree more!! They are still very young. Why spend an exorbitant amount of money when there are resources for learning at that age everywhere. (I homeschooled for ten years and learned A LOT along the way about various teaching methods. By my third son I caught on to what I'm now preaching)! thumbs_up.gif

Tita9499 Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 5:03pm
post #8 of 18

Here's another question I have.

For the accreditation process, when do I need to start keeping records of their work and grades. Does it differ state to state?

I ask because a friend of mine who homeschooled her child was given kudos for actually keeping very detailed records and in the process it prevented her son from having to get his GED in order to enter the Army.

I know "traditional" school starts at age 5 so I'm wondering if I should be shooting for that instead of right now (at age 4).

funcakes Posted 15 Jul 2009 , 5:08pm
post #9 of 18

You could just depend on all the free information on the internet.
All of the state standards, goals. objectives, essential questions for each and every age level is available to read and download.
Specific curriculums for every grade level is available, free, on district websites. See what your local school district is teaching, compare it to other schools especially the "blue star" schools.
Google different web sites created by experienced teachers like Cherry Carl's site for word work and reading-priceless and yet free.
I have recently read some teacher bashing on this site. Some people think teachers are both mean and idiots, but IMHO teachers know how to TEACH better than anyone else. It is my experience that teachers are more than willing to share everything-not just teach children, but teach others about children, curriculum, and implementation of units of study.
It is all out there on the internet!

ziggytarheel Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 12:09am
post #10 of 18

One of my children didn't attend preschool and the other did on a very part time basis just because he was desperate for more time with other little boys. I'm not a fan of formal education for 4 year olds, so I think that record keeping for them at this age, even if a state would recognize it, would be of any use.

I don't even understand formal education at this age. Maybe it's just because I'm just naturally a teacher. With my kids, all day every day was an education. Cooking is a lesson in organization and math (fractions will already make sense to them). Their allowance or any money dealings they have teaches them not only addition and subtraction, but if they start to grasp it, you'll find them teaching themselves multiplication and division. We had museums available to us, so we visited often and learned new things every time, which usually sparked a new interest at the library.

Reading at this age is the most important topic to concentrate on. Even though my son read the encyclopedia for 2 hours a day at age 4, I STILL read to him every day, as did his dad. So important. Legos are a learning tool, as are connects. There are tons of books at the library with simple science experiments, explanations as to how things work, etc.

What I always did with my kids is I would keep a little mental list of things we could incorporate into the day, as we went, each day. Cut the sandwich into 4ths and let them see what quarters and halves and wholes are. I put a globe on their little activity table, and they would play with it every day. I bought them placemats with the American Presidents on them and soon they were spouting off American History and wanting to go to Washington DC.

Encourage hobbies, if they are interested. A Lincoln penny collection is a great, inexpensive hobby. My son was soon wanting to know all about Abraham Lincoln, all about how pennies were made, all about mint marks and those cities. And that was age 4.

When you travel in the car, have them play games with license plates or billboards. And, I forget the name of the game, but when my kids were 3 and 5, they loved to play it. "My name is Anna and I'm from Alabama and I like to eat Apples". You know the game? My 3 year old got to be really good at this...a little advanced for most, but if they like it, they'll want to play for hours on end!

I'm not musical, but I found ways to incorporate musical elements in the day. I have to say that was one of the wonderful things about the small private preschool my son attended. The wonderful woman there was quite a musician and she taught them pitch! There are so many great songs you can teach them. Some just for fun, some for learning.

This is the time in life when learning can be fun and pretty easy. Just learn to think like a teacher! And, if your kids enjoy "playing school", have some work books to work on their hand writing or whatever. Make "playing school" fun, and an opportunity for you to get something accomplished in the same room.

So, I guess I'm just trying to reiterate the "don't worry, just let them be kids" thing. They only get to be 4 once and they need 4.

Enjoy them. I really think that those are the very best days.

Tita9499 Posted 16 Jul 2009 , 4:03pm
post #11 of 18

Ziggy: very insightful and, even more encouraging, DOABLE!!

Thank you all for your great advice. I truly appreciate it all

ziggytarheel Posted 17 Jul 2009 , 7:37pm
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tita9499

Ziggy: very insightful and, even more encouraging, DOABLE!!

Thank you all for your great advice. I truly appreciate it all




Proof that I'm just a wee bit...different...is that I got excited typing all of that. I could write a book. I honestly thought that was the best time ever, with each day being a new fun experience, so much yet to learn, little sponges ready to absorb. Remember, I AM a teacher, whether I'm being paid for it or not, it is just who I am. I love a captive audience. icon_smile.gif But, if you aren't comfortable just winging it, do a little research as to what they should be able to do, and what they can do next, and just look at your life, your house, and your resources and figure out how to incorporate it, mostly as you go about your day.

Please remember this: no two children are just alike. The "lightbulb moments" are going to vary with each child. Somethings you can really encourage to happen and other things you have to patiently wait for. Research shows that some kids get way ahead of their peers and then become much closer to "average" as time goes by. Every child is different! I think our job as parents is to provide a rich environment, interact with our children all the time, and to view each day as a day to learn new things (that goes for all of us). Encourage little buds to come to full bloom, but don't push too hard.

A quick story: My daughter was exceedingly verbal at a young age. Full sentences at 15 months. The looks we got from people, as well as the questions they asked me! We knew a little boy who was 3 months older than she was, and that little boys mother regularly got upset to the point of TEARS when she heard my little girl talk. The mother and father are extremely smart academic types and she felt somehow inadequate that her son was not even putting 2 words together yet. Well, her son turned out to be exceptionally and exceedingly BRILLIANT. His verbal skills came at a much more average age, but it surely didnt' matter. My daughter also could read before he could, but again, in the long run, that didn't matter a bit. He gained these skills at more average age but once he acquired them, look out! icon_smile.gif

My daughter isn't "brainier" because she was such an earlier and verbose talker and he wasn't less intelligent because he was more average at the start. So don't worry as these things may not always progress at a predictable rate. They just are all different! icon_smile.gif

mbelgard Posted 17 Jul 2009 , 9:38pm
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tita9499

Here's another question I have.

For the accreditation process, when do I need to start keeping records of their work and grades. Does it differ state to state?






Every state has it's own rules regarding homeschooling and it isn't just about keeping records.

I have heard that some states don't even require notice if you are homeschooling your children. Some states make it much harder.

The two states I know at least some details on are Minnesota and North Dakota and their rules are different.

Minnesota's main requirement is that the kids take the state tests every year once they reach a specific age. I do believe that you also have to submit your curriculum to the school and that they have an inspector that CAN come check out what your doing.

North Dakota requires that you either have a 4 year degree OR that you are supervised by someone with one. I think that the supervisor has to have a degree in education. You also have to either hire a teacher to come to your home to do the state testing each year or take your children in to the local public school.

I don't homeschool so I don't know about required curriculums in either state. I think there are homeschooling resources with details on what each state requires.

mbelgard Posted 17 Jul 2009 , 9:41pm
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tita9499

Here's another question I have.

For the accreditation process, when do I need to start keeping records of their work and grades. Does it differ state to state?






Every state has it's own rules regarding homeschooling and it isn't just about keeping records.

I have heard that some states don't even require notice if you are homeschooling your children. Some states make it much harder.

The two states I know at least some details on are Minnesota and North Dakota and their rules are different.

Minnesota's main requirement is that the kids take the state tests every year once they reach a specific age. I do believe that you also have to submit your curriculum to the school and that they have an inspector that CAN come check out what your doing.

North Dakota requires that you either have a 4 year degree OR that you are supervised by someone with one. I think that the supervisor has to have a degree in education. You also have to either hire a teacher to come to your home to do the state testing each year or take your children in to the local public school.

I don't homeschool so I don't know about required curriculums in either state. I think there are homeschooling resources with details on what each state requires.

Tita9499 Posted 17 Jul 2009 , 9:53pm
post #15 of 18

Thank God there are no Army posts in ND. That seems like it makes process of homeschooling so much more difficult. I can understand why they feel a need to implement that type of regimen, but man! You begin to think they make it so difficult because they don't want children being homeschooled.

I think MN is along the lines of TX. You have to take the TAKS (the standardized state tests). I definitely wouldn't have an issue with getting those done seeing as how it helps me see how developed/underdeveloped my children may be. Sad thing is I hear parents of public school children complain all the time because the schools teach the children soley for the purpose of taking the TAKS and in the end children come out so far behind on subjects that the parents have to get tutors or teach their children anyway. Might as well homeschool!

Justbeck101 Posted 31 Jul 2009 , 6:45am
post #16 of 18

Just hang out and enjoy eachother. You will have plenty of time to do all that formal stuff later! Cook stuff and let repeat what you are having them measure. Let them stand on chairs or sit on the counter while you are preparing food. Read lots and explore all the fun bugs around. I take my kids geocaching and they have a ball and they don't even know they are learning! We also use our medal detector and play monopoly all the time! My 15 year old went in for an interview today. It was so neat. We were on the way home and I said " Do you know how to count change back?" and he laughed and said "ya mom, you taught me that a long time ago while playing monopoly!" I laughed! The moral of that story is that even when you are having fun and not even trying to teach, they are learning!

Have fun. and I envy you. I waited way to long to homeschool mine!

myslady Posted 2 Aug 2009 , 9:51pm
post #17 of 18

There is a computer game called Jumpstart and it starts from preschool on up. YOu don't have to get them in order though. We currently have the kindergarden and 1st grade versions for my nephews and they love both of them. It has an online part to it as well that emails you on the child's progress and lets you send messages to them in the game.

From either one of these games, my 5 year old nephew has learnd fractions, story comprehension, identifying letter sounds by listening and more.

Justbeck101 Posted 3 Aug 2009 , 1:11am
post #18 of 18

You know, starfall.com is great. That is one of the things I used to teach my daughter how to read.

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