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Assuming the Coronavirus doesnt get us started sooner I will start Homeschooling a middle schooler next fall for the first time.

I am knee deep in researching different curriculums vs. self-created vs. online public school.

Do you homeschool? Any recommendations for prebuilt curriculum to purchase, advice for a first timer, etc?
 

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Would you be planning to return to public school eventually?

Personally, I think going self-created is the best thing ever, but I wouldn’t recommend that route for someone who may want to slip right back into an age-based grade level.

Does your state offer online charter school options? That would be my go-to for a temporary home situation.

Not sure what your budget might be, but some of the programs that do online charter in some states offer paid options for other states. K-12 is one.

Calvert is still a very well-respected program. Oak Meadow is another good one.

In most (?) states, you can request a full set of curriculum from your school district, but that’s getting much harder to do as many move to online books and resources.
 

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Sunset Watcher
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Homeschooling for 10 years now

I've been homeschooling for a decade now. I have four children: 18, 16, 14, and 12 y.o. I love it, and my children are close to one another because of homeschooling. I also am the head and a teacher at my children's homeschooling cooperative which meets once a week. We use a Christian-based curriculum. Over the years, I've begun to learn what curriculum fits my children's learning styles and my ability to teach it, so I'm a bit eclectic as I don't use only one type of curriculum. I am a bit old-fashion and love to teach each child one-on-one, Round Robin style around the table. Homeschooling has forced me to continue to learn because I've got to know what I'm talking about - and to enjoy it. I have friends who love using online or long distance learning. I have friends who send their children to charter schools that many categorize as homeschooling groups, but they are not since you must follow the state educational requirements and curriculum. These are some of what I use:

Math: Math - U - See

English: BJU Press

Writing: IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing with Andrew Pudewa)

Spelling: BJU Press

Science: Apologia.com curriculum (love it!)

History: BJU Press, The Story of the World series (love this!)

Homeschooling has given me the freedom to teach my children what I want them to learn and also gives them the time to do what they enjoy or have a leaning toward. All four of my children have some type of learning disability. Three children have dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. The other child, who is about to graduate, has overcome a diagnosed speech and language impairment, an unidentifiable LD, and undiagnosed Asperger's.

You have to know the state laws regarding homeschooling. Some states are easier to homeschool in than others. We've had the legal backing of HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) for ten years also. This group of lawyers is amazing, and these lawyers (who homeschool their children or were homeschooled themselves) will defend any homeschooler, who is a member of the group, to the hilt! They are lawyers who believe in the constitutional right for parents to homeschool. They are the only set of lawyers my husband loves.

I also have been able to teach my children survival skills. We live in Hawai'i, and I teach Hawaiian Ethnobotany so my children and others can learn how to survive using the skills of ancient Hawaiians and other Polynesians. They learn to recognize plants and how to use certain ones to heal and others to make cordage. They learn to recognize fish and how to throw traditional fishnets. They learn how to wrap their food with certain leaves and how to make safe drinking water from the ocean and how to make salt too. They learn how to survive a hurricane and a tsunami.

Homeschooling has its challenges, but the benefits far outweigh those challenges. I have mannerful, respectful children who love God and people. Their eyes are not glued to their cell phones or video games all day. They are quick to obey, but have unique talents and ideas that make them independent. They love to talk to adults and are not immature. Their sense of humor is off the charts, and they are not self-consumed teenagers. I love how they are turning out. We live according to Deuteronomy 6.

Sorry, this is a long post, but I hope it helps. I haven't been on this forum in a long time! Life has gone through a few changes since I first signed up. I am a prepper too, and my husband and I continue to teach our children to be survivalists.
 

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Sunset Watcher
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My Father's World is a great curriculum! There are so many to choose from now. I learn a lot from other homeschoolers about what does and does not work with them.

I admire the "dinosaur" homeschoolers who paved the way for my generation. They had to come up with their own curriculum and live in fear that CPS would show up at their doors. I have friends who homeschooled starting in the early 80's, and they would let the curtains down and not let their children out of the house until after 2 p.m. for fear that the neighbors would call the school authorities. I just can't imagine living like that. Now, I walk up to any new neighbors, introduce myself, and let them know that I homeschool and that my children are not playing hooky.
 

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We have home schooled for almost 25 years... 8 kiddos. Our oldest 3 are all Engineers (two are literal Rocket Scientists - one with his Masters Degree) so... you CAN do it and your kids will get a great education.

I am also eclectic in our studies. I've used mostly Abeka, but have used many other actual home school books and tons of library books. (We didn't like Saxon because of the repetition - once my kids understood it - there was no need to keep hashing over problems again and again. But, some kids really need that repetition - you have to decide how your child learns best.) I love home schooling because I can find out how each child learns best and tailor their studies to fit them. When you have 20 or 30 kids in a classroom - some of those kids are not going to learn well because they don't learn like every other child in that room.

One of the most helpful things I've learned along the way (this is especially true for boys) is that many children NEED to be active while learning. I've taught math while tossing a football back and forth in the front yard (that ended up being my son who has his Masters in Aerospace Engineering!), I've read stories while my kids played with Legos on the floor. My daughter used to like to sit on the motorcycle in the garage and read. I've let them color while I read science and history to them. It's amazing how much they actually retain when you think they aren't paying attention! Having a child have to sit still is almost always counter productive... having regular activity interruptions to book learning is vital.

School for a while (that 'while' will be different with every child) and then have them run around the yard for 5 minutes or something. I also love how everyday household activities can count as school. Cooking or baking is great math experience. Write letters to grandma or friends... they learn proper writing skills and language skills. We live in the country so our kids all help dad build and fix things... more great life skills while learning math (cut, or mark if it isn't safe for them to cut yet, that board to 1 ft. 8 inches -- double that cut on the next board, etc.). There should be things they can learn to fix around your house wherever you live.

I think the hardest thing for new home schoolers is to think outside the box. You are not committed to just book learning while sitting at the dining room table, and that may not be the best way for your child to learn. Some kids learn best by watching, some by hearing, some by reading... YOU know your child best.

Many areas have home school groups or co-ops where parents help teach some of the more 'challenging' topics (science experiments, another language).

I hope there is something helpful in all this... good luck!
 

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One of the most helpful things I've learned along the way (this is especially true for boys) is that many children NEED to be active while learning. I've taught math while tossing a football back and forth in the front yard (that ended up being my son who has his Masters in Aerospace Engineering!), I've read stories while my kids played with Legos on the floor. My daughter used to like to sit on the motorcycle in the garage and read. I've let them color while I read science and history to them. It's amazing how much they actually retain when you think they aren't paying attention! Having a child have to sit still is almost always counter productive... having regular activity interruptions to book learning is vital.
Wow this is honestly simply an amazing idea! I was always curious how to make a child be attentive and remember some material but also to not get bored. Thank you very much for your information and tips! I will definitely use it in the future! :)
 

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High school-preschool here. We do student led learning which basically means my kids choose what they want to learn about and we learn what we can. The math isn’t optional and I just look up the worksheets online. We do Montessori for preschool and head start, incorporating real life skills into just about every lesson.

My husband has to have surgery a few years back and to help the kids understand the procedure, we did a unit on anatomy. They weren’t stressed about the surgery and I checked off a big chunk of science in just a few weeks.
 
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