Jan 15

Finding a local homeschool group

When searching for a local homeschooling group you may need to “try” a few out before you find the one that fits your family. We did this search, and it took us several hit and misses before we found a group that fit our needs. There are usually many to choose from within cities and fewer to choose from in smaller communities. But don’t join one simply because it is close by, you may have to go out of your way to find one that fits.  I know several “long-distance” families that joined our group because it fit their needs better than one right down the street. Some homeschoolers try to meet all their support needs by belonging to several different groups. But if all this fails you should think about starting your own group-I have found that where there is one family in need of support,there is always another!

Another alternative to local support groups is an online support group. They usually have a wealth of knowledge and a diversity of members willing to share what they know. I have found several parent support groups online to be very helpful when I needed an answer or when I needed to rant about something so I could get on with my day.  The links and curriculum reviews I have received from different sites has saved me both time and money since I began homeschooling. There are even a couple of sites out there for your child to socialize with other children online.

We all need help when it comes to asking questions of veterans or others in the homeschooling field. Homeschooling for religious reasons is only one of many different rationales for educating a child at home. The public school system doesn’t work for all students anymore, I don’t know if it ever did, but I know that I can ,with the right support make a difference in the lives of two boys!

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Jan 01

Is your 3rd grader demanding more of your attention?

This seems to plague all families at one time or another, it used to happen to us when my youngest went to kindergarten. I am talking about  when your child doesn’t seem to be able to get enough of you. Or crying a the drop of a hat, perhaps even falling down a lot more than normal. I believe that this is happening because they are growing at an alarming rate, during some months anyways. these are the months that i notice that my son is having problems understanding normal, everyday tasks. So we take these days and switch things up by going outside and  learning about the snakes we can find. Even taking a trip in the middle of the day to his favorite park to climb the rocks. These simple changes in our schedule make my little guy happy and ready to do his multiplication facts again!

I am so happy that we are homeschooling during these times. With my oldest son, who went through the public school until 5th grade, he had an awful time during the third grade. Imagine all 30 kids experiencing growth spurts and lashing out at the other kids. He was usually at the end of other kids fowl moods then lashing out at his younger brother when he came home. But homeschooling allows for your child to be in a loving environment during his times, thus making the episodes less and less. Which I can attest to personally since my youngest in now going through his 3rd grade year here at home instead of in the public school system. The only thing he has to deal with here at home is a mother who understands his moods and helps him work through it. Or redirects him to do something constructive that always lifts his mood.

Personally, I try to enjoy my son wanting to spend so much time with me. I know from experience that it will not last and then there will be times when I am being clingy to him!

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Dec 30

Foreign Languages in our 3rd grade curriculum

Learninga foreign language during the 3rd grade may be just what you and your child are looking for and maybe not!  I have noticed that a lot of homeschooling parents have added a foreign language into their child’s 3rd grade curriculum (and many have added it at even lower ages).  I, too, believe that it is an important step for children to explore languages other than their own to fully understand this world we livin in.  But what language sould you teach?  Should it be the basics on several or an in depth study of one?  This answer will vary from family to family.  If your son or daughter wish to travel the world the basics in several might be in order.  But maybe your family business is in an area of the U.S. with a high percentage of Spanish-speakers, then speaking Spanish fluently might be prudent.

So far in our household, only my oldest has shown interest in learning a different language.  Until my youngest shows peculiar interest in one language or another, we will be studying Spanish. Only because there is a need in our area for him to have a basic understanding of this much used language.

If teaching a foreign language isn’t something that you are ready to teach, think outsourcing.
There are many learning centers that teach kids and adults how to speak different languages. They usually have native speaking teachers which adds a lot to the class. You can receive a higher quality of  instruction from these teachers. (well at least we have learned more).
Or again online there are so many programs and sites that are free to use. Many of the more kid-friendly sites are geared towards younger children, just like your 3rd grader. Don’t let your child be left behind in this subject!

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Dec 15

Deciding on a curriculum for 3rd Grade

When you are deciding on a homeschool curriculum for your 3rd grader, it can be a great time to experiment with something new or stick with what you have been using in previous years.  With our family, my son continues to ellipsis to use Time4Learning.com, especially for Math and Language Arts; and we will began to use Time4writing.com to help him with his writing skills. He loves to do his Time4Learning because it has cartoon-based lessons which are fascinating and fun but also give him the information he needs to complete the lessons. These are important to us because they continue to give him a sense of familiarity while we modify his lessons to include more advanced material. Or if your child needs help with handwriting or keyboarding skills this may be a perfect year to do some extra review on these tasks. My son is going to be working work his spelling and use of vocabulary in his writing assignments. This may be an area for your family to in work also, or it may be multiplication tables that is giving your child trouble.

In the beginning,I had endeavored to make our learning be more like what the boys were getting in “regular school”. My line of thinking was- it worked for me, it will worked for them. BUT after the first six  months of homeschooling I quickly realized that it wasn’t producing the love of learning that I was hoping that homeschooling would provide my boys. Honestly, my oldest, after six years of public school had lost his desire to do anything over and above what was asked of him.
I am still tweaking our schedule every year or even very couple of months to make our journey one that last through out my boys life. I may become an expert at it by the time I have grandchildren or maybe not!

So how do you decide what to include and what is not relevant anymore? While that is up to you and your child, I would definitely still cover the basics with regards to math and language arts. When adding extra-curricular activities to the schedule, you might want to focus on areas that your child is naturally interested in. One of the most important freedoms that we as homeschoolers have is the ability to cater to our child interests and allow them to excel.  What better benefit for your child’s future is there than letting them discover what appeals to them?

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Dec 02

Beginning 3rd Grade

Beginning your 3rd grade year, in my opinion, is one that can be fun and enjoyable to both the child and parent. Unlike the earlier grades, where most of your time went into teaching your child to read and write, this year can be a rewarding time where your child can explore their interests. Yes, they will still have language arts and math along with science and history, but why not combine them together to make it more interesting for your child. Many children at this age can fast forward in many subjects, like math, because they might just have a natural talent for it or are able to soak in the information at a faster rate.Thus leaving them more time to explore new subjects or programs. This is the year where children can start to branch out on their own a little more, always a great thing for children to learn at any age.- Self reliance.

Whether you are just starting your homeschooling journey or you have been on this well traveled road since the beginning, trying to navigate through the choices that are out there can be overwhelming, to say the least. But before you even get into the curriculum choices,  I think that you should start by researching how to homeschool books. The library is a source of knowledge for those seeking to homeschool, and can provide even the most knowledgeable homeschoolers new ideas on how to accomplish this significant year. Equally important for both the student and parent is finding a homeschooling group that can help you both find curricula that will work for you and extracurricular activities that will you both a much deserved break.

Whether you  decide after reading the mountain of “How To” books, to use an online program/school, out of the box type curricula, or a more eclectic style of homeschooling.  Remember the choice is ours to do what works best for your family, my first year I spent a lot of money on trying any and every thing that was suggested to me. A costly mistake to say the least! But now with a couple of years under my belt, I know what works for each of my boys. Thus saving us time and money! So don’t be afraid to research and borrow books from the library and other homeschooling families.

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