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Topic: Recommendations for Newbie

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Subject: Recommendations for Newbie
Date Posted: 1/3/2008 5:29 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,667
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Anyone got any recommendations for someone just starting out homeschooling with a preschooler? He was miserable in the public preschool so I have pulled him out as of today. Right now we mostly just have some craft supplies, activity books, and a couple of Hooked on Phonics programs with flashcards. I don't want to get too seriously involved in the education aspect this year but I would like to have him capable of basic reading and writing by the time he is 5 in October. I would prefer Christian curriculum. Most of his social interaction from here on out will be his weekly playdate with his cousins, our MOPS group, and Sunday school.

Has anyone tried the new VeggieTales curriculum? I just discovered it last week on the CBD web site. He loves VT so I'm wondering if that would be a good place to start.

Date Posted: 1/3/2008 6:00 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2006
Posts: 1,665
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I'm doing preschool at home with my youngest.  We are just taking it easy and Lapbooking http://www.squidoo.com/lapbooking our way through the alphabet.  Going through the booklist at Before Five in a Row http://www.fiveinarow.com/before/booklist.html

For our lapbook alphas we look for pictures that start with the letter, cut out sandpaper letters http://www.montessorimaterials.org/lang.htm#temp , print out a letter for him to trace, etc.

Date Posted: 1/4/2008 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2006
Posts: 9
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Have you checked out Sonlight? www.sonlight.com  It's Christian, literature based, and the books are wonderful.  On the site you'll find "Reasons to Use Sonlight" and "Reasons to NOT Use Sonlight":  both are worth pondering.

Their forums are excellent, but you will only have access if you purchase the curriculum or buy access.  Otherwise, the Yahoo group is a good place to chat with others using it:  the name of the group is SLPreschool.  There are some good discussions on there about which programs are good for learning to read, if you look through the archives. 

Date Posted: 1/4/2008 5:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 120
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Not so much recommendations as some advice - don't put timetables on your child's learning ...

"I would like to have him capable of basic reading and writing by the time he is 5 in October"

Go at his pace - if you don't you could put way to much stress on him and yourself.  Five is still very young - just have fun right now... the academic stuff will have to come all too soon

Date Posted: 1/4/2008 10:29 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2007
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I have a 5 yo daughter who will be 6 in February, and I second the Sonlight suggestion. We're using the K curriculum, though (the newer version of that is called Core C). One great thing about Sonlight is the ability to dial up or down on the reading level, depending on where your child is. So, for us, we're doing K level everything else, and grade 1 reading and language arts.

I also recommend you read the "3 R's" series of books by Ruth Beechick. (Did I spell that right?)  She has some good ideas for making sure you go at an appropriate pace. I agree with the suggestion to be careful having time tables for learning reading and writing, too. Many kids just aren't ready to do formal reading and writing even at age 5. If you put too much pressure on yourself to get him ready for that in the next 9 months, you might be starting out the formal homeschooling process (meaning when he's five and of compulsory age, if your state requires reporting) already feeling like you are falling behind and failing him.  And that is a very discouraging thing to feel, epsecially when you are just beginning your homeschool teaching experience. 

This is my first "official" year, though I did do informal preK with my daughter last year (using a great book called "Early Education at Home", which I found at the library), and it was probably the biggest thing I learned last year - how to set aside my own expectations and just go with the flow.  It helped that I had an unexpected pregnancy, complete with bedrest and post partum depression, then followed by a broken ankle. I had to seriously adjust my own expectations of the work load!!! :-)

 

Date Posted: 1/5/2008 9:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
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Play lots of games. =)

Sing lots of songs.

Dance.

Build with sand, legos, and dried beans.

Do art.

Spend time in nature.

Read good quality books. (I recommend year zero of Ambleside online)

Don't worry about his learning. He'll learn.

And above all, don't ever doubt your ability to teach your child. After all, you were his first teacher.

Date Posted: 1/5/2008 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2007
Posts: 469
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I second the Five in a Row and Ambleside recommendations... as well as not rushing and forcing a time table. (5 is awfully young for some children to be capable of writing, so don't stress if he doesn't "get it" even until upwards of 8 or 9 years old! My 8yo still struggles with handwriting....)

There is a book titled "Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready" that is a popular WL'd book here. It boasts of guiding parents through directing their child's education from birth through age 5, with weekly activities. Of course it can be picked up anywhere in the meantime.

Konos puts out some great workbooks for that age; they carry them at Target.

Also, Letter of the Week has some great activities (more than phonics - check out the whole site!) and Hubbard's Cupboard is a specifically Christian site with some free, fantastic curriculum guides. (Check out the 2's curriculum - it covers shapes, numbers, letters, Bible stories, science, math, phonemic awareness, poetry, and more!)

OH! Almost forgot Starfall - a great interactive site for this age! Check out the phonics page, and then go to THIS site to see what your kiddo has retained! Literactive is another great site with pre-reading games.



Last Edited on: 1/5/08 9:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/6/2008 10:04 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2007
Posts: 73
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I would like to echo Rosey Posey suggestion. We did not start formal lessons until after my son turned five.

When you are ready to begin teaching reading and writing I suggest using Spell to Write and Read. http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?event=AFF&p=1136655&item_no=145249

Spell to Write and Read is a phonics program. It is not fancy or colorful, but it is solid. We have had great success with this curriuculum. There is also a yahoo group dedicated to helping implement it.

 

 

Hope that helps! And remember to find your way. What works well for one family, may not work for you.

Peace to you,

Renae

For more information about our homeschool visit: http://reflective.homeschooljournal.net

 

 

Date Posted: 1/6/2008 10:20 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2007
Posts: 445
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love this topic

Date Posted: 1/7/2008 7:05 AM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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As one who is just barely months ahead of you in the "newbie" field (I just started homeschooling my 7-year-old this past August), let me again echo those above....Don't stress!  I started out, having this complete monster of a schedule.  I got so bad, that I ended up putting EVERYTHING I do (down to brushing teeth...LOL) on a spreadsheet in Excel!  I had my whole year mapped out and meant that we would stick to everything on it.  Every day I failed miserably, because most of the day I spent it updating that dang schedule!!! LOL  I had a lot of good friends on here who gave me a lot of good advice, and now I am finally back to my old way of doing with him before he ever went to public school.  I have mostly quit worrying about what he "would" be learning in public school (I still have to lecture myself every once in a while on it...lol), and just started letting him learn on his own :)  I follow his lead, instead of trying to make him follow mine.  I have read book after book after book on what he should be learning by this age, but have learned now that a lot of that stuff isn't something that is "forced" on him, but something he would naturally be interested in at this age. 

Don't get me wrong.  Goals are great!  It's what helps YOU know what you want to go get for your child as far as "curriculum" goes...but don't worry if something doesn't work.  I had to learn all over again that its mainly "trial and error" on everything I do.  I currently have the "idea" that I would like to introduce him to American History by showing the first Americans (Indians) and going from there.  However, my idea is pulled a little by the fact that I think I would be better off starting with the first Thanksgiving (as he was questioning about that a while back and I didn't really have the stuff prepared to teach)....which I am gonna have to get over also.   I used to use the computer ALL the time if he wanted to know something.  I would just go pull it up and read it to him. 

One good example on not stressing.......We haven't picked up an actual "school" book in months, and I thought boy are we behind!  Especially in math!  I wanted to have him mastering addition by this point in time and I hadn't even went thru all the lessons with him yet.  However, the other night, we were playing and giving out scores for his running.  When he was finished, he wanted to know what his final score was, so I listed down all 4 of them and asked him if he could add.   He added up 4 scores (including carrying and combining two numbers to one to make easier to add), and added them all up correctly the first time!!  Of course, he was a little rusty on it, but I figure if he gets a little practice here and there on it, he will be an ace in no time!! (And P.S. I was blown away!!! LOL)

I read somewhere on here that a child is like a rose.  They all bloom in different ways, but in the end, they all end up being a rose :)  They are not like a train, where, if they miss a stop along the way, they will forever be lost.....they can back up on their tracks and gain that info at a later date when they can "get" it, and still come out the same.

Hope some of this yammering helps! :)

Date Posted: 1/7/2008 7:11 AM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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Oh yeah....and PS My 7 year old loves Veggie Tales too, and I think they are GREAT!!! Just going by what you were saying above, it sounds like Veggie Tales would be a great place to start with yours! 

Date Posted: 1/7/2008 11:00 AM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 1,640
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I wouldn't do anything too formal at that age.  Some great hands on type stuff, puzzles, games, play with stuffed animals. 

Get some play money, maybe some inexpensive workbooks.  Just curl up on the couch and read some good books together.

And don't get overwhelmed in the process of schooling.  There is a ton of information out there.  The veggie tales curriculum sounds interesting.

Welcome to homeschooling.

 

 

 

Date Posted: 1/8/2008 11:58 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,667
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I understand what you all are saying about not trying to be formal or pushing him, but unfortunately I live in New York which has some of the strictest homeschooling laws in the country. One of which is that they have to test with a certain level of reading and writing skills at the kindergarten level. If your child fails at any level of testing, you have no choice but to enroll him in the public school system - that's the law here. You also aren't allowed to homeschool in NY if your child tests positive for any sort of learning disability, which I think is ridiculous. I think children with learning disabilities often do better in a home environment where they can go at their own pace and where they aren't subjected to teasing.

Our darling Gov. Spitzer is actually trying to make it even harder to homeschool in New York and is also trying to make pre-K mandatory as well as doing away with  the legalized "dropout"age of 16. He wants to see 100% enrollment in public or private schools for all children ages 4 to 18. I applaud his concern for education, but I also think he is taking it way too far. The most recent law passed for homeschoolers here in New York is that registered home schoolers have to be willing to open their homes to surprise visits from Social Services at any time so that the children can be checked for signs of abuse or neglect (apparently since they won't be in school where a teacher can look for these things.) Spitzer seems to have this idea in his head that homeschooling is just a way to hide that you are abusing your child. It makes me really mad, especially considering I voted for the guy!

Date Posted: 1/8/2008 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2007
Posts: 445
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wow..i love NYC but that makes me glad that i dont live there.   how incredible.

Date Posted: 1/8/2008 2:31 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 1,640
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I would visit HSLDA.org and find a homeschool support group in your area.  I've heard NY is somewhat of a pain, but a lot of people do it successfully.  Probably someone within your area could help you make sure you've dotted all i's and crossed all t's. 

Date Posted: 1/8/2008 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2006
Posts: 9
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Wow, Bren -- sorry you have to deal with laws like that.  It's really quite ridiculous that they expect that out of kids so young.  Maybe they should be focusing on improving instruction in the inner-city public schools instead of harrassing homeschoolers.  To be honest, the extreme focus on testing at young ages is one of the reasons why I'm homeschooling to begin with -- so that we can learn at a relaxed pace and follow bunny trails without needing to focus on teaching to the test.  Luckily I'm in a state that I can do that in.

With your extra bit of info, I might suggest something different:  K-12 instead of Sonlight.  It's secular, but I hear it's quite rigorous and a child successfully keeping up with K-12 curriculum would be ahead of their ps peers and probably test well.  K12.com I think is the site.

 

Date Posted: 1/8/2008 11:10 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
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There are ways around it, like by enrolling in an umbrella school. We use an unintrusive umbrella school here in Colorado.