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Thread: Homeschooling Discussion & Experiences #1

  1. #19

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    HI ladies, I was wondering if you could help me with the legalities of homeschooling a child for just one school term. Is this possible?


  2. #20

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    Hi All!

    Quick question for you all...

    I noticed at our local shopping centre that one of the bookstores is having a clearance sale and has a bunch of primary level textbooks on sale (some for about 50% off) so I was wondering if it would be worth it to pick some of them up? I recognized some of them as the books the schools I use to work in have used.

    Do you use textbooks for your teaching?

    I don't want to buy them if they won't be helpful so thought I would ask first...

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts and comments...

  3. #21

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    re the textbooks - if any look useful to you then buy them - I like to have some textbooks and workbooks (some get used and some don't....it's part of the learning process) they can add to your ideas (and it looks good when the BoS authorised person visits too!). The ones I find useful are maths textbooks - my daughter likes the colourful pretty ones, she finds plain maths dull so they get her a bit more interested, also some english workbook/textbooks are good for children learning to write and read - but some are boring. I have found that some text/workbooks that my son liked my daughter didn't, and vice versa - my son hates colourful workbooks - to him they seem patronising and stupid but to my daughter they seem pretty and fun!

    i usually look through the books with the children and pick the ones that they like!

  4. #22

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    Thanks Banshi!
    I'll go back to the shopping centre this coming weekend and have a closer look with hubby.
    I liked the look of some of the maths books and I think there was a writing/reading book that looked good too.
    What have you done in the way of Handwriting with your children? Did you teach them the same handwriting they would have learned in the schools? Or something different?
    I noticed this bookstore carries the handwriting book I'm familiar with but I'm not 100% happy with that form of handwriting.

    SO much to think about - I'm ever so glad BellyBelly has started this thread AND that I have time to figure some stuff out before DS turns 6!!

  5. #23

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    Hi again!
    You get me thinking!
    ;-)
    My children usually begin by playing around copying letters from anything lying around, then they want to learn to write their names, then other family members names, or comment on a picture they draw, etc. About that time I buy them some kind of handwriting/phonics or such workbook and let them know what it's about but I don't push them to do it. It's just something like a game - i try to choose a book that is simple yet amusing, with pictures and simple words or phrases or rhymes. It just goes from there. Sometimes they ask me to write down something for them, then they may copy that onto their picture or a book or something and then they ask me to tell them the spelling etc as they bcome more independant.

    I've found heaps of worksheets online too - some homeschoolers have businesses manufacturing customised handwriting books - you can ask them to turn your favourite poems and such into writing practise. However, my eldest despised handwriting books/sheets of any kind and only wrote when he wanted to (which was not everyday!), whereas my younger two enjoy writing in handwriting books, or doing calligraphy or creative writing (my 11 yr old daughter adores writing stories and writes a few pages every morning before she comes out of bed for breakie); my seven year old is very proud when he does his writing workbook neatly and he likes to show everyone.

    My eldest prefers typing - although his handwriting is legible (just!!) he couldn't be considered neat! The two younger ones have much neater handwriting but I'm not sure if this reflects the time they spent on handwriting books or is more indicitive of natural disposition and their personal inclination. I don't make them do much in the way of repetitive handwriting workbooks, rather I get them to focus on quality work.

    In hindsight I've often thought I gave in to my eldest and I wonder if I should have somehow 'made' him do more handwriting, however, I then remember how much he hated the whole idea of it (he'd get upset or angry if I gave him those trace n copy type handwriting things) and I just think that perhaps everyone has different inclinations and if i'd forced it we would have clashed and our experience of homeschooling would have been tainted with angst. He is nearly 15 and beginning to write essays regularly now and he always works on the computer - which is far simpler for editing and citing - so after all, esp considering our IT era, I don't think it actually matters much in the long run as all uni essays must be typed - so long as the individuals handwriting can be read!

    Sorry for going on and on!

    Have fun shopping!! Getting everything together is quite a satisfying experience!

  6. #24

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    Hi Banshi!
    Wonders never cease - my boys are actually sleeping well tonight so that I can get a bit caught up on the computer. Tuesday nights are MY night (providing the boys sleep) as DH has a weekly snooker competition he attends and thus doesn't get home until about 11pm. I watch mindless TV (or a movie) and work on my blogs and email that needs answering. I've done well so far tonight despite my 4 year old initially pulling out all the stalling techniques he could think of. My 11 month old woke for the day at 6:30am and flatly refused to sleep at all during the day so he was in bed and asleep by 6:30pm! I won't hold my breath that he will sleep straight through the night - but he should do better than normal (3 wakings)!

    Thanks for the insight and thoughts on how you do handwriting and reading with your family. James is showing NO interest in learning how to hold a pencil correctly or do much in the way of writing so I'm not going to push him at this stage. After all, he is only 4.5 (actually not quite) and part of the reason I have chosen to home school is because I think it is CRAZINESS that we are throwing kids (boys especially) in to school at the tender age of four!

    It turns out DH and I couldn't get any of those textbooks that were on sale. DH runs his own business and though it is WONDERFUL one of the downfalls is that we don't really know when money is going to come in. We aren't suffering but it is just that we live in a "drought and flood" sort of situation and although we always have money for things like rent and food we don't always have extra money sitting around for extra stuff that we want to buy spontaneously. But I'm not the least bit worried because I'm sure I'll find more on sale sometime (several times actually) between now and when James turns 6!

    James' newest obsession at the moment is a worm farm kit that I bought at Kmart on Sunday. We've put it together and now we have to collect our soil and our worms and get it up and running. I LOVE that he is so excited about it and I need to get moving on it before he loses his motivation and excitement about it.

    How are things with you and your children? Do you give them a break during the "school holidays" or do they continue with school if they want to?

    I hope you are well and I'll look forward to hearing from you through here again soon.

  7. #25

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    We've been homeschooling for just over 18 months. DS had three years at school; DD had one year at school before we pulled them out.
    I am a school teacher with 17 years experience and no way would I send the kids back to institutionalised education.
    I find it hilarious that we get the same two questions with regard to homeschooling every time. The first question is "why would you want to do that?" as if spending lots of time with your kids is a bad thing, closely followed by "what about their socialisation?"
    Neither of those things have been a problem for us. People are always commenting on how social our kids are; they'll talk to anyone about anything, anytime. We love spending time with them (yes, it is exhausting but it is also worth it) and it has brought our whole family closer together.
    We use a loosely classical approach and love it.

  8. #26

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    Hi Banshi!

    Just a quick question - DS doesn't hold a pencil or pen correctly yet (he'll be 4.5 years old on the 13th) is this something I should be overly concerned about?

  9. #27

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    Noooo! He will figure it out - especially as he see others around him (you and Dad etc) holding pens, pencils etc in the more comfortable, more convenient 'right' way - also if young children have been learning drawing and writing with chunky crayons their grip will have developed to grasp a bigger item and this will evolve as their fine motor skills develop and they experience writing /drawing in a range of media.

    Also, as a boy, his fine motor skills will take longer to coordinate than a girl of the same age - my first son could read at four but his writing was not really clear until he was 6, my second son was neater but took until about 7 to become neat (he's not 7 and a half and a really neat and proud writer!).

    Also, it just occurred to me that I have met people who grip pens in an unconventional manner - is it really a big deal? Maybe/ maybe not!

    I would relax, he's very young (remember registration is only required at age 6 - likely your son is quite bright to be writing/drawing at 4 - but due to being bright he may seem older - I found this with DS 1 - therefore in ten years looking back you will say OMG I was worried about such and such - he was only 4! I have thought this alot with my now 15 year old DS1 - he was clever so I accidently fussed a bit too much - we live and learn!).

    So do suggest to him that You find holding Your pen in a certain way better, but allow him time to find his way. When children feel like what they do is critiqued they can sometimes become sensitive about trying - not that I am suggesting you are critiquing - just that in my experience with my children encouragement works great but correction seems to have unforeseen repurcussions - and with my DS2 (my 3rd child) I've allowed him to go at his own pace and to learn for himself when he's made a mistake and he's learning to correct himself (for instance when reading aloud and he mispronounces a word - with the first two I'd correct them by pronouncing the word correctly - which was ok - but - I've let DS2 realise himself and he is sooo confident, proud and self-assured as a result - IMO it has worked better! And now that he's more fluent he realises, backtracks, pronounces correctly - or says 'how do I pronounce this?' then I tell him - he's in control of it)

    All the best to you!!!

  10. #28

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    Hi Banshi!

    UGH!! I just typed a big reply to you and then hit the wrong button and it disappeared! GRRR...
    So I will start again but it will probably be shorter.

    ANYWAY!! DS holds a pen/pencil in a VERY unconventional way that is too hard to describe in words but essentially he grips it in a fist grip and therefore has absolutely NO control over what he does at all.

    I gently suggested that he let me show him an easier way to hold it that will give him more control and allow him to start writing and colouring in. He was agreeable to this and just a couple of days ago came up to me and said "is this how I hold it mummy" and was almost holding the pen correctly! So I'm not worried anymore and I'm sure that with a little correction and a lot of practice he will be fine.

    I have a good way to offer him incentive as well. He is very interested in activity books and colouring-in books at the moment and has been wanting me to buy him Cars and Thomas activity books so I told him that I would buy him some special activity books and colouring books when he has practiced holding a pen/pencil correctly and can do the work more easily. He is excited bout this and I think it will be a good motivation for him.

    Thanks again for your thoughts and input!

    I have also been looking for home schooling blogs and in the process have found some blogs geared specifically towards home schooling boys so I'm excited to read through some of these and get ideas and information!

    I hope all is well with you and your family...

  11. #29

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    I feel like I'm full of questions all the time...

    I know the legal age in NSW (is it also Australia wide?) to either enroll a child in school or commence home schooling is six years of age but that leaves me confused...

    Does that mean (regardless of which form of schooling you plan to use) they would start kindergarten the year they turn six or year one?

    I'm just debating whether to start our home school program THIS year or NEXT year with DS and I seem to be getting more confused as I research - not less!

    Anyone out there who could help would be GREATLY appreciated!!

  12. #30

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    Hi
    You only need to register once the child has turned six, however, you may choose to register when your child is five turning six.

    School kids seem to start at five...but many educationalists suggest starting boys at a later age.....it's a personal decision.

    Maybe you could just pause to reflect for while - school/homeschool is mandatory until 17 years of age now (in NSW anyway) so you have plenty of time to find your angle....also....just because you choose not to register 'til he's six doesn't mean he won't be learning until then! Mostly, by the time I'd registered my 3 eldest, they were six or seven and doing year 1 or 2 stuff......so if I were you I wouldn't bother registering too early - it's just an unnecessary distraction.....do it when you need to......well those are my thoughts.

    Good luck - it's quite an education, huh?

    Have fun and all the best!

  13. #31

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    Hi!

    So essentially I can "teach" him kindergarten curriculum informally for the next 17 months and then register him and start him on year 1 work in Jan/Feb 2012 and all would be kosher?!?
    I guess then my next question would be - if I register him in 2012 and board of studies comes for my first "inspection" will I need to show proof that he did the kindergarten work or will they be satisfied with the fact that he is six and studying year 1 stuff?
    I have done heaps of study and reading about boys and how they learn and just about everything I've read stresses that boys really shouldn't start school until they are six but my husband is concerned that he starts with kindergarten when he is six then he won't finish year 12 until he is 19 and for some reason that bothers him.
    I'm not fussed either way - just want to make sure that he is learning and enjoying the process - how long or short it takes him is not that big of a deal with me. But I did promise my husband I would ask the question - so here I am - asking the question! *grin*

    Thanks for your thoughts...

  14. #32

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    Also, don't hesitate to contact the Home Education unit at the BoS - as they now suggest you register for the 'year level' your child is up to.....it's all silly paper trail stuff, not important really - but - if you are concerned it may make you feel more certain and confident if you speak to them.

    What I would do in your situ (and it's actually what I did with my 7 year old - I only formally registered him this year, Feb) is to naturally progress through Kindy-Year 1 stuff and then when he's about 6 - 7 and you are ready register him - the 'proof' of his learning (and your 'teaching') is usually impressive for the inspector. They can then see you have it all under control and that your child has made progress.....always remember that however you do it is up to you! In this way a child who legally need only be up to a kindy level but who is actually beyond that speaks volumes to the authorities and this makes them relaxed and confident - and your son doesn't need to be bound to doing kindy at 6 or whatever - that's the beauty of homeschooling - it caters to the individual. The legalities don't decree which year level to teach at which time - it just says what age you need to be registered by.

    Good Luck!

  15. #33

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    Banshi is right - the age you register your child at is no indication of their grade level. There is a 16 y/o homeschooler who has just started doing a few uni units with us. It's best not to get stuck on the idea of "grades" anyway but rather how well they can do or understand the learning areas. Grades are only something that schools use to categorise and manage having lots of children at similar ages using the idea of "average" on every learning area. Unfortunately, very few kids are actually average on everything - they have strengths and weaknesses that unlike a school you can individually cater for (intensively if needed) and will typically find your child to be either on average or ahead in most areas.

    We currently use the ENKI curriculum. Must say I LOVE it and it really suits our family and my daughter's learning style (she has some special needs, and is particularly behind in speech - so verbal-instruction-based teaching is not the most effective - she needs to SEE). It's a sensory integrated program that sort of combines all the best parts of the Steiner, Montessori and traditional education models. The reason why I love this curriculum so much (other than I only have to organise it, not write it) is that it teaches her learn in a creative child-led way while still focusing her in a certain direction (so it's not all over the place).

    When we first decided to homeschool I started doing a uni course on how to write a primary school curriculum because I thought it would be helpful - it was in a sense as it made my choice to homeschool more concrete. I stopped after a month because it infuriated me. It was very obvious, sometimes even blatantly stated, that the purpose of the school curriculum was to teach children WHAT to think and WHAT to learn, not HOW to think and HOW to learn. I think there is a very big difference between the two; one was the "give a fish you eat for a day", the other is the "teach to fish you eat for a lifetime". I don't want a child who's a sheep and needs to look to other people to form her opinions/interests etc. I wanted a child who was able to look at something critically and logically and make her own decisions.
    Last edited by Yeddi; August 24th, 2010 at 08:16 AM.

  16. #34

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    Hi everyone,

    Am really interested in your homeschooling and unschooling discussions. It's great to read others' experiences.

    A little background to us...
    I homeschool/unschool my four children. They are Z who is 13, almost 14yo, I who is 11, almost 12yo, H who is 7yo and C, a preschooler who is almost 5yo (it's his birthday this week). We live on the edge of the Outback in a small town with very few facilities. We are the only homeschoolers here.

    The local schools here are not my cup of tea in any way and my kids had grown tired of the travel associated with attending the school in the next town, which is 100kms away. We did not qualify for Distance Education since we do not live on a remote property anymore, so I decided to homeschool.

    We registered with the NSW Board of Studies.

    I started out doing basic homeschooling. I basically formulated a curriculum and found textbooks and resources that were similar to what they would experience in a classroom. I tried desperately to meet the KLA outcomes for each child and it was terribly hard work for all of us. The kids hated their school days, and I found myself mentally exhausted by it.

    More recently, I have been experimenting with the concept of child-led learning and the difference it has made is fantastic, not just for the younger children but for the older ones too.

    The kids still have a small amount of appropriate textbook work but they set their pace and branch out into other associated topics as they feel it is appropriate. If anything, the textbooks have become a launching pad for the kids to discover more. The textbooks trigger an interest in something and away they go!

    We have also found some excellent programs based on Bloom's Taxonomy and other thinking skills methods, which cater for multiple intelligences and the many stages of development.

    The effect that me taking the pressure off the kids has had has been nothing short of spectacular for them and for me. They actually want to find out more about a whole range of things and I am able to help them do it, knowing full well that this type of learning is valid. I feel like I am not knocking the curiosity out of my kids anymore.

    I look forward to hearing more about your homeschooling journeys.

  17. #35

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    Hi!
    Just jumping in here...I'm super interested in homeschooling but am also a bit unsure as well...

    I have 4 boys - nearly 5, 3, nearly 2 and 6months...we're about to move to the country and will be around 22km from school...

    In my heart I feel like home schooling would be fantastic for the boys - an opportunity to learn academically as well as have time to spend learning a lot of life skills and when they're older they can learn trade and practical work...also would give them lots of time for fun!
    I worry that putting them into school will break their spirits...maybe not straight away but eventually...my first boy is so clever - he is reading and writing already which makes me think prep will just be boring to him and my second struggles to focus but is very bright and I think he will need to learn in a more fun/hands on manner than text book learning...

    I guess the whole thing appeals to me and the main thing holding me back is wondering if they would miss out on anything as well as of course what everyone would say around me! Most importantly I don't want the kids to hate it! I guess we could always give it a go and if it doesn't work out they can always go to school...or vice versa - gives school a go and homeschool if we encounter any issues...?

    Gosh...so much to think about! Sorry for the rambling! lol...

  18. #36

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    Hi!
    I'm popping back in here after being away from this site for awhile!
    I am still VERY keen to homeschool my children.
    My eldest (who will be 5 in February) shocked me two weeks ago by sitting down at playgroup and writing his name for the first time.
    I hadn't given him ANY direction as far as writing was concerned AT ALL up to that point. He knows how to spell his name and how to type it on the computer but had never tried writing it. I had only been slowly encouraging him to hold his pencil or pen correctly when he colours in and hadn't worried about anything beyond that. Then he calmly sat down and wrote his name (all capital letters) and I'm ever so proud of him.

    I am curious where I could find a list or document that states what schools expect that a kindergarten child should know/be able to do by the end of their kindergarten year? I'm just curious to see how much of it James already knows and can do.

    Pretty much I have decided to formally register James with the Board of Studies in early 2012 and start him on Year 1 work then (providing he hasn't already started it before then)! Between now and then I'm sort of doing whatever natural learning we can do. I have some workbooks I've picked up here and there (mainly beginning writing ones and maybe some kindergarten maths workbooks) that I might let him try but I'm not pushing them on him.

    Krisvee: welcome to this group... my thoughts are... if home schooling is in your heart then go with it and don't worry what other people think! No matter what you do with your children (in all aspects of parenting not just education) you are going to find people who don't agree with your choices. What matters it what you and your husband feel is the best method of education for your boys.

    Sarahw: welcome to you as well... I read your post with interest and will most likely have questions for you as I begin my home schooling journey but it is late and WELL past my bedtime so I will probably have questions for you in the near future.

    In the meantime, I'm happy to see more people in this thread and I'm looking forward to sharing thoughts and experiences with you all.

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