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After much discussion, we have decided to officially homeschool our 5 year old daughter this fall. (I say "officially" because she isn't eligible to go to public school until this fall). Since October we have had "Mommy School" for about 45 minutes a day, so I am somewhat used to working with her and worksheets/manipulatives/reading materials. We live in Missouri which is legally homeschool friendly.

So far, I have read several general homeschool books and have investigated the web sites of several state and national groups. I have made contact with a local support group which is very active. We plan to attend a curriculum fair at the end of April to check out what kinds of materials are available.

What else would you recommend for those just starting out? Also, I have a 3 year old who wants to be right in the middle of things. How do you keep the little ones occupied when working with the bigger ones?

Thanks a lot!

-ae
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What else would you recommend for those just starting out?

I have a 7yo & a 5yo. I've been homeschooling them for 3 years (or at least educating them with the full intent of HSing once they were of legal age).
I highly recommend lots of crafts. I keep a large cabinet stocked with craft stuff for them. I have everything from tee-shirts and fabric markers to kid-sized cross stitch to Easy Bake ovens and Ice Cream makers. We also have tons of books, and software the kids can use whenever they want.

Also, I have a 3 year old who wants to be right in the middle of things. How do you keep the little ones occupied when working with the bigger ones?

There is a wonderful thing called a dry-erase board. When Bunny was two, I would work with Muncho (then almost 4), and she would color and draw on her board. You can also pick up dry-erase books that help them practice their printing, and numbers. Staples, Wal-Mart, and a bunch of other places carry them.
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Hi, ae.

I don't exactly homeschool. I enrolled my kids in a cyber school after the Christmas break this year. The school provides the curriculum, provides a wy for me to track assignments, checks portfolio items, etc, so I don't have to deal with any of those aspects, including legal issues, but as far as the actual school day goes, what I am doing is closer to homeschooling than anything else.

I have 3 kids. They are 2, 8, and almost 10. My 2 year old just turned 2 in January, about a month after we started this. It can be a challenge!

One thing to remember, though, is the flexibility with homeschooling. I've been able to basically figure out what lessons to do when, so that only one person needs my full attention at a time. I assign spelling, handwriting, and math (if it's a review) for one while I sit and do a detailed reading lesson with the other. If the baby is being particularly clingy I can switch gears and have them both doing things that are more independent. We all take a lunch break basically together around 11:00 or 11:30, and I put the baby down for his nap around 12:00. Then I give the kids about an hour of free time so that *I* can have a break. This leave an hour or two for schoolwork during nap time. We do the bulk of the work on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays most weeks. On Thursdays my husband does science with both boys. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we finish up anything that didn't get done during the week. We usually only need one of those days, but sometimes we need 2, like if we take a day off mid-week for something. We also work with the older boys one on one in the evenings when the baby is in bed. This is especially good for things they really need help with so that I can sit with them and not be called away by wither of their brothers.

Some days are better than others as far as what to do with the little one, but I don't think he's being harmed in any way by having to entertain himself maybe more often than he might normally. I'm sure there will be advantages to him, especially as he gets older because he'll be picking up bits and pieces of information well above his grade level. (My older 2 are 16 months apart, both bright kids, but the younger is amazing, in part because he is just naturally a smart kid, and in part because since he learns so quickly that he often picks up on what the other is learning a grade ahead of him. And this was with them in a regular school in separate rooms!) This morning the baby sat at the table and colored for a little bit while his brothers were doing school work. He also played with toys in another room for a while, and later he brought some toys into the dining room (where we were) to play. Yesterday we wouldn't have accomplished much of anything because he was fussy and miserable all day, but fortunately I didn't have anything planned. Even if I had, though, we have the flexibility to change things around.

Rebecca
whose children are done with all of Tuesday's work and part of Wednesday's work as we speak but have barely touched the stuff scheduled for Monday. Go figure!
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z,

LOL Your post made me cringe. TWICE! :)

Crafts. Great things. I force myself to allow my children to do crafts on a somewhat regular basis. I have to drag myself kicking and screaming to the closet if they request things like scissors and glue, never mind paints. YIKES! I was so proud the day we all decorated library bags with puffy paints. Not of their bags, but of ME for actually allowing it. We only use water colors in the summer because they are an OUTSIDE toy! Someone asked if Seany could use scissors yet. I have no idea and don't expect to know for quite some time.

BUT MARKERS??? DRY ERASE BOARDS??? A TWO YEAR OLD??? The mere thought of that is enough to send me screaming. I think I'd rather go to the dentist!

I so wish I could be the artsy-crafty mom who keeps markers and paints and such within the reach of children. I LOVE you people! My friend is like this. Most of her friends are more like me, and we all marvel at her ability to remain calm in the face of the potential mess that is preschoolers with crafts.

Rebecca
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Rebecca ~

Your post makes me laugh because I am not an arts & craft mom either! Somehow I have ended up with at least 2 kiddos and, maybe, all of them much more artistic than I can ever hope to be. Well ...... let me preface this by saying I don't want to be arts/crafts oriented. I just don't really care about it but my kids have taken to it like crazy.

Now, you are homeschooling, my dear. Just because you get the material from a private organization doesn't mean anything. You are overseeing everything that they learn and you make it happen.

I'm so glad that you have updated us on how it is going.


Robyn
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annaemma ~

Congratulations on your decision! Yes, you have already been homeschooling since October.

I trust that you will find this journey enriching for your family. The educational opportunities are important but the most important thing is how this can positivley impact your family.

Please keep us current on what and how you are doing.

My family is returning to Missouri after 15 years here in California. We can't wait! Where about in Missouri are you located?


Robyn

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BUT MARKERS??? DRY ERASE BOARDS??? A TWO YEAR OLD??? The mere thought of that is enough to send me screaming. I think I'd rather go to the dentist!

the great thing about dry erase markers is that they wash off VERY easily - easier than the "washable" markers.

I so wish I could be the artsy-crafty mom who keeps markers and paints and such within the reach of children. I LOVE you people! My friend is like this. Most of her friends are more like me, and we all marvel at her ability to remain calm in the face of the potential mess that is preschoolers with crafts.

I have a bunch of friends like that and they are always amazed that I let the kids do the amount of stuff they do. You should have seen what my science class was like! The kids had a ball!!
Here's some great pix of Hubby teaching 5 (yes, 5) kids how to make meatloaf, and of my girls cooking (breading chicken in some and prepping a turkey in others):
http://f1.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/kmsimpson2000/album?.dir=/Family&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//f1.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/kmsimpson2000/my_photos
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Here's some great pix of Hubby teaching 5 (yes, 5) kids how to make meatloaf, and of my girls cooking (breading chicken in some and prepping a turkey in others):

I loved those pictures!

I am making bread tonight. Yes, home-made, from stratch and courtesy of my Kitchenaid mixer. A friend of mine gave me a bread starter and I have to feed it tonight. I can begin using it in about 3 days.

I bought two blue silicone 1 1/2-2 lb. bread pans and they are a marvel. I've already made my salmon loaf and it turned out great! It came out easier than anything I have ever used.


Robyn
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I loved those pictures!

Thanks. We have so much fun making, baking, building, doing stuff, it's unbelievable. The girls are now "old pros" with a turkey.

I am making bread tonight. Yes, home-made, from stratch and courtesy of my Kitchenaid mixer. A friend of mine gave me a bread starter and I have to feed it tonight. I can begin using it in about 3 days.

I love making bread. It's fun. Want some recipes?


I bought two blue silicone 1 1/2-2 lb. bread pans and they are a marvel. I've already made my salmon loaf and it turned out great! It came out easier than anything I have ever used.

I haven't tried blue silicone, but we have 6-7 pyrex bread pans. Between Hubby with meatloaf. I have a bread stone that I bought a few years back, and I love that thing. I may get a covered stone bread maker next.
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I love making bread. It's fun. Want some recipes?

I'd love some recipes!

I've been spending a long time culling all the clutter and old stuff we will not take with us. I have misplaced my dough hook and I just can't figure out where the heck it is. I don't think I have the strength to kneed dough for many minutes. I figure that is something I'd have to work up to.

I'm having the kids open the taped boxes because I refuse to purchase another dough hook. Retaping boxes is infinitely cheaper.

I have a bread stone that I bought a few years back, and I love that thing. I may get a covered stone bread maker next.

Is that like a pizza stone? Does it bake bread more evenly? What's the scoop?


Robyn
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I'm new to the homeschool thingy too. I have a 4 YO who is pretty quick on the uptake, so even though she is not officially in school, I have already started a curriculum. I'm a litle worried cause I'm so afraid that I will push too hard. I have no clue what a 4 YO (or any age for that matter) is supposed to be able to do, and I am such an AR person that it will bother me to not know if she is "keeping up". It is/will be a major adjustment for me to learn to let go and just let her learn at her own pace. Homeschooling is big at my chruch, so I have a lot of experienced moms to help me out. And, they owe me big time since I've been teaching thier kids high school math for about 3 years now. :)

I'm also not big on crafts, but as for art, she uses tons of washable markers, we bought 8 packs when we found them on sale for a buck each and she is half way through them. I hope they go on sale again soon as I am going to add a 2 yo to the family very soon. One of the best tools we've found are magnadoodles. She can practice all she wants erases and starts all over again. We have a travel size and a larger one that she sits down with in the living room.

Oh, and I love the leap pads. She can work on her own and she learns tons of stuff.

Ron
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Ron ~

Yes, you too home school!

Since you are anal retentive be sure to keep things light and fun. Kids are like sponges and they love to learn!

Don't push but just find neat things to do.

There is a series called The Core Curriculum and they have everything from "What Your Kindergartner Should Know" to "What Your Eighthgrader Should Know".

I have the series and it makes for interesting reading. I don't think I covered everything suggested the 8th grader knows even when I completed high school in 1972.

It is pretty well-rounded but you can customize anything. Mix and match works well also.


Robyn
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Robyn,

You seem to be everywhere I look on the fool. Am I just lucky or do you post on like a million boards? :)

BTW: Seeing you name actually prompted me to post here. I might even hang around a bit.

Anyway, thanks for the advice. I'll check into the resource. I walked off my management job to stay at home and teach my kids so I guess I should put as much effort into it as I would my last occupation.

Ron
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Ron ~

You seem to be everywhere I look on the fool. Am I just lucky or do you post on like a million boards? :)

You just go to the right boards! I post on this one, sometimes on Shelbyboy, LBYM (rarely) and on Christian Fools (also pretty rarely) and my daughter uses my moniker on the Interior Design board because she is just 16 years old. I posted a few times on the board for de-cluttering your home but I left because I am doing just that and there wasn't much traffic.

I did used to post on the Quitting Smoking board beginning about 4 years ago. I never have smoked but used that board to help me overcome my anger at my husband's habit. It was quite enlightening and helped me change me first!

Thanks for letting me know that you decided to check out the homeschooling board because you saw my name. That makes me feel good!


Robyn

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"Where about in Missouri are you located?"

Gasconade county, so I'm about equidistant from SW St. Louis county, Rolla and Jeff City. Even though I have to drive to everything, it's nice to be able to have access to all these areas.

What finally put us in the homeschool camp was the academic issues but time for family, not having to deal with negative socialization and keeping God as a centerpoint are all important for us.

i remember last October we packed up the camper and took the kids to Lake Norfork in northern Arkansas for a few days. It was beautiful. I remember thinking that this would probably be the last time we would be able to travel in the off season. I thought wrong. "Mama School" is highly portable.

-ae
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i remember last October we packed up the camper and took the kids to Lake Norfork in northern Arkansas for a few days. It was beautiful. I remember thinking that this would probably be the last time we would be able to travel in the off season. I thought wrong. "Mama School" is highly portable.

It's great, isn't it!

We used to live in High Ridge which is off Highway 30 past Fenton. Loved it so much but we are going to be on the other side of the state now.

There are a lot of support groups in Missouri and focusing on what is important to your family is a major accomplishment.


Robyn
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I have no clue what a 4 YO (or any age for that matter) is supposed to be able to do, and I am such an AR person that it will bother me to not know if she is "keeping up". It is/will be a major adjustment for me to learn to let go and just let her learn at her own pace.

You can look on the DOE website or the website for your county school system. They usually have the core requirements. Don't be surprised if your child is on 2nd or 3rd grade stuff already. The DOE has really low standards.
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i remember last October we packed up the camper and took the kids to Lake Norfork in northern Arkansas for a few days. It was beautiful. I remember thinking that this would probably be the last time we would be able to travel in the off season. I thought wrong. "Mama School" is highly portable.

Boy, talk about an understatement! My husband is retired, and I have an online business, so all I have to do is take my laptop and I'm set.
Last year, we went to Washington, DC for the 4th of July (we plan to again this year), Maine for a couple weeks (family), Gulf Shores, AL for a week (great beach house), Daytona Beach for a week (Beach house and family), New Orleans for a weekend, and a Cruise for a week with about 100 or so other homeschool families.
The girls did school work on each "vacation". This year, I'll probably have them do even more on the "vacations".
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The series is called Core Knowledge - it is very adaptable for homeschooling. (My kids use it in a charter school, but I know a lot of people who have used it homeschooling). The website is www.coreknowledge.com. They have books for K-6, as well as a syllabus for K-8, materials for pre-K, poetry books, middle school literature books, condensed versions of classics, classical music, etc. The site also has a lot of information on the theory behind core knowledge - that you need to learn content, not just skills, and that the more you know, the more you are able to learn.
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The website is www.coreknowledge.com.

Thanks
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