Sunday, October 23, 2011

Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti...... The Sound of Music!

Do, a deer, a female deer.....

You know everytime I hear that... I think of Sound of Music.
So...public schools have band and choir taught be a music teacher.
You are a homeschooling parent, you are not musically inclined and your child wants to learn about music OR take up a musical instrument!
What to do!
Let your fingers do the walking...on the internet!
So, if they want to play a musical have 2 choices....Choice 1, hire someone local. You can get suggestions from your local homeschool group, check the yellow pages, look on the bulletin board at your local library or even ask at your local public school. Choice 2, purchase or download one of those DIY lessons from the internet. I have seen them for piano, organ and guitar and that is just skimming the internet so I am sure there are others out there if you delved deep enough!LOL This to me would be if your child can be self-taught or not.
Or...if they want to learn about music...there are many great choices out there. Music games, music books, music websites, etc. and it greatly depends on the age of the child learning.
Elementary grades, less intense. Middle school or High School(which is when band and choir are typically introduced) can get a lot more intense.
The internet in my opinion is AWESOME! And a little research goes a long way in making your homeschooling day go easier for ANY of your lessons!
So, go research and then ROCK ON!!!

How did I chose my homeschool curriculum...?

In my homeschool search 4 years ago I was all over the internet, checking out homeschool curriculums. There are MANY choices out there. Religious, Secular, Montessori, Waldorf and the list goes on and on! I had to decide what I felt would work best for my son and myself as inexperienced homeschoolers. Once I narrowed my choices down, I started checking the homeschool curriculum reviews on them. Some looked great on paper but when you got real time reviews from people who had used learned that they were no good. I tried to find curriculums that had better than 50% satisfied. There is always going to be someone that doesn’t fit and the whole world is full of complainers. If you go through the reviews on ANY curriculum, you can learn to spot which ones are people who genuinely liked and used it, people who got offended about 1 word and people who didn’t really use it but decided to lodge a complaint for the sake of complaining.
I also joined forums and posted my questions of several different curriculums, getting real people reaction from other homeschooling parents.
In the end after an intense 2 week search, we chose Time 4 Learning. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. My oldest son used it for 3 years and my younger son is on his 4th and final year of it as their main curriculum!
So, check out different curriculums for your homeschooling. Then check the reviews on them. Research, talk to people and research some more! In today's day and age of the have no excuse not too! Good luck in your search!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gosh....raising a freethinker....the horror!LOL

So, we often get asked a lot as to WHY we decided to homeschool.....
Well, how much time do you have!LOL
My boys started out in public school..... they were like every other kid. We were happy with their schooling but then....government budget cuts started, the recession started and schools among many other things started having budget cuts and those affected our kids.
They were no longer allowed to be kids, they were shuffled through their day...missing out on things that make kids..well...KIDS! No recesses, eat lunch like you are in military boot camp(aka 5 minutes to shovel as much in as possible), no arts, no science, no field trips, no extras.....
I grew up with a Mom for a teacher, back when things like ART, BAND, RECESSES, LUNCHTIME, FIELD TRIPS were all the norm. Kids learned, kids were kids and school was fun.
We decided after several issues that public school was no longer an option for my boys.
We wanted them to be free thinkers, freethinking homeschoolers to be specific!
We wanted them to learn at their pace, at our pace, to give the donations required weekly at public schools back to US, to learn that they can stop and take a break when wanted or needed.
And guess what.... they are smiling, happy, normal, well-adjusted kids who have learned MORE in the past 3 years homeschooling my boys through middle school than they did in 6+ years of public school.
Would we do it again, you betcha!
Not only am I a firm believer in homeschooling is the right choice for my kids, but my husband is and my Mom, the retired public schoolteacher is a believer!

Creating a Homeschool Portfolio!

Every year as we start back to school, I start a folder for my boys!
I guess it would be considered a homeschool portfolio of their school year. It is where I keep their weekly printouts, a copy of their homeschool paperwork from our county, etc. I label and date each one and at the end of the year, I put them in a file box just for this.
Why would I do this....well, it is proof of their homeschooling. I live in Oregon, which is a pretty easy State to homeschool in and other than regular testing every couple of years... we have little laws telling us what we have to prove. BUT....that does not mean that I do not want to have the proof in case lawmakers decide to change the rules.
Some States are more lenient, some are intense on what the law requires in order to homeschool.
So, what I tell new homeschoolers...check the laws in your State, check with a homeschooling group and double check these laws. Then start a homeschooling portfolio for each child you want to homeschool. Keep it somewhere safe and accessible, update it as not procrastinate.
I love the curriculum we use, Time 4 Learning because it is SO easy for me to go every weekend and print out a record of their weeks work.
So, whatever program you use...whatever curriculum you use.....check your State laws and get your homeschooling record started! You will be glad you did!