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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Types Of Homeschooling and What About College

I read a very interesting book that was given to me by a fellow homeschooler. She actually does not homeschool anymore, as her son is now in college. The book titled "And What About College" is by Cafi Cohen. I could not find the exact book on Amazon, but the book below is very similar in its approach. DJ will be in 6th grade next year. While I am probably still a bit early, but I want to be sure that I am prepared for what to expect. One of the very interesting things for me was the book states you should know what kind of homeschool you are when applying for college. I thought OK easy enough. I am an eclectic homeschool. But really after I read it, no I am not. I am more of a traditional homeschool, with tons of textbooks and scheduled routines. While there is nothing wrong with any type, kids do tend to get somewhat bored with just textbooks. We do other things as well, but a lot is with textbooks. I am constantly revising our lessons through the year. Changing, fixing, updating, etc. as we go along. Plus now is when I start thinking about the next year. So I did some browsing around and decided that for next year DJ will do Time4Learning, for online courses in all core subjects. I decided to do this because one, it is affordable, only 20 bucks a month. Two, they grade all the work, and keep track for later printing. I spend so much time grading papers, and man I hate language arts grading. Three he will get both textbook work, plus online classes. But, he will also do a textbook reading program, and Saxon textbook math. I decided to keep those two because I like the reading program, and we have been using Saxon so I want to stick with it. I like Saxon Math a lot. I will lay out all the awesome free Science resources I discovered online, at a later date. Since he loves Science and I want him to be challenged, I think this is the best option. Plus with church, 4H and I would like to get them both into some kind of community service or volunteering next year, I think that will make us truly eclectic. Plus, I think I will throw in a Unit Study or two, on topics they have special interests in. They would like to volunteer at the animal shelter, but since they don't like me and I don't like them, I don't see that happening. I will have to see if they can volunteer with the vet, or another animal shelter. Sometimes living in a rural area has its downfalls. If you would like to know the four main types of homeschooling and what they mean, here they are:

1- The Traditional Approach: Structured with lesson plans, textbooks, quizzes, tests, and grades.

2- Unit Studies: The child, or parent, picks a topic and then you purchase the Unit Study to go with the topic. Unit studies are nice because they teach all the subjects on one topic in depth. I actually very much like unit studies, though my kids are not always fond of them.

3- Interest Initiated Learning: Some people refer to this as un-schooling. It is very relaxed and focused on what the child wants to learn only. For example if DJ had an interest in playing the drums, I would buy him drums and his day would revolve around learning to play the drums. That is just one example, but you see that it is totally driven by the child's likes and interests.

4- The Eclectic Homeschooler: This is a combination of all they types combined in a plan that works for the child. You have textbooks, some tests and quizzes, but you also do unit studies, and interest based learning. One way we do interest based learning is through 4H, because each child picks the curriculum they are interested in learning about. Though Caitlin loves her rabbit, she has no interest in holding it as she is afraid it will scratch her. So she is still working on being comfortable with her animal to progress to being able to show it.

I want to homeschool my children right through high school, so I always have to research and learn myself. I want them to have a good education, but also have fun learning not just having to do it. That is one of the things I didn't like about school. You had to do it whether you liked it or not. It is hard to try and be sure they learn what they really need to know, yet learn more to make them college potential. Some of the things the textbooks teach are nonsense and I see no reason to teach or learn them. I do not stress these types of things and I hope it doesn't come back to bite me in the you know what.

Lesson Plans For 01/21/11:

Math: Test
Spelling: Test times two chapters
Science: Test
Writing: You have to eat one food for a whole week, blog post
Reading: Book report for Percy Jackson book 1

Reading: 3 books of choice
Math: Addition and money
Words in a sentence game: This is a new game to teach syllables, and number of words in a sentence.

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