Friday, April 13, 2012

Homeschool Follow up

I was asked to write about differentiating need of specific children. This is why I believe there is no perfect curriculum out there. As I mentioned before, I started with MoDG. It could have been tailored to the needs of one child. However, because of state law I didn't need to enroll and quite honestly couldn't afford to enroll. Therefore I didn't have the ability to look or ask about all the levels (I prefer that word to grades) and how to implement them for younger children. That is when I turned to the book Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum. It lays out a general idea for each grade level so that I could piece where each child was in each subject and decided what "grade" to use. I usually start the children at their age grade level and see how they do with it. So for Math, for example, it was obvious at the end of 1st grade that DG was way ahead of 1st grade math. So I asked a mom who used the same math book to see the 2nd grade one ( you can do this at homeschool conferences as well) and from there I decided to skip the 2nd grade book, but to add money to his next years work. I have used some online evaluation tools as well. I have no problem shelving books and trying new things at different intervals in the year.

I ask other homeschoolers for specific issues. When DG became an avid reader at 6 w/ a 4th grade reading level, I asked for book suggestions as I am not a boy and my husband didn't read a lot as a kid.

I should mention that I really didn't give much independent work until this year. I know what each kid is doing and how it is going for them. I don't let them check their own work. I do that so I can see issues.

I use white boards for the visual learners, mp3 players for the audio learners, and lap books, experiments and the like for the kinestetic learner. They all do these even if it isn't the best way for them to learn.

Some families do history, science... for all the levels on the same topic. that hasn't worked for us except with ccm and some lap books.

From a schedule perspective, some times they quiz each other or teach the younger ones a concept so I can help another one. Sometimes one is giving the baby a bottle or playing with a toddler which can extend the length of the school day but that is what a family does. Some times I have to give all my attention to one child for school that day and so the others do an abbreviated day.

I have started giving the readers a check list for their whole week. It tells them what they have to accomplish and what subjects they are required to do with me. This helps them feel less dependant on me and more independent. And yet I still keep tabs on things.

I think because most homeschooling parents attended "brick and mortar" schools they expect homeschools to be "brick and mortar" schools at home. That isn't really what I hear most homeschools look like (unless you do school in a box). They are fluid and meet the needs of the family.

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