Online School for Homeschool?

We have an issue that might not face many homeschooling families, but maybe it does, so I’ll write about it anyway 🙂

Part of the reason we are going to homeschool is religious.  We wish to provide our children with more of a religious education that either Husband or I ever had.  The problem?  We are both far more ignorant about our own religion than we wish our children to be.

What’s a homeschooling momma to do?

Obviously, one of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can teach yourself – or not.  The question is, for the “or not” part, what to do?  Since we are Jewish, it’s not like there are gobs and gobs of sites out there just for Jewish homeschoolers (feel free to leave links to any I may have missed!).

One thing I am considering is one of the online Jewish schools.  They seem to meet many hours less than regular day school – often only covering the Judaic curriculum.  Some have homework, some do not.  Some are more like discussion groups, some more like a true schooling-but-online experience.  I’m fairly certain that none of them will be a perfect match for Stargazer – who is several years behind due to going to public school, but also capable at moving at a very quick pace.  I can’t just put him in a lower grade.   Although some might be good-enough fits for at least a while.  Several might be good fits for Passion Flower.

The funny thing is, I’m pretty much refusing to even consider online schooling for any other topic.  I don’t want my kids glued to a screen all day, and I want to move away from a school mentality to a learning mentality, if that makes any sense.  So I guess part of me is hoping I find another solution.

On the other hand, the idea of a time where they are busy, learning, and I can maybe do my own thing for an hour or two has its appeal.

There is one thing that I am holding out on, before making a decision.  There is, thankfully, another homeschooling Jewish family in the area.  I know the kids and I’m fairly certain they are gifted – or at least very smart.  They are quite a bit older than mine – one is already married – but I’m hoping to touch base with the mother and maybe find some local resources.  Or perhaps her younger kids can teach my kids.

Were there any subjects you felt you had to outsource?  Did you feel you were successful?

Have you done any online courses in the elementary years?  Did you like it?  Ever even consider it? 

Have you ever had older kids teach your kids?  What were the pros and cons?

Children’s Literature

Somebody suggested that I try a Charlotte Mason style curriculum for Passion Flower since she is an advanced reader.  Aside from the obvious question, “What the heck is that??” it made me wonder, “What is the best children’s literature out there?” (CM is very literature based, as I understand it).

I don’t want to give my young Passion Flower stuff that has outdated phrases that will confuse her.  She’s a great reader, but she IS only five and her comprehension isn’t as advanced as her reading ability.

The first book that came to mind is Charlotte’s Web.  BUT… I’m sure there are people out there with great suggestions.  What is your favorite bit of children’s literature?

Organize Onward!

I have made some serious progress in organization.  Of course, I couldn’t have done any of it without my husband – who took one for the team and moved his home office space so I could let the kids take over the basement as play space.  This leaves the ground floor for kitchen/schooling/office use.

However, I seem to have finally realized that if I am actually going to, say, file papers, I need the file cabinet near the papers.  I hate running around getting things! No wonder organization wasn’t so hard when I was a kid – everything I owned was in one room!

There is still a lot of work to be done, but the art stuff is no longer taking up a bookshelf, I have the bills, to-be-filed folder, shredder, and file cabinet in arms reach of each other, and much of the toy collection has moved to the basement.

There is, unfortunately, still lots to do.  Has anyone else ever done a major house-wide reorganization & cleanup?  I’d love your tips and advice!

Preparing to Homeschool

We have decided to homeschool next year.  To me, this means lots of things.  There is figuring  out curricula, finding the local homeschool groups, telling family, and massive amounts of cleaning.

Cleaning????

Yup.  I said it.  I am.. not the most organized  person in the world, and that which can be put away today can also be put away tomorrow.  Unless I can no longer find it.  Think I’m exaggerating?  Think again!

MESS
My kitchen counter typically looks like this. Makes it hard to cook!

 

Truth be told, we have lots of junk in our house.  Stuff
nobody uses.  And I think it is  taking up space  that might house things that I actually need to keep track of.

If I have my kids at home instead of at school most of the time, they will need to actually see what toys and games they have and be able to find them.  Or I’ll go insane.

And now that they are old enough to have free access to the art supplies without my having to worry (too much), reorganization is in order.

Wish me luck!

Educational Issues and Curriculum

Stargazer is an academic at heart.  He loves to think and read.  He is also mathematically gifted – able to do addition and subtraction problems before age 2.  He does high school level science reading too.   He is currently in 3rd grade at public school.

Passion Flower is, well, passionate.  About what?  Well, she’s 5, so that varies, but whatever is on her mind, she feels strongly about.  She seems to be veering toward art and language.  She is reading at roughly a 2nd grade level.  She is currently in kindergarten at a private school.

So, as I look to figure out curriculum for next year, I have some challenges.

First, I have a child with age-appropriate understanding and blows-my-mind language skills.  She’ll need age appropriate math that isn’t linguistically watered down.  She would do well to start a foreign language too.

Then there is my son.  He’ll need to be allowed to blow through math at his own pace – without too much repetitive work.  He also needs challenging but on-grade-level grammar and writing practice.  And then there’s science.  I’m leaning toward letting him go nuts in the library and getting science kits delivered monthly.

What do you think?  I’d love suggestions!

A Minority of a Minority of a Minority

I knew that when I started looking into all things homeschooling, I would encounter lots of religious stuff.  I already knew that lots of people who choose homeschooling do it for religious reasons.  That is, in part, also why we are making that move.

I just didn’t expect it to be so very pervasive.  We are Jewish, which means we are a minority of the population, but I find that as I join homeschooling groups online, when I ask questions, I get 80% responses that take for granted that I am Christian.  This was a little unexpected.

I think I’ve rolled with it well so far.  I mean, I haven’t shouted at anyone who was just trying to be helpful.  Still, it makes it a bit harder, since even those suggestions that aren’t overtly Christian might be… kinda Christian once you get into them.

Then there’s the other thing that makes us different.  The giant elephant sitting in the corner wearing a pink tutu – the G-word.  Gifted*.  Stargazer and Passion Flower are gifted.  Stargazer is strongly mathematical and spatial.  Passion Flower is highly linguistic.

So, yeah, we aren’t just unusual because we homeschool, we’re unusual for lots of reasons.

I wonder, as I write this, if my experiences can help anyone else.  I mean, how many other gifted Jewish homeschoolers can there be?  Well, maybe we’ll find some.  Or maybe there’s enough common ground in the homeschooling gig that it doesn’t really matter.

Time will tell, I guess.

What are your experiences with homeschooling and various minorities?  Have you met any?  Are you one?

*I know there is a bit of controversy around this term. I don’t wish to get into it. Since this is the term that is most widely used, it is what I will use. If I got to run the English language, it’s not the only thing I’d change!

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