Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Call for Comments on Homeschooling

OK. I'm just looking into it, but as life stays harder than my instincts say it should be, I'm wondering about home-school options for a middle schooler. If you have any comments or resources you'd like to share, I would appreciate them.

I don't want to hear anything about evangelical Christianity and home-schooling, though, or Islamic madrassas. Home-schooling in Bora Bora  or Tibet is fine.


  1. One of my favorite people--a niece--was homeschooled for a time. My daughter C did not finish high school by the traditional route. Her misery led me to the CHSPE. The California High School Proficiency Exam.
    I say, do what you gotta do.
    I don't have curriculum suggestions for O., unfortunately. Probably the best thing would be for the two of you to go into seclusion for a time at a writer's residency in Tuscany.

  2. I would totally do it, and I would check out this website for out of the box ideas

    I am an OT, and I use her reflex integration techniques in my practice. A lot of my clients have learning disabilities and see improvements after doing the recommended exercises (though that is not my focus).

    I have been wanting to share this for a while, but not wanting to be creepy since I mostly read without commenting.

    Don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions. I wish you lived closer, so I could work with Oliver myself. He is just my kind of awesome!

    Oh, and I am not a homeschooler, but I am prepared to close my business and take over the second my daughter's school starts to fail her. She has Down syndrome, and she is transitioning into kindy this fall. I am less than optimistic, but I think they'll probably do okay for the first couple of years.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Universal Design for Learning is implemented as a rule rather than an exception.

  3. I did a TON of research on homeschooling some years ago. Now, with the internet, and with the fact that you live in L.A. which has access to a good deal of cultural venues, it's a "cinch" to homeschool, in terms of having material to teach. Hard stats show that homeschooled kids are actually academically ahead of their peers. This is recognized even to the university level, where homeschooled kids are looked at as ideal (tend to be more self-directed). Also, it has been proven that there only need be 3 hours of actual "lesson time" in a day...the rest that school takes is unproductive busy work. But...and there is always a but...two things will make homeschool efforts fail. One is poor planning. If you think you are going to plan lessons the night before by the seat of your pants: FAIL. You need a long term plan, preferably for the whole year, and you need to stick to it. Second epic fail: you and your kid cannot get along in close quarters. This is not anyone's fault. Some parents cannot teach their kids. Some kids cannot be taught by their parents. THAT is the key. Can you two sit together and get along, every day, for a few hours, and get work done? I knew I could teach Sophie, I knew I could never teach Amelia. Good me if you want more.

  4. I wish I had any insight other than the firm knowledge that you will make the right decision. Other than that, I'm useless.


  5. Do you have any expeditionary learning/ outward bound schools available to you? I would love to send my kids to such a school.

    Could you give it those hours a day and not lose your mind?

  6. I'm a long time lurker (hi!) with absolutely no experience with home schooling, but Mir at Woulda Coulda Shoulda started homeschooling her 13 year old son this year. She may have some thoughts for you.

    Best of luck!

  7. I homeschooled Nigel during middle school, and I read up on a lot before we did it. Before deciding to design my own homeschooling program (due to not being able to find one for autistic kids), I had looked at Connections Academy, which is like online homeschool. It looked really good to me, but Nigel would not have been able to do it. From what I know of Oliver, I think he'd do well with it.

  8. I did it for many years and it was wonderful, though intense. These were mostly pre-internet years, so it's a whole different ball game now in terms of resources. But if you have the time, energy and focus to take this on, it can be a dynamic, freeing, joyful way to learn, and you can incorporate all kinds of methods and flexibility that a regular classroom just can't accommodate, eg movement and modulating sensory input.
    Once a kid is really engaged, almost anything that catches his interest can be explored in terms of history, math, geography, language, science, literature.
    I actually did use a few tips and resources from some people who were
    Christian fundamentalists (beautifully homeschooling severely autistic kids)who were thoughtful, well-organized and devoted.

  9. I was homeschooled all the way. I am not the teacher. All I can suggest about Middle School is that Saxon Math does not explain things well at all. Unless you are an expert math person you probably want to stay away from Saxon. The best thing is being able to go at your own pace( within reason) some of my siblings had to do school all summer and nearly didn't get done till the next year which was not the best idea.

  10. I have a good number of homeschool kids in my classes at the community college--homeschooling is really big in Kalamazoo. yes, there's a good crazy christian portion, but also a good number of young hippies. My experience with homeschooled kids (who often take supplementary courses at the cc during their highschool years, and some even younger) is that they are almost always academically advanced, some have weird social issues (mainly the religious ones), and some have a hard time adjusting to a normal classroom after years of having individual attention. We have a good homeschool network here, and parents pool talents and sometimes hire tutors and even have musicals and sports teams. I have definitely seen how it has been the best choice for a number of students, particularly those whose parents knew their children weren't functioning well in a traditional school environment. My Deaf sister didn't finish high school in Chicagoland either, but took the GED exam and then went on to college just the same. It was definitely the correct choice for her and I'll admit, that after 13 years teaching community college students, my opinions of homeschooling are no longer "CRAZY CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS!" but more tempered and I can see how it can work.

  11. My middle child has done middle school at a "Parent Partnership" program through our public school system that happened to teach core classes to grades 7-12. She went 3 days a week and I supervised her homework/non-school time, teaching her a class called, "Academic Support"...basically ensuring she did her homework and finding fun stuff for her to do rather than deal with the horrible social milieu of her prior situation. She is planning on public high school and we feel like we dodged a bullet. P.S. I love your blog...if we lived closer I would want to hang out.

  12. H. & were joking about all the books people send during difficult times so I write this with some sense of irony, but if you like, I'll mail you Boys Adrift. It's not great literature but it was interesting take on the other half.

    Found this from the center for learning and attention disorders (new funding... new name!) where I used to work here on the east coast... but it sounds like this home schooling mom resides on your coast and from the sounds of it she is probably near you! HTH

  14. I admire your courage and devotion to your son.

    I don't know anything about homeschooling except for the antecdotal things i hear (concerns about socialization, learing outside of academics etc)

    But I know I could never do it. This is not a criticism of home schooling, it's an admission of selfishness on my part.

    Good luck.

  15. We homeschool our boys (13 and 9) - there are plenty of not religious homeschoolers. It was funny for me to read this though because I've always thought your boys' schooling sounded wonderful and I've actually thought: I'd send my kids to a school like that. I haven't been following closely for a few months though so maybe I've missed something. For us, academics are the biggest concern as our kids get older, the socialization issue is, IMO, a total non-issue. If you really think about it, socialization in a school setting is completely bizarre.

  16. Frequent reader-but I've never introduced myself. Too busy homeschooling my 2, including a 12 yr old. It has brought a peace to our home that I never thought possible.

    Great source for info is the Well Trained Mind Forums online-as are local homeschool groups. I expect you'd find many in your area due to location.

    Our setup, at 12, includes computer programming, world history (renaissance-reformation), music and art, grammar, lit, middle school chem, math, Latin, Italian. In abut 5 hours a day. Of these, I
    "teach" Latin, direct chem, and in the others, I help set her up for success-some are taught by others who are more proficient than me, some I learn (again) with her.

    It's not for everyone, but it is FAR easier than it used to be.



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