Schooling Plans

Schooling Plans 1She'll be 4 in September (FOUR! - There goes my heart thump-THUMPing again).

Thus, the Question is becoming more common. Will she go to Public? Private? Charter? Which school will we choose?

The quick answer is that we plan to homeschool for the early elementary years (and, perhaps, beyond).

The long answer is too long for this post because we have thoughtfully considered our options and we have a myriad of reasons for homeschooling - social, mental, emotional, physical, spiritual reasons.  They are reasons that make the decision right for our family in this season of our lives.

Actually, the truth is that we are homeschooling already. Actually, it might be more like unschooling (or whatever term you want to use). Tim and I primarily teach our girls through play and everyday interaction.

We're big believers in "the world is our classroom" kinds of instruction - especially for the younger grades. Why not learn fractions while baking shortbread cookies? Why not sit under a big tree and read a mystery book? Why not talk about the solar system, while laying outside under the stars by a campfire?

Schooling Plans 2You've probably guessed that we aren't using a formal curriculum. That may change in the future, but - for now - we're happy with this laid-back approach.

That said, sometimes we'll set aside twenty minutes or so for "school time" and our 3-year-old is thrilled when we do!

Lately, we've been making use of the Giant Kindergarten Value Bundle by School Zone. We don't use the computer software components much (I'm not huge into the whole let-preschooler-play-with-$1,000+laptop thing), but the workbooks and flashcards are lots of fun.

P.S. Check out the Sale section for great deals and/or Like School Zone Publishing Company on Facebook to stay up with the latest product launches.

Where do your kids go to school? If you homeschool, what are your favorite books, blogs, and resources?

Schooling Plans 3WIN IT! One winner will receive a Giant Kindergarten Value Bundle ($89.99) by School Zone. To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Tuesday, August 10th at 11:59 p.m. All generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified. Winner must provide a US mailing address.

* School Zone sent me a sample for review purposes and is also providing 1 bundle for the giveaway.

*UPDATE* The winner is #95 Amy Delong. Congratulations!

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126 comments on “Schooling Plans”

  1. I never thought about homeschooling before I had my children, even though I had many ideas about parenting. I haven't made any plans, yet, but I feel I have a lot of study and child observation to do so I can come to a conclusion. I have a bit of time, yet, but that time will move quickly. I am sure I would not mind more time with them, come school age.

  2. I have two boys, one going into first grade and the other following behind. These would be a great reinforcement for my older son and great primers for mt younger one.

  3. My daughter loves doing "homework" with her brother and sister. This would be a great way to help her have fun and learn at the same time.

  4. What an awesome giveaway. I love that there are over 850 worksheets with the set. I think that my children would really benefit from this set. My daughter attends pubic school. She is autistic and has really benefited from the social aspect of it.

  5. I think your approach is a good one. I think kids will become more interested in learning if someone starts teaching them in a relaxed way. This would a great tool to use even with a child in school, to help them understand better at home, or accelerate what they're learning.

  6. I think it is important to get kids learning from a young age and when fun products, such as these, are on the market, kids love to do "homework" before even entering school!

  7. We have two little up-and-coming scholars who would make ideal candidates for the Giant Kindergarten Value Bundle! :)

  8. my son is 3 and I would really like to get a head start with him,these look like great materials for that!
    ardelong2(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. My son won't be 4 until March... but yes, I'm already thinking about school. :( Of course it helps that half our extended family is teachers! :)
    We will more than likely be home schooling as well. I see no point in having him off at school all day (and we only have all day kinder here :( when I'm going to be home with the younger one(s) anyway.
    I would seriously consider the local elementary only because they offer a bilingual program and I would absolutely love for him to be in that. However, like I said it starts at the kinder level and it's all day every day. I know that he's an active kid and I think it would just kill him to have to sit all day. Plus, I'm not sure that it wouldn't kill my heart as well!
    So, there you have it... we'll see where we are in another year and a half when we really have to start thinking about it!

    1. If our local schools had bilingual programs, I'd be more likely to consider them too.

      Also - I wish schools were 1/2 day instead of full-day. 8-3 (or similar) is just TOO long.

  10. My oldest child starts kindergarten this month and I am pretty stressed about it. My three-year-old, and my two-year-old are going to be lost without their big sister to boss them around!

  11. My daughter will start kindergarten in the Fall of 2011. Luckily, the public school that she'll be attending is considered an excelling school so I'm excited that she'll be going there. I'm bummed that the state (AZ) is no longer paying for full day kindergarten, but parents have the option of paying for full day.

  12. My oldest starts kindergarten in 2 weeks and we really struggled with what the right thing to do would be. I had a June birthday and still started school when I was 6 but went to preschool for a year and Montessori for another year before that. My son has a late August b-day so we had planned to send him to Montessori for a year (after 2 years of headstart) but our center here charges almost $150 a week for part-time (w/ no snacks, etc) and we just can't swing that we me staying home with the new baby - so we're going to start Kindergarten and see how it goes.

    autumn398 @yahoo.com

  13. My daughter is starting Kindergarten in a few weeks and I hope to help her start her long academic journey right. Thanks.

  14. In some instances I'd love to homeschool but with time management and our budget it's easier to send the kids to public school. However, it is important that we enhance our lil ones learning at home even if going to school. We always want our little ones to be in the know. I'm sending my three year old to preschool in the next few weeks. She shows a desire and states she wants to go to school. Here goes nothing

  15. I knew you were a homeschooler right after I first got to know you. Your spirit just lends itself to that lifestyle.

    During the past 13 years I have used many types of curricula. Right now we use Miquon math and Explode the Code for my 8yo. I will probably start Learning Language Arts thru Literature with her soon. She reads tons throughout the day. I may incorporate a science curriculum next. My Kindergal will start out with McGruffy press for math and phonics.

  16. Our little guy begins 1st grade this year. We love our public schools so that's where he's going. We're excited because he'll take the bus this year.

  17. My daughter's a year and a half, so no school yet, but we are planning on public school. I was well-served by public schools, though I grew up in a different city. There is a charter school I want to investigate, but our local school is very strong as well. The bigger question for us is pre-school. The ones around here are insanely expensive, but I do think it would be good for her, on a social level and to learn how to behave in a group setting.

  18. Christian (4) didn't make it in the kindergarten lottery here in GA, so no school for him this year.
    We are going to try our best to teach him at home. This bundle looks like it would be perfect for his education needs. Thanks for a great giveaway!

  19. Brody is only 3.5- but pretty advanced. We do homeschooling right now along with his preschool. We are still debating on the homeschooling, but right now are leaning towards doing it for another couple of years. I love the fact that he is so excited to learn and hubby and I both working from home gives us a lot of time for "school" and both kids seem to be thriving.

  20. Our little one is only 2, but we are planning on public schools. Our elementary is ranked exemplary and the district has a dual-language program that I am hoping hits our elementary before our son enrolls. Thanks! thebubbledies(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. All schools should have dual-language programs. I often wonder why more don't. Kids can pick up languages so quickly!

  21. My son is entering 2nd grade this month (where does the time go??) at public school. I did a lot of research on the local schools before sending him, and he's actually not going to the school that's closest to us because I felt that another one was just a better for him and the school experience I wanted him to have. He's flourishing there, and I'm constantly amazed by him (but the amazement started before he even started school, of course). I know so many people who don't research schooling options, just sending their kids to the school that's closest to them without even asking around or visiting it. That's just completely unfathomable to me!

  22. I am working with my toddler to get him ready for kindergarten next year. This would be great to have for his "school time" which we have for one hour every day.

  23. I will be teaching this age group in the coming year. I would love to win this because I think it would be very valuable in my classroom! Thanks for the fantastic giveaway!

  24. I am in the same boat with 3.5 year-old. I am doing my own thing along with probably trying to follow along with Confessions of a Homeschooler http://confessionsofahomeschooler.blogspot.com/ with her Letter of the Week Curriculum. My tot loves to do those workbooks that you can get at Target/Walmart for pre-K level. I would love to have this bundle as an additional option.

  25. no schooling for us yet since the oldest is just 2. we won't be homeschooling, but we haven't decided on public or catholic school. both are very close to our house, but since we just moved to the area we don't know much about either of them.

  26. At 17 months school seems like a decision that is a long ways away except that I was advised a few months ago that I should get Elizabeth on the "list" for preschool now if I want to have any choice about where she attends. I guess theoretically she could be going Sept 2011.

    I would really prefer to homeschool her, because I'm not thrilled with the social indoctrination that seems to pass for a great deal of education here. I'm even more convinced that the problem is going to get worse rather than better, having had an insider's view of teacher education via my sister this year. Sister would probably violently disagree but I'm left feeling that homeschooling would be the better education from an academic perspective.

    The slight problem is that Elizabeth seems to share my raging extroversion. Some kids really do better in a "school" setting - I'm sure I was one of them and am worried that Elizabeth is too.

    I guess we'll have to wait and see.

  27. I would love to win this for my two girls. They will start preschool this year so I would start to use these next summer. I always push my kids when it comes to school because I am a teacher and I hate when students aren't ready and don't get support from home. My son will be going into 1st grade this year and I have him working on first grade workbooks (similar to these) over the summer.

  28. Homeschooling sounds like a great idea, alas I cannot afford to stay at home. However, I would like to incorporate some of the homeschooling/Montessori techniques and lessons into our free time together. I think this Kindergarten pack would really help.

  29. This would be a gift for my niece, she has a little girl and she and her husband are such quality parents!

    They would adore this,as she would grow into it....she is younger than preschool right now, and so alert and bright!

  30. I would LOVE this for my son - who is entering preschool soon. I'd obviously wait to use all this, but when I do, I'd be SO VERY grateful for it!

  31. this is an amazing giveaway. i like the concept of home schooling but as a working lady, it will be very hard to want to leave job and do it as much as i would like to. my friend from high school does it and she is very happy with it.

    i would love to get this package for someone as a gift who is thinking of home schooling. thanks.

  32. My kids are in public school, well all but my youngest {4 this year}. I wouldn't put any of the kids in pre-school and from age 3 we were doing a sort of homeschool/unschool thing with all kids. I believe that they do learn more from a less structured environment at that age. Last year when my daughter was in school, they were giving her third and fourth grade work {she was in 2nd grade}, she didn't have a problem with it, but eventually the teacher stopped sending that homework home because of parents complaining. I still do a few hours of the day outside with all the kids after normal school just to help the kids unwind and learn something that they didn't in school that day.

  33. My daughter's preschool just finished their first year with Private Kindergarten. It is a great program with wonderful teachers. We plan on enrolling our oldest and this package looks like it will help us at home.

    Thanks,
    Eric

  34. I sent my kids to a public school for a few years, then switched to home schooling after I saw what the public schools were teaching them at such young ages. It was a wonderful experience and now my daughter is planning on homeschooling her children.
    smchester at gmail dot com

  35. We are taking it a year at a time :) My oldest is in private school, but I am planning to homeschool my 3 youngest.

  36. Since we work full time we are planning on sending our kids to public school. We live in a small town and I think there is only 1 private school option and no charter options. I have often thought about homeschooling but one thing I have learned with my 5 year old is that she will do much better in school with a teacher that is not mom or dad. I have seen that time and time again with her. We have a wonderful pre-school program that is part of the public school system and my 5 year old spent 2 years in pre-school and loved every single minute of it and she has made so many friends.

  37. My son will be starting school next year. We haven't decided whether I'm going to be homeschooling or if he's going to private/charter school.

  38. My 5 year old, Josef, starts kindergarten in a few weeks and this would be great to help him with getting a head start. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  39. Your decision sounds perfect for your family and for your 3(almost 4!)-year-old.

    My husband and I have decided to send our 3(almost 4!)-year-old to the preschool at our parish church that is just down the street from our house. It will only be two days a week and only for 2 1/2 hours. He is SO social and desires to go to school so badly that I knew this is what he needed. I wanted to give him a little structure but I also didn't want to commit to too much structure so early on. I still want our freedom to go places and stay in our pajamas, etc. if we feel like it.

    That being said, I think each child is different so we haven't decided if this is the path ALL of our children will take.

    It's so hard and it seems there's so many more choices than we were younger, no?

  40. I am also just starting homeschooling this year with my kindergartener. This sound like a good program to try. Thanks for the chance!

  41. My kids went to the parochial pre-school and were fortunate to have a very caring and wonderful older teacher. They then went to the public elementary school a few blocks from our house. Again we have been fortunate in the teaches they have had.

  42. It seems like there are many more people considering homeschooling than I have ever sensed before. Is that what other people are feeling, too?

  43. I love your concept that “the world is our classroom." We firmly believe that it is our responsiblity as parents to teach our kids everyday through playing,reading,writing and most importantly talking with our kids.

    Our daughter goes to Sycamore Elementary (public school) and we love it. The teachers are amazing and (you know) the district is rated very high in the state of Arizona! They challenge her academically and cater to her learning needs! We "unschooled" her before she went to Kindergarten and are doing the same thing with our son who is 4. We strongly believe that it is a team effort between us and the staff at Sycamore. I am on the PTA and also communicate with the teachers on a weekly basis. If we lived in a different school district, we would definitely consider other schooling options, but we feel very blessed to be where we are at!!

    1. You're the perfect person for a PTA - passionate, energetic, purposeful...and you have great people skills!

  44. My youngest son is too young to enter kindergarten this fall, but is starting to read and loves doing "homework" when his brothers are. If he wants to be challenged, I'm happy to help him and these are so perfect for that.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  45. My kids will be homeschooled via a virtual school in our state called Connections Academy. My son will be in 1st grade and we both loved it last year. My daughter will be in Kindergarten. I chose this path for several reasons, mainly because our local school system is awful and the class sizes are ridiculous. My son thrived on 1 on 1 teaching and having the support of a licensed teacher to guide us really made it easier. I know what I want, and that is the best possible education for my kids, and they can't get that in a brick and mortar school in my area.

    I am a big fan of workbooks and like the Scholastic and Brainquest titles. I also love the Mead Writing Fundamentals when it comes to handwriting skills. Some great websites I use for the kids are ABCya.com, Starfall.com, Tlsbooks.com and KidsKnowIt.com. They are all really good. Best of luck on your journey, you can do it!

  46. Kindergarten is a really magical place. I worked as a teacher's aide in one last school year and will be spending part of my year in one again this year. I'm really excited.

    Even still, unschooling has intrigued me. I bet I would have done fantastically with it as a child, but alas, I'm pretty sure it didn't exist back then. It was just being truant then, ha!

  47. My daughter loves one on one learning time, too. This would be so fun for us! But she is also a social butterfly and can't wait for "friends at school--everyday!"

  48. We, too, have recently decided that homeschooling fits us. Although I run a business, I cherish my time with my kids and our family unit is tight - we love the idea of continuing to learn and grow as a group. I was a public high school/middle school teacher for nearly 6 years and can honestly say that the public school system is failing miserably. Kids (as a whole) don't really care about "learning" - they care about letter grades. Cheating is rampant and there is no control over what your child picks up at school - until after the fact. My high school kids drank coffee and smoked cigarettes like 45 yr olds because they were so burnt out by the time they were 15. Parents of kids who go to school often get the shoddy leftovers of their kids (maybe good, maybe bad) days instead of the most exciting parts. I care about instilling a moral code into our family, and that, too, is a very personal responsibility that I don't take lightly. Lastly, service and giving are a big part of our family's day, and homeschooling gives us a chance to do that. So funny that you posted on this because I've just recently been REALLY thinking about it. Thank you!

  49. This is a really tough decision. I can see the benefits to homeschooling and also the benefits to public or private education. My son is 4 and starting his 2nd year of preschool in the fall. We recently moved from PA to TX, so he will be going to a new school. I had a really rough time trying to decide which one to put him in, as there were so many choices available to us here. Should he go to the huge preschool with oodles of computers, spanish classes and science labs? Or should he go to the small school with small classrooms with more of an old-school learning environment? We went with the smaller school because what is most important to us is that he is in a loving, nurturing, Christian environment (both schools are Christian schools) where he would be loved and not lost in the shuffle of a bigger school. Good luck to you and thanks for the giveaway!

  50. We're planning to homeschool. I can never remember the name of the program but I've helped my sister-in-law for the past few years with her kids on occasion and they are using a classroom-based homeschool curriculum. The kids watch a class room for each subject that has been pre-recorded on DVD and then they have books, workbooks, etc... that go along with it. I've been very impressed with the instruction and with the amount of support available to the parents and students. Since I work from home and because of my personality I know that this structured curriculum will be what I need us to use in order to make homeschooling a good experience for my kids.

    Right now we do a few workbook type things with my almost 3 year old on occasion and plan to start working those things into the schedule on a regular basis - 30 minutes or an hour daily. Additionally we plan to let her start music lessons after her birthday. In general though I do take the whole "life is a classroom" approach to daily things. We talk about what the flowers are named when we walk, count and spell while we go about the day and do activities.

    Learning is fun, teaching is fun, being a Mom to a couple inquisitive kids is AWESOME!

    -Jenn

  51. My kids aren't old enough for school yet, but I have been talking to some friends about maybe doing "co-op" homeschooling or something like that. We might try it during the preschool years and see how it goes. Of course, it helps that I live quite close to several of them.
    I recently found this website of a mom who is doing homeschooling kindergarten. It makes me excited about the idea! Here is the website: http://diykindergarten.blogspot.com/

  52. Taylor goes to Acacia, but I count her as both public schooled and homeschooled! We do plenty at home; reading, writing, money, sometimes history lessons built into whatever we're talking about, science in the kitchen, etc. She loves to learn, and there's no way I would let the school have all the joy of teaching her. Just some of it!

  53. While somewhat ridiculed by neighbors and friends for not enrolling our kids in preschool, we did and are doing the homeschooling and unschooling concept for preschool, but come kindergerten, we felt it best to enroll in public school as it seemed the only place to learn to interact with others with such differences. Further, I am very pleased with the quality of schooling where we live ;), and my daughter absolutely loves it. As for preschool curriculum, we found ways to learn all around us as you are, though we did hooked on phonics to learn reading and did lots of writing and math worksheets I found online. I was never overly impressed with the little workbooks available, so made my own. I am a grammar nut and a phonics fan. I am happy to report that it worked well and both my little ones (5 and 3) are reading. While their "levels" are above their expected grade, what matters most to me at this point is that they LOVE to read. They read books, food box labels, road signs, store signs, street signs, and even bumper stickers (that last one scares me a little as some 4 letter words are very easy to sound out after learning letter blends like sh and ck - yeah the first time you hear that word ending in ck come out of your 3 year old's mouth, you will cringe!).

    Happy homeschooling!

  54. Right now the thought of homeschooling intimidates me a little, but more and more I think it is where we are heading, at least for the early years. I think the intimidation stems from me being afraid I won't do it correctly and mess it up. I so admire all the mothers who are doing it and want to learn alot more about the ins and outs in the future!

  55. You and your husband will be great teachers for your daughters. From what I know of the both of you, you two are practically "made" for it!

    This season in our lives is not conducive to homeschooling. Maybe in the coming years, should my oldest continue to request it.

    I see the value in all the options of schooling. Should we run into the financial security to afford a Christian/Private school I would be interested in seeing how we fit into that type of school.

    You never really know what life holds for you, though, so I cannot say we'll keep the kids in public school for their entire school life. We'll just have to see what happens.

    I know one things for sure, I'm not the teacher type. I don't enjoy that role, so God would have to work a whole new makeover in my personality and what drives me in order for the homeschooling option to really be a good thing for the whole family.

    Nell

  56. When we purchased our home, one of our major reasons for buying in this location is the wonderful public school system. So for now, we will be sending our son (who is now 20 months old) to the public school. It starts at 5 year old kindergarten. Right now, we are teaching him through every day events and interactions, which I think is similar to "unschooling." We don't have a curriculum or anything formalized. I think I would like him to go to a small, church-based preschool when he's 3 or 4, but only for a couple hours a week. I would like for him to learn to listen to adults other than family members, and I would like him to play with other kids his own age.

    Even though he will go to public school, I still plan on supplementing his education at home. What is a good age to start with flashcards, workbooks, etc.? Like I said, we've been very laid back so far, but I would like to do something more formal.

    1. I think we started using flashcards and workbooks at age 2.5 or 3 (I can't recall exactly). It sounds like you are doing great already! Your son is sure to be ahead of the game by the time he enters preschool. :)

  57. I teach kindergarten at a small Christian school in our area. Thus, my 5-year old will have me for his teacher this year! We have done it all...public, home, and private-Christian, and for this season of our lives, sending the boys to private school is the best option for all of us. I could definitely use this bundle of materials in my classroom!

  58. Although I teach in the public school system, we plan to send our kids to Catholic school. Both my husband and I went to Catholic school. I believe in free public education but we want our kids to be educated on God (in addition to what we do at home and also by going to church) and to be surrounded by people with similar values and priorities.
    Our daughter is only 14 months old but we are surrounding her with great early-education materials to prepare her for a love of learning. I'm really lucky to work with wonderful people who have taught early-education who give me ideas and materials but I would love to have that set!
    PS - I love hearing your views on these types of topics!

  59. My 6 year old, 1st grader, goes to our local public school. It is a GREAT school. Very highly rated.

    We also do/did a homeschool preschool thing to get them both ready for school. We use similar workbooks sometimes and also through playing and everyday events. Such as counting when making cookies, etc.

    I like Letter of the Week, Starfall(my grandpa dallies in computers and built them a cheapo desktop for school , we have circle time, and I'm working on a circle time chart,

  60. I wish we had more of an option when it came to schooling our children. We cannot afford a private or charter school. And homeschooling is nearly impossible in our area. So our 5 year old (who starts school in September) will be attending a small public school that is a block away. When I say it's small, it's really small. Or at least compared to the schools I went to. It had 200 children for 6 grades. So the school size is tiny, which is good. But I am still nervous for him to go away for 6.5 hours a day for school. =o( It pulls at my heart strings, thinking about my tiny boy. He started off in this world as a preemie weighing just 4 pounds. How can it be that he is old enough, big enough to start school.

    1. Jennifer, just as an FYI: Charter schools are free! If you find one in your area that fits your child's learning style, you just need to put your name on the waiting list...

      1. Thanks so much for the info Annie. I honestly didn't know that. I will have to do some more research. I'm sure that if I can find a Charter School in our area it will have a very long waiting list.

  61. I love the idea of unschooling, but in practice, I don't think I'd be very good at it. From what I know of you, I do think it sounds like a great fit for your family though!

    My daughter is starting Montessori in a few weeks. There are obviously huge differences between this and unschooling, but I do like that it also uses experiences to teach and doesn't focus on a curriculum.

    As of right now, we're pretty committed to this through kindergarten age and at that point we'll reassess. Our Montessori goes through 6th grade but I'm not sure we'll stay that long -- a lot depends on how many children we decide to have because I'm not sure I could afford to put more than one through at a time!

  62. My children go to a wonderful public school in the area. I see benefits to all types of school depending on your child.
    The one big downside is how the school teaches for the statewide test and makes sure that all children keep up. Meaning if your child is advanced, they are forced to wait (many times) for the other children to catch up with them.

  63. My three year old daughter loves "school work". I have purchased a couple of books from walmart and she loves them. She would be thrilled to get this!

  64. We're trying to figure this out for our almost-four-year-old as well. It's been so overwhelming for me! I never went to preschool, so I didn't even have an idea where to start looking.

    Our income qualified him for Head Start Preschool. We're on the waiting list, but I don't know if he'll end up going. I like the idea of him having some structure and a place to socialize, as we don't have a lot of kids around for him to play with. But if Head Start falls through, we'll home school for preschool.

  65. You will make the right decision for your own child and family. My children go to public school and it has worked for us. Thanks for the giveaway!

  66. Those books look great! My nearly 2 year old has taken great interest in the alphabet and can identify them all by name (except X is also K to him). I struggle to know exactly what to focus on with him next with him since he just wants to learn. Who knows what flavor schooling we will choose for him, but we will do our best to cultivate his desire for learning now.

  67. My oldest will be 4 in a few weeks! We've decided to unschool. Or continue to unschool rather. We started out making the decision to homeschool since academically she was advanced, and we didn't want her to be bored in school. Then we started researching educational approaches and learned about unschooling and I loved the respect and reverence for children that was a core part of the unschooling ideology. But I had practical concerns like can unschoolers go to college and what about gaps in their education and all those common concerns people have when first hearing about it. But I devoured everything I could about the topic for a month or so and all questions and doubts were answered. Probably my fave site is http://sandradodd.com/unschooling I also appreciated Dayna Martin's YouTube videos and blog and her book "A Revolution Has Begun." Other books I would recommend are John Holt's "How Children Learn" and John Taylor Gatto's "Weapons of Mass Instruction."

  68. I love sharing my passions with my girls. One of my favorite times of our day is "dance party". My husband plays random music and me and my girls have to figure out how to dance to it.

  69. I am constantly getting workbooks for Jade and Ivy at Target and Costco. They love them and just speed through them. Especially Ivy.
    Ivy is so excited to start preschool and I'm really excited for her to spend more time with kids her age.

  70. We have decided to homeschool our children. My husband and I are both public school graduates (through college) and while we're thankful for our education, we are anxious to see our children experience a different route. We want them to have a Christian education and be able to learn at their own pace and styles. We will be involved with a homeschool tutorial this year, where the kids meet once a week for "school" and as parents we receive great counsel from other homeschooling families and a fantastic director! We have seen many families homeschool in our community and like how it looks and are excited to be learning alongside of our children! Our kids have played soccer in recreation leagues and taken other rec classes, play with the kids in our neighborhood, and pretty much have grown up with the kids from church, so we are far from sheltering them. I was at a homeschooling conference over the weekend and loved hearing a speaker say that as we teach our children to read: it is so they can read the Word of God, to write: it is to argue and defend the faith, math: logic set to numbers, and science: to understand how God's creation works. All of education is really to disciple our children in the Christian faith. We are open to what God would have us do, but for now, this will be the new adventure for our family!

  71. Homeschooling is a brave move - and so often not even considered by parents! I can't wait to hear of your adventures. (and maybe win this great sounding prize pack for later!)
    My husband and I, both public school teachers, plan to homeschool for at least early elementary and hopefully beyond. I haven't settled on any one resource yet but I have heard Sonlight curriculum has a strong reading program and that Saxon Math is the best. I also am intruiged by the Robinson curriculum that just focuses on reading, writing, arithmetic, and leaves the rest of the time open for the student to venture into their own interests (which I love that idea!). So much to learn - it'll be fun to hear how it goes for you!

    1. I was homeschooled through the 8th grade...and my mom used the Saxon math curriculum. It wasn't particularly *exciting*, but it was straightforward and easy to understand.

      Off to google "Robinson curriculum"... :)

      1. heh heh, sorry to bring back memories of boring math - I think you may find Robinson very low on pizzazz - it's more of a concept and outline but I just like the idea to focus on basics and then let your imagination run wild for the rest ... and it seems flexible so... what do I know though! I haven't tried it yet! :) I was homeschooled 9-12 using the ACE curriculum which I advise anyone NOT TO USE - so boring!!! skill/drill all the time.

        1. I think my mom had us use ACE one year in middle school. It "worked" for me, but it certainly wasn't exciting or innovative or full of imagination (to say the least). ;)

  72. I think you are super brave to embark on a home school journey! I know it is not something that is for us, but I also do not feel like you can just send your kids off to school and neglect their education. I plan to be very involved in my kids school experience and supplement their education as well at home.

  73. Ug! I don't know...I've always planned on homeschooling until highschool but we prayed, thought, and talked and felt that it was best for our oldest to go to 1st grade this year. She is doing well but has had some major attatude changes the past few weeks. Our plan is to talk with her A TON and wait six weeks and then see how she's doing. The thing is, I want to protect her, is she ready for this? But then, isn't it better to let her start to experience real life now when she will talk to me about it?
    Oh (big sigh) I don't know, we shall see. I'll keep you posted ;)

  74. My son will be turning 4 in September also. We don't have definite plans for him right now. I'm not overly worried about it because he's still working on PL and he will be one of the oldest in his class if he attends a school. We've been using the real world as his learning experience and it's worked well for us so far. I'm interested in trying out the books if I win them!

  75. We've been very mixed on this. On the one hand, I have a K-8 licensure and as her mom, and a licensed teacher, I probably am more than qualified to teach her. On the other hand, our personalities don't necessarily "mesh" always and I'm afraid we'd butt heads if I did homeschool her. However, as much as I love the local private school, I feel as if that is too much money to spend on a school. The local public school is good, but very over populated, while being under staffed. She is also advanced for her age, and I'm afraid of her getting bored in school. So the LONG answer to that is, that we will do a homeschool curriculum with her this fall (she is 3). We plan on using heartofdakota.com

  76. Our son turned 4 in June. As a private school teacher, my son is able to attend this same school and will enter Pre-K this Fall. If this wasn't an option, I would seriously have to consider staying home to homeschool him as I think our country's education system is in need of serious reform (that isn't happening anytime soon). Good luck with your homeschool journey. I'm sure you'll do great!

  77. When the time comes, we have plans of homeschool (or roadschooling if we are out on tour). I recently read Montessori From the Start by Lynn Lillard Jessen and liked a lot of what it had to say! Do you have an "unschooling" book recommendations?

    1. I don't have any book suggestions. This is brand new territory for us so we haven't done much reading on the topic yet.

      Anyone else have good unschooling books/blogs to recommend?

  78. I honestly have been losing sleep thinking about my 3 1/2 year old getting closer and closer to school age. I went to a private Christian school (12 people in my graduating class), and loved it. My husband went to public school and loved it. So, we disagree sometimes on which road we will take with our children. I'm also a big fan of using the world around you as a classroom. Even when we go to Lowe's, we always go to the garden section and name the flowers. We tell Bible stories all the time, and have been telling the story of Noah and the ark for a while now. That's how I taught my oldest her colors. And, let me tell you, the first time she saw a rainbow in the sky, that little girl was SO excited!!! She said, "Look Mama, it's God's promise to us." Then she named all the colors in the rainbow! I was one proud Mommy at that moment! Like, wow, I must be doing something right! So, I don't know, but I hope that my husband and I can come to some sort of agreement in the next 2 years...

  79. we decided to keep my son home for the JK year here for various reasons. the biggest reason having to do with where our family is right now.

    turned out to be a really good choice. he will, however, be starting SK this year but i'm prepared to make changes there if we feel its not the right match for us right now.

  80. We live in a small town so our school is preschool-12th grade. My son had the same kindergarten teacher I had and my daughter will as well. I've really enjoyed being an active volunteer in the classrooms and have spent time reading with the kids. It's also a great chance to get the know my son's classmates!

  81. We've gone back and forth on the idea of homeschooling, but for now have found a charter school that we are really excited about we still have two years until our oldest is in kindergarten, though, so we reserve the right to change our minds...again.

  82. even though kids are so far away for me...this is something i think about.

    have you checked out a pioneer woman's website? she homeschools and has resources on her site.

  83. Our neighborhood school is fantastic so that is where my girls go. We also sent both of them to pre-K 3 days a week for 2 1/2 hours at a Lutheran perschool when they were 4. We are not Lutheran but it was the perfect one for us. I mainly sent our girls there because my oldest needed to spend sometime without me(before school had started they had never been apart from me besides 2 or 3 dates I had with my husband). She loved pre-K but was a little unsure of leaving me. I stayed the first 20 to 30 minutes for the first half of the year until she was ready for me to leave. My oldest loved her kindergarten teacher and her 1st grade teacher. My baby starts kindergarten next month. I love our school and feel very good about sending them there. I have also volunteered in the classroom, at least once a week in K (sometimes more) and once every two weeks for 1st grade. This year they will both be in school so I will volunteer even more, at least every week in both of their classrooms. If I did not feel confident about the school I would homeschool (we sort of homeschool any way with the things that interest our girls such as volcanos, science and ants right now) if the school was anything like the horrible school I attended as a child. I know much of the staff at the school and have even become friends with some outside of school.

  84. We are going to homeschool. But, our oldest is just turning 4, also. (In October!) So, we don't have anything serious planned for this coming year.
    We just went to a homeschool conference this last weekend & got some good inspiration. We are all fired up!
    But, we didn't buy a curriculum. We got kindergarten sized writing paper. We'll use flashcards for phonics work. Practice letter & number writing. And, do some visual math, adding & subtracting with little objects. Sorting objects into muffin tins & such. And, we'll continue to explore outdoors & read books aloud.

  85. I posted a comment somewhere else on here about this and thought I'd put it here too (I'm still new to responding and knowing where to do it).

    We're thrilled to have the opportunity, interest, and desire to home school for the first few years of school for our two boys. Our oldest is 4.5 years old and although we've played school for the last year with little work books and activities we'll be more consistent this fall with doing a little school each day.

    1. Best wishes w/ your homeschooling journey, Kimberly! Were you homeschooled as a child/teen? I can't recall...

      1. Stephanie,
        I was homeschooled until 4th grade and had a great experience with it as a kid. Can't wait to keep making memories with my kiddos like my parents did with me.

  86. Our oldest goes to parochial school. We were going to start our 3 year old in a pre-k program there, but decided it's too early. We teach her just as much at home, if not more. I'd like to homeschool, and have been considering it. I don't think my husband's family would be very supportive. They've been attending this school forver. It is a good school, so I'm not sure if I even want to begin the discussion of homeschooling with them.

  87. We also looked at the world as a learning experience when the kids were pre-k. Spending lots of time reading with them, answering all of their questions about how the world works,and providing educational games (yes, even electronic games) that would stimulate their brains while they had fun. They were reading by the time they were 3 & 4, so we must have done something right!
    Once they hit school age, my son attended public school and I homeschooled my daughter. This year I have both at home (1st & 2nd grade) because after prayerful consideration, we think this will be best for our family right now. We are using Sonlight curriculum because it is a very literature based curriculum. I asked my kids a couple days ago what was their favorite subject, and my son said, "I just adore when we read together." There is lots of time for reading and sharing, and very little "testing" or fact regurgitation. I'm finding that they are learning plenty without having to do a bunch of worksheets. In these early years, I want to foster a love of learning, and an understanding that sometimes knowing what questions to ask is more important than knowing the answers right away.
    For math, we are trying out Miquon math because it is very hands on and uses Cuisenaire rods to show visually and through manipulation how and why the numbers add up as they do. I also like that by the end of the first year they are being introduced to addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and fractions - much of which isn't introduced until 2nd or 3rd grade in traditional curriculum.
    Because my kids are past the K phase, if I win, I will give the prize to another homeschooling mom with a 3 year old.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Angie! Perhaps we can get together sometime? I'd be interested to take a peek at both of the Sonlight and Miquon curriculums.

  88. I would love to hear more of your thoughts. Share them sometime. You always intrigue us with the tip of the iceberg! :)
    We are talking about what to do with our kiddos. We have time. Lots. But the reality is that it will go fast. I am intrigued by the unschooling movement. My mom mentioned a book that was popular back when she started homeschooling us called "better late than never" ( can't remember the authors) and I am interested in reading it.
    Right now we want to school at home. I know that that would be the best for our oldest's personality, too. We'll see what baby sister needs when the time comes.

    1. This homeschooling/unschooling post won't be my last. I'll be sure to blog about our adventures and thoughts in the coming years.

      P.S. I just searched for "Better Late Than Never" on Amazon and the top search results were novels w/ pictures of coffee cups, red bras, and a mysterious man in the shadows. I don't think any of those are right. ;) Do you happen to know the author?

      1. I totally meant to write "Better late than early" -- I guess my fingers got ahead of my brain. :)
        The authors are Raymond and Denise Moore. I really don't know anything about it. It just sounded interesting... especially in the age of My Baby Can Read and whatnot.

  89. My 5 year old, Piper starts kin. in 2 weeks. She's going to a charter school in our neighborhood.

    Many families in our neighborhood home school, so we looked into that, but decided against it for a few reasons.

    Unfortunately, the public school in our area is not a good option either.

    So....we're in for an adventure, and will give this a whirl!

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