Saturday, August 07, 2010

Calling all Homeschooling Moms!

Okay moms, I need your feedback! Can you please leave a comment or write to me privately to let me know how your experiences have been with the following?

Time4Learning: We've actually subscribed to this (for one student, where both use it!) for most of a year. It's been supplement/free time stuff, and the kids love it. However, I'm wondering if anybody out there has used it for a pretty major portion of your homeschooling program? FYI...they've added a lot just since we signed up less than a year ago.

School Made Simple (Calculadder/ReadyWriter/Alphabetter): I've got one kiddo who needs major work with memorizing basic math facts and who struggles severely with handwriting. I've got another student who I think would benefit from the Alphabetter program as an enrichment (not struggling with alphabetizing, but wouldn't hurt to do better).

Total Language Plus: This looks like an interesting way to work through books together. Specifically, I'm wondering if you could use this as a stand-alone Language Arts program, or if you would use a typical grammar and spelling program in addition to this (thinking it would be fine for vocabulary, critical thinking, etc.).

Mr. Q's Classic Science: A friend recommended this to me and it looks pretty cool--especially for FREE! Anybody use it before? As "extra" or stand-alone?

As you can tell, I'm totally re-thinking our homeschooling plans for this year. We aren't the "ideal" homeschooling family in that I don't just get to "stay" at home--I have to "work" while I'm here (love my job, so I'm not complaining). The reality is that online learning is a very real solution for some families, and it needs to be a part of the solution for my family this year. I had planned a completely traditional homeschool program, with the addition of Time4Learning as free time enrichment. Now, I'm thinking that Time4Learning is going to play a bigger role in our plans, with traditional learning about 33-50% of the time. I know I will supplement with our Christian Education Program (Rodd and Staff). I know I will add in handwriting/copywork, and some sort of literature program. Pretty sure I will add to History/Social Studies, and probably grammar. Hoping Time4Learning Science will suffice, except for when we have time for something like Mr. Q's program.

When the big kids are working online, that will free me up to do stuff with the little kids, and stay up on my own work.

The other part of this is that there is a new Charter School here, where you use your child's own state and federal funding to customize their education. So for instance, each child will have about $1000 in their learning fund. WE (the parents!) choose what that money is spent on--curriculum, ballet lessons, speech therapy, football, choir, even paying for our internet connection! Also, a law was just passed here where children who go to online public/charter schools now have the right to attend extra-curriculars in their home school district. That would be pretty cool for music and p.e., if that's considered as "extra." Only quarterly student samples are required, which I am okay with. No set schedule, etc., and no "teacher" interfering in how I choose to teach my children (unless I request one). Sounds pretty cool. Regardless I am going to be changing our homeschool program. It's just a matter of whether it's coming from our budget or the state's! We'll be doing the same exact same either way!

So...let me hear your thoughts! And if you have another program you absolutely love, I'm all ears.



Lisa Olsen 10:22 PM  

Hey, saw your post, and while I don't homeschool, I am a teacher, and I wanted to suggest this website to you as an additional resource just in case you hadn't found it yet-

You can change the grade level on the left to whatever is needed, then select math, or language arts etc. Then it lists skills that grade level needs to know, and as you follow the links you can find tons of review sites on any skill they are struggling with, including math facts. :-)

Hope that helps, if you haven't seen it before.

A. Gillispie 12:06 PM  

Lisa, thanks for your comments! Always love to hear from classroom teachers on our homeschooling stuff {was a public school teacher in my previous life}!

We are squared away on what State of OK says we need to know each school year, but always looking for new resources to help us meet those goals!

Spike and Tuna Jones 4:22 PM  

LOve TLP! We used it for years. LOVE the charter idea too. We had that in California and we got money to buy curr. or take classes. My kids learned how to ski, speak spanish, art, and then some on the charters money but my choice. Wish we had that here in Colorado!

Michelle 5:04 PM  

we use time for learning as enrichment for Lilianna (7yo) and she is motivated to do it frequently because it is fun and she loves the playground - but I have noticed a lot of the concepts I know she has worked through (and passed) just haven't stuck.

I hope other parents post their experiences with Time4Learning!

topsy-techie 6:36 PM  

We've used Time4Learning for three years now. It is definitely the core for math and language is REALLY comprehensive in those areas. We also used it as the core for American History in 7th grade, because it was truly the best American History course I've ever come across. The science definitely can only be used as supplemental. Oh, but the new art course is really good too!!