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Home school and ensuring your child has learned what they need to learn

I am considering home schooling as an option. It is not my first choice. My daughter had been attending a small private school since she was a toddler and after kindergarten we decided to transfer to a local public school. It is okay. Nothing horrible. My friends are happy with the public school and our children are in the same classes. My daughter is in first grade. My dd's doctors all suggest home schooling or a private school would be much better given she has ADHD and dyslexia. The teacher is an average teacher but we have come to realize she, nor anyone at the school, will provide the accommodations necessary. Because my dd was evaluated by a psychologist and tested significantly above average in all areas with the exception of reading (the dyslexia) they do not think I should be concerned. She is also hearing impaired, slightly, and she did not qualify as being impaired enough for services. As a result she does okay. She is on grade level. She is not happy and cries how confused she is.

As a result we are considering home schooling. How many home schooling parents have their children evaluated for progress? How do you know your child is at grade level or beyond? How often do you evaluate? My concern is wanting to make sure we do not miss something. I am considering a curriculum that is about $2,000 and is rated in the top five. My goal is to be above grade level and follow what interests her. I am not so sure following her interests will mean covering all that is necessary to cover. Any experienced home schooling moms with suggestions?

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Asked by Anonymous at 5:09 PM on Dec. 8, 2013 in General Parenting

Answers (11)
  • I can't specifically answer your questions about homeschooling. However, in your shoes I'd be rattling cages at the district level. BY LAW the school is required to make accommodations for your child! She needs an Individualized Education Plan.

    The school is VIOLATING your child's RIGHTS!

    For legal help. contact the ACLU. This is right up their alley.

    Answer by gdiamante at 5:16 PM on Dec. 8, 2013

  • How often, and how (in terms of the process of it) you evaluate your child's progress, will vary depending on your state and sometimes the way you choose to homeschool. For example, I'm in FL - I can choose to homeschool by registering with the district or by registering with an umbrella school. District registration requires yearly evals by a certified teacher, umbrella registration doesn't (unless the umbrella requires it as their own requirement). That's formal evaluation. The truth is, because you're in such close proximity to her education (teaching her yourself, seeing how she learns, etc.) YOU will see the progress in ways that other people won't. So if you're worrying that you won't be able to tell if she's learning, moving ahead, or falling behind - I wouldn't worry. It's unlikely you won't be able to recognize if there's a problem, or be able to tell when she's ready to move on to the next thing.


    Answer by wendythewriter at 5:41 PM on Dec. 8, 2013

  • Homeschooling does not have to be an expensive proposition, and to be honest with you, I would strongly recommend holding off on spending $2,000 on a curriculum right now. Many times, homeschoolers will change curriculum because it doesn't work for their kid, or their kid is ahead/behind that particular one and needs a different one, or parts work and other parts don't, so they end up buying others to fit in as needed. I would not spend $2K right out of the gate - I would go more inexpensive until you figure out things like her learning style, where exactly she is right now in terms of her knowledge and skills, and how you guys really want to do to that - once you know all that, you might find that that $2K curriculum is NOT what you want at all.


    Answer by wendythewriter at 5:44 PM on Dec. 8, 2013

  • Following interests is also a great way to ensure learning. When a child is interested in something, often they will actively go after learning on their own because they want to know more. And you can find ways to make reading, math, science - just about anything - fit in with a child's interests.

    With all that said, the school does have some very specific things they have to do if your child has needs that aren't being met. It sounds like they are NOT doing that, and if homeschooling isn't really something you want to do, I'd say you need to start pushing the school to do what it needs to do. You have the right to demand that they put an IEP, or 504, in place, if she needs it or provide other services if she needs them, and you should do so.

    (Sorry, I didn't mean to run on so long.)

    Answer by wendythewriter at 5:46 PM on Dec. 8, 2013


    1st Educate yourself on Educational Law...Federal and your particular State.
    2nd Educate yourself on what her specific strengths and weaknesses are...then find what works best for both
    3rd Make a plan based on 1 & 2
    Then find a pro bono educational lawyer that is not affiliated in any way with your school district to advocate with you for your child in school meetings. Starting with a basic meeting with the school then ramping up to 504 &/or IEP depending on what is needed.

    As much as you need to be non-confrontational and polite...schools will manipulate, lie by omission, out right lie, and simply refuse to obey educational laws. They will play dirty in ways you don't even realize. You are requiring them to spend time and money they don't have and don't want to spend...on yet another child.

    That's why you notify them 10 days in advance of each meeting that you will be recording it...they will do..

    Answer by vanillaorchida at 6:00 PM on Dec. 8, 2013

  • Continued...
    ...they will also record the NEED a pro bono lawyer because: 1 School's will drag things out until you can't afford to fight anymore. 2. Lawyers are the ONLY people they will pretend to respect. 3. Educational lawyers know all their tricks and how to stop them 4. Going in alone makes you the joke and doormat they will laugh about and walk all over. 5. Your lawyer needs to NOT live in your school district...have NO affiliations with your school district...just to keep them on your side.

    I learned the hard way when my Parent Advocate who was all fired up to hold the school's feet to the fire of truth and law...was asked to speak privately with the school board special education representative before our meeting...then she wouldn't look us in the eye, sat and said nothing during the meeting...terminated assisting us after the meeting...yet miraculously her special ed daughter suddenly was

    Answer by vanillaorchida at 6:07 PM on Dec. 8, 2013

  • Continued...

    ...her special ed needs daughter was suddenly chosen to be one of ten to participate in the school district's newest program.

    Learn from my mistakes. You have a rough road ahead of you. Most people give up and home school.

    Homeschooling is not for takes time and effort to find the right programs or blend of programs for your child. More time and effort to create lesson plans, create class work, present topics, grade class work, create quizzes and tests, grade them, document everything for the educational audit to prove you are at least trying to provide an educational experience equal to or better than what they would have at a "real' school. Then there is the preparing the child for all home school assessments of progress. Plus shlep them to music lessons, sports, art classes, libraries to cover what they would have available at a school. Then there is the cost of all those materials, supplies,

    Answer by vanillaorchida at 6:15 PM on Dec. 8, 2013

  • Continued... and experiences.

    It is financially to the advantage of School districts to aggravate you enough to educate your child on you dime and time. They get to keep all the money for your child from Federal and State funding due to population counts...not attendance.

    If the money followed the child (voucher system) then schools would be more motivated to help the child/keep parents happy enough to stay with that school. Every child lost would be money lost.

    Sure would be nice if this part of CM didn't limit characters...makes in depth answers unnecessarily difficult. Also, being able to edit fonts would enable clarity of communication. Should someone from CM read this...hint, hint

    Answer by vanillaorchida at 6:23 PM on Dec. 8, 2013

  • If you decide you are going to homeschool then you really need to change your thinking. Expensive does NOT equal better. In some cases the more expensive programs aren't on grade level and they don't work well. You need to know your state laws inside and out. Some require testing some don't. Some require hoops you have to jump through and some are much more laid back. If you are dead set on testing and are in a state that doesn't require it, you can still have her tested. In some states you can go through the school to have her tested. I am not sure why you are so determined that she has to be above grade level. If you push her too hard she is going to hate staying home as much as she hates going to school. There is no reason for it. Follow her lead in how fast and how far to push.

    I have no advice on the school system. I know nothing about IEP's and such, but it looks like you got some good advice there already

    Answer by kmath at 7:15 PM on Dec. 8, 2013

  • I like Sonlight and have friends who use it. I can skip some parts of it but feel so much more at ease with a set curriculum. We also do specialized tutoring for reading four times a week. I can afford the program so I am not worried if it does not work. I am just paranoid I will screw her up. I am not educated as a teacher. Doctor, yes. Teacher, no. I will work part time in a private practice. The other time can be spent on home schooling. I am torn over doing the right thing. Her school I can't fight. No one has one an educational law suit in this state in over tn years. It's just not worth it to me. I am starting this summer and will begin without the curriculum to see if I have the patience. Then in August if I decide to then I will get it. I am wondering if there are set tests to measure progress. But not those intense standardized tests used in most schools. Thank you for saying I will know if she is

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 9:24 PM on Dec. 8, 2013

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