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overwhelmed... how did you start?

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 I have been running myself crazy reading every bit of information regarding homeschooling that I can get my hands on.  There's all the different methods, all the different academies & curriculums that you can sink your money into, worksheets and book or child-led exploration...

my oldest is only 5, but I have to have her registered in just a few short months when she turns 6.  I've been TRYING to get into some sort of schedule, failing miserably, by doing a few workbook pages from preschool/kindergarten math books & writing/penmanship... She's got the reading down, but she's becoming bored with it and failing to, or giving up on sounding out any difficult words.  I know that's largely due to me and my stress about it all--- I'm taking all the fun out of everything.

How did you figure out what works for you and your kids?  Did you invest loads of money into these curriculums only to find out that it wasn't what you thought?  Did you buy your own stuff? (...and may I add how incredibly expensive these workbooks can be!!!)  Do you let your child mention a subject they find interesting and somehow find the time and energy to come up with a weeks-worth (or more) of projects and stories and fun activities surrounding the chosen topic? 
I've got a 9-month old, a 3-year old and a 5-year old.  I want to homeschool, adamantly.  I just can't figure out where to start, what "method" I should try... how to know I'm not screwing it all up.   I don't want to start and fizzle myself right out of it by feeling like a failure. 

So, please, tell me... how did you begin?  What works and didn't work for you?  What do you hate but your kid(s) love?  How much money do you spend on homeschooling supplies? 


by on Oct. 23, 2011 at 8:21 PM
Replies (11-13):
by on Oct. 26, 2011 at 7:11 PM

 Ok my advice? STOP RESEARCHING!!! You will NEVER find what will work for you out of a book. Each day set some time aside for 'school' - read a book, play, do a worksheet, etc. The only way to determine the 'type' of learner she is and the type of teacher you will be is to 'get your feet wet'. GIve it a go. It's really not as complicated as it can seem.

by on Oct. 27, 2011 at 10:58 AM

 hi jlee, heres how i do a unit study: its long!

This is How I write a Unit Study!!

Ive done these for years, even before they were called unit studies!! so if you like to do research making units are very fun!! I generally make all mine in the summer, since we don’t do any school stuff then.

I use internet, library, make up worksheets, video, tapes etc.
I always do a time line so kids can place what we are doing on it. Keeps it straight in there minds and mine!

You can do plays, tape books and put sound effects on the tape, about the subject you do. these are fun to do!

Lets see, how about doing one on turtles!

First i ask the kids what they know about the subject, i either write it on the chalk board or have them write it down on a piece a paper, then i ask them what they would want to know about the subject we will be doing.
Next i find info on turtles from lib., internet, videos, tv, etc. set it all out in front of me(i use my huge kitchen table to work on) then i think of how i want to go about giving info to the kids! i try to answer the questions how, why, what, where who, when,

heres some ideas i use:
You can find out how many different types of turtle there are and have kids do research on some

you can make up little booklets with activities for the kids (younger kids love this) to do just staple all the pages together. In these booklets you can have comprehension pages you make up, puzzle pages, counting (math) pages, looking up certain things, spelling words/vocab, writing essay pages, coloring pages, art pages, cooking turtle soup or making turtle cookies, bits of history and science etc!

We always keep a notebook on our units of what we drew, made, wrote, etc..

Spelling and Vocab:
use words having to do with turtles, take the words out of what you are teaching, make up booklets just for the spelling and vocab so the kids can writing them in there.

the kids can write stories, poems, jokes, about turtles, they can research certain turtles and write essays. For some of the younger kids i write facts down and they can read and copy on another page.

English or lang. arts:
I just use workbook for this subject.

History and Science:
the kids can look up and tell the history of a few turtles, what they were used for, where they originated, how they hatch, how long they live, etc. what Indians used them for, what medicinal qualities they have, how are they used for food, buy a turtle and keep as a pet, how to take care of a turtle, what they eat. Watch some videos about turtles,

make posters of different ones, draw pictures to put in there notebooks, turtle crafts

the kids can read books about turtles and tell someone about what they’ve read, (keeps it in there brains!) write a book report, read to younger brother or sister about turtles.

depending on how old the kids are, for the little ones you can make up worksheets on counting turtles, measuring turtles, find some turtle manipulatives, turtle pencils, etc or just use a regular math workbook or book.

Well this is just a few ideas and the way that I do my units. You can add as much and as little as you like. As my kids got older I had them make up unit studies to teach each other. we sure have a lot of fun with unit studies, and learn so much!

Quoting Jlee4249:

Ok, I looked it up and I get the gist of what a unit study is, but it would help if someone spelled it out to me... Simplify it a bit w/an example of what you've done


by on Oct. 27, 2011 at 11:42 AM


Quoting Jlee4249:

Ok, I looked it up and I get the gist of what a unit study is, but it would help if someone spelled it out to me... Simplify it a bit w/an example of what you've done

 Ok this is how I do it - I pick a topic I know the kids are interested in, lets say Ancient Egypt. (we did this last spring)

Spelling - I'll choose about 10 words that are related to Egypt and each day I'll post one with it's definition on the living room wall - and the kids get 1/2 a Behavior Buck for using it through the day correctly.

Geography - THe kids make a travel brochure on visiting Egypt - the topography, sites to see, weather, food, etc.

Math - this could be doing a time line for the youngest (tying it in with using a number line) and Learning about Triangles/Pyramids.

Science - we mummified a GI JOE, and we cut up an apple and treated 1/2 with the salt mixture mummies were treated with, we left the other half to rot for 2 weeks - then we analyzed the differences. We also learned about anatomy and rudimentary medicine. Historians believe ancient Egyptians had a good handle on treating many basic illnesses from broken bones to the flu. We also learned about Levers & Irrigation as ancient farmers used both to bring water from the Nile to their farms. We also learned about tidal areas as that is what Egypt is.

History - we learned about the history of Egypt from the time of the Pharoahs to present day and their struggle for a constitution.

Reading/Writing - the kids learned how to make paper and we learned heiroglyphics and they wrote a paragraph using the language. They also did a story writing experiment. We read the Magic Tree House book based in Egypt and the kids wrote about what they'd like to see/visit if they could travel back in time.

We usually do a Lapbook of these things- to keep all our crafts and such in one area. This is like the kids writing their own 'textbook'. It's like a scrapbook of all the cool activities we did, the museums we visited, the process of the experiments, building our own pyramid, etc.

That's how I plan a unit - I find the topic then find ways to bring in all the subjects I hope to apply that topic to.


Need a great Latin Curriculum for grades K-7? Check out LATIN FRUCTUS!

Home Educators Toolbox / Articles / Kicbuttmama's Crazy Lapbooks

Albert Einstein --
"It is, in fact nothing short a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom."
"Everybody is a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid."

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