Author Topic: Home Schooling / Unschooling  (Read 2407 times)

malacca

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Home Schooling / Unschooling
« on: April 04, 2018, 07:41:03 AM »
Anyone homeschooling?

We recently moved abroad and are traveling. So we are homeschooling our kids. So far so good. They are young so it is pretty easy.

Nothing beats having science class at the beach!

change_seeker

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2018, 06:19:14 PM »
We are!  I know there are others here who do it as well.  We spent 6 months on the road last year and it was definitely an unschooling approach.  Now that we have settled down again we have gotten out the curriculum and are joining local groups.

Khaetra

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2018, 08:20:39 AM »
I did that with my son.  There's so much to learn out there and a lot of actual hands-on experiences that sadly don't find their way into the classroom.  We did some workbooks (I had to keep records for the state), but the freedom to go to science centers, the library, vacations, etc. anytime we wanted to was well worth it.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2018, 08:30:09 AM »
Not sure if you've seen this one, but just making sure: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/02/16/if-i-ran-the-school-things-would-be-different/

MMM went on a pretty interesting journey with home schooling, so worth tracking down all his posts on that if you're interested.

SwordGuy

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2018, 09:48:58 AM »
I'm FIREing in 2 weeks.  One of the things I would like to do next year ('cause this year is already booked with other projects!) is to offer some specialty classes for homeschooled kids.

Things like:

Lost wax casting.
Sand casting.
Enameling.
Chasing and repousse.
Woodturning.
Automatons.  (hand-cranked or motorized moving scenes.)
Metalsmithing.
Make your own charcoal foundry and metal lathe.

All the above have a combination of science, math, art, motor and other physical skills, plus attention-to-detail building skills.   

Is there a market for this?   Classes could be in the evening, on the weekend, or during the week.  Would prefer during the week as it leaves weekends free to hang out with friends who still have day jobs.

What would people pay? 

Working with tools to make things involves an element of danger.  I'll have to check on insurance costs and liability waivers, double-check industry safety practice standards, etc.  (That's another reason for waiting until next year.)   I will probably start with community centers and community colleges first, then branch out for more advanced students at my home studio.





MrsWhipple

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2018, 05:47:49 PM »
We FIREd to take care of our little one, she's not 2 yet but soon enough we'll be doing the homeschool unschool thing. Unless she decides she wants to go to school, that is! Looking forward to reading other replies in this thread..

CatamaranSailor

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2018, 07:16:18 AM »
My son and I traveled for 6 months...Europe mostly, but we did the east coast of the US as well. He did online school the whole time. What was cool was the fact the online school was on a different schedule that his regular high school and he ended up with a full years worth of credits. He's now got all of the required credits to graduate even though he is only a junior. Next year he'll be taking dual credit classes so basically his first year of college for free. And he has some pretty great stories to tell! (His history teacher had him do a presentation on Normady as he was the only kid in the class to have actually walked the invasion beaches).

malacca

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2018, 12:08:35 PM »
Wow, this post took off!

I am 5 months in on homeschooling / unschooling. Our situation is a little bit more complicated.

My kids attended a Chinese Immersion school in the US. It was great. My kids were reading and writing two languages (not Chinese) at a young age an their English skills were very, very good before Kindergarten. So going to English kindy would have been just downtime / boring. They did very well in the Chinese Immersion and can read, write and peak Mandarin pretty well.

Now we are living overseas and traveling. We want to continue their Mandarin education. If you get too far behind in Mandarin there is no catching up. Mandarin is really two different language - spoken and written. There is no phonetic relationship so even if you speak Mandarin well learning to read and write is like starting from zero.

So we are homeschooling our kids in Mandarin! The kicker is that I, nor my wife, speak Mandarin!

So we have a tutor come in to teach Mandarin. And they get to practice mandarin where we live and travel.

I teach them math (in English) and English composition as well as science and history. I am not that organized and just have some older textbooks. I recently discovered that my home state has some resources and am looking into it.

Even with my half assed home schooling, my kids have leaped in 5 months. A friend recently sent me a sample math test from his daughter's school who is the same age as my daughter. I printed it out and left it on the table for my daughter to do. She thought is was for her brother - 4 years younger - so he did it. it was a progressively harder test. He got 3/4 the way though before he struggled.

The syllabus I am using doesn't define grades. I now realize my younger one has done two grades in math in 5 months and my older one+ grade. All in an hour a day of focused math.

They will attend Chinese schools overseas soon but this "experiment" has opened out eyes to homeschooling and traveling. We weren't sure if it was possible but now know that it is.

At this pace they will graduate high school at 13 or 14. CatamaranSailor experienced similar results in just 6 months. Probably will save her 20k+ in college fees!

One thing we discovered is that most of the homeschoolers / curriculum we met are "very" religious - which is fine by us (even though we are not). But that would be problem for the anti-religous people out there.





zolotiyeruki

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2018, 07:48:44 PM »
We homeschool our kids (I think we're on year 5).  Well, I should really say that DW is the one who homeschools our kids.  It's a huge time commitment, but totally worth it.  A year and a half ago we took a field trip to DC to tie in with their American History studies :)  We do all the core academics at home, and send the kids to public school for electives/specials (music, art, PE, band, etc).  Our local schools have been super accommodating.

Livethedream

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2018, 08:39:08 PM »
Not to hijack your thread but there is another homeschooling thread. Its one I started if you want to take a look. Lots of good ideas out there!

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mini-money-mustaches/homeschooling-88060/

mxt0133

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2018, 08:41:18 PM »
Another home schooling family here, which is for us is not quite accurate, because as our children grow up we are doing more unschooling vs following a fixed curriculum.  Like others here, when we enrolled our children in a summer reading program they were 2 grade levels ahead, 4 year old was at the 1st grade level and the 6 year old was at the 3rd grade level.  This surprised us because we were not really pushing them, we did study time 2-3 times a week and they could only do about 30-60 minutes a day.  But they do love to read and ask lots of questions that we help them answer for themselves. 

At this point we are focusing more on their communication skills and emotional intelligence.  We have also started more extended travel this year, we got a used RV and drove from California to Florida, then up to the north east.  We are hoping to go to Mexico later this year.  The ability to travel off peak season is really one of the best things we love about homeschooling.

For those of you concerned about getting into or how to fast track college, there is a book called "The Brainy Bunch" by Kip Harding and Mona Lisa Harding.  They detail how kids can graduate college as early as 18 or 17.  Not that I necessary want my kids to graduate that early but if they know what they want to study, there is no reason to wait until they are 17 or 18 to start.


JLR

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2018, 06:14:35 AM »
More homeschoolers here. Unfortunately, our kids are quite tied down with extra curricular activities that they love, but I can see us being more free to travel in about 2-3 years once our daughter is a bit older and all of her cohort head off to university. She was accepted into uni last year at age 14, but her friends still have a few years of high school ahead of them.

AMandM

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2018, 02:50:29 PM »
We've homeschooled our kids from the beginning. We've graduated five and have two still at home, grades 9 and 10.  It gave us the flexibility to move a lot (we've lived abroad four different times), to tailor their education to their interests, to play to their strengths and give focused attention to their weaknesses. Plus, the huge amount of together time has made our kids much closer to each other, as teenagers and adults, than in most families I've seen.

mxt0133

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2018, 09:26:55 AM »
@JLR Would you be willing to share how your daughter was accepted to university at such a young age?  What paper did you have to provided assuming she did not have the standard transcripts from going to a traditional school?  Does she have prior experience in traditional class room setting?  Any details that you are willing to share would help me reduce my anxiety of how my kids would go to college/university if they choose to go that route.




billsDoll

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2018, 07:30:59 AM »
Homeschooling - it's not easier. It is better!
It is not necessary to start studying at home if mother naively believes that it will be easy.

So, to start, parents and children should together decide if the school subjects will be studied online or offline, maybe you'll need Youtube videos or tutoring sessions, someone will be lucky if a child can independently learn the subject on the materials from the Internet. There are lots of schools with Skype education. In any case, the child has the opportunity to decide for himself which form of presentation he likes more.

Speaking for myself, my kids write essays, do homework assignments and other paperwork by themselves, I'm very happy about it.
Despite they're studying at university, I truly support the homeschooling!

JLR

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2018, 05:27:33 PM »
@JLR Would you be willing to share how your daughter was accepted to university at such a young age? 

We live in Australia, so our exact route probably won't help you much. But I can say that over the years universities and colleges appear to have improved their non-traditional entry pathways, so have a look around to see what is on offer at the institutions you would consider. I've also heard that homeschooled students are valued by higher education institutions because they are generally more self-directed learners than high school graduates.

For some details. Our daughter attended a mainstream school from kindergarten to year three, then year 5 before returning to homeschooling. She is now officially enrolled for homeschooling for year 10 with our education department, but her university subjects and a vocational course she is undertaking (Certificate lll in Dance) count for her elective subjects (our assessor from the education department is wonderful and flexible). I teach/assist her with maths, English, history, geography and science. She also dabbles in French, music, etc. for fun.

Our daughter started working towards university entry by completing a few online short courses at international universities through websites such as Future Learn. There are lots of sites out there offering similar things. Through Future Learn the courses are free, but it costs about $50 to get a certificate of completion for each short course. We paid for a few certificates in case they would help with a future college application. In the end I think only one was used on her application (a Preparing for University subject). Otherwise they were happy to give her a chance, probably largely because we would be paying upfront for her subjects to begin with.

The university she now attends has a pathway where you can pay upfront to complete individual subjects that will count towards a Bachelor degree. It is around $1700 per subject as she is completing a science degree, but the cost was $800 per subject for my Arts subjects when I did the same thing a few years ago. After a few subjects she can apply for a Commonwealth Supported Place in the Bachelor degree program. This will basically give her a loan to pay for her subject fees that is only indexed to inflation (no interest). This is the usual way an Australian student pays for university. You repay the loan slowly once your income exceeds about $50 000/year.

I know of other universities that offer other pathways, such as a 12 month on campus course for those who haven't completed mainstream schooling, or were unable to enter university through the usual way. I have a friend who undertook this course after homeschooling.

Nangirl17

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2018, 07:23:35 AM »
Homeschoolers here! We have one son, now age 6.

For JK we were ultra casual - my goal (with no timeline) was to teach him to read, so whenever we sat down to read (which was a LOT - no tv!) I'd incorporate a little lesson. Since he was reading by the end of JK, we decided it would be silly to send him to SK where they would teach him to read (or not - a teacher recently told me that Kindergarten is all play-based now so they may not even learn that)... So we started to homeschool formally with curriculum etc.

I was homeschooled from grade 4 and up with an ultra-religious unit studies approach, and am taking a different approach with our son - with a more thorough scope and sequence, since I feel there are gaps in my knowledge. The curriculum we're using is already teaching me things!

We just completed our year of SK (we go from June to end of April, 4 days/week to accommodate our work schedules), and it has been a resounding success. My sister who is doing her masters of education right now came down to test his reading level and he's reading around a grade 4 level. So, we're doing it again for another year and see how it goes. We'll decide on a yearly basis whether we should keep going or send to school. We are only going to do it if it continues to be successful.

I really hope to FIRE in 2024, when I would love to take our little family around North America in an RV for a year. DH isn't so sure, but the thought of being south in the winter might change his mind! We'll see!

 



AMandM

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2018, 09:58:35 AM »
@JLR Would you be willing to share how your daughter was accepted to university at such a young age?  What paper did you have to provided assuming she did not have the standard transcripts from going to a traditional school?  Does she have prior experience in traditional class room setting?  Any details that you are willing to share would help me reduce my anxiety of how my kids would go to college/university if they choose to go that route.

Not JLR, but we've sent five to university. Please relax!  It's really not difficult for homeschoolers to get into college; basically you have to show that the student's past experience makes it reasonable to believe that he will be able to do college-level academic work.

Some homeschool organizations will provide transcripts. In our case, we created transcripts in OpenOffice showing courses taken and grades earned. (These could be traditional courses, e.g. if the student worked through a geometry textbook or took an online history class, or they could reflect other activities such as a credit for drama based on being involved in community theater.) Beyond that, you need some evidence supporting the grades on the transcript.

Some colleges asked for course descriptions or syllabi in addition, some didn't. Some required a few SAT Subject tests in addition to the generic verbal/math SATs; some didn't even require standard test scores.  Our kids submitted some AP scores (you can sign your kid up to take AP exams at local schools even if they don't attend there and haven't taken an official AP (TM) course), and they had recommendations from people who understood academics--i.e., not just a Boy Scout leader saying "he's a great kid."

mxt0133

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2018, 03:10:06 PM »

We live in Australia, so our exact route probably won't help you much. But I can say that over the years universities and colleges appear to have improved their non-traditional entry pathways, so have a look around to see what is on offer at the institutions you would consider. I've also heard that homeschooled students are valued by higher education institutions because they are generally more self-directed learners than high school graduates.

For some details. Our daughter attended a mainstream school from kindergarten to year three, then year 5 before returning to homeschooling. She is now officially enrolled for homeschooling for year 10 with our education department, but her university subjects and a vocational course she is undertaking (Certificate lll in Dance) count for her elective subjects (our assessor from the education department is wonderful and flexible). I teach/assist her with maths, English, history, geography and science. She also dabbles in French, music, etc. for fun.

Our daughter started working towards university entry by completing a few online short courses at international universities through websites such as Future Learn. There are lots of sites out there offering similar things. Through Future Learn the courses are free, but it costs about $50 to get a certificate of completion for each short course. We paid for a few certificates in case they would help with a future college application. In the end I think only one was used on her application (a Preparing for University subject). Otherwise they were happy to give her a chance, probably largely because we would be paying upfront for her subjects to begin with.

The university she now attends has a pathway where you can pay upfront to complete individual subjects that will count towards a Bachelor degree. It is around $1700 per subject as she is completing a science degree, but the cost was $800 per subject for my Arts subjects when I did the same thing a few years ago. After a few subjects she can apply for a Commonwealth Supported Place in the Bachelor degree program. This will basically give her a loan to pay for her subject fees that is only indexed to inflation (no interest). This is the usual way an Australian student pays for university. You repay the loan slowly once your income exceeds about $50 000/year.

I know of other universities that offer other pathways, such as a 12 month on campus course for those who haven't completed mainstream schooling, or were unable to enter university through the usual way. I have a friend who undertook this course after homeschooling.

Appreciate the response.  I too have the impression that universities do not look down upon homeschooled applicants but always reassuring to hear anecdotal stories.  How is your daughter handling the transition to a formal classroom setting?  Any concerns about age differences with her classmates?

mxt0133

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2018, 03:16:58 PM »

Not JLR, but we've sent five to university. Please relax!  It's really not difficult for homeschoolers to get into college; basically you have to show that the student's past experience makes it reasonable to believe that he will be able to do college-level academic work.

Some homeschool organizations will provide transcripts. In our case, we created transcripts in OpenOffice showing courses taken and grades earned. (These could be traditional courses, e.g. if the student worked through a geometry textbook or took an online history class, or they could reflect other activities such as a credit for drama based on being involved in community theater.) Beyond that, you need some evidence supporting the grades on the transcript.

Some colleges asked for course descriptions or syllabi in addition, some didn't. Some required a few SAT Subject tests in addition to the generic verbal/math SATs; some didn't even require standard test scores.  Our kids submitted some AP scores (you can sign your kid up to take AP exams at local schools even if they don't attend there and haven't taken an official AP (TM) course), and they had recommendations from people who understood academics--i.e., not just a Boy Scout leader saying "he's a great kid."

Good to know about the AP classes, I was also made aware that community college level course and testing out of certain subject via CLEP to get college credits would be a way to show proficiency.

We do need to keep better records of books and courses they have completed.  They also do online work like Khan Academy which track their progress.

Thanks again.

JLR

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2018, 05:17:46 AM »
How is your daughter handling the transition to a formal classroom setting?  Any concerns about age differences with her classmates?

She is quite motivated at times, and her work was at a great standard, so I wasn't too worried about the transition. As I said to her, I wouldn't have suggested applying if I didn't think she was up to it. And it all seems fine so far.

She was a bit concerned about age differences, but has found another young one in her course (17yo) and of course the age range extends way up. It has all gone smoothly, though she is a little nervous about some science labs she has coming up, and being the odd one out. I'm sure she will be fine when the time comes. We will see what we can arrange beforehand to make it go a bit easier. I know there is a place in Canberra that runs school holiday science labs for school-aged children, so we might get her into that first. Confidence in the lab side might make it easier to manage nerves on the age side.

AMandM

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2018, 01:53:23 PM »
Just came across this, from a professional college consultant for homeschoolers:
http://collegeprepanswers.blogspot.com/2018/05/what-is-admissions-looking-for-overview.html

malacca

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Re: Home Schooling / Unschooling
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2018, 07:32:09 AM »
I went to a homeschooling seminar on Applying to Universities a few weeks ago.

Turns out most universities prefer homeschoolers. HS have a higher acceptance rate and more scholarships.

They went over how to keep track of what you taught and how to apply as a homeschooler.

It was very informative. Presenter's daughter is in an Ivy League school now.

The mother kept very good records of what daughter did, how she was accessed, etc. 

I can't fiund my notes right now but wil post them when I do.