Home School Beginnings

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by VirginiaHuguenot, Jul 7, 2004.

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  1. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian


    As parents who are preparing to start formal home schooling for the first time in the next year or two, and who desire to find or create a Biblical cirriculum for our two children (currently ages 3 and 2), my wife and I would welcome recommendations, suggestions and counsel from other parents who have tread this path before.

    For example, has anyone used the New England Primer? What about McGuffey Readers? Any opinions on Hooked on Phonics or Saxon Phonics/Math? Any recommended Reformed cirriculums out there? Has anyone compared the various Reformed childrens' catechisms?

    Let us know your thoughts. Thanks!

  2. Scot

    Scot Puritan Board Sophomore

    These two are excellent curriculums. It all depends what you're looking for. We currently use Veritas. I'll give you more info. on things later. Kinda in a hurry now.


  3. Scot

    Scot Puritan Board Sophomore

    To help prepare and for encouragement, I would definately recommend that you get the video series by R.C. Sproul, Jr. called "Training Up Children". It's excellent.


    Also, you may want to order a catalog from Rainbow Resource Center. They have a ton of stuff.


    At first, we went with Covenant Home Curriculum. It's very good but we thought that they wanted you to complete too much in a year. We now use Veritas Press which we really like and it seems a little more relaxed.

    In Christ,
  4. dado6

    dado6 Puritan Board Freshman

    A lot of what you use, curriculum wise, will depend on what state you live in. Some states have high demands for submitting curricula and progress status to authorities others have no requirements whatsoever. In micro-managed states, established curriculum may serve you better. In less regulated ones, it is better, in my opinion, to pick and choose what to teach and when.

    In general begin with this book: Alphaphonics by Samuel Blumenfeld. It is the best reading instruction on the market by a wide margin. Absolutely shocking in its simplicity and effectiveness.

    Saxon Math is excellent, especially with the higher math functions (trig, stat, calc, etc.) A very inexpensive and only slightly less useful alternative is Mathematics Made Simple by Abraham Sperling and Monroe Stuart

    And finally, before plunking down giant dollars for a famous soup to nuts curriculum check out this site:
    cheap and cheerful cirriculum
    This is one smart dude who taught his kids to teach themselves and consequently ended up with a bunch of smart kids. BTW I strongly agree with him that is wrong to teach the physical sciences before mastery of higher math is obtained.

    Home-schooling is the best!


    [Edited on 7-9-2004 by dado6]
  5. dkicklig

    dkicklig Puritan Board Freshman

    The best thing my wife and I did was attend the Georgia Home Educators convention. They had some great workshops and curriculum fair with about 100 vendors. We got a chance to see it all.

    I found the site for the Virginia equivalents:
    Virginia Home Education Association

    Home Educators of Virginia

    [Edited on 7-9-2004 by dkicklig]
  6. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Thank you very much for these tips. I will check them out. Much obliged!
  7. ChristianasJourney

    ChristianasJourney Puritan Board Sophomore

    Personally, I would start with an old fashioned secular beginning reader. "Dick and Jane". I'm sorry, but McGuffy is just not inspiring enough for me...and I really don't want my child to learn to talk like the 1700's when we're in 2004. I would have them, but I wouldn't teach out of them.

    I do like Rod and Staff readers, and very Biblical. But I have a problem teaching my child to read "God" before he understand the third commandment. Because looking for the words he knows is still a game to him, and he doesn't treat it with reverence, in my opinion. So I would save Rod and Staff until 2nd grade.

    Saxon Math is supposed to be VERY VERY good. I would definately have my children using it.

    Hooked on Phonics is pretty good, particularly if you want your child to teach himself. Phonics though, in general isn't easy for a little of children to pick up. And I would teach reading by sight/flash cards, first, before or in addition to working on the phonics. I know when I was that age my ear wasn't trained to distinguish between the short a, and the short e, etc.

    Not every curriculem works for all children, so be a little flexable and if they're not doing good with one, or you find it difficult to teach out of, switch. I wouldn't have a problem with either Bob Jones, or Abeka. It's not exactly what I believe, but my theology and principals isn't going to be passed through books, but by my teaching, and example. And since I'm the teacher, I'd be more concerned about what they were learning in Sunday school, than what they were learning in their school books.

    [Edited on 7-10-2004 by ChristianasJourney]
  8. re4med4ever

    re4med4ever Guest

    I have homeschooled my three youngest children (ages 14,12,8) since they started school and I guess I would recommend that you read alot of books on homeschooling and decide what type of educational philosophy you adhere to and then find a curriculum that offers that type of educational experience. I have always believed in the classical approach to learning- teaching the trivium- so I have either purchased curriculums that provide this type of education, or I have designed my own based on my children's needs and interests. Covenant Home Curriculum is excellant. At first you might want to buy a curriculum that contains everything you need, including lesson plans. After awhile you might become confident enough to ";;do your own thing";; especially if your child is at different grade levels in the subjects. My son was several years ahead in math, but at grade level in spelling, so I provided him with materials that worked for him. I have a B.S. in education with a specialization in reading so I enjoy the whole educational process- lesson planning, teaching, ect., but you might not, so you need to find a curriculum that fits your families needs and lifestyle. That is one of the wonderful things about homeschooling- you make school part of YOUR life.
    Some good books are: The Well-Trained Mind- A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer; The Educated Child by William Bennett; Home Education Rights and Reasons by John W. Whitehead; Home Education- Training and Educating Children Under Nine by Charlotte Mason; The Right Choice-Home Schooling by Christopher J. Klicka; Excused Absence by Douglas Wilson. A wonderful magazine is Homeschooling Today- Learning from the Past with a Vision for the Future. I don't believe in giving too much of my own opinion on certains things pertaining to homeschooling- mainly because people are going to do what they want anyway- I know I did- but I would caution you not to buy too much ";;stuff";;. There are so many wonderful materials available that it is easy to buy things you really don't need. But you will anyway- everyone does- at least for the first several years. Oh, and also, trust yourselves and don't let anyone tell you that you can't teach your own children. I may have a degree in education, but I have never used ANYTHING I learned at the university to teach my children- I want my kids to have a good education!!
  9. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    We'll be starting soon with our expanding family - Abigail Marie, who is 3.5 and Sarah Grace, who is 18 months (well, we've really sort of already started - Abby knows her letters and can count to well over 20 before getting hung up, and we're doing some basic phonics) With Abby we'll begin doing Handwriting Without Tears, and Phonics Pathways, as well as some basic math (Singapore preschool) this fall, then something more structured as time goes on.

    We're still discussing curricula, but haven't settled (nor likely will we) on any one program. It's likely we'll take significant guidance from the Well Educated Mind, a book we love, and Veritas Press, but will do some things from Sonlight also. I don't think any one curriculum is going to be perfect for anyone, and it certainly isn't the case with us. My wife would LOVE to use Sonlight straight up, since so much is done out for you - but we've been less than satisfied with what we see as lack of rigor... and Veritas's Omnibus idea for the higher grades is just too good to ignore.

    We'll see where we go... wherever we go, we keep God's word before, behind, in and throughout us though...

    Yours in Christ,

  10. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    What ever you do teach them to read phonetically. Sight reading will lead to a great deal of trouble in their ability to 'teach themselves' . Phonetic instruction also lays a foundation for logic and critical thinking.

    In mathematics you might want to take a look at Math-U-See for the first five or so grade levels. Much less expensive than Saxon and more easily grasped (literally) for many.
  11. ChristianasJourney

    ChristianasJourney Puritan Board Sophomore

    All kids are different, and what works for one well, may not work for the other at all. When teaching phonics it's sometimes hard for a child's ear to distinguish between sounds, particularly short vowels. (I'm speaking from experience.)

    Personally, with my kids I plan on teaching them how to sight read, using books and maybe flash cards...and gradually I'll teach them phonics, but their ability to read will not depend on phonics alone. They should also be able to read faster with the sight reading method. (I know some children who learn phonics that sound out EVERY word they read. ) So I would use both methods.

    I learned to sight read at a young age. I also learned to read with phonics, and I can relay some funny stories about how my phonetically pronounced words sounded.
  12. Puddleglum

    Puddleglum Puritan Board Sophomore

    You might want to take a look at <www.hewitthomeschooling.com>. I don't have first-hand experience with their curriculum for early grades, but if it's as good as their high school & junior high programs it's worth checking out. (I'm a Hewitt graduate, and all my younger siblings have gone / are going through their junior high program as well). They're a Christian organization (not accredited) which uses some Christian curriculum, some self-written stuff, and some secular materials as well. They're pretty flexible, which was nice for us. :) And their self-written materials - at least all that we've used - is GOOD.
  13. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

    [color=darkblue:5234b6fba5][b:5234b6fba5]I have used School of Tomorrow for 3 years. It is reformed and biblical throughout. This year however I am going to do a mixture of SOT and suggestions from a great website called Classical Christian Homeschooling. I just love this website. If you read Dorothy Sayers famous article The Lost Tools of Learing you will get the just of what the aims of the website are. They recommend some great stuff and they give you a text book list for each grade and lots of other resources that any homeschooler would love such as:

    100 Pivotal Events in Western History this has links to info on each event also.

    1000 Good Books list

    Scope and Sequence which has all of the recommended books for each grade which include Latin and Greek and creeds and catechisms.

    So this year I am going to definitely use the Spaulding's "Writing Road to Reading" for english grammar for all of my children ages 6-10. This website has inspired me to make sure all of children have the "tools of learning" instead of being able to pass a multiple choice test using cleverness. Richard Mitchell author of "Less Than Words Can Say" said: An education that does not teach clear, coherent writing cannot provide our world with thoughtful adults; it gives us instead, at the best, clever children of all ages. [/b:5234b6fba5][/color:5234b6fba5]
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