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~I'm homeschooling my ds starting this fall and was curious how much of my day it's gonna take. According to "Homeschooling for Dummies" I should allow about 2 hours a day. That actually seems to intense for a 5 year old to me. And is it possible to use an unschooling method this early in the game? I think we'd both do better with a relaxed approach but I have no clue how I'd teach him to write and read without a textbook approach. I'll have a chance to peruse some A Beka Book curricullum next week which is probably what I'll buy to start him out. Any advice from home teachers would be very welcome!TIA!~
 

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We unschooled up until this year. The twins turned 10 and the oldest turned 12. It worked well for us to unschool because of some learning issues. I also think that unschooling works best in the younger years when their attention spans are shorter.

I used the World Book Encyclopedia site's section on "typical course of study" to figure out what they should be learning and then figured out other ways besides bookwork for them to learn it.
 

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It is okay to be either unschool or provide a relaxed approach in the early grades, in my opinion. I tried to go the K curriculum route with my oldest who is now 8 (2nd grade), and still regret it. We stressed ourselves out for months before I finally threw my hands up. For K & 1st grade we have and are using lots of games, manipulatives and read alouds. I no longer believe that it is imperative that a child learns to read at 5, my daughter also taught me that. At 8, she is blossoming into a reader and actually wants to work on phonics which just 6 months ago would have sent her into a puddle of tears. She went from having almost no 'grade-level' work prior to this year to working out of 2nd grade materials for everything except math (3rd grade) with no problems.

We do have 'lesson' times to fit in with the times I am doing lessons with my 2nd grader. I have activities for both my 3yr old and 5 yr old. Some of the things we do include:
~Magnetic letters (from the dollar store) and small individual magnetic boards; my three year old sorts and matches the letters and my five year old has simple word cards that she copies with the letters.
~I have found an expensive set of letter and digit stamps, which they enjoy sitting and stamping out words.
~Math games, counting bears (or trucks, or frogs - not to expensive and can be found at educational resource stores). ~Cutting pictures out of old magazines and making their own 'theme' books.
~ Each year I buy a lot of single subject notebooks when they go on sale for .10 or less. I give each child one and let them decorate with stickers, this is their notebook to write, draw or scribble. My five yr old likes to have me help her spell with whatever list she is making in her notebook. When they finish with that notebook, there is always another.
~ I do have plenty inexpensive discount store and dollar store workbooks for when that strikes their fancy.
~ Nature walks, neighborhood walks, playground trips and field trips to age appropriate museums
~ Plenty of time for free, independent and imaginary play (this is often how they 'digest' what they are learning
 

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what has worked for us is that for the Kindergarteners, I always buy a huge learning book at Sam's - it is about $10. I prefer to use this book b/c I like the fact that the subjects roll into each other and it has alot of fun activities that the children can do. I also supplement with flash cards , word puzzles,games & learning dvds. I also like the fact that the children can learn at their own pace. I make them complete at least 2-3 pages a day - sometimes they are having so much fun that they wind up completing more.
We use the ABEKA program for grades 1-12, but for the preschoolers & Kindergarteners, I find that just buying the one big book at Sam's works very well & makes the learning experience fun:)
 

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Also, two hours of "school" doesn't have to happen in a 2 hr block. ;) A walk around the yard counting, playing a made up game of follow directions, or reading in a tree are all educational. You don't have to sit your child at a table for two hours with pencil and paper. You will find that you can find your groove with your son fairly easily. I know I worried more about HS than was necessary. Have fun!
 

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My son was an early reader but handwriting was (still is, a bit) torture for him, so he really hated workbooks ... so for our K year, he did a lot of Clifford Reading/Phonics, Reader Rabbit, JumpStart programs on the computer -- if you have a good thrift store, you can often find them for a few dollars rather than getting them new (and check your public libraries, too).

Now might be a good time to check your state laws about record-keeping, etc. In our state (CO), kids didn't have to be on the state's homeschooling "books" until age 7 (though I think it might have changed to 6). Your state might also have the state academic standards online by grade level, which you can plan to hit in a casual, unschooly way. For the most part, we did play, play, play and reading reading reading ....

In the summer after K, we started working on short handwriting lessons (Handwriting without Tears, Write from the Start); and daily math, since those are the subjects that ds probably wouldn't hit on his own on a given day (he's a book nut, so language arts/literature is not a problem). I did buy the Saxon Math K and 1 curricula (DH and I are engineering faculty and are pretty pro-math) -- it was too regimented, but I used the teacher's guide to make sure that we were hitting the subjects. We go to the science museum and the library at least once a week. I keep a log of things he does/explores, in addition to samples of work.

Hope that helps! Welcome to the joyful world of homeschooling!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
~Thanks so much for the replies! I'm getting really excited about starting. I've done some preschool stuff with ds but it hasn't been a priority. I'm lucky that NJ is a free homeschool state. I'm not required to do anything for the state's benefit. My biggest hurdle wil be setting aside time every day to focus JUST on his education, even if I am unschooling. I'm considering having a week off every month(for my sanity and to help the kids digest the material) and schooling year-round. Does anyone else do that?~
 

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I haven´t homeschooled my kids, but this is an interestic topic. In Finland kids go to preschool at the age of six. The real school starts the year they are seven.
Both my kids learned to read and write before preschool by themselves. I didn´t teach them, only helped a little if they asked.

We read a lot of books. I started to read to them when they were babies, just a couple of months old. We went to library at least once a week.

I don´t agree with the two hours a day. If your child is happy with it, then it´s okay. But it doesn´t have to be so formal. Playing, listening to stories, crafting and drawing or cooking is very educational, IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I haven´t homeschooled my kids, but this is an interestic topic. In Finland kids go to preschool at the age of six. The real school starts the year they are seven.
Both my kids learned to read and write before preschool by themselves. I didn´t teach them, only helped a little if they asked.

We read a lot of books. I started to read to them when they were babies, just a couple of months old. We went to library at least once a week.

I don´t agree with the two hours a day. If your child is happy with it, then it´s okay. But it doesn´t have to be so formal. Playing, listening to stories, crafting and drawing or cooking is very educational, IMO.
~I absolutely agree with you! I didn't mean 2 hours at a table looking at books. I just know that I'm usually in my own little world doing housework, reading and crafting so I need to set aside a block of time to only focus on interaction with my kids. That comes naturally for some people but not for me.
Also, I've been doing some reading about the education system in your part of the world and studies that seem to prove that starting 'late' is better for kids. I'd love to hear some more of your thoughts on the subject!~
 

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Also, I've been doing some reading about the education system in your part of the world and studies that seem to prove that starting 'late' is better for kids. I'd love to hear some more of your thoughts on the subject!~
There are a couple of wonderful books on that subject --

Golinkoff, and others.
Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn--and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less

David Elkind
The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally


:apple: Annie
 
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