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gdobson

Homeschooling

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My husband and I are considering homeschooling for the 2008 school year. We figured we had a whole year to check into it and think about it, but it looks overwhelming.

Do any of you homeschool? Specifically anyone in Virginia?

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I'm in Washington state and have just started homeschooling. You'll find some challenges figuring out a schedule that works for you but in the end you'll have more time where your child is not doing schoolwork and have more time with you.

If you do a search on HSLDA they have a list of what requirements are per state.

Once you get your curriculum figured out and a class plan that will be most of your time initially. There are curriculum fairs you could go to to look at different offerings to see what you like if you don't have an idea already.

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Thanks Andrea,

I was really excited about the possibilities...then I got worried that I would be holding my kids back. Now I'm back to excited again.

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Do any of you homeschool? Specifically anyone in Virginia?

We've homeschooled for the last 4 years....2 kids, who were 1st/3rd graders when we started and will be 5th/7th graders when we start school again in September. It absolutely does seem overwhelming when you first start thinking about it, but it is more "doable" than you realize, truly. How old is/are your kid/kids? I'm in NY, so don't know about the regulations for Virginia. If you Google "Virginia homeschool regulations", I'm sure you'll find out what the requirements are. NY is a paperwork-heavy state, and I was very intimidated by the reporting requirements in the beginning - now it's just automatic. Is there a local group online that you can access? I asked a lot of questions of our local support/info group before I even made the decision to homeschool.

I'm especially glad to be homeschooling now that my dd needs a gluten-free/cf diet. It will make her transition a bit easier, I expect, not to have to deal with class parties and other people's gluten. By the time she needs to "deal", she'll be older and more knowledgeable about her dietary needs (that's the plan, anyway.) Good luck to you!!!

Rhonda

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Check with your local school district to see if they have any homeschooling support. The school district I live in has homeschooling support. I did not homeschool so I can not provide anymore information.

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Thanks Rhonda,

I checked it out and it looks like Virginia is a bit "easier" than NY. Good for me - sorry. I checked out the VA homeschooling website and there happens to be a conference next Saturday. The whole family is going.

My kids are 8 and 10. It is my 10 year old that is celiac. I worry every day about cross contamination. And I see it fairly regularly.

Thanks for your help.

Phyllis, good advice. I think it's the superintendent I need to check with and see how this all works together.

Thanks!

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My mum homeschooled my brother and was able to borrow textbooks from the local school so he'd be learning the same stuff. I think she was also able to take him in during standardized testing days just to see how he was doing.

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I just started homeschooling my son in April. He was diagnosed with P.D.D. which is a form of Autism. I live in Pennsylvania, but I found this wonderful cyber school. It's called Agora Cyber Charter School. They happened to be based in Virginia. They send you all of the materials that you need, including a brand new computer. They also reimburse for internet service. You are assigned a teacher for each child and they will help you if you have any questions. Check them out on the web at www.k12.com, or here is the two schools listed for VA state through them:

Halifax Virtual Academy

Halifax County Public Schools

PO Box 1849

Halifax, VA 24558

Joe Griles, Executive Director for Instruction

434-476-2171

Nelson Academy of Virtual Learning

Nelson County Public Schools

PO Box 276

Lovingston, VA 22949

Shannon Irvin, Assistant Superintendent of Finance & Personnel

434-263-7100

Just give them a call, and they will answer any questions. I hope this helps! :)

Vicki

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I home school my kids, it's a kick in the pants. The best part is you can do what works for you and your family. My husband sometimes has days off in the middle of the week so we can do something together as a family and not worry about crowds. My kids have different learning styles so I can meet their needs when I instruct them.

This is the time of year that you can find seminars for homeschooling, as well as curriculum fairs. See if you can find a homeschooling co-op in your area. The people in those will have a wealth of info.

.

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Guest PhilosophyGirl

I was home schooled my junior and senior year of high school. The first year was the hardest for me since I was still getting used to how different it was. All in all, I really enjoyed it. I was able to learn at my own pace and create assignments that allowed me to learn the material in a way that made sense to me. I didn't have that at my old high school. I recently graduated from college with a high GPA and can honestly tell you that I was so much more prepared than my other classmates were my freshman year. I already knew how to be responsible for my school work. I knew how to be disciplined and get all of my readings done on time before class.

I did my home schooling through an accredited program. They sent me my text books and assignments for the school year. I was also assigned a teacher who graded my work. I was able to change any assignments I wanted to though, in order to fit my needs.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. :)

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Guest micah

I've homeschooled my two older kids many years. My youngest loves public school so far, but honestly, it is almost as difficult to meet all of the school's demands as it is to homeschool and work around my schedule and preferences.

If you google "Virginia homeschool," you'll get lots of sites to check out. I would also suggest checking out your local library - our greatest resource. If you can find their website, you probably can do a search for books on homeschooling there. Learning can be so fun if you don't worry too much about trying to be exactly like the schools. We have the best times when I ask them what they would like to learn about that day and we go and do it. The internet is a great tool also. My kids are constantly teaching me things that I have no idea when or how they learned it. It doesn't have to be all structured. Of course, that's my opinion.

There will be those who will criticize and be concerned. I have often questioned my ability to pull it off, especially in the face of the many doubters. But recently, my son had to take a reading comprehension test at the local college for his driver's license. When the girl gave him his test results she kept saying, "You did good, you did real good." Apparently, he scored at a sophomore in college level. We were so excited to know that despite our IMPERFECT (believe me it does not always go as planned) schooling, he is doing well. I really do believe we are a happier and closer family because of it.

Micah

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I homeschooled my son 2 years ago, it was hard and overwhelming. But then i found an wonderful private school that the kids just love. I might one day go back to homeschooling. I know here in colorado, high school kids can still take the extra curriculum classses and particiapte in sports, which is wonderful for the kids and the parents. I know there is a program called cova that is in many states but not sure if its in virginia, they send u all the stuff and a laptop to use for classes. I know many that have loved it. There is also another program ( i cant think of it), but you have to pay, but either u can tech them. or they can learn online or threw dvd's, or you can teach and use the dvds, it just depends on you and your kids, i know many online friends that have used this program and just love it, if you want more info on it let me know and i will look it up.

paula

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One more thing, you can also go to yahoo groups and look for homeschooling groups in your area, that is what i did to get lots of information. I actually still belong to an homeschool group here in my area and its great. If we have an homeschool group in the small town i live in, im sure you will be able to find one in your area. They even set up playdates every week, and have field trips, it is a great group.

paula

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If you go to www.nhen.org, you can find information on all state regulations and also contacts for local organizations. I believe the Virginia Home Education Association has a Yahoo group; at least they used to.

I'm in Maryland. So when I homeschooled my daughter, I participated in the BWHE Yahoo group (Baltimore Washington Home Educators). There were some Virginia folk on there, too.

Homeschooling is one of the best things I ever did for my daughter. She was in special education from age 2 and made great strides. But still, having been maindumped in grade 7 she was at the point of being close to failing every academic class. Mostly due to teaching style and poor materials, but let me not get started on THAT :o

I pulled her out in the middle of that year when it was clear that we couldn't improve the situation.

Move forward to today, last semester (at an Ivy League school) she received all A's. No accommodations in college admissions testing or afterwards ...

I think there are some great advantages to homeschooling. To mention two ... You can individualize to your child's interests, strengths, weaknesses, and learning style. And you don't have to use dumbed down curricula that were adopted to be politically acceptable to both the left and the right or to follow the latest educational fad.

There is a lot of useful information out there. Other than my fellow homeschoolers, I found the most use from two books, "Home Learning Year-by-Year," and particularly "The Well-Educated Mind." If you do decide you like the latter's classical approach, be aware that there are discussion groups devoted to it and that most seem to tweak it to suit their needs and inclinations.

If there is one other piece of advice I think is important is NOT to go out and buy some expensive curriculum-in-a-box just so you'll have something. You will learn by trial and error what works for each child. You can't research yourself to the point of knowing what you should use and how you should use it. Stay flexible and stay cheap, until you get a better feel for things. You can use inexpensive workbooks & the resources of your local library at first. You also need to assess what gaps in knowledge might exist or other weaknesses. It is not the end of the world if you start without everything in place. I started with two weeks notice with only three items I'd researched and picked out as best for my daughter. (The rest was workbooks, the library, and assignments like "write about something, whatever you want.") Anyway, none of those three worked out. But things certainly did work out for us.

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