“My wife and I have been talking about that,” said the dad at soccer practice. “So how do you do it? Do the kids have to take a test every year or anything?”
People frequently have questions when they learn that we homeschool. Every now and then they’re a little judgey, but for the most part they’re just curious. I’m usually happy to answer to the best of my ability, even if the questioner is just being snarky.
The “have to” stuff is pretty easy to answer. Our state doesn’t have the most draconian standards for homeschoolers, but there are a few rules to follow. Yes, I told him, homeschoolers do have to take an annual standardized test here; Poppy and Pete did theirs just this week. We also have to register our homeschool with the state, we have to operate on a regular schedule during at least nine months out of the year, and we’re required to keep attendance records on file. Our state also encourages — the state emphasizes that word on their website — homeschoolers to, among other things:
The “how to homeschool in general” question is always trickier for me to answer, because there are roughly 1 billion ways to homeschool. You can get a curriculum-in-a-box or do school online. Unschooling, Charlotte Mason and Classical Education are all popular. Or you can take aspects of lots of different curricula and philosophies and cobble together what works for you, which is what we do.
Here’s a bit of what we did this week:
Pete is making good progress in “All About Spelling,” and depending on the day he’s either enjoying or enduring “First Language Lessons, Volume 2.”
Poppy started the “Wordly Wise 3000” vocabulary program after finishing her spelling book a few weeks ago, and she’s working her way toward the end of “Growing with Grammar: Level Three.”
The woman who administered the kids’ testing this week had some suggestions for us on the math front.
Poppy isn’t behind, but she’s ahead of grade level in everything else and just at grade level in math. The test administrator said RightStart Math would be a good fit for her. We only have a month or so of school left this year, so I’m not switching it up just yet. Poppy will be trying it next year, though.
Regarding Pete, she said he ought to be doing more challenging work. I gave him the next two end-of-unit tests in his McRuffy book, and he only missed two out of the combined 30-plus problems. So we’re accelerating his progress a bit. He’ll be skipping the rest of the current unit altogether, and we’re going to skip lessons here and there in the next unit.
Poppy’s reading speed is off the charts, but her reading comprehension isn’t as strong. I know where she’s coming from on that front. We’ll probably both be well-served by the reading comprehension book I ordered for her.
In read-aloud news: We’re still reading “The Mysterious Benedict Society” by Trenton Lee Stewart, and I still don’t love it. This kids do, though.
Pete tests for his yellow belt at tae kwon do tonight!
Our homeschool co-op has a Field Day every spring. This is the first year that we’ve been able to go, and the kids loved it. There was a soccer skills challenge, a long-jump station that turned into a high-jump station, a sack race and a hula-hooping station, and there were a couple of different relay races. The most popular “event” seemed to be rolling down the giant hill next to the field, though.
The test administrator — a former elementary school teacher who homeschooled her five children — said we might consider committing four days a week to our core schoolwork and using the fifth day to do things like nature walks, projects or field trips. I like that idea a lot, and I think we’re going to incorporate it next year.
How was your week?
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