Where do we start? Just what does a parent do when their child isn’t making it in the state school system? In our case we are in South Caroline which consistently scores low on any poll related to education rankings, you can find us placed anywhere from 48th to this one that shows us dead last! I know lots of parents who fight for their kids IEP’s (Individualized Education Program) at every meeting, fight to get what they need, fight to get the best for their kids, unfortunately in SC it seems there really isn’t much to fight for when you look at our graduation rates.
Consequently there are hundreds of home-schooling families around here. I can’t tell you how many times people have suggested I home-school my kids, to which I have responded “not in a million years, not enough Valium on the planet, what about my time-off?” and a plethora of other snappy little come-backs! However, it became apparent toward the end of the 2010 school year that neither of my kids were making it in the local public school. For B, I spent my time sifting through emails, notes and reports about his behavior, inability to concentrate or sit-still and his apparent dislike of other kids in his class. For G, it became an all-out war to even get her to school in the morning. She was so resistant toward the end of the school year my husband resorted to physically carrying her to school. Once there she would settle in, but she spent an awful lot of time in the counselors office which again wasn’t ideal.
So we decided that we needed to make some changes. We found a local Christian school that can take our son. They are all about small class sizes and never have more than 10 children in each class. He only attends school 4 days a week. This shorter week alone seems to reduce his stress level. The school is strict but seems very responsive to kids who maybe are not the proverbial round peg, round hole type. He, so far, is grudgingly happy with his new school.
My daughter on the other hand is a different kid, she LOVES to learn, and until kindergarten she loved school, but in the last year she became more and more scared of breaking the classroom rules or messing up by misinterpreting what was required. She didn’t want the public humiliation of having to move her marker in class and it was making her totally miserable trying to keep it all together. So I took a huge leap and decided to listen to her request to home-school. Yes, after curling into the fetal position at the mere thought, here I was not only agreeing to home-school but actually thinking it might be fun.
My daughter has gamely spent the last 6 years being dragged from appointment to appointment and therapy to therapy with us. Most of the focus has gone onto our son purely due to his behavioral needs and I saw home-schooling as a chance to spend more quality time with the focus solely on her. The other side of that was that there is no way we can afford to send both kids to private school. Luckily for us they both are ok with the situation as is, and amazingly neither has objected much to the other’s schooling option.
My decision was made much easier after I found Time4Learning on the computer. It’s specifically set up for home-schoolers, after school and/or summer learning. For me, initially I picked it as I loved that the curriculum was already all laid out for 1st grade. I can see how her lessons are formatted and the learning objectives/lesson plans. We are choosing to supplement with a couple of books I found at the bookstore, more to keep her writing skills up to par and to give her a change of pace when she wants it rather than increasing her lesson time. We are also adding a gymnastic class once a week for PE and Spanish via an online resource. I was delighted to find Time4Learning, as my main concern was that I would miss something vital in her 1st grade curriculum. I needed to see the big picture, rather than a pieced together schedule to ensure that I wasn’t missing out on something important. The Time4learning program makes sure that I don’t miss anything I need to be teaching.
So far the Time4Learning programs have really been so much fun my daughter forgets that she is learning. She is eager to sit down each day and get started. She is already logging in by herself as soon as we sit down, that to me means that if my 6 year old can do it, it is very intuitive and is setting her up for success. School is no longer a big stressor, instead she has returned to the eager, ready to learn 1st grader we know her to be.
I can track her progress with the click of a button, which again, I needed to be able to do both for reference to prove we are keeping up with her learning and also to check in case we need to go back and revisit a lesson. It helps to make sure we are moving in the right direction. I want to be able to see if she has difficulty with a subject or concept and check that she isn’t breezing through a module too fast. The platform is perfect for a couple of newbies like myself and my daughter. Plus once she gets going on a module I can work on my own job while she get’s on with hers.
The books we are using to supplement require much more over-the-shoulder input from me, but even at the computer I do make sure she is completing each module as she has a tendency to rush through whatever project she is working on. If she forgets to ‘exit’ properly it leaves the session as unfinished which is frustrating for her, so I need to remind her to slow down.
When I first decided to home-school it was all so confusing, how do I decide what lessons she needs to learn? Which curriculum do I need to follow? Where do I find the information? How many hours, days, weeks do we need to work on school? etc. etc. In then end I used the format set up by Time4Learning to figure out how many modules she needs to complete each day to keep up with her peers in public school, track her progress and ensure she doesn’t miss anything vital and it really is so wonderful to see her compete each section and move forward at her own pace. I have to say honestly, as worried as I was in the begining, we have settled into a nice little groove. I am glad we found Time4Learning.
If you are thinking of home-schooling, I personally think this is a great place to start.
Time4Learning is an online education program that can be used as a homeschooling curriculum, an afterschool tutorial or for summer learning. As a member, I’ve been given the opportunity to share my experiences. The content in this review was not written by Time4Learning. While I was compensated, the opinion is entirely my own.