Homeschooling : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

We have always homeschooled. Our firstborn graduated from high school in 98. She is a lovely young woman! When people share compliments about her to us, we hear words such as gracious, kind, caring, responsible, and ethical. She has been earning college credits since she was 15, and hopes to attend a good art school if the dust settles on Y2K. Meanwhile, she is working this summer and is involved with our local community theater. Our remaining students are 16,10, 7 and 5, with a toddler and baby to boot. My husband and I helped found a private school designed specifically to be an ISP (Independent Study Program) in southern CA. I would be happy to share my opinion regarding curriculum and resources, and attempt to answer any other questions. Although academics have their place in life, our goal was (and is) to see our child/children grow in wisdom and love. We began homeschooling almost by default, but grew to love it. Yes, there are sacrifices, but there are corresponding rewards and benefits. Common questions usually pertain to legality, socialization, curriculum, resources, support groups, and results. Please let me know if you are interested in these and/or other topics. My email address is real.

-- Mumsie (, July 09, 1999


Great new topic...we have homeschooled our 16 year old son since 1st grade...can you believe the local school wanted to "flunk" a kindergardner 'cause he couldn't read yet? As is ended us he didn't start reading fluently until about a year what? If he had stayed in school he would not be the polite young man he is today...heck, only needed to board the bus to school to hear taunting,vulgar language,etc. Think people out there should seriously look into how they will educate their children if it all falls down. Investigate curriculum,create a home library of good fiction/non- fiction/biographies and think alot about what you really want your child/children to know. I want my son to know how to work hard and give an honest day's labour...a rare thing today to treat others as you would like to be to enjoy life and appreciate what you have to see a goal and work towards it in a positive way. Living on a farm helps as there is always plenty of work but mainly this requires supervision and guidance which is sorely lacking in so many childrens' lives today. How can teenage boys have so much free time that they can build bombs in the garage and no one see?? Sure lots of people out there have great tips for taking responsibility for our childrens' education.

-- MUTTI (windance, July 09, 1999.

Thanks Mumsie. I'm interested in curriculum for 7th, 8th, 9th grades. Any recommendations? Also - curriculum for Spanish?

-- Mommacares (, July 09, 1999.

Do you know of a good grammar curriculum? How about geometry, etc.?


-- flora (***@__._), July 09, 1999.

We have used the Saxon math series for years when homeschooling our kids. Excellent. Its slight drawback is that its very orderliness and precision can make it a bit boring. We supplement with other texts that talk more about the "story" and flow of mathematical discovery. Still, HIGHLY recommended.

-- BigDog (, July 09, 1999.

Cut and paste this URL for many, many homeschool sites.

If that doesn't work, try entering "homeschool" on your search engine.

I have experience with mostly Catholic curriculum for homeschooling and would be glad to help if I can. Address is real.

Also, if secular or Christian is preferred, I can steer you in the right direction.


-- Mercy (, July 09, 1999.

P.S. BD, you homeschooled too? Cool!

Ditto on the Saxon Math...when a concept is learned, just skip ahead. Good for the learner who needs review.


-- Mercy (, July 09, 1999.


I have heard people complain about the lack of "socializing" for home schooled children. If you could visit the schools here you would probably wonder what society those kids came from! Better to keep them at home and terach them to become responsible adults. And it sounds like you've done a good job.

Watch six and keep your...

-- eyes_open (, July 09, 1999.

While there are wacko home schooling families who don't "socialize", the research evidence (and our own quite extensive experience with homeschoolers over 15 years) indicates that home-schoolers are more mature, stable and comfortable with both adults and peers than other people in their age group.

The caveat is that many home-schooling teen-agers are entirely turned off by the phony teen culture that afflicts our schools and society. In that sense, there is usually a several year period where they don't "fit in". This can produce a certain loneliness (kids are human, eh?) and requires sensitive care on the part of Dad and Mom.

Once they pass through this phase, we find that they are basically ready for adulthood at age 16, far ahead of their age peers.

-- BigDog (, July 09, 1999.

We have two teens (daughter 15, son 13), both currently in public schools. Homeschooling has been a topic of discussion in our family for over a year now, for a variety of reasons. We have many homeschooling families in our circle of friends and certainly the homeschooled kids are (by and large) wonderful.

Here's our challenge: everything I read and heard indicates that homeschooling requires very strong organization and at least a modicum of teaching ability, neither of which are my wife's strong suits in any way, shape, or form. She's quite gifted in many ways, but not in those areas, and also has health problems which can sap her energies for days at a time. The folks we've talked with are all very much "plan the work and work the plan" types and fairly high-energy, and these seem to be critical success factors for homeschooling to work.

Your comments welcomed.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), July 09, 1999.

With regards to "socialization". I think parents of children that attend public schools need to be more concerned about the socialization skills being developed by their own children than home- schooled children.

After all we need to build more and more prison space to house the socialized products pushed out from these highly revered institutions.

It would appear to me that these glorious institutions are nothing more than huge baby-sitting centers that are doing the best they can with the greatly neglected and defective products herded into them. I have been appalled at the obvious lack of intelligence and socilization skills demonstrated by people who post on this and other forums. Spelling, grammar, and over-all relation skills are terribly lacking. There appears to be more of an MTV/movie shock-em and shock- em some more mentality. I certainly don't see any promising signs of well socialized and intelligent life-forms being produced.

Our three children are also experiencing the wonderful freedom of choice of being home-schooled. They are articulate and can relate and socialize with all different age groups. They have plenty of opportunity to socialise with their peers after school. They have friends who attend public school, private schools, and also other home-schoolers. They attend extra-curricula activities along with their friends. When I am involved in their get-togethers it never ceases to amaze me the lack of socialization skills that many of their friends have and more importantly the terrible attitude problems they seem to develop whether they go to public or private schools.

I guess there might be some hope though, some of the schools in our area are introducing character education into their curriculums. What a concept that will prove to be for many of the children and their parents!!!

-- Happy (, July 09, 1999.

Mac --- There are a wide variety of home-schooling styles that work. What doesn't work is trying to shoehorn your family's style into something dictated by well-meaning homeschool curricular folks. You would be amazed at what your kids can learn in a two to three-hour period daily. Most kids under the age of 12 can't absorb more "book larning" than that anyway and just tune out while they sit passively at their desks (in school OR at home).

Some organization is needed, but less than most people imagine. Not to over-romanticize (most home-schoolers, including us, feel like "failures" most of the time), but the main goal is developing healthy, moral, self-reliant adults who, yes, can read, write and do arithmetic.

The first part is hard. The second part is a cinch.

-- BigDog (, July 09, 1999.

I have considered homeschooling my daughter who will be going into the 4th grade this year, but have absolutely no idea where to begin! Can any of you suggest some good books that would point me in the right direction? Thanks!


-- Nicki (, July 09, 1999.


Just read your reply.

You mentioned that you have other home-schooling families in your area. Couldn't they help out with any teaching difficulties. There are some wonderful curriculums that provide lesson manuals that are scripted for the student to use on their own.

We started out using a very well organised curriculum from Calvert. They provide wonderful lesson manuals through 8th grade. (I have often felt that such manuals would make life a lot easier in our public schools, especially for all the substitute teachers that are used). We were lucky - the children took to the Calvert approach like ducks to water. They flourished and fast became independent learners.

Our eldest boy has just completed 9th grade using an independent study high-school curriculum that also provides lesson manuals from the University of Nebraska. He had become an independent learner through Calvert needing "NO" extra teaching from us. That's not to say that there weren't plenty of discussions about all the things that HE had taught himself and were expanded on through discussion from various sources. We weren't sure what to expect through 9th grade with higher algebra and science. We were pleasantly surprised and my son was thrilled to discover that all he needed was the material provided by the University of Nebraska. We experienced no problems.

We have two sons that are enrolled in the Civil Air Patrol and do very well on their tests. They invariably pass their tests first go, whereas the other kids need to take the same test 3 and 4 times before they pass. I attribute our sons success to the independent learning skills that they have developed through home-schooling which shall prove invaluable when they enter college.

We chose the structured route as a family and it is what our children chose to continue using. We have adjusted it to more suit our needs over the years. We also felt that because it was more than likely that college would be in their future a more structured approach would better prepare them.

As for the teaching difficulties. So far we have been lucky and haven't encountered any. We do have access though to professionals who would be more than willing to help. Our immediate neighbor teaches English at our state university and has encouraged us to continue with home-schooling. My step-father, a retired micro- surgeon, is available for math and science. His best friend who runs his own research lab is also available for any science difficulties. I mention this to indicate that if you take stock of who you know you might also have access to professionals that would be more than willing to help. Because our children are so personable and CAN socialize well all the people we know are always asking if we need any help.

It took us a year of lots of reading and soul-searching to reach our decision to home-school. We are pleased that we did and so far the children have chosen to continue without hesitation.


We also use SAXON. We use SAXON for our supplemental summer curriculum along with Easy Grammar, Daily Grams, and Writing Strands.


Our two sons are at TRI-WING Civil Air Patrol encampment this week. They have had a real dose of suffering with the heat!!!!! I should add that no mention has ever been mentioned to date at any of their meetings about Y2K.

-- Happy (, July 09, 1999.


You might like to start with Mary Pride's "The Big Book of Home Learning". The libraries in our state carry the series. There are three volumes in her updated series and four volumes in the previous series.

The current series consist of:

Getting Started Preschoold & Elementary Junior High Through College

I also have a great home-schooling web-site that is jam packed with lots of information useful links. I shall locate the URL directly and post it back here for you.

-- Happy (, July 09, 1999.

Nicki, Try


-- Happy (, July 09, 1999.

Good books by the Moore's as well. Can't remember titles off-hand, but we read them all over the years. John Holt good if you're considering "unschooling" (too loosy-goosy for us).

-- BigDog (, July 09, 1999.


Another thought I had. A group of home-schoolers hold monthly meetings at a local library in our area to provide information and answer questions to people who are interested in home-schooling. My husband and I found these meetings very helpful when we were first investigating the home-schooling option. These meetings are still being held and you might find that similar meetings are being held at a library near you.

Our local libraries are a valuable resource to us and we have always found the staff to be supportive and extremely helpful.

-- Happy (, July 09, 1999.

We homeschool 5 children and have now for years. Our oldest is going into grade 12 this year, and he is not what most people would call your typical teenager. We have never had any problems with him in all his teenage years. He is almost 17. My mom used to tell me "you just wait till you get teenagers" thats because I wasnt homeschooled. I started a kindergardener this last year and she was my first in this grade. Im very happy to say she can read very well and write in cursive(thats right cursive beautifully) she is only 5. You can do anything you set your mind to if it means alot to you. Our children should mean the most. I use a curriculum called A-Beka, it comes out of Florida. We have a video tape for each day of the school year in every differant grade. Its a real classroom setting and the teacher does the teaching I am the teachers aid. Its just wonderful. Dont get me wrong its alotof work but to see what becomes of it is a real joy . Its the best thing we have ever done.

-- Homeschooler of 5 (, July 09, 1999.

Homeschooling requires many sacrifices (at least the way our culture uses that word), but it "glues" a family together more than anything else I have ever seen, as this thread is making clear.

Those of you who are wondering whether you will be in a home-schooling situation next year should take heart. If you are able to, pick up a range of "learning materials" now. They will be useful and wonderful for your children no matter what happens with Y2K.

-- BigDog (, July 09, 1999.

Thank you BigDog and Happy! I will check for those books at the library - and have the recommended web site up in a separate window right now. It looks like a fantastic resource! I have many teachers in my (large) family and also have a relative who homeschooled her children, so I think I will make some calls to find out about support groups.


-- Nicki (, July 09, 1999.

We started homeschooling our 5yo in kindergarten last Aug. By Jan she was doing 1st grade work. In Ca. we have independant study under the county office of education. They provide all the necessary materials from the teacher's manual to crayons, glue and paper. We have a teacher who comes every other week to check on progress and set guidelines for the next two weeks. She usually brings arts and craft projects for Summer and her 4yo sister. We go on field trips about 1/mo with other homeschool families. At Christmas, we have an arts and craft workshop. The school district does all the record keeping and presents them with a diploma on graduation. We had 23 graduates last June. I just love this program. The school district respects the wishes of Christian parents and allows us to use our own curriculum if we wish. I use the district program but add some Bible study time each day.

-- Homeschooling Grandma (, July 09, 1999.

Don't get Text Books and Toys, but rather Reference Books, Biographys,and Tools to educate. I taught reading by sight word not, phonics. When a slave learned to read, they taught the other slaves by writing in the dirt. The "experts" will make you think you can't teach your kids, they use "teacher lingo" that is above you to intimidate. Teaching is just sharing knowledge. The only thing is feel that separates the long time homeschooler from those just starting out, is confidance. I felt I could do as well with a few kids than a teacher with 30. And just think of what the child at home IS NOT LEARNING (from being in public school)

-- Palavia (, July 10, 1999.


My youngest is in high school now and will graduate this year from a public high school. I did pull the kids out of public school several years ago for a semester and when they went back, they were way ahead of the other students. Unfortunately, I am the primary breadwinner in the family and we couldn't sustain the loss of my wages. My husband and I both agree that had we known 13 years ago where society was going, our kids never would have set foot in public school and we would have arranged our lives accordingly.

I am glad that someone mentioned the Calvert School. I looked at their curriculm and was very impressed by it. There are several correspondence high school classes available from various universities as well.

Even though I only homeschooled for a short time, we have always had plenty of reference books available to the kids (actually my library is better than the school's !) Used book stores are great for picking up books at very reasonable costs (after all history doesn't usually change and math is math). If you are near Omaha, there is a used book store called the Antiquarium that looks as if it should belong in an old movie and has tons of books for sale.

-- Beckie (, July 10, 1999.

Don't be intimidated byhomeschooling....I have always worked full- time nite shift as a nurse but managed to direct my son's homeschooling program...we never used any particular course but delved deeply into whatever subject he was interested in plus math everyday.As he was such a late reader we read for hrs. a day. I am a person who requires her sleep so "school" rarely started before 2 pm when I got up...remember, your homeschool doesn't have its time broken up by recess and lunch and there are no long bus rides. You can get an amazing amt. of work done in one or two hrs. A general outline of what I wanted to accomplish over the month is the most I did. If your children have strong reading,writing and math skills they will be better educated than 99% of the people they meet....colleges actually have reading tests and classes for their incoming freshman....why is this necessary?? All of your daily activities are learning experiences ...we are all still learning everyday(one hopes). And don't forget the great programing available on does not have to be a dirty word. My son adores the History Channel and you have The Learning Channel and Discover and PBS and videos available on any subject. Investigate the "unschooling" movement and break away from thinking homeschooling should be school at home.

-- MUTTI (windance, July 10, 1999.

I usd to study and read encyclopedias and be interested in learning, then I turned five and they sent me off to f#@king school for 13 years where I learned hardly anything, other than conformity to idiot commanders and their mindless tasks. I inevitably came to be seriously disgruntled, depressed, cynical, resigned. Had some fun, met some friends etc. Then I got out of school and started reading things that EYE was interested in, and never looked back.

Here's some links... Check out their links page too. Holt is a hero. A great site.

-- number six (, July 11, 1999.

My eight-year-old has never been to school. We've been homeschooling him for thirteen years, i.e. since well before he was born.

Don't worry about being able to teach. My son learns more by teaching his four year old friends than he would be learning in school. Other than that, we do not have "lessons."

Don't worry about tests and quizzes. My son asks most of the questions in this house. When I ask questions it's because I genuinely want to know the answer, not because I'm worried about whether my son is up to snuff. We use a "baby sitter" once a year so we can go to the company christmas party, where children are not welcome. The sitters invariably say, "He has a better vocabulary than I do." they've been saying this since he was four!

Don't worry about curriculum or textbooks. Get real books like the ones recommended on BigDog's thread on Putting Together Your Post Y2K Library. Check out any of the books of my idol, John Holt.

Don't worry about socialization. Since you'll be spending a lot of time with your kids, you'll naturally be showing each other how to be somebody that you like being around. This skill is generalizable to other people. If there were no other reasons to keep kids out of schools socialization would be enough of a reason by itself. The recipe for the civilization of your child is not to lock them up with 30 other same-aged barbarians.

Don't worry about driving them to accomplish. Education should be about getting the child to chase after learning, and not the other way around. As Marshall McCluen said, "The medium is the message." I want my son to know, deep in his being that he is worthy of making his own decisions about his future and doesn't have to always just go with the flow. I intend for him to get a lot of practice at doing just that.

In summary: Don't worry!

-- Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr near Monterey, California (, July 11, 1999.

My thanks to Mumsie for starting this thread, and to one and all for your contributions to it. It has helped immensely by showing me far more possibilities for homeschooling.

To paraphrase a certain dark-helmeted bad guy: "The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Forum."

Bless you all.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), July 12, 1999.

Here's something I just wrote that I think would help to calm parents' nerves about being qualified to "teach" their children.

-- Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr near Monterey, California (addy.available@my.webpage.neener.autospammers--regrets.greenspun), July 14, 1999.

nice essay, dancr. take your nap in the sun and label yourself 'passive solar gain 101.'

i'm on the board of a rural library, and we're just now getting together a home-schooling section. thanx for all of these excellent posts!

-- Cowardly Lion (, July 15, 1999.


I suppose this has been mentioned before, but the observation is new to me: It's just AMAZING how many y2k GIs (Got Its) are or have homeschooled. The CORRELATION to being able to 'think outside the box' bowls me over!

Yah, we homeschooled back in the '60s when it was strictly a no-no. Then again with our 2nd, in the '80s. Turned out two very bright, independent thinkers.

Let's all pat ourselves on the back.


-- William J. Schenker, MD (, July 15, 1999.

I am SO amazed when people think that parents are not capable of teaching their own children. (Some parents won't make themselves be disciplined enough to do it, but they could if they WOULD!)

Who do you think is more concerned about whether or not YOUR child can read, write, perform mathematical calculations, etc.? You, or the teacher? You, or the principal? You, or the government? Think about it.

-- Gayla (, July 15, 1999.


Well, after much discussion (including review of this thread by my ever-lovin'), it looks like we'll be homeschooling our 15-year-old daughter come Fall. *gulp*

Many factors go into this decision, including my daughter's intense frustration with the zoo that is her high school (4000+ enrollment!) and our sense that the high school's struggles with drugs, gangs, and its "armed camp" mentality are simply not conducive to her physical and spiritual well-being. Our son is heading into his final year at a K-8 magnet school and should be fine for now. We'll start with Sis and see how it goes.

So, all you experienced homeschoolers, I need some wise counsel here. How do I go about determining appropriate studies for my bright, verbal, fairly well-organized, but "mathematically-challenged" HS sophomore? We live in SoCal (San Diego, to be specific), if that helps with any pointers. Thanks in advance.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), July 19, 1999.

Mac, I agree with many who have suggested Saxon Math. A-Beka has one of the most incredible curriculums I have seen, but the math is difficult. If your daughter is "mathematically challenged" :-) then Saxon is the way to go. It reinforces tasks learned and moves ahead incrementally.

-- Gayla (, July 19, 1999.

Just reviewed the Saxon website. Read John Saxon's letter about the standards efforts of the NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics). He states so clearly what I'd only vaguely sensed about the way my kids were being taught math: lots of concepts, lots of group work, lots of verbiage, not much skill work, and no retention at all!

Thanks, all! The Saxon materials look excellent and I frankly am getting pretty excited about the opportunity of working with my daughter on this. Who knows? Maybe she's not "mathmatically-challenged" at all!

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), July 20, 1999.

That's the spirit, Mac! :-) There are lots of curriculum possibilities for other subjects. My favorite for history, literature, etc. is A-Beka. It is Christian based. There are "book displays" in many large cities where you can go and just take a look at the material. Check out their website:

-- Gayla (, July 21, 1999.

Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr near Monterey, California

Attention, prospective homeschooling Teens and those who care about them: One of my favorite resources for this age group is The Teenage Libaration Handbook, by Grace Llewellyn. It provides all kinds of non-textbook ways to explore everything under the sun.

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage.neener.autospammers--regrets.greenspun), August 03, 1999.

Looks like the next A-Beka presentation locally is 8/17. I'll be out in Poway at Susan Conniry's "urban survival" session on 8/18, so that's shaping up to be one eye-opening week!

Dancr - Thanks for the reference to the book by Grace Llewellyn (lovely name - like a character in a Dylan Thomas story). I seem to recall reading one of John Holt's books when I was in college (way back in the early 70's) and being much impressed with his approach to education. One of the discussions I've started having with my daughter is "What does it mean to be 'educated'?" Very enlightening, all this.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), August 03, 1999.

And if anyone needs any more "encouragement" to homeschool, read this item from the Yourdon Forum: Colleges, public schools lag in Y2K prep

It sure helped steel my resolve...

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), August 07, 1999.

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