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From: Jo in CO (
Subject:         New to homeschooling- several questions
Date: June 26, 2008 at 3:14 pm PST

Howdy all-- I have a 4 y.o. son who was supposed to go into pre-school this year, and a 7 y.o. daughter who was supposed to enter 2nd grade. We do a lot of work together at home outside of the school setting. At the end of last year, she and I both repeatedly asked her teacher for more difficult math work because the homework was way too easy for her. We never got results because the homework is "standardized" so all the kids get the same thing (i.e. "It's easier for teachers to simply standardize the children...". The same went for her reading/ spelling flashcards. We were both frustrated, especially when I found out that the teacher was using her to "tutor" other students. I'm all for her doing community service work by helping others, however, at school I expect the teachers to teach so my daughter can be the student.

When she took the CSAP test it turned out that she read at a mid-3rd grade level. At the parent- teacher conference, I asked what the plans were to accomodate her next year and the response was that since she was entering a split 2nd/ 3rd class, she'd be exposed to more advanced readers. "She will get to read with them." We're in a very rural area, where grades being coupled like that is common if the class size drops below 5 students. When I asked about my son entering the 4 y.o. group of pre-schoolers, they said he had to stay with the 3 y.o.'s because his birthday missed the school district's cut-off date. He can count, say his alphabet, knew all his colors, and is beginning to read, but he's got to be held back due to a blanket (again... STANDARDIZED) policy? There are no private schools within about 90 minutes of our location in Eastern CO so that's not an option even if we could afford it.

I'd been bored out of my mind in school because I was able to read/ do math (thanks to my parents!) ahead of my Kindergarten classmates. I learned to daydream from boredom- a horrible habit I never outgrew as I progressed through the grades. I eventually fell behind not due to stupidity, but due to an utter lack of captivating eduction at the Kindergarten level which led to that laziness later on. I don't want my kids to miss out on a good education. I checked with their dad (we're separated) and he's 100% behind homeschooling them this year. I figured I'd give it a try for 1 year, have my daughter tested at the end to make sure she hasn't fallen behind, and if she stayed ahead or improved more then I'd continue w/ homeschooling them. But if she fell behind her current scores then I'd assume I wasn't as clever as I'd thought, and I'd enroll her back in public school for 3rd grade and keep my mouth shut about their educational choices for my kids.

I work from the home (we own an organic ranch) so I'm here all the time and can incorporate the work here into her lessons. She already has to measure feed (reading and math), help out w/ the animals and garden (physical education, math, reading, science, history), and has to read one newspaper and magazine article, then summarize it for me, per day (reading and social studies). She also has several of those giant "a-little-of-everything" books for grade 1 and 2 that include math, reading, spelling and science.

I apologize for the length of this post, but I wanted to lay out some background before I got into asking questions:
1. In reading through several home schooling websites, it appears we need to do "Units." However, my daughter doesn't have a specific interest-- she loves everything. How do we choose what unit to go with?
2. It also appears that most people use some form of curriculum like The Teaching Textbooks. Where could I find that particular curriculum for grades 2& 3, as well as pre-school level work?
3. Does someone have a sample "Intent to Home School" letter they used in CO to send to their previous school, and could I copy it? I also need one for enrolling her in a different school district strictly for the extracurricular activities-- they have a youth band in the city and she said she wanted to play the flute.
4. I also sort-of-tutor a dyslexic/ ADD/ slight visual impairments/ moderate speech delays/ impulse control issues (born w/ fetal alcohol syndrome and addicted to methamphetamines and crack cocaine) 7 y.o. neighbor boy. He also may have some of those problems from a traumatic brain injury he suffered when he was badly beaten and then had his head slammed into a wall when he was about 2 y.o. He's made a lot of progress in the past few years, but just this past year he started having "tummy aches and headaches" about going to school (same one as my kids we in). No problems coming here to learn and play-- just going to school. His custodial guardian isn't able to home school him due to her own health issues.
A) Where can I find tips on helping a dyslexic child with reading and math? He gets both letters and numbers jumbled?
B) Am I allowed to HELP her home school him by having him come here for lessons part of the day, then she works on the lessons with him at home when he needs help? By law I can't teach him as we're not related, nor am I a licensed educator in the state, so I know there are limitations as to what I'm allowed to do.

Again, my apologies for the lengthy post.

Be well,


Any tips or suggestions appreciated-

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