So I may have overdone it

I’ve been doing more research on online curriculums and decided not to do T4L just because I really wanted a stronger Science course. Also, I could see that Jared (my 8th grader) would probably get bored with T4L’s Science and Social Studies sections since, from what I read, it’s mainly just reading. I haven’t found any really good Social Studies online programs…maybe Alpha Omega’s Monarch? Still not sure. I mean, the boys are already signed up for a Session 1 class for Minecraft Homeschool. Jared’s going to be in the Castles and Cannons class, which supposedly covers “Ancient History,” so that could count towards Social Studies, right? Hayden’s signed up for Build Your Own Adventure, which is supposed to cover “Creative Writing/Videography/Public Speaking/Research”…so that’s more Language Arts. But he wants to do Castles and Cannons for Session 2. We’ll see.

For Math, we’re going to use Math-U-See. Even though Jared took Algebra for 7th grade, I showed him the sample Math-U-See Algebra lessons, which he didn’t recognize, so I got him the Pre-Algebra packet. I got Hayden the Delta package, but I’m thinking I should have started him at an earlier level even though he saw the online sample Gamma lessons and thought they were too easy. Initially, I was going to go with TeachingTextbooks for Math instead, but Jared didn’t like the teacher’s voice. heh.

I found this Homeschool Buyer Co-op site and decided to get the ScienceFusion program. I’ve read the complaints of the ScienceFusion site’s layout, but it seems like a solid curriculum, and I like the online/workbook combo.

I’ll probably also end up getting the Wordly Wise 3000 Online to use along with Vocabulary Spelling City. The kids used Spelling City when they were in school, and I always thought that was a good site. For Li’s Handwriting Without Tears, I ended up getting the following items: Blackboard with Double Lines, Letters and Numbers for Me workbook, Little Chalk Bits, Little Sponge Cubes, Pencils for Little Hands, Rock, Rap, Tap & Learn CD, Wide Notebook Paper (500 sheets). She already had done some writing in Pre-K, so she’s doing fine with HWT for now. She likes the CD and also that I let her draw pictures on the chalkboard after doing a lesson. No issues really with the workbook either. She’s also signed up for Starfall for more reading, phonics etc. I’ve always liked that site!

The Discovery Education Streaming Plus also looks good as a supplement for many subjects! I’m signed up with their Free Trial at the moment and was surprised at how much there is. I thought it was just going to be a collection of boring, old videos. 🙂

For Reading, Jared finished “A Christmas Carol” and is going to start on “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” which I don’t know much about except that it looks like a book he’d be interested in since he likes those Lemony Snickett ones. Hayden finished and loved A Wrinkle in Time – that was one of my favorites as a kid. I had no idea Disney made a movie on it, so we watched it after he finished the book. I could tell there was a lot of green screening used in the movie. 🙂 He’s also started reading The Lemonade War. And as I mentioned in my previous post, Li is doing a lot of reading of children’s books.

I’ve also found a ton of sites to use for FREE for Foreign Language, Music, and just educational games for supplement. These are the links I’ve looked at:

Funbrain

Hoffman Academy

123 Teach Me – Spanish for Kids

Duolingo

Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool (ton of stuff here!)

e-learning for kids

Teach Your Monster to Read

ABCya

MrNussbaum

Khan Academy

Xtramath

Lesson Pathways (lots here, too!)

Scratch

Kindersite

Codeacademy

Code Maven

Typing Web

So now, I’m working on Lesson Plans etc, but I’d prefer to use an online planner just because if I wrote it in an actual planner, I could see myself rewriting and crossing out things, which would be a mess. I looked at a few and settled on Mardel’s online one. It’s ok. But if anyone has other favorites, please let me know.

HomeLife Academy (HLA) – Q&A

The following are some notes from a couple of emails between HLA and I. These questions were initially sent to David Parkerson (admin@homelifeacademy.com), but they were answered by Lynn Knowlton (lynn@homelifeacademy.com). Lynn Knowlton is an HLA Counselor; phone # is 1-888-560-0774 ext. 3509.


Message: I live in TN and plan on having my kids finish the school year in May 2014. Then I plan to start homeschooling them (for the first time!) for 2014-2015. I have been researching Church-related Umbrella schools and have seen HLA keep coming up in my searches. I have a few questions about HLA.

Q1: Let’s say I were to decide to enroll with HLA this week. If I decide to register for 2014-2015, will HLA contact the kids’ school before the end of May? I just want to be sure their school won’t be confused and think I’m pulling them out for the 2013-2014 school year.

A1: HLA will begin requesting records for all student’s enrolling for the 14/15 school year on May 15th. If you need HLA to request records at a later date you can make a note at the top of the Educational Plan box of the application.

Q2: One of the reasons I am looking to homeschool is because my 4-year-old daughter, who is in Pre-K at a private school, although she passed her Kindergarten screening, her teacher still wants to hold her back for maturity reasons. I disagree with this, but because it is a private school, we would have to abide by their rules if we stayed. I noticed HLA has this question as part of their application: “Has the student(s) been charged with truancy, suspension, expulsion, misdemeanor, or been on probation?” How would you expect me to respond to that knowing my 4-year-old’s situation?

A2: You would answer “no” to that question because being held back is not the same as being kicked out of school or receiving disciplinary action by the school.

Q3: I also noticed that HLA requires an “Educational Plan“. This is very confusing for me since HLA states “An educational plan is a list of books and other materials your student will be using at home for each class. It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to determine the courses and materials/books your student(s) will be using for his/her classes.” What is confusing is if I decide to use an online curriculum such as Time 4 Learning (www.time4learning.com). I did find their online curriculums for my kids:

Is that good enough for HLA? If so, would the information on those pages need to be entered in the application, or would the links suffice? If the information on those pages are not good enough for HLA, then does that mean HLA does not support online home schooling where no specific books are listed?

A3: The Educational Plan is a list of the classes and the resources being used for each class. If you will be using Time4Learning for each class, you will simply list the information as follows: Math – Time4Learning, Language Arts – Time4Learning and etc, on your application. You will do this for each class.

**I emailed Lynn a followup question to this asking what are all the subjects that HLA expects as part of our curriculum. Here’s the Q&A to that:

Q3 Follow-up: I’m still hung up on curriculum. Are the following subjects ones that HLA is specifically looking for? Am I missing anything, or are there ones I don’t need to submit? This will be for a Kindergartener, 4th Grader, and 8th Grader.

Language Arts
Math
Social Studies/History
Science
Bible
Art/Music
Health/PE

A3 Follow-up: HLA does not have specific “requirements” until high school. However, all students in grades K-8th should be focusing on the 3Rs (Reading, Writing, Arithmetic) at minimum.  Any additional courses can be based on the student’s interested or whatever you feel is necessary.

Since you have an 8th grader, now is a good time to begin looking over the High School section of our website to become familiar with our high school requirements. This information may help you determine what courses the 8th grader needs to focus on the most over the next year.

Q4: If our Educational Plan changes, and I switch from Time4Learning to something else, would I have to notify HLA anytime that happens?

A4: If you change resources for a class, simply log into your account and update the information as needed.

Q5: Does HLA give any sort of “It’s time to renew” reminder towards the end of the school year for their existing students?

A5: HLA sends out notices by email advertising Pre-registration discounts beginning in January of each year. You must be re-enrolled each year by the time school starts in your area. Discounts are greater the earlier you re-enroll and the fees increase in August.

Q6: Do you think it is necessary to register with HSLDA.org?

A6: Yes, we recommend that families sign up with HSLDA.

Q7: Also, I noticed on our school district’s webpage, it states:

It is the responsibility of these schools to notify the school system when they enroll a student from our school district. Parents enrolling a child in one of these schools should take the initiative to see that this is done.

I’m sure we’re not the first family in this area who has used HLA. 🙂 I’ve emailed the Policy contact person from our school district about this, but have yet to hear back. Do you know if HLA will notify our school district after we sign on with them? Or, will I have to do that?

A7: You do not have to notify anyone about homeschooling. Simply let the private school know that she will not return in the fall. HLA will take care of requesting records from that private school. This will serve as the schools official notice that the student is officially transferred so they can send records. HLA sends a list of students to the county each year notifying them who is enrolled.

Homeschooling Curriculum: Time4Learning?

Homeschooling Curriculum. Can you say OVERWHELMING? There are SO MANY choices to choose from.

After searching and reading reviews and knowing that I want primarily an online one, I am going to try Time 4 Learning (http://www.time4learning.net) to start with. At least, they have a pay month-by-month option which is good. I don’t want to waste money on an entire year’s worth. I’m not sure if the 8th grade one will be challenging or even interesting enough for Jared.

I’m wondering if I even need to get one for Li since she’ll just be in Kindergarten. And she likes Starfall.com. I wonder how that compares to Time4Learning.

I’m still a little confused, though. I mean, I know homeschoolers will pick certain curriculums for certain subjects. But can you use more than one curriculum for a specific subject? Hmm…I guess I could ask HLA (HomeLife Academy) that.