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Non Christian Homeschool?


Jeff
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Looking for good curriculum and or web resources without the crap. This is for early and pre school

Suggestions?

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Thank you.

Keep em coming

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Definitely ask on secularhomeschool.com, which is BO's fourth link above. That's my favorite blog. Poking around you'll find good stuff (too much stuff to sort through!), but it might be easier to start your own thread there.

 

For science for young kids, consider Nancy Larson. It's a little pricey, but the kits contain all the stuff you need without having to run to the hardware store before every lesson. (Some science curricula say you can do the experiments "with stuff you already have around the house" -- but most parents complain that this is simply not true. No one has all that stuff.) It also has a full-blown script for the teacher, which makes it idiot-proof. Some parents find that annoying. I like it, and my kid in 5th grade likes it too.

 

Nancy Larson's name is also on the Saxon math series. It is a quite popular series, but it is also considered "rigorous" and some kids don't respond well to it (i.e. hate it and have to be dragged through it). It's dry and has a lot of repetition and lots of practice work -- which is essential for some kids and overkill for others. For math you have to decide if you have a tactile learner or one who is ok with worksheets and basic repetition (old school, lol). Search around a little and you'll see all these discussions. Singapore math is another popular one, but also rigorous.

 

Math U See is more tactile, but has its pros and cons, especially if you are going in and out of regular school -- your kid will be great at some stuff but terrible at the stuff they haven't covered yet. To be specific: Most math covers a little fractions, multiplication, geometry, etc. every year, in increasingly difficult levels every year. Math U See does only one of those items indepth for a full year before switching to another. If you follow the whole course over several years, your kid will be great at all of it in the end. But if you go back to regular school in say, second or third grade, your kid is going to have painful gaps.

 

Good luck finding history. It's a raging topic on the blogs -- seems like all of it has a slant, no matter how almost-perfect some of them seem.

 

I can't advise on language arts, because ours is embarrassingly christian. I got it because I liked the structure of curriculum itself, and -- this is big -- the fact that the subject matter is "gentle" (not laced with racial issues, political correctness, age-inappropriate material, and other weird stuff we encountered in the one semester of public school that we endured). It's put out by Mennonites, so we diagram sentences about innocent rural topics. Call me old fashioned. But there are bible verses too. Ugh. We usually skip those.

 

You'll figure it out. Don't panic. Curriculum searching is overwhelming. Don't worry.

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Wow thanks again. It's for my gkids and I was hoping some good advice could be found.

Thanks again!

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I wanted to clarify about my statement about history texts being hard to find.

 

For world history, some are Euro-centric with a white christian world view. (That's probably closest to what we grew up with.) Others are the opposite, so politically-correct that all progress (scientific, civilization/laws/morals, architecture, health/sanitation, etc.) by white Europeans is downplayed and often made out to be not that important or downright evil. It would be nice to find a series that balances those out a bit better. The one book/series that the secular homeschoolers seem to like best has one giant criticism: It spends several pages on the wandering Hebrews of the Bible, as if it is all fact even though 1) very little evidence exists outside of the biblical account, and 2) in the greater scheme of historic civilizations , this group should warrant maybe a paragraph. There are some very smart moms on the blog who can tell you what to look out for and what to skip in those books.

 

For U.S. history, similar issues. Some are my-country-right-or-wrong, centered on progress by European settlers and not so much indepth discussion of Native Americans, for example, and cheering a bit for all U.S. victories in various wars. This is probably closest to what we grew up with. Honestly, this country's leaders, for better or worse, have been old white mostly-christian men (oh the horror), so that's kinda what you have to study, know what I mean? Other books are politically correct, in my opinion, to a fault. There are America-is-evil-all-the-time themes (for example, focusing very heavily on the graphic atrocities of the Trail of Tears with too much brutal and graphic emphasis that is not age-appropriate until at least junior high or high school, in my opinion). Some give several pages to people like Harriet Tubman, but only a couple paragraphs on Abraham Lincoln. That seems odd to me.

 

I know there is a little kid world history book that the secular folks recommend, but I can't remember the name.

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Oh a little bible this and that is not gonna break anything. Their mamma has got that under control but I do appreciate your thorough feedback. I'm passing along to my daughter as they live in a sad little school district out in the country.

Thanks again RenWoman. Becks says you're pretty cool.

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My son is in the seventh grade and I have homeschooled him since pre-k. When he was little I purchased all of his school books from http://www.schoolbox.com/.
They do have some religious stuff, but there are a lot of secular options as well. 

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Jeff,

 

I Freeschooled my son. He went to puBliKSkule for band, some advanced sciences, spanglich language classes, not much more.

 

Freeschooling is thought and practice of letting kid find things and directions on their own within a general framework somewhat approved by authORitah.

Not too sure how many kids have tons of credit hours in metal work, welding, machinework, general gunsmithing, woodwork, carpentry, engine overhaul, etc, etc, etc.. However beastie did more than well enough at his "senior year" testing to graduate with equivs of  4.2 gpa, earned his diploma.

 

Schooling at home is the ONLY way to keep an intelligent kid(s) from locking up and dying on vine from boredom and lack of direction while being instructed.

 

8-10 hours daily in State Prison not my idea of any way to teach  kid you love.

 

kevinL

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Almost forgot: The Critical Thinking Company.

 

Hey Becks! Another little tidbit for you: Be warned about homeschool conventions. The big one here in NC is seriously hard-core Christian. There were Duggar-like families there, and plenty of Mennonites with their dresses and caps. I didn't mind that, really. Plenty of normal folks, if you didn't notice all the Jesus shirts and such. But the speakers started most of their presentations with prayer and quoted the bible a lot. There were maybe 8 speaker sessions per day, an hour each, with about 4 different speakers to chose from every hour. I was excited! The one I was most excited about was going to talk about the different major brands of curriculum, and how to choose what might work best for your kid's type of learning. She spent the first 25 minutes quoting the bible about not worrying, god clothes the lilies of the field and cares about the sparrows and whatnot. God will guide you to the prefect curriculum. (So why do we need her and this presentation? Just sayin'.) Then we prayed a bunch. I sat through that and finally left after 30 minutes, just when she was getting to the meat of it. All of the curriculum she favored was christian-based, although she threw in a couple other "secular" names just to appear to be thorough. I might have learned something, but I just had to get out of there. Lots of families had their babies with them and I can't stand hearing fussy babies, etc. Yeah, I was getting grouchy, obviously.

 

The entire downstairs was filled with the vendors, a room about the size of 4 basketball courts. It was impressive! Science supplies (very fun stuff), math, history, art supplies, book sellers, homeschool sports leagues, some state and local cultural/historical sites, you name it. I actually took photos of some of the booths to send to an atheist friend, with big banners like "Apologia" and "New Earth Science." I was sooooo tempted to check out the new earth fossil booth -- because they say the earth as god created it is only 6000 years old, so the fossil record is going to need some serious explanation, ya know? But I was tired and disgusted and didn't want to get into a debate.

 

There were some secular booths, and I looked at them happily, such as Math U See, Mammoth Math, Nancy Larson Science. You get to flip through the books and touch all the materials, kind of nice. I really liked The Critical Thinking Company's curriculum, and they appeared to be entirely secular. I told the guy I was looking for secular-only, and he half-smiled, rolled his eyes, and said I've come to the right booth. He got it.

 

I wish I had researched ahead of time which ones to go to, because it was annoying to start looking at something and then realize they are one of those who teach that the earth is 6000 years old. Ummmm... no thanks. And the secular ones were a needle in a haystack in that environment.

 

My daughter was intrigued to see the Mennonites working the giant booth with their dresses, aprons, caps; the company from which we get our math and language arts (Christian Light Education). The math isn't too awfully Christian, but it is there for sure. The language is heavily Christian to the point of being annoying, but we really do like the structure, the instructions, the practice work, the repetition (a technique called "spiraling"), the gentle approach. The older kids' science and history curriculum pretty much said right on the cover that they are all about "god's world" and such, so we'll be avoiding those. I want my kid to learn about evolution, call me crazy.

 

Tangent... Spiraling is reviewing what you learned yesterday (and each of the few days before) and adding one more new thing today. Tomorrow you review it all again (a little less) and add something new. By the end of the section, the quiz is totally fair because you have more than covered and reviewed everything several times. The newest stuff you just learned is reserved for the quiz/test in the next section. Constantly gently adding more stuff, and reviewing the old.

 

One other thing to watch out for: local homeschool teaching co-ops. Almost all of them around here (bible belt) make you actually sign a "statement of faith" that you believe and will abide by christian principles and blah blah blah. Thankfully, homeschooling is growing like wildfire here, so more secular groups are popping up, but they're not as big, farther in between, and not as organized -- yet. And even the secular groups have christians who want to avoid the silly statements of faith and bible thumping, so darn it -- we can't just bash on the christian groups with them around.  Hee hee. Luckily my daughter currently prefers working at home, just her and me, so we don't need a co-op.

 

The first year is the hardest and scariest. Don't sweat it. You love your kids more than anyone, so you can't screw them up worse than some stranger presiding over a room full of 30 kids they barely know, right? And you're starting early, so there's not much they "have" to learn, just some simple math concepts, pre-reading, logic, and love for learning. You have time to figure it out.

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Jeff,

 

I Freeschooled my son. He went to puBliKSkule for band, some advanced sciences, spanglich language classes, not much more.

 

Freeschooling is thought and practice of letting kid find things and directions on their own within a general framework somewhat approved by authORitah.

Not too sure how many kids have tons of credit hours in metal work, welding, machinework, general gunsmithing, woodwork, carpentry, engine overhaul, etc, etc, etc.. However beastie did more than well enough at his "senior year" testing to graduate with equivs of 4.2 gpa, earned his diploma.

 

Schooling at home is the ONLY way to keep an intelligent kid(s) from locking up and dying on vine from boredom and lack of direction while being instructed.

 

8-10 hours daily in State Prison not my idea of any way to teach kid you love.

 

kevinL

Yeah. I like that idea. My daughters were all homeschooled until around 4-6 grade. They all did advanced classes and generally kicked ass later in public school after starting at home. We were in a really good district so we had options.
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Hey, Jeff! Me again. Sorry if I have taken over your thread!

 

There is an interactive online program/game that we use, that applies to little kids too: always-icecream (for girls) and clever-dragons (for boys).

 

We had a free trial month, and I figured we'd try it and the novelty would wear off quickly. A year later my daughter still looks forward to it every day (even in the summer). The graphics aren't great by today's standards in my opinion, but she doesn't notice.

 

There are various games, learning videos, practice sets, quizzes, challenges that my daughter can do. Since I bought a subscription ($8.95 a month), I can set it up so that she can't do the fun stuff until she has finished the challenge for reducing fractions or watched the mini video on prepositions or taken the quiz on state capitals -- whatever I have set for that day. You can set a grade range (say K-2), and it will only show you the 50 or so games for that range. Then you choose the subject: adding/subtracting, geometry shapes, French at the park, U.S. states, European countries, anatomy, art/music, whatever. There are lots of subjects. (Foreign languages include French, Spanish, Chinese, German, for example.) I get a weekly email report on her activities, challenges completed, quiz scores, artwork designed, items sold in her store, etc.

 

My daughter earns coins for every challenge she completes. She can then buy pets (which she has to pay a little to feed and care for), buy furniture and decorations for her house, buy clothes for her avatar, etc. She can also design clothes, furniture and art, for her own use or to "sell" in her own little store. She gets so excited when other girls buy her designs. It's cute. She can also send messages to other girls, but she never does that.

 

She's 10, and we just returned from a week in Paris for a "field trip" for her 10th birthday (which she has been planning since she was 7), and we even attended a real fashion show while we were there. (She has a private sewing teacher and designs and sews her own clothes.) I thought she would come home suddenly more mature about the fashion world and life in general, and be tired of this silly little online program, but she still looks forward to it every day. Some days I tell her that we have done a lot of work for the day, so I can turn off the required challenge for the day -- but she always says no, she wants to do the challenge. OK, fine by me!

 

I believe this is technically a christian company, but in order to show the bible challenges, I would have to click on that section specifically -- which obviously I have not. That section does not even show up daily for me, unless I specifically go in and look for it on another page. The girls' activity is monitored too. My daughter named one of her pets Stinkerbutt or something obnoxious, and got a message from a moderator that it is inappropriate. The pet then disappeared and she had to buy another. Ha ha!

 

Another odd perk: For some reason, this daily computer time has also encouraged my daughter to explore other web stuff on her own. Now she goes to wiki to look stuff up, finds science and nature videos, searches for reviews and hints for her xbox video games, shops for fabric and sewing patterns, and such. She never did any of this before we got on always-icecream. Maybe it gave her confidence online?

 

You and your daughter will also find that there are full blown curricula you can buy and your kids do the work totally online. Apparently some kids love that. I am thankful that my daughter prefers actual books, workbooks, worksheets, in-hand stuff. I'm old school, ha ha! But at least this silly little game has encouraged some online exploration, so that's important in today's world, I think.

 

Your daughter can just go to the site and click on free trial. I won't be offended if she's not interested. I'm just putting it out there for you.

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We use Rod and Staff math (yes, it's what you think), but it's a text book style, and the religious part is easily skipped. We use Real Science Odyssey level one (they have a try before you buy option). And we use Story of the World: Ancients for history, hoping to switch to the history made by the same people that make the Real Science Oydessy. Unfortunately we're stuck with a Christian Language Arts curriculum right now. We also nature journal (really fun).

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Hey, Jeff! Me again. Sorry if I have taken over your thread!

 

There is an interactive online program/game that we use, that applies to little kids too: always-icecream (for girls) and clever-dragons (for boys).

 

We had a free trial month, and I figured we'd try it and the novelty would wear off quickly. A year later my daughter still looks forward to it every day (even in the summer). The graphics aren't great by today's standards in my opinion, but she doesn't notice.

 

There are various games, learning videos, practice sets, quizzes, challenges that my daughter can do. Since I bought a subscription ($8.95 a month), I can set it up so that she can't do the fun stuff until she has finished the challenge for reducing fractions or watched the mini video on prepositions or taken the quiz on state capitals -- whatever I have set for that day. You can set a grade range (say K-2), and it will only show you the 50 or so games for that range. Then you choose the subject: adding/subtracting, geometry shapes, French at the park, U.S. states, European countries, anatomy, art/music, whatever. There are lots of subjects. (Foreign languages include French, Spanish, Chinese, German, for example.) I get a weekly email report on her activities, challenges completed, quiz scores, artwork designed, items sold in her store, etc.

 

My daughter earns coins for every challenge she completes. She can then buy pets (which she has to pay a little to feed and care for), buy furniture and decorations for her house, buy clothes for her avatar, etc. She can also design clothes, furniture and art, for her own use or to "sell" in her own little store. She gets so excited when other girls buy her designs. It's cute. She can also send messages to other girls, but she never does that.

 

She's 10, and we just returned from a week in Paris for a "field trip" for her 10th birthday (which she has been planning since she was 7), and we even attended a real fashion show while we were there. (She has a private sewing teacher and designs and sews her own clothes.) I thought she would come home suddenly more mature about the fashion world and life in general, and be tired of this silly little online program, but she still looks forward to it every day. Some days I tell her that we have done a lot of work for the day, so I can turn off the required challenge for the day -- but she always says no, she wants to do the challenge. OK, fine by me!

 

I believe this is technically a christian company, but in order to show the bible challenges, I would have to click on that section specifically -- which obviously I have not. That section does not even show up daily for me, unless I specifically go in and look for it on another page. The girls' activity is monitored too. My daughter named one of her pets Stinkerbutt or something obnoxious, and got a message from a moderator that it is inappropriate. The pet then disappeared and she had to buy another. Ha ha!

 

Another odd perk: For some reason, this daily computer time has also encouraged my daughter to explore other web stuff on her own. Now she goes to wiki to look stuff up, finds science and nature videos, searches for reviews and hints for her xbox video games, shops for fabric and sewing patterns, and such. She never did any of this before we got on always-icecream. Maybe it gave her confidence online?

 

You and your daughter will also find that there are full blown curricula you can buy and your kids do the work totally online. Apparently some kids love that. I am thankful that my daughter prefers actual books, workbooks, worksheets, in-hand stuff. I'm old school, ha ha! But at least this silly little game has encouraged some online exploration, so that's important in today's world, I think.

 

Your daughter can just go to the site and click on free trial. I won't be offended if she's not interested. I'm just putting it out there for you.

Oh wow. My girls would have gone crazy for this when they were younger. They had that old pc game Petz but it was not online.

I love the interaction of the little marketplace.

My granddaughter is almost 5 and about ready for some of this K-2 level stuff before too long. Ha her mommy will probably start playing it with her. Although all their pets would be named stinkerbutt or such if they could get away with it???? probably

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We use Rod and Staff math (yes, it's what you think), but it's a text book style, and the religious part is easily skipped. We use Real Science Odyssey level one (they have a try before you buy option). And we use Story of the World: Ancients for history, hoping to switch to the history made by the same people that make the Real Science Oydessy. Unfortunately we're stuck with a Christian Language Arts curriculum right now. We also nature journal (really fun).

Hi Becky. Thanks. Hope you're doing well
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My son is in the seventh grade and I have homeschooled him since pre-k. When he was little I purchased all of his school books from http://www.schoolbox.com/.

They do have some religious stuff, but there are a lot of secular options as well.

Hey thanks! I somehow missed this post before.
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