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Colorful Books

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What should I teach my child?

A: Whatever your child needs to learn!  Florida has no specific subject requirements.  Homeschooling parents are responsible to decide what their child should learn. 

  Some parents want a guide to help them decide what to teach.  Florida's Dept. of Education website CPalms.org shows the current Florida standards for what public school students are supposed to learn at different grade levels.   Or try a list from another source.  Some parents like the list of "typical course of study" skills listed under the parent resources on https://www.worldbookonline.com/training/html/tcos.htm (the site for World Book Encyclopedia).

  Some buy expensive, pre-made curriculum from publishers (or online through sites like Amazon.com or eBay.com).  These can be great for parents who want everything laid out for them, or who are unsure of themselves.  But they can be expensive, particularly if they are not right for you and your child.   Some popular publishers for homeschoolers include Abeka (Christian publisher), The Good and the Beautiful (Christian publisher), Sonlight (Christian publisher specializing in kits for homeschoolers with literature-based and global-based education), BookShark (the nonreligous version of Sonlight), Saxon (secular publisher; particularly for math and phonics materials, designed with lots of repetition and spiral-learning that some love and some hate), Singapore Math (as it sounds, produced by the government of Singapore, has Singaporean and American versions, the difference being the currency and measurements used, uses a bit different order than Americans are used to, but many homeschoolers love it), Math-U-See (secular, a lot of visual learners like this), Oak Meadow (comprehensive secular curriculum; see www.oakmeadow.com or call 802-251-7250), Spectrum Workbooks, and there are many, many more.  (Some religious people use secular materials, and some secular people use religious materials, and adapt them to their needs.)

  Other parents find books such as The Complete Curriculum series, The Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills, Brain Quest Workbook.  Some people find these to work on their own while others add a math workbook and additional readings to make them more complete.

Free websites like Khan Academy (free secular website) and Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool (a faith-based option) are another option. Some like subscription sites like Time4Learning or Education.com or Study.com.

  Many homeschoolers find Usborne books to be a great resource.  Usborne has over 1300 titles on a wide variety of topics. A British publisher, Usborne is dedicated to printing great educational books for children.

  Others trust themselves more. They may use "real" books from the library and make lessons around their daily activities, or make up their own lessons or worksheets, or may use games and books and other resources that they already have to teach their children.

  Or they unschool (a method of homeschooling) and have the child learn from doing the activities and such which fit the child; they may not set out to teach lessons from books, but rather to encourage the child to do things that will expand the child's horizons, encourage the child to learn more from whatever activities the child is interested in, encourage the child to explore the world around him  or her and to learn what he or she needs to know to be able to do the activities that he or she wants to do.

Pick whichever method seems to work best for you and your child. Remember, that there is no "perfect" method nor curriculum and it may take a couple of years to find what fits your family best. Be willing to adapt as necessary for your family.
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  For those who are overwhelmed by the possibilities, GO SLOWLY, TAKE YOUR TIME. Don't feel like you have to figure it out overnight. The best thing to do is read aloud often to your kids (research shows that reading aloud is great, even with older children) and have them read a lot (or look at the pictures in books, if they are too young to read). You'd be amazed at how much can be learned from just reading a variety of books and learning to enjoy reading. Then, take some time to research and get ideas about what method will work best with you and your children before diving in. The public library carries a lot of great reference books for beginning and experienced homeschoolers.

 

Q: What is FLVS? Must we use FLVS?

A: FLVS is a Florida public online school. No one is required to use it, but it is an option. For most homeschoolers it is free curriculum, but those with scholarships such as the Family Empowerment Scholarship: Unique Abilities (aka Gardiner) must pay for FLVS classes. Some people love FLVS classes. Others hate them and move on to other kinds of curriculum--you have options.

There are several versions of FLVS; most homeschoolers use the FLVS Flex version that allows them to take one or more courses. FLVS Flex allows enrollment year-round. The classes are asynchronous, so your child can work on the classes at any time of day that works for you. There are optional live lessons, but those don't have to be done.
Parents should keep records even with FLVS Flex. Copies of their assignment lists can be used as the Log of Educational Activities. Save a few assignments as samples of work--one from the beginning of each class and another from the end can be enough.
Palm Beach County has historically allowed parents to submit a copy of the unofficial FLVS Flex grade report at the end of their year to count for the required evaluation.

FLVS Fulltime is another option and there's a Palm Beach Virtual School version. These are not legally considered homeschooling even though the child is learning at home. The parent does not direct the learning in these. Enrollment can only be done before a semester begins. The school decides the classes to be taken, the schedule on which the classes must be taken, etc.

Q: What if I don't know how to teach a particular subject?

 

A: If you begin homeschooling when your child is very young, you'll likely learn along with your child and by the time your child reaches the tough subjects, you'll have a better education and may be prepared to learn it along with your child. If that doesn't happen, there are other options. Florida law does not require the parent to teach all the subjects; the parent must direct the education but can hire a tutor, or send their child to co-op classes, or join forces with other parents and trade teaching duties. There are lots of online virtual classes that can help with teaching. Our homeschool support group can help you find some options.

 

Q: What about socialization? Are homeschoolers social misfits?

 

A: Many homeschool parents come to realize that schools create an artificial environment unlike the rest of the world. Where else in life are people segregated by age, not allowed to speak most of the time, not allowed to go to the bathroom or get a drink or snack, etc. without permission? Homeschoolers learn to deal with people of all ages and typically have more supervision to help them learn to deal appropriately with social situations. "The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling" by Rachel Gathercole is an older book that covers this topic extensively.

Our homeschool group offers opportunities to mix with other children in a variety of situations such as informal park meetings, park activities such as kickball or field day, clubs, field trips, some classes, talent show, science day, and more.

 

Q: What's the biggest mistake most beginning homeschoolers make?

 

A: Surveys show that many veteran homeschoolers feel their biggest initial mistake was spending too much money on resources and materials that they ended up not using because they didn't work for their child's learning style or situation.

Others say that their biggest error was not starting to homeschool sooner.

 

Q: Can my child use an online school program from another state?

 

A: Yes and no.

Parents can use any learning materials they wish with their children. As long as they learn from the material, it works for homeschooling.

On the other hand, if you enroll your child in an out-of-state school, it will not meet Florida education law even if it's an accredited school. The online school can count as curriculum (learning materials) but the child will also need to be registered in an official Florida educational program either by sending in a Letter of Intent telling the district that you are home educating your child OR by enrolling in a Florida private school that is registered with the state and has a homeschooling option (i.e., a FL umbrella school).

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