We're seriously considering homeschooling our gifted 7 year old son who doesn't seem to"fit"the school environment. But I have a few questions that I would love feedback and suggestions about...
1. How do you maintain social contacts once homeschooling? I know there is a wide range of support networks out there but have heard some are great and others not so. Are there any groups in central or west auckland that you can recommend? We're planning to continue with ODS & Explorers.
2. For those of you already homeschooling are you using the Correspondence school curriculum or adapting your own? Would love feedback on programmes you've found successful.
3. Does anyone know how long it takes from the time you post in your exemption application form to when you know you can start to homeschool.
Would love to hear your suggestions!
1. Try contacting Auckland Home Educators - AHE. (we're not in Ak)
2. We're following our noses, using nat curriculum as very general guide of what to cover. How we do it and the rate we do it is determined by us. Also plenty of other resources on the web that we use. Also strongly lead by development of a person (non religious).
3. You get to homeschool once you have your exemption. Can take 3 weeks where we are but depends. AHE would be able to tell you. If need be you could always get a medical cert. for you ill stressed out kids until the exemption arrives.
4. Take it slowly and start with at least a few weeks of breathing space - with lots of playing, but lots of routine (ie strong routine without 'replicating school' learning unless needed).
5. You'd never regret giving it a go!
6. Good luck :)
1. I'm also not in Auckland, but AHE has a good website, and NCHENZ does too, listing the groups throughout NZ
2. I believe the Correspondence School is only available if you are unable to attend a local school, either because you are too far away, or if you have (for example) been excluded from every school in the area. I don't think its generally available to home educators, although possibly it is at a price. Most people I know lean heavily towards child-directed learning, while keeping an eye on the national curriculum as an informal benchmark (the curriculum is available online)
3. Time taken can vary. Usually about 2 to 4 weeks.
As a general recommendation, though, I'd make contact with a local home ed support group first and get someone to give you feedback on your application before sending it in.
Also have a look at http://www.rockpoolhomeschool.com/ It's an Australasian home ed forum - lots and lots of good discussions about all sorts of home ed topics.
Getting an exemption took us 8 weeks. I just thought I'd mention it, because if you can apply before mentioning anything to your son, that would remove him from the situation my son was in, of having to wait week by week for the exemption. The process becomes a bit convoluted of course, as you need to discuss what you're intending to do with the school first, then apply, and only ask your son if it's what he wants after you get the exemption. However, the order we did it in was quite unsettling for my son, as we'd set a date, and then had to wait longer. Eventually, after nearly 8 weeks of waiting, we decided to leave it another term, to have a fixed date in mind, so that if further information was required, it could be sorted out withe plenty of time to spare. Of course we got the exemption the next day. Having a fixed date in mind hasn't really helped him.
If you're wondering why it took so long, I think it was because we didn't pretend we would be doing school at home. We were overt about following our son's lead in his education. We didn't claim to follow any set curriculum. So it took longer, but it was worth it, because now we can do things the way we believe he will learn best.
I have been homeschooling my two children for five years. Whilst we loosely follow the NZ curriculum we don't do it in the way school does as so much of what they do is more classroom management than one to one. Our kids have benefitted greatly from the closer supervision, more discussion and immediate feedback. WE have used Five in a Row as our main curriculum and gone onto beyond five in a row. They have a fantastic site on the web. I do use NZ curriculum for maths, and follow kids interest in unit studies for remainder. I feel their general knowledge would be far superior to if they were at school, and they have a huge thirst for world events, history and social studies. Both have extremely well developed vocab and comprehension. For us deciding to homeschool has been the best decision and I'd say give it a go. A decision like this doesn't have to be set in concrete, you can always try something else but just be sure you give whatever you try enough time to really see if it is working or not.
Hi! If life is miserable for him, and you've settled to homeschool, you can always send him to school one day a week whilst you're sorting all it all out, just to keep yourself on the right side of the law. Your child can be absent from school for 21 consecutive school days before the school has to report him as truant. Best wishes.