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My eldest son is 8 years old and has so far been in the public school system. He is getting ready to start third grade, and we are wondering whether homeschooling would be best for him. He gets great grades and reads well above his grade level. However, he seems to need one-on-one attention in order to focus and get his work done at school. I'm currently looking into Indiana Connections Academy (online public school from home) to see if it might be a good fit. I was wondering whether anyone local uses or has used Connections Academy and what you thought of it? Thank you!

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Hello! I am a homeschooling mom of four. I don't have any personal experience with Connections Academy, but have read on a local home school forum about others who have tried the program. Opinions were mixed. Some loved it, while other were unhappy. One thing to keep in mind is that it is a government program and you will have accountability while your son is enrolled. Homeschooling in Indiana is very unregulated compared to other states in the country. In fact, the only requirement for homeschooling in our state is that we must keep attendance records and your child must have 180 days of schooling per year. I believe Connections is like a traditional school...only online. I'm not positive about that...it's something to check out.

Personally, I not only keep attendance records, but also keep grades and detailed records for each of my children. That is a personal preference and certainly not required if you should decide to home school.

I would be happy answer any questions you have. I will tell you that I was nervous to take the leap and begin homeschooling our children, but I am glad that we did. We're beginning our third year next month, and looking forward to a great year!

Thank you for your reply. My husband and I spoke again today on the subject and we're as certain as we can be that we want to homeschool. Now, we really delve in to a curriculum for him. I've done a little reading about Connections, but need to do more. I like the idea of that at the moment because it is a set curriculum (supposed to be tailored to the individual child).

From prior research I realize just how flexible we can be on what is taught to him and how unregulated homeschooling in Indiana is, but especially for just starting out, I feel like some type of guided, set curriculum might work best for us. I'd like to keep more records than simply attendance, too.

Thank you for offering to answer my questions. May I ask what curriculum you use? Is it one that you've put together yourself or otherwise? What ages are your children? What do you enjoy most about homeschooling? Do you have any particular challenges or struggles with it?

Again, thank you so much for your response. I appreciate your time and expertise! :)

~ Chandra

WOW, I never thought of homeschooling my kids before, u gals gave me a lot to think about. Thanks :)

Hi Chandra!

The most overwhelming part of getting started was choosing curriculum for my kids. There is SO much available, it's hard to know what is the right one for your child. My guess is that if you're unhappy with Connections once you get started, you can always make a change and go with a curriculum that you choose.

As for what we use, it's really an assortment as I haven't found a curriculum that I am happy with for all subjects. I will tell you that this past year, I had my youngest start a reading series that, after about four weeks, I decided just wasn't for us. After getting her started on the new one I ordered, we knew it was a perfect fit for her. That is one of the perks of homeschooling...if something isn't working, you don't have to stick with it. Try something else until you get what works for you and your son.

I think what I love most about homeschooling (besides the fact that my kids are home with me...and I do love that!) is the flexibility of our day. From start to finish, my kids are usually done with all of their schoolwork in about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Some days it takes them longer (depending on how much time they waste or if they are having a really unmotivated day), but they are typically done by lunch. We usually always try to get school done during the morning hours, but if something comes up, we just flip flop it around and it's no big deal.

This coming year, our kids will be in 8th, 6th, 5th and 3rd grade. At this point, none of them have a desire to go back to a traditional school. They too love getting done before noon and that they are not in school all day. We also take some pretty awesome field trips (even traveling three to four hours away on some outings) throughout the year.

The biggest challenge for me personally is picking curriculum that is a good fit for each of my very different learners. There really is so much to choose from, it can be overwhelming. But, I love that if something doesn't work, I can move on and try something else. I am blessed that my kids know what their tasks are each day (I have lessons plans that the kids follow...they know where to look for their assignments for the day) and that they are fairly independent workers. They are also helpful to each other which is a big plus.

If you have other questions, please just let me know. Homeschooling is huge in Fort Wayne. There are many co-ops that you can get involved with, and there are programs (designed for our kiddos) that are held during the day that our kids can attend. If you do decide to go the homeschooling route, there are a couple of resources that I can share with you that will offer some great support.

I also have an 8 year old son, and we've homeschooled from kindergarten on. I'd suggest you check the public library for options too. There is a lot that is available there, lots of resource books, videos etc.

http://www.acpl.lib.in.us/children/homeschool.html

There is a facebook page for Fort Wayne Homeschool Moms, and a yahoo group called Live and Learn, both are great resources for activities, curriculum discussion and getting a foot into a very large and active homeschool community. There are also regular activities at the public library.
Karen

There are quite a few public online schools that are available in Indiana but there are things to consider. 1) You still have to take ALL the standardized testing which will require you to drive to their locations to take. They all require a set amount of time that the student must be logged in and you have to do attendance everyday. This all pretty much makes the point of homeschooling moot except that your child does not have to physically go to a school. May I suggest that you get subscribed to FWAHS to help you get involved with other homeschoolers in the Fort Wayne area. Also, when you move to home school from public school, make sure you send a letter to your child's school informing them that you are withdrawing your child and enrolling him in a private school. There is also the whole "unschooling" issue that tends to happen the first year with the entire family because it does change your whole life. You may also have family members that think you have some explaining to do, but stick to your opinion! The entire "socialization issue" is really a myth! The younger the easier, my only regret is that I didn't start my kids immediately. There is a ton of curriculum out there. What I used the first year I homeschooled my oldest was Switched on Schoolhouse. It does all the work and is very flexible and is a great way to get accustomed to homeschool. The work tends to be a year ahead of Indiana state standards so that may be helpful to your son and you if you work. Like their third grade is closer to Indiana 2nd grade. We now use a variety of stuff, but I still recommend that program for first year parents that are nervous about the situation. I worked in public schools for many years and I don't want my kids back in them! I saw a sign the other day that cracked me up "I've seen the village and I don't want them raising my children!" My kids are 21, 14 & 11 and all went to public school and now homeschool. ps. don't let anyone convince you your child won't be able to go to college or get into the military or anything else like that with a homeschool diploma!!! Good luck with your new endeavor! The first year can be hard, but stick to it!

I still believe that Mom's knows best for their children. Whatever it takes still it is your final decision to consider but you have to be sure with your instinct. You mentioned that your son is doing good in their school. I think he only needs a personal tutor and not really a totally out to school.

It solely depends on you as a mother whether you want your kid to go to regular school or you need him to be home schooled under our concentration. The decision is entirely yours i think if he is doing good in school there is no need for home schooling.

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Homeschooling was the absolute worst thing ever. I see how can and often does work for some people, but I truly feel left out of "normal childhood" experiences.
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The beauty of interest-led learning is that you can introduce core academic skills (such as grammar or fractions) in relation to topics that your child is naturally drawn to. Of course, this means more work for the parent but it’s not as hard as it sounds.
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