Capt. Lookatmy Broadside
Joined: Jul 26, 2005
Posted at 9:43 am on Apr 10, 2012
*Standardized testing is NOT an accurate portrayal of what your child does/doesn't know. Especially in history and science. Please don't fall into the public school trap of putting too much stock into those tests. They have gone so far overboard as to LITERALLY teach to the test. That is scary!
*Have you ever read anything by Raymond and Dorothy Moore? He is, by some, considered to be the Grandfather of Homeschooling. He suggests not even to begin formal education before the age of twelve. Studies show that children who don't start until later do just as well, in the end, as children who started when they were five! You may want to check out their website and suggestions.
*Now as for choosing what to use: choose whatever you would like! In history and science there are going to be gaps! The body of knowledge is so huge, wide and deep (and in science, ever-changing) that it would be impossible not to have gaps.
I agree with the advice written here that said, go ahead and let your son begin his high school studies now. Pick what you'd like to use for 9th grade and JUMP IN!
As for math, I think the BEST way to make sure your child got all the BASICS down pat is to use Systematic Mathematics Math Relief program. It covers all your basic math is 40-something lessons. In two months, just doing ONE lesson a day (instead of five!!!), he'd have all the basic math down and understood. It is a very reasonable price, too!
Some high school ideas to consider:
Literature: SMARR, Progeny Press, Stobaugh (not my favorite), Lightening Literature (Hewitt Homeschooling)
Science: You really should get a hometrainingtools catalog-they are the BOMB. Timberdoodle catalog also has some great high school science programs to consider.
History: There are sooooo many GREAT history programs to choose from. I love Diana Waring. She has got some GREAT stuff. I also like Beautiful Feet. I always try to steer people away from textbooks for history. I like the timeline/"living books" approach so much. Textbooks tend to focus on who and dates. I think having a strong "bigger picture" is better than just memorizing who and dates. If your children are the type who love and devour books you could get Christina Miller's "All Through the Ages." It is a compilation of several book lists in chronological order. It helps you choose your historical fiction by giving a target age and a blurb about the book.
For testing your 4th grader, I would recommend doing something like the PASS test (Hewitt Homeschooling) if it is allowed in your state. It tests the 3 R's and gives YOU a specific list of what needs better attention. It also gives a percentile score. Percentile scores aren't very good (imho) because it ONLY tells you how your child did compared to OTHER children of their exact same PLACE in school (ie. 7th year, 5th month). It also gives you a grade. At a very young age, Michaela's grade was either 12 or 12 plus. What that told me was that a 12th grader would have done as well as she did. How did that help me? (The PASS test only goes up through grade 8).
My ultimate favorite test is the Woodcock-Johnson. It gives the parent the absolutely best information about the child. It is done one-on-one with a tester and gives VERY SPECIFIC information to you about your child. Most testers give you a written report as well as test scores. Testers who work with homeschoolers will actually give you a list of specific program choices for your child.