Starting Homeschool Mid-Year

You Asked:

My son is 9, in third grade and will begin homeschooling after Christmas. What advice would you give as we make such a transition half-way through the school year? It seems excessive to buy all new curriculum for a year that is half-way over but I'm not sure what else to do.

Our Answer:

This is such a good question. The problem is that with a tangible (books and workbooks) kind of program, there is no easy way to send you half. There are a few solutions, but none are particularly elegant:

Used Curriculum

Post out to used curriculum sites for the kits of people who started with homeschooling and then for one reason or another switched to another form of schooling later in the year. I think this would be hard to find, but perfect for you and a blessing for the seller, who would otherwise likely find herself tossing the workbooks. Check:

We're not affiliated with either, but they seem like they could be helpful.

Start from the Beginning

You can work through a whole kit in less time, or open the texts in the middle and hope for the best. Working through all of third grade in half a year is more achievable than you might think since he would be working entirely at his own pace. However, it is a lot to accomplish, so not my favorite recommendation unless you feel he would benefit from loads of structure and review work. (Review work can either build confidence and fill in holes or bore a child. You know him best to know which is true of him!)

Major on the Majors

My favorite solution is to simply major on the majors. Instead of looking at an Elite kit with all the bells and whistles, be content with a Basic Kit and add-in one or two things that will make the rest of the year sparkle for him. For instance, add his favorite STEM kit or game, but not every single one. Then every week you'd expect more pages of thinking skills (for instance) than most third-graders would need to do, but none of the science or history.

Of course, if he grooves on science, you could add that instead of STEM - the idea is to only include the nuts and bolts this year and let the rest fall away for a season. Skipping science and history for a few months won't ruin his education, but it might save you the stress of trying to do twice the work as his introduction to homeschooling.

I would definitely recommend that he take the math placement test just before you order so that he begins with the most appropriate level. I'd also consider planning to have him complete only half of Mosdos Literature unless he's a very fast reader. The book is massive and would likely be overwhelming to accomplish in less time.

Customize the Next Grade Level

Or, you could customize 4th grade instead. This is a good option for a child who is advanced already and would benefit from a slower pace per-day getting started. It is very important to have him take the math placement test and look at the 4th-grade language arts samples just before ordering to make sure that he will not be overwhelmed or bored with it. You would then have 1.5 years to finish it all up, which should set a fairly easy pace.

Work Through the Summer

Alternatively, he could work a typical kit but work through the summer. If he would benefit from covering all of the information but not from long school days, this might be your solution. Many families love year-round schooling anyway (ourselves included) so with the right mindset, this would let you cover everything at a close-to-traditional pace without skipping around.

Does this help? Raise more questions? Don't hesitate to ask!