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How to Plan a Year of Memory Work Your Kids Will Love

You found lots of resources, now it's time to plan memory work, and not just learn about it. You've got to do what's best for your family. Let's work on that together.

Take all the materials from the past 4 days and put them together to plan memory work that will be effective and your kids will love and look forward to doing! Easy plan, step by step, walks you through to customize for your homeschool.

Start to plan memory work

There are some things you going to need to know before you get started.

What you're going to do. When and how you'll do it. Plus, you'll also want to know what you're going to work on at any one time.

Will you do one category for a month straight, a semester? Will you work on a different type of item each day? Will you work on 4 different items for one week straight?

Where will you store your memory work materials? How will you use them?

Since we've got lots of questions to answer, let's get started right now!

Gather Materials

I've given you 4 days of materials to use quickly and easily. All you need to do is copy each item and paste it into a word document for quick access.

Have them all in one place, separated by category.

If you're using videos for some of your memory work, be sure to write the title and url on the document for quick reference.

This may take you some time up front, but you'll be glad you did it when it comes time to use it.


You can do a whole year's worth all at once, or just do terms, semesters, or months at a time. Do what is going to work best for you.

Do you like to be flexible? Then do a month or two at a time.

Do you like a plan, but not too rigid? Then do it by term or semester.

Do you want to do it once and not have to think about it again? Plan the entire year in one go.


Okay, here's where it might get tricky.

Do you have all your materials together? Are they broken up into categories? Good.

Look through them. How often do you want to cover each category?

Here's the categories from the 4 posts in this series: Scripture, hymns, doctrines, poems, quotes, history, science, math, language arts, and extra materials.

Now, let's decide how you'll go through each category.

Wait, did you pick the categories you want to do? I'm doing all of them, personally.

Do you want to work on one category for a specific amount of time? Work on a few each day? Work on one each day, but of varied categories?

Here's what I mean.


  • Sept - Poems
  • Oct - Quotes
  • Nov - Scriptures
  • Dec - History
  • Jan - Language Arts
  • Feb - Poems
  • March - Quotes
  • April - Hymns
  • May - Math
  • June - Science
  • July - Doctrine
  • Aug - Extra

Multiple a day:

Each day work on:

  • Religious (either scripture, hymn, or doctrine)
  • a poem
  • a quote
  • one educational (LA, math, science, history, etc) item

Go through each until they're memorized before adding a new item from each category.

One a day:

  • Mon - religious
  • Tues - poem
  • Wed - quote
  • Thurs - educational
  • Fri - religious
  • continue the pattern

When & how long?

For my family, the ideal time to do memory work is during our Morning Time. We do a lot of our group work together in the morning to set the tone for our day, including memorization.

You can do this during a group work block, during lunch, after lunch, after dinner, or at the end of your school day.

If your schedule is hodge-podged throughout the day, then pick the time that will work WITH your schedule and not when you think you should be doing memory work.

The length of time devoted to memory work is up to you and your schedule. We do at least 5 minutes, or if we're doing multiple items, we devote 5 minutes to each category and then stop when the timer goes off.

We're switching to 5 minutes with new material and 5 minutes of reviewing older material.


If you want longer, do longer. You can start out doing the time you want. Give it a week for everyone to get used to it and then adjust where you see the need. Longer? Shorter?

You'd be surprised. My children love memory work and beg to work on it for longer periods of time, especially songs. I was shocked outside my mind when we started it.

 Setting it all up

There's a few different ways you can do this. We'll explore your two options (and you may come up with a different one altogether) before you get started organizing it all.

Index Cards

We started off with index cards.

You get an index card box, dividers, and index cards. We used different colors for different categories.

You can put your items on your index cards like so:

  • Hand write each passage to be memorized
  • Type it out and print it onto the index cards (can be tricky)
  • Type it out, print it on paper, cut and glue onto index cards

You'll label the dividers as DAILY, SUN-SAT (or MON-FRI), EVEN & ODD, 1-31.

Memory Binder

You can also skip the index cards and use a memory work binder.

Print out each passage on its own piece of paper.

You'll need a binder, dividers, page protectors (optional), and paper with each printed passage.

Label the dividers: DAILY, MON-FRI (or SUN-SAT), EVEN & ODD, 1-31

OR you can label them like this:

DAILY, POEMS, QUOTES, SCRIPTURES, DOCTRINE, etc of the categories you'll use. You can put the EXTRA as one category, or break it down into math, science, history, etc.

Learn & review

Now, for the DOING part of it all.

If you use the index cards or the binder here is how you learn and review.

Pull out the passage.

Read it aloud, or have a child read it aloud.

Break it up into sections and start with the first. Add the next section. Go until you think that's enough for the day or your time runs out.

We generally set aside 5 minutes to learn a new passage and then 5 minutes to review the old passages.

Now. Add this new passage to the DAILY section.

Pull out the other passages under the DAILY section. Review them for 7 days, or until they're memorized fully (even if it takes longer or shorter).

Once you've reviewed it for 7 days move it to the EVEN or ODD tab (depending on what day it is). If it's January 15th, put it under ODD. If it's the 16th, move it behind EVEN.

Now, on even days, be sure to review those behind the DAILY and EVEN tab and visa versa for odd days.

Once you're done with that for another 7 days of review (7 times with even or 7 days with odd) move it to the day of the week that it is.

Now, you'll review: DAILY, EVEN/ODD, and whatever day of the week it is. You do this for a month.

Then you move the passage behind the number day it is. If it's February 23, put it behind 23. If it's the 2nd, move it behind the 2.

Now you'll review: DAILY, EVEN/ODD, day of the week, and Day #.

You leave the passage behind the number for 12 months (you'll review it 12 times). Then move it out into another box for all the passages you've finished. You can leave them there forever, or review them as you wish to.


If you put it in the binder or index cards with the label DAILY and then categories here's how you do it:

Review under DAILY tab for 7 days (or until it's completely memorized). Then move it behind the category it belongs to.

Each day review one passage from each category. Mark with a bookmark, post it note, or some other method where you left off.


You could also do a varied version of this:

DAILY, EVEN/ODD, and then categories.

This way you'd get a bit more review with each passage before moving it to the category section.

Okay, this is all sounding super complicated, and I apologize. If you're ready to shake me until I take it all back, I don't blame you.


Here's a quick synopsis to hopefully explain it much better and more simply.

Pick a storage system:

A: index cards

B: memory binder (we're switching to the binder)


Pick a schedule system:

A. one focus at a time

B. one category a day

C. each category a day


Pick a "learn & review" method

A. Daily, even/odd, weekly, monthly

B. Daily, 1 from each category (daily)

C. Daily, even/odd, 1 from each category (daily)

Add it all up and you've got your final plan.

Take all the materials from the past 4 days and put them together to plan memory work that will be effective and your kids will love and look forward to doing! Easy plan, step by step, walks you through to customize for your homeschool.

Other review methods

We're pretty simple and boring and just do verbal recitation and singing. Nothing fancy. Because of this I'm going to look to some other creative geniuses and send you to them to get even better ideas.

I am planning on adding the popsicle stick review method for sure.

  1. You write actions and funny voices on each popsicle stick.
  2. A kid draws a popsicle stick before each passage to be recited.
  3. You will all do the voice or action on the stick.

So fun! Volcano voice, mouse voice, march in place, etc. I love it. It would be super fun to come up with new ideas every once in a while to add to the collection.

Solagratiamom has a great list of ideas that she's used.

I think my favorite is #12- Emotional Wreck. You have them recite their memory work while they act out an emotion. For instance, sobbing, laughing, surprised, scared, worried, etc.

Another is they get to catch a super squishy toy and squeeze and pull on it while they recite. Great for those that love to be doing things with their hands while they work.


Half a Hundred Acre Wood has a ton of practice ideas.

Including, write it on the dry erase board and erase a word at a time, hand motions, hide and seek and more. She has ideas broken up by category-- even better!

Brandy has even more review games for teams, co-ops, or larger families. They look like so much fun !


That's it!

Okay, we've been through a lot together these past 5 days. I just want to end with one last thought.

Plan Memory Work time with things that will be of great value and use to your children. Don't memorize things just for the sake of memorization.

Memorize that which teaches, inspires, uplifts, encourages, and is beautiful. Really sit and think about what you want your children to gain and know and work backwards from there.

If there's something they're struggling with start there first.

Always always always make it work FOR you. Do what you need done in your home and not what someone else (including me) tells you to do.


I certainly enjoyed these past 5 days and know our own memory time has vastly improved because of it. I hope it blesses you similarly.


Parting gift

If you haven't already....

Grab the ASL Memory Work packet

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and join the challenge!

50 IN 5 challenge


Catch up

Main: The Best Step-by-Step Guide to Memory Work

Day 1: Improve Your Child's Relationship to God with Memory Work

Day 2: 75 Quotes for Memory Work

Day 3: Phenomenal Poems to Rock Your Memory Work

Day 4: Brilliant Memory Work Hacks to Make Your Morning Time Transformative


Your Turn

Tell me your plans for memory work!!







Click the picture to access the other 5-day posts!

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

Brilliant Memory Work Hacks to Make Morning Time Transformative

We've covered the traditional things to memorize, now let's talk about some unique things to add to your memory work. Be sure to include memory work done in a non-traditional way to spice up your morning time and really take full advantage of memory work. There's some fantastic resources here all in one place instead of hunting all over! Save this pin!!!

We want a full and robust morning time and really take full advantage of memory work. I know I've talked about wanting to make sure our kids knew those random tidbits of information that are important.

They may just be important for those quiz shows and games, but gosh dangit, we don't want to leave anything out. But who wants to dedicate an entire lesson, semester, or unit to random facts?

"Not I," said the cat.


Let's get to it.


Math memory work

I've created a playlist on YouTube full of 34 math videos (and more added all the time).

Here are some more things to use: 

Skip counting sheets by Homeschool Creations

Coin memory poem 

Order of operations  PEMDAS image

Cooking equivalents

Metric conversions

Roman Numbers

Pi -- this shows 1 million digits.... obviously don't memorize that much. Maybe first 30, 50, 100 digits?

Commutative, Associative, and Distributive Laws

Quadratic equation


Science memory work

Here's 54 science songs!

Here's more: 

Classification of living things image, explanation

Periodic Table

Newton's 3 laws

Body systems: flashcards, visuals + explanation,


History facts to remember

51 history and geography songs! More history to memorize: 

Declaration of Independence


Bill of Rights

US Constitution

Gettysburg Address

Give me liberty or give me death! by Sir Patrick Henry -- one of my absolute favorite speeches.

I Have a Dream by MLK Jr.


US states -- Join me in the 5-day challenge!

Countries of the World

Continents & Oceans

US Presidents & Vice Presidents


Language arts goodness

You guessed it, another playlist of videos. I add to it all the time, so be sure to save it.

Jolanthe made this fantastic set of poems from the First Language Lessons books. These books also have fantastic list of things to memorize.

Shakespeare printables to memorize from Ken Ludwig

Lots of pronouns to memorize.

Parts of speech

Multiple word lists -- this site is awesome. Even teaches you how to diagram sentences (which I love to do).


General educational tidbits

25 videos for you. Included are etiquette, character, calendar, ASL, and more:


Meal time etiquette, and another, and another

Set the table

We Choose Virtues songs and more.



Fun memory work gift

ASL is hands down the most fun thing to do ever.

Your kids are going to love learning ASL-- even if you don't do it as your foreign language, you can still include it in your memory work.

Adding in physical actions to things you're memorizing is the BEST to make what you're learning STICK.

I've got 2 gifts for you today.

1. Grab the packet and videos of 4 scriptures, 3 poems, 3 quotes, and 2 educational items to memorize for free here:

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Learn all 50 states, their signs, and their locations in a LIVE 5 day challenge!

2. Join me in a challenge to learn all 50 states names, signs, AND locations in just 5 days!

Click HERE for a bit more information & to join!

Your kids will love you

Including these fun and unique resources will #1 make memory time fun, but also #2 your kids will love it!

Some of the items are harder to do-- be sure to search for songs, visuals, and materials to make it easier. Just don't overcomplicate it.


Come back tomorrow to see how we put all of this together and how you can make this work for your own family without overwhelming you into paralysis.








Click here to read more 5-day series!

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

Phenomenal Poems to Rock Memory Work

Poems truly enrich and nourish your homeschool experience. Add in engaging, fun, moving, and delightful poems into your memory work. My kids really enjoyed these poems and keep asking for more!  

My feelings on poems has changed over the years.

When I was a kid I thought poems were dumb. Then I memorized Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken in 5th grade and it really struck me and has stuck with me all these years later.

I'm also still mad at my teacher for saying I didn't say the second "I" when I did! Ugh.


Then later on, I thought poetry was for old folks.

I was in college, and really trying to explore new interests. One day, at the library, I picked up a book on writing your own poetry. I soon became obsessed with writing poetry.

I eventually moved on, but I still remember the poems I wrote and the impact they had on me.


It wasn't until I found the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling did I ever think of using poetry in our homeschool.

We began incorporating Tea Time into our week and my kids, my BOYS, love it. They love and connect to the rhythm and flow and emotion of the poems they read.

There's just something that really speaks to your soul when you read a well-written poem.


Poems for your homeschool


I'm going to share some of my favorite poems for you to use in your homeschool.

I did my best to provide the text for you without violating copyright laws. I hate having to hunt down resources and having a bajillion extra steps for something I'm trying to do. I don't have the time nor patience for it.

Plus, I'm lazy enough that it wouldn't happen. I'd just file it away in the "oh this would be nice to do one day" folder and forget about it.


Well, not today!

I'm going to put the poems in accordion tabs so you don't have to scroll through a beast of a post. And sometimes I'll provide just links. It really just depends on how long this post becomes.


Robert Frost

[wc_toggle title="The Road Not Taken" layout="box"]
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


[wc_toggle title="Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening" layout="box"]
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.



More Robert Frost poems -- they also are in audio format here to read and listen to.


Robert Louis Stevenson

[wc_toggle title="My Shadow" layout="box"]

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,

And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.

He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;

And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.


The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow--

Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;

For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,

And he sometimes goes so little that there's none of him at all.


He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,

And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.

He stays so close behind me, he's a coward you can see;

I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!


One morning, very early, before the sun was up,

I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;

But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,

Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

[wc_toggle title="Happy Thought" layout="box"]

The world is so full of a number of things,

I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.



[wc_toggle title="Time to Rise" layout="box"]

A birdie with a yellow bill

Hopped upon my window sill,

Cocked his shining eye and said:

"Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-head!"




More Robert Louis Stevenson poems: 

A Child's Garden of Verses and at Poet's Corner and Poet's Corner


Christina G. Rossetti

[wc_toggle title="Mix a Pancake" layout="box"]
Mix a pancake,
Stir a pancake,
Pop it in the pan;
Fry the pancake,
Toss the pancake—
Catch it if you can.
[wc_toggle title="Color" layout="box"]
What is pink? a rose is pink
By a fountain's brink.
What is red? a poppy's red
In its barley bed.
What is blue? the sky is blue
Where the clouds float thro'.
What is white? a swan is white
Sailing in the light.
What is yellow? pears are yellow,
Rich and ripe and mellow.
What is green? the grass is green,
With small flowers between.
What is violet? clouds are violet
In the summer twilight.
What is orange? Why, an orange,
Just an orange!



William Blake


[wc_toggle title="To The Evening Star" layout="box"]

THOU fair-haired Angel of the Evening,

Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light

Thy bright torch of love--thy radiant crown

Put on, and smile upon our evening bed!

Smile on our loves; and, while thou drawest the

Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dew

On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes

In timely sleep. Let thy West Wind sleep on

The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes,

And wash the dusk with silver.--Soon, full soon,

Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide,

And the lion glares through the dun forest:

The fleeces of our flocks are covered with

Thy sacred dew; protect them with thine influence!




More William Blake poems


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


[wc_toggle title="Memories" layout="box"]

OFT I remember those I have known

In other days, to whom my heart was lead

As by a magnet, and who are not dead,

But absent, and their memories overgrown

With other thoughts and troubles of my own,

As graves with grasses are, and at their head

The stone with moss and lichens so o'er spread,

Nothing is legible but the name alone.

And is it so with them? After long years.

Do they remember me in the same way,

And is the memory pleasant as to me?

I fear to ask; yet wherefore are my fears?

Pleasures, like flowers, may wither and decay,

And yet the root perennial may be.



[wc_toggle title="There was a little girl" layout="box"]
There was a little girl,
            Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
            When she was good,
            She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.


[wc_toggle title="Paul Revere's Ride" layout="box"]


Paul Revere's Ride



Emily Dickinson


[wc_toggle title="Hope is the thing with feathers" layout="box"]
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.



[wc_toggle title="There is no Frigate like a book" layout="box"]
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul –

More Emily Dickinson poems


More poems to know

[wc_toggle title="Dentist and the Crocodile by Roald Dahl" layout="box"]
The crocodile, with cunning smile, sat in the dentist’s chair.
He said, “Right here and everywhere my teeth require repair.”
The dentist’s face was turning white. He quivered, quaked and shook.
He muttered, “I suppose I’m going to have to take a look.”
“I want you”, Crocodile declared, “to do the back ones first.
The molars at the very back are easily the worst.”
He opened wide his massive jaws. It was a fearsome sight—
At least three hundred pointed teeth, all sharp and shining white.
The dentist kept himself well clear. He stood two yards away.
He chose the longest probe he had to search out the decay.
“I said to do the back ones first!” the Crocodile called out.
“You’re much too far away, dear sir, to see what you’re about.
To do the back ones properly you’ve got to put your head
Deep down inside my great big mouth,” the grinning Crocky said.
The poor old dentist wrung his hands and, weeping in despair,
He cried, “No no! I see them all extremely well from here!”
Just then, in burst a lady, in her hands a golden chain.
She cried, “Oh Croc, you naughty boy, you’re playing tricks again!”
“Watch out!” the dentist shrieked and started climbing up the wall.
“He’s after me! He’s after you! He’s going to eat us all!”
“Don’t be a twit,” the lady said, and flashed a gorgeous smile.
“He’s harmless. He’s my little pet, my lovely crocodile.”
[wc_toggle title="Porcupines by Marilyn Singer" layout="box"]
Hugging you takes some practice.
So I'll start out with a cactus.
[wc_toggle title="Help Wanted by Timothy Tocher" layout="box"]
Santa needs new reindeer.
The first bunch has grown old.
Dasher has arthritis;
Comet hates the cold.
Prancer's sick of staring
at Dancer's big behind.
Cupid married Blitzen
and Donder lost his mind.
Dancer's mad at Vixen
for stepping on his toes.
Vixen's being thrown out—
she laughed at Rudolph's nose.
If you are a reindeer
we hope you will apply.
There is just one tricky part:
You must know how to fly.
[wc_toggle title="April Fool by Myra Cohn Livingston" layout="box"]
The maple syrup's full of ants.
                                    A mouse is creeping on the shelf.
                                   Is that a spider on your back?
             I ate a whole pie by myself.
The kitchen sink just overflowed.
                                   A flash flood washed away the school.
             I threw your blanket in the trash.
                                   I never lie————I————
                                                                                APRIL FOOL!
[wc_toggle title="Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll" layout="box"]

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

The frumious Bandersnatch!”


He took his vorpal sword in hand; Long time the manxome foe he sought—

So rested he by the Tumtum tree

And stood awhile in thought.


And, as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,

And burbled as it came!


One, two! One, two! And through and through

The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

He went galumphing back.


“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

He chortled in his joy.


’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

[wc_toggle title="Don't worry if your job is small by Anonymous *" layout="box"]

Don't worry if your job is small

And your rewards are few.

Remember that the might oak

Was once a nut like you.



[wc_toggle title="Blow blow thou winter wind by William Shakespeare" layout="box"]

Blow, blow, thou winter wind

Thou art not so unkind

As man's ingratitude;

Thy tooth is not so keen,

Because thou art not seen,

Although thy breath be rude.


Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:

Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:

Then heigh-ho, the holly!

This life is most jolly.


Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,

That does not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot:

Though thou the waters warp,

Thy sting is not so sharp

As a friend remembered not.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:

Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:

Then heigh-ho, the holly!

This life is most jolly.




William Shakespeare Sonnets

[wc_toggle title="O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman" layout="box"]
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
                         Here Captain! dear father!
                            This arm beneath your head!
                               It is some dream that on the deck,
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                            But I with mournful tread,
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.
[wc_toggle title="There was an Old Man with a beard by Edward Lear" layout="box"]
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, "It is just as I feared!—
Two Owls and a Hen, four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard.
[wc_toggle title="If by Rudyard Kipling" layout="box"]
If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
[wc_toggle title="Sign by Shel Silverstein*" layout="box"]




[wc_toggle title="Tell Me by Shel Silverstein*" layout="box"]

Tell Me



More Shel Silverstein poems:

Where the Sidewalk Ends, Light in the Attic, The Giving Tree, Falling Up, Everything On It, A Giraffe and a Half, Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook


Using poetry in your homeschool

It's pretty simple to use poetry in your homeschool.

  • Read it during Tea Time.
  • Memorize it during Morning Time.
  • Write your own.
  • Study poets.
  • Read a book of poems aloud as a family.


Make it as simple or as grand as you like. Even if you think your kids won't enjoy it, or heck, if you think you'd rather walk on shards of glass and clean up a skunk attack, find a way to read poetry.

You'll be surprised at the enrichment and mind nourishment you receive.

Just copy and paste the poems I've included here, put them in a document, hit print and put it in your binder and you're good to go.

Just pick a poem and run with it.

On Day 5 I'll share with you how to put it all together easily and without lots of searching, and thinking.


3 extra poems for you

If you haven't downloaded the FREE ASL memory work packet, there's 3 more reasons for you to do so today!

I've included 3 fantastic poems in the packet for you to learn to sign.

So. much. fun.

Download them today:

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Feeling behind? Catch up:

Main: The Best Step-by-Step Guide to Memory Work

Day 1: Improve Your Child's Relationship to God with Memory Work

Day 2: 75 Quotes for Memory Work

Come back tomorrow for Day 4.  Day 4 is here!








Click the picture to read more 5-day series posts. 

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

75 Quotes for Memory Work

Quotes are an effective teaching tool and should be utilized in your memory work. Want to know why?

There's so much to know you worry you'll miss something that you want your kids to know. Who can recall all the life lesson you want them to learn on top of all the academic work as well?

There are so many influential quotes and thoughts to help us navigate life's storms. There are many places and people to pull quotes from. You want to cherish these golden nuggets and sprinkle them in your days.

Include quotes, thoughts, and nuggets of wisdom in your memory work to really add an extra layer of learning without tons of effort.


Quotes are an effective teaching tool that ought to be utilized in your homeschool. Take the time to memorize thoughts, & encouragement that inspires.


I have written out a bunch of quotes for you. You can just copy and paste them into a word document and print them out on index cards or pages to put into your memory work binder.

The * indicates that it is included in the ASL Memory Work free download so you can memorize it in both English and ASL.


Quotes from US Presidents

  1. It is impossible to rightly govern a nation with God and the Bible. - George Washington
  2. How soon we forget history... Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. - George Washington
  3. A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them. Which would include their own government. - George Washington
  4. If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. - George Washington
  5. The two enemies of the people are criminals and government. So let us tie the second down with the chains of the constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first. - Thomas Jefferson
  6. America was founded by people who believe that God was their rock of safety. - Ronald Reagan
  7. A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have. - Thomas Jefferson
  8. Sir, my concern is not whether God is on my side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right. - Abraham Lincoln
  9. America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. - Abraham Lincoln
  10. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. - John Quincy Adams
  11. Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. - John F. Kennedy
  12. We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage. - Teddy Roosevelt

Quotes from Benjamin Franklin

  1. Well done is better than well said. - Benjamin Franklin
  2. Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn. - Benjamin Franklin
  3. Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship. - Benjamin Franklin
  4. Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still; to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. - Benjamin Franklin
  5. Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin
  6. He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. - Benjamin Franklin
  7. The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason. - Benjamin Franklin

13 virtues: 

  1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others and yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order: let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  6. Industry: Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Encouraging quotes

  1. Everything is hard until it's easy. Everything is easy once you know how.
  2. If you will, you can. - LaVal Call
  3. I am a child of God. I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me. I ought to do my duty to God and others. I will choose the right. - Charlotte Mason
  4. To the world you may be one person; but to one person you are the world. - Dr. Seuss
  5. Nothing can dim the light that shines from within. - Maya Angelou
  6. The final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands. - Anne Frank
  7. I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. - Mother Teresa
  8. Stand up straight and realize who you are. That you tower over your circumstances; you are a child of God. Stand up straight. - Maya Angelou
  9. I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship. - Louisa May Alcott
  10. Be a pineapple: stand tall, wear a crown, and be sweet on the inside.*
  11. Do the common things in life in an uncommon way. - George Washington Carver
  12. If you can't fly then fun. If you can't run then walk. If you can't walk then crawl. But whatever you do you have to keep moving forward. - Martin Luther King Jr.
  13. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou
  14. If you let people's perception of you dictate your behavior, you will never grow as a person. - George Feeny
  15. There is always hope, my friend, though it often comes in forms not looked for. The key is knowing how to see it and seizing that opportunity. - Qui-Gon Jinn
  16. May we ever choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong. - Thomas S. Monson
  17. He is not waiting to love you until after you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. - Dieter F. Uchtdorf
  18. Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody. - Kid President
  19. When it rains look for rainbows, when it's dark look for stars.*
  20. Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing the monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward. - C.S. Lewis
  21. God cares a lot more about who we are, and who we are becoming, than about who we once were. - Dale G. Renlund
  22. He will not always take your afflictions from you, but He will comfort you and lead you with love through whatever storm you face. Thomas S. Monson
  23. Heaven is filled with those have been forgiven and those who forgive. -Dieter F. Uchtdorf
  24. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, I'll try again tomorrow.
  25. It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy.
  26. The earth has music for those who listen. - William Shakespeare
  27. I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. - Albert Einstein

Instructional thoughts

  1. True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. - C.S. Lewis*
  2. Don't promise when you're happy. Don't reply when you're angry. And don't decide when you're sad.
  3. A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.
  4. The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up. - Mark Twain
  5. Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.
  6. If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal. Not people or objects. - Albert Einstein.
  7. Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Albert Einstein
  8. Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater. - George Washington Carver
  9. Be less curious about people and more about ideas. - Marie Curie
  10. Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. - Thomas Edison
  11. Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense. - C.S. Lewis
  12. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
  13. It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do. - Jane Austen
  14. The 5 finger prayer: Thumb- those closest to you. Pointer- those that point you in the right direction. Middle- those that lead us. Ring- those that are weak, in trouble, or in pain. Pinkie- our prayers for ourselves & our own needs (smallest).
  15. What you allow is what will continue.
  16. We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another, and gain instruction that we may all sit down in heaven together. - Lucy M. Smith


What to do with these quotes

Be sure to print the ones out that really strike you and will teach your children just what you want them to know.

Shoot, go ahead and print them all out, these will last you for a good year or two, depending on how you use them.


I have included 3 of these quotes in the ASL Memory Work pack. If you want to know which ones they are, they are marked with an *.

It was hard to pick which ones to share with y'all, but I think they each have such a good message for your children to learn.

For one of the quotes you'll be discussing possibilities of what it can mean for them and how they can sign it.

There is such power in discussing a meaning of a quote and how it is useful for them. Take advantage of this discussion and milk it.


If there is a quote that your children connect with, I'd encourage you to print it out and put it somewhere on the walls of your home to remind them of it.

You don't need to make it fancy or pretty. Just put the words up. You could even put it in a frame and then rotate them out as you find new ones. That way it doesn't become stagnant and stale.


Grab the ASL Memory Work pack here (it's free, my loves):

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Did you miss Day 1?

Main: The Best Step-by-Step Guide to Memory Work

Day 1: Improve Your Child's Relationship to God with Memory Work

Come back tomorrow for Day 3!





Click the picture to read more 5-day series posts. 

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

Improve Your Child's Relationship to God with Memory Work

You want your child to know and love God, to cherish the gospel in their hearts, and live its standards. Scripture memory work is the first easy step to establishing a relationship. But it's not the only step you can take with Memory Work.  

Scripture memory work, along with memorizing hymns, songs, and doctrine are the best ways to establish, nurture, and grow your child's relationship to God. This has a list of scriptures, hymns, and how to incorporate doctrine -- along with ASL memory work printables


Having many opportunities and lots of time to dedicate to teaching your child the gospel is one of the big reasons you decided to Homeschool. Sometimes though, you don't do as much as you'd like. Putting key concepts into your memory work will ensure it's covered and remembered.

Especially when you're not there to help your child.


Scripture memory work

Of course, you already know memorizing scriptures is an excellent idea.

You can start in chronological order, as these are listed below, or you can pick and choose based on what you're learning as a family.

In our home we do all of either the Old Testament or the New Testament during one school year. We make sure we are also studying from that book during the school year as well to know the stories and get the real good nuggets of information and dive deeper.

The kids are so excited when we read a verse we have memorized. You guessed it, they all want to stop and recite it together.

This has really helped them to internalize the verses they memorize because they not only memorize it, but they then connect it to the stories and prophets of old.


I've listed out some really good doctrinally based verses for y'all. Of course, it's really hard to choose, there are just so many amazing ones.

If I could I'd memorize chapter 11 in Hebrews.

The * indicates that this verse is included in the ASL Memory Pack y'all can download for free at the bottom of this post.

Your kids can memorize those verses in both English and American Sign Language. It's really fun, and very effective in memorizing and understanding the verses layers of meaning.

If your religion does not use these books of scripture, please substitute with the verses that are teaching a principle and lesson you want your children to know.

Of course, if you are not religious, then just skip over these verses, or go ahead and memorize those that are in keeping with your family's values and standards.

Old Testament

  1. Genesis 1:26-27
  2. Genesis 2:24
  3. Genesis 39:3
  4. Exodus 19:5-6
  5. Exodus 20:3-17
  6. Joshua 24:15
  7. 1 Samuel 16:7
  8. Psalm 24:3-4
  9. Psalm 119:105
  10. Psalm 127:3
  11. Proverbs 3:5-6*
  12. Isaiah 1:18
  13. Isaiah 5:20
  14. Isaiah 53:3-5
  15. Isaiah 58:6-7
  16. Isaiah 58:13-14
  17. Jeremiah 1:4-5
  18. Ezekiel 37:15-17
  19. Amos 3:7
  20. Malachi 3:8-10
  21. Malachi 4:5-6

New Testament

  1. Matthew 5:14-16
  2. Matthew 11:28-30
  3. Matthew 16:15-19
  4. Matthew 22:36-39
  5. Matthew 28:19-20
  6. Luke 24:36-39
  7. John 3:5
  8. John 14:6
  9. John 14:15*
  10. John 17:3
  11. Acts 2:36-38
  12. Acts 3:19-21
  13. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  14. 1 Corinthians 15:20-22
  15. 1 Corinthians 15:40-42
  16. Galatians 5:22-23
  17. Ephesians 4:11-14
  18. Philippians 4:13*
  19. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
  20. 2 Timothy 3:15-17
  21. Hebrews 12:9
  22. James 1:5-6*
  23. James 2:17-18
  24. 1 Peter 4;6
  25. Revelations 20:12


Hymns & worship songs for memory work

This was a little bit trickier since so many of us are of different faiths. Jewish, Methodist, Catholic, LDS, Presbyterian, Muslim, Baptist, and on and on and on.

I've scoured the internet for places to get free copies of the lyrics to hymns of various faiths. If you don't see your faith here, I truly apologize.





Seventh Day Adventist


LDS and LDS Kids



Ambleside Online's resources



In this world of increasing opposition to morals, values, standards, and religion it's important that we arm our children with all the knowledge, faith, and strength we can. It's good for our children to know the scriptures that we hold dear to our hearts.

It's just as important that they understand where we stand on the doctrines of our religion.

We cannot be there for our children at every step they take, temptation they face, opposition they face, or doubt they may have. We cannot decide for them, we cannot give them our testimony and faith. They have to find those for themselves.

Understanding the doctrine of their religion will give them a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding. These can lead to desire to know, which will work in their hearts to develop into hope and faith. And actions soon follow.

We'll be giving our children the tools to choose right and good and to discern wrong from right. Dark from light.


Scripture memory work, along with memorizing hymns, songs, and doctrine are the best ways to establish, nurture, and grow your child's relationship to God. This has a list of scriptures, hymns, and how to incorporate doctrine -- along with ASL memory work printables

How to do it

Step 1

Write down the doctrines of your faith.

Flesh out, or seek materials from your religion to aide you in this pursuit.


Here are some starter questions to get you thinking: 

  • Where did we come from?
  • Why are we here?
  • What happens after we die?
  • What is our belief in God? Jesus Christ? The Holy Ghost?
  • What does faith mean?
  • How do we repent?
  • How are we saved?
  • What are the commandments?
  • Who do we follow as our leader-- is it a prophet, apostle, pope, etc? Where does their authority come from?
  • What is the purpose of prayer?
  • What is the correct way to pray?


You could go on for hours. It may take you some time, but I guarantee, the time you put into this will not be wasted.

Step 2

Once you write down your doctrines (or find them written for you) be sure to find scriptures that support the doctrines you believe.


Step 3

Now for the application part. 

1. Pick the doctrine you want to cover first.

2. Read it together, read the scripture references. Discuss, ask questions, pray, and dive as deep as you want. This can take as long or as short as you want. It can span a day, a few days, or even a few weeks.

3. Now, if the things you've written down are pretty lengthy, you can take it a paragraph at a time and memorize it.  Or memorize the golden nuggets first, and then come back through again at a later date and memorize more.

Be sure to memorize the scripture references along with the doctrines you memorize.

This will be so helpful and effective for your children. Should they ever need help understanding a principle they can recall what they've memorized, but then they know the scriptures that support this and will have even more evidence at their hands to guide them.


4. As the years go on, be sure to add more scripture references to be memorized. The scriptures are jam-packed with goodness and teaching nuggets that all connect to one another.

5. Keep a journal. Write how they connect down

This journal will be invaluable to each child as they grow and, as we often do, forget the lessons we've learned.


Put it all together

Putting extra effort into really making your relationship with God a top priority in your homeschool will bless your life and your children's lives in ways you cannot imagine. Things may still be hard, but you will find strength you didn't have with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ by your side.


Gift for you

I have translated 4 scripture verses into ASL for your kids (and you) to memorize.

Why memorize in ASL? 

Well, there's something powerful about moving your body when you memorize. You memorize it faster, your recall is easier, and it's ingrained in you at a deeper level.

Learning a scripture verse in another language really encourages your children to ponder the meaning of the verse.


In a few of the verses I give a few options on how to sign and interpret the verse. I leave these options up to you and your children to discuss and decide upon together.

What a great teaching moment.

Having decided together you will learn together and you can bet they won't forget it.


You can grab them for free, along with poems, quotes, and educational bits to memorize in this box right here. You'll get access to the videos, as well as review pages to put into your memory work binder for quick access.


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Check out Day 3






Click the picture to read more amazing 5-day series.

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

The Best Step-by-Step Guide to Memory Work

You want to include memory work in your homeschool morning time, but are overwhelmed and aren't sure where to start. Check out this step-by-step guide.  

You want to include memory work but aren't sure where to even start.

There's so many possibilities to do it can be overwhelming. I've got a step-by-step guide to lead the way and eliminate the overwhelm.

Is memory work worth all the fuss and hype?

It's so easy to jump on board to the next revolutionary education idea. Let's discuss the benefits of memory work so you can decide if this is worth while for your family.

Get the brain moving

Your brain is working hard to retain and recall the information you're giving it. It's not zoned out, it's not in la-la land, it's not doing menial work.

This is the real deal of brain exercise. You can't be passive when trying to memorize something.

To gain a real, useful education you cannot be passive.

Improve memory

Your memory for everything, not just what you're memorizing improves tremendously. Your ability to retain and recall most information grows by great bounds.

If you memorize something every day for 2 years, it doesn't have to be big, but memorize it and review it regularly for 2 years you will have a photographic memory.

If I had a photographic memory I could tell you where I saw this research. But, since I haven't memorized something for 2 years straight, I can't help you there.

But! When I was in my early 20's I memorized a whole slew of scriptures, about 95 total in a year. At first, it was super hard and I just couldn't get some of those longer verses to stick.

Then, all of a sudden, I hit the point where I could memorize a verse after reading through it 4 or 5 times. It was EASY! I flew through my verses and remembered them for a long long time.


I'm in my early 30's now and while I didn't consistently review those passages and babies, time, and an autoimmune disease has eaten away at my memory, I do recall many of them even now.

I have recently (as in 2 weeks ago) made a goal to memorize a new verse every day for 2 years. My brain needs the workout, it needs the stimulation, and I need to gain my memory back and, honestly, I'd like to prevent further deterioration (especially with my AI disease).

Is it just me that's terrified of Alzheimer's and dementia?


It's been fun so far, I've done pretty good and it's been an added blessing in my life to stop and take some time for me-- and not in just a let's read a book or take a nap, but to better myself in a unique-ish way.

Real connections to materials learning

When I memorize something it really helps me to retain it when I understand it. As I memorize passages my brain is making connections to the words, to the subject matter in various ways.

It's connecting to things I already know about this topic. It's connecting to memories or experiences I've already had.

When my children memorized The Swing, by Robert Louis Stevenson, they really made a greater connection to that poem when they next went on a swing. They understood what he was saying and meaning. They felt it.

They even quoted it while they were swinging.

Again, you can't be passive when memorizing.

I'm sure you could try, but then, you aren't going to keep it in there for very long. Maybe long enough to pass the test, but not long enough for anything else.


You can do hard things

It shows yourself and your kids that they can do hard things.

These days people don't like to work. They don't like to work hard for things. That's not the case for you.

You didn't take the easy road.

You kept your kids home to teach them yourself. That's hard work. And it's the best hard work you've probably ever done. Well, when I say that I AM including being a mother to those children. Because really, you can't separate homeschooling and mothering/fathering from each other.


When our kids memorize various passages, they have tangible proof that they CAN indeed do hard things. They are smart, they are capable. They can do hard things.

You want to include memory work in your homeschool morning time, but are overwhelmed and aren't sure where to start. Check out this step-by-step guide.


The more hard things we can do, the easier the trying becomes. The safer tripping up and messing up becomes because we know we can do it, eventually, if we just keep plugging away.

That's an incredible gift to give our children.

This is a gift that will serve them far better than learning who Aristotle is or knowing the names of all the planets.


Foster unity

You know how children can be. There's fighting, there's the, "she's not sharing with me," or "she's looking at me,' or "he won't give me back my ball," or "he's better than me and I'm not good at that."

We want our children to love each other. We want them to be friends. We want them to learn how to work together, even if it's just for a little while.

When you memorize a passage together, you're doing it with one another. You're all starting out on the same level.

Now, some may get it faster than others, some may not.

If this is a problem, I'd do a few things.

Address the core issue. I have had this conversation with my children multiple times and I know I'll have it with them for the rest of their days.

Heck, I just learned this finally a couple years back and I'm 33.


Here it is *standing on my soapbox*: 

Just because someone is good at something doesn't mean you can't be either.

Just because Johnny is good at math, doesn't mean you're not good at math. Just because Jenny is good at the splits doesn't mean you can't be good at the splits.

You want to include memory work in your homeschool morning time, but are overwhelmed and aren't sure where to start. Check out this step-by-step guide.


Someone being good at something doesn't make us less. Someone else being talented doesn't make us less talented. Someone being an amazing writer when we're trying to be an amazing writer, doesn't mean we can't be an amazing writer also.

*stepping down*



Make it a family effort. Make it fun to cheer each other on and be supportive. Make that your family mission during memory work, to help each other.


You could also adjust a bit if it's really hard on someone.

I'd think of different ways to do memory work. Perhaps say we're only going to memorize this part today and work on it bit by bit so that everyone stays at the same level. I wouldn't do this forever, but maybe for a little while until they're all used to the process and it starts getting easier for the ones that struggled before.

But honestly, you don't have to adjust. Just keep at it.

Show off to naysayers

Nah, I'm just joking.

But still... there's a part of me that wishes some naysayer would try to tell me homeschooling is super lame and then BAM! my 4-year-old busts out the entire constitution or the Gettysburg address, or an entire 5-page sonnet or something ultra impressive and then they fall into a puddle of shame-goo, apologize, and whip out a checkbook to send my kids to an Ivy League school as penance.

I'll be satisfied with the shame-goo puddle, or the apology and acknowledgement of them being wrong. I don't need the Ivy League school.

Heck, our kids could get scholarships there anyway! Those schools [wc_fa icon="heart" margin_left="" margin_right=""][/wc_fa]LURV[wc_fa icon="heart" margin_left="" margin_right=""][/wc_fa] homeschool kids. Why? They know how to work, do hard things, use their brains, self-starters, and know how to learn.


5 days of goodness


The next 5 days will give you tons of resources for memory work, printables, and help you to plan your year out.


Bookmark this page so you can come back each day and not miss anything, and you can come back if you forget anything, or when you plan next year's memory work as well.

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Day 1: Improve Your Child's Relationship to God With Memory Work

Day 2: 75 Quotes for Memory Work

Day 3: Phenomenal Poems to Rock Memory Work

Day 4: Brilliant Memory Work Hacks to Make Morning Time Transformative

Day 5: How to Plan a Year of Memory Work Your Kids Will Love


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Day 1 is already up, be sure to start there. If you have any questions, please, ask in the comments and I'd be more than happy to help.







Click the picture to read more amazing 5-day series

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

How to Schedule Without Screaming

You know that dirty word? Schedule.

Don't you just want to slap someone (maybe me) when they say in a nasally condescending voice, "you need to have a schedule, Shelly."

I didn't say it.


How are you going to schedule your days?

It's not as tricky as you might think.

It's not wax-your-nether-regions painful either. (Yes, I did just say that Mama, sorry).

schedule without scream


Okay, you might be doing a bit of juggling and some hard-core thinking. We're in it together! *whistles kumbaya*


Are you a routine or a schedule type of person?  I'm a bit of a combination of the two. I'll show you what I mean in a minute, but first we've gotta get to the nitty gritty.


1. List Priorities

List out the things that are most important to you. Then put them in order of importance. Keep that handy when you're blocking out your time.


2. List Scheduled Activities

Co-op classes, club meetings, sports, music lessons, dance lessons, family items, etc.


3. List Out Curriculum Frequencies

Remember in our planning we said to figure out how often you're going to be doing your lessons. Are you doing spelling 2 or 3 times a week? Math 4 or 5 times a week? And on and on.


How many days of the week are you going to do school? 4 days or 5 days?


4. Get Your Work Schedule Out

Do you work outside the home? In your home?

What is your work schedule? Do you work certain days of the week? Certain times of the day?


5. List Outside Commitments

What are your outside commitments? What do you have going on each week? Each month? Do you have exercise classes? Training for a marathon? Book club? etc.


Get out a piece of paper and write time out in 30 minute increments. Use pencil!

sched 2


6. Fill in Items From Steps 1 - 5

Fill in all that stuff. Dance Tuesdays at 3:30, Cello lessons Friday at 1:00, Lego Club Friday at 2:00, Book Club 3rd Thursday at 7:00 PM. You get the idea.

For the once or twice a month items I will fill it in a spot at either the top or the bottom of the day of the week it happens on. So I'd put Book Club at the top of Thursday that said 3rd Thursday at 7 PM. Then later I can fill in my calendar as needed.

Don't forget to schedule in travel time!!


7. Best Times

Is your family early risers? Late risers? What time of day do y'all work best at?

Put the harder subjects, reading and math at the freshest times of the day. Whenever those times are for you and your child.


8. Meal Times and Cleanup

When do y'all eat? When do y'all want to get chores done?


9. Chunk Your Day

This is how I work in my routine. I put the 3 R's for the morning time. We do it in the order we feel like that day, but we do it in the morning when the kids are alert and fresh. When I am motivated and fresh. Then in the afternoon we do our remaining subjects, whatever those may be for that day. We have a checklist of things that need to be done after lunch. School, chores, exercise, cooking, dinner, free time, practice, family time, etc.


If you're not a routine type of person then you just schedule in when you want to do each subject.


10. Be Realistic

You've got to be real with yourself. How long does it take to do each item/subject? Schedule breaks, schedule free time. You can't be going going going all. day. long. or you'll crack. Don't stuff your day to bursting. You can't do everything in one day. Schedule in time for real life.


Be flexible. Don't be a slave to your schedule. If it's not working change it. Re-evaluate at regular intervals. Check back in with yourself maybe once a quarter or once a semester. Again -- be flexible!!


Now that you've got your schedule sketched out fill in your official schedule.

Here's a printable I found that I liked -- It's from


Here's my schedule from last year:

schedule 1


We haven't officially signed up for sports and I am not sure on club meetings this year. When we get our official schedule lined up I'll do a post on it.  But my tentative schedule is as follows:


5 AM - 9 AM: Work (TW Transcribing, TW, Blog, Write)

8:30 AM: Kids up and getting ready on own.

9 AM: Breakfast and morning school work (Calendar, Spiritual stuff)

10 AM - 12 PM: School (the 3 R's)

12 PM - 1 PM: Lunch

1 PM - 4 PM: School and outside commitments

5 PM: Chores and Free time

6 PM: Dinner

7 PM: Chores and Free time

8 PM: Bed time for kids

9 PM - 10 PM: Work (TW, Blog, Write)

Sometime around 10 or 11 go to bed (ha!)


This is just our basic skeleton of a schedule, and not including scheduled activities and such. Plus, as the first few weeks unfold I'll probably tweak it a bit. I'll know more about how much time I need for each activity.


Do you have any scheduling tips?

Share away my friends, I love to learn from others!

♥ Rochelle


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Our 2014 - 2015 Curriculum Picks

Back to school is much more renewing to me than New Years will ever be.  

It's a time of new beginnings, renewed motivation, along with the opportunity to learn, explore, and discover.

But let's be honest, who doesn't love the smell thrill of new school supplies?!


The best part of being a homeschooler is when the UPS man comes to your door day after day with boxes of curriculum. It's like Christmas time. The kids get just as excited about it as I do.


We have a lot of fun stuff planned this year. I'm pretty excited about it. I'm also pretty nervous about it, to be honest.


We have a lot going on in our regular life already. I have 3 different jobs and a new baby.

I'll spare you my pity party for today. Just for today.


2014-15 Curriculum Picks


I'll start in birth order by first listing their separate work and then put what they'll do all together at the bottom.


The Captain

The Captain - 3rd Grade

*No, that's not his real name. I refer to my children with their "online names" for privacy and protection. There's too many creepers out there. *


Little MIss

Little Miss - 1st/2nd Grade

I always say she's 1st/2nd grade because through the charter school we do school through she's technically 1st grade. She does everything 2nd grade, except reading. Actually her math right now is finishing up 1st grade and then moving on to 2nd grade.



The Animal

The Animal - Kindergarten

I can see him breezing through his math. We're doing Kindergarten low-key. That's how I roll.



Sweet Cheeks

Sweet Cheeks - Tot School

I'm not a huge believer in doing preschool. There's nothing wrong with it, but I don't stress over it. My children learn naturally on their own with the things we do and from watching their older siblings. I will have things for her to do though, to keep her busy and feeling like a big kid.


  • Busy Bag/Box items
  • Dry erase board and dry erase pencils
  • Dollar spot color packs and school stuff from Target
  • Coloring books - the girl loves to color
  • Legos - she builds with Legos all day long
  • Counting
  • Letter of the Week - whenever we feel like it
  • Give her mini jobs
  • Naps!


Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear - Babyhood

He's just going to spend his time eating, sleeping, pooping, and spitting up. He'll get lots of snuggle time in. I've got a ring sling he'll spend a lot of time in.

Combined Subjects

KONOS - Volume II.

Konos is a unit study based curriculum. It covers history, science, writing, reading, character study, scripture study, art, geography, and on and on. I'm going to use their co-op this year to get used to it and have an extra layer of help and direction. Plus, it'll help me to remain accountable.

I love that it covers Kindergarten - 8th grade. I plan on going more into Konos in a later post.





Piano - Jon Schmidt Primer -- This is for The Captain and Little Miss. If you've heard of Piano Guys, this is their method and music to teaching piano!

Drums - Riff Academy -- I just found this online music academy. You can learn guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard for a monthly subscription. The Captain and The Animal both want to learn the drums. I may want to die. We won't be starting drums right away. We need to save up some money for a stinking drum set. I remember my cousin had a practice pad of some sort when he was younger and he used that. I thought about that, but wasn't sure if it'd be too different from learning on a real set of drums. I'll have to talk to Riff Academy for their thoughts. Do y'all know of any good options?

Other instruments -- My kids all want to play the piano and one other instrument. I think though, that for this year we'll start just on piano. TC may start drums in the spring. After that I'll see how we're doing before I add anymore in.



Family Time Fitness

TC - He's still trying to decide between Gymnastics, Swimming (prep for swim team), and Martial Arts. He will do Basketball once the season starts up in January

LM - Gymnastics. She wants to dance as well. We may put her in Jazz or in Ballet. For now she wants gymnastics more.

TA - Gymnastics and soccer in the spring. Animal is our natural athlete. The kid can do anything. He probably runs faster than I can. It's hard to pick a sport for him.


Writing Project

I've got a fun writing project idea that I am setting up right now. I'll have a whole post about it for ya!


Adult Skills Class

I'm making a whole course up for my kids to develop adult life skills. I'll have a post about it for you as well!



Each week I'll have a poem, quote, or scripture verse for the kids to memorize. We'll work on it in the morning when we go over the calendar. Nothing too flashy, just a bit to get them to learn good things and to work those brain cells.

I know KONOS has some memorization stuff as well.


Video Project

Each of my 3 oldest kids get to pick a special thing they want to learn this year. LM wanted art. TC wants to make his own movies and videos. TA hasn't decided yet. I'll be working with TC to make videos of all sorts. Video book reports, video presentations, tutorials, acting out stories, and showing off the new skills he's learning. He's going to die of excitement and it's gonna be awesome.  I'll give more updates on how that all goes down.



Gotta learn a foreign language right!? Why not learn one your parent is fluent in?

I've taught them ASL over the years and they each knew it as a baby. This year I'll be doing a more focused learning and using my own curriculum. I'll share our journey with y'all!



That's it!


That's it, right!? You see what I mean!?


On top of all this TC is in Cub Scouts this year and I always said I'd put LM in Girl Scouts (or a similar group). I may have to have her wait a year. We are in a homeschool club this year. I'm super excited about it. They do co-ops, clubs, field trips, and parties. Plus, our charter school has campus classes the kids could go to and holiday parties.


It's going to be hecka busy. But hecka fun!!!


Tomorrow I'll be going over how to schedule all this stuff so you don't rip your head off screaming.


What are y'all doing this year?

♥ Rochelle

120 Ideas for Back to (Home)School

Last year I found the first day of school crept up on me and I stood there without so much as a "Yay! It's the first day!"  Not even a blinkin' picture.

What kind of mother does that? This kind.


I was determined that I would not let this year go by without doing something special to commemorate the day. Something... anything.

Getting back to school (even if you've been doing it over the summer like us) is a fun event! It's the time of new beginnings and fresh starts.


As Homeschoolers back to school is just as fun and important as non-homeschoolers.


Enter research time! Wow, did I find some great ideas! I wanted to share them with y'all. I decided to put them in all one spot so you wouldn't have to go searching and searching like I did.

Now you'll just have to click and click.


120 ideas


Trust me, I've found some goodies for y'all!




Photo Ops

1. Giant Polaroid  Make your own polaroid frame photo prop.

2. Pencil Prop Cute giant pencil photo prop.

3. Chalk speech bubble  Fun DIY sign.

4. Same outfit on first and last day of school. See how they've grown!

5. Chalkboard sign  Make your own sign with a canvas and some paint. Personalize with their details.

6. Photo checklist  Not all of these photo ideas are for homeschoolers. You can adapt the list to suit your situation. Have fun with it!

7. Printable sign

8. Printable signs (put on a stick)

9. Printable sign

10. Big Letter/Number Sign Use a big wooden letter and paint it! Cute photo prop

11. Graduating year T-shirt Make a T-shirt for their graduating year and take a photo with them in it every year as they grow up.

12. Chalkboard sign A framed chalkboard.

13. Large Printable Sign This one is editable with photoshop and she printed it at a copy shop.

14. Sidewalk chalk Make a grade year sign on the sidewalk. Add in some personal details or fun pictures. Pose away!

15. Paperstrip backdrop Cute backdrop for some pop of color.

16. Mini Chalkboard Such a cute little chalkboard.

17. Mom holding all the signs of each kid Show what grades mom is teaching this year!

18. Printable Bus Sign Cute school bus sign.

19. Hashtag sign Modern #photoprintable

20. Photo props Cute photo booth-like props



Interview Your Kids

21. Interview made into a special page Ask your questions and design them into a pdf or pretty document to print and keep.

22. 21 questions to ask Great questions to ask. Put them on video or write them down. Or be crazy and do both.

23. First and Final Day Ask your kid the same questions at the start and end of the year.

24. Printable interviews Free printable for each grade level.

25. Back to school Survey Another fun set of questions.

26. K-12 Printable interviews More I tell you, more!

27. My summer printable What did you do this summer interview!

28. first and last day memory page Put your memories down on paper!


Celebrate it Up!!

29. You're so Sharp themed party - with printables

30. When I Grow Up Fun idea for what you want to be when you grow up party.

31. Ice Cream Party Who doesn't love ice cream? Don't answer that. I"ll just pretend I didn't see that.

32. Dessert Party Desserts people, desserts!

33. Apple Party Cute classic apple theme.

34. "Be Brave" I love this idea. Be Brave is their slogan for the year.

35. Going Places Great theme.

36. Wheels on the Bus Cute for the little ones. Even if they don't ride a bus :)

37. Coffee Date for Moms A fun celebration for the moms and dads to celebrate the start of a new year.

38. "Future is Bright" Another fun theme.

39. Milk and Cookies party Milk and cookies people, milk and cookies! Classic after school snack!

40. 50 more Celebrations Dude, my hand would've cramped if I tried to post more of these. I ♥ Naptime did it for me.




Special Meals

41. Lunch box notes Gotta love lunch box notes!

42. decorated lunch bag Make their brown bags look extra fun.

43. lunch survey A fun way to get to know what your kiddo has been up to at school (or wherever if they're homeschooled)

44. lunchbox notes Love fun printables!

45. lunchbox jokes Jokes! Who doesn't love a good laugh? Your kiddo could use some cheering up.

46. owl lunch bag Another fun way to decorate the classic brown bag.

47. back to school luncheon Celebrate with a special lunch. Invite some homeschool families.

48. back to school dinner Special dinner either the night before of the night of.

49. back to school breakfast Have a feast!

50. back to school bash Invite the friends over!

51. breakfast butterflies Cute special breakfast meal.

52. back to school feast !ith crowns!

Cute treat bag full of whatever goodies you want! School supplies, treats, gifts, whatevs.



53. Back to School Fairy visit Have her visit the morning of.

54. Fairy Treat bag Have her visit the night before.

55. Magic School Bus Same idea, but it's no fairy, it's a Magic Bus, baby! *cringe* Sorry about the cheesiness.



A Little Something Fun to Give

56. First Day Ribbons Little badges for them to wear with their new grade!

57. Decorate a Composition Notebook Decorate a notebook for them to use all year long.

58. Craft Stick Bookmarks  They're designed to look like pencils, crayons, or super heroes.

59. Decorate Journals Make journals together!

60. School binders Have a special binder just for them.

61. First day Certificates These are just for your preschooler and kindergartener.

62. Smile catchers Fun little toy you can put in their lunch box. You know those folded thingys you used to say who your crush was and all that fun stuff. What's its name?

63. Back to School Mad-Libs Who doesn't love a good mad lib?

64. Washi tape bookmarks, clothespins, thumb tacks, dry erase board, and labels  Lots of cute supplies you can make with washi tape.

65. Crayon Favor Box Cute cute giant crayon stuffed with whatever treat you want to put in.

66. Button Book Marks Sweet little things!

67. Personalized Pens Decorate a boring ole pen.

68. Pencil Bag So fun, it looks like notebook paper

69. Personalized Pencil Cans In the post they aren't personalized, but you could definitely make one for each child.

70. bottle cap magnets Such a fun thing. If they have a locker, a magnet board, or anything really.

71. School supply crate A fun idea to decorate their curriculum/supply box.

72. Dry Erase Clipboard Could be a great tool for keeping them on task.

73. Printable bookmarks Cute easy bookmarks! Free!

74. mini chalkboard easels Cute little gift.

75. Survival bag Scroll down a bit in the post to see it.

76. First Day Survival Kit Gotta survive that first day!

77. pencil can with pencils Make a fun pencil can and then fill it with fun pencils!

78. Back to school pencil cases Love pencil cases!

79. notebook cover Fun way to cover a notebook.

80. Schultute A cute way to give a bunch of gifts. Could be used along with the BTS Fairy.

81. back to school bag Great idea.

82. school tools Fun fun! Fill it with whatever supplies they love.



Yummy Treats

83. Lucky Charms goody bag Cute little cereal bag.

84. Apple Cupcakes Adorbs!

85. Gumball Rulers So clever! You gotta check it out.

86. Rice Krispy Apples So simple and fun

87. Confidence Cookies I hearts and flowers this idea.

88. Edible Glue Stick What a cute idea - a fake glue stick filled with white candy!

89. lemon cake cookies Lemon. Cake. Cookies. Yummmm

90. 7-up treat Cute little saying to go along with the 7-Up!

91. bookworm cupcakes So cute. There's a couple more cupcake ideas on this post as well.

92. tic tac printables Cute little printables to put on a Tic Tac box.

93. apple cake pops So cute!

94. back to school cookies She did a fabulous job on these cookies!

95. edible crayons Such a fun idea to make together.

96. Back to school cupcakes Cupcakes! Love!!

97. hershey kiss pencils These are so cute. Big pencils but with candy instead of graphite. Win!

98. apple jelly bean treat Super cute! Jelly beans are so yummy.

99. crayon cupcakes Cupcakes made to look like crayons. Love the wrappers. Post has a party idea as well.


Won't Be Boxed Into a Category (a.k.a. Don't put Baby in a corner)

100. Countdown paper chain Fun free printable chain!

101. Morning routine printable Great idea to get the kids ready for their day.

102. Alphabet art Cute way to decorate your home.

103. Be Awesome Today print A fun print to keep near your kid's desk.

104. Countdown banner Another fun countdown idea.

105. Back to school printables Lots of cute and practical stuff here:  lunch checklist, refrigerator note, daily school clothes labels, and school money.

106. Printable Reading Log A fun printable to keep track of reading.

107. Crayon Wreath Make a cute wreath for your door or school room. Run out of crayons during the school year just steal one from your wreath. ;)

108. Ruler Wreath I love this wreath!


little miss drawings


Great Ideas Without a Blog Home

109. Write a letter to your child

110. Scavenger hunt for school supplies.

111. Scavenger hunt for a treat at the end. Maybe a gift, or special meal, or a gift card.

112. Make goals with your children.

113. Ask them what they want to learn this year. What are they looking forward to this year?

114. Make a list of "firsts."

115. Start a newsletter.

116. Draw or paint self-portraits.

117. Homeschool club parties -- some homeschool clubs and co-ops have back to school parties.

118. Field trips - go somewhere fun on your first day back!

119. Do something special that non-homeschoolers can't do!!

120. Go out to eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner.



Are you exhausted? I am!

Obviously you cannot do them all. If you try I'm calling an asylum and have you committed. I'll visit once a year and bring you a shiny red apple.


What are your family traditions for the first day of school? What new ones will you start this year?


I'll report back to tell you which ones we decided to try this year!

♥ Rochelle

jonathangarcia via photopin cc

Homeschool: How to Get Started :: How Do I Plan?

HS get started  

Okay, you've done all the hard work.


You've picked your method, your curriculum, you've gotten your budget together, and set up your space. What now?


You've got to plan out your year.


You know what they say, fail to plan and you plan to fail. *forehead slap*




Let's hop to it!


Materials You Need:

  • Calendar
  • Schedule (holidays, vacations, special occasions, appointments, etc)
  • Curriculum
  • Pencil and pen
  • Highlighter
  • Paper/notebook
  • Planner
  • Something to munch on


How will you be schooling?

  • Year round
  • Along with the public school schedule
  • Some other variation (i.e. 6 weeks on 2 weeks off, 3 months on 1 month off)


Decide how much you're going to plan at once. The whole year, one semester, one month, or just one week.


I personally do a combination of all of these. I love to plan. That is written with all seriousness. I could just plan stuff and then never do it, but I feel fulfilled because I planned it. I'm sick in the head. I've mentioned that, right?


I get a general plan for the year. Then I fill it in more for the semester. After that I get very detailed for 1 - 1 1/2 months out. If I get too detailed further out I'll inevitably wind up changing it due to something that messed up my plans. Then my whole semester is erased and rewritten. I don't like to create more work for myself.


Step 1

Photo source: Dwayne Blee


  • Fill in your calendar with your days off of school.
  • Make sure the appointments and commitments that you know about at this time are filled in.
  • Extracurricular activities filled in.


Step 2

What grades are you teaching this year? What are some of the goals and objectives you have for the grade levels?


Step 3

What are the goals you have for each of your children? What do they need to work on? What are their weaknesses and strengths?  Their interests?

Write the goals down for each child and keep them in mind when  you're planning. As the year progresses you want to look at them and see how y'all are progressing with their goals.



Step 4

Look at your curriculum.

What is the frequency of the subjects you'll be teaching? Will you teach math everyday? Will science be everyday, or just two or three times a week? And so forth.

How many lessons are in your curriculum? Does your spelling curriculum just have 30 lessons? That may mean you do one lesson per week, spreading it out through the week or all in one shot.

Don't get locked in with the time though. Your child may whiz through it, or may need more time on each lesson. Embrace this flexibility -- this is one of the best perks of homeschooling!


Step 5

Lists and notes!!

You'll want a list for the books and subjects to check out at the library.

Also make a note to pay your library fine! (Anyone want to pay mine?)

Do you need to start collecting cardboard for a project? A stethoscope?

Need to call your dentist friend to see if she has some materials you can borrow or use? Maybe those red capsules that show plaque.

Call the butcher shop to set up a field trip.

Need some pastels and charcoals for your art lessons? It's better to know in advance so you can be on the look out for the best deals, or maybe you know someone that has some to give you or lend you. Facebook has some groups you can join for such things. Maybe you only need to use that stethoscope once and you could just borrow one rather than buy one. If you wait until the day of or the day before the lesson you may find yourself spending unnecessary money.

Be better than a boy scout (be prepared... a lot).


Step 6

Use your homeschool planner to its fullest. If your planner doesn't have what you need, do a quick Google and you'll be able to find something. There's tons of free and cheap printables. Most especially in the homeschool world. It's a beautiful and dangerous thing.


I use the Weekly Homeschool Planner and I couldn't be happier with it!

Weekly Homeschool Planner


It's an editable PDF that I can use year after year. I can fill in each page and print off as much or as little as I want. Or I can leave it on my computer and not print a thing. It's the most flexible planner I've found. It works for any type of method - unit studies, classical, etc, etc. Love love it! Click here to visit Homeschool Creations.*


Now, go, be wild and free! Frolic in the land of planning!


Oh, and use pencil.


Have any questions? Did I leave something out?


♥ Rochelle

* affiliate link -- which means if you purchase it I get a tiny bonus. Your price isn't increased at all. You will just be helping me replace all those blasted pencils the kids keep losing.

Homeschool: How To Get Started :: Where, Oh Where?

HS get started  


I can see you now.


You're psyched and stoked and tubular-to-the-maximum-ed out for homeschooling. Yes, I just said that. No, I'm not ashamed.


Well, okay, but wait. Where am I supposed to homeschool my children? Yeah, yeah, your home. But where exactly in your home? Let's work through it together!





We all live in a different home in different circumstances. They all can work!


What is your home like?


I know people that homeschool while driving their 18-wheeler. Some people live in an RV on the road and homeschool as well. Your space or lack-of space can and will work. You just have to be creative.


Your brain won't explode. Well... it might just a little, but I'll shove the bits back in and help you get your stuff worked out.


What's your available space?

  • Do you have a spare room?
  • A spare part of a room?
  • A closet?
  • A shelf?

Any or all of these will work.





If you're one of those jerks lucky people that have a room you can dedicate to homeschooling then I'll do what I can to not be envious and bitter. I'll get there someday. :)


Here are some rooms you could use:

  • dining room
  • formal living room
  • study/deny/office
  • play room/game room
  • bedroom
  • garage (that's prepped for heat and a/c)




If you can't dedicate the whole area to homeschool alone, you can still use these rooms. They'll just have multiple purposes.


For instance, you could use the dining room table for your work area and maybe you could store your materials in your buffet, a cabinet, bookshelves, or a nearby closet.




You have a small space you can use a closet, a cabinet, shelves (various ones throughout your home), and/or a cart. Or if you're into carschooling then in the back of your car.



Let me use myself as an example. We live in a 1200 sq ft townhouse.


Yes, 7 people live in 1200 sq feet. I'm sure people in major cities have it worse off than we do.


Our living room and dining room are one room. Oh, and it also has our computer in it, so I guess you could say it was an office as well.


Thankfully, we have an under-the-stairs walk-in closet (the only walk-in closet in our place) that we call our school closet. I have bookshelves filled with curriculum and materials needed. I have different organizers in there as well -- but that's for another post.


We do school at our dining table, on the couch, and on the floor.


Where you want your child to do their actual school work? Think about how your child works best.


  • Do they need a desk or table?
  • Do they need a comfy chair or a hard backed chair?
  • Would they do better on the couch or the floor?
  • What about lights and the cleanliness of the area?
  • How are they effected by their surroundings?


For some of your children you may not have to stress over these things as much. There are some children that just do not do well with distractions, noises, bad lighting, etc. You know your child best.


↑ That phrase always freaks me out, to be honest. All of a sudden I'm stressing because I actually don't know the answer and feel like a failure. ↑


So, in honor of those that may be just like me -- if you don't know, just ask them. If neither of you know, you can experiment.


We're all over the place

My kids prefer the couch or floor. When I'm working with them at the same time I'll have them at the table. When they really need to concentrate I'll put them at the table. I know I can't read books to my kids while they're on the couch because they'll fall asleep. I sit on the couch (because I'm the mother and that's my right) and they plop on the floor.


We need lots of light in our family! I think The Captain needs to get his eyes checked, so I have to make sure we have good lighting for him while he reads. I don't know what it is, but my thinking ability improves with lights.


I've got a Pinterest board that has different ideas of setting up your homeschool room. There are some that just make you drool and drool.


Follow Rochelle Barlow's board Homeschool Room + Organization on Pinterest. 

Words of advice

 Don't try to recreate the school classroom. Don't try to get your room perfect right now. Don't put off actually homeschooling until you have it all set up. Don't get overwhelmed with all of this at once. You can start with just the curriculum and some pencils and paper. You can set up your homeschooling area as you go.   I've had several different set ups in the last few years. Your set up will evolve with you.  


What do I actually need?

  • Surface for school work (desk, table, tray, lap, floor)
  • Place to sit
  • Area to put curriculum, notebooks, and books
  • Container(s) for materials needed
  • Some type of lighting


 That's it!


It's up to you on the types of containers and such that you use.  You can use what you have, recycle materials, or buy.  


I do recommend using what you have or what you can find at a cheap price at the beginning to see what works for you.

You may think having the colored pencils out in a can may work for you. Then after the 50th time of picking them up off the floor or replacing them because your children smuggle them away (I think they bury them in the backyard) you may realize that you need them in a box in the closet. Ahem. Not that I know what that's like...  


Be flexible and relaxed in your approach! Then build your own wishlist and Pinterest board (make sure you share it with me) When you've got it figured out set that baby up and send me pictures!!  


Some Pinterest boards you may find helpful and inspirational:


Homeschool Belle

Laura Berry

Tiffany Scott


Danika Cooley


Feel free to leave a link to your homeschool room board!


♥ Rochelle

    Follow Rochelle Barlow's board Homeschool Room + Organization on Pinterest.

Homeschool: How To Get Started :: Pick a Curriculum!?

HS get started  


It's time to pick a curriculum. This is the part that can be tricky.


Okay, deciding to homeschool was the hardest part. Then picking a method was next hardest. Now, it's time for curriculum.


I won't lie, you may find yourself agonizing over things you never expected to agonize over. Don't give up though!


Let me walk you through some things that have helped me in choosing.


Just like with picking a method -- you are NEVER locked in. Changing your mind is allowed. Pretty promise.




I will do my best to not get all long-winded on you today. I know I have a tendency to ramble. Just be glad I'm not talking to you in person! I just get excited and my brain starts to explode with information and it has to come out!!


1. Pick a method


Haven't chosen yet? Don't worry about it. You still have time to think about your method.


You can start looking around while keeping the few methods that you're thinking about in mind. Did that sentence make sense to you? Hope so.


If you've picked a method you've narrowed your choices down a good amount. For instance, Classical education has curriculum they recommend or have made themselves. Unschooling, you're not going to be looking at traditional curriculum. Etc.


If you've chosen a method, go through the resources I posted. The methodology books will frequently recommend  curriculum. You can bet your boots that the bloggers that post about those particular methods will have shared their curriculum picks.  Do a search for that method + curriculum and you'll find even more ideas.


Remember, use what other people are doing as a guide, not as gospel. 


2. Priorities


You remember those priorities you wrote down? Get them back out.


What are you looking for in a curriculum?


Some examples:


  • You want a religious curriculum?
  • No religion?
  •  One that fosters independent work?
  • Hands-on?
  • Encourages creativity?
  • Advanced?
  • And on and on



3. Learning Style


Is your child a visual learner, audio learner, or a kinesthetic learner?


Do they do well with memorization? Do they learn better with games? Worksheets? Projects? Do they need a lot of manipulatives to grasp an idea? Do they learn well with songs? Repetition?


If you're looking at a math curriculum that's just a textbook and workbook, but your child is kinesthetic, you'll want to look at other math curriculums that use specific manipulatives to teach concepts and understanding.


You may not know right now. Especially if your child is still young and hasn't had experience with school work.


Don't beat yourself up for not knowing! It's okay. There are several ways to figure out what their learning style is.


Discover Your Child's Learning Style -- I have this book and I'll talk more about it in a later post. It explains quite a bit about learning styles, observing your child, applying them, and then has two different quizzes for your child and you to take. One is for older children and the other is for you to take for when your kids are younger.


Thrively -- a site I just found the other day that helps you figure out your child's learning style and passions. Bonus: it's FREE!


Remember, you want to make sure that this will fit your child's learning style, not yours!


4. Teaching Style


That being said, you still want to keep yourself in mind.


If a particular curriculum is really high in teacher prep work, or requires your constant presence (none to very little of it is independent work) and you just know that it would wear you out, or just doesn't fit your personality, do not get it!


I don't care if it's "the best" spelling or writing curriculum ever! If it's going to constantly be a battle or struggle for you forget it. It's not worth the money, the pain, the frustration. You don't want to beat yourself up every day.


There are other resources you can use that will be just as wonderful that will fit both you and your child.


5. Teaching Multiples?


Are you teaching more than one child?


How close in age and level are they? Remember, with homeschooling you don't have to be locked into "this is the grade they have to be in." You want to teach to their level. No boredom or unnecessary grade level struggles in homeschool! Don't you just love that idea?


Can they be taught using the same level? Can the curriculum be used for multiple levels?


Unit studies and unschooling are great for teaching multiples. You can teach a whole family of children with one unit study just by the different things you do with it.

6. Budget


You may love that science curriculum, but your bank account does not.


Science curriculum is typically the one that makes your jaw drop when you see how much they are charging for it. I have let several science curriculums pass us by because of their outrageous price tag.


Don't worry, there are great ways to teach science without having to fork over $400/year. Yes, $400. Ridiculous, right? Yeah, I agree.


If your budget isn't liking it, remember to look around for a used copy or a discounted copy. They are out there! I've gotten lots of my curriculum from different sites that offer the same thing at a much cheaper (thank the heavens) rate! Win!


If you can't find it anywhere and no one around you has a copy for you to borrow, bummer dude.


Look around for something else.


If you really really really want that curriculum then save up for it. What can you sell? Is there another curriculum on your list that you can trade out for something less expensive to make room in the budget for this one?


Make sure that it has a good return policy just in case.


Look for cheap/free alternatives. Also, do you think there's an aspect of it you can replicate? Is it a multi-part curriculm? For instance, a teacher manual, student manual, student workbook, and manipulatives. Can you get by with just part of it? Can you make of find different manipulatives to go with it? Brainstorm it.


7. Reviews


We read reviews on most everything we buy. Even about toilet paper.


Well, I haven't personally, but I'm sure someone has.


You may not be able to find reviews for the actual curriculum on the product website, but you can find it elsewhere.


Amazon has some curriculum reviews, but I would take many of those with a grain of salt.


Search the name of the curriculum + review and you'll find many.


Keep in mind, a lot of them might be sponsored reviews so you have to be selective in who you're listening to. I'm not saying all sponsored reviews are sugar-coated. A lot of people are honest and trustworthy!


Keep in mind that their children are not your children. They are not you.


I know that's obvious, but you have to remember #'s 1 - 6 when you're reading other's reviews. How are they similar to you? If they're not at all similar in #1-6 then you may want to keep searching for different reviewers of the same product to get their opinion.


101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum -- a go-to book for homeschool curriculum reviews. She breaks it down into learning styles and lots of other categories so you can look for the specific type you want.

Cathy Duffy Reviews -- the author of the above book has a site as well with tons and tons more curriculum reviews. Her reviews aren't "I like this" or "I don't like this." They are explaining the points of the curriculum and how it works. She'll walk you through much of the things you need to know about this curriculum. She will say which learning styles it's best for, parent involvement, if it's one-on-one or group, pricing, prep time needed, if you need the teacher's manual, and if it has a religious perspective.


8. Pros and Cons


Remember each curriculum has its pros and cons.


What are the pros and cons for the ones you're looking at?


Don't get caught up in the hype or the amazing reviews. Look at it honestly and with your list and notes in hand.


What can you see being a weak point? Strong point?


Weigh your pros and cons.


9. Tweaks!


Tweak. Since no curriculum is perfect you may need to tweak it some. That's acceptable and normal!


Even if it is "perfect" for y'all you may still find yourself tweaking it to suit you even more.


If you have a more workbook oriented curriculum, but one or more of your children are kinesthetic learners you don't have to chuck the whole thing! You can incorporate more hands-on things to go along with it. You can create manipulatives or exercises that will aid in their learning. You can add in projects and more for greater understanding and fun.


You are not locked in to do what the curriculum says exactly. You can change some of it.


I know, it will take more effort on your part, but I believe it's worth it. You'll have more fun teaching your kids when they're understanding and enjoying school rather than battling yourselves.


10. Go with your gut!


This is my last piece of advice. Go with your gut.


All the others aside, if you just feel that you should keep on looking, even if it looks good on paper, keep on looking.


If you feel good about a curriculum, but maybe it doesn't look as good on paper as another one, go with the one you feel the best about.


If you are religious then I'm sure you have been praying about homeschooling and your children. Heavenly Father cares about your children very dearly and deeply. He cares about their education. If you ask for guidance and help you will get it! Of that I'm sure. Involve Him, trust Him, and stay true. No matter what your religious affiliation stay true to your values and beliefs.


If you are not religious, keep doing what you feel and know is right for you and your family!


Everyone: go with your gut and forget the rest.


Well, don't completely forget the rest. The rest is really to guide you to your gut.



I will be doing a curriculum round up with each subject. I won't do it next week or anything, but it will be here before the summer is over, okay?


If you have any questions on these tips, go ahead and ask.


You don't like one of them? Then just ignore it. No worries.


Are you looking at a curriculum right now, but don't want to wait for my round up and you have a question about it. Feel free to ask me about it. If I don't know I know someone who does!







Homeschool: How To Get Started :: What's My Budget?

HS get started  


I know, I know. No one really likes to talk about money. Well, maybe the IRS, the bank, and accountants.


I like it when I have it. It's just not as much fun when you have to budget it. It almost feels like a naughty word you have to whisper. We're going to make a budget...shhh.

No no. Budgets are a fabulous tool, no matter your financial situation! But we're not going to go down that road right now. Just believe me when I say a homeschool budget is your friend.


Okay, so you're intelligent and you already knew that. *High Five*





Since we've established (in a weird way) that a homeschool budget is necessary (even if you're filthy rich), let's get on with it. No dilly dallying.


The First Questions To Ask Yourself


  1. How many children will I be homeschooling?
  2. How much money is at my disposal?


#1 should be fairly easy to answer. #2 is kind of an eye-roll inducing question.



Duh, Rochelle, isn't that why I'm here?

Let me break it down for ya (I feel a rap coming on).


Go through your finances and your current budget. What can be allocated for homeschooling? You will need some for upfront costs and then some along the way as the school year goes on.


Now is the time for the next step.


Finding $$$


You could dig under the couch cushions -- that's never worked for me. I only find toys, pencils, cereal, and garbage.


A better idea is to look elsewhere.


You can look at your budget and see where you can cut back. Still meet your obligations, of course, but there is money being spent that's not as important as you once thought.


→ Remember, you put homeschool on your priority list. Is that more important than going out to eat once a week or that huge vacation you have planned? Yes, I think it is. Can you cancel your magazine subscriptions? Or switch to an educational one instead?  You know what you spend your money on. You decide.


As you switch to or start homeschooling there may be things you no longer have to pay for that you once did. Back to school clothes shopping? Not really needed. Just buy your new clothes when your kids actually need them. Teacher gifts? Not needed. Well, I say you give yourself a gift on teacher appreciation day, after all, you're a kickin' teacher!


Are there items that you own that you could sell in a yard sale, on Craigslist, Facebook,, Amazon, or on Ebay?  Do you have some awesome talent that you could make and sell some handmade items? Can you pick up a weekend shift or work at home a few hours a day?


Are you good at safe cracking and security systems? ;)



Needs vs. Wants


As you go through the items that you will be buying for homeschooling you're going to write it all down.


What is it with me and writing things down? I don't know, it's an obsession, I suppose.


Write. It. Down. And stop whining.


On your paper write this:

Curriculum    Cost

Leave some lines to fill in all the curriculum you're looking at.

Supplies & Resources  Cost 

More lines.

Classes and Misc.  Cost




Tomorrow we'll start looking at curriculum and the next few days will be talking about items that you may want and need for homeschooling.


As you go through it all you'll want to write down the curriculum that you like and the cost. You'll want to write down the supplies you need and want and the cost.


Then you need to go through with a red pen and a dose of brutal honesty and ask, "what do I really need? What do I just want?"


I look around at other homeschoolers and think, good night, I want their homeschool room! Or look at how many freaking manipulatives these people have! They have an arsenal of art and craft supplies that could outfit 20 families. Their kids each have their own desk, plus 500 books, 10 high-quality bookshelves, and educational posters plastered everywhere.



Remember when I said don't compare yourself to other homeschooling families? This is what I meant.


Do I need a homeschool room? No, I don't. I have a room we use for homeschooling, but it's a room that we use for pretty much everything else. Do I need 5 different kinds of counting manipulatives? No, those cubes will work just fine. I don't need bears, dinosaurs, beads, discs, and cubes.


The point is, there are items we'll NEED -- math books, spelling curriculum, and all those curriculum goodies. There are things we'll WANT.


Cover your needs first. Then add in your wants. Start with the most important wants when you do.


When looking at curriculum you will want to make sure it's curriculum you need/want and not something that looks cool, shiny, and new. Make sure it will serve its purpose.  Reviews are your friends when it comes to whittling your list down to necessities. We'll go more into choosing a curriculum, I promise.


Use What You Have & Get Creative


You need a math manipulative? There are many out there for counting (bears, cubes, discs, etc). You know what? You can use dried beans. You can use toothpicks. You can use popsicle sticks, or the baby carrots you're going to eat as a snack after math time is over.


You need flashcards? Make your own dang flashcards.


If you haven't discovered Pinterest, or if you avoid it so you don't get sucked into the black vortex, now is the time to get in there. My Pinterest advice: go in there with something specific in mind and don't look anywhere else!


Look for ways to make your own school materials and resources.


You probably already own some books, right? What can they be used to teach? Make yourself a challenge to use what you have in your home and I bet you'll find some things you wouldn't have thought of otherwise that turn out to be amazing.


Free Kindle books baby!


Try It First


Do you have homeschool friends? Not yet, huh. Okay, have you joined a homeschool group? Get on it! Now, ask around and see what items they have that you are contemplating purchasing and ask if you can try it out or at least go over to their house and check it out.

Cheap & Free Resources


There are hundreds of places to go for cheap, free, and nearly-free resources.  You just have to know where to look.


Well, here's where you look:



Free Homeschool Deals -- a homeschool mom that posts free and frugal homeschool curriculum and resources every day!

Homeschool Creations -- has a curriculum clean out once a year, free lap books, free unit studies, and other printables.

Money Saving Mom -- has lots of deals every week, but on Friday she posts a big list of homeschool freebies!

1+1+1=1 -- tons of free printables, lap books, unit studies, and more!

Homeschool Buyers Co-op -- has curriculum to purchase at bulk prices.

Currclick -- has free and frugal curriculum. My advice here is that some are hit and miss: read the reviews!

Curriculum Share -- you offer up something for free (but charge for actual shipping costs), then you can get something for free (plus shipping). You have to give to receive.

Homeschool Share -- free lap books and unit studies.

Homeschool Freebie of the Day -- Just like it sounds.

Confessions of a Homeschooler -- has great curriculum for free and also for cheap for pre-k to elementary aged students.

Bible Based Homeschooling -- freebies and links to other freebies.

Gricefully Homeschooling -- Freebie Friday once a month where bloggers link up to share their freebies. (No, I didn't misspell the blog name)

Homeschool Giveaways -- weekly giveaways of homeschool goodies!

Lapbook Lessons -- just like it says!

Homeschool Classifieds -- it's like craiglist, but for homeschoolers.

Educents -- a daily deal site with lots of goodies!

Notebooking Pages -- has freebies and samples. Also you can purchase notebooking pages at a low cost.

Yellow House Book Rental -- rent or purchase used your curriculum. The ones I have looked at haven't been much different in price than to purchase new, but hey, I might be looking at the wrong stuff!

Rainbow Resource -- nothing free here, just able to find TONS of curriculum at a lower price. I mean tons. Their free catalog is as big as a phone book.

Amazon -- I check out the curriculum here always before I buy it anywhere else.  A lot of times you can find it used, at a great discount, or an alternative that's cheaper.

Ebay -- Again, go here before you buy it anywhere else.

Facebook -- There are homeschool resale groups everywhere. Check your local area for groups as well as groups that will ship. This is also a great place to find people that will let you try out the curriculum so you can decide if you'd like to purchase it.

Pinterest -- Tons of free printables and ideas here!



Are some of your kids close enough in age that they can use the same curriculum together?


Can you find a curriculum you love that does well at combining ages?


The best part of homeschooling -- passing on your curriculum down to the next child.  Plus, you can always sell it once you're done with it and use your profit for the next purchase.



  • Figure out how much money you have to spend up front and throughout the school year.
  • Find ways to find more (if you need to find more).
  • Use what you have.
  • Buy your needs first, then your wants as you have funds.
  • Borrow where you can.
  • Try it out first!
  • Use free and frugal options.
  • Get creative!


I hope you have a good idea of where you are and where you need to get. Don't fret if you are really strapped for cash. I know you can homeschool on a very small budget.


[Tweet "Need help with your homeschool budget?"]





Feel confused and overwhelmed like Woody? Got any questions? Ask away my friends, ask away!




Next up -- Curriculum time!

Homeschool: How To Get Started :: What Do I Do First?

HS get started  


So, you've decided to take the plunge.


Or maybe you're on a trial basis or just checking out the rest of the series before you commit. That's cool.


There is sooooo much homeschool information out there that it could take you years to sort through it all. Especially with all the blogs there are.


You don't have that kind of time!


I'm going to condense it down for you these next few days. But first, I'm going to tell you the most essential things for you to do.





There may be a ton of information flying around out there, but take heart. Making the choice to homeschool is the biggest part. The hardest part. The rest will come.


I'll break it down in order of importance.


→ Law & State Requirements


Now, don't go freaking out. It's not going to kill you.


You can find out all you need to know on the internet. Oh, how I love Google.


HSLDA [Homeschool Legal Defense Association] is a wonderful resource for all things legal regarding Homeschooling.


They serve as advocates for homeschoolers in legal matters, on Capitol Hill, to our state legislatures, and in the media. They have been hard at work since 1983, and I personally feel great comfort knowing they are there for me.


What laws and requirements do you need to know?


Some states require a letter of intent from you to homeschool. It's not a big thing, just something for them to file away.


You may be required to keep records: attendance, school work, or portfolios.  You may be required to take courses or have a college degree.  Some states, like mine for instance, just require a letter by a certain grade level and that your child takes standardized testing over the years.


Don't sweat it.


Click here at HSLDA to find out your state requirements


Another resource would be fellow homeschoolers that live in your state. I'd ask at least 2-3 different HS parents to cover your bases. Homeschool groups can be a handy resource as well.


→ Be a boy scout


No, be better than a boy scout!


By that, I mean, be prepared.


What are your priorities?


What is going on in your life? Work? Marriage? Children? Home? Other obligations?


You may work out of the home, in the home, or on the side.  You may have a spouse or significant other. Your children are a priority, obviously. You take care of the home you live in. You may have religious obligations. You could have extracurricular obligations as well. Are you a baseball mom? Coach for basketball. Dance teacher. You may be training for a triathlon.


List them out (in general terms) and figure out their order of importance. Be honest and also, if there is an order you'd like to aspire to, then by all means, make it so.


Here's mine for an example:

  1. God
  2. Husband
  3. Children -- them & homeschool
  4. Church obligations
  5. Work
  6. Health
  7. Blog


Yours will be unique for you. Why is this important to do?


You may have a lot of demands on your time. You may have days that you just can't do it all (I think that's every day). You've got to make sure that homeschool is a priority enough for you to be consistent and motivated. You also need to know where things can be cut or pushed back, and what's non-negotiable.



What are your goals for your child? For yourself?


Goals are an important part of life.


You've got your reasons for homeschooling. Now what are your goals for each of your specific children and as a whole?


You'll want to think generally and specifically.


Your general goal could be to have your child be an independent thinker, with a love of learning, and self-motivation. To be happy and have many opportunities in their future.


Specific goals change each year, each semester, and maybe even each week.


Some examples: master their vowel sounds, improve their handwriting, become fluent in a language (ASL??), learn to be more grateful, etc, etc.


Goals are a good starting place. You want your child to grow and improve and it's best to have a goal to use as a measuring stick of that growth. These goals also serve as a great reminder for you when you are in research and prep mode and in the midst of homeschooling.


Organize it up!


I love lists. I love files. I love notebooks.


You'll want to start a list for the next few days of what you want and need to get started on.


You may want to start a Pinterest board, or a bookmark folder in your browser for all the things you'll be finding and researching.


You may want to start a file in your documents folder for all the freebies and files you download along the way.


Get a notebook to take notes in as you start your research. Put your goals and priorities in there. Then get ready to start jotting down things that jump out at you and resonate in your heart. Write any questions down that you may have and leave some room to put down the answers as you find them.


Don't go crazy and start trying to do it all at once! I'm going to walk you through the critical steps for the next few days. Work on one a day.


I know, I know, you're going to try to do it anyway. I'm one of those people, too. I can sit in front of the computer for days researching and researching.


Got a library card?


No? Well, you're a homeschooler now, so you'd better get one. Or, if you're like me, pay off that blasted fine already!


In the coming days I'll be mentioning some books for you to check out. You can buy them, or you can check them out at your library first, then buy them.


→ Be true to you and your child


What do you need from homeschooling? What does your child need?


I may do things one way and there are 50 homeschooling families that will do it 50 different ways as well. It's wonderful that there are so many of us helping and supporting each other. It's a dream to homeschool now as opposed to 20 years ago.


With that comes the dreaded comparing. Don't try and force yourself into someone else's mold. Don't try to be all 51 families you read about at once.


Think about your child's strengths and weaknesses. Think about your own. Plus your priorities and your goals. That is your guide for these coming days, weeks, and years.


Do what works for you and your family and stick with that.


Let go of that easy tendency to compare and feel guilty and inadequate.


Need I remind you that you are your child's parent for a reason. You are uniquely qualified to be their mother or father. No one else can replace you. Use your talents and strengths. Don't try to use someone else's.


Okay. I'm getting off my soap box now.


Go! Frolic in the wind! Or get to work. Whichever suits you best.


I'm here for ya!




Next up -- Homeschooling Methods



Homeschool: How To Get Started :: Is It Right For Me?

HS get started  

Homeschooling: yea or nay?   


You've been thinking about homeschooling. You just aren't sure if it's right for you.


For some this is an easy choice , for some not so much.




How do you decide? How will you know if it's right for you and your family? Here are some thoughts for you.



Everyone has different reasons


What are the reasons you're considering homeschooling?

List all of them -- even if you think they're trivial.


Here's a few:

  • flexibility
  • freedom in scheduling
  • tailored education
  • bullying
  • special needs
  • advanced student
  • quality education
  • wanting religion in your schooling
  • inadequate schooling options around you
  • time with children
  • teach them character values
  • don't want them in bad situations
  • ability to teach to each child's learning style
  • mobility (move or travel a lot)
  • illnesses
  • and on and on and on


It's important to identify why you want to homeschool. As you think of more over time add them.


When you're having a hard time it's good to be able to whip out this list for a great reminder of why you're doing this.


Pros vs. Cons



I can hear my mother now, "make a list of pros and cons, Shelly."


So, I'm passing on her sage wisdom to you, just in case you haven't thought of it already.


First, the Pros.


What are the benefits of homeschooling? Write them down whether they are perceived or observed.


Don't have any experience with homeschooling? Ask other homeschoolers what they love about it and write down the ones you identify with.


Next up, the Cons.


Write these down, too.


Now, let's take each one in turn and ask ourselves these questions:

  • are these real cons?
  • can they be resolved?
  • is it worth it? (for instance, if you can't go out to play with friends at a moment's notice, is it worth it to just schedule it instead of being able to leave at any time?)
  • can it be listed in TBD (you think it's a con, but maybe it doesn't even come up)


 I recently wrote a post about 6 Homeschooling Myths Parents Tell Themselves.  I bet at least one of your cons is in this list. Check it out!


→ How does your list balance out? Can some be crossed off or fixed? How does it balance now?


Be honest with yourself. 

Make sure you're giving yourself a chance, too.


Kris from Weird Unscocialized Homeschoolers, wrote two fabulous posts covering some of the pros and cons of homeschooling. Check out the Cons and then check out the Pros.



What about your spouse/family/support system?



Some spouses just aren't on board. That's okay, I get it. Some families may think you're nuts. You may not have a great support system.


These are factors to consider, but they ought not determine your final choice.


We don't want our children to learn that just because someone or some group doesn't approve of what we do/like/enjoy/prioritize does not mean we should let go of our choices and values.


Spouse Resistance


Mr. Barlow was wary and unsure of homeschooling when I talked about it and planned it.


I said we'd do it as a trial and then decide together how we thought it went. That took a lot of the wariness out of my husband and we gave it a go.


After the first few months, he was on board.


It wasn't until I heard him talking to someone else about it that I realized how on board he was. What a blessing that he allowed me to try and came to it with an open mind!


Talk to your spouse about your list of reasons and your list of pros and cons in order to begin open communication.


We, as a couple, have to consider both view points. It's only fair that each spouse listen openly to the other. We don't want to cause a rift, and you can't do this without each other's support!


Broach the trial period option with your spouse. At the end of your set time period -- a semester, a year --  you two can sit together and go through this together again and evaluate.


Family isn't supportive?


My knee-jerk reaction is to tell them to stuff it. Is that the right thing to do? Probably not.


Here is a better idea from Brenda, at Homeschool Diaries : 7 Tips to Explain Your Homeschool Decision With Confidence


Pay attention to your feelings


Do you feel inspired to homeschool? Can't put your finger on the exact reason, you just feel compelled to do it? Well, my dearie, then you'd better hop to it. Most especially if you've been praying your guts out.


I say these feelings override any doubts or concerns you may have. However, it's not my choice, thank goodness. It's yours!


We each come to the decision in our own way, in our own time, and for our own reasons.


If you're still unsure or waffling, give yourself some marinating time.


How about a trial for yourself?


I tried it over a summer before school started. Or just give yourself a semester or a year.


Look for a post in the next few weeks about how to go about a summertime trial!



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Best of luck!




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