11 Tips for a Peaceful First Homeschool Year

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It's your first year of homeschooling.

It's gonna be awesome. Or is it? Are you already overwhelmed and freaking out?

 

Do you feel like you don't have everything you need or want? Nothing is set up just right. You couldn't get that one curriculum you really had your eye on. You're budget is used all up. You aren't sure how in the world you're going to teach 3 different kids' math on 3 different levels in the same hour.

I wanted to share this with y'all.

11 tips for a peaceful first homeschool year

 

I'm not gonna blow sunshine up your bum and tell you that I've got it all together.

 

I have plans, I have my expectations, and I have my list of dreams. Everything won't go perfectly every day. I have a tendency to want to do everything right now. I don't like baby steps. I want to do it all and I want to do it all now.

It's not conducive to a peaceful life.

 

You might not need it right now, but you probably will at some point this year. Unless you have it all together all the time. If so, then go ... go to wherever perfect people hang out.

 

I have this list of reminders next to my computer at my desk to help bring me back to reality and to do it calmly.

 

#1 Baby Steps

Don't try to do it all at once! Introduce one new thing a day/a week/a month/a semester/a year.  Don't add more until you are comfortable with what you've got. If you add it and it's too much, pull back again.

#2  Make a Plan

You've gotta have a plan. Plan your year, but do it in pencil. Fill out your schedule/routine, and again, do it in pencil. Don't be a slave to your schedule. Make your schedule and plan work for you and help you.

Streamline your routines. Have a routine, have multiple routines. I recently made a month of lunches, breakfasts, and snacks. They're in my freezer ready to go. Now I've eliminated a daily chore that sucks up time and energy. The kids can now pop out their meals on their own. Time saver!!

 

Tell Your Time is a wonderful wonderful tool to help you take control and ensure that you're spending your time on exactly what you want to be doing. I'm reading it right now and will do a full review for y'all soon! So far? Love it!

#3 Make do With What You Have On Hand

Don't have a curriculum you want? What can you do to the one you do have to make it more like that one? Don't buy every little thing you think you need. Search for what you have right there.

Don't have it? Get creative and make something else work. You may find you like it better.

Borrow, borrow, borrow!

 

#4 There's No Such Thing as the Perfect Curriculum

You need to say this to yourself again.

[Tweet "There's no such thing as the perfect curriculum. #homeschool"]

Honest. It may be lacking in some small way, but does that mean you ditch it? Not unless it's REALLY not working for you. Otherwise, you can supplement as needed. Pinterest, my friends!

Most of the time you won't need to do this. You just need to stop looking for "the magic beans" that'll bring your children to genius levels and make golden eggs at the same time. Be satisfied.

 

#5 Don't Try to Do it All

This is me being a hypocrite.

Not purposefully: this is something I'm working on.

You see some family doing daily nature walks with a journal. You see another doing Geo caching, another writing daily, another lap booking, another note booking, another memorizing, copy working, and on and on and on. You cannot do every method, every curriculum, every amazing idea.

 

You cannot do it all. Nor should you.

This reminds me of one day I signed up for 3 webinars. I didn't realize they were all at the same time. I tried to listen to all 3 at the same time because I couldn't pick which one I wanted to be in the most.

At the end of the hour I was exhausted and I didn't learn anything from any of them because I couldn't listen to all 3 at the same time!

Don't try to do this with your homeschool. Pick what you REALLY want to do, what appeals to your children, and what they need at that moment. Do that. Nothing more. Then NEXT semester/year/summer try something new as an extra.

 

Trust the process of homeschooling. It works!! #homeschool

 

#6 Recruit Help

I am terrible at asking for help. I have to really really really need help in order to ask.

When I had glass in my foot and couldn't walk or drive for a month I still didn't ask for help. There I was crawling around (pregnant) getting my food, doing everything for myself. We didn't go anywhere unless Mr Barlow was taking us/the kids.

 

Ask for help! Get hubs to read at night, teach a certain class. Get Grandma or Grandpa to help you out.

You know your situation better than I do. Find someone that can help you in some small way. Even if it's just to watch the kids while you do some planning or pick up supplies.

#7 Take Breaks to Avoid Burnout

You have got to take breaks every week. Even every day.

Schedule short breaks during school hours.

Schedule a nightly break for yourself. Don't do anything except something that will recharge you.

 

Take a weekly break away from the house and kids. Just get out and breathe.

I go to Target, Barnes and Noble, antique shops, or Ashland.

 

 

If there's an afternoon or day or week that you and the kids are just done take a breather. Play some games together. Take naps. Work on a fun project. Heck, watch mindless TV for a bit. Just chill. Then come back and you'll be so glad you took that break.

 

#8 Don't Expect Perfection: From Yourself or Your Kids

Be realistic. You can't be ON all the time. You're going to have tough days, so are they. See #7.

#9 Don't Compare

Someone always comes out loser and someone winner. But at what cost? Don't do it, don't do it. No one is ever happy when comparing.

#10 Remember Your Priorities and Goals

You have those handy? No? Well, get them out, put them where you can get to them easily. If an activity doesn't fall under a priority or something to further your goal ditch it. Ditch it fast without guilt.

#11 Enjoy Yourself!

Have fun! Homeschooling is hard work, but it's the best kind of hard work!! Have fun, enjoy the process, and smile. Cheesy, I know, but oh so true.

 

 

Keep these tips in mind

Keep them in mind throughout the year and you'll avoid some traps that can keep you from enjoying your homeschool year.

 

It's gonna be a fabulous year!

Let's be here for each other and have a huge overflowing amount of fun!

 

♥ Rochelle

 

You have any tips to share?

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 DuoParadigms.com

 

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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venspired 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*

 

8

 

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 http://www.sxc.hu/profile/dwayno

 

  • 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!

 

7

 

 

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.

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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

Jen

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.

 

6

 

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

 

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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!

 

Cheers,

Rochelle

 

 

 

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*

 

5

 

 

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, varagesale.com, 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

Lines!

Total

 

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!

 

Combine

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.

 

Recap

  • 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!

 

Rochelle 

 

Next up -- Curriculum time!

Homeschool: How To Get Started :: Which Method?

HS get started  

If you've spent any time at all researching homeschooling you have probably come across some strange words and heard the word method thrown around quite a bit.

 

For someone just coming in to the homeschooling world this can be very overwhelming.

 

You mean it's not enough to just say I'm going to homeschool? I have to now pick a specific way to do it?

 

It's not that bad, really. Once you get the vernacular down you're good to go. Bonus: you'll sound like a pro in all your conversations. That's all that matters, right? ;)

 

I'm going to break these methods down in the simplest form I can and then let others take over and talk to you about them.

 

Later on, in a separate post, I'll tell you which one I use.  I don't want to color your opinion now. I know, I know... everyone wants to be just like me, so I don't want to set the bar too high. Har har har.

 

2a

 

 

Today's post will be a bit different than the last two.

 

Less talking, more clicking!

 

I am going to give you a brief overview of each method and then some great resources I've found and used for each one.

 

You'll want to take your time checking them each out. I do recommend you look at each method before you make your choice!

 

Don't feel locked in after you've picked one though; most homeschoolers seem to evolve over time. I know I have. I'll share more on that in a later post.

 
*This post contains some affiliate links. This doesn't change the price for you, it just means I'll receive a small percentage (to pay for school supplies) if you happen to purchase the item through that link.*

 

Charlotte Mason

 

Charlotte Mason was a late 19th century British educator who was passionate about children's education. The Charlotte Mason method is known for its short lessons, the use of living books, narration, dictation, art, music and nature study, as well as developing your child's character.

 

Resources

 

The Charlotte Mason Way Explained -- A very thorough and easy-to-read book! Fabulous resource! Highly recommended.

Charlotte Mason in a Nutshell -- a quick explanation (more thorough than my blurb above)

31 Days of Charlotte Mason -- a 31-post series exploring CM

Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Headquarters -- lots of great resources for every aspect of CM education

7 Characteristics of Charlotte Mason Education -- a simple summary

Simply Charlotte Mason -- a great website for support, guidance, and resources.

Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling Series -- Charlotte's  6 books in one volume

A Charlotte Mason Education: A Home Schooling How-To Manual -- How to implement CM

 

Traditional

 

Most like public school. You have your subjects divided up. Most use workbooks and traditional textbooks and tests. There are several online resources for education. It's easy for newbies to want to mirror what they may have grown up with or are comfortable with. It's not a bad thing at all. A lot may start out this way and then merge into something else as they become more comfortable with homeschooling.

 

Resources

Traditional Methods -- post explaining this method

Understanding a Textbook Method -- a quick overview

Confessions of a Homeschooler -- a fabulous blogger that I feel is mainly traditional in method. I use a lot of her things for my kids even though this is not my main method. She has great resources and helps for anyone, even if you don't use the traditional method! Worth a look at!

 

We're not talking curriculum today, but here are some samplings of traditional curriculum providers. 

Abeka -- Christian based curriculum and textbooks.

Sonlight -- Christian based, in a box, curriculum

Connections Academy -- online schooling, like public school

K-12 Online -- online public school (technically homeschool because it's done at home).  I've heard mixed reviews on K-12.

 

Classical

Classical education is based on the trivium -- three phases of learning. Classical works, latin, and history (taught in chronological order) are some of its predominant characteristics.  There is soooo much to Classical education that I truly couldn't get it all down in just a few sentences. Check out these many resources.

 

Resources

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition) -- an amazing book that covers all years of schooling. A fabulous resource for any homeschooler, even if you don't use the Classical method. Highly highly recommend.

The Well-Trained Mind Blog -- An accompaniment to the book. I can't say enough kind words about Susan and Jessie, the authors of TWTM. They go out of their way to help you understand and answer any questions and offer advice and support to you.

Classical Education for the Average Homeschool Family -- Great overview of classical education. Quick and easy to understand.

10 Reasons I Chose Classical -- blog post from one mother on her reasons for her method choice. 

Classical Homeschooling -- websste dedicated to this method

Trivium Pursuit -- another website!

Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style - a book to check out!

The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education -- a wonderful book!

Trivium Mastery: The Intersection of Three Roads: How to Give Your Child an Authentic Classical Home Education -- another great book.

Classical Conversations -- a Christian academic program. I've heard lots of great things about them.

Classical Conversations: An Overview -- This is a great overview of what exactly is CC. I'd read this first, then go check out their website (the one right above this one).

Classical Scholar -- a website with resources.

Homeschooling With a Classic Twist -- a blog dedicated to classical education.

Living and Learning at Home -- another blogger that uses classical education.

10 Days of Classical Education -- a 10 post series based on this method, she has lots of guest posters contributing.

 

 

Thomas Jefferson/Leadership Education

 

Has 7 keys of learning, which are: classics, mentors, inspire, structure, simplicity, quality, and you, not them.  This method is to help your children become leaders and independent thinkers. TJED (as it's abbreviated) is becoming increasingly popular. It also has 3 cores of learning (similar to Classical's trivium).

 

Resources

A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century -- The book!  A must read! (Read this one FIRST)*

Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning (The Leadership Education Library) -- Read this one SECOND*

A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion -- Read this one THIRD*

*Rachel DeMille (eek!) visited this post and gave me this wonderful advice! She said taken out of order the Home Companion can be confusing. It's still a great resource, just make sure you read it in order for maximum understanding! I'm so grateful Rachel visited and shared this invaluable help!

Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens -- another book

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, 10th Anniversary Edition -- and yet another great book.

 A Thomas Jefferson Education --  the website with lots of great resources and helps!

TJED site freebies page!

TJED - Mothers -- a blog dedicated to tjed and mothers (duh), great resources for both aspects.

10 Days of Growing Leaders  -- a wonderful 10 post series for TJED/Leadership education.

 

- A TJED manifesto. Too cool for me not to post! (Click to make it bigger)

 

Unschooling/Interest-Led Learning

 

With unschooling you allow kids to discover, explore and learn what they are passionate about without it being like a traditional schooling experience. This method began with John Holt, a public school teacher that was fed up with the system and wanted more for his students and children.

 

Resources

How Children Fail (Classics in Child Development) -- John's first book that started it all

How Children Learn (Classics in Child Development) -- A must read!

The Unschooling Handbook : How to Use the Whole World As Your Child's Classroom -- another great resource for how it actually works.

 Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling -- a great resource, written by a homeschool mother that is an unschooler!

John Holt GWS -- John's website. Has links to articles and more.

 What is Unschooling? -- A blog post to explain it briefly.

10 Things to Keep in Mind About Unschooling -- a simple, yet lovely blog post.

Our Unschooling Journey -- a blog post sharing their unschooling story

 Unschooling: How We Learn Subject by Subject -- this is a great resource for you to get an idea of what unschooling looks like. Plus, this is a fabulous fabulous blog dedicated to unschooling! Worth a look!

 

Click on the picture to take you to the post on Winging It about unschooling.

 

Unit Study

 

Takes one main idea and builds a study unit around this covering all disciplines.

 

For instance, you want to learn about frontiersmen, you would study them with books, write a report, or give an oral report. You could learn about tracking animals, using a compass, make maps and track their journeys, go on a wilderness hike and document animals and plants you see. Then go learn about those animals and plants. Cook and bake foods that frontiersmen frequently ate, etc, etc.

 

Resources

What is a Unit Study? -- Very brief explanation

What is a Unit Study?  -- A bit longer explanation

How to Plan a Unit Study -- 4-part series (make sure you read all 4)

5 Easy Steps to a Unit Study

How to Create Unit Studies

How to Create a Great Unit Study

How to Fit in the Extras With Unit Studies

 

Now, you don't have to always make your own. There are some that are done for you already!

Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett. -- Fun unit studies! Great to use even if you aren't mainly a unit study family. From now until 4/13 there is a sale going on for many unit studies!

KONOS -- Wonderful curriculum!  Great for teaching the multiple children.

Homeschool in the Woods -- Great great unit studies based around history and time periods.

The Ultimate List of Unit Study Resources -- talks a bit about what they are and how to do them, then has an alphabetical listing of all sorts of free unit studies for you to use that she's curated from around the web.

Pinterest!!!!!

 

Eclectic

Easiest one to explain! This is just as its name implies. You take a bit from each method you like and incorporate it the best way for you and your family.  There really aren't resources on this as you just pick your methods and combine them as you see fit. Done and done!  Ha!

 

 

 Whew! I'm exhausted. How about you?

 

Remember: DO NOT read these all today! Check out the quick explanations for each and then a resource for each one and then pursue the ones that peak your interest the most.

 

Take your time to go through them and write down things that stand out to you and any questions you may have so you can research that further. If you have questions, please post them down in the comments and I'll do my best to get you the answer! Also, let me know if any of the links gives you trouble and I'll fix them.

[Tweet "Check out this great list of resources for homeschooling methods!"]

 

Wait wait wait!!!

 

How do you pick? Is that what you're going to ask me?

 

Well... I'll break that down as quickly and as simply as possible.

STEP 1 -- Read about them (we've got that covered now)

STEP 2 -- Take notes as you read. What do you like about each? What don't you like about each? What questions do you have?

STEP 3 -- Take some time to think about it.

STEP 4 -- Research the answers to questions you have. Look for blogs and other parents that use the method(s) you're interested in.

STEP 5 -- Go with your gut. Oh, and use those goals and reasons to help guide you to what is most important to you and your children.

STEP 6 -- Keep in mind that you don't have to stick with it beyond today, next month, next year, or in several years. We change as people and so will our mindset, our values, our interests, and your children. You may like a certain method, but your child really is struggling with it. Can you tweak it? Or is there something else you know they'll get more out of? Don't be afraid to change.

STEP 7 -- Rinse and repeat as needed. Maybe eat a treat or 10.

 

I'll see you tomorrow!

 

All my best,

Rochelle

 

 

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.

 

3

 

 

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!

 

Rochelle 

 

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.

 

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

 

Reasons

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!

 

Rochelle 

 

→ Next up: Okay, now what? Where do I even begin?