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Homeschool?! I could NEVER do that!

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I have heard so many comments when people find out that I homeschool regarding how hard it must be. Honestly, I really don’t consider it as hard. I think it’s amazing. Now, yes… I get my kids all the time and don’t get a break, but I GET my kids all the time! I LOVE to have my kids around me and I see no better person to parent them, than me. So, while someone may say that they could “NEVER” homeschool, I’m here to show you that it’s all in perspective. We all make our own choices according to what we think is best for our child, here’s my perspective on a few of the excuses for NOT homeschooling….

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1) “I don’t have a teaching degree, so there’s someone more qualified to teach my child.” Now, one may be thinking that NOT having a teaching degree is a problem, but I am learning WITH them. Homeschooling doesn’t mean I’m teaching without textbooks; Curriculum choices are AMAZING! Homeschooling is more about guiding the learning and we all learn along-side each other. I get to spend one-on-one time with my children. I get to gauge their learning progress. I can teach them any WAY I want.

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2) “I don’t have the time.” During the summer, I drove my oldest son to camp for a week… and home again. It was the most difficult week I’d had in a LONG time! Pile everyone in the car, drive him to where he goes, have some time to clean and maybe a nap for a little one, pile everyone back in the car, drive back, barely get dinner on, and calm down.  I can’t imagine all the extra-curricular activities one might have to drive for during the school year! That is incredibly stressful! One of the reasons I enjoy homeschooling is because it allows for more family time. While he was at camp, I missed talking to my boy and having his help around the house. He literally barely talked for the entire week! I only get these kids until they are 18 at best!

Not to mention, it really doesn’t take LONG to homeschool; I only use a few hours in the morning 10am-1pm to school my 4 children. The older children can do most of the work themselves. The younger children take an hour at most… and I only do this a few times a week. The rest of the time we spend on projects that are fun for all of us, workbooks and computer work they can do themselves, chores to learn to take care of themselves and each other, play time which I encourage after their work is done, other scheduled activities in the evenings, or hanging out with friends for a field trip.

Also, one of my favorite things about homeschooling is that we can take our school on the road with us. When my husband interned out of town, sometimes we all went and made a vacation out of it… after schoolwork was done for the day (which again didn’t take very long.)

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3) “I have too many issues: anxiety, depression, migraines, physical conditions, etc.”  I have noticed that when a parent has that issue, most likely a child does, as well. In our family, we all share food allergies, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, anxiety, etc. I could beat myself over passing those genes and behaviors on, ignore it, OR we could work on it together.

I believe that we have families to work on things together. We pray for each other, talk through things together, and learn how best to heal from things TOGETHER! I have noticed that when I have a bad day and need a little bit more help, the older kids are more willing to help out. I love that they learn empathy and compassion, as well as, a nurturing role for their siblings and managing skills.

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4) “What about socialization?” I hate this term with a passion. I think it is extremely misused. If by socialization you mean that my kid gets to learn about cliques and try to fit into one of them, be bullied or become a bully in order to do so, become a robot only answering correct answers instead of thinking outside of the box, or becoming bored having to keep their mouth shut for so long, I think I’d rather pass.

First of all, I believe family comes first and that’s a priority I’d like to instill. As brothers and sisters, they will be connected a whole lot longer than any friend. The older children learn to be great fathers and mothers with first-hand experience working with their younger siblings. They learn to work together as part of the family unit with chores, as well as, their normal schoolwork. I also have a front row seat on how they treat others and can discipline or show more love to that child depending on their attitude and actions.

Second of all, we attend church and other related activities, hang out with other home-schoolers, do field trips, and allow them to do other community events that fit into their talents; including theater, symphony, sports, and art.

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5) “I don’t have the money and both of us need to work.”  I understand financial problems, but I don’t believe it can’t be worked out. I know of a few homeschoolers where both parents traded off helping the kids with their work. We have learned to use our tax money for schoolbooks and other expenses needed instead of using it for an awesome vacation. It all comes down to what you feel is most important for your family.

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I know there are many other excuses that people use NOT to homeschool, but whether you homeschool or not isn’t the issue. The issue is whether or not you are doing what God wants you to in raising His children in the Kingdom. I know I’m not doing everything that I SHOULD be doing, but that I’m doing the best I can trying to follow where God has lead me. Parenting isn’t easy. Homeschooling isn’t easy. Not Homeschooling isn’t easy. It all has to do with what you are called to do. God will give you the tools you need to do His Will.



Other Related Articles:

Curriculum

Homeschooling



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New School Books Just Arrived!!!

Anticipation of a New School Year

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I have always loved beginning a school year and gathering school supplies! New crayons, new paper, a new binder, pens, pencils, and erasers that were chosen just for me! It still feels that awesome for me every year! Yeah, I know, I’m the mom and I homeschool even, but I LOVE it!

Here come the books that I researched and chose for each child! Some of it is curriculum that I already know and trust, but it’s a new grade level for that particular child. Some of it is curriculum that I have researched and asked around about because what we had the previous year just didn’t work for that particular child. Some of it is reading material for me, so that I can improve my teaching style or discipline.

And opening the boxes and finding the curriculum is like Christmas! “Ooh look, this is for you for the next school year!” “Oh, it’s my new planner to write out what we’re studying and when!” Even my kids responses, “Is this one for me?” How I LOVE it!

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Planning for the new school year during our down months helps me to get psyched to lead them in learning because I’m prepared. I love to know not only what we are studying, but HOW! I have 4 kids to teach and I want to make it as easy for me to guide their learning as it should be for them to learn.

I understand that not everyone is at this point, yet, but I have a few tips to help you….

  • Research what your kids are interested in within each subject. It takes time and investigation. Sometimes, their learning style may clash with a particular curriculum or there may be learning difficulties. It’s okay to go under cover and ask. There are all kinds of homeschooling groups online to ask your questions to; some may even be in your area. Maybe at this time, your biggest concern is price. Compare and search for the curriculum you feel may be best.
  • Make time to plan. I’m a hyper-organized person, so I plan, plan, plan! I make a plan to plan. If you’re not like me, that is okay. Maybe one of the ways that I plan can help you.
  1.  I open a particular curriculum and plan out what it would take to finish in a particular time frame. Sometimes I write on the inside cover of the workbook as a reminder (4pgs/wk for 20 wks)
  2.  I open up the book to see if it’s easy to read or if the child will need me more (Our Spelling requires kinesthetic learning and I’ll need to be more a part of that. Our Math requires very little for me to do, but guide and let them do the work. Our Science, my oldest is in charge of teaching because it’s laid out so well)
  3.  I love to write daily, weekly, monthly, and the yearly goals of each child in a planner. I even have a planner for my oldest to keep track of what he needs to do and what he’s done each year. Again, my main goal is to promote self-discipline.
  • Have fun! Remember that if you’re not excited about school, neither will they be. Make sure that the curriculum you choose is fun or at least something that a “high-five you accomplished it” would make it worth it. Promoting a love of learning is crucial to self-discipline. Kids need to feel that even if they make a mistake, it’s something to learn from. If it’s overwhelming or even boring, it may not be worth it in the end.

I hope these tips are helpful in your new upcoming school year. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to list them below.

Story of the World

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I have used this curriculum for 4 years going into our 5th year. It has been a great overview of time in 4 books. I use this curriculum for my 5-8yr old AND my 9-12 old TOGETHER. The main website suggests that it be used for 5-8yr olds, but then used as supplemental work for the older set. (see curriculum guide)  They can be on the same curriculum at the same time. When I first began this curriculum, I read it to my son. Now, he reads to his sister which allows me to help the younger two for pre-school. Not only does it build his reading skills and helps me out, but there is a proverb that states:

“In teaching others we teach ourselves.”

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The other thing I really enjoy about this curriculum is all of the activity pages, map work, extra reading lists that go with the time period, and of course the crafts and cooking sections. We purchased the Activity book with all of these things in it. My oldest who reads to his sister does the mapwork while she does the activity pages. We all pick which activity we’d like to do to go with the lesson and do that at the end of the week on our “Project Day.” We also purchased the printable downloads to save money for all of our kids. Another homeschool friend of mine does not have the paperback/hardbacks, but prefers the audiobooks for her family. Plenty of options to choose from for whatever you prefer.

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Volume I: Ancient Times From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor

This is probably my LEAST favorite of all of them because it doesn’t line up Biblically, but it does show the Secular Scientific research from 5,000BC to 400AD. We did a timeline with the different chapters and lined them up Biblically on our timeline. (Biblical Timeline)

READ SAMPLES HERE:


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Volume 2: The Middle Ages From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance

READ SAMPLES HERE:


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Volume 3: Early Modern Times From Elizabeth the First to the Fourty-Niners

READ SAMPLES HERE:


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Volume 4: The Modern Age From Victoria’s Empire to the End of the USSR

READ SAMPLES HERE:


Susan Wise Bauer’s parents taught her at home in Virginia for most of elementary and middle school, and all of high school back when home education was still unheard of. She learned Latin at age ten, worked as a professional musician while still in high school, and wrote three (unpublished!) novels before she turned sixteen. She entered college at seventeen as a Presidential Scholar and National Merit finalist, and finished her B.A. in five semesters with a major in English, a minor in Greek and a summer spent studying twentieth century theology as a Visiting Student at Oxford. She went on to earn a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where she added Hebrew and Aramaic to her languages. In 1994, she also completed the M.A. in English language and literature at the College of William and Mary in Virginia; her concentrations were in translation theory, seventeenth-century devotional poetry, and Psalm paraphrase in the Tudor period.

Since 1994, Susan has taught writing and American literature at William & Mary, where she also received her Ph.D. in American Studies, with a major field in the history of American religion. Currently she runs Peace Hill Press, writes in a restored chicken shed, lectures on writing and history, helps run the farm, and cooks huge meals on a regular basis. Susan and her husband now live in rural Virginia, where Peter serves as the minister of a nondenominational church. They have three sons and a daughter; three dogs; four horses; a donkey; seven sheep; four goats; three cats; and a variable number of chickens.

Learning about Sex

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Growing up, I was taught sex-ed in public school along with everyone else in my class. I was almost a year younger than other people in my class. I was absolutely grossed out. It was too much information all at once.

After my son was born, a friend offered to babysit for me for an appointment I had. When I walked in, her son, around 9yrs, was looking at a drawing of a naked woman. I was shocked. She just replied that they talk openly about it and would rather have them look at drawings than the real thing.

From those experiences, I DO feel it is important for the family to teach their children and not leave it to the church or school system. I also think that it needs to be a private thing that the kids are able to talk to the parents without making it a family discussion. And of course, age appropriate would be helpful.

This, so far, has been my favorite series to teach my kids about sex from. I have both boys and girls, so I’ve read all of the books from each set. About once a year, I take each kid individually to read one of the books or chapters in the books depending on what age they are. I feel it opens up communication and reminds them of things that they may have forgotten. Each book adds on things and is age appropriate from a Godly perspective.

 

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Before I had the girl set, I used the boy version  of Why Boys and Girls are Different (ages 4-6yrs) for both genders. It included the same information and pictures. This book talks about how God made each gender, they both like different things, they are the same and yet different. It shows a naked picture of a boy and girl and how their bodies are different and then moves on. I love how it talks about how all families are different, but that God chose to put us in families. We read this in one sit down session. I actually started my kids at 3yrs because they already had observations on the fact that they were different from the other gender in our home.

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 Where do Babies Come From? (ages 7-9) took us about a week to read one chapter at a time. The boy version and girl version are different because of the child’s perspective that is telling the story. That way it is more able to relate to the gender that is reading it. This book goes over the fact that girls and boys are different, as well, and adds on with fertilization, pregnancy, and nursing.

 

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How are you Changing (ages 10-12yrs) took us about a month to finish together. It talks about how God made you wonderful, the organ differences between man and woman with technical terms, how a sperm connects with an egg, colorful diagrams of a baby in the uterus, nursing, twins, individuality, changes of both adolescent genders, and again ends with how God made you wonderful. These topics were right on topic for their age group. If left to myself to teach and no curriculum, I may have made faces trying to come up with the technical terms. I love the guide that it gave me to not make it a weird thing to teach. We talked technically about it and I offered to talk about any questions after each chapter. There are parts in bold that I have my children read to me and I read the rest. I love the scriptures put in during each chapter the help the child to gain confidence in who God made them.

 

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Sex and the New You (ages 13-15) talks about the same things as the last book and adds a little more. The pictures are black and white diagrams, and it also includes scriptures of how God made each wonderfully. This book talks about being a good friend or family member, choosing good friends, and being aware of peer pressure that leads into dating. It also talks about using birth control, sexual experimentation, pornography, recreational sex, sexually transmitted diseases, being unmarried and pregnant, masturbation, homosexuality, and sexual abuse. It also ends on how God makes us all unique and wonderful.

 

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Sex, Love, and God (ages 15yrs and up) talks again about the same things as the last book, but adds more about dating and preparing for marriage and family.

I am excited about these books that I have read to each of my children for their age groups. My children love reading them with me for not just the one on one time, but because they enjoy learning about something they feel is important. I’m thankful that someone created a Godly curriculum that leads in the discussion of sex in a beautiful, age appropriate manner.

Life With Fred

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This morning, the kids were not showing ANY motivation to do school or chores. I try to let the older kids decide when they are going to do what chores and school they wish as long as they are doing SOMETHING I ask them to do (with the exception of breaks in between sets of chores.) This morning, it just wasn’t happening. So, it was time for a little coaxing. “Okay, guys, we need to get some things done… and school is most important. Who would like me to help them first?” I hear the whines begin, “No, NOT school….” So, I reply, “Who would like me to read “Life with Fred” with them?” And the mood completely changed. I’m not kidding! One of the children raised her hand jumping up and down, “Oooh, me!” and the other sunk down, “Aww, man!” because he wasn’t first. I just started “Life with Fred” the last couple of weeks. One could point out that it’s just a new thing and that’s why the kids are excited about it. I had taken all of this into consideration when picking a curriculum.

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Number one: I wanted a curriculum that could help someone with math anxiety feel at ease. I asked around on my board of homeschooling moms. Many had recommended Life with Fred.

Number two: I consulted my friends that homeschool their kids. One of them had Life with Fred and was excited to share it with me. I read over a couple of chapters and I was impressed with how it included different types of math (geometry, algebra, addition, time, and measurement) all in one cute little story that held your attention… and made you wonder what happened next.

Number three: I wanted to know where my oldest would start if he were having a hard time with math and hadn’t learned the algebra part from the beginning that another child would learn. Did they start from the beginning? How many of these cute little books would I need to purchase to catch my son up? The answer is that they would start back a couple of books. (However, I did purchase the ones prior and he likes reading them on his own.)

Number four: I wondered if it would capture their interest and for how long. Now these books go all the way through high school, so I wanted to make sure that I would use these books for ALL the kids and not just buy them and have to switch to something else later. While visiting my friend, I started talking to her and noticed her daughter reading a Life with Fred book for fun! I looked a little confused and motioned to her. My friend said, “Yeah, she likes to read.” Yeah, but a Math Curriculum book?! That sold it right there for me. I want my kids to have fun; to be excited to learn. That’s when they will learn the most!

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Before I started the curriculum, I wanted to try it out…. So, during a moment when I needed to calm down before addressing a problem, I grabbed a Life with Fred Apples and started reading. I thought that it was interesting and wanted to read more, but I realized that I didn’t want to read all the story before I read it with my 1st grader. Later on, I chose a different book and found myself resting after dishes and picking it up to read more of the story and trying to solve the answers fast in my head. After trying it out the last couple of weeks with my children, I realized that we’re all having a LOT of fun learning math and other things added into it with the story. I love it! They love it! It’s perfect. So, at the risk of sounding like a commercial, I would like to quote my oldest son who has math anxiety, but solved the practice sections without any…

“This is so fun! I love how the stories talk about animals and other stuff, too.”

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Wildcraft! The Game

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Wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural, or “wild” habitat, for food or medicinal purposes. It applies to uncultivated plants wherever they may be found, and is not necessarily limited to wilderness areas. Ethical considerations are often involved, such as protecting endangered species. When wildcrafting is done sustainably with proper respect, generally only the fruit, flowers or branches from plants are taken and the living plant is left, or if it is necessary to take the whole plant, seeds of the plant are placed in the empty hole from which the plant was taken. Care is taken to only remove a few plants, flowers, or branches, so plenty remains to continue the supply.

So, I have been interested in herbs for a LONG time. I was excited when a friend told me about this game! I finally decided to buy it when my kids were studying Botany. I have not regretted it!

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First, we are all at Grandma’s house and she wants us to go collect huckleberries from the top of the mountain. She has already taught us how to wildcraft, so we gather herbs along the mountain trail. (We pick up herb cards)

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Sometimes, we land on a spot to draw an ailment card. Hopefully, we’ve collected the herbs listed on the ailment card that can help to heal it. (matching the pictures on the two cards.) There are many herbs that help to heal the same ailment. If we don’t have an herb to heal ourselves, another player can help us out.  I love how the game encourages not only learning, but working together to accomplish the goal. It has been fun for the whole family.

So, while this game is not specifically for homeschoolers, it is a great help for instilling a love of learning about herbs.

If you purchase this game through the original site, you get a whole lot more with it… a chapter book, recipes, etc. Check it out!

http://learningherbs.com/wildcraft-game


Check out another review from another Mom…

Apologia Sciences

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This is my all-time favorite Science curriculum EVER!

Okay, first of all, I was looking for a curriculum that we could study in the order of the creation days. I didn’t expect one to be out there that talked about how God created it that way. I just figured it would be me that taught that part. So, when I searched and found the title of these science to include “Day 4 of Creation” I was excited! In public school, I got C’s in class and I hated Science. It was boring and I didn’t see the point. After being homeschooled, I began to be excited about all the creation around me because I felt loved by the Master Creator of it all. I loved Science! I didn’t understand how it all worked, but I loved it and was excited to learn. So, just learning that God made it all made a huge difference for me. That is what I want to bring to my children; excitement to learn! The scientific information, yet, easy way of explaining it makes me want to continue to learn along side of my children with Apologia Sciences!

My oldest son became so excited to learn from zoology that he began to rent every library book about reptiles and amphibians that he could find! He started to find them outside and tell me all about them. He wants to rescue these animals in need of help and teach others about them. It’s AMAZING! I could not have taught that passion if I wanted to… I never liked frogs and snakes. I know most moms would be the same way. But I was challenged to see the creation around me in a different way. For us, this curriculum is amazing, exciting, and we don’t ever plan on changing.

First of all, you have the main textbook. It gives plenty of hands-on activities that go along-side of the information that you are all learning. There honestly is no reason to get anything else unless you want to. There are notebooks that go along with it; a regular notebook for older elementary students and a junior notebook for the younger students. This notebook includes places to record findings about the study, copywork, crosswords or other activities, and extra projects to go beyond the textbook. And… if you’re extra lazy like me and don’t want to go around the house and collect things for each project, you can also get a kit that goes with the text for the projects that go along with the textbook. They are usually just household items, though, every book may include at least one project that you need to venture for something; a battery pack, a blood typing kit, a butterfly or frog growing kit, etc. (Not that one HAS to do every project in the book, but they are fun.)

I also love how the elementary sciences are not separated according to grade level. So, 1st through 6th could study the same textbook about anatomy, astronomy, zoology, botany, or chemistry and physics. My 5th grader reads to my 2nd grader and then they both do their individual notebooks. I’m all about family helping and taking care of each other and this helps to instill it for us.


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