Five Most Important Things Every Homeschooler Should Know

five most important things every homeschooler should know

You Probably Won’t Stick to “The Plan”

 

We homeschoolers have so many inspired ideas when we first begin! Who doesn’t love a new adventure, with a shiny new schedule to go along with it?I promise you, you will go “off course”. You will “follow a different path”. You will get “redirected”. It’s all okay. It’s necessary, and it leads to new adventures and new opportunities.

 

Consider This Fictitious Day

 

* 8:30 You and your children begin the day with stretching, exercise and/or prayer time. Everyone is smiling and well-rested. The bigger kids help make smoothie bowls for breakfast at 8:30 am while their younger siblings clean up their toys. Breakfast is followed by journal writing and free reading. Your group history lesson begins at 10:00 followed by a snack (which the kids prepare themselves) and a short free-play or free-time session for everyone until exactly 10:45, which leaves just enough time to fit in some handwriting practice before it’s time to involve the kids in preparing a healthy lunch. (more…)

Everything You Need to Know Before Joining a Homeschool Co-op

Everything You Need to Know Before Joining a Homeschool Co-op

Homeschool co-ops are very popular among many homeschoolers and they can be wonderful avenues to make friends, receive support and even expand your child’s academic horizons. Co-ops (cooperatives) are groups generally created by a number of families working together for the benefit of all who want to join. A couple of questions I get asked often are, “How can you join one and how do they work? 

Let’s explore a few things you need to know before joining a homeschool co-op. 

Benefits of Joining a Homeschool Co-op

Homeschool co-ops vary in what they offer. Some co-ops are designed to support homeschooling families by working together to organize play dates and field trips. There are many of these types of co-ops in Florida, and if you are brand new to homeschooling, these casual meet-ups can be a wonderful way to meet others and to get support. 

Such homeschool co-ops often organize and offer things like a yearly prom, regular weekly park days, field trips to various places around the state, sports teams and a yearbook to members. 

Academics

Co-ops can also be more academic in nature and more structured in the way that they are run. These types of co-ops generally require parents to pitch in somehow; either by teaching a class, assisting in a class, or providing clean up or lunch help during the day. (more…)

4 Essential Tips to Help When Your Partner Doesn’t Want You to Homeschool

what to do when your partner doesn't want you to homeschool

Your partner may not share your enthusiasm on homeschooling, and this could be a possible confrontation avenue. In most cases, the men are skeptical on whether the whole homeschooling concept will work. Before you go crazy on them, it would be important to note that they also have the best interests of your kids in their heart. As such, you have to try and understand their concerns and peacefully address these issues. The following tips will come in handy when your partner doesn’t want you to homeschool.

Stay calm and peaceful 

It does not help to get angry and frustrated because you think your partner is irrational about this subject. By staying calm, he will be able to understand that emotions are not blinding you and you are approaching the topic with a clear head. He will be forced to recognize and respect your reasons for homeschooling. Looping in the kids at this point would be essential. They will most likely have an opinion on this. Let them know how this would change their lives and evaluate if they are ready for the change.

Write down the concerns about homeschooling

Write down the concerns they have with homeschooling. Is it that they have no confidence in your ability to teach? Is it about money? Is it about time? Note down everything they come up with and understand completely why they are hesitant to come on board.

After you write down the concerns they have about homeschooling, it is your time to write down the concerns you have about having your kids schooled in an institution (public or private) somewhere. Let them understand why you decided that homeschooling would be better for your children compared to have them go to a school out there.

Homeschooling allows a deeper connection with the kids

After you have done this, make a rational analysis of these concerns and fears, and this will help you reach a solution quickly. To assist on that, you can let them know that by homeschooling, you will have the chance to experience a deeper connection with your children. This is very important, particularly in their formative years. See our blog series titled, “30 Days of Homeschool: The Good, The Bad & The In-Between” for the truth about homeschooling and what it might look like for your family. Discuss these things with your partner. Let him know that you’ve been doing your research.

Look at your finances and time you can spend on homeschooling

Homeschooling can have a toll on your finances if it is not done right. You need to plan and know how much time you have to do this and how much money you can afford to make this a success. You do not want to start and feel overwhelmed down the line. 

Do a lot of research to understand how much the material and curriculum will cost you and what you will need in the future. Connect with other families and learn from them. You will find a lot of support from different people and institutions who understand the concept of homeschooling well.

Talk to Everyone You Know Who Homeschools

Gather information. Ask everyone you know what homeschooling is like for them. Ask questions such as these:

  • how has it changed your lives
  • how have your kids benefited
  • what kind of time is involved
  • do they work AND homeschool
  • how much money do they spend on curriculum each year
  • what types of support groups are there in your area
  • what are the most important things they think you should know

Discuss all this with your partner.

Consider Working From Home

Perhaps your partner’s biggest concern is money. And perhaps you have already thought of this. There are plenty of ways to make money from home, you just have to be a little creative, a little flexible, and know where to look. Start a blog, search for WFH jobs using these tips, or come up with your own ideas. It CAN be done!

The decision you make should be for the benefit of the kids. It is important to have your partner’s help when doing this as it makes it all easier. If I can help with any of this, please contact me for a one-on-one coaching session. See my Testimonials Page to see how I’ve helped others make their homeschooling dreams come true.

Five Simple Things You Should Know to Help Your Young Child Become an Amazing Writer

help your young child become an amazing writer
​I am often asked the question, How can I teach my child to write?  Since reading and writing go hand in hand, the best way to start “teaching” writing is by reading.  Teaching a love of writing at this early age is so important for future successes a writer. There are a few things you should know to help your young child become an amazing writer.

Scribbles Are Important

Early writing really begins with drawing or scribbling. These random marks on the page are very important beginnings to the writing process. If you watch your child, you will see that these “scribbles” soon turn into long wavy lines resembling writing. This usually happens between the ages of 2 and 4.Next in the development of writing at this age, you’ll likely see your child making letter-like markings. These won’t really be true letters, but representations of them.

Recognize Letter Strings

Around age 4 or 5 you’ll start to see real letters in strings on the page. They may or may not make real words.  More often than not, they are simply the letters your child enjoys making in non-phonetic blocks and lines. Don’t be alarmed if many of these are backward. This is totally normal.

Inventive Spelling is “Real” Spelling

When inventive spelling emerges on the page, (usually around age 5 or 6,) the fun begins! Now your child is using his or her own spelling according to how he or she makes the letter-sound correspondence.  This is my very favorite stage of writing and children are so excited to be able to put their sounds to paper and have others decipher it! One thing you can do to celebrate this success is read your child’s stories aloud. I promise, the more you read this inventive spelling, the better you will get at being able to decipher it. Hint: “speak” it as your child speaks; try to talk like your child. When my daughter was young, she had trouble with the “bl” blend and her writing at this stage reflected this.

Have Your Child Share Their Work

Children love to share their writing. Ask you child to be an author and sit in an “author’s chair” – a special chair designed for the sharing of the written word. Ask your child to sit in this chair (or wear a special hat, or other special thing to signify author’s time).  Be an active listener.  Invite the whole family. Ask questions about the story. Comment on what you enjoyed about it.

What Not To Do

It is very important not to correct a child’s spelling or grammar right now. Let them enjoy the free flowing feeling of writing without worry whether it is “right” or not. Spelling is one of those skills that is best acquired over time and does not come by rote memorization, constant correction or practice writing words correctly over and over again. (I’ll have much more to say on this subject in later posts.)

Later On

Around age 7 is when children begin to use more and more conventional spelling in their writing and spells most words correctly. Now is the time to teach simple grammar rules, which we’ll talk more about later on. All of these seemingly small things are your child’s way of showing you that they are on their way to becoming an amazing writer!

Useful Books:

This is an oldie but a goodie. It is hard to get a hold of, but if you can find it, it is gold:
Using Word Walls to Strengthen Student Reading and Writing at the Emergent Level

​Playful Writing: 150 Open-Ended Explorations in Emergent Literacy

Literacy-Building Play in Preschool: Lit Kits, Prop Boxes, and Other Easy-to-Make Tools to Boost Emergent

Reading and Writing Skills Through Dramatic Play

The following books are excellent books for teachers and are a must-have when you are teaching little ones during these early years:

Soaring with Reading and Writing: a highly effective emergent literacy program 

Teaching Beginning Writers

Curriculum We Recommend

All About Spelling

If you have an older child who is struggling with writing, we recommend our How to Write the Perfect 5-Paragraph Essay course. At Life Learning Academy, we believe that learning should be fun!

Helpful Websites

Get Ready to Read (GRTR)

International Reading Association (IRA)

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL)

Reading is Fundamental (RIF)

Reading Rockets

How To Prove Your Identity As a Homeschooler: And Why You’d Want To!


Can You Prove That You Are a Homeschooler?

Has anyone ever asked you to prove that you are a homeschooler? Sometimes merchants will ask, but more often, you will be the one to ask for special perks and discounts for homeschoolers. Proving your identify as a homeschooler by having your own official homeschool ID card can save you money on homeschool supplies, admission to parks and hotels and more.

Teacher – Homeschool ID Cards

Teachers can get discounts at places like Office Depot and Barnes & Noble, so why not homeschool teachers? Well now you can prove your identity as a homeschooling family! I scoured the Internet looking for a decent, professional-looking and FREE homeschool ID template and I’ve found one here.

How to Create a Homeschool ID Card

Find some good headshots of your children. Think “passport photo” type pics. Choose a name for your homeschool and create it!

I printed our cards this on heavy card stock and laminated them with clear contact paper.  They came out great!

The template is very user-friendly, and only took me a few minutes to print cards for our whole family. You’ll use these homeschool identification cards many times, I promise!

This site is well worth browsing as it offers many other homeschooling freebies and discounts as well.

Enjoy!

Q & A With the Author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Kids Outside the Conventional Classroom

homeschool in Florida
If you’ve been homeschooling long enough, you’ve likely come across the term “unschooling.” Unschooling is one of those terms that often has the homeschooling community at odds with one another, as if there are only black and white approaches to educating our children. Many homeschooling families, chose to educate their kids at home so that they can educate kids outside the box: unschooling is just one way of (as the title reads), raising curious, well-educated kids outside the conventional classroom.

As a homeschool consultant and evaluator, I have had the pleasure of working with many unschooling families over the years. To schedule a homeschool portfolio evaluation with me click here.

To learn what you need to know before scheduling that homeschool portfolio evaluation, read this.

To join my Homeschool Helpline and get ongoing support for your homeschool life, click here. 

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am a huge proponent of child-led learning. I have a deep respect for successful unschooling families.

When I came across the book, Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom by Kerry McDonald, I knew I had to have it. (more…)

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