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…)

Your Questions About Dyslexia Answered by Author and Advocate Don Winn

Your Questions About Dyslexia Answered

 

One in Five Children in the US Has a Learning Difficulty

Did you know that one in five children in the United States has a learning difficulty such as dyslexia or ADHD. These challenges can make
children feel inadequate, misunderstood, and frustrated, yet – if harnessed correctly – they can also be viewed as beneficial and consequently empower the kids who live with them.

As an educator of over two decades and as a homeschool consultant for over a decade, I have worked with many students with learning difficulties. I am always looking for new information to learn new ways of helping my students and families, so when I had the opportunity to interview Don Winn, author, dyslexia advocate, and dyslexic himself, I jumped at the opportunity!

Dyslexia Advocacy

If you are not familiar with Don Winn, you are in for a treat. Winn is a multiple-award winning author of thirteen picture books and the Sir Kaye the Boy Knight series of novels for independent readers. As a dyslexic himself, he frequently addresses parents and educators on how to maximize the value of shared reading and how to help dyslexics and other struggling readers to learn to love to read.

In addition to his latest picture book, There’s a Monkey in My Backpack!, Winn’s first non-fiction book, Raising a Child With Dyslexia: What Every Parent Needs to Know is forthcoming this fall. Find out more on www.donwinn.com

Enter to Win Don Winn’s Newest Book

*This giveaway has ended 

In the clever and truly helpful new book There’s a Monkey in My Backpack!Winn explores how learning difficulties affect kids in a unique way that helps children and those who care for them to better understand their challenges. Winn writes from his personal experience as a lifelong dyslexic reader and writer.

There’s a Monkey in My Backpack! follows Anna, a third-grade student who has an unusual companion – a monkey in her backpack! Not everyone can see him, but he causes a whole lot of trouble for Anna by mixing up her spelling letters, distracting her in class, and making it hard for her to keep up with her schoolwork. He causes so many problems for Anna that she wonders if she will ever make it to the end of third grade with the other children. But she learns that her troublesome monkey can also be a big help to her if she learns to understand, accept, and appreciate her unique situation.

Enter to win this book below!

Winn Answers Our Questions About Dyslexia in this Q&A

Q. What are the early signs of dyslexia and what should parents do if they suspect their child has dyslexia? Also, What type of testing is done to confirm that a child has dyslexia, and can this be done at home by me, the parent? (more…)

Tons of Freebies for Summer

The Homeschool Buyer Co-op is a free homeschooling organization for both new and veteran homeschoolers.  Co-op membership is free and confidential, and entitles homeschooling families to GroupBuy discounts on high-quality curriculum. On the site you’ll find lots of free information, such as databases of free curriculum, field trips, and educational contests and scholarships. Highly recommended. Click here for more information and to sign up!There are tons of freebies for the summer.  Many of them are 7-day trials, which is great for summer!   ​

Benefits of Florida Online Homeschool Evaluations

The Benefits of Homeschool Portfolio Evaluations – at a Distance!

Just this week I had several homeschooling moms ask me why I no longer portfolio evaluations in person.  I did write about this on the old blog, and I think it deserves a place here in our new(er) space as well.  Before I answer though, let me just say that I really would love to meet you, but I’d rather talk to you via Zoom or phone. 🙂 Let me explain why. 

Introvert, Extrovert, Ambivert? 

There has been a lot of talk on social media about personality types: introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts too. I have spent some time pondering this myself and I do find personality/learning style quizzes fun and interesting. I am most definitely an introvert. When I have too many places to have to be, too many people to talk to, and too many outside-the-home commitments, it can take me days to recover my energy. This is how introverts are: they recharge by being alone and quiet. 

Because I am a homeschooling mom, I don’t get much alone time, but I can go outside and work in my garden, or go hang out in the barn with my horses for a bit.  I need this. Fortunately, my family understands and lucky for me, my girls are also introverts so we “get” each other. Yet, despite not necessarily getting “energized” by our social activities, we trudge on and go to classes, meet with friends and live a joyful, full life.  I couldn’t imagine living in a household full of extroverts! 

I work from home as well, both as a homeschool consultant and evaluator, curriculum creator, and as a part-time teacher.  Both of these provide me with joy and satisfaction, but I can get drained of energy. Can you relate?

The Need for Change

I began doing homeschool evaluations and consulting in 2007.  My clients and I would meet in local coffee shops.  Since the bulk of my evaluation requests come in during the late spring and summer months, I found myself spending all of my Saturdays and three to four nights a week away from my family. They started to feel the effects of my absence.  My girls were littler then and I missed them!  That was when I decided to change the way I did things.  

Most of my consulting work was done long-distance anyway, and I had many clients from other parts of Florida and other states already doing distance-evaluations by emailing or snail-mailing me work samples, so I decided to ask my local clients to do their evaluations online too.  I knew that this would make it easier for me, but I never expected that most of my clients actually preferred doing their evaluations this way as well.  Maybe they are all fellow introverts! 😉 Seriously, though; the process is just so much more convenient and thorough for everyone involved. 

Do Your Homeschool Portfolio Evaluation From Anywhere!

 
Online or distance-evaluations are super easy. You can upload work samples whenever you want to, and email them to me ahead of time.  Of course, this is not the only way to show me the work that your students have done.  Over the years I have had families share their work in these ways:

  • Create a blog (I love these and many of my unschooling families do this)!
  •  Create a private Facebook page (Love this too)!
  •  Create a Youtube channel (some of my families who do this are amazing and I love to see and hear the students I am evaluating!
  • Scan or snap photos or send videos of projects, field trips and send my email 
  • Snail-mail work samples to me (some people still prefer this option)
  • Use dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or any preferred platform.

Florida asks evaluators to have a conversation with the student as well, and the way we fulfill this requirement is via a short phone chat, or Skype session. After that, the time is YOURS for whatever you’d like to discuss. Read more about how I conduct evaluations here.

The Time is for You, Too

A big perk of scheduling a portfolio evaluation with me is that you are able to ask me any questions you want to during our phone session. Yes, the phone session is for the student; however, that time is for you as well. 

Book Your Appointment!

Are you ready to book your appointment!  Just click here for my appointment scheduler, and choose the time that works best for you and your family.  I look forward to talking with you! Read my testimonials page to see a sampling of what some of my other families have said about working with me! 

 

How to Choose the Perfect Math Curriculum


homeschoolinflorida.comThat title got you, didn’t it?

Math. We’ve used so many different programs for math for my youngest. It wasn’t my favorite subject in school, and it wasn’t my favorite subject to teach in elementary school, either. I’ve been searching for the perfect math curriculum for as long as I’ve been homeschooling and both of my girls are in high school now.

Here’s What I Do Know

Every kid is different. Yes, you know that, too. But truly, one math curriculum does not work for another. Take my own children for example. I tried almost everything to get my eldest daughter to NOT love Saxon. She did. And still does. And she’s thriving with it. She gets that from her dad, certainly.

My youngest is just like me. She doesn’t care about formulas, and the answer, “because that’s how you’re supposed to do it” just doesn’t fly with her. Me either. We want to know why. If we could study and analyze an algebraic formula as if it were a character in a great fiction novel, we’d do well and even love algebra. But we don’t.

Math Non-Math Lovers Like

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Homeschooling Teens and Tweens: The Bare Truth

This guest post is part of our 30 Days of Homeschool: The Good, The Bad & The In-Between Blog Series

I am honest enough to admit that I never thought I would be homeschooling my boys through their tween and teen years.  We began homeschooling with a year by year attitude and after my first few months I really wasn’t sure we’d be homeschooling all that long.
You can imagine my surprise when I realized my oldest was starting middle school and I was still homeschooling!  I kind of freaked out a bit not knowing what to expect when homeschooling middle school but we muddled through and I realized it wasn’t much different from what we had been doing before; my teaching and guiding grew right alongside his skills and learning.
Homeschooling Teens and Tweens: The Bare Truth
Now my oldest is just beginning his freshman year of high school at home and my younger two boys are firmly in the throes of middle school.  Again I’ll admit I freaked a bit at the thought of homeschooling high school but once we sat down and sketched out a rough plan we were both excited at the thought of continuing this homeschooling journey together.
Can I let you in on a little secret??  

I actually find it much easier to homeschool middle and high school!
Tweens and teens cane be such fun ages to homeschool.
  • They’re fairly independent so I have a lot more free time to pursue my own interests.
  • They are able to communicate to me what they’d like to learn, how they learn best, and why a particular area of study may or may not be working out for them.
  • They’re funny!  My boys have a great sense of humor and I get to be around them all day.
  • We have such great discussions.  They’re all old enough to have their own opinions about mostly everything and they love to debate with both my husband and I.
  • They’re ready and willing to soak up life skills and my boys are quite helpful around the house too.
  • They have developed hobbies and often surprise me with their skills.
Is it always sunshine and roses?  
Well, no.  Of course not.
 I don’t think any stage of parenting or homeschooling is “easy” since every stage comes with it’s own unique set of challenges.
  • Tweens and teens can be moody.  Their bodies are changing rapidly and their moods often reflect the hormonal fluctuations.  One day they love me and school and what we’re doing and the next day everything is stupid and lame.
  • My boys often think they know everything and I get lots of eye rolls, sighs, and attitudes; even if they’ve just asked for help or have asked me a question they’ll usually tell me my answer is wrong.
  • Since my boys are all so close in age they either get along great or they are at each other’s throats and it can be tedious to STILL be playing referee all the time.
  • I have noticed (with middle school ages in particular) that my boys can learn a set of skills one day or week and appear to have mastered it only to look at me blankly later on insisting they’ve never learned it.  I’ve read up on this phenomenon and apparently this is a documented hormonal thing due to the rapidly growing body sapping the brain of energy.  It’s why most middle school books don’t introduce that many new topics and instead focus on mastering and honing skills learned in elementary school.
  • As independent as they can be they still need my help and it can be tough to know when to step in and help or when to let them muddle through on their own.
  • So many parents stop homeschooling through the middle school years and even more stop with the high school years that it can be tricky to help my boys find all the social interaction they often crave.  It seems like the older my kids get the less we find homeschoolers their age around.
Yet, I do think that many of these homeschooling challenges wouldn’t be much different from challenges all parents face in raising tweens and teens.  If anything I think I’m lucky that my boys still turn to me for advice and not just to their peers and friends like I know I did. And while my boys may question our rules, values, and judgement from time to time we are still the biggest influences in their lives.
While I never pictured myself homeschooling my kids right up through college I am sure am glad I was open to the idea and willing to try.
Bio: Joanne, known as Mother of 3 around the web, has been homeschooling her three boys for 6 years.  A former teacher fed up with the public school system she ventured out on her own and found a wonderful network of moms through blogging and life that have shown her what education really is.

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