Who doesn’t love beautiful books? The Beautiful Feet Books curriculum company offers high-quality materials for homeschoolers that are full of goodness, truth and beauty. I have used parts of this curriculum in our own homeschool over the years and have seen many of the different levels as a homeschool consultant.
I’ve partnered with this company in offering you a FREE literature pack of your choice! This is an amazing opportunity and comes just before the holiday season. You can enter to win as many times as you like and the winner will be chosen on November 1st.
Have you used the Beautiful Feet Books in your homeschool? Tell us about it in the comments!
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.
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…)
How to Write a Homeschool Mission Statement
Several years ago I was talking with a mom during a portfolio evaluation appointment about her home school mission statement. She had it type-written and clearly displayed at the front of her daughter’s portfolio. It was short, only a few sentences long.
As I read it I nodded my head. Yes, yes, yes, I need to do this. And you should, too. Why? As Dr. Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families says, “Every decision we make is ultimately governed by some kind of interest or goal or objective or value or principle, whether we know it or not.”
Yikes. I was convicted. If you are, too, here are some tips to help you write a great homeschool mission statement of your own.
Involve the Whole Family
Speaking about a family mission statement, Covey goes on to say that, “A Family Mission Statement is an effort to bring to an explicit level what your goals and values are so that people are on the same page.”This holds true for our homeschool mission statement as well Bring everyone together and ask each family member what they believe should be included in the mission statement.
Ask Yourself Why
Ask your family members why you are homeschooling in the first place. Go back to those initial conversations with your family about homeschooling before you made the choice to do so. Remind yourselves of why you have your homeschool set up the way you do.
Examine Your Priorities and Schedule
Take a look at where you spend your time during your homeschool day. Noticing your patterns will show you your priorities. See if these line up with your overall vision for your homeschool, and remember the five most important things every homeschooler should know.
Be Specific and Explicit
Once you have brainstormed all of the above, write a rough draft. Be as specific as you can and try to explain your why the best you can in present-tense. For example, “Our homeschool is a place where learning and life happen simultaneously. We learn all the time. We strive daily to do our best to nourish our minds, hearts and spirits.”
As home schooling parents we can get bogged down in the daily grind of life. Work commitments, household chores, community activities, the needs of other family members; these all take our time and attention, and we can often lose sight of not only where we’re going, but why.
A mission statement can help keep us on track and guide us when the road gets rough. Print yours and hang it where your whole family can reflect on it daily.
Share Your Homeschool Mission Statement
Do you have a homeschool mission statement? If so, please share it in the comments!
For more tips and homeschool helps, join our active email community by signing up below!
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!
Many more people every year are taking the plunge into the world of homeschooling. The transition from school to homeschool can sometimes be seamless, but oftentimes there can be some bumps along the way. Here are a few tips to help ease that transition.
Homeschooling is Not School at Home
Making the transition from school to homeschooling can be difficult because the idea of “school” has been so consistent for those who have had kids in traditional schooling. You may ask, How will I fill all the time we’ll have? or How will I teach x,y,z subject? There are many ways to school at home, but in my experience as a homeschool coach for over a decade is that the least productive way, and the way to suck the joy out of learning, is to try to replicate traditional school at home.
Remembering that, here are some things you can do today:
- Try to be relaxed about your schedule. I often recommend that my clients think of their daily routine as more of a rhythm than a schedule.
- Know that it can take some time to find your perfect rhythm: one that works best for both you and your kids. No two homeschooling family’s day looks the same.
- Tailor your classes and your outings to fit your child’s interests. I am a huge proponent of child-led learning. This is how you make homeschooling a joy for your whole family.
Take Some Time to Relax
Chances are, you are pulling your child out of a traditional school setting because there was some negative experience attached to traditional schooling. This is quite common among the clients that I work with. Perhaps your child has special needs that were not being met, or maybe your child was among the alarmingly growing number of kids who are bullied in school. No matter the reason, it is always good to be mindful of your child’s individual transitional needs.
Many people use the term “deschooling.” I am not a big fan of this, although I know the meaning behind it. Sometimes traditional schooling causes such a negative imprint on our children that it is hard to shake. Jumping from a poor situation right into trying to “do school” at home just won’t work. Allow yourself and your children some breathing space.
Here are some ideas for what to do while you’re allowing your child that space:
- Read aloud to your children – it doesn’t matter what age they are!
- Watch documentaries on your child’s favorite subject
- Make crafts, paint, dance, make music
- Go to the theater, symphony, museum – or take virtual tours online
- Get outdoors!
Involve Your Children
As an educator for over two decades, I know that involving children in their own schooling helps them to take ownership, which in turn positively affects learning outcomes and children’s attitudes toward learning. Schooling should not be something that is “done” to our kids, but rather, something that our kids choose.
- Here are some ways to involve your kids in the transition from school to homeschool:
- Ask your children what they’d like to study – a novel idea for some kids!
- Sit down with them and make lesson plans together. Decide on ways in which you can really dive into that interest beyond sitting at a table and looking at a book or filling out a worksheet.
- Have your child work on a long-term project. Long-term projects are great for teaching children not only about the subject matter involved, but also are great ways to teach time management and planning. Choose one long-term project to work on that semester, half-year or year. Then let your child plan it, implement the strategy and see it to fruition.
Discover Your Homeschool Style
Research homeschool methods and discover your unique homeschool style. Research curriculum. Join homeschool groups online and in person. Ask your friends who homeschool to share with you what they do, but remember: there are many paths to a successful homeschool.
I invite you to join my Your Homeschool Coach Facebook group. I have worked with hundreds of homeschool families from around the country and have helped many successfully and peacefully transition from school to homeschooling (and vice versa.) I’d love to work with you!
I offer group coaching for your homeschool life as well as one-on-one coaching and much more. If you are in Florida, I run a private umbrella school, Life Learning Academy. I create courses for homeschooling parents and homeschooled kids here.
No matter the reason for making the transition at this time, I’d like you to above all else, relax and enjoy this extra time with your children!
2020 is the year of uncertainty, isn’t it? I think there is more uncertainty among parents of children who are in traditional public schools, private schools, and homeschools. I’ve seen a lot of misinformation going around on social media, it’s no wonder you’re confused!
This comprehensive guide to how to homeschool will apply to Florida, however, many states follow similar guidelines. Check your individual state requirements before you make your decision.
Schooling at Home, But Not Homeschooling
The following three options allow your child to learn at home, and be public school students at the same time.
County School District Virtual School
Before the Year 2020 threw a monkey wrench into all of our plans, students still had the option to study their school’s curriculum, but to do so from home and online. This option requires your student to follow all the rules and regulations that they would normally follow if going to the brick and mortar classroom such as schedules, testing, etc. Obviously, more students (and teachers) are being forced into this option because of limited space in the classrooms right now.
Hospital Homebound Study
Many counties have a hospital homebound program within their public school system. This can be used if your child has a medical diagnosis which prohibits him/her to go to the brick and mortar school. This can also be a good option temporarily if your child is undergoing a surgery which will require a long recovery, or if your child has had an unexpected medical event. Contact your local school board office to learn more.
Florida Virtual School
Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is considered its own school district. FLVS follows the typical calendar and testing requirements that other public school districts do. Your student will receive a diploma from FLVS. You can apply to be a FLVS full-time student if you are a resident of Florida. The deadline for the 2020-2021 year is July 31.
Homeschooling Options – Umbrella Schools and Home-Educated Students
The following options are those that typical homeschoolers sign up for. They each have their pros and their cons.
Register With an Umbrella School
When you register your child with an umbrella school in Florida, your child is counted in the private school numbers because umbrella schools are considered private schools, even though many of these are just a “cover” and do not even have a brick and mortar building. Some of these umbrellas do offer in-person classes, however, so check your options carefully. Our umbrella Life Learning Academy, allows you to homeschool on your own schedule and choose your own curriculum. We also offer report cards and help creating high school transcripts.
Register With Your County School Board
When you register your child with your county school board office, your child will be considered a home-educated student. You can begin your homeschool any time within 30 days of registering and you are free to use whatever curriculum you choose. At the end of the year (on the anniversary of when you established your homeschool by sending in your Intent to Homeschool Letter), you will provide proof of progress to your school board office. You have several options for this.including standardized testing, portfolio reviews and more. You can read more about portfolio reviews here.
Get Straight Answers Here
Our options in Florida can be confusing, especially now that more and more people are choosing to have their children study at home. Finding answers on social media can be like herding chickens, and many people (including those that work in public schools) think they know the laws, when in fact, they don’t.
There are several pros and cons to each homeschooling option above. For example, which option allows you to get college classes for free? One does! Which option allows your kids to participate easily in public school sports? Find out more about all of this and more when you go through our Beginner’s Guide How to Homeschool in Florida: Making Sense of Our Laws and Options course. It’s only $17 and we add and update it all the time as the laws change. We also provide you with all the necessary forms and paperwork you need, depending on the option you choose.