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 and email samples of work
* Snail-mail work samples to me

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.

Evaluation and Consultation In One

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.  One of the benefits of doing a distance-evaluation with me is that you can decide what you’d like to discuss with me before-hand and give me a heads up about it so that I can research and ponder before hand.  This is the best way to use our time together, and is the way that I have been doing consulting sessions since the beginning. Another benefit to you if you choose me as your evaluator, is that I will answer any questions you have via email all year long.  If you have more in-depth questions about a particular topic such as curriculum choices, learning styles, etc. then we can schedule a consult; however, many questions can be answered via email. 

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! 

 

Homeschooling Away from Family: Preschool Addition

homeschooling away from family: preschool editionWelcome Guest Blogger Alyssa Leanne Riggan from teachingwithfaith.com!

I am new to homeschooling (compared to others) and have been homeschooling a preschooler for the last two years. I started homeschooling my daughter when she was almost 2 years old and have enjoyed every minute of it!

To better understand how we homeschool away from family, I first need to provide some background of our family as well as why we homeschool.

When You’re Far From Family Support

When I was in high school, I wanted to go to school away from my home state of Texas because well I kinda wanted an adventure and it was hot in Texas! So I moved to North Caroline for college. This is where I met my husband. My husband and I met back in college, but did not start dating until after college. While we were dating, he talked me into going back to school to get my Masters in Education with a focus in Early Childhood Education. He was on track to get his PhD and wanted to become a professor. This path though can be very tough so he took a Post Doc position where he could and we moved to Maryland where we had our two children. Even though we found a great community there, we moved again when my husband got a great position as a tenure track Assistant Professor at University of Nebraska. We moved to our current house when our second child was only 2 months old! I have not lived near my family for about 14 years. I have learned how to make my home wherever I ended up!

We Discovered That Homeschoolers Were “Normal” 

Now a small backstory into why we homeschool in general. Our first reason we homeschool is politics. When we lived in Maryland we were not too far from DC and I found that the school systems in the area were very political. (more…)

Soul Care For the Homeschool Mom

take courage soul care for the homeschool mom

Dear Homeschool Mom, You’re Worth It!

So many moms that I talk to somehow feel that if they take time for themselves, that they are cheating their children. This thinking is all wrong. There have been lots of memes in the arena about self care and what that should look like.

I disagree with many of the things that I hear and read about self-care for moms. Here’s what I do agree with: You’re worth it! I’m worth it! We’re all worth it! Give yourself the gift of soul care this year.

Reframe It

I prefer the term “soul care” to “self care.” Don’t get me wrong; I don’t believe that self care is a bad thing: no! I do think that sometimes we can lump just about everything into the “self care basket” and sometimes these things really shouldn’t be there. Do you know what I mean?

Things like allowing our kids to skip too many days of math just because our “selves” can’t take it. (Ask me how I know about this one.) Or, things like spending money on things when we promised ourselves and our families that we’d really try to stick to the budget this month. I’m sure you can come up with many more examples. But what is soul care?

Soul Care Is Different

Soul care is different. Soul care is taking time for yourself in order to make yourself better. Hear that again: Soul care is taking time for yourself in order to make yourself better.

Do you see what word is missing there? I didn’t say “Soul care is taking time for yourself in order to make yourself feel better.”

There are thousands of things that we can do to help us temporarily feel better. There are fewer things that we can do that can help us be better.

Soul Care Makes Us Better

Spending time in quiet prayer and meditation is soul care. Soul care can include things that make us feel better, for sure! However, it goes deeper than that. Eating a chocolate bar makes me feel better, but does it make me a gentler, more patient mom? Not really. And if it did, I’d buy stock in that chocolate company right away. Sign me up.

Soul Care Helps Us See the Big Picture

Ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels trying to get things done, all the while knowing that you’re running out of time? There seems to be so little time for science, math, and SAT prep. Your little kids need more play time with friends and the week has gone by again. You’re on the hamster wheel wondering how you’ll ever reach the end. Taking time every day to spend in the presence of God both helps us slow down and get to where we need to be faster. It’s a dichotomy. A mystery. But it works that way. And you’re worth it!

Take Courage!

Take courage, moms! You’re worth it. Try it for a week and see how the mystery plays out in your life. Download my 30-day Affirmation Journal for Christian Moms and see how your life changes. You’ll have more peace, clarity, and patience for all the things you need to do.

And then go get that chocolate bar!

For more help with your homeschool life, check out my Homeschool Helpline group. It can be an important part of your soul care, too!

Top Three Things to Help Avoid Homeschool Burnout

top three things to help avoid homeschool burnout

I don’t know about you, but I need all the tips I can get for how to avoid homeschool burnout. By the end of December, and again around the beginning of May, you can stick me with a fork because I’m done.

I’m tired.

I’m worn out from all the curricular AND extracurricular activities. I’m barely hanging on, and the words you’ll hear most often from my mouth those days are, “just skip it!” My homeschooling mojo has left the building. My inspiration lies wet and soggy somewhere underneath a pile of once shiny-new ideas.

I need a pick-me-up, and a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino with almond milk just won’t do. I’m experiencing homeschool burnout.

I’ve been through this before. Many times. And I can help you get through your own version of homeschool burnout

Here are three things that have helped me most: (in order)

Stop Feeling Guilty

I know you feel it. You can’t deny it. We homeschool moms are the ones who begin each year with our polished new ideas, mission statements, clean schedules, new resolutions and high hopes. When we get to May and are reminded of all the ways in which our ideas didn’t pan out, we feel awful. It’s to be expected. But guilt (or remorse or regret) just don’t serve us. Throw those feelings away and replace them with a mind open to learning why those ideas didn’t pan out. For me, it’s usually because of one of these three things: (more…)

Why Play Should be an Integral Part of Your Homeschool

homeschool in florida

Let Your Children Play

Lately everywhere I turn, homeschooling parents are asking the question, “is my child doing enough to get ahead?” We are forgetting that play should be an important part of your homeschool curriculum.

The pressure on young children today is incredible. Even the developers of PBS believe that the biggest obstacle American children face in terms of education is being unprepared for kindergarten. 

No wonder parents are worried! Not only are parents over-teaching, but they are also over-scheduling, I believe it’s being done out of fear, and it’s not necessary. 

Over-scheduling

Consider this schedule: phonics lessons and grammar lessons in the morning, music and Mandarin lessons in the afternoon, and in between all of that, Moms are forcing their young children to work in newly- purchased math workbooks and insisting that they complete multiplication and division problems. The words “algebra” and “geometry” are being tossed around at play dates.

These parents really think that they are doing the right thing. They’re giving their children a “leg up” right?

They are not. Here’s why.

Developmental Milestones

First, young children are not developmentally ready to pursue such academic activities. Are some seemingly “able” to do this type of academic work? Perhaps. But a completed worksheet does not equal a deep learning for a subject matter and even if you believe that your child is ready, there is evidence that doing so is more harmful than helpful.

Take a look at this article written by a mathematician </a>for reasons why worksheets should not be used with young children.

Just because they can, doesn’t mean they should.

Secondly, the importance of play has been so overlooked in the last decade or two that it is shameful.  Here’s what Edward Miller and Joan Almon say in their book Crisis In The Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School.

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When You Feel Like a Homeschool Failure

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

feeling like a homeschool failure

Feeling Like a Homeschool Failure

When you begin homeschooling, it can be a scary and daunting place to be and you wonder if you’ll feel like a homeschool failure. You see all these Pinterest-worthy, perfect homeschooling families, and you can’t even manage to pick a curriculum. You immediately go to the negative place in your mind when you think you are a homeschool failure. You begin spouting off things like: I‘m going to ruin my kids, they’ll never amount to anything, I’m so stupid for thinking I could do this, people are going to judge me. That last one is the number one reason I see people question their ability to educate their children at home.


Homeschooling is “Different”

“But it’s different” seems to be the go-to reason behind their fear. Why is being different such a bad thing? It’s better to be different. Who wants to be the same as everyone else? If you’re even thinking about homeschooling, one of those reasons is because something isn’t right with the public school system, and you feel that it would benefit your family to homeschool. You already thinking differently. If you’ve ever read my blog (The Balanced Living Mama) you know that I strongly disagree with public school, and all it stands for. I think that we homeschoolers should strive to be as different from the public schools as possible.

(more…)

How to Write a Homeschool Mission Statement

how to write a homeshool mission statement

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.

 

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.”

Final Note

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!

How to Earn Money While Homeschooling




earn money while homeschooling

Have you ever wanted to start a blog about your homeschool?

It’s easy and fun! And you can earn money while homeschooling while blogging about your homeschool journey. I’ve been blogging about homeschooling for over a decade, and you can do it, too.

In addition to sharing important information about how to homeschool in Florida, I also like to tell stories about the many other facets of our life as a homeschooling family in Florida, and I love to read stories of how other homeschooling families do things. I’m sure you do, too.

One of my most popular posts is about our journey toward a gluten-free lifestyle. Now’s the time for you to start sharing your own stories in order to inspire others!

How Blogging Has Changed For Us

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Great Gifts for Homeschoolers

Great Gifts for Homeschoolers

Great Gifts for Homeschoolers

Looking for the perfect gift for that homeschooling family in your life? We have something for everyone here! Add them to your wish list and tell Santa and your friends and family! We homeschoolers can be a resourceful bunch, and we want something useful and practical sometimes, right?

Give a gift that keeps on giving this year! I’ve joined 11 other homeschool bloggers in bringing you all of our very best products which will be great gifts for homeschoolers! Each of these was crafted with love to bless your homeschool! All virtual products will supply a beautiful gift certificate for you to gift or stuff into a stocking. Happy Shopping!

game programming courseHave a teen who lives to play video games? Get them engaged in learning with Fundafunda Academy’s Introduction to Game Programming. This is a self-paced class for grades 5 – 12 that introduces students to game programming. They will learn about game design, how to create game graphics and some basic computer logic. They will also program an interactive greeting card.

 

 

 

 

 


podcast for teens

Some teens love to talk, maybe your teen needs her own podcast! Does your homeschool teen need an elective credit on their transcript but feels uninspired by the options? Would your techie high schooler like to pursue their passions while completing coursework? Then the Podcast Launch for Teens by Abby Banks is for YOU! Save $15 with coupon code MERRY

 

 

Celebrate Christmas

Keep the Christmas spirit going with playful fun! These practical activity plans are perfect to embrace the holiday season with your kids! They’re simple enough that they fit in easily to your already hectic schedule.

There are four weeks of activities already planned out for you, so there’s no need to go looking for something to do with the kids, it’s all right there. And there’s details and photos if you need it. Make this Christmas season your child’s very best ever with Celebrate from The Activity Room!

 

 

cooking science for kidsCook up some fun with Cooking By Level by Raising Human Beans! A Level Based Cookbook, that teaches your kids how to cook simple meals! From helping out- to cooking full meals by themselves!!

Volume 1- Easy Food Volume

2- Tea Time Volume

3- Pancakes Volume

4- Christmas (coming soon!)

 

 

Art Camp

Seven lessons, six projects, tons of fun!!! This mini-course is perfect for Christmas break or weekly lessons this winter.

Unlike most art programs, Beyond the Stick Figure courses are not just a collection of projects, but a course in art techniques. These core techniques will give your child the confidence and ability to independently create masterpieces. Have an Art Camp with your family! Just click open, and go.

 

 

 

Spanish Animals

Younger kids will have fun exploring the ocean and learning Spanish as they go. The Spanish Ocean Animals Printables Workbook by Spanish4Kiddos includes four worksheets for children to practice Spanish terms of ocean life. Children practice handwriting, fine-motor skills, and reading. Common core and NGSS aligned. Grade Level: K

 

 

 

 

 

Teen Girl Fun Bundle

PERFECT FOR THE CRAFTY TEEN OR PRE-TEEN GIRL IN YOUR LIFE, AND JUST IN TIME for Christmas! Bookmarks and cards make awesome gifts for Christmas and other occasions. And since they are designed to be printed, cut out and decorated:

The Super Bundle of Bookmarks and Cute Cards would be a perfect gift for a girl in your life who loves to create do-it-yourself crafts!

 

 

 

 

Charlotte Mason Music

 

Fill your year with music! “A Year of Charlotte Mason Music Lessons” by Music in Our Homeschool is an online course that provides you with a gentle way to do music in your homeschool. Each month you’ll focus on two things: Composer Study and either a Folk Song or a Hymn. Use coupon code STOCKINGSTUFFER to get $10 off! (Coupon code expires 1/15/20.)

piano lessons at home

Your child will enjoy making his own music with Joyfulnotes Piano for Beginners. Engaging piano lessons delivered right to you for an amazingly affordable price. Now, your child can learn the joy of playing the piano anytime and anywhere. Designed for children age 5-8

Let’s Not Forget Mom

Homeschool Moms Want You to KnowGet an inside look into homeschooling with Sound Foundations Homeschool’s Homeschool Moms Want You to Know! This Amazon bestseller is written by real homeschool moms for moms just like you. See what homeschooling looks like, get the information you need, and walk away renewed with inspiration. A must-read for every prospective and new homeschool mom!

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know a homeschooling Momma who is overwhelmed by homeschooling, feeling like a failure, confused about credits, juggling multiple kids, a job, or perhaps has decision fatigue? Maybe that Momma is you?
Take the worry and stress off of her shoulders, or your own! Our Academic Advising package gives you access to an experienced Academic Adviser who will gently guide you through academic requirements, curriculum choices, help you find hidden credits, and point you in the right direction with decisions regarding college and career! Also included is 1 Performance Series test and on-going email support!

 

 

 

Take Courage

 

Take Courage, Moms!

Be encouraged and inspired by our 30-day quote journal just for you.

This 64-page journal will take your quiet prayer time to a whole new level.

Go deeper with these beautiful Christian quotes and questions to ponder, plus writing space for personal reflection in Take Courage! An Inspirational Quote Journal for Moms by Homeschool in Florida

 

 

homeschool high school for college

 

And lastly, have you seen the NEW edition of Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, from Betsy Sproger @ BJ’s Homeschool?

Betsy has been homeschooling for over 14 years. Her daughter got into each of the colleges on her list, with scholarship offers, including a Tier One U. All of Betsy’s tried and true tips for high school and college both are gathered together in her new book!

She not only helps you homeschool your teen but also makes the process of getting into college easy to understand. Her book includes 12 high school planning printables, to make your record-keeping easy.

Keep your nurturing homeschool style and showcase their accomplishments to the colleges!

 

How to Simplify Your Thanksgiving Holiday

how to simplify your Thanksgiving holiday

Don’t Stress Over Thanksgiving Planning

Okay, be honest. Who’s stressed out already? All the planning, preparation, coordinating can get overwhelming even when we love to do it! I’ve polled my friends and social media followers and asked what they were most stressed out about when it comes to planning for the Thanksgiving holiday. I’ve read these and complied them into a few practical tips to simplify your Thanksgiving holiday.

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