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Starting Homeschool - High School

Homeschooling High School was my favorite time.  I love how my kids all got interested in different things.  I thoroughly enjoyed teaching co-op classes and hosting events.  I value the time with my teens and their friends.

Below are links for the curriculum we used.  Keep in mind that homeschooling high school can look very different from what you have been doing - you can include text books, online classes - both for college credit and other, dual enrollment at the local community college, co-op classes, part time at your local high school - and so much more.  

I now have one teen graduated, three teens enrolled in dual enrollment and one teen who has a certificate of completion (due to learning and other disabilities)

http://www.makinghomeschoolfun.com/our-curriculum-2015-2016

http://www.makinghomeschoolfun.com/our-curriculum-2016-2017

http://www.makinghomeschoolfun.com/our-curriculum-2017-2018

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Starting Homeschool - Junior High

The middle school years are a tough transition for all.  It is also an amazing time of discovery and independence.  Below are links of curriculum that did or didn't work for us.

http://www.makinghomeschoolfun.com/our-curriculum-2013-2014

http://www.makinghomeschoolfun.com/our-curriculum-2014-2015

 

 

Don't forget to check out the Build Your Bundle sale for more unique curriculum to peak your student's interest.

 

 

Starting Homeschool - Elementary Years

Homeschooling the elementary years can be a struggle.  The need to supplement certain subjects, find motivation to push through others and make room for fun and memory making are all important things to consider - but don't let it overwhelm you.  Engage your kids in helping you choose things.  Often student led learning is the most rewarding.

Below are links to curriculums we used during those years.

http://www.makinghomeschoolfun.com/our-curriculum-2010-2011

http://www.makinghomeschoolfun.com/our-curriculum-2011-2012

http://www.makinghomeschoolfun.com/our-curriculum-2012-2013

 

Below are things you might find helpful as well

Homeschool Elementary Workbooks

Homeschool Elementary School Supplies

Homeschool Elementary Manipulatives for Math and other things

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Starting Homeschool - 1st Grade

Here is a link to the different things we used for our 1st graders.  Below are links to resources and things you might like to try.

The funny thing, as I read through past posts of curriculum we used - I see that I had a really hard time using unit studies - but a few more years down the road and I ended up writing and publishing several!  We bend and move to what works best for us each year.

1st Grade Arts and Crafts

1st Grade Homeschool

1st Grade Supplies

1st Grade Games and Activities

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Starting Homeschool - Kindergarten

Starting to homeschool can be overwhelming.  You don't want to do the wrong thing.  You might feel all this pressure on you that their education is all up to you.  While it is easy to see why you would feel that way - the early years are for developing a love of learning more than learning academics.

Here are links to what we used in kindergarten for our kids.  Below are items you may find helpful.

Learning Games and Activities - there are a few for preschool in here too.

Kindergarten Homeschool - great resources here

Kindergarten Workbooks and Learning

Kindergarten supplies

 

Kindergarten arts and crafts

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Starting Homeschool - Preschool

I know many of you have been thrown into homeschooling.  Some of you may have been considering it already, while others of you never gave it a thought.

This doesn't have to be painful.  The early years, although challenging at times on their own, can be a wonderful time to bond through play and learning.  

Below are some of the things you might use.  Here is a blog post of the curriculum we used during the early years.  

Workbooks, Crafts, Scissor skills, and mores.

Chore Charts, Manipulatives and other supplies.

Preschool Arts and Crafts 

Preschool Learning Games and Activities

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Links are affiliate links.

 

 

Our Curriculum 2018-2019

 

This is very nearly my last homeschooling year.  This year we had a 11th grader and two 9th graders at home.  We also had an 18 year old and a 16 year old at the local community college.  The plan is that our oldest at home will finish out homeschool with me and graduate in Decemeber, while the younger two will join their siblings at the community college in the fall.

Now that all the kids are getting older and expressing some of their own interests, our curriculum selection is getting to be quite fun! The following is what we did this year - click on the words in Bold for more information.

11th Grade - Modified Curriculum -  (referral) 

Literature - Essentials in Literatue 9 - Honestly, this was just ok and I probably wouldn't suggest it to anyone.

Health and Nutrition - Group class with part of the Total Health Curriculum and Apologia Health and Nutrition at home.  I really am thankful that my kids had the opportunity to enjoy a group class.  However, Total Health is outdated in my opinion - still good information - but it needs a facelift and some updated material.  We loved the Apologia books! 

Science - Every Herb Bearing Seed - If you have not yet discovered Queen Homeschooling Supplies - I urge you to check it out.  It is not for everyone - however, it is wonderful for my special needs girl.

ASL - http://www.asl.tc/ Another great resource - four of my kids have taken classes and studied from this website.

Math - Masterbooks Principles of Mathematics Book 1 - This was good for my daughter  - I think it is good for those that are not too "mathy".

Personal Finance - Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? - This book is a good read with lots of info for any high schooler.

Government - Are you liberal? Conservative? or Confused? - Another great book by Bluestocking Press.

Writing - Big River Academy  - Writing ER - I have had two kids take this class and it has been very helpful.

Co-op Speech Class

 

9th Grade -

Bible - Modern Parables by Compass Classroom1st semester and I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist 2nd semester English 9 - Literature -

Geography - BJU Cultural Geography - I have had three of mine go through this- I really love it.

Writing - Byline by Clearwater Press - This was fantastic.  We have also done the CoverStory in the past.  He make an excellent product.

Applied Engineering - This is an excellent elective by Masterbooks. One of mine did this - it was really good.  He really enjoyed what he learned and would tell me all about it.

Biology - Apologia - This was well liked and done at a co-op - The teacher makes all the difference.

History -Notgrass World History - I am a fan - so are my kids.  That is what matters - good material and the fact that they like it says it all.

One did ASL - http://www.asl.tc/ Another great resource - four of my kids have taken classes and studied from this website.

The other did BJU Spanish 2 - It is definately more challenging than the first year - but he enjoys it.

Health and Nutrition - Group class with part of the Total Health Curriculum and Apologia Health and Nutrition at home.  I really am thankful that my kids had the opportunity to enjoy a group class.  However, Total Health is outdated in my opinion - still good information - but it needs a facelift and some updated material.  We loved the Apologia books! 

Algebra 1 - Chalkdust - We Tried http://liveonlinemath.com - I do not suggest this for anyone.  It was aweful for the one that did Geometry and the one doing Algebra.  For me as a parent - I really expected more.

Career Development - 1st semester - 7 Sisters Career Development Bundle - we are hosting a teen co-op this year. 

Government - Notgrass Government - 1st semester

Personal Finance - 2nd semester this will be a combination of Dave Ramsey's Foundations in Personal FinanceLife Prep - Life Skills for Homeschooling Teenagers and 7 Sisters Financial Literacy.

 

 

Here is how I make homeschooling affordable - 

  • I make a list of what I need vs what I want.  
  • I rarely buy anything new.  I always shop ebay, the scratch and dent and clearance sections of various curriculum sites, and local curriculum sales.  I also use a variety of online sites with discounted book - I have posted links below.
  • If I do buy something new - I will make sure it is something that I intend to use with other kids down the road, make sure it has a good resale value or purchase it digitally.  Digital curriculum is fantastic as you can get it, often for a fraction of the price. Print what you like or use an edcuation discount to have it printed and bound - if you really need to.  It also saves room - My shelves are full, my cabinets are full, and my bins are full - I don't have room for more books.
  • I always resell what I no longer need.  I first sell on FB pages - no fees, then ebay - then local book stores and curriculum sales.  What I can't sell - I donate.
  • I always use the library - if you haven't check into inter-library loans - do so - you can find amazing things!
  • I enter giveaways - but not alot. 
  • I follow blogs - often times there will be coupons and discount codes mentioned
  • I sign up for limited newsletters.  Most newsletters will have a discount or coupon code, as well as great information.
  • I watch for sales that I know are good and only happen once or twice a year. - Such as the Build Your Bundle Sale.

List of sites for good used book prices - 

  • Exodus Books
  • I Do Books
  • Abe Books - If you have an ebates account you can get a rebate right into your PayPal account or a check sent to you for clicking through ebates first.  If you don't have an account you can sign up HERE - it saves me a few hundred dollars each Christmas alone. 
  • ebay
  • Half.com

 

Great Options for Co-op Classes for any Homeschooling Family

There are so many different kinds of co-ops around and they can be wonderful!  They typically offer an opportunity for socialization - not just for the kids - but for the moms too (which I truly cherished when we were at a co-op).  It also offers an opportunity for kids to take classes that they wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity.  Maybe you are not a crafty mom or can't stand the thought of glitter in your house - that NEVER comes out of the carpet, or maybe your are not a STEM mom.  Maybe you would like some support with science experiments or just really want your kids to be able to dabble in and be exposed to new and different things without committing months of time and lots of money.  During my time as a class coordinator at our co-op, I spent hours upon hours researching curriculum  - I LOVED finding new and exciting things for our families.  From learning about the orchestra, to making armour out of duct tape to making wearable butterfly wings out of felt or even survival skills - these are just some examples of some favorite classes we had at our co-op.  Overall, there was one point for two years that we had 42 classes happen each semester - lots of fun things happening!

 

Preschool - Outdoor learning, ABC's, Numbers, Spanish, Esther Activity Book and much more

Kindergarten - Reading, Math, Bible Verse Chart, Fables and Tales, Activities, Charlotte Mason

Some Great picks for Elementary age include - Chicago Fire Unit Study, Science of the Seasons, Slime Science, Airplane Design, Research Guide to the Solar System, Choreograph a Robot Dance, Anatomy Muscular System, Pioneer Study, African Kingdoms, Jane Goodall Biography, American Girl War of 1812Country Research, Northern Europe, Famous Inventors, Little House, Snow Goose, God's Girls, Real Men, Bible Trivia, Fruit of the Spirit, Women Composers, Writing Through Early Modern History, Early Christian Art,  American Girl Josefina, Mary Poppins and SO MUCH MORE

Some Great picks for older students - History through Musicals, Early Christian Art, How to Build a Birdhouse, Americana Newspaper Reporting, Calligraphy, Budgeting for kids, Ebay Reselling Mini Course, How to Write the perfect 5 paragraph essay, A Walk Through WWI, Progeny Press guides and So Much More

 

 For more ideas for short term studies that are great at home or in a co-op - check out the Build Your Bundle sale - presale begins 5/6/2020. (referral)

 

 

Mom - Take Care of You - So True!

If you have ever flown, you have heard the flight attendant say "place your own mask on before helping those around you".  The idea is that you can't help anyone else if you become unconscious.  The same is true in other parts of life.  If you don't take care of yourself, you may be less effective at taking care of others.  Ask yourself the following questions - 

1. Do I eat three regular meals or 4-6 small meals throughout the day?

2. Does what I eat include all the food groups, or a source of protein if a vegetarian?

3. How much sleep do I get on a regular basis - is it enough?  Check here for how many hours of sleep you should be getting.

4. Do I have quiet time for myself each day?

5. Do I have time with at least one friend at least once a week - either on the phone or in person?

6. Do I have time with my spouse at least once a week to just talk or be together without interuption?

7. Do I have quality family time aside from meals a few times a month?

8. Do I get outdoors at least twice a week without a motorized vehicle?

9. Do I do something active at least twice a week for 20+ min?

10. Do I have a hobby?

This is a great list to take a personal inventory list with.  Some of you might be saying - Seriously?  If I do all of these things then who is going to cook, clean, teach, grade, plan, etc.  I get it, truly I do.  However, believe me when I say there are seasons for everything.  Don't feel pressured to put all of these things into place.  Instead, take notice, ask yourself if there is one of these items that you can put into place that would give you a bit of peace or joy.

 

You are the mom, you are the rudder that steers your ship in terms of mood and atmosphere.  If you are exhausted or frustrated or harboring anything - it is felt - even if you conceal it as well as possible.  Taking back time for you will help you to regain that peace.

 

More tips can be found at the Build Your Bundle sale - presale begins 5/6/2020. (referral)

 

 

 

 

The Danger of Chores - An Experiment

Like many of you, we have a full and busy house.  We have five teens, 18, 16, 16, 14 and 14 years old.  We run our businesses out of our home and everyone has activities and places to go.  Our "kids" are becoming young adults.  So why don't they help out around the house????  Because of chores.  That is right - if it isn't their "job" then it isn't their job.  Additionally for our special needs kid, it is okay to leave a mess in a place that is someone else's responsibility because it is then their job and not hers.  

 

UGH!!! So all the years of having chores and trying to teach responsibility and a servant heart - they got "not my job".  So I, against my husbands better judgement, decided to do an experiment - let's call it Personal Responsibility and Serving.  Where each person does what - cleans up after themselves.  Yes - just that.  You make a mess, you clean it up.  Sounds simple right.  Well everyone in the house knew there would be some who were not willing to do so, which then gave opportunity to serve - but then also reinforces to the lazy ones that someone will do it for them - thereby not learning responsibility.  

 

My kids used to put their dishes in the dishwasher and used to do these things when they were younger.  Now that they are teens that has changed.  Yes - they are busier - but not so much that they can't take a few min to clean up after themselves.  You see the idea was - if they needed to put a dish in the dishwasher - but the dishwasher needed to be unloaded - they would take the 5-7 min to unload, put away and put their dirty dish in the dishwasher.  This proved to be too much after four weeks.  I literally had the opportunity to show one of my 16 year olds that he can put the dishes away while waiting for a pot of water to boil - instead of standing around doing nothing when something clearly needed to be done.  

 

All of this to say - I have no answers - I thought I was doing things right, chore charts and positive reinforcment when they were younger, priveledges when they became middle school age, etc.  I thought I did them a disservice - but now I see - there may not be a right way to get kids to do their part until they are more mature and on their own.

Let me know how you do it.

 Do you need some house management help, organization or just some mom support.  Check out the Build Your Bundle sale - limited time only - starts 5/6/2020. (referral)