Category Archives: Homeschooling Advice

Abeka, Lifepac, and FIAR, Oh My

Did you catch the line when the girl says, “You might be a homeschooler if you are filled with fear and dread when you hear the word ‘Saxon'”?  That may not be the case for all homeschoolers, but it is certainly the case for this homeschooling momma.  There’s other strange homeschool vocabulary words that give me shivers.  Abeka, Lifepac, and FIAR, oh my!  The list could go on but I’ll stop here so you won’t get frightened too.

I suppose I should explain.  Those strange words are names of popular homeschooling curriculum.  If you have ever had the opportunity of being around a group of homeschooling parents,  you have most likely been trapped in a discussion (aka debate) on which curriculum is best.

I suppose I should explain more.  First, every homeschool family is different.  God designed us that way.  With that being said, what kind of cirriculum works best can only determined by the individual family.  What works in your homeschool is probably not what works in mine or in the Jones’ homeschool.  The second reason why curriculum  discussions  are so scary is the reactions of others when I say (insert a slight southern, country, redneck accent), “Oh, we don’t use curriculum, I make it up.”

                                         Cartoon panic

However, over the course of our 15 year homeschooling journey I have practiced a more refined response to the “What cirucculum do you use” question.  “Our family learns with a history timeline based unit study approach that includes notebooking and lapbooking. We choose this reinforced learning method because it enables me to teach history, science, language arts, music, art, and religion to the children all at the same time just altering the lessons with more requirements for the higher grades. With these unit studies, we use online resources, text books, video, audio, and library materials. Each child has his own spelling and math programs based on their skill level. Also starting in the middle grades, each child gets to choose his own elective for each grading period. We research catalogs, talk with other home educators, read reviews, compare costs, and assess our children’s individual weaknesses and strengths before deciding on each years educational choices.”  That’s better, huh?

So my advice to the new or dissatisfied homeschooling parent is to pray it through before you start buying curriculum.   And figure out your child’s/children’s learning style and your preferred teaching method so you can narrow down your choices.

Learning Styles:

Kinesthetic – Student learns best with hands-on activities

Auditory – Student learns best through hearing

Visual – Student learns best by reading, viewing pictures, observing

Teaching Methods:

Unit Study – Reinforced learning in which the same topic is covered in several subjects

Classical – Latin, Trivium, Rhetoric

Charlotte Mason – Real life observation and discussion

Unschooling – Informal lessons determined by child’s interests

Traditional – Text books and work books

Eclectic – Some sort of combination of the above methods

For another article with advice for the new homeschooler wondering where to start click here  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/03/24/another-new-homeschooler-and-another/

betty jo

HHH-300x300Our days button 2http://www.holyspiritledhomeschooling.net/

Another New Homeschooler And Another …

It’s spring and almost time for the school year to come to a close, but there are quite a few parents making some changes about their children’s education.  Many are deciding to home educate.

Just this month alone, we added 5 families to our local homeschool support group.  At a parent’s meeting, one of the newer moms made the comment that she was looking forward to learning from the “veteran” homeschoolers.  I looked around the table to see who she was talking about, and I was shocked that she meant me.  I had never thought in the terms of me being a “veteran”.   After all, I school a second grader.  I really did not know how I could help her out.  But wait, I have been homeschooling for 15 years.  I have a homeschool grad and two more in highschool and a special needs child as well as that second grader.  Maybe I can help.  At least I can advise about what not to do.   I certainly have experience with what does not work well.

I’m an admin on a brand new Facebook homeschool support group page,  Homeschooling Around the World,  and we already have several members.  Many are just starting their homeschool journey.  And they too are looking for some “veteran” advice.

Yesterday while I was at the library, I met a mom and teen daughter who will begin home education for themselves in August.  She asked me to point her in the right direction to get started.  So for her and whoever else is wanting to start home educating , here’s my top 5 list on what to do first:

1  Pray for wisdom and patience.

2.  Learn  your state laws:   http://www.hslda.org/laws/   or  http://www.nhen.org/home.html

3.  Checkout a local homeschool support group or co-op:  http://www.home-school.com/groups/

4.  Figure out your teaching style and your children’s learning styles.  This link is good for helping with that:  http://www.soyoucallyourselfahomeschooler.com/category/homeschool-approachesmethods-series/

5.  Remember that you want your child to love homeschooling so plan some fun learning activities.

If you would like to be added to Homeschooling Around the World on Facebook,  join here:  http://www.facebook.com/groups/567122276640599/571481952871298./?notif_t=group_clucomment_reply

For more of my posts about our homeschooling and my personal thoughts about teaching:

https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/02/26/not-so-weird-after-all/

https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/04/09/abeka-lifepac-and-fiar-oh-my/

http://stilllearningomethingnew.com/2013/03/11/concerned-teacher/

https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/03/19/train-up-a-child/

https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/05/08/why-and-how/

Happy Schooling,

betty jo

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Train Up A Child?

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.”   This is one of the homeschooling parent’s favorite verses.  This verse is what motivates Christian parents to teach their own kids in their own homes. This encourages us to seek out Bible based curriculum.  

Just in case Christian homeschooling isn’t enough, we add church, Sunday school, youth groups, AWANA, Keepers of the Faith Clubs, UPWARDS, etc.  We try to “socialize” our kids with other Christian homeschoolers by joining support groups and co-ops.

We are careful about how much tv , secular music, internet, social media, or video games they are allowed.  We monitor their reading choices.  We enforce modesty.

But, we don’t want our kids to be too “sheltered” as we fear they won’t know how to act once they enter into the “real world”, so we get them involved in mission projects.  We add current event studies to our homeschool days.  Sometimes we may go as far to watch a Twilight DVD or an episode of Teen Mom with our teenage girls or some Alien Zombie Something with the teen boys so they can find out for themselves just what all the hype is about.

Is this enough training in the “way they should go”?  A homeschool parent has hope that it’s enough.  But a homeschool parent also has doubt.  At least this homeschool mom has doubts  sometimes.

I’m taking a serious look at how I have been training mine.  It’s not only because A-21 is struggling to make a place in his post homeschool world, it’s also because of a new blog and social media site I stumbled on.  In fact I’ve been shedding tears over it.  My heart is breaking for those who have written articles.   The site?  Homeschoolers Anonymous.

These former homeschoolers have written several articles.  I only read a few before tears blurred  my vision.  They share stories of abuse, of being social outcasts and misfits.  Some have written about “breaking free” of the faith they were taught by their parents.  Homeschoolers Anonymous has a mission statement.  The following is what I copied and pasted from their site:

“The mission of Homeschoolers Anonymous is:

1. To bring awareness to the suffering many children experience through aspects of certain homeschooling subcultures

2. To educate the public about the inner workings and politics of the homeschooling world

3. To provide a voice against some of the extreme positions from within homeschooling ideology

4. To inspire others to speak up about abuse and control

5. To give hope to those who currently suffer from abuse and control

6. To bring healing to those who have escaped an abusive or controlling home environment and provide new survivors with resources for developing independence

7. To create a community of shared experiences”

E17 knew I was upset.  I confided in her.  I told her about Homeschoolers Anonymous.  She tried to assure me that she’s glad that she’s been homeschooled.  She does not think she’s been overly sheltered.  She does not think I’ve forced my faith on her.  She says that she’s planning to homeschool her own children some day.  She gave me hope.

I’m praying about the training.  I want it to be in the way they should go.  I’m praying about the way I teach and the way my kids learn.  I’m praying that I’m not being too controlling or forceful.  I’m praying that they will never feel that they have been brainwashed or have to “break free” from their mom’s faith.  I’m praying that my kids will know that I love them more than anything else on earth.  And I am praying that they will come know, love, and follow Jesus through something I said or did or had them do.

Here’s the link to Homeschoolers Anonymous:  http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/about/

betty jo

Concerned Teacher

Math lessons are the least of my homeschool concerns for this coming up homeschooling week.  Well, for that matter, neither is anything “common core” a big concern for this new week.  Nor is our homeschool group field trip.  So, what is it that concerns me about this week?  It’s this,  “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1)

 I’m concerned about how the judgement of  my teaching at the end of the week will turn out.  Will I have demonstrated Godly behavior?  Did I teach them Bible truths as we went about our day?  Was I slow to anger and quick to forgive?  Will my kids know without a doubt that I love them and think they are wonderful?  Did I encourage them?  Did I go about my work without grumbling or complaining?  Do they know their Savior better because of something this momma said or did?

These words haunt me as I plan for our school week, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42).

God help me.

And I’m praying that maybe, just maybe, the week will end with a judgement like this, “True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.” (Malachi 2:6)

betty jo

The Homeschool Village

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The Pen of POWER

red pen

One of the most often used tools as a homeschooling mom is my red gel pen.  It is known around here as “The Pen of POWER” (that needs to be said with a fading echo on the word “power”).  With my trusted red gel pen I “X” out wrong math answers and missed spelling words.   With my red ink I circle, underline, and comment all over essays and reports.  I use this pen to record grades on their “PERMANENT RECORD”.

Sometimes I catch a look of dread as I am giving an assignment back to one of the kids as they notice the red all over.  They know they will have corrections to make. They are learning that it is better to do it right the first time.  Sometimes they may think that I’m being too critical with the grading.  But, I “X”, circle, underline and comment because I’m trying to be helpful.  I want to encourage them to try harder… to always do their best.  I want them to learn that when mistakes are made, they should try to fix them.  With my pen of power I help my kids share their ideas in ways that will be correct and easily understood.  It is with this pen that I help them to be the best students they can possibly  be.

In my old KJV, Christ’s spoken words are in red.  These red words correct me when I’m wrong.  These red words help me to learn what is correct and in a way that is easily understood. These red letters encourage me to try harder.  They give me the push I need to be the best I can possibly be. His words are never too critical, but always helpful and always spoken in love.

I want my red letters to be spoken in love whether they say “A+”, or “rewrite”, or “correct for half credit”.  My red gel pen truly does have power.   Spiderman said, “With great power, comes great responsibility”.  With my red gel pen I do have great responsibility…to train up my kids in the way they should go.

betty jo

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Sometimes It’s Just Not A Good Day

Don’t you just love a good day?  The sun shines, math lessons get done without any tears, the art projects turn out to be masterpieces, the toilet sparkles with disinfected gleam, the new dinner recipe was delicious, the desk organization is Pinterest worthy, and Mount Laundry is nearly a valley.   Well, for me, that day was not today. Today was one of those days that the sun didn’t shine, there were tears (but at least not over math lessons), nothing in the house could technically be deemed  “organized” or “disinfected”. dinner came from a frozen plastic bag, and I can’t find my desk because Mt. Laundry is blocking my way.

Sometimes it’s just not a good day, However, we have hope that tomorrow will be better, because we’ve experienced better days and know they are possible. We count our blessings and realize things could be worse…a lot worse.

And dear homeschooling momma, at least your day didn’t look like the one from this video. (Warning, watch before your kids do, I think it’s PG).  betty jo

Not So Weird Afterall

15 years ago homeschooling wasn’t all that popular. It was for hippies, survivalists, and religious fanatics (or so I thought). I did not fit into any of those categories, But, there I was pulling my kindergartener out of of public school anyway.

I checked out 2 different homeschool support groups and neither seemed to have hippies, survivalists, or religious fanatics as members. They were just normal moms that happened to be educating normal kids at home. The larger group had 25 or so families, the smaller had 6. Make that 7, because that’s the one we joined.

These awesome ladies helped me so very much. They taught me to breathe, relax, and pray. They prepped me on how to answer all the opposition questions that would come my way.  You know those questions, “What about socialization?” or “How will they get into college?” , etc (insert eye rolling here). They encouraged me and built me up.

This homeschool support group must not have been alone in encouraging newbies.  The number of homeschoolers in our country is now over the 2.5 million mark. Families are seeing home education as a viable option to traditional schooling. The opposition questions are still being asked but not as often and are now mixed with some very positive comments. It’s not so weird anymore.

Oh, and by the way, throughout the course of our 15 years homeschooling, I’ve happily learned to be a hippie, a survivalist, and a religious fanatic.  betty jo