Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How to start homeschooling

The school year is coming to a close and there are some parents who are considering homeschooling for the first time in the Fall.

Here are a few tips I would give if you are "on the fence":
  • Read books and learn about homeschooling. One book I recommend is So You're Thinking about Homeschooling by Lisa Whelchel. You can visit her website at http://www.lisawhelchel.com/.
  • Talk to families that are already homeschooling. Ask questions. Talk to the parents and the kids. Go on message boards. Learn all you can.
  • Consider all of the advantages in homeschooling - family bonding, less hectic pace, customized curriculum, etc.

Once you decide to homeschool, follow these steps:

  • Decide which type of homeschooler you want to be: traditional "school-at-home", unschooling, etc. Many families find a "school-at-home" approach to be reassuring during the first year - with texts, tests, etc. - because it is similar to the school situation. It also is helpful for new homeschoolers to have a set curriculum to follow.
  • Once you decide what you are going to use - texts, unit studies, unschooling - then prepare for some research. One excellent place to go to research curricula is http://www.homeschoolreviews.com/ - they have tons of reviews, and they have saved me a lot of money I would have possibly wasted on curricula that wouldn't suit my kids.
  • Find out the legal requirements in your state and do what you need to do. Don't procrastinate on this! Go to http://www.hslda.org/ for info.
  • Join homeschool groups - both online and offline - to learn from more experienced homeschoolers and to find social activities.
  • Don't get overwhelmed - just do things one step at a time.
  • Be sure to order your materials early! Don't wait until August to place an order and expect it to arrive on time! :o)

I am sure others will be able to add to this list. Above all - relax!! Enjoy your homeschooling journey.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


I have belonged to a site for years called Meetup.

Meetup.com has groups for just about any subject imaginable. They have homeschool groups, WAHM groups, parenting groups, sci-fi lover groups and a host of other things. From animal lover groups to vegan groups and anything in between, they have it.

Best of all, you can either join an existing group or start your own group.

Go to the site and search by subject or ZIP Code. See what is in your area.

I have 3 groups on Meetup.com - one for weight loss, one for homeschooling families, and one for WAHM's.

Check them out! I am sure you will find a group you like!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I won the lottery! Again!!

Hey! Guess what! I won't blogging for long because I will be too busy spending all of the loot I won in the UK lottery! WOO HOOOO!

I also won the Australian Lottery, too.

I figure I can use the Australian winnings to pay my taxes and then the UK winnings will be mine to spend. Sounds like a plan to me. :D

Seriously - who really believes this garbage? Are there really people so ignorant in this world that they get an email saying they won the lottery in another country and they think it's for real?

However, this chick who emailed me saying she needs my bank info because her husband was killed and he had millions she needs to hide - she sounds sincere. I trust her. Not a scammer like those creeps with the lottery.

Online public schools

I stand corrected - sort of.

I spoke in this post about how the government would not pour money into online public education.

Well, as you can see on this site (http://www.k12.com/schooling_programs/k8/index.html), it appears that the Virtual Public School is becoming a reality.

Sort of.

This is not available in my state (yet), but there are a good handful of states with this available.

But I have heard a very interesting tidbit via the homeschooling circuit. These programs are only being marketed to families that are currently homeschooling. As one teacher said: "If we sent information home to all of the parents with kids in school now, we would lose too many students." Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

I have received info in the mail about this program (that it will be available in the future). I could see why it would be appealing to some homeschoolers:
  • It is free.
  • It is considered being enrolled in public school - an easier option in some states with lots of homeschooling restrictions.

If the only reason why parents want to homeschool is for safety reasons, then I think this would be a wonderful alternative for those families. I think it is a viable alternative for many people.

I am not interested in this program. Too much governmental involvement for my tastes, but I am a rebel. ;) I also enjoy having a curriculum choice - not having to follow what the public schools do.

Product review - Mathisfun.com

I just stumbled upon this great website: www.mathisfun.com

This site has explanations, quizzes, games, puzzles and more to help with all kinds of math - from basic times tables and addition facts to algebra and polynomials. There is also Geometry help and explanations.

This would be a great resource to help kids retain their math skills over the summer, or as a review of different skills. It can also be a great supplement to your curriculum.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

College and homeschoolers

I was talking to my (very wise) homeschooling friend yesterday. She has 5 kids and they have all been homeschooled forever. Two have graduated from high school.

Since I have one kiddo getting into the higher grades (and we are thinking about college already), I asked for some advice. I thought it was great and wanted to share. :o)

Here are the highlights:
  • Keep an extensive portfolio of your child's work over the years, especially when they are in high school. Examples of writing, projects, etc. are very important.
  • Be sure to document/keep any awards your kids receive.
  • Take pictures of your kids doing projects, especially charity or volunteer activities. A great way to document these activities is to write up a short article about it, and send it (with pics) to your local paper. Clip and keep the article. :o)
  • Have your child ask for letters of reference from people they know and work for (whether volunteer or paid).

In other words - document! LOL

You can build an impressive portfolio in a year or two. If you start sooner, you can get an even more impressive one.

Remember - academics are important, but a child that is well-rounded and community-minded is important, too! (Especially if they are trying to get scholarships.)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Product review - Spectrum workbooks

From time to time I thought it would be good to give some ideas/thoughts about things that would interest homeschooling moms/families: books, curricula, personal products, etc.

Today I wanted to give my thoughts on some workbooks we use - the Spectrum workbooks by Frank Schaffer Publications.

We use the writing, math, phonics and geography workbooks to help supplement our studies. They are not necessarily designed as a stand-alone text, but they really are excellent for extra practice and the math is really good to practice with the grade-level state standards.

The math workbooks also have pre- and post-chapter tests, and they are pretty detailed. They are great to see if the child "gets it".

You can find these workbooks at Books-a-Million and you can also go to their website: www.frankschaffer.com.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cops say 3rd-graders plotted teacher attack

In this story, police averted what could have been a fatal attack on a teacher. The conspirators? They are all kids ages 8 to 10 years old.

What horrible offense did the teacher commit in order to have these precious angels plot to knock her unconscious, bind her with duct tape and handcuffs and stab her?

She scolded one of them for standing on a chair.

And people ask me why I homeschool? Like I would want for my kids to go to school with nutjob kids like this???

Something is terribly wrong when kids want to resort to violence over such petty reasons. And so young!!

I have said it before and I will say it again: the school system is broken, and I am not letting my kids stay in it while polititians and school officials blow smoke up the backsides of the public, promising change and delivering nothing.

Can you imagine how different things would be if homeschooling were the rule and not the exception? If the government poured money into online public schools that children could access from home, complete with online teacher support? (There are already private schools that operate like this, so it can be done and done exceptionally well.) Teachers would still be needed - they could just work from the safety and privacy of their homes.

Think about it: money that previously went to school buses (can you say "gas prices," boys and girls?), building costs and upkeep, etc., could be spent on teacher salaries, computer access for students who cannot afford it, and so much more. From an economic standpoint, it would be a huge improvement. From a safety standpoint, it would be priceless.

Not that I ever see this happening. The school system is too large and hungry of a beast for it to give up its power. And its money.

What do you think? Like the idea of public homeschooling via the Internet? Hate it?

What about the news story? Comments?