• To celebrate going back to school one year, my mom sewed the prettiest pink and purple, paisley bell-bottom pants for me. Because my mom didn’t know bell-bottoms had been out of style for a few years, I was called names and made fun at school that first day back to class. On the outside, I expressed anger and wanted to punch the bullies in the mouth, but on the inside I was crushed. When I think about the time and love my mom put into those pants (which we never wore again), I get emotional, yet I’m also grateful that I didn’t resort to fist fighting and that the teasing never went beyond a single occurrence related to the funky pants.Read More

  • This year my family will be using three BookShark programs with my three children. Yes, you read that right—three separate levels: Level 3, Level 7, and Level 100. Homeschooling multiple children all on different levels can be a daunting task, but don’t let that discourage you from starting this new adventure. If I can do it, so can you. Here's how I manage multiple BookShark programs in one year. 1. Supplement & Customize Carefully When ordering your BookShark program the customization tab offers a variety of choices and add-on options. I recommend taking your time when making these selections, and opt to purchase the supplements recommended. Choose a math curriculum that is not workload heavy for the instructor, such as Teaching Textbooks. Encourage your children to do the supplement work on their own. Wordly Wise can be added on to most of the BookShark programs, and it is very easy for children to use without your help.Read More

  • Let's talk brass tacks of homeschooling. With the new school year underway, many of you have already chosen your curriculum, but some of you may be waiting until the last minute (I’m raising my hand here).

    There are a lot of curriculum styles out there based on teaching philosophies, but there are also a few different types of curriculum packages. Most curriculum has one of the following formats:

    Traditional textbook

    Computer/DVD based

    Hands-on (usually includes a lot of supplement materials in addition to books)

    Boxed curriculum (everything you need for the year in a single package)

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  • There are many benefits of being a reader. Academically, children who are read to, and who love reading tend to have a higher vocabulary, better mental skills, and a longer attention span. Long term, being a reader decreases the chance of dementia, reduces stress, and enhances your analytical thinking skills. What are some ways we can encourage reading in our children, so they can reap the rewards of being a reader? How do we raise a reader?

    Put Books in Their Hands at a Young Age

    Babies love board books! Encourage your child to play with and look at books from infancy. Parents can read to their babies and toddlers, point at pictures, and even follow the words with their fingers.

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  • Choosing boxed curriculum wisely is daunting enough when you’re new to homeschooling.

    Years of homeschooling through a pregnancy or two, having a mix of older and younger children, and a few house moves, it’s not easy to admit as a seasoned homeschool mom that homeschooling is more grueling now than ever.

    Choosing a boxed curriculum later in your journey does not mean sacrificing your goals or ideals. It can, however, mean the difference between faltering and finishing the course.

    From one seasoned homeschool mom to another, I hope to gently nudge you to consider the value of choosing boxed a curriculum even when you are not so new to homeschooling.

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  • Most homeschooling parents can agree that spending time reading aloud as a family is a worthwhile endeavor. Who doesn't love snuggling with little ones while reading stories that open up imaginations and fill minds with wonderful tales? For many, it's a peaceful, almost magical time, one that ends too quickly as kids get older, outgrowing family reading time.

    But does family reading time have to end? No. In fact, reading aloud together is just as important for teens as it is for elementary aged children.

    Bonding Time

    Sure, your kids probably won't be sitting on your lap as you read, but that doesn't mean you're not connecting with each other. When you are together reading, there's a sense of closeness. It continues the warm, pleasant feelings related to both family and reading that they had when they were younger.

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  • There comes a time in every homeschool journey when you need to change what you’re doing. Maybe you’re entering a new school year and want to do things differently than last year. Maybe you’re halfway through the school year and need a little variety so you don’t go stir-crazy! Maybe your children are maturing, and what worked before is no longer clicking. It's time for a switcheroo! Here are ten different areas where you can make modifications to your homeschool when you feel you need a little adjustment. Choose one or try them all!Read More

  • One of the fondest memories I have of my childhood is my mom reading with me. We read books like Call of the Wild, Little House on the Prairie, and Misty of Chincoteague. Now as a homeschool mom, I am creating those same kinds of memories with my children. But reading aloud to our children provides so much more than memories. It provides long lasting benefits that can carry on throughout childhood and into adulthood.

    1.Reading aloud creates readers.

    Making the time to read with our children at a young age encourages them to love books.

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  • My journey of educating my kids has been circuitous to say the least! We've tried and seriously considered nearly every option, and yet we keep coming back to homeschooling because of the flexibility and freedom it affords our family. We started homeschooling for a variety of reasons when our oldest was a fourth grader. For one, we were tired of demanding teachers telling us what was best for our child. For example, one teacher insisted I should be buying my child milk to go with his sack lunch every day. This same teacher admonished me for buying him shoes with laces instead of Velcro. Secondly, we were weary of the emotional and physical toll of the school day. Although my child would behave well in school, he would have a meltdown at home because he was so exhausted from the school day.Read More

  • I’m the goat that has tried the grass on both sides of the fence, so to speak. A very attractive goat, of course, with a very hard head, naturally. But, nevertheless, we were once public schoolers. And now we are not.

    I have tasted life on both sides of the schooling fence and therefore get to claim some bit of expertise when I tell you that some of what seems important enough to worry about on one side is absolutely laughable from the other.

    Things like…worrying if the paper Thanksgiving turkey you and your husband decorated for your kindergartener meets expectations and can hang with the Pinterest-worthy gobblers on display in the school hallway. …are obviously laughable when viewed from the homeschool side of things. I lump my before and after concerns into these three big buckets.

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