Why I Don't Try to Homeschool for Free

a pink piggy bank sits atop three books against a green chalkboard background

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a movement in the homeschooling community that has gained a lot of momentum — the school for free method of homeschooling. This approach to curriculum means families school their children at home as inexpensively or as close to free as they can.

Now I’m not against free stuff. We can all use help stretching our hard earned dollars, especially homeschoolers who often rely on one income.

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How to Turn Homeschool Mistakes into Victories

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When parents first start homeschooling, they may be terrified of making a serious homeschool mistake. Struck by fear, they ask a myriad of questions: What if I choose the wrong curriculum? What if our schedule doesn’t work? What if we get behind? What if I don’t know how to teach my children? What if my kids turn out weird?

The good news is that all homeschooling parents make these kinds of mistakes without derailing the entire homeschool journey. In fact, depending on how parents respond, many of these homeschool mistakes can actually become homeschool victories. Here’s how to learn from common homeschooling missteps and turn your failures into wins.

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4 Ways to Handle Duplicate Books From Your BookShark Curriculum

BookShark novels fill the top rack of a metal cart

My kids consume books like air, and there are entire homeschool days when we get so lost in a story that we forget to do math. If you’re considering buying any of BookShark’s literature-based programs, then I’m sure you can relate. There is just nothing that beats the feeling of being swept up in words, and my kids respond really well to the time spent cuddled up together, lost in historical fiction.

BookShark, naturally, is a perfect fit for voracious and eager readers. Sometimes, though, an issue arises with my order that I know other readers can relate to: We already have some of the books included in the curriculum package.

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Solving the Reading Meltdown: When Your Child Hates the Assigned Book

a woman in a pastel sundress lies on her back on bright green grass, an open book hiding her face

You assign a volume of classic literature or engaging historical fiction to your child, and he has no desire to read it. You push, assign pages, and encourage your child to stick with it. He fails to read as much as a single chapter. It’s driving you insane. What do you do?

First determine how important the book is to your child’s education. Is it a book easily skipped? If so, my recommendation is to drop it especially if your child usually reads his assigned books. Life is too short to argue over one book.

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How to Turn a Gloomy Day into a Cozy Reading Party

a steaming red mug sits on a saucer in front of two red hardback books and a window paned streaked with raindrops

It’s fun to spend bright summer days outside exploring nature or running around the park. What do you do on gloomy, rainy days though? Those gray days when you’re trapped inside? You create a cozy reading atmosphere and turn gloomy afternoons into beautiful memories of a cozy reading atmosphere.

Gloomy rainy days tend to be cold due to the damp chill in the air. So light a fire in the fireplace to help create a cozy reading atmosphere. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can turn up the heat.

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The Best Homeschooling Advice I’ve Ever Received

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A friend who is considering homeschooling recently asked me, “You’ve been homeschooling now for a decade. What’s the best advice you ever received in that whole time?” Thinking back on ten years of homeschooling advice covers a lot of things. There have been conversations about what homeschooling method is best, how to choose the right curriculum, and whether or not a homeschool co-op is necessary. There have been numerous suggestions on age appropriate screen time, fun ways to review what you’ve studied, and how to help your kids learn independence.

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6 Steps to Cure a Homeschool Rut with a Single Book

a stack of BookShark read-alouds sits on a table with a decorative balance scale

Ah, the winter homeschool rut. You come down from the merriment and flurry of December and find everything waiting for you back on solid ground. Everything. The math books, the phonics lessons, the list of activities that were pushed to the side in mid-November, and the half-finished Read-Aloud anxiously perched atop the pile.

Sometimes we embrace the familiar rhythm and purpose that waits in that pile. Many times though, we find ourselves dragging along by the end of January, completely uninspired and in need of something fresh.

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How to Use BookShark to Teach Multiple Children in Different Grades

two mugs of hot cocoa sit aside an open hardback book

Since he was little, my son has loved books. Whether I was reading to him or he was reading to himself, he just loved stories. When I started homeschooling him in fourth grade, a literature-based curriculum seemed like the perfect choice, and it was.

But by the time he was in 6th grade, his younger sisters were in kindergarten and first grades. I had heard from many parents that this is the time when a literature-based curriculum gets unwieldy.  

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Even If You Follow All The Rules, Your Child Still Might Not Love Reading

apples form a triangle shape

As parents we are always striving to give and do for our kids. We research and worry about what is best and second guess every step we make. But here’s the thing, even if we follow all the rules — whatever they may be — our kids still might not turn out the way we expected.

Take learning to read for example. You spend your child's baby and toddler years surrounding them with board books, reading to them for countless hours, exposing them to as much reading as you can.

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10 Ways to Raise Little Bookworms

a boy wearing classes leans against a tall pile of hardback books

This might sound crazy, but one of my biggest fears as a new mom was that my children wouldn't like to read.You see, I'm a bookworm of the highest order. I'm always reading something, actually several somethings. I have my upstairs book, my downstairs book, and my car book. I am a bibliophile.

I'm also an educator. Before homeschooling, I was a school psychologist. In that role I saw so many children who loathed reading. Some of those children had underlying disabilities that made reading challenging, others were pushed to read too soon and balked while others lacked exposure.

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