• “Oh, I could never homeschool!” I hear that a lot, as most homeschool parents do. When given a few moments of thought, it’s usually the reaction of most people. They imagine the time they’d be giving up, maybe a job they’d have to leave. Insecurity strikes, and we suddenly feel like we don’t know enough to ever have graduated high school, let alone teach our children. Time and patience and finances—homeschooling can certainly require a lot of us as parents.

    Those requirements, though, can feel downright impossible as a parent with a chronic illness.

    I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis several years ago. It’s an autoimmune disorder that causes, among many other things, severe fatigue, brain fog, and physical pain. It’s a burden to bear, for sure, and it absolutely affects my life every day in one way or another.

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  • I have three kids, and two of them are kids after my own heart. There is nothing the three of us love more than cuddling up on the couch and reading a good book aloud together. For us, using BookShark is homeschool perfection — the perfect fit. My other child, however, is different. She wants to do things, not read about them. Although she will sit with us when we’re reading a book, it’s definitely not her favorite activity. Through the years, I’ve found ways to appeal to her kinesthetic learning style while still helping her reap the benefits of a book-based curriculum like BookShark. Do something during read aloud time. My child seems to listen better when she’s doing something. If I can find one, I’ll print off a coloring sheet based on the book that we’re reading and let her color while I read. If I can’t find that, I’ll let her cross stitch or sew while she’s listening.Read More

  • Homeschooling is an adventure. There are so many paths that it is difficult to choose which is right for your family. It’s different from sending your kids to school in many ways with the most obvious being that you make all the decisions, including your teaching methods.

    Maybe you are wondering if a literature-based curriculum can provide a excellent education? I’m here to tell you that it can and will. I should know! I’ve shifted from a literature-based (Charlotte Mason) approach to a classical one and finally back to literature-based with BookShark.

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  • Because of the flexibility, great books, and family memories, homeschooling can be one of the most enjoyable experiences you have as a parent! However, all that excitement can be overwhelming. Between teaching your curriculum, reading books for fun, taking your kids to co-op classes, managing a household, and possibly working a part-time job, how can you get it all done?

    Homeschool burnout is real, and one of the biggest reasons it happens is because we homeschool parents have too much on our plate. Besides simply saying no more often, what can we do to make life easier and avoid burn out?

    Establish Family Quiet Time

    My kids grew out of nap time many years ago, but that doesn’t mean I have to lose that hour (or two) of quiet! Everyone needs time to decompress during the day regardless of age.

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  • We’re in spring cleaning mode at my house, but the one area that is hardest to declutter is our homeschool. Being frugal means I am prone to keeping everything because you never know when you’ll need it. Being a homeschooler intensifies that tendency because I really do need random things at random times!

    However, when your homeschool threatens to take over your entire house, there are a few things we can do to simplify your homeschool and keep it organized. 

    Spring Clean Your Arts & Crafts Supplies

    For one month, pay attention to what supplies your kids are actually using. In our house, it is pencils, scissors, colored pencils, tape, and drawing paper. There’s no need to hold on to finger paint from three years ago if your kids never paint anymore. Toss it or donate it!

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  • It used to be that the first question I’d get after someone found out I homeschooled was, “What curriculum do you use?” It’s probably the only thing most people know to ask that doesn’t come across as judgmental. Heck, I asked it back before I signed my son out of public school for good. Over the last year, though, the questions have shifted. What used to be polite queries have turned into interested, informed, almost intense interrogations about how they could possibly homeschool, as well. Where once my acquaintances would smile and move on, now they pounce at having someone on the inside, someone who can give them the rundown, someone who can tell them not just what it’s really like, but how they can do it, too.Read More

  • 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.  

    While it’s true that using BookShark to teach my children has required some careful scheduling and time management, teaching kids in different grades with BookShark is entirely possible. Here are some of the strategies that we use to make it more doable.

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  • Homeschoolers are record keepers! Depending on our state’s requirements and personal preference we fill folders and boxes, create portfolios and transcripts, write lesson plans, make charts, take hundreds of pictures, maybe even blog.

    Here in Indiana, even though I’m not required to turn records into the state, I keep my children’s projects, encourage their goals, and document their learning. I want to capture our time together. I want my children to see and remember their progress. And when doubt sets in as to whether or not I’m doing enough with them, my records remind me that yes! Yes, I am.

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  • Don’t give up the ease of laid out lesson plans which a boxed homeschool curriculum provides because you have active boys. Here are four ways that a boxed curriculum turns out to be a very boy-friendly option.

    1. Hands-On Activities

    There is no one size fits all solution for boys. However, one thing most young boys have in common is the need to wiggle. Because a boxed curriculum eased my teacher prep time, I had leisure to look plan and add activities for wiggly learners.

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  • Raise your hand if you want to be more present in your homeschool. Perhaps you crafted a New Year’s resolution around this idea. You may even have a sense of what this will look like, but you’re not quite sure how to get from the image in your mind to the reality of being present. I’m right there with you!

    The idea of being more present brings a sense of peace and contentment to our hearts. Still, we may not know how to get to the calm and connection that we crave.

    What if we reframe the idea of being more present to being more mindful?

    According to the Oxford dictionary, mindful is defined as focusing one’s awareness on the present moment. So, by being mindful, we are being present. Sounds simple. But we all know that this is a perfect example of easier said than done.

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