• Homeschooling is hard. Worth it, but still hard. Sending your child to school has its challenges as well, and when I weighed the stresses on sending my kids to public school versus those of homeschooling, I chose the stresses of homeschooling.

    Most of the time, I would say that the stresses are about equal, at least for our family size. Getting four little kids out the door and into the car five days a week for drop-off and pick-up? I shudder just thinking about it.

    Our first year of homeschooling was wonderful, mostly because we were surrounded by close friends. Even though we never lived close to family, there were several people I trusted who I could call and ask to watch my kids when I needed a break. I also had a couple of local homeschool mom friends who I leaned on for asking advice or venting frustrations.

    I underestimated the impact of losing that support system.

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  • When you shop for homeschool curriculum, you want to know that the resources you choose meet the highest standards. After all, one of your primary reasons to homeschool your child is to provide a top-notch education!

    But how can you tell is a curriclum is good enough? You remember a word you hear in education circles—accreditation. Then you wonder if that homeschool curriulum you are eyeing is accredited. If it were accredited, you'd know it is a safe bet and could rest assured that you're buying something with an official seal of approval. You could comfort the family members who raise their eyebrows at your choice to homeschool by letting them know your homeschool materials are accredited.

    But, let's take a deeper look at accreditation and see why that question (surprisingly!) doesn't apply in the case of shopping for homeschool curriculum.

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  • Over the last 13 years of homeschooling three boys of different ages with different personalities and learning styles, you can imagine that I’ve used loads of methods and curriculum choices. The variety and continual adjusting has been a good decision because coordinating my teaching style and our materials with their learning style helps us have a successful year.

    As I weighed our options for this most recent year, I kept coming back to BookShark for American history because I knew it would be a great fit for my 10-year-old son. After showing him some of the books and lessons from the website and catalog, we settled these picks:

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  • I am a book lover. I am also homeschooling two miniature book lovers. We are a family with an affinity for books. Books fill our home; they are in every nook and cranny. Shelves are piled high with the written word. You’ll probably need to move a book (or three) before sitting on our couch. And yet, we never seem to have enough. Thank goodness for our local library! Homeschooling would have been nearly impossible for us without borrowing books. For sure it has helped to sustain our homeschool. But what are the pros and cons of homeschooling solely from the library instead of investing in your own home library?Read More

  • We have just started our fifth year of homeschooling with BookShark and have changed our schedule through the years to fit various stages of our life. I've learned to make my curriculum flex for me and my kids while also trusting it to lay a solid academic foundation. I know that BookShark doesn't need extra dressing up beyond a healthy layer of real-life exploration. But how I arrange the lessons is up to me!

    The BookShark Instructor's Guides offer an easy-to-understand four-day schedule that shows me precisely what to cover in each subject each day—what to read, what to talk about, what words to learn, what timeline figures to place in the Timeline Book, what locations to mark on the Markable Map, what Science activities to do, etc. It's a relief to have a base to work from! I don't have to spend energy planning lessons.

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  • Helping Our Homeschooled Children Through Change and Transition

    Even though our homeschooled kids might not have new classrooms to find or new teachers to get used to, each homeschool year brings plenty of changes. Maybe you’re trying a new curriculum or you’re joining a co-op. Maybe your kids take online classes, local classes, or—like me—you have children from your community joining you in your home for the first time.

    Change is constant, and for many kids, it can come as a challenge. Helping our kids meet the change and transition of new routines is important.

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  • So you did it… You placed your order, eagerly stalked your shipment, and finally celebrated your BookShark Box Day! Whether you are new to BookShark or a longtime homeschooler, after happily unpacking your boxes and exploring the piles upon piles of books you just received, you may find yourself feeling a little intimidated. You might even be asking yourself:

    • Where am I going to put all of this?
    • Where do I begin?
    • How will we ever make it through all of these books?

    If you find yourself wondering about these things, don’t worry! You are not alone, and I am here to tell you it is not as scary as you might first think.

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  • People seem to assume that if you choose to homeschool, you must be crafty. Yes, hands-on learning can be beneficial to your children, but not all homeschool moms like to make salt dough maps, sew historical costumes, and build elaborate dioramas with their children.

    I like to be creative sometimes, but I’m more likely to paint or knit than use glitter and printables. However, I want my children to be creative, so how do I provide opportunities for hands-on learning?

    1. Keep the Projects Simple

    For me, simplicity is vital. Day-to-day life as a homeschooling mom of six comes with plenty of non-negotiables such as cooking meals, doing laundry, and refereeing arguments. 

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  • Are you thinking of taking the plunge into homeschooling your children?

    But you’re worried, right? You might even feel overwhelmed.

    What if you fail?

    I’m here to tell you we’ve all had those thoughts and feelings, but guess what? Homeschooling is not going to chew you up and spit you out, and here’s why.

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  • You probably have friends who send their kids to school. You might even envy them sometimes: They get seven whole hours of peace and quiet every day. They actually get to finish things. Their house is clean most of the time! While there are a lot of pros to homeschooling, this lifestyle can be stressful, too, right? It could be that being solely responsible for your child’s education weighs heavy on your shoulders, that trying to stretch one income across all those bills is becoming nearly impossible, or that being with little people all day long drains you. Whatever the source of your stress, admitting homeschooling is stressful doesn’t mean we love homeschooling any less (or that sending our kids to school would be any less stressful). It’s just being honest.Read More

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