The Beginners Guide To Homeschooling

The Beginners Guide To Homeschooling

The Beginners Guide To Homeschooling

There are many reasons that parents/caregivers decide to homeschool their children. Perhaps you’ve decided that you want to homeschool from the very start. Or maybe your child has previously attended public school where there were problems that led you to pull them out in favour of homeschooling Those problems could range from learning needs not being met, constant bullying, faith related conflicts, and so many more.

My own personal reasons stemmed from my son being bullied in 1st grade. After trying to work with the school to solve the problem, we found that their solutions (or their lack of solutions) was unacceptable. That was when we pulled our son out of public school and started homeschooling. We have been homeschooling ever since.

Whatever your reason, if you are wanting to start homeschooling, you likely have many questions on where and how to get started and what your responsibilities are. I hope to answer many of those questions for you with this article, so let’s get started.

What Are The Regulations Where You Live?

Before you actually start homeschooling you’re going to need to know what the rules and regulations are in your area regarding homeschooling. For example, we live in BC, Canada. Here we have the option of either registering, or enrolling as homeschoolers. Each of those choices has it’s own regulations that affect how we would homeschool. So we had to do a little research into our options, finding out the requirements of each one, and deciding which option would work best for our family. Some of the regulations include what content you need to teach your children at each grade level, or if you are free to teach what you like, when you like. They also include whether or not you need to report your child’s learning and attendance, and how often, and whether or not you will receive any funding towards your homeschool materials.

 

A few places to start looking for your area’s homeschooling regulations:

  • This Wikipedia article gives a good starting place to determine whether homeschooling is legal in your country: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeschooling_international_status_and_statistics
  • The Homeschool Legal Defence Association (HSLDA) International website: https://hslda.org/content/hs/international/
  • You can also try searching online for your specific country/province/states regulations
  • A public school, or education centre in your area may be able to point you in the right direction to find your area’s regulations. Be aware though, that sometimes public schools may give you incorrect information as not everyone is aware of homeschooling regulations.

Do Some Research Into Homeschooling Methods And Styles

Next you will want to do a bit of research into the different methods and styles of homeschooling. From “school-at-home” to unschooling, there are many ways to homeschool your children and many variations to each style. You’ll want to find a style that works best for you and your children. But don’t worry, nothing is set in stone, and if you find that something isn’t working, you can always make some changes at any time.

So where should you start when researching homeschooling? Try some of these methods:

  • Google homeschool styles/methods. There are numerous websites and blogs out there that give some insight into the different homeschooling methods. In fact, I personally love to read the blogs of other homeschoolers to see what works for them, and see if there are strategies I can pull into my own homeschool.
  • Check YouTube. There are TONS of homeschooling families with their own channels on YouTube these days. You can find curriculum reviews, day-in-the-life series, homeschool room tours and general tips and advice too.
  • Read a book. Check out your local library or Amazon to find all kinds of books about homeschooling. 

Choose Some Curriculum

Now it is time to choose some curriculum (or none at all if that is more your style). There are so many curriculums out there that it would be hard to give suggestions as each person will learn better with different curriculums. There are all-in-one curriculums where all the subjects are included, or you could piece together multiple curriculums for different subjects. 

When I first started homeschooling with my children, we used an al-in-one, open and go curriculum to make things super easy while starting out. It made things much easier on me as the teacher because it was already assembled and planned out for me to teach. We have used My Fathers World curriculum sets (www.mfwbooks.com) for a number of years. I really loved the content and the ease of use, especially with multiple children. 

Now a days I have branched out a bit more and we are choosing different curriculum options for each subject, to bring together the best programs that work for my children. There is a bit more involved in planning of course, but it is what is working for us right now. You can see what we used for the 2018/2019 school year here: 2018-2019 Curriculum Choices (Grades 3 & 6).

The best way to find curriculum will probably be to take what you learned during the “research” step, and look up some of the curriculums mentions and recommended by others. Really take a good look and see if it will work for your family. And again, don’t think that once you choose some curriculum that you have to stick with it if it turns out it’s not working for you and your child. You can always readjust as you see what works and what doesn’t.

 

 

Find Support Through Other Homeschoolers

One of the biggest helps for me while homeschooling has been to have the support of others that are also homeschooling. When I have questions, or want to share a homeschooling “win”, or ask for advice, I often turn to a local homeschool group on Facebook. Having a group of local homeschoolers also means that we can organize get togethers and field trips with each other. We’ve been to a dairy farm, museums, fire halls, waterslides and nature walks with our homeschooling friends. It’s a nice way to not only learn together, but to relax and play together too. Even if you don’t have a local group of homeschoolers where you are, you can still find general homeschooling groups online to bounce ideas off of and get advice when you’re feeling lost.

2018-2019 Curriculum Choices (Grades 3 & 6)

2018-2019 Curriculum Choices (Grades 3 & 6)

Homeschool curriculum…… there is just so much of it available! Where do you even start?

Of course every family and every student is different and so there will be different curriculums that work for each person. But I’m here today to share with you what we chose to use for our 2018-2019 school year for grades 3 and 6.

Let’s start with what we are using together for both children:

Social Studies:

Previously we had been using a complete curriculum program, but this years studies would have been very US History heavy. Because we live in Canada, I wanted to make sure my kids have a good foundation in Canadian History first. So we broke away from the “boxed curriculum” route and chose a few items from Northwoods Press that we will work through this school year. I’m not sure if we will complete all three books this year, but whatever we don’t finish, we will just carry over into next school year. The books we chose all have reproducible worksheets available digitally from their website after you purchase the book. This makes it really easy to use the books for multiple children!

Canada My Country - Donna Ward1) The first book I chose from Northwoods Press was Canada My Country. It is a nice easy, simple start to learning Canadian geography, both physically and politically. This book is meant for grades 1-4.

From the Northwoods Press website:

Topics include:  Understanding maps; Canada’s physical regions; Symbols; Government; Freedoms; Outstanding Canadians

    • Lessons are clearly outlined
    • Minimal prep required
    • Includes stories & games
    • Resource lists with lessons 
    • Reproducible worksheets now available digitally for original purchasers 

 

  •  

Canada's Natives Long Ago2) Next I chose Canada’s Natives Long Ago, which is meant for ages 8-12. I feel that it is important for my children to learn about the lifestyles and cultures of Canada’s First Nations people of long ago.

From the Northwoods Press website:

This study includes reproducible workpages, project pictures, eye-witness quotes, stories, activities and biographical sketches. Each chapter has a full resource list including books for various ages, videos and novels. You can fast-track through the curriculum, or meander and enjoy the captivating resources and activities. Its all up to your style and your children’s delight. Students are guided to complete a project book suited to their age level (lap-books work perfectly) along with a worksheet and hands-on activities for each unit.

 

 

Courage and Conquest: Discovering Canadian History

3) The last book I chose for our Social Studies is Courage and Conquest: Discovering Canadian History. This one is also geared towards ages 8-12.

From the Northwoods Press website:

Courage and Conquest is a chronological study of Canadian History including all major events in the settlement of Canada to Confederation. Each lesson includes references to literature sure to captivate the student’s interests. Text, reproducible workpage and time line picture with each lesson. Includes: suggested reading for each lesson; easy to read text and reproducible workpage; full bibliography with over 80 titles including historical fiction; visual reinforcement with line drawing and Time Line pictures; suggestions for further research for older students; basic full-year program or can be a unit study resource.

  •  

Science:

For Science we are using a number of the science topics from Jenny Phillips. I won’t go into detail of all the units we bought because there are a LOT of them! We are starting with the Arthropods unit and will work our way through them. I highly suggest heading over to her website to check out her Science units (and other subjects too) to see if it’s something that might work for you.

Jenny Phillips ArthropodsJenny Phillips Science

Now for the subjects they do separately:

Math:

We’ve tried a few different Math programs in the past, but for one reason or another they haven’t been good fits for us. This year we are using Math Lessons for a Living Education grade 3 and grade 6. I am enjoying teaching with this program, but because we are Canadians, and this is an American program, there are a few areas where we have to adapt or work around. Mostly for topics on money and measurements. I’d still love to find that perfect Math curriculum that is Canadian and will work for us, but for now this program is pretty close 🙂

Math Lessons for a Living Education gr 3Math Lessons for a Living Education Gr 6

 

 

 

 

 

Language Arts:

This year we are using Language Arts from Jenny Phillips’ Good and the Beautiful program. She offers her level 1-5 programs as FREE pdf downloads! Like the WHOLE course for free, that’s just amazing to me! Because we get funding through our homeschooling program I opted to order the physical copies from the website (which also includes the pdf files) so that I didn’t have to print things out myself. When they arrived I was really impressed by the quality of the books, complete with full colour pages, and the quality of the paper they were printed on.

TGATB LA 2

For the LA courses, Jenny has a placement test so you can more easily decide which course to start with. Level 5 for example is meant for a 5th or 6th grader, and level 6 is best for 7th and 8th graders. They are labelled as levels and do not correspond directly with public school grades levels. Because of this I had my kids take the placement tests, and decided to start my 3rd grader with level 2 and my 6th grader on level 5. We’ve been using these levels for a while now and they seem to be good fits for where both of my children are at, so I’d say the placement test is very accurate.

TGATB LA 5

In addition to the LA courses, we’ve also added Handwriting and a Nature Notebook from Jenny Phillips as well.

Handwriting and Nature Notebook

 

Art:

Art is kind of integrated into some of our other subjects, but we also have the Art Book from Jenny Phillips that we’ve been choosing some crafts from.

Creative-Arts-and-Crafts-Notebook-Cover_Final-web

 

Music:

We bought the kids each a ukulele this year. We haven’t done any formal lessons, but we have been using YouTube videos along with some free apps to start learning the basics and some simple songs.

ukulele

French:

Only my 6th grader is doing French this year. We’ve decided to use the FREE app called DuoLingo for French and it seems to be going well. My son is able to work through the lessons on his own without any issues.

 

Letter Of The Week – All About “H”

Letter Of The Week – All About “H”

Introducing the letter H

Watch the videos below to learn about words that start with H.
Then have your child complete the letter H worksheets.
Next you can explore some fun children’s books and find more activities through the blog links provided.

 

Here is my suggestion for learning the entire alphabet:

Are you ready to learn all about the alphabet? Choose one letter each week for your child to learn about. You can find the links to each letter at the bottom of this post. Use the activity links, also below, to add letter specific crafts and art throughout the week to create a light but fun learning plan.

 

Have Fun!

Videos

 

Printable Worksheets

Click for full size printable

 

 

“H” Books You’ll Love!

 

More Ideas From Other Bloggers!

Letter H Activities for Tot-School from Heather at growinghandsonkids.com

LETTER OF THE WEEK: PRESCHOOL LETTER H ACTIVITIES from Karyn at teachbesideme.com

12 LETTER H ACTIVITIES from familymaven.io

LETTER H WORKSHEETS + ACTIVITIES from Nadia at funwithmama.com

Letter H Activities & Printables from Anna at themeasuredmom.com

Don't Forget To Check Out The Rest Of The Alphabet!

(Just click on each letter below)

A  B  C  D  E  F

*The following letters are coming soon!*

 G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Letter of the Week – All About “G”

Letter of the Week – All About “G”

Introducing the letter G

Watch the videos below to learn about words that start with G.
Then have your child complete the letter G worksheets.
Next you can explore some fun children’s books and find more activities through the blog links provided.

 

Here is my suggestion for learning the entire alphabet:

Are you ready to learn all about the alphabet? Choose one letter each week for your child to learn about. You can find the links to each letter at the bottom of this post. Use the activity links, also below, to add letter specific crafts and art throughout the week to create a light but fun learning plan.

 

Have Fun!

Videos

 

Printable Worksheets

Click for full size printable

 

 

“G” Books You’ll Love!

 

More Ideas From Other Bloggers!

Letter G Activities from Anna at themeasuredmom.com

G Worksheets from Nadia at funwithmama.com

Letter G Activities from Holly at kidsactivitiesblog.com

G Activities for Tot-School from Heather at growinghandsonkids.com

Preschool Letter G Activities from Karyn at teachbesideme.com

Don't Forget To Check Out The Rest Of The Alphabet!

(Just click on each letter below)

A  B  C  D  E  F

*The following letters are coming soon!*

 G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines – My Review!

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines – My Review!

Hello again readers!

As a work-at-home, homeschooling mom I often struggle with with keeping organized and balancing work and home. So when I recently had the opportunity to review Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing I jumped at the chance! After working through the course I want to share with you how it worked for me. And perhaps, it may be just what you’ve been looking for too!

Balancing-Diapers-Deadlines

 

Lisa wrote this course after spending two years balancing her own life while raising and homeschooling her own 8 children, preparing most meals from scratch and running a working homestead! WOW!

 

Lisa describes her course this way:

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines gives all of my best tips — rigorously tested and proven to work — right to you.

The course contains over 30 lessons to show you how to take control of your life. You’ll have immediate access to all the material.

With Balancing Diapers and Deadlines, you’ll learn:

  • The number one secret for getting more done
  • Tips for integrating your family into your business
  • Effective time management for real moms growing a business
  • Little-known secrets for tackling your to-do list
  • And more!

You’ll also receive downloadable worksheets and action steps to bring it all home.

And the best part is: with the way each lesson is broken down, you can begin implementing these changes immediately.

WITH THIS COURSE, YOU’LL LEARN HOW TO BRING TRUE BALANCE TO YOUR LIFE…STARTING NOW.

 

The course is broken down into smaller, manageable lessons. This means that when you find a spare moment, you can easily get through a lesson or even two without getting overwhelmed.

Have a look at the lesson titles, each lesson is then broken down into smaller lessons, making it easy to work through. You can check off each lesson as you complete them to keep track of your progress.

 

I worked through the course bit by bit as I had time to sit down and read the lessons. Each lesson had great ideas for helping to create organization and balance. Lisa shared many of her own personal experiences and challenges and how she was able to overcome them. The lessons are detailed but simple, and give an action step at the end to help you to implement each strategy in your own life. Some of the lessons even come with printables and links to additional resources to help you work through the action steps.

Of course not all of the topics applied me, such as the section on “Growing a Business with a Child with Special Needs” or the section  “Improve Your Typing Speed” (I’m already quite proficient in typing if I do say so myself). But most of the topics had points I could draw and learn from. Even if I didn’t use her exact technique or idea, I was still able to use the general thoughts as a guideline to create systems that would work for our particular family. For example, there is a section that talks about chores for our children. It gives the idea of using the Marble Jar System. We’ve tried something similar to this in the past, and it just didn’t work for my kids. But I did know that our current chore system (practically non-existent) needed some work and it’s given me the push to better organize how we handle daily chores. So there is definitely something to take away from each lesson, even if you don’t follow it to a “T”.

While I can’t go into too much detail so as not to spoil the course for you, I can definitely say that I feel it is a worthwhile investment for anyone who feels they need more balance and organization in their life. Even if your kids are grown, there are still MANY helpful suggestions in the course for everyone.

So go ahead and take a closer look at Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing.

And don’t forget to check out what other members of the Review Crew thought of this great little course!
Just click on the image below to be taken to the other reviews.

Letter Of The Week – All About “F”

Letter Of The Week – All About “F”

Introducing the letter F

Watch the videos below to learn about words that start with F.
Then have your child complete the letter F worksheets.
Next you can explore some fun children’s books and find more activities through the blog links provided.

Here is my suggestion for learning the entire alphabet:

Are you ready to learn all about the alphabet? Choose one letter each week for your child to learn about. You can find the links to each letter at the bottom of this post. Use the activity links, also below, to add letter specific crafts and art throughout the week to create a light but fun learning plan.

Have Fun!

Letter “F” Videos

Printable Worksheets

Click for full size printable

“F” Books You’ll Love!

More Ideas From Other Bloggers!

Activities and Free Printibales for PreSchool from Anna at themeasuredmom.com

Letter F Arts and Crafts from childfun.com

LETTER F ACTIVITIES from familymaven.io

Preschool Letter F Snack: F is for Frog from Karyn at teachbesideme.com

Letter F Activities for Tot-School from Heather at growinghandsonkids.com

Don't Forget To Check Out The Rest Of The Alphabet!

(Just click on each letter below)

A  B  C  D  E  F

*The following letters are coming soon!*

 G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Time Travelers American History from Home School in the Woods – A Homeschool Review

Time Travelers American History from Home School in the Woods – A Homeschool Review

What is Home School in the Woods?

Home School in the Woods is a company that specializes in hands-on history products. On their website you will find so many engaging options available, such as timelines, maps, lap books, and history studies, all designed to have your child LIVE the lessons!

What did we choose to use?

I have previously reviewed some of the Al a Carte items available from Home School in the Woods and really loved the quality of their products. So I was excited when the opportunity came up to use and review Time Travelers: Colonial Life  from their Time Travelers American History series!

SO MUCH CONTENT!

At a cost of only $27.95, you would not believe how much content in included with this Time Travelers product! There are 50 activities included to work on with your children!

From the website:

“Colonial Life, contains 25 lessons that can spread across 5-10 weeks, covering: America’s Colonies Begin, The Colonial Home, Clothing, Food, Family Life, School, Faith in the Colonies, Villages & Cities, Health & Medicine, Artisans, Crime & Punishment, Plantations & Slavery, Pleasures & Pastimes, and Holidays!”

The units are available via PDF format, either through digital download or a CD. You will find text pages, project pages, and master pages for all of the projects. There are also teacher helps, resource lists and teacher keys included.

I had access to the digital download version, which included a file titled “Start”. Clicking on this opened up a page on my web browser that laid everything out neatly for me. All I needed to do was click on each section to view all of the lessons, projects and master pages needed. I really like how easy this makes it for me to see where I am and what I need for each lesson!

Take a look at some of our favourite projects!

It’s hard to pick only a few favourite projects to share because there are just so many to choose from (and they are all really neat and fun). So here are just a few that we really enjoyed working on.

This cute little barn opens up to reveal a pocket full of all the items you might find on a Colonial farm! If you have a child who likes to colour, this is a fun and easy project for them.

Anything to do with food is a good project right? You bet! One of the projects is to put together this neat little recipe book of common foods in colonial times. Your child can even colour in some of the images if they like. But the real fun will be making some of the recipes, yum!

Have you heard of quilling before? It’s where you create images using rolled up strips of paper! It may be a bit time consuming to roll and shape all the paper strips, but it’s kind of relaxing and addicting too! This project may require a little extra help from mom and dad if your child is younger though, but the end result is a really nice piece of art that your child can be proud to have made.

There is something new at Home School in the Woods!

Home School in the Woods has just let me know that their newest product, Project Passport: Ancient Rome, is now available!  They have even added it to the download bundle for the complete Project Passport series. Go check it out!

Don’t forget to check out all the other reviews from the Review Crew!

We all reviewed different products, from different product lines from Home School in the Woods, so make sure you look through the other reviews to see all about the different hands-on history product lines available to you!

Smart Kidz Radio  – Our Review!

Smart Kidz Radio – Our Review!

Hey there!  Guess what we’ve been listening to recently? A brand new program from Smart Kidz Media called Smart Kidz Radio! It’s super awesome, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it, so lets get this review started!

So what is Smart Kidz Radio?

It is a really fun edutainment (education + entertainment) radio station just for kids, full of original songs and stories that teach valuable life skills! And the best part is that the live stream is totally FREE to listen to!
Smart Kidz Radio  provides a safe and appropriate radio station for young children to listen to. With regular radio stations I have to carefully listen to each song as it comes on, and be ready to change the station at the first sign of bad language or inappropriate content. With Smart Kidz Radio  I can just sit back and relax and really enjoy the songs and stories with my kids, knowing that I can count on kid-friendly content.

 

How can you listen to it?

All you need to do is go to Smart Kidz Radio and sign up for a FREE account, then you can listen to the live stream directly from your computer or laptop. And to make things even easier, IOS and Android apps are also available so you can play the live steam on any device, anywhere, anytime!

On Demand Content

In addition to the FREE live streaming radio station, you can also sign up for On Demand Content. The On Demand content comes at a very reasonable price of $3.99/month and includes over 1000 original songs and stories for children. You can even sample some of the On Demand content on the website before upgrading, so you can see if it is something you’d be interested in. My two year old just loves the Itsy Bitsy Spider song and wants me to play it over and over again for him!

Here is some of the entertaining radio programming you can find in the On-Demand section:

Song Programming

  • Early Learning Radio Program (Ages 2 – 4)
  • Good Behavior Skills Radio Program (Ages 3 – 6)
  • Living Skills Radio Program (Ages 4 – 10)
  • Survival Skills to Grow On Radio Program (Ages 6 – 10)
  • Bedtime Songs Radio Program (Ages 2 – 8)
  • All-Time Favorites Sing Along Songs Radio Program (Ages 4 – 10)
  • Relaxation from Stress Radio Program (Ages 4 – 10)
  • Favorite Christmas Carols and Songs (All ages)

Story Programming

  • Classic Fairy Tales
  • Not So Scary Tales
  • Grandpa Tyler’s Storytime
  • Best Loved Bible Stories
  • Favorite Christmas Stories
  • Peter Rabbit Tales

Final Thoughts

I can confidently recommend Smart Kidz Radio as a safe and fun listening experience for your young children! From the current content that we’ve been listening to, I’d probably say that its best for the 1-6 age range. It’s still good for the 7-10 range, but it might seem a bit “little kid-ish” to them. This would be great to play during some free play time, or even during quiet time as some light background music. So what are you waiting for?! Go sign up for your FREE account to listen to the live stream!

Visit Smart Kidz Media on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smartkidzmediainc/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/smartkidzmedia

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