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When the Curriculum Isn’t Working

Most of us have been in the books again for a few weeks.  For some, the homeschool year has started out great. Kids like what they are learning, and it has been smooth sailing. For others, it may be going rough. Kids hate the curriculum, mom hates the curriculum, and no one is learning anything. So, what do you do when the curriculum isn’t working?

Have you ever realized that the curriculum isn't working? When this happens what do you do? We are going to look at a few things to do when the curriculum isn't working.

Step Back

Take a step back and think “why?”. Is it advanced? Not challenging enough? Not geared towards the way your child learns? You may be able to figure out why it isn’t working when you step back and look at it from your child’s eyes.

Take a Break

Yes, I know the school year just started, but if it’s not working, then no one is learning anyway. Stop; take a break from the curriculum for a little bit and refresh. Taking a few days off will not make or break your school year, but it may be enough to refresh you and your children’s attitudes.

Evaluate

Think about what you liked, and didn’t like from the curriculum. Make a list. Keep these things in mind when you go to look for something else. Find out what your teaching style and your children’s learning styles are. Evaluating your current homeschool curriculum and how your children learn will save you time and money on future homeschool curriculum purchases.

Ditch it!

If it’s not working, there is no way to keep using it. You can shelve it for a different child, or sell it to purchase something else. The key is to remember what is best for your child, and that may not be the curriculum you are using. Ditching it will save you a lot of time and heartache in the end.

Curriculum can be one of the hardest purchases homeschool parents make. But, if something is not working, you will only stress yourself, and your child out by continuing to use it anyway.  If you don’t have the funds to purchase something different then check out some of the free curriculums out there for this subject. You could also look into using Unit Studies you make up yourself from the library.

When the curriculum isn’t working, don’t stress. Don’t make homeschooling a nightmare by forcing yourself to use something that may not fit you and your child. Just step back, take a break, evaluate what you’ve learned, and ditch it for something else. You will save you and your child a lot of heartaches!


Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a free Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

What Your Child Gains from Homeschooling

When you first tell people you are homeschooling you are likely to get a ton of feedback about the things they are missing out on. However, what people tend to not talk about are the things a child gains from homeschooling.

There are many advantages to homeschooling But people tend to not talk about the things a child gains from homeschooling.

One on One Education

Homeschooling allows a child to have their education tailored to them. It provides a child with an awesome student to teacher ratio, and gives the child the opportunity to advance, or slow down to whatever level the need.  Some children may have special needs that are not being met in a public school classroom. Homeschooling allows them the luxury of a more one on one education that better suits their needs. Some children may struggle with math, but excel in the area of English. These students can work ahead in one subject, and at their own pace in the others.

Safety

Homeschooling allows a child to work and learn in a safe environment free from bullies, allergies (if the child has them), communicable diseases, and other things a child may be exposed to in public school.  Yes, bullies and the other things listed appear in everyday life, but homeschooling allows a child to experience them with the help of a parent, and in the case of communicable diseases not nearly as often as if they were in a classroom full of kids who come to school sick, so the parents can go to work.

Freedom

Homeschooling allows a child the freedom to work at their own pace, learn from hands on opportunities, and allows flexibility to make your own schedule. I know many homeschooled teens that have jobs during the day, since their school is normally done shortly after lunch. Families can travel year round, since they are not tied down to a school calendar. Learning can happen in a museum, zoo, car, or doctor’s office. When a child is homeschooled the world is their classroom.

There are many advantages to homeschooling, and the advantages for a child are far and wide. A child gains from homeschooling the freedom to learn at their own pace, the luxury of a one on one education and the added safety net of learning in an at home environment.


Misty Bailey is a Christian wife and homeschool mom. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

Top Tips for Teaching Your Child Good Study Habits

study-habits

As my oldest enters middle school I am realizing the importance of teaching her good study habits. So far this has consisted of telling her to “go study for your test”.  That is the same thing I was told as a child. It didn’t work out to well for me…. AND based on her last history grade it’s not working out that great for her either.

It wasn’t until my first year of college that I was really taught HOW to study. I was taking a course called “College 101”. They taught us the basics, things like balancing a checkbook, getting along with a roommate, and how to study. That class laid a foundation for me that helped me succeed in college. The professor gave me tools to help me fully understand what was important.

So, why was I just telling my daughter to “go study” instead of showing her the tools she needed? I think too often times we assume kids KNOW how to study. I mean, for the most part, it should be common sense, right? That’s what my parents and high school teachers thought. And for some it is.

But for other kids they truly NEED someone to come alongside them and SHOW them HOW to obtain good study habits. As a homeschool parent, the person responsible for teaching your child good study habits is you.  And, we need to do it BEFORE they are in high school.

Kids NEED someone to come alongside them and SHOW them HOW to obtain good study habits. That person is US. And, we need to do it BEFORE they are in high school.

What Are Good Study Habits? 

So, what are good study habits? Study habits are the behaviors used when preparing for tests or learning academic material.  What study habits does our homeschool children need to know to succeed in middle and high school? Things like how to take notes, get organized, and research and skim material are important for our homeschool children to know. Yet, too often times we don’t teach them how to do it

Taking Notes

Yes, even homeschoolers who may not be in a typical “teacher lecture” environment can learn to take notes. If you use videos in your homeschool, a student can learn to take notes. Things like documentaries, preachers in church services, speakers at a field trip or co-op, are all great opportunities for learning to take notes. Teach them how to identify key phrases, vocabulary words, facts, and main ideas in a speech. This will prepare them for the day when they may sit in a more “teacher lecture” environment.

 Learning How to Skim Material

Learning how to skim material is an essential skill for faster study. Instruct your students to pay attentinon to the first and last sentence in a paragraph. These are usually where the essential information is hiding. Also, note bold words and end of the chapter summaries.   Teach your children how to selectively highlight imporatn passages for easier study later.One of the most important studying skills your child will learn is how to narrow down what’s important and  what isn’t.

How to Get Organized

Many adults struggle with organization, so it is easy to understand how our children can too. Purchasing your homeschool child a planner can help with this. They can write down assignments, appointments, and to-do lists. Encourage your child to review items in the planner at both the beginning and end of the day to stay on track. Also, keep all schoolwork in one place. This eliminates the need to look all over the house for a textbook or assignment.

Review Information

Teach your children to review information often!  Each day before they start a new lesson, encourage your student to read over each day’s previous lesson and information. This should consist of simply reading his or her notes and paying close attention to them. Doing this will help them remember the information simply by seeing it over and over again.

Create a Study Schedule

Studying should be part of your student’s daily homeschool routine, not something he or she tries to cram in the night before a test.   It may be helpful to have a study time planned for the whole family. This gets younger children in the habit of studying now, and allows the older children time to study in a quiet environment. For us, we have made this time a part of our evening routine.


Misty Bailey is a work at home homeschool mom.  She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

The Case for a Holiday Break

How is your school year going? Are you on task? A little behind? Or ahead of schedule? If you are behind, or not sure where you are then you may be contemplating taking a short Holiday break, or not taking one at all.

In reality though, a holiday break is crucial to homeschool success. This may surprise you, but it is true! I encourage you to take a holiday break from homeschooling, for your sanity, and the kids!

 a holiday break is crucial to homeschool success. This may surprise you, but it is true! I encourage you to take a holiday break from homeschooling, for your sanity, and the kids!

Why Take a Holiday Break? 

Holiday breaks give you much needed time to break away from school and just be a family. Not a student, teacher, or principal.

Holiday breaks give your kids time to refresh, regroup, and play!

Holiday breaks give you time to catch up on things that may otherwise go untended to…. (like housework!).

Holiday breaks give you time to focus on the meaning of the holiday you are celebrating.

Holiday breaks give you time to visit with family and loved ones.

Holiday breaks allow you time to catch up on the kid’s portfolios that you may have been neglecting…

Holiday breaks allow you to assess what is working, and what is not in your homeschool.

Holiday breaks are a natural way to separate the year into semesters.

What are Holiday Breaks Not?

Holiday breaks are NOT the time to drill your kids on what they have learned this year.

Holiday breaks are not the time to assign book reports on what they learned over Christmas break…

Holiday breaks are not the time to assign documentaries.

Holiday breaks are not the time to drill how students in other cultures celebrate Christmas!

Holiday breaks are a time to sit, refresh, and enjoy your time together as a family. There is no greater time to relax than over the holidays. And, realistically, the holiday season is busy enough without trying to fit in school.

So, take a holiday break and go shopping during school hours. Many families take off from Thanksgiving until the first of the year and just focus on Language Arts and Math. Some, do a simple study on cultures and Christmas. Whatever you decide to do, I hope it includes taking some sort of holiday break. Whether it is one week or four we all deserve one! And so do our kids :)


Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a free Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

Van Marosek

vanmarosek

Van is a life learner and loves to teach. After having children, her husband simply suggested that if she wants to teach, then she should teach her own. She decided to leave her corporate career to homeschool her three daughters, incorporating her business background and her Vietnamese culture.

She would like to share her insight and experience with fellow homeschoolers to help make the most of their homeschooling years. She is continuing her teaching propensity by tutoring, mentoring, and writing columns in the local newspaper which can be found in The Gwinnett Daily Post and The Buford Illustrated.