Category Archives: Homeschooling Help

25 Great Books for Middle Schoolers

Homeschool methods

With summer here, and summer reading programs in full swing, it is a great time to make a book list for your middle school child.

These book series are great for those kids who are in the middle age range (10-12). Use discretion when choosing books for your child, each family will have different values and standards for their child’s literature choices.

Here are 25 great books for middle schoolers:

  1. The Bronze Bow byElizabeth George Speare
  2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  3. Shilohby Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  4. Esperanza Risingby Pam Muñoz Ryan
  5. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
  6. Love, Ruby Lavenderby Deborah Wiles
  7. Maggie’s Doorby Patricia Reilly Giff
  8. The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch
  9. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
  10. The Three Doors Trilogy by Emily Rodda
  11. Pippi Longstocking by byAstrid Lindgren
  12. All of a Kind Family bySydney Taylor
  13. Owls in the Family byFarley Mowat
  14. Sarah Plain and Tall byPatricia MacLachlan
  15. Homer Price byRobert McCloskey
  16. Misty of Chincoteague byMarguerite Henry
  17. Armadillo Tattletale byHelen Ketteman
  18. Cheaper by the Dozen byFrank B. Gilbreth
  19. Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  20. Nancy Drew Mysteries byCarolyn Keene
  21. Hardy Boys Mysteries byFranklin Dixon
  22. How to Train Your Dragon Series byCressida Cowell
  23. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  24. A Series of Unfortunate Events Series byLemony Snicket
  25. The Adventures of Tintin byHergé

 

Author: Misty Bailey Misty and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

How to Evaluate Your School Year

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I don’t know about you, but we are almost through the school year. Yay! At the end of the school year it is a good idea to evaluate what worked, and what didn’t.

Here are three questions to ask yourself at the end of the school year. These questions will help you evaluate your school year, let you get a good idea of how it went, and what changes you may need to make.

  1. Are the kids enjoying school? Yes, homeschooling is still school and can’t always be fun, but are your kids enjoying themselves? At all? If not then you may need to talk to them and revaluate how your school year is going. If they are then woohoo! Keep on keeping on J .
  2. How is your routine? Are the days all the same length? Are some days longer or shorter than others? Take a look at your routine and see if any changes need to be made. We had the same school schedule for years, and I had NO intentions on changing it. Until. I had too. I realized that something with my routine was no longer working for my older children, so we tweaked it and things have been going much smoother. Routines are made to add structure to your day. They are not made to be a slave too. So, make your routine work for you if something seems off.
  3. How is the curriculum working? Do you love your curriculum? Do the kids enjoy it? If not, now is the perfect time to evaluate what is and isn’t working with the curriculum. Maybe look online, or ask a friend if you can try out something they have. Don’t purchase anything else without looking at it in person. You may be surprised that what you have isn’t that bad, or you may fall in love with something new. Once you have seen it, and maybe tried it out, make the purchase!

Semester revaluations are great for finding what is working and what is not working in your homeschool. It is a time to evaluate your day, your student’s enjoyment, and your curriculum. Don’t feel obligated to keep on the same way if something’s not working, try something new and start your next year off fresh!

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  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.

 

 

Homeschooling a Gifted Child

Homeschooling a Gifted Child

Is your homeschool child gifted? Most of us will say that all children have a gift. God gives each of us our own gift to use. But I’m talking about academically gifted. A gifted child may be very observant, curious and have excellent reasoning and problem solving skills. Socially, a gifted child will relate well with adults, may be oversensitive, a perfectionist and highly energetic. A gifted child may have an extensive vocabulary, be an early reader, and ask lots of questions. These are just a few traits of a gifted child. To read more, check out this site.

If you have a gifted child, you may be concerned that public school isn’t challenging enough for him. Many schools offer advanced classes, but sometimes it is not enough. Homeschooling a gifted child can seem overwhelming, and like a daunting task. How can you challenge him? How can you teach him? Here are some tips to help if you are interested in homeschooling a gifted child.

Know the Expectations for Grade Level

Most homeschool parents don’t worry about the grade on the front of the textbook, and that is fine. But, with a gifted child they may work 2-3 grade levels ahead. This could lead to not learning material necessary at a certain grade level. It is a good idea to have some sort of idea what is typically covered in a school year. Rebecca Rupp Learning year by Year is a great resource to have when it comes to knowing the expectations for each grade.

Recognize the Benefits of Homeschooling

For your gifted child, homeschooling can be a wonderful opportunity. The question “why” comes up a lot in a gifted child. The fact that they want to know “more” all the time can be seen as exhausting sometimes. However, with homeschooling your child has the opportunity to work at his own pace, to find out the answer “why” to all of his “more” requests. Through books, observations, experiments, and study the gifted child can be challenged, and will have the time and opportunity to learn as they go, without grade level limitations.

Recognize the Challenges

There are going to be challenges when it comes to homeschooling your gifted child, but don’t let that scare you! There are many resources available for homeschool parents of gifted children. Check out this link for some tips for curriculum, and a great list of support groups for families of gifted children.

Misty Bailey 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. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

 

Homeschooling Multiple Grades

Homeschool Multiple Ages

When I first began homeschooling, I was terrified about homeschooling multiple grades. My middle (at that time my youngest) was only two, but the thought of her being in preschool and teaching my oldest at the same time made me cringe. Looking back, I can laugh because I know that preschool isn’t difficult, and teaching Kindergarten is nothing like teaching 4th grade but at the time, it really stressed me out!

As a homeschool parent I am sure at some time you will be homeschooling multiple grades. Teaching more than one grade does not have to be stressful. There are resources and curriculums out there that can help you as well as tips from those who have been homeschooling multiple grades for years.

When it comes to homeschooling multiple grades, the first thing you are going to want to do is combine your children for as many subjects as possible. Bible, History, and Science can all be taught together as a family. Curriculum like My Fathers World, Mystery of History and Apologia are geared towards homeschooling multiple grades and can make it easier to combine your children.

Another popular method for homeschooling multiple grades is unit studies. Unit studies are fairly teacher intensive but can be done rather inexpensively. A unit study is where you learn about one topic for a set amount of time. An example may be horses. You can teach the history of horses, the anatomy of horses, read books about horses, and watch documentaries about horses. The older children would study the topic more in-depth, while the younger children got a basic overview.

Another thing to consider when homeschooling multiple grades is the level of teacher prep work and cost. Purchasing curriculum that has the planning already done for you will require a lot less prep work then creating your own unit study.  However, prepackaged curriculum will be pricier than making your own. Weigh your options and choose the method that will work best for your family.

Two subjects where you would want to keep your children separate are Math and Language Arts. If you have multiple children, it may be a good idea to purchase curriculum where the children can work on these subjects as independently as possible. Many parents enjoy computer-based curriculums like Teaching Textbooks or Switched on Schoolhouse. There are workbook-based options like Alpha Omega Publications and Christian Light Education that are also fairly independent.  I have found having my children work on these subjects at the same time helps me teach multiple grades. I can go back and forth between them as they need me and both are focused on the same topic.

Homeschooling multiple grades may take a little bit of preplanning but seeing your children work and learn together is worth the hard work. I have also been amazed through the years how much the younger ones pick up on while learning alongside their older siblings. For more information about homeschooling multiple grades as well as help for scheduling your day I recommend this article from Fruitful Families.

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 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.

 

When You Feel Like a Homeschool Failure

When You Feel Like a Homeschool Failure

Homeschool parents have one of the hardest yet most rewarding jobs out there. We have the awesome job of caring for our children on a daily basis. Yet, we also have to play the roles of teacher, nurse, housekeeper, cook and many more. Often times we will go to bed at the end of the day exhausted, and feel like a homeschool failure.

You may think to yourself that you yelled too many times, there are dishes still in the sink, clothes still needing folded, and papers that still need graded. Yet, chances are you didn’t fail your children.

  • Think of everything you did accomplish that day. Did you read to your kids? Feed them? Play a game? Take them outside? Talk to them? Chances are you did at least a few of these things. You are not a failure!
  • Take a deep breath and revaluate. What makes you feel like a failure? Now, find a way to fix it. Sometimes it can be as simple as getting up a little earlier, or delegating a responsibility to an older child.
  • Lower your expectations. What season of life are you in? Depending on the season you are in you may need to lower your expectations. There are only so many hours in a day and sometimes things need to be put on the back burner. Freezer meals are not the end of the world, and it is not going to hurt anything for the towels to stay in a basket an extra day.
  • Give yourself grace. As parents we are not perfect. If you feel like a failure for things that maybe were within your control, give yourself grace. Wake up the next day with a smile on your face and a resolve to not make the same mistakes again. Parents have the awesome luxury of getting to repeat their job each day. So, we can learn from our mistakes and move on.

Homeschool parents, you wear many hats and it is natural to feel like you failed at a few of them. But, remember the ones you didn’t fail at! Focus on those, then revaluate your expectations and give yourself grace. You are not a failure!

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 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.