Category Archives: Lesson Plans
As the 2014-2015 school year ends, it is a great time to take a look at the goals we have set for ourselves and our children. Homeschool goals are important to have because they help keep you and your kids on task for the year. It also helps you see at a glance how far each child has progressed, and what areas you may need to work on.
Now, I am not one who plans far ahead. However, I do set a few homeschool goals each year for each child. Here is an example of what some of our goals may be:
|Child 1||Child 2||Child 3|
|Master long division||Complete 30 speed drills in a minute||Learn primary colors and basic shapes|
|Learn basic computer skills||Start cursive handwriting||Begin tracing name|
How do I Set Homeschool Goals?
Setting goals does not have to be hard or serious. Sit down, make a list of what you think your child needs to know and what you want to teach. This is really simple the first few years. But can get complicated once your child gets older.
If you are not sure what goals to set for your children take a look at the standards in your state. These will give you an idea as to what the other children in your state are learning. You can find this by simply typing in “State standards for…..” and then search by grade.
Pinterest also is a great resource for finding basic information about grade levels, what a child needs to know, etc. Another great resource and one of the books I recommend EVERY homeschool parent own is Rebecca Rupp’s Learning Year by Year. This book breaks down basic information that children should know each year and includes resources to help you teach it. I typically set around 10 goals for each child.
How do I Keep Homeschool Goals?
After I have set the goals I have for my children, I put them on paper or on a spreadsheet. I then come back every few months and mark of those we have mastered. This lets me know where we are, and what I need to focus on. I can also add new goals as I see fit.
If you have a hard time finding time to work on certain skills set aside a day just to focus on one goal. We did this with one of mine who had a horrible time learning to tie her shoes. We worked on it for about an hour until she completely mastered it. But, I had to mark off other items on the list and focus on just THAT goal.
Setting and keeping goals in your homeschool should be a priority for most families. You will know what to work on, what your children have learned, and where you need to go after a goal is met. Goals can help keep you and your kids accountable!
Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. 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.
I have three kids, and each one has something they are passionate about! Unfortunately they are all passionate about different things, meaning this mom is pulled in three different directions ;)
As parents it doesn’t take llong to realize how different our kids are. They all have their own interests, their own style, and their own attention spans. One may love Math, the other may hate it! One may learn to read at 5, the other not till 7. There is not one perfect way for our children to learn. However, find something that interests your child, and they will make sure they LEARN more about it. Children learn best by learning about what interests them. This is why interest led learning is so important in our homeschools.
With interest led learning a child can find something he loves and go and LEARN about it. Here is an example: Let’s say your child has a desire to know more about dinosaurs. So, you take him to the library and get tons of books (real books, not textbooks) and you come home and read them together, or if your child is a reader he reads them. Then, you go on line and find a really neat Science experiment related to dinosaurs. You may make a dinosaur habitat filled with plastic dinosaurs, water, mountains and maybe even a volcano (which you later “erupt). Your child has learned Science, History, Vocabulary, Reading and maybe even some Math all while studying his own interests. This was all done with little to know real “teaching” from the home school parent. Instead your child was able to tap into their personal passion and study it.
Have you ever really wanted to learn something? How did you learn it? Did you take a class? Get a book? Look it up on the web? Once you set your mind to learn it you probably did it right? You found something you were interested in and you went for it! The same can be said for our children. Learning does not come from reading and taking a test. It comes from finding something you are interested in or passionate about and feeding that desire to learn. Testing, or telling a child what they have to know squelches that desire.
Homeschool parents, as we plan for next school year, let’s remember to take the time and ask our children what THEY want to learn next school year. Make plans to study something that interests your child. By doing this you will be giving them the opportunity to pursue their interests. You will be allowing them to learn because they want to, in turn helping them develop an internal satisfaction for learning. This will last a child a lifetime! And cannot be taught.
It is back to school time! Some parents may cringe, some parents may get excited, and for most homeschool parents it means “stock up” time. I hit the aisles at our local Wal-Mart as soon as back to school sales start. Here are my must haves for back to homeschool:
- Good Pencils, not the cheap $1 ones! I recommend the Ticonderoga brand.
- A great pencil sharpener. I was so excited when I bought an old style pencil sharpener for our homeschool. The manual ones last longer than the electric ones, but no matter which way you go I would recommend investing in one.
- Red ink pens are necessary because like it or not you will be grading papers. And, sometimes kids make mistakes :)
- A great Homeschool Planner. I highly recommend The Well Planned Day, but there are also great planners online free.
- Binders are great to purchase for teacher planning, and homeschool portfolios
- Crayons, I typically buy 30 boxes each year. This gives each child a new box every month.
- Glue sticks are a must! I buy enough of these to get us through all school year. You will also want to buy bottles of glue, and maybe some tacky glue for crafts.
- Notebooks, kids love these to draw in and use for school. You can typically get this for around 15 cents apiece during back to school sales.
These are just a few items that I think are must haves for back to school. So, check your local ads, make your list and get shopping for back to homeschool!
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.
Randi’s Curriculum Choices
There are way too many curriculum choices. Some are excellent and a lot are not! In creating this list, I didn’t want to add to all the noise and burden parents to just buy more stuff to put on their shelves. I wanted to keep my recommendations to only the books that are very, very special. There are many more books, but most people don’t have very much time and their children don’t either. So read and use the really good books first and then if time permits, read the rest.
- Leading Little Ones to God/Marian Schooland (Best written beginning devotions)
- Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers/Joey Allen Series of Books on Theology for Little Ones
- Proverbs For Parenting/ (Must have book for training and disciplining children. Categories include: lying, fighting, honesty and many others)
Georgia State History
- This is Your Georgia by Bernice McCullar ISBN:0-932659-01-2
Science and Geography
- Exploring Our World by Tony Hare ISBN:0-7651-1027-x – This is an excellent book to use with all ages of children. It can be used as a Geography or Environmental Science book from an ecological zone perspective. Enhance study by using lapbooking techniques. Its easy to use the unit study and Dina Zike’s dioramas to make the nine biomes come alive!
- Hands-On Chemistry Activities with Real-Life Applications for grades 8-12. by Norman Herr ISBN: 0-87628-262-1 – Now this is the way to study Chemistry! Your students will learn more about Chemistry by working through this book than any old textbook. You may have to invest in a few things that you can get from Carolina Biological Supply or some other supply house, but you can do this book with the whole family. Fun and educational! Start this book in 8th or 9th grade, go slow and do 3-5 pages at a time. Leave enough time to do the Bob Jones Chemistry textbook and you will have a great science student!
- Quest of a Hemisphere by Donzella Cross Boyle published by Western Islands – Don’t miss this great history book! ” Written in an engaging narrative style, Quest of a Hemisphere is a factual American history written from documents, manuscripts, journals, diaries, letters, newspapers, and rare books… Illustrations feature the art of historical periods – reproductions of sketches and paintings, portraits of famous men by artists of their time, and copies of documents in the original style of printing.” This is a great book for the Charlotte Mason approach or unit studies.
- God and Government I and II by Gary DeMar – These books are great for read aloud and discussion. Although there are many questions, the author follows up with the answers which are probably better for study than answering the questions for yourself.
- Government by the People by David Magleby ISBN: 0-13-192159-2 – Generally used as a college textbook, this surprisingly well written government book is interesting and covers all the points that allows students to test out of their college government course. Be sure to take the CLEP or SAT Subject Exam after completing this book!
Don’t tell your child you were terrible at math! The best way to teach math is to purchase a copy for yourself and a copy for your child and do the problems along with her. I promise, it won’t be as hard as when you were in school. You will be so glad you did this!
- College Outline Series – Pre Algebra ISBN , Introductory Algebra ISBN 0-15-601524-2, and Intermediate Algebra ISBN 0-15-601522-6 – Over and over this is my favorite set of Algebra books. The subject Pre Algebra is essentially fractions, decimals, and percents which are usually taught in 7th and 8th grade. Even with my public and private school kids, I have to pull out this book to help them learn concepts. It is more systematically written and clearer than any other textbook I have used. Once a person uses a well programmed textbook, they never go back!
- Geometry – Notables Interactive Study Notebook ISBN 0-07-868213-4 – This is a consumable workbook that makes a very good Geometry textbook. It doesn’t focus heavily on proofs, which is a good thing.
- Videos – Chalk Dust – Chalk Dust might cost more than other videos but it does a better job and you can always resell it, so your net cost is not so great.
- Prentice Hall Math Textbooks – Better than Glencoe and way better than McDougal Littel! What does better mean? Better formatting, better questions, better explanations.
Life Skills –
- Just Do Something/Kevin DeYoung (Making Good Decisions) Helps the reader understand that determining your career calling is not as important as establishing proactive behaviors to bloom where you are planted!
Textbooks for HI/LO – High interest for middle thru high school, low reading level 3-4 with larger than normal print, shorter chapters, and clear questions. When your student has learned how to read and you want to transition him to a textbook. These are good choices. Interestingly, these are also good choices for the very young, academically gifted child.
AGS Globe, now part of Pearson has great textbooks for Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Language Arts. http://www.pearsonschool.com/index.cfm?locator=PSZ1Ai
The National Bible Bee for ages 8-18 www.BibleBee.org
One of the best things about home education is that it opens opportunities for learning that simply can not fit more traditional schedules. We will take a regular look at some irregular ways to maximize learning opportunities. Pets are a great place to start. Certainly I understand that children in public school have pets. I also understand that time shortages exist. Our lifestyle lends itself to getting the most out of every experience!
In a homeschool setting, the responsibility for caring for a pet covers a much broader spectrum than simply seeing him a few hours a day. Housetraining a puppy is an all-day proposition and waiting is not an option for a puppy. Both necessary tasks (I.e. English) and fun times (I.e. TV shows) alike bow to the needs of a puppy. Managing interruptions, sacrificing time, putting another (even if it is a four-legged other) are critical character concerns a puppy can teach. As a child ages, even night-time needs can become their challenge…a slow start in the morning will not upset the entire day!
The freedom to delve deeper into a topic offers great education possibilities. Over the years, the additions of new pets to our home have initiated many school projects. Researching breed characteristics (of dogs, horses, rabbits and even chickens) honed research and report skills. Persuasive writing techniques blossomed with a disagreement on which breed of dog we should purchase. Lessons on compromise presented themselves as well. Biology understanding deepened with a look at horse genetics. Catching a love of learning involves being interested in what you are learning. Pets are a terrific tool for planting seeds of learning excitement.
Even physical fitness requirements can flow into and out of a pet. Building dog agility or horse-back riding into the school day accomplishes much more than just meeting state mandates for physical education. The homeschool lifestyle is a course study in flexibility, individual passion and creativity. Enjoy the uniqueness of your children and your family as you accomplish the over-arching goal of education.