Category Archives: Lesson Plans
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.
Often freedom is mistakenly perceived as being without bounds of any type. An absence of any bounds is anarchy and chaos which is neither productive nor realistic. True freedom allows individual choice and the pursuit of goals set by the individual. That sort of freedom is the aim of every home educator.
One great tool that creates freedom within our home schools is a schedule. Like a budget, a schedule is simply a framework. A budget guides money spending; a schedule guides time spending. It allows the parent and student to visualize what needs to be accomplished each week–and make adjustments as life happens. It is so freeing to make decisions based on rightly-determined priorities without stockpiling a to-do list that will drown you in the future.
Setting up a schedule is not terribly time-consuming. Once the curriculums for the year have been chosen, simply calculate the page numbers of each text and divide by the days (or the weeks) in your school year. A weekly review helps you evaluate progress and make adjustments as the year unrolls. Some students prefer to do every subject, every day; others prefer to vary their school week. Help your students assume responsibility for making the scheduling decisions as they get older–but help them be realistic and keep them accountable. Great lessons in goal-setting, perseverance and the joy of success come with this simple aspect of the home school lifestyle.
Home education is not freedom without constraint. As home educators we desire to be free from the control of government-determined goals and curriculums. We desire to be free to educate our children in the manner suited to them and in accordance with the demands they will face in the future. A schedule or program of education is a tremendous asset in accomplishing home education goals.
Have you stayed away from the Homeschool Expo just because of the magnitude of it all? Looking at the listing of workshops or a peak into the exhibit hall can give you a deer in the headlights look! Where do you start?
- Plan ahead by reading about the available workshops and making a note of when it will be held. If there are two you want to attend at the same time, consider which would be best to attend and get the other on CD. If you go with a friend or a spouse, you can each attend one and share notes afterwards.
- Have a list of curriculum you want to look over. Plan on taking the time you need and ask the exhibitors your questions.
- Know your prices. If you buy at the conference it will save on shipping, but you will want to have some kind of luggage or cart on wheels to save your strength.
- Do you have a budget? If you do, don’t spend it all at once! The school year is long and you will probably need something else before the year is out.
Attending the Homeschool Expo is educational and exciting. The workshops and exhibitors are there for you. You might also want to consider Homeschooling for Excellence, a one day conference for beginning homeschoolers.