Ray Simmons and Cynthia homeschooled their five children together. He severs as elder and Bible teacher at Grace Community Church. He’s also an accountant and has successfully managed money for thirty years.
Your child may not learn to read till they are around age 5, but your child is learning from the time they are born. The foundation of good literacy skills is started while the child is still young. Early literacy skills are things like communication, recognition of letters, numbers and words (not reading, but recognizing), storytelling, being able to narrate what was said, or read, learning to rhyme, and recognize sounds.
Here are some simple things you can do to teach literacy skills:
Read to your child!
Start at a young age, even infants and toddlers can learn to love books. When your child is around 3 or 4 start reading good quality literature to them. Some good ones to start with are Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, or the Little House Series. Reading is such an important tool in a child’s life and can open up a whole new world to a young child. Studies have shown that exposing children to reading before preschool greatly improves their academic performance when they start elementary school.
Give them books-lots of them!
Don’t feel obligated to buy them though, get in the habit of taking your kids to the library every week (or at least once a month) and checking out great books for kids. When they are young they may just look at the pictures. They may hold them upside down, or even teeth on them. This is okay; the point is getting them in their hands while they are little.
Talk to your child about letters and words they see every day.
There are letters and words on road signs, store signs, labels on foods, cover pages on books and magazines. Point out the letters and words to your child. Look at the EXIT and STOP signs and explain what they mean and how the letters come together to make an important word.
Make a game out of rhyming words.
Say funny phrases like “The man has a fan and a tan” or “The fat cat sat on the hat”. Point out the words that rhyme in the phrase, and see if they can come up with one of their own.
Use claps, jumps or pats to teach syllables.
Start with your child’s name. For example “Alyson” has 3 syllables so we would jump 3 times (AL-Y-SON). Then you could move on to your name, the dog’s name, what you are eating for dinner, etc.
Teach through play!
When teaching them to write their name or learning the alphabet, use a stick and let them play in the dirt! What kid doesn’t love to play outside? This is a simple way to get them learning while they are up and moving.
All of these skills can be taught at home with little or no money spent on “curriculum” or “early learning tools”. Learning through play is important for young children and these are just a few tips you can use to teach literacy skills and help your child learn.
Author Bio: Misty Bailey 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.
You made it through your hardest homeschooling years, High School! And now, you are on to the next step, applying for college! I am sure you and your graduate are excited and overwhelmed. The college application process can be grueling, but one good thing is that the college application process for homeschoolers is really not that more difficult than a traditional highschooler.
During your child’s sophomore and junior year of high school, they should visit prospective universities. Make a list of the top 5-10 colleges your child may want to attend, and schedule campus visits.
The SAT should be taken in December of your student’s junior year. They can begin studying in the fall. They can then retake the test in May if they desire.
The ACT should be taken in December of your student’s junior year as well. Then the retest would be in April if your student desires.
Universities typically have a cutoff date for test scores of December in a student’s senior year, so it is imperative that your child takes the necessary tests before that date. If you want more information on preparing your homeschool child for these tests we have you covered!
FAFSA is necessary for all students to complete. This will give you an idea of what types of financial aid your child is eligible for and will help you make a plan to pay for your child’s college.
The deadlines for the FAFSA will vary from state to state, and from college to college. For more information regarding FAFSA deadlines check out their website. The general rule of thumb is early spring, but one can apply as early as January the fall before they plan to begin college.
September of a student’s senior year they should make a list of where they are interested in attending. Then second visits can be made if necessary. College applications can be sent as early as October of one’s senior year of high school.
This site has a great timeline to help with the application process.
Things to keep in mind
- References- A homeschooled student will still need references, but won’t have teachers or guidance counselors to write them. Volunteer coordinators, pastors, co-op teachers, 4-h advisors, bosses from their job, could all be references for a homeschool student.
- Transcripts- A homeschooled student’s transcript will need to be top notch! If you feel inadequate writing your child’s transcript seek help, from a friend, local organization, or online company.
Homeschooling has become more and more popular, so of course universities are growing more accustomed to homeschool applicants. Don’t stress about the college application process, and remember that your child’s homeschool experience does not put them at a disadvantage, but at an advantage! Any university would be lucky to have him.
HSLDA has a great resource list to help parents in the college application process.
In the few years I have been homeschooling, and have helped mentor new homeschool families, I have heard of one common struggle-teaching Math! Whether it be geometry, algebra, multiplication or something else, homeschool families tend to hit a wall often while teaching (or learning) math. We need help with math, but we aren’t sure where to get it.
My first few years I switched math curriculums a few times before finding one that fit for our family (CLE Math but now Teaching Textbooks). However, even though the curriculum is great, I have still had to supplement with some online resources. As a homeschool parent, it is important to know what is out there in terms of teaching Math, and where you can go to get help if needed. Here are some online resources to help with math.
Easy Peasy is a complete online homeschool curriculum that is free. They include a program for math that has hands on games, fact practice, and lessons to help teach your child the math skills they need.
We started using Khan Academy to supplement this year, and have really liked it. Khan Academy is aligned with common core, but if those lessons can be skipped if you chose not to follow it. Khan Academy offers skills practice, mastery challenges, and full teaching videos. You can set up an account for your child, and follow their progress on your teacher’s dashboard. You can assign lessons, or pick which ones you want your child to complete. Khan Academy is personalized and will match your child with lessons if you do not assign them. Best of all it is FREE!
Math IXL is another online program that families can use to help with Math. They offer monthly subscription plans and lessons begin as early as PK. It is also aligned with Common Core and offers special program options for homeschool families.
This interactive game website is free and offers tons of games for children to help them hone in on their math skills. You can pick a level or topic and allow your child to practice an area they may be struggling with. They even offer assessments!
TED talks are widely popular with kids and now there is a TedEd math section! This portion uses clever graphics and cultural references mixed in with key mathematical principles to make learning math fun! A great resource for those kids who tire easily from math concepts.
Parents, teaching math does not have to be a headache. Thanks to the many online resources to help with math, we have help at the tip of our fingers.
Misty Bailey is a Christian wife and homeschool mom. 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.
As I looked around my homeschool space I saw books, pencils, crayons, projects that we were working on and of course my children ;) I also saw garbage, empty glue sticks, craft supplies, and clutter strewn throughout the room.
It was a tad bit overwhelming!
If I had to guess, your homeschool space is similar. Homeschooling requires material. It requires space. It requires items that will ultimately lead to clutter……
So, how do you tame the clutter and keep it from taking over your homeschool space? You must get organized!
Have a Space for Everything
This has been a huge help in our quest for homeschool organization. All of our teacher manuals go in one spot. Non-fiction books? They have their own shelf. Same goes for library books and fiction books. I also give each of our children a shelf for their school items. Homeschool books and school supplies are the only things that are allowed on their school shelf. This keeps everything they need for school in one place.
Clean Up and Throw it away!
Those empty glue sticks? Paper left over from art day? Toss it! This needs to happen each and every day. At the end of your day go in and look around your homeschool space. What can be tossed? What needs to be straightened up? Having a clean and ready space to homeschool in each day is important both for you and your kids.
Encourage and Reprimand
Once your children are a certain age they should be doing this each day as well. Remind them to put their school items up each day. If they have an art mess, they need to be responsible for cleaning it up. Encourage them to take responsibilities for their homeschool space NOW. This will help them as they get older.
If your child does not straighten up their space and clear the clutter there needs to be a punishment. What this is will vary from family to family. For my kids, if they have an art project out and do not clean it up afterward they don’t get to do an art project for a set number of days. If they lose a piece of paper that is important they have to redo the project. Same goes for losing scissors, rulers, etc (they must repurchase or find the missing item).
Why Keep It?
As parents we are of course VERY proud of our kid’s accomplishments, but why do we need to keep EVERYTHING that they work on? We don’t!
When your child’s homeschool paperwork goes through you, determine what needs to be kept, and what doesn’t. Things like tests, quizzes, and reports may be best to keep. Every time they wrote their name….not so much. Keep what’s important and toss the rest!
Encourage your kids to do this with their homeschool projects. Let them decide what they want to keep and what they want to toss. Consider purchasing a tote, or binder just for items they want to keep. Once it’s full, it’s full and they can decide what to take out to make room for more items. Also, digital memories may work for the kids! Take pictures of their projects and print them off. My kids keep their favorites in their homeschool portfolio or on a cork board in their room.
Taming the homeschool clutter can be a full-time job. BUT it is important to get the kids involved and teach them NOW to be responsible for their space, their clutter, and their items. This is a key step in taming the homeschool clutter now and each and every day here on out.
Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued, homeschooling and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.