Homeschooling 101

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If you have ever thought of homeschooling, but was not sure where to start this post is for you! When I first began homeschooling, I was overwhelmed with all that was required, and all that I felt I needed to do. Luckily, I had a great friend walk me through that first year.  Here are some tips she recommended, and some I would like to add. These are great recommendations to help you out when you first begin homeschooling!

  1. Find someone who homeschool. It may be a friend, a friend of a friend, a family member, or a stranger you meet in the library. Ask around and see if anyone you know, knows someone who homeschools. Believe me when I say you can find SOMEONE who homeschools if you look hard enough.
  2. Research curriculum. There is no perfect curriculum out there so I recommend you get a bunch of catalogs and look over them. Try to find somewhere to look at curriculum. This could be a used book store, or a homeschool convention. If you know other homeschoolers ask them if you can look at their curriculum. Seeing the books in person is a lot different than just peeking at them online. You can get a better feel for it in person. Also, do not spend a lot of money your first year. Just buy a few things to get you started. You will learn more about your style and what you and your children like after that first year.
  3. Find a Homeschool group. If you do not know if there is one near you start one. The homeschool group I started began with 3 moms who had preschoolers, but had the desire to homeschool. Our first “official” year we had 6 families. We are on our 4th school year together and now have over 50.
  4. Enjoy your children. This is the most important! I wish I could go back to my first year and relax. There were so many tears and I pushed too hard. It was not fun! The 2nd and 3red year was much more relaxed and now that I am ending our 4th year I feel I have learned so much. If you slow down and just enjoy the time you have with your kids it will make your life so much easier. Yes there needs to be time to learn, time to teach and time to do school, but most importantly their needs to be time to enjoy each other as a family!
  5. Research the homeschooling laws in your state. If your children are in public school find out whom you need to notify and when, BEFORE you pull them out. If you have preschoolers and plan on homeschooling long term get acquainted with the laws before your child is school age. The laws vary from state to state so check out Homeschool Legal Defense Association to find out more information.
  6. Read books on homeschooling and different philosophies. You can also look into homeschool magazines. Some of my favorites are Homeschool Enrichment and Home Educating Family. You can also read blogs from families who homeschool and get ideas.

Beginning homeschooling can be overwhelming. But, remember the hard work will be worth it! Hopefully these recommendations will help you as you start your journey.

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

 

Why Attend a Homeschool Convention?

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As you know, the Southeast Homeschool Expo is coming up soon! You may ask yourself, “Why should I attend a Homeschool Convention”. That is a great question! Homeschool conventions are perfect for new and seasoned homeschoolers. I am going to share just a few reasons you should make time to attend a homeschool convention this year.

Encouragement

Homeschooling is hard. Going to a convention will put you with likeminded individuals who “get” what you are going through. They offer great and encouraging speakers, and workshops that will encourage you to continue on your homeschool journey.

Conferences can also help validate your decision to homeschool. If you have had a bad year, or are second-guessing your decision, you can gain encouragement from talking to moms who have been there, and have stayed on course. Also, if you have little support from friends and family, seeing and talking so many other homeschoolers who have chosen the same path can be a huge blessing!

Education

Professional teachers have some sort of continuing education requirement right? You are a professional too! A homeschool convention is a great way to continue your education. Not sure what to teach, or why? Not sure what your child’s learning style is? Not sure what Homeschool method to use? Have a child with special needs, and need some help? Most conventions will offer workshops on all of these areas and speaking topics can range from getting started, to graduating your homeschooler, and everything in between. Conventions are a great place for moms to be educated!

Friendship

Local homeschool conventions are a great opportunity to fellowship with friends, old and new! Many times, we moms get to busy to visit during the school year. A homeschool convention is a great excuse to make time for friendship. Invite a friend or two, and spend the day catching up and learning from the speakers, and gleaning encouragement.

Curriculum

One of the biggest reasons to attend a homeschool convention is the vendor hall. This is where numerous vendors will be set up with their curriculums, all ready for you to look at, feel, and of course-buy! Conventions will have a variety of homeschool curriculum spanning all styles, methods, and subjects. You can take your time, browse, and chat with others who have used the curriculum, and in some cases, even the people who have written it!

For these reasons and many more, make sure you make the time to attend a homeschool convention this year. Whether you choose to attend the Southeast Homeschool Expo, or another convention near you, attending one will be an experience you will not likely forget!

 

 

 

 

 

Finding a Homeschool Space

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I have been homeschooling for close to 5 years. Our first few years we did not have a homeschool room. Once baby number 3 was added to our small home, we decided more space was in order. We added on a nice size homeschool/playroom, and since then have had a designated homeschool space.

We do not “do” school only in our room. The kids learn everywhere! However, having the extra space to store our homeschool stuff, and to be able to put our educational posters and the like has been nice.

Many families do not have the space to have a designated homeschool room. Even though, they may want one. However, with a little creativity you can turn an area of your home into the homeschool space you desire.

Here are some ideas for finding a homeschool space:

Dining Room: We used our dining room for school for years before we added on to our home. You can find some fairly creative organizing tips on Pinterest to get the most use out of a small space. If you rarely use your dining room, consider converting it into a space for your homeschool.

Basement or Attic: I have friends who have been able to convert unused attic or basement pace in their homes to nice areas for school.

Extra Bedrooms: If you have two children of the same gender and are in a 3-bedroom home, consider putting them together and making the extra bedroom homeschool space.

Porches: Our homeschool room came from a front porch we rarely used. For a small price, we were able to convert that front porch into our homeschool room. If your home has a patio or porch that is not used, consider looking into what it would cost to utilize that extra space.

Homeschool rooms are not a necessity, I know many families who do not have one. However, if you have been wanting to find a space for your homeschool, I encourage you to look into these options, maybe one of them could work for you!

 

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.

Organizing a Homeschool Portfolio

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Whether or not your state requires homeschool assessment it is a good idea to keep a record of your child’s schoolwork each year. One way to do this is by keeping a portfolio. Homeschool portfolios can be as in depth or simple as you want to make them.

Step 1: Choose a binder large enough to hold your child’s work. For many this will need to be at least 1 ½”. If you are not going to be including Math or Grammar samples due to having them somewhere else (like a workbook), you can get by with a little smaller.

Step 2: Purchase tabbed dividers and filler paper to organize your child’s homeschool portfolio.

Step 3: Decide how to organize the portfolio. Are you going to divide it up by subject, month, season, or quarter? How you divide it up is ultimately up to you.

Step 4: Include important documents like your homeschool approval letter (if you have one), a list of curriculum used, and a sample school calendar. This should all go right in the front of the portfolio.

Step 5: Start putting in samples of work. Many parents only put in their child’s best work, but that is not always a good idea. You want to see a progression throughout the year, so it is okay to put in work that is “so/so”. Good ideas to include in the portfolio are Math drill sheets, grammar tests, book reports, science experiment papers, artwork, History notes, and any other item you deem important. Don’t forget about field trips! I always grab a pamphlet from every place we go and put it in the kid’s portfolios. Field trips are learning experiences too.

When it comes to organizing a homeschool portfolio, don’t stress! Homeschool portfolios do not have to be difficult or overwhelming. Make them fun! Let your kids pick what they want to keep. You may be surprised what they deem important enough to hold on too. Also, snap a few pictures throughout the year and at the end place them in the portfolio with their end of the year assessment (if required). I am always surprised how much my children have grown from the first of the year to the end. Homeschool portfolios are supposed to highlight your child’s work, but they can also serve as a “yearbook” of sorts. One day you may be looking through them with your grandkids remembering all the fun that homeschooling was that year.

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.

Cassidy Cash

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Cassidy Cash is a math educator, homeschool mom, author, and speaker. For over 12 years Cassidy has been the tutor schools and educators call in when they have students who are failing math. Over the years of helping failing math students what she came to find is that most of the students were not failing math because of any learning disability or cognitive learning gap. Instead, what she discovered is that the majority of those students needed someone to explain the math in terms they could understand—to use real world activities and demonstrations to make the math come alive. Once the explanation was given in terms the student related to personally, almost all of Cassidy’s students return to their math classes to achieve A’s and B’s in their classes. Seeing that there were many students who needed this kind of help, but too many to be able to work with them each personally, Cassidy created her blog, http://www.cassidycash.com , to share with other tutors, parents, students, and educators the methods she had discovered to help students succeed in math. She also founded the company, Have Fun Learning, to provide active education lesson plans that bring science-lab type activities to the math class. Her most recent book, “9 Myths about High School Math and the truth that brings peace to your kitchen table” is available as an ebook on Amazon.com. Cassidy lives in Birmingham, AL with her husband, Tim, and their two sons.