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011. All About Family

All About Family

How do you balance multi-age students?
How do you encourage strong sibling relationships?
How do you encourage extended family support?

Tune in this week while we discuss these topics and more!

Episode 011:

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Sibling Kindness Poster and more!

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Show Notes

How to balance multi-age students? (2:11)

One of the biggest reasons people give for wanting to homeschool is to spend more time with family.  That can be more quality time with your immediate family or more flexibility in visiting extended family, as well. Whatever your reasons for choosing this lifestyle, it’s a true whole family commitment.

Parenting is not always pretty. What you see on social media doesn’t always paint a true picture of what’s going on in the home. We may have this expectation that everybody else has this happy, peaceful home and that is even more of a concern when we homeschool.  Conflicts will arise, but keep in mind that we are here to teach our kids much more than just curriculum. We are teaching them appropriate ways to deal with their emotions, frustrations and how to problem solve. 

Get those wiggle out at the park!

Much of our early homeschooling journey was balancing the needs of younger kids that still needed a lot of one-on-one help, while keeping a nursing baby happy, or keeping a toddler from climbing on the table or screaming during a read aloud, to keeping a preschooler occupied during events or activities that were meant for older kids.

What is a Homeschool Lifestyle?

Sometimes it is easiest to have a short early morning routine with breakfast and reading on the couch and go get some energy out – either at the park, go for a long walk or sometimes head to the mall, if the weather isn’t favorable.   We would also have regular play dates with families that meshed with our family and the younger siblings were ALWAYS involved. If we met up with friends in the morning, then we would do school in the afternoon and vice versa. 

In those early years, we did most activities as a family. Both kids helped with meal prep, household chores, and even the household budget. Reading was always a huge part of the day, and we spent a lot of time at the library.  A good way to get littles motivation in the morning is activities like morning baskets, shared crafts, or schooling certain subjects together before moving on to one on one or trickier subjects. Once a little one’s attention needs have been satisfied, it is often easier to move on to harder things with older students.

Morning Basket Ideas

A big help for schooling with multi-age students is encouraging the older ones to help to teach the younger sibling. Teaching is a great way to help solidify ideas and concepts that they have learned, and it is beneficial for the older child, as well as the younger sibling. Project based homeschooling is also a great way to include everyone.

Sometimes it also helps giving a younger one “work” to do too.  Preschoolers don’t really need a ton of formal education, but some may want to do what older siblings are doing, so it’s totally fine to make them a binder full of coloring or handwriting pages or give them their own age-specific craft or activity to do at the same time.

Trading time with other friends with similar spreads- we and another friend did a mom camp with younger siblings while older siblings attended a camp one summer.   We each traded off a day each and it was a great way for the younger friends to bond while the older were occupied and the moms got some me time, too. We also created clubs because all the girls were in one group and we needed a place or activity for the boys.  And we’ve both also done field trips and activities where there is an age limit and perhaps one parent went with all the older students, while another hung out with the youngsters at a nearby venue.

Sibling ART PARTY with Art Sherpa

It was important to us to search out inclusive family groups or activities. We almost always did multi age events and groups- park days, hiking group, clubs.  Most of our friends were in the same boat, none of us had time to attend 2, 3, 4, single kid activities several times a week, and we had a lot of overlap in friend groups, too.  

For a while we had to say no to a group that my older kids very much wanted to be a part of just because there was an age minimum that little sister hadn’t met yet.  It wasn’t worth the drama to send them when she also really wanted to go, so we just waited a year until everyone was old enough to participate. 

Some favorite books about parenting and family relationships:

“Siblings without Rivalry” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish:

“How to Talk so Kids will Listen…” series, also by Faber and Mazlish:

The original

For little kids

For teens

How to encourage strong sibling relationships? (14:56)

Sibling relationships are key to a strong family unit and if you foster a great bond early, this will benefit them for the rest of their lives.  Siblings influence one another on development, friendship, support, personality, identity, and emotion regulation.

Sibling conflict is normal.  Most behaviors children’s exhibit serve a function- understanding that will help you effectively honor the child’s mission and correct the behavior.  Sometimes a scuffle over a toy or an older child picking on a younger is meant to elicit a response and some attention from mom. These moments can be frustrating but if we just shift our thinking, we can see them as opportunities to teach Conflict Resolution!

Some ways we can foster healthy sibling bonds:

  • Avoid competition and rivalry, cheer each other on, promote the idea of a sibling/family team.
  • Check your own emotions when kids argue, take a break, help kids work out problems without making anyone wrong.
  • Encourage siblings to nurture one another, taking care of each other, having a sibling ask if the other is ok after they get hurt.
  • Create sibling special times.
  • Letting kids play together even if it interrupts learning time. Notice and promote the activities that get your kids playing together-do not interrupt happy play.  
  • Promote family activities that put kids in charge and let them make decisions.
  • Have a great nighttime routine! Winding down, reading together, saying goodnight to one another, talking about the day or plans for tomorrow. Often in the dark, side by side, it’s easier to say things out loud that maybe you struggle to say in person, don’t rush.  Listen to your kids.  There’s a reason kids put off going to bed.  They want to be with you, with each other, work through their emotions, etc.

How to encourage extended family support? (25:08)

There are many different families and types of family support.  

Extended Family
Extended family supporting a theater performance

How to deal with Negative support:

  • Spend less time with unsupportive people- don’t put yourself in situations where you are going to feel on the spot or criticized for your choices.  If you have a hard time saying no to that, think about whether it’s fair to put your kids in that situation.
  • Have strong boundaries- your choices are not up for discussion.
  • Stop the info train-when you invite people into the conversation, sometimes they think they get a vote.
  • Respect is earned, not expected.  Do not be afraid to walk away from relationships that do not benefit your family.

How to encourage Positive support:

  • People do not need to understand your choices, to support you.
  • Include positive information about what you are learning, doing, activities with extended relatives.
  • If grandparents, aunts, uncles, other extended family have special skills or interests, include them in your schooling or encourage them to share with the kids.  
  • Encourage gifts like museum memberships, books, supplies, or class tuition.
  • Being present, if you have local family and friends, inviting them to your kids’ activities or events is wonderful.  It’s great for them to see your kids thriving.

This Week’s Freebies:

Sibling Kindness Poster

009. Schedules, Routines & Rhythms

009.

Schedules, Routines & Rhythms

What’s the difference between schedules, routines & rhythms?
How do I organize the day?
What are some different planning methods?

Tune in this week while we discuss these topics and more!

Episode 009:

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Show Notes:

Like many adults, children thrive with a predictable routine and it helps them develop self-discipline. They like to know what happens next. But there is no reason structure has to be oppressive. Routines make life easier. There are no two homeschool days that are going to be exactly alike and whatever you plan, it will often not go exactly as planned. So set yourself up for success by choosing the method that will work best for you and continuing to be flexible and reevaluate over time.  What works for a certain season of life, may not later.

What’s the difference between schedules, routines, and rythms? (3:06)

Schedules, for many, impliesa  implies a rigid system of structured start and end times. When it comes to homeschooling, perhaps this also means adhering to a standard 180 day school year (two 18 week semesters, 36 week school year).

A lot of newer homeschool parents get really ambitious with these, often scheduling out every hour of the day.  This can backfire or be hard to stick to.

Awesome magnetic calendar that my kids loved!

Routines have less structure to them but give a gentle pattern to your day.  Perhaps you start each day with read aloud, then move on to math and other seat work, then work one on one with a younger child while an older one does some independent work, etc.  Because a routine does not have the rigidity of a strict, time-based schedule, you do not need to feel the pressure of cramming, say a certain amount of problems into a set math time slot, you have the flexibility of reading aloud extra when you are in a good spot in a book, etc. Learn more about Planning Your Homeschool Year.

Rhythms are even more unstructured and may take into account *all* your daily activities- chores, meal prep, meals, hygiene, rest and bed times.  Make a list of everything you do- this is an especially great type of plan to have with babies, toddlers, preschoolers.

How do I organize my day? (5:23)

What is a typical homeschool schedule?

Some states may have an outlined number of hours for daily homeschooling but your typical homeschool day may run for two or three hours.  Homeschoolers also may not do 5 days a week- we often did 4 with a co-op or field trip day.

With your attention only directed to your child, you save more time than when attending to 20+ learners. To help you overcome the challenges of your weekly daily schedules, these points could help.

Be flexible

Learning should be fun and you might need to adjust whenever necessary to fit into the day’s need and challenges because each day brings its trouble. Flexibility could include things like changing your starting time, interchanging subjects, delaying some subjects, and so on.

7 Steps to Choosing Curriculum
Not sure what curriculum to use?
Check out our 7 Steps to Choosing Curriculum
Be routine minded

Following hard rock schedules will bring frustration at some point or the other. Instead of wearing yourself out with schedules, be routine mined, and follow routine patterns that can always be adjusted to fit into the current circumstance.

Have every child in mind

When planning your schedules, consider every child in your home, and bring them onboard smoothly and systematically. You may give time to your younger children first, followed by the older ones.

Have allowances

In your weekly homeschool schedule, be flexible and allow time for unforeseen situations.

Getting to the actual schoolwork part of your day

Time for school! Check out the Jello Cell that we made and get your free Cell Pack
Be Prepared

I learned early on that the more organized and prepared I was, the better our days would flow. If I slept in and tried to wing it, it was always a more stressful day.

If I was running around looking for paper, pencils, or that scrap of paper I jotted down an idea on for science that day, my kids would lose interest or just disappear from the table altogether.

Do yourself a favor and spend some time preparing in the evening before– Spend 10 minutes looking over what you’re doing the next day to gather your materials and make any copies necessary.

I like to also sit down on Sundays and work on my “Blueprint for a Beautiful Week”. I plan out what we are doing for lessons/classes/activities, as well as meal plan and insert our household chores and any big errands we need to squeeze in.

Time for Math! Learn more Math Tips
Check out our favorite Math Games
Make it Fun

Children respond well to fun and games. Create games out of tasks that seem too boring or unstimulating to them. Also make it a point to include fun activities in their routine e.g. playtime. Get your FREE Boardgame Templates to help teach any concept (reading, math, social studies, and more!)

Make it magical

Simple things like lighting a candle at the beginning of read aloud, or having fancy writing implements can take the drudgery out of the things you need to get done.

We loved these Peggy Kaye books and HIGHLY recommend them!
Check them out:

Games for Math: Playful Ways to Help Your Child Learn Math, From Kindergarten to Third Grade

Games for Reading: Playful Ways to Help Your Child Read

Games for Writing: Playful Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Write

Let Them Have Some Say

By letting your kids have a say in some things they do or in what order they do them, they will be more cooperative and invested in their learning.

Social Time & Outside Classes/Events

To figure out how your routine will go on inside your home each week, you will need to start with what happens outside your home!

When my kids were younger, we would usually structure our school around social activities happening. If there was a field trip at 10 AM, then we would do a school when we got home.  If there’s an afternoon park day, we would be sure to school in the morning.

I’ve always done more outside classes as my kids got older, so a lot of what we did was arranged around those classes. When they were young, we did a park day every Tuesday and Friday morning, hike every Wednesday morning and Board game club every Friday afternoon. Those regular meet ups were not only fun memories for my kids, but they were also for my sanity as well!

Those regular meet ups were not only fun memories for my kids, they were my sanity

  • Hike every Wednesday morning
  • Board game club every Friday afternoon
  • Field Trips were a great additon to our learning
Choose the kind of schedule/routine/rhythm that works best for you

Life happens and we are constantly thrown off that schedule.

Don’t try to do every subject every day

Feel free to alternate days or choose an alternative scheduling method. Everything needs to be done regularly— not daily.

You are never going to squeeze 4 hours of schoolwork into a 4 hours. Something is going to happen — the washing machine will flood, the dog runs out the front door or someone decides this is the day for math tears. You will most likely not get it done, and you will end up frustrated. Plan to do 2 hours of school in a 4 hour tmeslot.

Want to be sure something gets done each day? Then add it on to one of the natural breaks of your day. A natural break is a meal (we all eat) or naptime or a nursing session, etc. Use these set times of things you know you will be doing certain things for important parts of your schedule — reading aloud, math, memory work, art. Move right from your natural break into your subject and soon it will become a habit. Check out our Favorite Books for New Readers.

Short Lessons to Help Stay on Task

The idea of short lessons stems from the Charlotte Mason philosophy. Your child can focus and learn more if you keep the lessons short and end them BEFORE he tires, even though he’s spending less time on his schoolwork.

When my kids struggle with math, I just have them do a few problems, and then we pop over to reading a chapter and then back to math. Or for my musician, have him go practice for 15 minutes and then come back.

Schedule the siblings

Ironically, the most important part of your schedule is probably where there is no school at all. When sitting to plan your routine, the infant to preschool set should probably be considered first, as this will help to create a routine that will run smoothly. Some ideas:

What can you do while nursing?

If baby wants to eat every morning at [8:00], then that is a great time to read aloud to the other kids.  I kept a book basket next to my nursing spot. Since we know reading aloud is important up until your older children leave the home, gather everyone together and enjoy this time. Little ones can play on the floor and everyone can find something to do with their hands. If you can’t read and nurse at the same time due to a wiggly older baby then pop in an audiobook or allow an older sibling to read. In fact, nursing time is also a great time for mom to be read to, so schedule time for reading aloud for emerging readers during nursing time as well. Get Daily FREE Homeschool Resources INSTANTLY on our Facebook group. These resources are a collection from all over the world and we recently posted a FREE morning basket planner we found online.

You can also make toddler care and entertainment part of the bigger kids’ school time. While you work with one, the other’s required task can be to play with little brother or sister and see to their needs for an allotted amount of time.

music, headphones, listening-791631.jpg
Get an AUDIOBOOK for everyone to enjoy!

My kids liked to teach baby sister finger plays and rhymes and we really enjoyed this book:

The Book of Finger Plays & Action Songs (First Steps in Music series) 

Filling the younger siblings bucket with this book:

Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Young Children

* Put preschoolers first. Often a little one-on-one attention from mom goes a long way towards the little one going off to play alone happily for a while. Schedule in story time and a fun activity for your twos, threes, and fours before you get started with the bigger kids.  Fill their cup!

* Utilize the nap time. School does not have to start early in the morning. If you have two or three young kids and one or more of them still take a long afternoon nap, then don’t start school until the little ones go down. School can go from 1-3 and can be done peacefully and with less frustration. Schedule the messiest, hardest, or most mom-consuming subjects for nap time.  Even for small children who no longer nap, scheduling a mandatory rest time can be a great way to make your day run smoother and keep everyone happy.

Follow your natural inclinations

If your family does not jump out of bed running in the morning, then resist scheduling an early start to your day. Enjoy the flexibility of homeschooling and work at your times of peak productivity. This also means taking into consideration your children’s natural schedule and the fact that they have variations (which may not match yours!) as well. Got one early riser? Schedule his or her independent work first. Let the others get up right before group time and then do their independent work after.

Do not try to change your life and adapt it around your schedule

That’s a prescription for disaster. First, it’s important to have an understanding of your family’s natural habits. You don’t want to choose a schedule that starts at 7 AM if your kids thrive when they sleep in. Try letting your child do school in the afternoon or evening if he seems to be more alert and functions better. He may be a different student. There is NO law saying school has to start at 8 am! In fact, there’s no law that says it has to be done Monday through Friday.

A Funny Candle School Time

Traditions:

Designing a mini prototype of their annual cardboard boat regatta. Check out our Elementary Hands-on Science Ideas

Make sure to include lots of traditions into your schedule or routine.  It gives everyone something to look forward to and makes for happy family memories.

Here’s some ideas of traditions that we both did:

  • Starting back after a holiday break FREEBIE!
  • First Day of School Year
  • Birthday on school day
  • Hike & Pie
  • Saint Patrick’s day hunt
  • MLK day
  • Shakespeare in the park
  • Dog birthday party
  • Homeschool days at different places in town for variety
  • Cardboard boat Regatta
cardboard boat regatta

What are some different planning methods?

Workboxes, Block and Loop Scheduling

Check out the workboxes we used:
(Perfect for little ones)

Loop scheduling doesn’t assign a particular subject to a certain day, but you may have a list of work you do during a certain time period, and when it’s time to work, you just move to the next thing on the list.  A day off for an emergency car repair does not derail.

Block scheduling is for when you may want to devote more time to a certain subject. So you give it a dedicated time period, like several weeks or a semester- this allows you to stay focused and move through material faster.  This is great for elective type classes, but also work with things like science/history.  Math and language arts are typically subjects you want to include every day.  Block scheduling might look more like a college or high school schedule.

Workboxing is another cool planning tool that was all the rage for a while.  It involved using a set of boxes/folders/shelves that a child would work through every day.  Some would include independent work, some might have “work with mom” or “work with sibling” slots.  I loved these- I had 10 drawers, 5 were everyday tasks and the other 5, I switched out, but I had a master weekly schedule, so it was super easy to load the boxes up at night.

This Week’s Freebies:

007. How To Find Your People

007.

How To Find Your People

What are co-ops, university model and micro-schools?
How to find support?
How to start your own group?

Episode 007:

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Homeschool Weekly Planner (pdf)

Brand New to Homeschooling?
GETTING START PAGE >>
Kindergarten Page >>
High School Series >>

Show Notes

How to find support (2:42)

There’s a myth that homeschooling is socially isolating. That is often what keeps lots of families from trying this immensely beneficial form of education.

The truth is that there are so many ways in which parents can connect their homeschoolers with others their age–they just need to be PROACTIVE.

Skate park play
Given homeschooling’s increasing popularity, especially in the wake of COVID-19, parents can take the following measures to ensure their children interact meaningfully with peers:
  • Plug into homeschool groups online and in person
  • Ask questions and learn from other families that have been there.
  • Show up and keep showing up-join clubs and activities
  • Use your local library
  • Volunteer
  • Invest in relationships

How to start your own group (20:56)

Homeschool Co-op
Homeschool Co-op
  • Plug into homeschool groups online and in person
  • Ask questions and learn from other families that have been there.
  • Show up and keep showing up-join clubs and activities
  • Use your local library
  • Volunteer
  • Invest in relationships

I can’t find other homeschoolers like me or that like to do what we do?

Is there a need for this? Build it and they will come!

Hosting a Cooking/Baking Class
  1. Build a core group of people who regularly attend. 
  2. Tap into the excitement of young moms and encourage them to plan events.
  3. Plan things that you want to do and would do anyway so you are not disappointed if others do not show up in the beginning.

What are Co-ops, University Model, and Micro-Schools (29:15)

This week’s Freebie:

004. Homeschool Styles and Philosophies

Homeschool Style and Philosophy

004.

Homeschool Styles and Philosophies

How to identify your worldview?
What are the different homeschool philosophies?
How to identify your child’s learning style? 

Tune in this week while we discuss these topics and more!

Episode 004:
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Homeschool Reflections Workbook (pdf)

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Show Notes

Homeschoolers are not all cut from the same mold.  We aren’t all choosing to homeschool for the same reasons and sometimes it’s even the opposite.  There are a million options for homeschooling out there so a little decision making on your worldview and style/philosophy is going to go a long way in helping you narrow down curricula choices.

These books suggestions can help determine YOUR homeschool style!

What is my homeschool Philosophy and Worldview?

These terms are often used in homeschooling to personal family ideals and to describe educational and homeschool materials (curriculum, books, movies…)

Authors, curriculum creators, sellers, youtubers, and reviews, don’t always clearly communicate or label materials as Religious/Christian, Neutral/Inclusive, or Secular. Before any purchases and any enrollment, it’s recommended to get further clarification.  Check their FAQ page or ask questions.

It’s important to understand your core beliefs and values regarding education. When choosing a curriculum, you need to find one that aligns with your philosophy, values, and worldview. Here are some points to consider:

Secular, Non-religious

You may prefer a curriculum that focuses on academic subjects without any specific religious influence. Secular curriculum is designed to provide a neutral educational experience, free from any particular religious worldview.

There are so many different types of faiths and religions and often the creators and the program don’t align with a family’s beliefs. Those families typically choose a curriculum without religion, and then teach their moral, ethical and religious values outside of a curriculum.

There’s a lot of reasons why families choose Secular Curriculum – even a lot of religious families choose a secular curriculum:

Why Choose Secular Resources?

Choosing a secular resource may be the right fit for you. It may surprise some people but there are Religious and non-religious families that seek out secular resources. It isn’t just atheist homeschoolers who are looking for these resources for their children. Families usually chose secular resources or choose a secular curriculum for the following reasons:

1. You aren’t religious

There are many homeschool families who homeschool for non-religious reasons.  There is a growing body of homeschoolers who do not follow any sort of religion. These families usually homeschool due to schedule issues, or because they believe their children can get a better education at home. Some homeschoolers may have been raised in a religious home and want to move away from a religion they see as harmful, but still have a personalized faith they want to teach their children on their own terms.

2. Maybe you are religious but not Evangelical Christian

Many homeschoolers of faith are Islamic, Jehovah’s Witness, Jewish, Wiccan, Catholic, Mormon, or follow some another religion. Many homeschool resources follow traditional Evangelical Christian beliefs, which may not be a fit for your family when you follow another religion.

3. You don’t follow the young earth theory

The most common reason homeschoolers seek out secular curriculum and local resources is that they do not believe in the Young Earth science theory. Young Earth theory states that the entire world is somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 years old, with the world just getting started with the first recorded stories from the Bible. Current scientific theory refutes this claim offering evidence that the earth was formed somewhere around 4.5 billion years ago.

4. You may have a special circumstance

For many families that have a child with special needs or learning differences, homeschooling may be the best choice.

5. You may want to prepare your children like a traditional school

The traditional school system is secular. Religion is not taught in most public schools and universities. Some parents would rather keep religious instruction separate from other subjects in school or teach all world religions equally.

Faith-based

On the other hand, if incorporating your religious beliefs into your children’s education is important to you, you may opt for a faith-based curriculum. These curricula integrate religious teachings and values into the academic subjects.

Neutral / Inclusive

Materials marketed to everyone.

What is my homeschool style?

A curriculum may fit your budget and homeschool values well, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for your student. Every child has a unique learning style, and homeschooling offers the flexibility to tailor their education accordingly. Consider each child’s unique struggles and needs before you select a curriculum. Schools often rely on workbooks and textbooks and traditional group teaching methods, but homeschooling opens up a world of alternative approaches.

Each family has unique preferences and approaches to homeschooling. Familiarize yourself with different homeschooling styles:

Traditional Homeschooling

  • Follows a structured and formal education model similar to traditional schools.
  • Involves textbooks, workbooks, and teacher-led instruction.
  • Focuses on following a predetermined curriculum and meeting specific learning objectives.

Classical Homeschooling

  • Draws inspiration from ancient Greek and Roman education methods.
  • Emphasizes the development of critical thinking, logic, and rhetorical skills.
  • Follows a three-stage model known as the trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric).

Charlotte Mason

  • Focuses on living books, nature study, and the development of good habits.
  • Values a broad and liberal arts education, incorporating subjects like literature, art, music, and nature.
  • Utilizes narration and short lessons as common practices.

Montessori Homeschooling

  • Emphasizes hands-on learning and self-paced exploration.
  • Provides a prepared environment with carefully selected materials that promote independence.
  • Focuses on sensorial experiences, practical life skills, and individualized learning.

Waldorf Homeschooling

  • Emphasizes a holistic approach to education, nurturing imagination, creativity, and emotional development.
  • Incorporates artistic activities, storytelling, crafts, and rhythm into daily lessons.
  • Often discourages the use of electronic media especially in the early years.

Unit Studies or Project-based Learning

  • Integrates multiple subjects into a themed unit of study.
  • Explores a specific topic or concept across various disciplines.
  • Allows for an in-depth and comprehensive exploration of a subject.

Eclectic Homeschooling

  • Combines various approaches and resources to create a customized learning experience.
  • Allows families to pick and choose from different methods, curriculum materials, and teaching styles.
  • Offers flexibility and adaptability in designing a personalized education.

Relaxed Homeschooling

  • Takes a laid-back and flexible approach to learning.
  • Focuses on creating a low-stress environment and allowing children to learn at their own pace.
  • Emphasizes fostering a love of learning rather than adhering to a strict schedule or curriculum.

Unschooling

  • Emphasizes child-led learning and natural curiosity.
  • Encourages children to explore their interests and learn through real-life experiences.
  • Learning happens organically through everyday activities and self-directed exploration.

Online Schooling/Outsourcing

  • Not really a philosophy, but a delivery method
  • Focus is on traditional skills and content but delivered in a more tailored way, allowing for parents to be more hands-off
  • Could include live online classes, asynchronous classes, video lectures, or software based learning

Remember, these descriptions provide a general overview of each homeschooling style, and there can be variations and combinations of methods within each approach. Feel free to explore and adapt different approaches to create a homeschooling experience that best suits your family’s needs and educational goals.  Some people start off with one method, and totally regroup as their child gets older.  Some may even use a variety of methods with different children in their own home. And that’s the beauty of homeschooling: customizing your experience for your student. There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to selecting a style and curriculum. Take a quiz to determine your homeschool style

View our Curriculum Guide>>

What is your child’s learning style?

By considering your student’s unique struggles, needs, and preferences, you can select a curriculum that is engaging, effective, and well-suited to their individual learning journey. Don’t be afraid to explore different resources, experiment with various approaches, and adapt the curriculum to create a personalized learning experience that supports your student’s growth and success.

Here are some key points to consider when selecting a curriculum that best suits your student’s learning needs and preferences:

Individual Learning Needs

  • Take into account your student’s specific learning needs, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Consider their preferred learning style, whether they learn best through visual, auditory, or hands-on methods.
  • Think about any specific learning challenges or areas where they may need extra support or accommodations.

Personal Preferences

  • Recognize that what works for one child may not work for another.
  • Each child has their own interests, learning pace, and preferred methods of learning.
  • Consider their preferences for interactive activities, group work, or independent study.

Age and Developmental Stage

  • Keep in mind that what was effective for an older sibling may not be the best fit for a younger one and all kids mature at different ages.
  • Consider age-appropriate materials and activities that align with your student’s developmental stage.
  • Adapt the curriculum to match their readiness and abilities.

Learning Styles

  • Visual (spatial):You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.
  • Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

Flexibility and Adaptability

  • Remember that homeschooling allows you the flexibility to tailor the curriculum to meet your student’s needs.
  • Be open to adjusting and customizing the curriculum as you go along, based on your student’s progress and feedback.
Reading in Costume

The Week’s Freebie:

003. How To Get Started

003.

How To Get Started in Homeschooling

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Homeschooling?
Can I homeschool in my state?
How to withdraw your child from public school?
What is Deschooling?

Tune in this week while we discuss these topics and more!

Scroll Down for this week’s Freebie:
Two Withdrawal Sample Letters

Brand New to Homeschooling?
GETTING START PAGE >>
Kindergarten Page >>
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Show Notes:

Great News! We have choices when it comes to our children’s education!

Homeschooling may seem daunting when you first begin but we are here to help you navigate through this entire process! In this episode, Maria and Nicole discuss advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling, homeschooling in your state, withdrawing your child from public school and deschooling.

Top 10 Books Every Homeschooler Should Read is a great place to begin to set yourself up for success and create life-long learners:

with FREE Companion Workbook

These books have inspired us and several stay on our bookshelves and we often re-read and reference them at the start of our new school year. Many new homeschoolers struggle with confidence and wonder if they really can homeschool their children. These books will help begin to lay the foundation of Finding the Confidence to set your children up for success!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Homeschooling (1:36)

Homeschooling Pros:

  • Flexibility/time
  • Freedom
  • Personalized education
  • Strong family relationships
  • Fostering a love of learning
  • Religious or ethical instruction

Homeschooling Cons:

  • Workload
  • Time 
  • Finding balance
  • Excessive interaction
  • Seeking out social opportunities
  • Other people’s opinions 
  • Cost 

Worried about Socialization?

This MYTH is debunked time and time again! Homeschoolers have MORE Opportunities to socialize since they are not limited to a classroom setting all day. There’s so much time wasted in public school and lessons takes a fraction of the time at a home leaving more time for personal interests and building friendships. Learn More About Socialization and check out the Complete List of 100 Ways to Socialize Your Homeschooler.

State Laws and Requirements (26:23)

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, however all states have differing requirements as to what you must teach, how to withdraw from school, what a compulsory school age is (and/or whether kindergarten is required), and what, if any, type of reporting requirements there are.

Homeschool Laws by State
Look up your State’s Homeschooling Laws

Homeschool in Texas

In 1994 the Texas Supreme Court unanimously upheld lower court decisions that home schools, by law, are considered private schools. Private schools are exempt from the compulsory attendance requirements placed upon public school attendees. Private schools in Texas are not regulated or accredited by the state.

  • The instruction must be bona fide (i.e., not a sham).
  • The curriculum must be in visual form (e.g., books, workbooks, video monitor).
  • The curriculum must include the five basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship.

There are no reporting agencies and no testing requirements for homeschoolers. The state of Texas does not regulate homeschoolers once they have been removed from the public school system.

IF YOUR CHILD HAS NEVER ATTENDED SCHOOL
  • If your child has never attended public school, you can simply keep them home and homeschool.
  • You do not have to notify the school or sign the intent to homeschool if they have never been enrolled.
How to withdraw your child from public school (Texas)
  • BY MAIL (recommended):  It is suggested that you send this certified mail, return receipt requested, so you have proof of their receipt of the letter. Send a copy to the registrar in case the principal forgets to notify them.
  • IN PERSON: Go to the school and tell the administrator that you will be withdrawing your child to homeschool him/her.  You can physically deliver your letter (recommended) or sign the provided form (“Intent to Homeschool”, “Homeschool Assurance Statement”, or whatever the school titles it) This form may ask you what type of curriculum you intend to use. You DO NOT have to answer this question. You can leave it blank if you like. Or, if you want to put something there you can simply say you will be using an eclectic approach, utilizing many types of resources.
  • Pay any library fines, return books that belong to the school, settle up cafeteria charges, etc.
  • Should you have any issues from the school, you should contact an attorney, or you can seek legal guidance from a homeschool group that provides legal representation.
  • Once you have withdrawn you child, take this time to DESCHOOL and enjoy them before beginning any formal education.

What is Deschooling? (31:16)

Deschooling is defined as the adjustment period a child goes through when leaving school and beginning homeschooling.  To fully benefit, a child has to let go of the private/public school culture as the norm.  This is a crucial part of beginning homeschooling after a period of time spent in a classroom.

Deschooling
Learn more: Deschooling 101 and download the Free Deschooling Activity Page to keep learning during this time.

This Week’s Freebies:

Withdraw Your Child from Public School
SAMPLE LETTER #1
Withdraw Your Child from Public School
SAMPLE LETTER #2
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