Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Overcoming Homeschool Jitters

This is my second year homeschooling. If I had to do it all over again, I would still choose to homeschool.  I've learned so much about my children as well as my capabilities. I think it's time to answer and respond to a few questions and statements that I've been asked or heard over and over. I think these questions are asked by many new homeschool families or at least I have and others that I've met over the last year or so.

Am I qualified to homeschool my children?

I think I've heard this question a lot. I thought it myself before homeschooling. the answer to this is simply, "Yes!" Anyone can teach, but can they teach with love? That's the bigger question and that answer is, "No!" this is why homeschool is the best education possible for your children. Love is the only qualification needed to homeschool. We want the best for our children and will do whatever it takes to make sure that happens.

I think public school is a better fit to teach my children.

Do you really think this now? Have you really taken a look at our public school's testing results, bullying, and violence? This is not what I would want for my children, I'm sure you don't either. However, I use to think the same way, but enough is enough. I couldn't just sit back and let my children suffer any longer and all I was hearing, "budget cuts" or "we don't have the resources." Time and time again they kept telling me it's best that my children needed to be a socialized environment, but what was the point if they weren't learning anything. It became to one big social event versus a learning environment.

A few stories I've heard since starting our homeschool journey:

"I need help, our district cut back on transportation. Now my child has to walk over 3 miles to get to school. No way am I having my child do that. So, I want to homeschool her. Where do I start?"

"My child comes home crying everyday. I can't take it anymore. Where do I start?"

"My district doesn't have the funds to fulfill my child's needs. How do I homeschool a special needs child."

These a few stories that have touched my heart in past year. However, these aren't the only stories out there. Some don't choose the public school system, they homeschool from the beginning. Yet, some didn't because they chose work, thought it was best the other way, or other reasons, but whatever the reason was, they now are homeschooling and need help getting started. So, I've put together a few things to get started from my learning.


This is often asked by many because there can be a lot depending on your state requirements. Click here to get your state requirements. I have listed only the basic materials needed to organize your materials. Your list may be longer depending on how many children you will be homeschooling.

Plastic box that holds file folders
File folders - Click on our resell tab to see what else you can do with these.
Color Pencils
Notebook paper
Spiral notebook paper
3 Ring binders for each child & one for yourself (small & large)
Card file boxes (click here to see how we use ours)
File cards (index cards will do)
Shallow bins to hold your crafting materials

Your small binder should consist of official paperwork for each child. This way it will keep things simple and easy to locate when needed. This list is also the basic needs and you may need more depending on your state requirements.

Attendance records
List of subjects studied
List of topics studied
List of textbooks/workworks being used to teach/child
Samples of your child's work
Testing results
Progress reports
Grade/report cards
Immunization records

Each child will need a binder for each subject. This may seem like a lot of space, but trust me, you'll thank me later. We tried the one binder for all, but then papers were getting lost or misplaced. That created frustration for my children and me. So, they each have their own selves and they really like it.

They get a schedule every day that tells them exactly what they need to learn. They go to their shelf and get what they need. Each child has a Daily Learning Notebook, it covers the basics. Click here to see how we use those. Once they complete that, it will have their schedule at the end telling them what they need to do for that day. I assist my younger children with their schedules.

We also tried the workbox system, but that didn't work for all of my children. I think it was because we don't have the space for it. So, we used a file box. Click here to see how I set that up.

I now use that as my filing cabinet. This is usually my research findings, master copies, worksheets, lapbook topics, bland notebooking pages, etc. This is really great for those worksheets that I find and don't want to save everything to my computer because I will run out of space very fast.

How do I find time to plan?

I get up two hours before my children take care of me and review. You already know how to take of yourself, exercise, shower, etc. I review my lesson plans for the day. I set up for everything. This way there won't be any distractions later. I would open all pages that we would need for that day. I would have D.O.L. (Daily Oral Language) on the whiteboard. This allows me a little time to finish setting up for whatever else needs to be done or I can take a breather.

My second planning slot is after lunch. I give them an hour of free play. This allows me an hour of research a day to plan for the following week. In the beginning of the year, I had everything planned for the whole year, but then it didn't work because some needed more time to learn. Which is fine and lesson learned that planning by the week is best for my family.

My final research slot is on the weekends. I set two hours each day for any researching that may still needs to be done. This may include writing my lesson plans, printing, grading, etc. Most of the time I'm grading papers and printing on the weekends because five hours is plenty for me to research.

How long do I spend planning and researching

I spend nineteen hours a week for my children. I have five children, but for someone whom has less than that, nineteen hours would be a bit much. So, the amount of time spent, depends on how many children you have and where you can plan the time. You would have to sit down, make schedule of your day to get a visual. This will allow you to see where the gaps are and utilize that time wisely.

Where do I start?

I start with the grade requirements. Click here to get that list. This list is located on our "Homeschool Mamma Facebook Group." It's divided up by grade levels.

Once you have your topic you can use the list of resources from here and here to find learning materials. I recommend having a separate sheet for each child. This way you don't get mixed up, get the wrong resource, or an inappropriate grade level for your child.

Make sure you keep your evenings open for family time. Get down there and play with your children. Have your children help with dinner. Pick a day to prepare meals ahead for the week. This will give you more cuddle and play time with your children. Plan an activity that everyone can do together. Dust off those old board games in the hall closet. Enjoy your time with them, they grow up fast, don't miss out on their childhood.

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