Sharing all of my resources to help you and child succeed...
Homeschooling is what you make of it...
2020 was quite a year for all of us. So many sacrifices and tough decisions had to be made. I understand the public and private school systems did what they felt they needed to do in order to protect facility and children, but now we are at a crossroads in the climate of what we are dealing with and how it is being handled. I am not going to speak on behalf of any of that, but I am going to share my experience of homeschooling and all of my resources that aided our success from kindergarten into the 1st grade.
Last year, watching my child lose interest in learning was devastating to me as a mother. Paityn (my oldest) was a kindergartener. Paityn sat at a computer screen all day (8 hours) to “do school”. I created a beautiful little workspace and desk that housed all of her school supplies. I made sure she was ready and had everything she needed in order to succeed. However, that was not what she wanted. She wanted interaction and attention. She wanted to be heard and to make friends. Online learning was not working for her.
The early years of her life were going to set the tone for how she viewed getting an education for the rest of her life, and that is not how I wanted her to remember it. So it was time to switch gears.
I spent countless hours and days doing research and trying to figure out where to begin and how to begin. God’s grace had a huge impact on me as I was led to scripture. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go: And when he is old, he will not depart from it.”. This is when I decided it was time to put my own understanding aside and have whole hearted faith that I would be led by the spirit to teach my daughter.
This year we are sending her to a biblically sound private school where they value the parents concerns and welcome questions. Should this type of school not have existed, I would have continued to homeschool.
Today, I see other parents feeling that same desperation and wanting what is best for their children and feeling overwhelmed on where to begin. Homeschooling does not have to be overwhelming. Homeschooling is what you make of it.
Where do you begin?
Questions to ask yourself…
- What sacrifices are you going to have to make?
- What sacrifices are you willing to make?
- What are you not willing to give up?
- Could you keep in touch with your child’s friend’s parents from school to make sure they get enough social interaction and feel fulfilled?
- How would you want your day to be structured?
- Literally write down the time you’d wake up, eat breakfast, exercise, work, homeschool and do any other activities for your child and for yourself.
- Would you work or continue working? (YES, it can be done!)
- Will you work from home or at an offsite location?
- How will you structure sibling’s schedules?
Questions to ask your child…
- Is my child going to be happy learning at school with the current circumstances? (don’t ask this question unless you’re dead set on removing them, remember you’re the parent and you know what is best for your child).
- How would they feel about doing school at home?
- How would they feel about you being their teacher?
- How would they feel about possibly losing friends over this decision? Could you commit to ensuring them a social life outside the home?
As much as we all love our children, we often forget to consider ourselves too. If our cup is empty, how will we pour into our child? This is why I want you to ask yourself these questions. Homeschooling is just as much about you as it is about them because you are the one who is pouring into them.
What most days looked like for me...
6:30AM – Wake Up
7:00AM – Workout/bible study
7:30AM – Girls wake up
8:00AM – Breakfast & kids bible study
9:00AM – Math, calendar and/or clock exercises
9:45AM -15 min break & snack time
10:00AM – Handwriting
10:30AM – Language Arts
11:00AM – Read a book/ Site word practice
11:30AM – Extras – Science/Gym/Social Studies/ Music/Arts & Crafts
1:00 PM – Reese naps/ Mom works/ Paityn playtime
This is what worked for us. My child learned and thrived more by learning through homeschooling than she ever did sitting behind a computer screen. Some days were great, others were simply hard. Reese (my one year old) was my greatest challenge ever because she was just learning to walk and getting into everything she wasn’t supposed to touch.
I had to learn to balance my way between the two kids and it wasn’t easy. Had they been closer in age, I could have included her in the lessons. If you are teaching more than one child or have more than one child at home while you’re homeschooling, its definitely going to be a bit more challenging. I won’t sugar coat it, but it can be done.
When you’re homeschooling, you’re giving your child more attention than a teacher does. A teacher has 20 other students to teach, so your child gets very limited one on one time. This is why it is okay to teach 2-3 hours a day, rather than a full 6-8 hour day. I learned this the hard way in the beginning. Paityn and I were facing burn out because we were doing 5-6 hours of schooling each day. We were doing way more than we should have and we both began to see this more as a burden than as a way to spend time together. I eventually reached out to a couple friends who helped me to understand that I was doing too much and needed to scale it back.
How do you get your spouse on board?
This is tricky! When something sounds uncomfortable and uncertain, it’s hard to step outside of your comfort zone and trust your gut instincts. With many days of prayer and asking the Lord to guide my steps, I found that doing research in advance and presenting all my research to my husband to be the most successful way of convincing him this was going to work. In the beginning, he was not on board with homeschooling. It took a lot of time to find the right resources that were going to convince him otherwise, especially because we both have careers. Here are the steps I took to create a convincing presentation:
- I began presenting him with the pros and cons of public schools.
- Then, I led with my research of homeschooling and why it’s beneficial.
- From there, I moved on to the type of curriculum I wanted to use and why.
- I created a list of reviews from different resources that spoke highly of the curriculum. But, I also included non-bias reviews. If he had any objections after seeing the non-bias reviews, I was willing to consider another curriculum (compromise is key!).
- Then I presented what our schedule would look like. The schedule was as detailed and descriptive as I could possibly get. This was important because my husband and I both work. He is a Financial Planner and works out of an office, and I am an Interior Designer and Business Owner and work from home. Neither of us were willing to fully commit to quitting our careers to homeschool. And as a part of my presentation, I included testimonies from multiple families who spoke about their experiences with Homeschooling and working (from home and outside of the home).
- Cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Be sure to include what ways you’re going to get siblings involved and/or how you plan to distract them during teaching time.
My husband is a very reasonable guy. Once he saw how committed I was to doing this, he fully supported it. I can’t say the same for everyone, each individual person is different, so doing something like this may not work on everyone. HSLDA has a ton of great testimonies and resources that share why homeschooling is beneficial to families and a great pathway to success!
Research, research, research!!! I can’t stress that enough. Research until you find something that fits your family dynamic.
We started with The Good and the Beautiful (aka TGATB) Primer K for language arts. It was a great book to help her start, but I also felt like she was a little too advance for it. So we used it as a review course and did it anyway. Once we finished that book, we used TGATB Level K for language arts. That was enough to get us to the end of the school year.
We did not like TGATB Math curriculum. There were too many confusing things going on with it. I sometimes didn’t understand and struggled with how to explain things to her. But I also have heard that they have come out with a new math curriculum since then. Again my only experience is with The Good and the Beautiful but here are a few reputable curriculums that I know of that you could research on your own. There are way more than this, so search beyond this post to see what you can find.
Learning to Read?
My daughter had little to no experience with sight words before homeschooling. I created a deck of about 120 sight word cards, and we’d focus on 20 cards a week. We focused on about 20 words each week and only moved on to add a new word to the pile when she mastered a word. We also purchased BOB Books to help her get started with sight word recognition and learning to read. We often played Zingo which is a sight word bingo. I would sometimes write down 2 sets 10 of flash cards or sticky notes and we would play the ‘Memory’ game with it. Here are all the games we collected and played with:
There is a website called Teachers Pay Teachers, which has a large library of lessons and assignments created by teachers for teachers, but lessons can be purchased by parents too! But I personally used education.com because it has a progress tracker so that I could keep track of how she’s doing when she “plays a game” and what areas we need to focus on more. I honestly plan to continue using this platform even though we are done with homeschooling. It’s educational and it’s fun for her. The only downfall is that it is not an app but an actual website that the parent has to log the child in to to allow them to play a game.
Busybee_education_and_sensory is a small business on Instagram that creates education products for children. We have a time telling dry erase chart and geographical chart from her store! She is an awesome resource to keep in your back pocket!
What if you have more than one child?
My personal experience with this was difficult to navigate. It’s hard to keep track of a toddler who is learning and exploring potentially dangerous activities while teaching. I will not sugar coat my experience. Reese made it extremely difficult to teach Paityn because she was at an age where her attention span was super short (12mo-18mo). But BusyToddler on Instagram has so many great tips for keeping children at this age distracted and learning safely!
But if you have children who are closer in age, I would absolutely get them involved in each lesson unless they show no interest. In that case, I would set up other activities for them to do/complete throughout the day.
Paityn did story time with her sister where she would read to Reese before Reese’s naptime. This was my way of getting the two to be involved in a learning experience together. Paityn learned to read and Reese was learning to listen and observe. A couple of other things that I was able to get Reese involved in was arts and crafts, music and gym. These activities cater to most ages, so it worked out in my case for them both to be a part of the learning process.
Subscriptions and Products Worth Paying For
Education.com helped Paityn learn and recognize time telling, site words and more. The cool thing about the site is that you’re able to select your child’s age/grade level and search assignments and games based on their level of education. You’re given the ability to assign games and assignments to be completed on the website or to print off a worksheet to do by hand. As a parent, you’re in control of the entire hub. The child has a completely different screen. They see a completely different set up. You’re able to lock the games to have your child complete an assignment. Each assignment gives you an assessment of the child’s strengths and weaknesses. This is a program that we plan to continue even though we are no longer homeschooling. I definitely see so many benefits to this program! (ps- I am not an affiliate with education.com, just a firm believer in the platform’s system and the way it was designed).
Another subscription app that is innocent and keeps my child off of Disney+ and other secular apps is Yippee. Yippee has clean content that is mostly catered to Christians. Mostly everything that is on the Yippee app points to Jesus, although there are some things that are educational. I feel more confident in the content during screen time when she uses this app rather than YouTube and Disney+.
Should something happen from your public school throughout the school year, being a member of HSLDA will protect your rights and freedoms. We paid $12 a month to make sure we were covered. They have a ton of resources listed on their website from legal purposes to how to get started. They also show you how to keep records of everything you do. However, once you start your payment plan, you are locked in for 12 months.
List of Free Resources and Programs I'd Recommend
- Jack Hartmann on YouTube
- Music with Lindsey on YouTube
- Animated Bible Story for Kids on YouTube
- Little Sports Gym Lessons on YouTube
- Sweat Kids TV (Gym) Lessons on YouTube
- Hoopla Kids Doodle Art Lessons on YouTube
- PBS Play and Learn Engineering App
- Bible for Kids App
- Khan Kids App
- BusyToddler on Instagram (good for creating activities to keep younger siblings distracted and learning during teaching time)
Homeschooling Groups to Join on Facebook
- Working Homeschool Mom Club by Jen MacKinnon
- Homeschooling in Michigan
- Free Homeschooling Resources
- The Good & The Beautiful Community
- If you reside in another state, search for homeschooling groups in your area. You’ll be able to find families with similar school aged children who are looking to connect and socialize. You’ll also be able to do field trips and meet-ups together!
As a mom in todays world, you have every resource at your fingertips...
There’s no reason to doubt yourself and your child’s success! Working parents, stay at home parents, co-parents, whatever your situation may be, I truly believe that homeschooling can be successful. It just takes a whole lot of love and dedication to do this for your child/children.
I wrote this because I could hear the outcry of so many parents who are feeling the same brokenness in the world today as I do. I am not a parenting or homeschooling expert by any means. But if one thing I shared on here helps even just one parent, then I’ve fulfilled my purpose throughout my journey. Trust me, I know it’s hard. Some days are amazing and fulfilling, and others simply feel empty or stuck. But our children are the next generation. And in a world that wants to tear everyone down, YOU are building your child up. You got this!
I would love to support you on your journey! Please reach out to me with any questions, comments or concerns. I hope this post is resourceful! ♥
Have questions or comments?
Send me an email and I will do my best to get your question answered as quickly as I possibly can!