Unit Studies Round-Up for Elementary

We love unit studies! I’ve found that they enable us to deep dive into individual interests, while also bringing the whole family together for discussion and sharing discoveries.

So, what is a unit study?

A Unit Study is normally focused on a specific topic and it pulls all the subjects (except math) from the topic. One topic normally doesn’t last the whole year and can be changed monthly, weekly, or daily. You can stay focused on the topic until you feel you’ve covered everything. The workload varies based on your children’s grade level and ability so it’s a natural way to keep the whole family learning together. And there’s much more than just reading and writing! You can make recipes, projects, or even go on field trips that pertain to your topic.

Check out our library of unit studies for elementary-aged kids!

Science and nature

Autumn Unit Study

Gardening Unit Study – great for younger ones

Weather Unit Study

Insect Unit Study

Winter Unit Study

 

History

Potato Famine Unit Study – upper elementary to middle school

Medevil History

Davy Crockett

 

Civics and Geography

US States

World Geography

Elections Unit Study

 

Literature

Chronicles of Narnia

Boxcar Children

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5 Winter Unit Studies For Elementary

It may be cold and dreary outside but that doesn’t mean that your nature unit studies have to wait for Spring! There are some beautiful learning opportunities to be gleaned from these winter unit studies!

1. This winter nature unit study covers a little bit of everything, from wildlife to plant life, and suggests books, crafts, and documentaries to enrich your learning!

2. For the animal lovers in your house, this Arctic animal unit study for kids is a fantastic option! Learn about all kinds of different cold-climate animals, and all the inventive ways they brave their harsh environment.

3. Follow your arctic animal study with this hibernation unit study, deep-diving into why some animals hibernate and exploring the ones that do!

4. Here’s one all about snowflakes, where they come from, how they’re formed, why each is different. Included are book and craft ideas, fun for elementary ages.

5. This study on the Arctic and the Inuit is a beautiful exploration of Arctic wildlife,  Inuit history and culture, and is great for upper elementary ages or middle schoolers!

Looking for more great unit studies? Check out the full unit study library at How To Homeschool For Free for more great ideas.

***Make sure to join our How to Homeschool for Free Facebook Support Group for daily encouragement in your homeschooling journey!***

How To Teach Kids About The Stock Market!

It wasn’t until my first college finance class that I started to learn a little bit about investing and how the stock market works. Then it wasn’t until my 30s that I implemented some of that knowledge, and added to it, to create a strategy for investing our resources into different companies and ventures.

Now, as parents, we want to give our kids a leg up on where we were at their age and give them the tools that they need to have a basic (and preferably an intermediate) level of knowledge about how different types of investments work. And specifically, how investing in the stock market works.

Here are some resources that you can use for FREE to help your kids have a working knowledge of how the stock market works (click on each title to go directly to the website):

Wealthbase

Join a game and get $100,000 in virtual cash to invest. Pick stocks, ETFs, and cryptos to create your virtual portfolio. Track your performance on the leaderboard! Wealthbase also have a learning center to learn about investing and financial planning strategies to help you build and preserve wealth.

The Stock Market Game

An online simulation of the global capital markets that engages students grades 4-12 in the world of economics, investing and personal finance and that has prepared nearly 20 million students for financially independent futures.

Parents will need to register with the website to create a profile.

Investopedia Stock Market Game

Start with $100,000 in virtual cash and put your trading skills to the test! Compete with thousands of Investopedia traders and trade your way to the top. Join or create challenges with your friends and other investors. Compete to see who has the best investment results daily.

How The Market Works

HowTheMarketWorks is a FREE stock market game that allows users to create their own custom stock game and create educational lessons for their players. It is used by over 400,000 individuals and students each year. Users register for free and receive a virtual $100,000 and access to our Education Center. Users can then create their own custom stock market contest and invite their classmates, friends, family or co-workers to a friendly competition.

Market Watch

If you already have a basic knowledge of how the stock market works and want to put your skills to the test, check out Market Watch! Build your portfolio and react to the markets in real time. Compete against your friends or coworkers to earn your spot at the top of the leaderboards. Market Watch allows you to do virtual advanced trading (like limit and stop loss orders, partial shares, short selling, margin trading, and more!)

Finance and Capital Markets course on Khan Academy

We love lots of the Khan Academy courses! They are completely free and on the topic of stocks and investments they have videos on all the following:

Introduction to stocks
Shorting stock
Understanding company statements and capital structure
Corporate metrics and valuation
Life of a company–from birth to death
Dilution
Mergers and acquisitions
Leveraged buy-outs
Bonds
Corporate bankruptcy
Mutual Funds and ETFs
Retirement Accounts
Hedge funds
and more!

Youtube Playlist on How The Stock Market Works

There are several great video options at the link above for a variety of ages and learning styles.

BusyKid App

It’s not free, but there’s an app called BusyKid App that costs $19.99 per year and allows you to give your kids their allowance through the app. They can spend their money through a (provided) pre-paid debit card and they have the option to use part of their allowance to invest in the stock market and watch their money potentially grow if they invest well.

There are also several books to either check out from your local library or purchase!

Go! Stock! Go!

Go! Stock! Go! employs a cartoon-like “Dr. Seuss” style as it becomes the first truly user friendly book on stock and finance.

A storybook follows the Johnson family as they learn the fundamentals of stocks and bonds, the mechanics of investing, and important lessons on risk and reward. The humorous illustrated story is simple enough for children and teenagers yet is also directed towards adults and kids of all ages.

The book offers an advanced section “Let’s Talk Stock” that provides an added level of knowledge for older readers. While designed with children in mind, this book is sure to become an adult favorite.

The Motley Food Investment Guide for Teens

Budding tycoons and those with more worldly concerns will appreciate The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of by David and Tom Gardner with Selena Maranjian. The editors of the Motley Fool Web site offer sound advice on everything from finding a job, investing in the stock market and avoiding financial pitfalls. “Take It from Me” and “Keep in Mind” sidebars offer brief advice from peers and the authors, respectively. Ages 12-up.

How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000: Earn! Save! Invest!

What are Stocks? Understanding The Stock Market – Finance Book for Kids

5 Easy Ways To Keep Kids Engaged

 

Give them breaks

Younger kids need time to “get their wiggles out.” 15-30 minutes of instruction time should be followed by some time to burn energy. Elementary kids really benefit from this too! Let them play outside, go for a quick walk with you, play an indoor game of hide-and-seek, or turn on some music and have a 15-minute dance party. Anything that gets them up and moving, can really help them focus when it’s time to get back to their lessons.

Work in some activities that they love

If it’s cold or rainy and playing outdoors isn’t an option, take some time instead to explore something your little one is interested in. If your 5-year-old is really into using scissors right now, or your 9-year-old loves legos, allow some semi-structured time for that in their day. This is especially helpful when immediately following a particularly taxing lesson or activity. It gives them a bit of a breather, as well as a quick confidence boost if the prior lesson was a struggle.

Reward systems

In the same vein as above, reward systems can be a homeschooler’s best friend. If you have a kiddo that would rather read all day than do math, double her reading time one day, or take her to the library on Fridays as a reward for a week’s worth of long division. If you’ve got a hands-on learner who has trouble sitting still, working towards a park day or children’s museum trip might be more helpful.

Visual learners might enjoy a rewards chart that allows them to easily keep track of their individual progress toward the goal of their choice. Grab a whiteboard and make a quick bar graph with their name, and let them color a block each day, or use stickers to track progress.

Check out this great hack for cleaning whiteboards, without the yucky chemicals!

Choose the right time of day

No one operates well when they are tired or hungry. Try to do the harder stuff when your child is well-rested and not hungry.

Also, tackle the activity when you can have minimal distractions. If you have more than one child, either have activities for the younger ones planned or work through the tougher stuff when the little ones are sleeping or doing something like independent playtime.

Choose appropriate activities

As with all things, this is all about balance! If the activity is too hard, they might get frustrated and not want to do it again. If it’s too easy, they can get bored and either balk at doing it at all or be done in 60 seconds. Sometimes you don’t know for sure what is appropriate for your child, which is why it’s always a good idea to have some back-up plans. Keep a stash of puzzles, books, and board games close by. They make great back-ups when your child finishes planned activities too quickly.

***Make sure to join our How to Homeschool for Free Facebook Support Group for daily encouragement in your homeschooling journey!***

Get the GUNK off! How to clean your dry erase board, without harsh chemicals!


We use our dry erase board ALL the time. When they are new, everything just wipes right off like a dream. Once they’ve seen a few semesters, they tend to get a little grimy. We’ve also had that phenomenon where a weird, un-erasable residue is left behind just after being cleaned with the smelly (definitely non-clean) cleaner.

But, there’s a solution! Literally! And it’s made with non-toxic ingredients that work like a charm!

DIY Dry Erase Board Cleaner Recipe 

What you’ll need:

Directions:

  1. Pour the alcohol into the spray bottle
  2. Add a capful of thieves cleaner
  3. Add 10-12 drops of orange essential oil
  4. Place lid on the bottle and shake well

How To Use:

  1. Shake well before using
  2. Spray the whiteboard. Let it sit and work its magic for about 5 minutes
  3. Wipe away with the microfiber cloth

I LOVE orange essential oil! It’s one of the most versatile oils, and I use it everywhere in my house, from the bathroom to my medicine cabinet. Curious about essential oils? You can read all about them here

Bonus Tip! 

You can use a fabric softener sheet to erase your whiteboard! We lose our erasers ALL the time, so this hack has come in handy plenty. I just send a kid to fetch a fabric softener sheet out of the dryer and, presto! They work way better than a tissue or paper towel.

***Make sure to join our How to Homeschool for Free Facebook Support Group for daily encouragement in your homeschooling journey!***

Free Online Government/Elections Resources

 photo government_zpsc3544b82.jpg

Through my husband’s work in local elections, my children gained educational experience in government.  However, I think they need a little refresher and the free resources listed are perfect.  If you are seeking resources to help teach your child about government than look no further.

Ben’s Guide To Government For Kids

Ben’s Guide to Government for Kids provides information and activities designed for educators, parents, and students in K-12 to help teach about our government and how it works. It is an educational site put on by the Government Printing Office, named in honor of Benjamin Franklin. You can also download a free activity book for lessons and fun activities.

Election Lapbook

Get everything you need from Homeschool Share for making an informative lapbook about Elections. You wil find printables of the Electoral College map, information on how to register, etc… very nice!

The Constitution For Kids

The Constitution for Kids gives a brief explanation of how the Constitution is the framing document of our country. There are 3 different levels of information and activities: ages K-3, ages 4-7, and ages 8-12. While this website is lacking in bells and whistles, it to has links for a student studying the Constitution and why it matters to each and every American.

Kids In The House

Kids in the House is designed to give children an idea of what the Legislative Branch of government is all about. There is also a section of teaching resources for your lessons. It’s not quite as entertaining as School House Rock, but you could always add that on a rainy day!

Congress For Kids

Congress for Kids has info on all parts of the Federal Government. “Congress for Kids gives you access to interactive, fun-filled experiences designed to help you learn about the foundation of our federal government and how its actions affect you.” For my family, this site could easily be a semester’s worth (or more!) of lessons just by itself.

The Oklahoma Homeschool Website

The Oklahoma Homeschool website has several unit study plans available to homeschool families. One of them is a 12-week study of American Government. The President & Elections lesson plan lists the current president as George Bush, so you will want to change that part of the lesson plan to make it accurate and current. There are  many ideas you can use from the lesson pages as independent lessons if you don’t want to make a unit study of this topic.

National Mock Election

Visit National Mock Election and see the vast collection of information on the voting process, why it matters to the future of our country, and how to get involved. A mock election is held and you are one of the candidates. It’s a great, hands on way to get involved in the process.

The CIA

If your kids are like my kids, they will LOVE the kids pages by the CIA. What better way to get kids to practice analytical skills and memory/concentration than with a game! I have to admit that I really like these kind of games. Break the Code is really fun, even for me! I have been known to leave my kids notes in a secret code, just for a little excitement. Try it!

How To Start Homeschooling: 10 Things You NEED To Know!

Do you want to create a homeschooling environment that energizes and fulfils you and your children? Don’t have an education degree? Don’t worry. You don’t need one to teach your own children. You just need love, commitment, and perseverance.  I know that to a beginner, homeschooling can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be!  Here’s a quick guide to get you started!

1. See what your state requires for homeschooling.

Different states take very different stances on homeschooling: some are super lenient and some, well, some are less so. You’ll want to know exactly what is required before you get started. Check out Homeschool Requirements By State to learn what you need to know.

2. Learn what your Homeschooling Philosophy is.

I know, that sounds a little extra. But it’s not as grandiose as it seems. There are several different methods of homeschooling and it helps to know what best fits your family’s style. But don’t panic! You can always change what’s not working, because… homeschooling! Take this Homeschooling Philosophy Quiz to see what looks like the best fit for you. And once you know that, you can check out our Homeschool Philosophy Spotlight Series to learn more about some of the more prominent methods!

3. Take it slow.

While there are definitely times to be prudent and time efficient, it’s really best to take your time when you begin. Think about the ways your kids learn. For most families, this varies widely. Explore the different ways you can be most effective for their different learning styles. If you’re coming out of public school, it might be a good idea to decompress for a while. Take a few weeks, even months off until you feel everyone is ready to dig in. You may even feel the need to “deschool”  for a period of time, to break any old habits and provide a nice, clean slate for new ones.

4. Don’t try to replicate school at home.

One of the reasons many of us choose to homeschool is because our kids were struggling in school (or public school wasn’t meeting their needs). That’s why it’s so funny when we start homeschooling and we decide to replicate school at home. Homeschooling doesn’t quite mean school at home so there’s no need to model your homeschool after the school system. Trying to make your kids follow the same routine as they did in school isn’t always the best approach. The best thing to do is to create your own routines and schedules based on your family’s needs and your personal circumstances. Kids don’t need to sit on a desk to get their work done. They don’t need to do school for six or eight hours a day or follow a five-day schedule if that doesn’t work for your family. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. There’s no one “right” way to do things. Embrace that!

5. Keep your lessons and school day short.

Depending on the ages of your children (and their grades), a couple of hours a day is probably all you need to get all their school work done, especially before Junior High levels. I know this can feel weird at the beginning when you remember that they used to spend between seven to eight hours in school every day. But, don’t fall into the temptation of thinking you need to fill every hour with one activity or another, because this is the fastest way to burn out and take the fun out of homeschooling. When you keep your lessons short and focused, you should be able to cover everything that you need to do each day.

6. Have some kind of structure.

Yes, I know I just said you should ease into homeschooling and not replicate school at home, but you do need some kind of structure to your day if you want to accomplish anything. This is even more important if you are a work-at-home mom or have some other responsibility you need to take care of. Create some routines and schedules that will serve as some kind of road map, but you don’t need to live or die by them. Use them as a guide and tweak them when necessary.

7. Consistency is key.

Unfortunately, homeschooling doesn’t mean working only when everyone feels like it, or when your day is going well. Trust me, you’ll have lots of days when anything that can go wrong is going to go wrong, and homeschooling frees you to have recover from those days. Of course, too many of those and important things can get missed. Being rigid is not necessary (or encouraged) but learning to be disciplined and consistent will all but guarantee that you succeed at homeschooling.

8. Embrace learning for yourself!

Don’t forget to keep investing in personal growth and development. Find ways to keep improving. One of the easiest ways to learn is by reading books. Read homeschooling books, read your children’s history, literature and science books. Homeschooling is actually a good way for you to fill in some of the gaps in your own education. It’s really amazing to me how much I have learned since I started homeschooling, so make good use of this opportunity and continue to invest in your personal growth and education.

9. Get advice from the veterans.

When it comes to your kids, nobody knows better than you. That’s true when they’re little and can’t articulate when they’re sick. It’s true when they’re in the moody pre-teen or teen stage and just seem to be acting off. You can solve the puzzle because YOU know them best! It’s also true homeschooling! And while we all really do know that deep down, it can still be really helpful to hear that from veteran homeschoolers. Here is a collection of excellent Advice For First Time Homeschoolers to read before you get started. It’s a treasure trove of helpful advice!

10. Enjoy it!

Without a doubt, the most beautiful element of educating your children is the time you spend together. It affords flexibility and freedom to dive deep into things that really interest you. And it also gives you the reigns to be the boss of your own schedule and to mold little your little learners into critical thinkers. There will be days where you tackle your to-do list with a fury and check every box. There will also be days where everybody needs a recharge and you watch history and nature documentaries under a blanket. And, with some thoughtful discussion, those days are no less productive than the rest! You can go for walks, explore the yard, bake cookies, and take trips to interesting spots around town. Enjoy this priceless time with your kids by making memories because they are always learning and you are always teaching!

***Make sure to join our How to Homeschool for Free Facebook Support Group for daily encouragement in your homeschooling journey!***

I’m blown away by all the ways there are to homeschool!

When we started our homeschool journey years ago, I was a complete novice. I didn’t know there were different approaches to at home learning, and I certainly didn’t know I could choose whichever method best matched my children’s learning style. Well, you don’t have to be like me! You can take advantage of some hard-won knowledge and learn basics right here! Think of this post as your one-stop, homeschool methods 101, crash course. Also, if you’re not sure where to begin, take this Homeschool Philosophy Quiz to find out what fits your family’s style!

There are actually many different methods or approaches to homeschooling, but for the sake of efficiency we’ve collected the most prominent 6 for you here.

The Classical Approach

Why not start with the classics, right? The classical approach is a very popular method that parallels a teaching style dating back to the Greeks and Romans. A classical education is language-based, rather than hands-on or video-based like many of the other homeschooling styles. Subjects are taught in chronological order so they can overlap historically making events in history much easier to follow. Learn more by clicking here!

Charlotte Mason Method

Charlotte Mason was a highly respected British educator of the nineteenth century. She believed in teaching to the whole child and that all learning should be delightful. The Charlotte Mason method is based on Charlotte’s firm belief that the child is a person and we must educate that whole person, not just his mind. So a Charlotte Mason education is three-pronged: in her words, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.” Read more here! 

Traditional or Textbook Approach

This one is a tried and true way to educate, and also probably the easiest for beginners, since it most closely resembles the traditional school setting. There are lesson plans for you to follow, children learn with textbooks at a desk or some other designated learning space. Read all about this method here!

Unschooling

I know what it sounds like! But this approach works wonders for lots of people! In basic terms, unschooling is a method of learning that does not follow a curriculum, but instead allows a child’s natural interests to guide the parent in what to study. It’s outside the box and unique, which are pillars of many homeschool families’ core learning principles. Click here for more information on unschooling.

Online Schooling

This is quickly becoming the more popular method of homeschooling! Online learning includes a variety of options for guided or self-paced studies, and lesson plans and grading are all done for you! Check out the details here! 

Eclectic Method

Homeschooling definitely requires consistency and dedicated effort. But it also affords flexibility like no other form of education can. This method maximizes that flexibility, allowing you to utilize whatever styles work best for you and your kids! Read all about it, right here!

Homeschool Philosophy Quiz

If you’re unsure where to begin, don’t stress! Here is a handy little quiz to find out what method best fits you and your family. You may even find that a blend of styles makes the most sense for you!

***Make sure to join our How to Homeschool for Free Facebook Support Group for daily encouragement in your homeschooling journey!***

7 Tips For When You Feel Like Your Child Is Behind In School

Have you ever been concerned that your child might be behind in their grade level? Or, have you seen your child’s peers excelling in areas where she struggles? Or, do you “know” that your kiddo is struggling and now  you’re considering putting him back into a formal schooling situation to catch back up?

If that’s you, then please keep reading! My hope is that you walk away from this post encouraged and more hopeful.

We’ve all been there!

The thing is, most (if not all) homeschool parents have worried at some point that they won’t teach well, and that their child will get behind as a result. All parents want their children to succeed, after all.  And we want to be sure that their children know what they “should” know at each grade level. So we buy books that tell us what every __th-grader needs to know and make sure we cover everything listed. And that is fine. Except when it becomes apparent that a child is not going to make it through the list. So then what?

A Quick Story:

A friend of mine illustrated this perfectly. When her daughter was in kindergarten, she was working through the ABeka kindergarten curriculum. About the time they were coming to the section about how to tell time, they got distracted away from school for a couple weeks. She was adamant about getting back to that workbook to be sure that her kiddo learned how to tell time. Because that’s an important box to check — right? Well, the couple weeks turned into several weeks, and then months…it might have been summertime… But guess what? The beginning of first grade came around, and somehow, magically, my friend’s daughter already knew how to tell time. Even though they had never gotten back to that workbook that said she should learn it in kindergarten. Which brings us nicely to number one!

1. Often what kids “should” know is a function of what they NEED to know.

That experience teaches a HUGE lesson: if they need to know it, they will learn it eventually. And WHEN they need to know it will vary from year to year, age to age — and child to child.

2. Don’t let worry of falling behind exist in your mind any longer.

There is no absolute SHOULD list for each grade level. The appropriate list will be based on who your child is and how they learn. That’s something that only YOU will know best. I want to reassure you that even if your child is doing work that is “below” their grade level, there is no need to feel as if you are failing or that your child is not learning what they should.

3. Everybody learns differently.

I remember reading levels being a really big deal when I was in grade school. After some standard test or other, I recall feeling particularly proud of  a score that said I read 2 grade levels higher. My math scores, however? Let’s just say they were not nearly as impressive! My brother took the same test and was reading a grade below his level, but his math scores were 3 levels higher! This illustrates what you probably already know, especially if you have more than 1 child: kids, even siblings, learn at drastically different paces! And those variances actually tend to increase in homeschooled kids, as they are typically given more flexibility to pursue their interests than what standardized education allows for. So don’t be concerned when you see these distinctions: they are completely normal.

4. There are a lot of chances to “catch up” in development

Development does not, contrary to popular belief, happen on a timetable or in concrete stages. And what appears to be true at one age can change over time. For example, brain development occurs earlier in girls than in boys, hence, the saying that girls mature faster than boys. But boys do catch up. Or for example, babies born prematurely often show some developmental delays, but  many catch up to their peers by the time they are in adolescence. And we don’t really know how or why this happens developmentally. Each child is on his or her own course.

5. You are not ruining their lives or messing them up.

I know that fear all too well. Will they learn what they need to know to be successful? Are we covering all the bases; checking all the boxes? Am I doing enough? Don’t we all have nights like that; staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night, wondering if they will be messed up for life. We can convince ourselves of the worst things, but we often forget how capable we actually are, especially when it comes to knowing what’s best for our kids!

6. With some time, you will better understand your child learning style and how best to plan their educational path.

And the most amazing part is, that they too will most likely understand better how to walk along that path to a place of progress and increased knowledge. As the years go by you will begin to see that what you thought was so detrimental in the beginning wasn’t really anything to lose sleep over — and that everything is gonna turn out just fine. For now you may just have to trust me on that.

7. So be encouraged!

This homeschool life we’ve chosen is challenging enough without taking on more than we need to. Yes, we should practice due diligence to be responsible to fulfill the task of educating our children — but that doesn’t always have to look like we’ve been conditioned to think it does. The cookie cutter standard isn’t really real. Embrace your baby’s individuality and enjoy the freedom and flexibility that homeschooling can allow in your schedule. And enjoy the journey, without so much of the worry!

***Make sure to join our How to Homeschool for Free Facebook Support Group for daily encouragement in your homeschooling journey!***

Homeschooling Vs Public Schooling At Home

With so much recent interest in homeschooling, this is a question I’ve seen a lot lately. So many parents are educating at home for the first time, whether by choice or due to district circumstances, and there are a lot of uncertainties in the beginning.

To clear up one thing…

Public schooling at home is actually very different than homeschooling. In fact, the being-at-home part is really about the only thing they have in common. The rigorous structure and lengthy run time of the public school classes might make more sense in a classroom full of 20-25 kids, but it isn’t really necessary with an individual child at home.

While there are many ways to compare these vastly different education methods, for the sake of time I’ve condensed them down to the 3 that I deem to be the most informative.

Time Management

This is probably the biggest distinction. Trying to implement a public school class model at home means using as much, or nearly as much class time as they would in person. This usually means close to an 8 hour day. As a homeschool mom, let me tell you that even our heaviest days have never lasted longer than 4 hours. Asking young children to sit in one place for even 2 hours just isn’t realistic. In person public school classes break up the day with activities, art, music, physical education, and recess. When you remove the time it takes to accomplish all of those things with a bunch of kids, you can shave hours off of your day. Art takes much less time with 2 or 4 children. And P.E. can consist of playing in the yard or going for a walk!

One of my favorite benefits of homechooling has been my children learning how to manage their own time. Now, this is something that happens at different ages for different kids, but in my opinion, the sooner they start, the sooner they master it. Both of my kids were public schooled until 6th grade and it took all of 6th and some of 7th to get them working mostly independently. But once we got there, it freed up a lot more of everyone’s time. They could come to me with questions and to take tests, so I had more free time in the day. In addition, they were able to move through their studies at their own pace, increasing their independence and thus, their confidence.

Accountability

This is a big one. It may seem like the public school route makes this easier, since the teacher makes the lesson plan, administers tests, and keeps track of grades. But as parents, we are still be the driving force behind accomplished tasks, just like always. We will be the ones reminding them about due dates, which chapters they should have read, and how many notecards should be finished by the end of the week.

This happens in your homeschool day as well, but the schedule and due dates are up to you. What is also up to you is the flexibility to double up when assignments are short or simple, and to take extra time when needed to tackle the more complex items in your week. Lesson planning may require a bit more work on the front end, but the freedom to switch it up make it fit your schedule makes it so worth it!

Educational Gaps

You may worry that it’s taking forever to complete the curriculum you’re using. You feel guilty for not getting through it all. Will your kid learn everything they are supposed to?  Are they experiencing gaps in their education? At the public school they are more on top of things like this, right?
Well…. teachers can take up to 6 weeks off of the regular curriculum (every year) to prepare for standardized testing. Because if they score well on the test, the school gets more funding. So rather than finishing out the tough concepts at the end of the year,  focus goes on  multiple-choice logic questions and learning how to read graphs- for weeks.

Lots of things take up instructional time in a public classroom: school assemblies, pep rallies, holiday celebrations, field trips, fire drills, disruptive behaviors, movie days, substitute teacher days — and the list goes on. Many teachers never finish a given curriculum. Now, those distractions might not be happening with virtual learning at home, but many educators are expected to fill most of that time anyway.

The bottom line is…

You can do it! You are more than equipped to educate your children at home, your way. Meaningful education that fits your individual children is easily obtainable, affordable, and can fit seamlessly into your family’s lifestyle. There are a ton of great resources to check out on this page, and support to help you with your questions!

***Make sure to join our How to Homeschool for Free Facebook Support Group for daily encouragement in your homeschooling journey!***

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