Let’s Make Learning Fun!

Photo by Jeremy Alford on Unsplash

Make Learning Fun with We Love to Learn Stations

As parents, we’re sailing in uncharted waters right now, with the social distancing, stay at home requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many parents are teaching their children academics at home for the first time. All parents are likely getting complaints from their children that they want to play with friends or go do something they aren’t allowed to do because of social distancing. I’m hearing parents say they’re feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.

Whether you’re a homeschool family or an emergency distance learning family, having some fresh ideas for making learning fun can help change your children’s attitudes about being stuck at home!

The first idea I want to share will help your children enjoy learning more with the “We Love to Learn Stations”.

We Love to Learn Stations

In the dead of winter here in Minnesota, we often have to stay at home because of the weather, our days get long, and kids can become bored. That’s why I typically added a learning station’s day on Fridays to give us all a change of pace.

 This pandemic with the stay at home requirement is the perfect time for you all to try a Learning station day! It only takes a little time to prepare for it, and your kids will LOVE it!  Basically, you’ll set up learning stations throughout your house, and your children will rotate to the various learning stations doing whatever you’ve set up there. (Teams of two work great, but if you don’t have enough children for teams, you’ll need to participate or set up stations that can be done by one child at a time.) You can even use some of the learning resources that you already have, either from your school teacher or your curriculum.

All you need to do is prepare your learning stations, usually the night before. Then start your We Love To Learn Stations Day with explaining the different stations to your children. Set the timer and begin!  (Approximately 15-20 minutes per station)

Prepare the Learning Stations

1. Language arts station (you can have more than one language arts station if you wish or just choose one of these)

  • Phonics game for the pre-readers or early readers (Memory, Go Fish, puzzles or see options in my recommended page.)
  • Grammar game using Mad Libs
  • Write a short creative story alone or with your partner using some story starter ideas if needed. (share your story with family afterward)
  • Audio books with audible.com for listening comprehension (free books available to children during the pandemic!)
  • Spelling game – Make your own using a manila folder! Game instructions.
https://youtu.be/oz9YsJGUrZ8
Make your own basketball spelling game!

2. Reading station

  • Have a basket with library books or topical encyclopedias (Usborne has some great ones) and at this station, they read or look at pictures for 15-20 minutes.
  • Or you can have your child read from the book they’ve been reading already.

3. Math station

  • Play math games together (see my recommended page for ideas on games) – you can use regular board games or dice.
  • If your child likes speed games, do a few speed math worksheets where they time themselves and see how many they can get done in 10 minutes. They can do this twice and see if they can beat their first try. Drill worksheets available HERE.

4. Science station

5. Geography or History station

  • Have a globe or map out. Give your children each a list of places that they need to find on the map and write the longitude and latitude.   Or have separate maps for each child and they can mark the places you’ve listed.
  • Play “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego”?   This is a fun game that teaches geography, world cultures and history for children ages 8-12!
  • Set up a project for your children to work on related to the time period they’re studying in history. (e.g. build a teepee if studying American Indians)

6. Music

  • Set up a CD player or have a link ready for your child to listen to a piece of classical music and provide a link or print up a short biography about the composer for them to read while they listen.
  • Set out musical instruments for your children to play with (if you have older children, they could practice their music lesson for this station).
  • Provide resources for your child to make a drum or a guitar using a box, etc.

7. Art

  • Set up an art project for the children to work on.
  • Have pictures of various artist’s work with information about each piece.
  • Set up paints with information about how to mix primary colors to make secondary colors and let them have fun mixing and painting. Here’s a video to help you teach these concepts!

8. Bible

  • Choose a memory verse for all the children to learn and post it on the wall. Have them say it together three times and then write it on a note card. Then have them use one of the following games to practice:
  •  Write each word of the verse on a separate index card and mix the cards up – have your child unscramble the words to make the verse. (Include the verse address on a card, i.e. ‘Galatians 5:22-23’.)
  • Use a dry erase board and write out the verse. Read the verse through together a few times, then erase one word. Read the verse again saying the right word for the erased word. Take turns erasing words, saying the right words for each erased word as you recite the verse. Eventually you should have nothing on the board and be saying the verse from memory.
  • Play Sword Drill with SALVATION verses. (For children who can read well and know their Bible a bit.  You’ll need to help with this one) Using the list below, have each child hold a closed Bible above his or her head. Dad or Mom calls out the first reference twice and then says, “Swords ready…Go!” and the children try to be the first one to find and read the verse out loud. (If you have an only child, make the clock the thing to beat.) You may challenge your children to figure out what the common theme of all the verses is. You may also give a prize to the winner, if you wish, but everyone gets the benefit of knowing his or her way around the Bible better and of hearing God’s Word. “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17.
  • Key Word: Salvation
  • Exodus 15:2
  • I Samuel 2:1
  • Psalm 27:1
  • Luke 2:30
  • Acts 4:12
  • Romans 1:16
  • Ephesians 1:13
  • Ephesians 6:17
  • Psalm 18:2
  • Isaiah 12:2

*These memory games and the Bible game were taken from Growing the Fruit of the Spirit, a wonderful family Bible study guide for children of all ages, available on my store page or on Amazon.

Growing the Fruit of the Spirit A family Bible study guide for children of all ages.

8. Create your own station to help your children learn about something they are currently studying in their school lessons!

I hope you enjoy having your We Love to Learn Station Days!  Please comment below with your ideas or let me know how it goes if you give it a try!

Homeschooling Through High School: You CAN do it!

Many homeschoolers begin to panic as they approach the high school years. They fear they can’t continue homeschooling because it’ll be too difficult to teach high school level courses.

I remember feeling concerned about teaching our children high school math. What if I couldn’t teach high school math?? Maybe you’re worried about teaching a different subject in the high school years.

I’ve heard other people say they don’t think homeschooling will provide a quality education for their student in their teen years. I don’t believe this is true!

As parents, we CAN provide an excellent education through homeschooling in the high school years!

I believe there are many good reasons to continue homeschooling through high school or begin homeschooling students that are in high school.

 We have four children, two of them were homeschooled all the way through high school and graduated from our homeschool.  We ended up sending our middle two children to a charter school in 10th grade because of some serious health problems I was having, and they finished their high school education there.   Although the two that went to the charter school did well there, one of them sadly lost his love for learning while he was there. He also told me he felt more challenged at home than he did in the charter school! In hindsight, I wish we had continued with homeschooling for both of them as well as the other two.


I’d like to encourage those who are afraid of homeschooling through high school that it is do-able! With God all things are possible, and He will give you the ability to do whatever He calls you to do! If you’re feeling the nudge to keep homeschooling all the way through high school, let me give you some good reasons to do so.

Home is still one of the best learning environments

One-on-one teaching is still the ideal way to learn. Students are usually less distracted in the home environment.  Also, as a parent, we are usually aware if our student doesn’t understand a subject and can let them slow down so they can grasp the concepts better. In other cases, the student is ready to move faster, and they have the freedom to go move ahead more quickly through their educational material.

 You have the opportunity to customize your teen’s education by providing resources to explore their interests and develop strengths and skills. There is more flexibility with homeschooling, and this gives your teen more hours for creative endeavors, volunteering, or getting a job. Having the opportunity to pursue their interests often helps students discover a career path that fits them well.

The homeschool environment is a great learning environment because it most closely resembles the real world – it provides opportunity to learn with children of different ages rather than segregating according to age.  Your teens will have more time to help with household chores and with younger children, preparing them for real life. Many teens grow in maturity as they help teach a younger sibling.

Another benefit is that you have more time with your student to teach them real life skills that they’ll need when they go out into the world of adulthood.

According to research statistics provided by the Home School Legal Defense Association, using national averages, homeschoolers are achieving 30% higher scores academically (in all subjects) than their public school counterparts in testing.  Colleges are seeking out homeschool students because of their excellent academic standing and because they tend to thrive in the college environment.

Homeschooling builds stronger family relationships and gives parents more opportunity to continue teaching godly values

The teen years are a strategic time to cement family relationships that will last a lifetime. With parents as the teen’s primary role model, parents can continue teaching godly values and morals. Most homeschool teens develop mature manners and can interact well with people of all ages. Homeschooled teens are less peer dependent than students who are surrounded by their peers eight hours a day at school.

 Homeschooling provides a more positive socialization experience


In the public school, teens are exposed to drugs, violence, bad language and more! There is a lot of peer pressure to conform to whatever the larger group thinks is “cool”. With homeschooling, teens are able to think for themselves and be who they really are, without that pressure to conform.

Parents can help their teens develop important life skills such as evaluating and choosing friends, conflict resolution, and handling romantic relationships. There are many opportunities for socialization in the high school years:  church youth groups, boy scouts, girl scouts, 4-H, community orchestra or band, homeschool co-ops, high school sports teams, volunteering, book discussion groups or just getting together with friends.


Many resources available


Homeschooling through high school might seem like it’s a bit overwhelming, but there are many resources out there to help. Take advantage of seminars available to help with the logistics of record-keeping, grading, planning out the four years of high school, and making a transcript. (And consider attending a homeschool conference in your state!)

You can also accelerate academic learning with homeschooling. Many homeschool teens are ready for college level courses between the ages of 14-16! They can complete high school requirements in less time and move on to college level courses through CLEP testing, DSST testing, AP testing, or PSEO. (Not all states offer Post Secondary Enrollment Option or PSEO, so check your state education website)

 There are co-ops or homeschool academies specifically for teens. There are tutors, video teaching tools, and there’s always the possibility that you and a friend can trade off teaching in areas that you are more comfortable in.  For example, I know of two families that did a teaching exchange where one mom taught both families’ children creative writing, and the other mom taught piano to both families’ children.

Feeling overwhelmed with choosing curriculum for your teen? Contact me for a high school consultation! I’ll help you set up a high school plan for your student. You can also check out this list of high school resources from HSLDA.org.


Some strategies for success in homeschooling through high school

1)     Give your child a college preparatory high school education, then no matter what they pursue, they have the high school education they need. Click HERE to see recommended high school graduation standards.

2)  Invest in yourself! Find a place to get some training. Go to your state’s homeschool conference and look for seminars that will help you. If you live in Minnesota, Cheri Frame of Credits Before College offers high school workshops throughout the state.

3)     Invest in your weaknesses- what is the subject area you are most afraid to teach? Invest in good curriculum to help you or invest in a class for your student for that area of study.

4) Take advantage of the Post-Secondary Education Options (PSEO- Taking college classes for both high school and college credit), if your student is academically ready. Or consider using the CLEP, DSST or AP testing program to get college credits while in high school.

5)     Encourage your teen to grow spiritually and take advantage of opportunities for leadership, volunteering and helping others. Serve together in a ministry of some kind or go on a short-term mission trip together. These things will build great character.

6)     Seek God’s help in all your decisions and in your daily life with homeschooling your teen. He will give you wisdom and direction when you seek Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” Proverbs 3:4-5

7) If your student is a struggling learner, homeschooling them through high school can be one of the best ways to help them reach their full potential and help them build confidence for their future endeavors. There are many resources to help you if you’re homeschooling a struggling student. (see Recommended page for resources for the struggling learner)

Homeschooling through high school is a very rewarding and exciting
opportunity to see God do great things in your life and in your teen’s life!

Step out in faith and give it a try!

CLICK HERE to download a guide to Homeschooling the High School Years.

Download this free 4 year high school planning document!

How about you? Do you see other benefits for homeschooling the high school years? Or do you have some tips for those just starting the high school years? Please share them below.

Another Idea for Homeschool Planning: Loop Scheduling!

Some homeschool days flow just like clockwork and other days unexpected things happen: someone gets hurt, the baby is fussy, a friend calls needing prayer and encouragement. And we end up feeling frustrated and discouraged at the end of the day because we didn’t get all we had planned done. We wonder how other homeschool moms fit everything in. How do they handle the unexpected interruptions? Some homeschool moms are turning to loop scheduling to help them feel less frustrated by the inevitable interruptions in their homeschool day.

 What is Loop Scheduling?

Loop Scheduling has become more popular among homeschoolers over the last few years. It’s a variation of scheduling and planning that helps the homeschool parent feel less ‘behind’ or frustrated when life interrupts school and they miss doing a subject that they had planned to teach on a given day. 

A loop schedule is basically a schedule that doesn’t list specific days in which each subject will be taught. Instead, the subjects are listed in the order they will be done and the subjects listed in the loop schedule are taught over the whole week, following the order as listed each day until it’s time to end the school day. Each subject in the loop will likely take 15-60 minutes of the day, depending on the ages of your children and how long you want to work on them. You don’t have to feel pressured to finish the list in one day. (In fact, you shouldn’t finish the list in one day!) The next day, you begin with the subject on the list that follows the one you finished the day before. When the last subject on the list is completed, you start back at the top again and repeat the cycle.

You decide how often you want to teach each subject. (Every day, three times a week, etc.) Subjects that you want to cover daily are not included in the loop schedule, only subjects that you don’t need to do every day go into a loop schedule.

For example, you may wish to teach Bible, Language arts and Math every day. These subjects would be first in your day each school day. Then you would have all other subjects listed in your loop schedule and you would begin the loop subjects once the daily subjects were completed, working through the list until you need to be done for the day. If you wish to have one subject taught a bit more frequently, you’ll list it in the loop more often so that it comes up more often. 

You’ll want to make lesson plans for each subject so as you come to them in the loop you’ll be prepared for what you’re going to teach that day. There’s a sample loop schedule lesson plan and a free loop scheduling lesson planning document to download below.

Different Types of Loop Schedules

You can also make loop schedules for specific subjects. For example, language art has many facets to it, and some of those aspects of language arts don’t need to be taught every day. So you might have your child read every day, but for spelling, writing, literature study, etc. you might create a loop schedule so that you are doing all these other aspects of language arts, but you aren’t specifying which day you’ll be doing them.  You plan for 45 minutes of language arts in a day, and your child does their reading, then they start the loop schedule and get through whatever they can that day. The next day they pick up where they left off on the loop schedule list of studies.

You can do a loop schedule for any subject you wish. For example, for Science, you could loop reading the text, doing an experiment, notebooking, a nature walk, watching a DVD, etc. For History, loop the following: read the text, read a historical fiction book, watch a DVD, work on a timeline, etc.

You can even create a loop for your housecleaning or meal planning! You can really loop almost anything!!

Here are some documents showing how you organize a loop schedule for school:           

Subjects included in the loop schedule Frequency
Science 2 times
History 3 times
Art 1 time
Geography 3 times
Phy-ed 3 times
Loop (List subjects in order you want to do them)
History
Science
Phy-ed
Geography
Art
History
Phy-ed
Science
Geography (go back to top of loop)

Example of lesson plans for loop schedule:

SUBJECT LESSON PLAN
 History Read chapter 1, add events to timeline
 Science Read about pyramids, learn how they were built,
design
 Phy- Ed Biking
 Geography  Map of Middle East
 Art  Mosaic
 History Read chapter 2, timeline, make pyramid
 Phy-Ed Calisthenics
 Science Read about aqueducts and build one with clay
 Geography Middle east cultural geography
 History  Read chapter 3, timeline, watch DVD on Pharaohs
 Science Learn about rivers, lakes how they are formed
Phy-Ed Trampoline time
 Geography Middle east physical geography

There are pros and cons to this type of scheduling.

Pros Cons
Reduces stress when life is busy Could still lead to not getting subjects done if you’re not diligent to work through the loop
Gives some flexibility to your week The uncertainty of what will be covered each day may cause some anxiety
If your family is really enjoying studying something, you don’t have to rush to the next subject to be sure you finish all Lesson planning could be more challenging when you aren’t sure what day you’ll be doing each plan
The spontaneous child would enjoy this method much more than a rigid schedule Children who like to know the plan for the day would be frust-rated by this

If you’re having trouble with getting everything done each day and are always feeling behind, this approach might be the one for you!

Free Templates to try Loop Scheduling!

Give it a try by downloading these free templates to create your own loop schedule. As always, I encourage you to seek the Lord for wisdom as you plan, He knows what will work best and wants to guide you!

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

For more ideas on loop scheduling, check out this You Tube video, “Quick Start to Loop Scheduling” by Sarah MacKenzie and Pam Barnhill.

Do you need a homeschool planner?

Check out The Homeschool Life: All-in-One Planner for more ideas on planning and scheduling and record-keeping. It’s the only planner you’ll ever need because you get the templates for all consumable documents!

Please comment below if you’ve used this approach and have some advice or ideas for others!

6 Popular Achievement Tests for Homeschoolers

6 Popular Achievement Tests for Homeschoolers

This is the time of year when many states require homeschoolers to send in the Intent to Homeschool Form to their local school district.

If your state requires you to do an annual achievement test also, then you’ll likely need to list which achievement test you plan to use on this form as well. (Minnesota requires this!)

Deciding which test to use can be difficult for many homeschool parents. That’s why I wanted to provide you with a list of six popular achievement tests used by homeschool families.

They all have advantages and disadvantages, so you’ll need to look for the one that fits your family the best.

Questions to ask yourself as you review these testing options:

1. Do you prefer to give your children their achievement test yourself and do it in your home or do you want someone else to administer the test?

2. Can your child read well enough to do a fill-in-the-bubble test, or do they need a test that is oral or written for an early reader?

3. Can your child handle a timed test, or should you look for an untimed one?

4.  Do you want to be able to test your children all at the same time?

 Check out the comparison chart at the end if you just want a quick comparison.

Here’s a short review of six popular achievement tests:

Stanford Achievement Test- 10th Edition (also known as Stanford 10)

  • Available in paper format for K-12 and online for 3-12th grade
  • Untimedwith flexible guidelines, fill in the bubble format
  • Available in both Complete Battery with a Lexile Assessment and Abbreviated Battery
  • Qualifications to become a test administrator
  • Bachelor of Arts or Science degree OR teacher certification by state & complete training
  • Be approved by testing organization by completing tester certification form
  • Online testing option – the company is the tester and parent doesn’t need a degree to supervise
  • Where to find:

Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)

  • Available in two paper formats for K-12
  • Form C 2008 for those who want older version
  • Form E 2018- ELL friendly and most up to date, full color and slightly shorter
  • Timed, but takes less time to administer than Stanford 10, fill in the bubble format
  • Permits greater flexibilityfor students taking tests out of grade level
  • Qualifications to become a test administrator
  • Bachelor of Arts or Science degree OR teacher certification by state
  • Be approved by testing organization by completing tester certification form
  • Testing multiple grade levels together works well 

       Grades 3-8 can test together and grades 9-12 can test together

California Achievement Test

  • Available in two paper formats and two online versions
  • TerraNova, Second Edition® CAT 6 for K-12 (the updated CAT 5)
  • CAT E Survey for grades 4-12 (shorter version)
  • Online California Achievement Test (timed and untimed versions – for grades 2-12)
  • Timed,fill in the bubble format, shorter than both the above tests (there is an untimed online version)
  • Testing multiple grade levels together works well  for some of the CAT tests

Grades 4-12 can be tested together with the CAT E Survey

NWEA MAP Growth Assessment

  • Online format, parent supervises
  • Untimed and adaptive to how the student is performing
  • MAP Growth K–2 is designed for pre-readers with audio-support and a kid-friendly format. For older students with special needs, they offer Text-to-Speech and other built-in tools designed to help them test independently.
  • Where to find:

Peabody Achievement Test

  • Oral test administered by a trained examiner
  • Takes 60-90 minutes to administer, scores available immediately
  • Tester will give test in your home, a public place, or using internet video calling
  • Non-bracketed, gives flexibility for testing out of grade level (gives true Grade Equivalency scores)
  • Where to find testers: Google search Peabody testers in your area

Woodcock-Johnson Test- Fourth Edition

  • Oral test administered by a trained examiner
  • Measures academic achievement, oral language, and cognitive abilities
  • Takes 60-90 minutes to administer but is not timed (extended version takes up to 2-1/2 hours)
  • Where to find testers: Google search Woodcock-Johnson testers in your area

The Minnesota State Law Regarding Annual Assessment of Performance

Subd. 11. Assessment of performance.  (a) Each year the performance of every child ages seven through 16 and every child ages 16 through 17 for which an initial report was filed pursuant to section 120A.24, subdivision 1, after the child is 16 and who is not enrolled in a public school must be assessed using a nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement examination. The superintendent of the district in which the child receives instruction and the person in charge of the child’s instruction must agree about the specific examination to be used and the administration and location of the examination.

IN MINNESOTA:

  • You are required to administer or have your child take a standardized achievement test each year.
  • You are NOT required to turn in the results to the school district.
  • You should keep the results in your records.
  • If your child scores at or below the 30th percentile on the total battery score, you are required to obtain additional evaluation to determine if the child has learning problems.
  • If you are registered with an organization that is a recognized Minnesota accrediting association, you are not required to test your children.

Check out the requirements for your state at https://hslda.org/content/laws/

Download a comparison chart of the six achievement tests HERE.

Help! I’m Feeling Overwhelmed with Homeschool Planning!


Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Are you stressing because it feels like school is just around the corner and you don’t feel ready for your homeschool year?

Maybe you’ve already done some planning, but you’re feeling like there’s still so much to do. Or like many of us, you may have put off planning all together, thinking you’d get to it later and now you’re starting to feel anxious.

This time of year tends to be when homeschool parents start thinking about the next school year and begin feeling a little stressed out. That’s why I want to share some ideas for how you can finish your homeschool planning with less stress and pressure … and still enjoy your summer months!

TIPS FOR YEARLY HOMESCHOOL PLANNING

1. First and foremost, seek the Lord for help and guidance each time you work on planning

This is so important! God wants to help you in your school planning! As we get more and more experienced we can sometimes just jump right into planning and forget how important it is to seek the Lord’s guidance as we do.

2. Schedule in a few hours to work on planning each week ~ THIS IS KEY!

You’re more likely to get your planning done if you schedule in a time to work on it every week and don’t just let it happen whenever, because it will likely get put off! Write it in on your calendar! If you have a lot of children to plan for, you may need a couple time slots each week to plan.

One mom I know said her husband offered to give her one evening a week all summer long to work on her homeschool planning. What a great idea! Maybe your kids are old enough that you can sit outside and work on your planning while they play one morning a week.

Some might prefer to take a whole weekend away to work on homeschool planning – if that’s your preference, then make sure you schedule that weekend away soon! Early July is a great time for this.

3. Evaluate last year and set goals for this next school year

Take time to think about what you liked and didn’t like about this last school year as you begin planning for the next. What curriculum did you like enough that you want to use it again for the next level of learning? What routines in your daily life worked and which didn’t? Do you want to change up your yearly schedule?

Set some goals for this next school year for each child and for your homeschool year. Keep your state’s homeschool laws in mind, considering which subjects the state requires that you teach. You can find this information on your state’s homeschool group’s website or on hslda.org.

Here’s a free evaluation and goal setting form that you can use to help you think through these things and begin to set goals for each child. You may also want to consider your child’s learning style preferences when choosing curriculum, especially for the subjects they struggle in. Download my free informal learning style assessment to learn more about this.

4. Plan for one student at a time

When you have more than one child, it can feel a bit overwhelming to think through all the subjects you need to plan for each child. I recommend focusing on one child at a time, thinking specifically about the subjects you’ll need to teach them individually. Math and Language Arts are the two subjects that follow a specific scope and sequence, and therefore, often need to be taught to each child individually. (unless you have two children who are at the same skill level in one or both of these subjects) If your child is in high school, you may be buying individual curriculum for all or most of the subjects, as their learning tends to become more independent in those years.

5. Plan for subjects that you can teach all your children together

Bible, Social Studies, Science, Music, Art, Health and Physical Education can all be taught together as a family through the elementary and middle school years, and some of these can still be taught together in the high school years as well.

It’s fun to teach all the children these subjects by reading or sharing the information to them all together, and then giving them assignments that are appropriate for each child’s age and skill level. An older child could do a project or book report, while a younger child might help the older child with a project or do an easier project, such as coloring a picture or making a lapbook.

Look for curriculum that will help you teach your children all together if possible, especially in these subjects listed above.

6. Order curriculum

Once you’ve figured out what curriculum you want, place your orders! If you can get this done in July (at the latest), you’ll avoid the problem of items being out of stock. You can look for used curriculum if you want to save money or go on Facebook to some of the homeschool swap groups and see if you can find someone who has what you want and wants to sell it.

Here are a few good used curriculum sites:
homeschoolclassifieds.com


thehomeschoolmom.com/homeschool-help/used-homechool-curriculum-sources/


A list of used curriculum sites can be found here: a2zhomeschooling.com/materials/curriculum_shop/budget_curriculum_shop/used_homeschool_curriculum/

7. Schedule time to review curriculum and learn how to use it ~setting aside the time is KEY!

Once your curriculum arrives, schedule in time each week to work on reviewing it. Pick one curriculum to focus on each week and you’ll feel less overwhelmed by the feeling you’re not getting enough done. Plan out your weeks, and which curriculum you’ll focus on, so you know you’ll get it all done in time.

8. Consider how your yearly, monthly, weekly and daily schedule will work best

You can be working on this as you review curriculum. Consider how many units, chapters or lessons there are in each subject, and plan how much needs to be done each week to get through the curriculum.  A typical school year is 180 days or 36 weeks (unless you school year- round!), so you can determine how much your child will need to complete each week to finish in that much time.

Think through which subjects you’ll need to be working individually with a child on, and plan what time of day would work best for that, and what the other children will do while you’re teaching the one child.

I have some great templates for thinking through scheduling  in The Homeschool Life All-in-One Planner.

Only $33 (includes tax)

9. Remember to include Bible study and character growth as part of your learning each day

I recommend starting your school day each day with family Bible study or a character study. It really sets the tone for the day and helps everyone’s attitudes to be in the right place. Praying together each morning can help you find the peace you need to start your day as well.

Look for some good family Bible study materials or character studies to do over the year. Check out Growing the Fruit of the Spirit for your Bible study guide this next school year!

10. Look for ways to integrate your subjects so that assignments and projects will promote learning in more than one subject.

You can also save yourself a lot of time and energy if you incorporate projects and reading (both read aloud books and readers) that cover more than one subject as your child does them.

For example, you can read aloud a book on Egyptian mummies and pyramids for history and you’ll also be learning the science behind mummification and building pyramids. For language arts, your child can read, The Magic School House Research Book- Mummies and Pyramids by Mary Pope Osborn. They could write a book report on it or share what they learned with the rest of the family. Art could be building a pyramid together as a family with clay or Paper Mache.  Here’s a fun free unit study on Egypt to help you plan (there are lots of free or inexpensive unit studies available online!) https://www.homeschoolshare.com/ancient_egypt.php

Curricula that use the unit study or Charlotte Mason approach typically integrate subjects like this. If you’re planning your own studies, download this free planning sheet to help you determine how you can integrate subjects as you study.  

11. Look for ways to help your student become more independent in their learning if old enough

Once children can read well, they’re ready to do more independent work. Assignment sheets for each week help your child know what is expected and will help them learn to manage their time and be responsible. Check out The Homeschool Life All-in-One Planner to find an assignment sheet template and learn how to do this.

12. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and pray for His help in your planning whenever you feel stressed!

You’re not doing this homeschool journey alone! God wants to help and guide you as you plan and prepare for this next school year. As a believer, you have the Holy Spirit indwelling you, guiding you and giving you wisdom. Rest in the Lord and know that you can do this with HIS help!