Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Of Course You Can Homeschool

Heart of the Matter featured a post today by Andrea at The Honest Woman. It was such a great post! It was full of questions from a mom about to begin the homeschool journey. Instead of just putting my answers in a comment, I decided this would be a great post. It also makes a really long comment.
Beginning your homeschool journey is a scary time full of uncertainty and questions. Questions you are asking yourself, questions you are asking other homeschooling families, questions others are asking you. (Some of which feel like the 3rd degree). The following are Andrea’s questions and my humble attempt to answer them from my experience.
10. So, I have purchased the whole curriculum that some experienced homeschooler has recommended. It looks awesome on my new homeschooling cabinet tucked away all neat and pretty..... Now what?

Pull it out and look through it. Is it something that looks fun and enjoyable to do? What can you expect as you go through it? Do you need other supplies to do the work? Get to know the curriculum before you actually use it. It helps a lot if you know what you are going to be doing before you actually do it. I have never used all of one type of curriculum. I use many different types of curriculum and then switch it up when I find it is not working at the moment. However, I do not just chuck it all together; I save it for the next kid to try. What does not work for one kiddo might work for the other kiddo. Remember that chances are you will not finish the book before the end of the year. Remember that you are using the curriculum it is not using you. In other words, it is just a tool you are using to teach. If you find that it is not doing the job you need it to do, find a new tool that will. Also, plan to spend about 30-45 min a day for preschool and then add about a half hour per grade after that for time frames of “school.” But then again, as you become more experienced you will find that you can be teaching all day every day without even cracking open a book.
9. I like to have things planned out, but I have never been home for lunch. I think the kids will want to eat during the day. What do I do? GIVE ME YOUR WEEKLY MENU’S; I WANT BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER! ASAP!

Breakfast: Healthy cold cereals, pancakes (make a bunch and then keep them in the fridge for easy warm up in the morning. They also make great midday snacks), waffles (see note on pancakes), French toast, scrambled eggs… because you don’t have to be at school at such an early time, you can actually take time to make nutritious breakfasts for the kids and they can take the time to enjoy breakfast time.
Lunches can include quesadillas (tortillas with melted cheese), sandwiches all types, leftovers from the night before, soups, sometimes we have some meat, cheese, and crackers. Do not forget the fresh fruit and veggies. Baby carrots are great at lunchtime. Sometimes we have scrambled eggs with frozen chopped spinach mixed in topped with a bit of cheese. This is great for breakfast or lunch.
For dinner, become best friends with your crock-pot. I have and use mine all the time. Spaghetti, polenta, grilled chicken, cheesy chicken, soup salad and biscuits, casseroles… What I do is come up with 10 dinners that I want to make/eat. I try to make sure I have some that take no time at all to cook in the list. Then, I make sure I have all the ingredients getting what I do not have. I can then use that list of dinners to tell me what I am going to make each night. I choose 10 so on the day before grocery day I can still make a choice and not be stuck with what is left Chances are, the only thing left takes hours of prep time and I only have 2 minutes to whip up dinner. Also, if I do not make it to the store on grocery day, I still have food I can make and we do not end up with takeout.
8. Construction paper is evil, are there any acid free, cost efficient alternatives? Is colored paper necessary for preschool and 1st grade?

Construction paper is invaluable to a preschooler and all grades for that matter. I was a preschool teacher for many years and used so much of it. I give my kids free reign on paper as long as they are not really wasteful. They can cut, glue, and create with it. Also for lapbooks, it brightens it up and adds to the creativity. You can get acid free construction paper. You can also get regular paper in many colors. Color helps break up the monotony. Also, I have found that sometimes it is easier for kids to work on colored paper (like the light blue) when doing written work.
7. Thank God for glue sticks! Does liquid glue have any educational value that my kids will miss out on if I banish it? All they want to do is make a mess then eat it. Liquid glue has no nutritional value, does it?

Liquid glue does not need to be banished. You just need to teach them how to use it and then, watch them like a hawk. When the kids are being creative on their own, they are only allowed to use glue sticks. However, when we are doing a lapbook or other project, I want to make sure the thing does not come apart. So, here is how I control the mess and make clean up almost non existent. Take a lid to a yogurt container, sour cream container or whatever. Squeeze just a little bit of glue onto the lid. I usually do the size of a quarter. Then, let them paint the glue with a q-tip onto what they are gluing. When the q-tip falls apart, throw it away and give them a fresh one. When you are finished with the project, throw away the used q-tips, and let the glue dry on the lid. When the glue is completely dry, it will just peel off without any problem. Then use the lid for the next time. It works great and you get no glue mess on the project and no glue mess on the table. Also, for projects, you can protect your surface with butcher paper.
6. What do I do when my husband is red with jealousy? (“You spend all day with them”, “When I call, you need to answer” “Where is my tissue paper butterfly”) Remember: I am married to a loud little Italian man.

Do not let him get jealous. I know it sounds like such a simple answer but as a wife, you need to make sure you meet his needs as well as your kids’ needs. If you are meeting his needs, then he cannot get jealous. Then, when you are spent because the day was not one of the easiest (those happen more often than any of us care to admit) it will be easier to let him know that you just do not have it in you to give any more that day. Draw on the Lord for your strength so you can survive those impossible days.
5. How do I wear out the princess before she can wear me out?

Let her play! Okay that is the obvious. But let her run around outside if you can. Take her to the park so she can run too. Let her jump around to some fun music before you have her sit down to a lesson. Go for a walk around the block and let her run a few steps ahead of you. We play red light green light when we go on walks. The kids can run in front of us for a short distance. When they get too far ahead, we say red light and then catch up. When we are caught up, we say green light.
4. Will wearing uniforms help create structure or routine? We already have them and it seems logical. By the way, how do you get dry erase marker out of uniforms? Yeah, too late, I already washed it!

We do not wear uniforms however, we do require getting dressed. With getting dry erase out of clothing, try Expo white board cleaner or rubbing alcohol. Put a towel you do not care about under the spot. Apply a little of the alcohol or cleaner. Press hard with a paper towel or rag that you do not care if it gets dirty. Then launder. Try it and see. Some fabrics hold onto ink more than others I have found.
3. How do you get dad involved without it seeming like a chore? (Nevermind, I can sit him down and let him make his own tissue paper butterfly!).

Work as a team. You can as a team, teach your children more effectively than you can alone. We do many activities together like going to the park. My hubby has them run laps and stuff at the park. At home, he is like the principle. And he teaches them in ways only he can. The longer you homeschool the easier it is for you to naturally fall into your teaching roles. And the more schooling and learning becomes a way of life more than just something you do.
2. What do you do when the super hero turns evil on the fairy princess? They don’t cover this in our bible curriculum.

As moms, we are training our children how to be husbands and wives to their future spouse. We have a huge rule in our house to treat everyone with love and respect. When one of them does not we show them in the Bible where they went wrong. 1 Corinthians 13 lays out love very clearly and we are to treat others with love. We also have the kids apologize and ask for forgiveness and the other needs to forgive. This has been so great to watch how their hearts change by doing this. To ask for forgiveness causes true repentance.
1. I think I have lost my mind, have you seen it? Please tell me it isn't June already!

Many moms feel like they have lost their minds on many occasions. Going to the Lord daily for strength, guidance and the renewing of your mind will help you find it and keep you from loosing it.

Remember to trust in the Lord for everything. And get into relationship with other homeschooling families. You will find great friendships and get great advice and you will not feel like you are in this journey alone.

If you are a homeschool mom with some wisdom for Andrea, stop by Heart of the Matter and encourage her.



  1. My friend: Can I encourage you to pray about how God can use you as a women's retreat speaker, especially those retreats focused on motherhood. Seriously, you would be amazing.


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