Category Archives: Homeschoooling

WFMW: Schooling with Little Ones

Something I hear often after I say I homeschool is, “How do you do it with all your little ones”. Well, homeschooling a 6 year old when you have a 4, 2, and newborn is a challenge but it can be done. First, take advantage of any of the newborn’s naps. Then invest in some dollar big puzzles and dollar coloring books for the 2 year old. Then only let the 2 year old use those when you are schooling. Then they are his special “school” things. With the 4 year old use peer pressure and preschool work. Get some preschool workbooks and give them the choice to work on it. But if they don’t choose to work on it they have to play in their room or what ever you would let the 2 year old do. And yes I have use the line, “If you aren’t big enough to work on your school work you aren’t big enough to play on the computer while your brother works on his work”. It has worked pretty well so far for me!

Frugal Homeschooler: Record Keeping

Once again I am looking at homeschooling on the cheap. This time I am looking at the record keeping side. It surprises me how intimidated people are by the idea that the need to keep records. It just isn’t that hard. Now granted, I am in California where we don’t have a lot of rules but still. I think this is something anyone can do with out any fancy, expensive stuff.

Personally I take the calendar approach. Since this is first grade I am just getting an idea of my oldest’s output. I have an overall minimum plan but not a daily plan (doesn’t allow for much flexibility). I bought a calendar with a page a day. Then I just write each kid’s name and what they did for the day. It is that simple. When this calendar is done I will just use the undated teacher’s planner I got at the Dollar Tree. It has plenty of room and the price is great;). I prefer the paper version right now and then I will convert it to a computer file at a later date for prosperity.

There are also a couple of free sites. You can download a free version of HomeSchool Tracker. It is a software program that you can put everything in to plan and track. I haven’t tried it but have heard good things, especially for multiple kids. The other tool out there is Donna Young’s site. It has all the printable paper work you can imagine. She has planning pages, notebooking pages, calendars, etc. I have already used them many times.

Well, hopefully that helps someone with the bookkeeping and tracking that goes with homeschooling. If you have any other free or cheap resources for record keeping please leave them in the comments. Also, if you haven’t checked out my post on reproducible books please do and add your finds too!

As always remember homeschooling doesn’t have to be hard or expensive!

An invasion of civilization by little barbarians

I came across Thomas Sowell’s summation of a parent’s duty, “Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late,” in an article about conflicting ideas about parenting. The author, Tony Woodleif, a homeschooling father of four, lays out Sowell’s two competing theories:

Mr. Sowell contrasted the “unconstrained vision” of utopians, who want to radically improve humankind, with the “constrained vision” of realists, who begin with the proposition that man is inherently self-interested, and not moldable into whatever form the high-minded types have in store for us once they get their itchy fingers on the levers of power.

Like the author, I fall in to the “constrained vision” camp, described here:

The constrained vision indicates that world harmony and universal satisfaction are mirages. People are innately selfish, and they’ll always desire more goodies. This means that tradeoffs between competing wants are inevitable. My wife and I therefore forbid our children to use the word “fair.” Parents still in the thrall of the unconstrained worldview are prone to manipulation by their kids, who like little human-rights lawyers insist on fairness as an imperative. And don’t get me started on the damage that an exaggerated sense of fairness and entitlement has done to public schools. In our house things are much simpler: That last piece of cake had to be divided somehow, and in this imperfect world your brother got the extra frosting. Deal with it.

Also, read the article to get an thoughtful defense of “Because I said so.”

Reproducibles: A Homeschooler’s Blessing

As a homeschooling mom, I can say my biggest money investment is curriculum. I am quickly realizing the benefit of using books that give you permission to photocopy. I have 4 kids so this is a huge benefit. For example, Singapore Math is not one you can reproduce. I spend about $32 in books per kid per year if they only do 1 years worth. While that isn’t a lot of money at a glance it is $256 to get one kid all the way through the 6th grade. Which means I could save $768 if I could just reproduce them (of course not counting photocopy cost). That won’t make me quit using Singapore but it might sway me in other subjects. So I am going to start compiling a list of reproducible materials.

So far here is my short list.
ELP’s Handrwiting Skills Simplified – Grade 1 (this is great if you need extra practice)
Story of the World’s Activity Guides

So if you have something to add to the list, please email me ( or leave it in the comment.

Free History!

The History Channel is giving away some free history! Just request one, all or some combination of the unit studies. They are 4 different areas: The Declaration of Independence, Missouri River, The National World War II Memorial and the White House. They are also for grades K-12, depending on the study. Just give them your info and they ship it to you for free.

**Updated: I have now included a link! I thought I had before but….

Carnival of Homeschooling #84

(I am sorry for the delay on this Carnival but in addition to my previous excuses (my stomach bug) now NerdDad is throwing up and the Newest Nerdling may also have a little bit too. So have mercy on me;)

Welcome to the 84th edition of the Homeschooling Carnival. This week we are going to look at the carnival through the many reasons that the NerdFamily homeschools. We have many great entries so let us get started!

The first reason is academics. We have the control to dig in as deep as we would like in to each subject. In this many homeschoolers seem to have a never ending supply of great ideas but some do need help and that is why they read these blogs. Seeking Rest in the Ancient Paths does ask Why Finding Curriculum is so Difficult. Kathy at My Quivers Full starts our academic journey with Keeping Preschoolers Busy. Barb at Heart of Harmony offers us a Nature Study for Young People with both her and Charlotte Mason’s tips for nature studies. Lindafay at Highter Up and Further In tells us How We Organize Apologia Notebooks for her highschooler in science. APMFormulators have a cool article on Gilding:Science Fair Idea for Homeschoolers. Suzanne at Adventures in Daily Living has found some great handwriting worksheet generators in Home-Schooling Resource. Remember that academics can include games. Melitsa at Play-Activities talks about this in Childhood Games. Lynn at HSBiz is taking full advantage of all the great academic resources on the internet with Getting Ready For School. Sue at Homeschooling Your Child shares her newest discovery – an excellent resource that lists free online high school courses (including AP classes) and homeschool curriculum. Alasandra has some online sites to learn about Mesoamerican culture. Denise at Let’s Play Math gives us Alex’s Puzzling Papyrus where Math + History = Fun! Learn how the ancient Egyptian scribes did multi-digit multiplication problems without knowing the times tables. Mrs. Happy Housewife gives us 12 weeks of South America Lesson Plans. Karen at The Thomas Institute explains how she came to choose Ray’s Arithmetic for their math study and gave a brief overview of it. Waldorf Our Way gives us Step-Down Reading show how taking a more relaxed approach to reading is removing frustration and helping a non-reader to develop a more positive attitude toward the magic of reading. The Daily Planet gives us The Jewish Camps Essay as part of a WWII study.

Probably second only to academics is homeschooling allows me to raise my kids the way my husband and I want. This is instead of a)the government and b)the other kids. Tiffany at Life on the Road talks about Modest Dress in the 21st Century. I can say this is already an issue I ponder with my 4 year old girl. Dewey’s Treehouse seems to agree with wanting to raise their own kids in their own way in Dr. Friendly Made Us Homeschool.

Another reason I homeschool is I can structure it the way I want. I don’t like being held hostage by the public school’s calendar or teaching philosophy. It is great that you can find whatever works for you or your child. Public School can’t take the needs or goals of the individual into account when deciding on their overall philosophy but we can. It really comes down to finding the structure and timing that works best for your family. For example I have a newborn so I am not homeschooling for any big blocks of time. I also schedule things around church and other kids’ nap times. I look to other homeschoolers for ideas, inspiration and just knowing what worked for them and they definitely have come through this week. Little Acorns Treehouse has a great post with Getting the Teacher Organized where she shows her custom made planner. Summer at Mom is Teaching is Planning for the New Year. Just4HomeschoolFamilies is sharing their plans in Our New School Year. With just my 4 kids I feel I am often losing my mind, can you imagine having 17? Barbara Frank talks about the Duggars newest arrival in Homeschooling a Dozen. I guess if the Duggars can do it I can too;). I guess the key is scheduling and flexibility. All Info About Home Schooling talks about your Ideal Schedule vs. Real Schedule.

It also means you choose what ever type of program works for you be it unschooling, Charlotte Mason, Classical or charters. But first, Lothlorien asks What Kind of Homeschooler are You? Nissa at Renaissance Academy gives us Keeping Charlotte Simple for Our Busy Family. It is part 1 in a series about how she is simplifying a classical/CM approach for her 6 children. The Headmistress at The Common Room talks about Good Clean Dirt and how playing ties into the Charlotte Mason theory. Lynn at Homeschool2.0 Blog tells us 5 Reasons Our Kids are in a Public Homeschool Program.

SeaBird Chronicles gives us Favorites: Parenting Books that include books that help homeschoolers in dealing with and understanding our children better so we can educate them better. Going further in that route is HowToMe’s How to Teach your Auditory Learner to Study (2 of 4). Kim’s Play Place talks about learning styles importance (or lack of) in Learning Styles Panned.

Remember that you are in control of your schedule so if you want to rework it, go for it. That is why a period of reflection each year can be useful. Elisheva at Ragamuffin Studies does just that in Homeschooling Four Seasons. Getting Ahead looks at what they do and tells us Why Homeschooling Works for Them. Unfortunately though, part of doing it your own way means that you have to pay for it. Once you choose That is why I like this post from Dawn at Day by Day Homeschooling on Home Budgeting Help for the Spreadsheet Impaired.

Yet another reason to homeschool is so you have the opportunity to teach your kids skills outside the normal academic skill set. In our house that would be cooking, money issues, etc. Mommy Babble has a great article, Knitting Obsession, on bringing in knitting as another skill. Some of what I want to teach them is to be well rounded and happy. Semicolon talks about the things to include in their days to be complete people in The Rule of Six , or Seven, or Eight, or Ten.

Another reason I like homeschooling is that it is equal opportunity. My kids are part of a large diverse group because anyone can homeschool. This isn’t just for the wealthy or highly degreed or we wouldn’t be able to do it. Deanna at Marcy’s Musings discusses public perception of homeschooling vs. the truth about the tremendous variety we really come in with What are Homeschoolers Really Like? Dana at Principled Discovery is also Playing with Some Homeschool Stereotypes. Though homeschoolers inherently have some share goals and this is often played out at conferences. Consent of the Governed shares such a conference with the Love To Learn Conference.

Yet another reason I homeschool is the politics of the matter and the fact the system doesn’t work. I believe in small government and fiscal responsibility. I believe that I (and many other parents) do a better job with much less money than the current system. The government seems to be quite happy with the way things are and I am not. I believe that homeschooling is the best way to change the overall system. Why Homeschool has a Response to a Comment that seemed to question that. Bending the Twigs looks at the issues of accountability and efficiency in People in Glass Houses. Around here schooling boundaries are an arbitrary, bureaucratic and a very big deal, Clovis Unified vs. Fresno, which elementary school, etc. Well Life Without School talks about boundaries in public and homeschools in No Boundaries. Po Moyemu–In My Opinion talks about Albemarle’s Home Instruction Policy Manual. This is not merely a local issue, but addresses issues of accountability, understanding the law, and defining “educational progress.”

All my reasons add up to a theme I want for my children’s lives which is a love a learning. Katherine at No Fighting, No Biting! shows this well with School Supplies. Another example of a life of learning is illustrated with Sebastian’s at Percival Blakeney Academy offering of Field Trip to Athens.

There are also always more reasons and Just Enough and Nothing More shares some of these in 5 Homeschooling Secrets.

Of course, when you are in charge of your child’s academic future it is normal to have some feelings of inadequacy. Annette at Homeschooling Journey shares her experience dealing with the holes in her education in Homeschooling Teens.

But in all this remember, homeschooling is personal choice and shouldn’t be forced upon anyone. Not to say marriage isn’t a negotiation. Notes From a Homeschooling Mom talks about this in How Do I Get My Wife to Homeschool our Kids?

The final reason to homeschool is to produce productive adults (who might even homeschool their kids;) who are smarter than me. Elizabeth at Little Cottage in the Northwoods appears to be just that in Reflections of a Homeschooled Girl. After reading a Wall Street Journal column about small business and corporate culture and the hiring process, ChristineM at The Thinking Mother wonders if our homeschooled independent thinkers will be able to land a job when they are adults in Adult Workers and Clones. Home Spun Juggling talks about those moments when our goal starts becoming reality and the kids start knowing things we don’t in Home Spun Comic Strip #119.

Now, separate from all this, homeschoolers are very generous people and we have a couple of posts that prove it! Summer at Mom is Teaching asks How Many Homeschool Supplies Could You Get For $300? 3 of the people who leave a comment on one of the network sites will win some money to find out. Megan at Imaginif…child protection became Serious Business tells us to Enter to win a set of five Aussie Animal Finger Puppets!

That brings us to an end of this week’s Carnival. Next week Dewey’s Treehouse will be hosting and you can go here to get all the details on submitting an article. Remember all opinions expressed here are mine and not necessarily an contributers. So go read and comment!

Looking for Resources

So NerdDad and I have settled on a Homeschool philosophy and are preparing to start it. We have settled on the Well Trained Mind philosophy that uses Story of the World. Believe it or not, I think we are going to go a little free form with it so we can see what the NerdBug will really be interested in. I love that it isn’t textbook dependent. I am wondering where I can find support and resources. I found a couple yahoo groups but they don’t seem very active. Is there an online group that all you WTM people use? Any specific resources you just couldn’t live without? I am taking all input!