June 7, 2021
Homeschooling 101

Homeschooling 101


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If you are considering homeschooling or are new to homeschooling it can be overwhelming. Why do people homeschool, how do I homeschool, what curriculum should I use, what are some FREE resources? I wrote Homescholing 101 to help you answer some of those questions.  with lots of lesson plans & great resources for homeschooling families!
If you are considering homeschooling or are new to homeschooling it can be overwhelming. Why do people homeschool, how do I homeschool, what curriculum should I use, what are some FREE resources? I wrote Homescholing 101 to help you answer some of those questions.  with lots of lesson plans & great resources for homeschooling families!

Homeschooling Information

While we offer our resources to parents, teachers and homeschoolers – we are indeed a homeschool blog. Our homeschool website began to give parents, tips, ideas, and lots of free homeschool worksheets to make it fun and EASY for homeschooling families! So whethere you are a homeschool veteran, new homeschool family, or somewhere in between – here is some helpful homeschool information for you.

Deciding to Homeschool is a BIG Decision!

It means you are personally taking charge of your child’s education. You have the privilege (and responsibility) of choosing your curriculum, how you will organize your day, where to spend your extra curricular time, and over many of the things that influence who your child will become. Homeschooling will take up a big chunk of your time, resources, and energy.

Why do People Homeschool?

There are lots of reasons people homeschool. Homeschooling 101

  • Religious reasons – To disciple our children in our faith. To help instill Godly character in them. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
  • Educational reason – Did you know homeschool students score an average of 37 points higher than a public school student. (Rudner Study) When you only have to focus on your kids, instead of the 25+ a public school teacher needs to, you can tailor the curriculum to fit their needs and interests. The struggling student gets the help they need, the average student gets the chance to explore their interests and excel, the ‘gifted’ student can be challenged.
  • Safety – Some families for whatever reason don’t live in an area where they feel their children are physically and/or emotionally safe at a public school.
  • Philosophical – Some don’t agree with the way public education is taught.  Again, homeschoolers in this area run the gamut.
  • Traditional Values – Others just want a tight-knit family with traditional values

No matter why you homeschool it is good to make sure you know why you are doing it before you get started. Don’t do it because your friends are or it is popular. It is a LOT of hard work – make sure it is the right decision for you, your family, and your kids. Write down your reasons and look back at this when you are frustrated or discouraged. (If you are curious, here is why we started homeschooling)

Homeschooling Rules

As with seemingly everything now-a-days, there are rules. Homeschooling is no exception. Make sure that you are aware of the legal rules & requirements for your state (or country) before you begin. There are states that require you to be a certified teacher, others require yearly testing, some have great programs where they lend books to homeschoolers for free, and still others have very few rules at all. If you are homeschooling in another country be aware that in some countries it is illegal. Just make sure you know what is required. I am no expert! You may want to start here to get some information on rules in your state. Try doing a Google search for your state/country & Homeschool Regulations.

What you need to know before Homeschooling

For every major decision in life we put in time and do our homework to make sure we understand it thoroughly, the ramifications, and how it will impact us. Homeschooling is no different. Following are some great books about homeschooling.

One of the best resources for you is other homeschooling families. Check for coops near you through your local library, church, and online. Talk to other families in the trenches to see what it is like. Ask them lots of questions.

And finally, in this modern age we are BLESSED with so many wonderful resources and online networks! You can find lots of great ideas, free units, free printables, resource recommendations, encouragement, and support. Check my sidebar for blogs that I love and read regularly! (Also see resources at the bottom of this post)

Find a Homeschool Support Group

Homeschooling can be one of the most rewarding and loneliest jobs out there. The reason I say it can be lonely is that you are not doing the “normal”. You will not run into neighbors at school and have that common connection. It can be time consuming to not only teach, but prepare. And you will not get paid for all your hours and hours of hard work. You cannot call in sick  and have a sub take over.  The majority of your time will be spent with your children – not with other adults. You have to be “on” so to speak 100% of the time!

So make sure you take the time to find some support. It could come in the form of a church group, area you live group, style of teaching group, or a coop where you teach each other’s kids once a week. Some are lucky enough to have supportive parents to encourage and lend a helping hand. Some have other homeschooling families in the neighborhood. No matte what it is – make sure you find other adults who you can use as sounding boards, to encourage you, to network with, and to laugh with.

Support can also come from reading books/magazines to help you feel encouraged, excited, and realizing that you are not alone. I enjoy getting a Homeschooling Magazine with ideas, reviews, trends, legislation that may affect homeschoolers, etc.  There are several to choose from. I suggest asking for a free copy of several to see what you like. I personally like Homeschool Enrichment Magazine.


Set up your Homeschool Room

One of the biggest mistakes new homeschool families  make is trying to recreate school exactly. One of the benefits of homeschooling is you are not confined by the traditional desk model. You can “do school” in the backyard, at the zoo, in the car, around the kitchen table, in the evenings, early in the morning, at Grandma’s house, or whatever else works for you. I love that we have so many more choices to keep my kids interested, engaged, and happily learning!
August 2011 796With that being said, kids do learn best with order. So make sure you are comfortable with how your family will do school. What would you want your school space to look like? How are you going to store all the books that seem to come with the territory? Where are your kids going to sit to write? Then consider if you have the space (and budget) to make it look like you want. In my homeschool dream I would have a loft that would be a large space I could design for our families homeschooling style. In it would be an easily accessible,  large walk in closet with room for plastic totes labeled with what’s inside.  But we don’t have that space or money to make that happen……but a girl can dream =-)

Homeschool Room Musts

Our school room had to have: a place for kids to write, bookshelves (for fun books to read and school books), storage for all the odds & ends (maps, manipulatives, science stuff, crafts stuff, stamps, etc.), a large holder for markers/crayons/pencils, computer (for me to print, research, and for educational activities), comfy couch (to cuddle up & read whenever we can), wall space for our US & World maps and alphabet flashcards, TOYS! (I still have little ones so they need to hang out & have fun with us while we “do school” so having it be a fun room was important to me.

Choosing your Homeschool Curriculum

Choosing your curriculum can be TOUGH! There are SO MANY choices out there!! That’s a good thing! I can’t imagine the pioneer homeschoolers who had to try to
Choosing your curriculum tipsconvince text book companies to sell to homeschoolers. But with so many choices come hard decisions. And if you aren’t careful you can end up spending a lot of money.

So how do you pick the right homeschool curriculum?

  • Right up front you need to know that there is no RIGHT curriculum. They all teach basically the same thing in a different method at a different cost.
  • Don’t feel like you need to stick with something if it doesn’t work for your family. Give it a fair try, but if it isn’t working – don’t feel bad about switching! (You can always resell it!)
  • Try to go to a Homeschooling Convention to look at materials in person. Being able to thumb through books will give you a really good idea if it is something that will appeal to your family.
  • Ask other homeschoolers for recommendations. Most homeschooling families love to tell you about what they really like and what they don’t like.
  • Be realistic – if you have a bottom line budget don’t overspend. There are LOTS of fantastic {free} units online, inexpensive units, and free books at your local library. You can homeschool at ANY budget…..you just have to work a little harder.
  • 100 Top Picks for Homeschooling Curriculum by Cathy Duffy is a wonderful resource! I poured over this book and then looked up curriculum sample pages and reviews on line. (Make sure to shop around for curriculum to find the best deal. Amazon can be a lot less for somethings, but not for others. Make the internet work to your advantage!)
  • If you are piecing together your own curriculum (like we do)  instead of buying an expensive box set and you want to make sure you covered everything they are suppose to know, don’t miss these two wonderful books: (I highly recommend owning at least Home Learning Year by Year as you will reference it a lot)
  • When it comes to Elementary school – focus primarily on the 3 R’s (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic). Everything else they learn will build on those. Make sure they have a good strong foundation! You’ve probably heard this before….. but Read. Read. Read!
  • Make sure you know what your state requires as far as subjects to be taught, hours/days spent teaching, work to be saved, grades, and testing. Those will all factor into your curriculum choice.
  • Some people like to have everything come from one place to know they are getting everything in. You can look into companies like Bob Jones, Abeka, Timberdoodle, and Sonlight. They all have an OUTSTANDING reputation and have great materials. The downside is that you will need to teach each of your children individually (no unit studies)  and the cost. You will be looking at about $400 (give or take) per child!
  • Another option for those that want a one-stop-shop is My Father’s World. They group kids for Science/Social Studies/Bible so you will not have to teach everything individually. The curriculum does an excellent job of weaving our Christian faith throughout. There are some creative ideas and for those wanting a less rigorous approach you will be pleased. Expect to spend about  $300/ year for your family plus $20ish/per child for consumable Math workbooks. (Note: This is assuming you check out all the living books from your local library)
  • You could do Unit studies (that integrate most subjects together for all kids K-8th grade). Konos’ 3 year rotation original program that will cost $110-170 a year for 3 years. You will need to add Language Arts & Math of your choosing to this curriculum that will cost about $100/year per child.
  • Or… you can do a little legwork and piece together resources. This may take a little extra effort, but you will save money, can take advantage of the many FREE online units & printables, and will get to use what looks best for your family/situation. (This is what I find many homeschoolers I know end up doing) Again, take advantage of recommendations, look at what other blogging homeschoolers use, check out Cathy Duffy’s recommendations, and use Rebecca Rupp’s Homes Learning Year by Year book.
  • Sign-up for lots of catalogs. Since I piece together things from hear & there it is good to know what is out there! Did you know My Father’s World sells a year of Singapore Math (textbook & workbooks A & B, including lesson plans from MFW) for only $45!?!

Check out our other resources on homeschool curriculum:

Homeschooling Obstacles

No matter how prepared you think you are just know that you will forget something. (Trust me they forget things in public schools too!) There is also a good
be prepared for opstaclesprobability that at least one of the things you plan to do will flop royally (and that’s okay!) Some days you may not get a shower in, run the dishwasher, or feel like the perfect mom. That’s okay too =-) You will also probably run into a neighbor, family member, acquaintance, or nosy fellow grocery shopper that may question your schedule or choice. The choice to homeschool is not for everyone so try to be as gracious as you can, remind yourself why you choose to homeschool, and tell your hubby to prepare the ice cream for some debriefing that night =-)

Just remember, you get the privilege of teaching your children! You get to see them figure out how to read for the first time! You get to spend time cuddling up on the couch reading stories! You get to learn alongside them and from them! You get to spend so many precious hours with your kids that other parents don’t! You get to help preserve their innocence a little longer. And most importantly in my book – you get to train up your children when they rise, when they walk along, and when they lay down! What a privilege!!

Be a good Record Keeper

Like I mentioned before, some states have requirements. So make sure to follow those closely.  At a minimum, you will want to keep:

  • lesson plans with what you studied, resources used, fieldtrips, subjects covered, and number of days (I currently use an Excel spreadsheet which is working for now since we are not keeping grades for Elementary school)
  • sample work – keep a variety of your child’s work in a variety of subjects. This will not only be fun for kids to look back through later, but will also be your proof should a truancy officer ever knock at your door!
  • Other ideas on what to keep: report cards, standardized testing, extra curricular certificates of completion, etc.
  • Use these Free Homeschool Forms to organize your year
  • How to Homeschool in 15 Hours a Week

Supplies Homeschoolers Need

Much of what you stock your school room will depend on the space you have, type of curriculum you use, and your personal preferences. But here our some recommendations from our homeschool to yours:

Homeschooling Resources by Grade Level

You can jump right to the grade(s) you need by click on the following links or thumbnail below:

Preschool Worksheets  TONS of free kindergarten worksheets and kindergarten games to help kindergartners learn math, alphabet, literacy, word families, sight words, counting, addition, history, science and more with free kindergarten activities  free 1st grade worksheets for practicing math, english, science, history and more  Grade 2 Worksheets and games to make practicing math, english, science, social studies, art, and more FUN!

over 3000 pages of free third grade printables to help students in grade 3 practice math, english, grammar, history, science experiments, and more  grade 4 worksheets, games & printables 2000+ grade 5 worksheets including free printable math games, english grammar activities, science, geography, history, music, science, and more #5thgrade #grade5 #homeschool 2000+ pages of grade 6 worksheets, games, and activities to make learning math, english grammar, language arts, history, geography, science, music and more fun #grade6 #6thgrade #homeschool

grade 7 /8 free printables  free high school printables to make learning engaging and fun for 9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, and 12th grade students.

Don’t forget God in your Homeschool!

I  sometimes get so caught up doing good things that I forget about the BEST thing – God! And when I am not spending time reading the Bible and talking to my heavenly Father I wear out, get cranky, and am not focused on the things God has for me to do. I urge you, as I do myself, to not neglect time with God. It might seem like you gain a little bit of time or sleep… but trust me you will loose out BIG TIME!

“Now may the God of peace… equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrew 13:20-21

So before you start discipling the precious young lives God has given to you, take the time to feed your own soul first! It’s like they tell you on an airplane. If the oxygen masks come down please put your own on first, BEFORE helping children and those around you. It may seem harsh, but how can you help those around you if you are listless or dead! It is the same when it comes to our time with God. Feed yourself first and you will be equipped to help your precious children!


Have FUN in your Homeschool

Homeschooling may be a lot of work and energy, but it is also FUN! Don’t get so caught up in following your schedule to a T or “getting things done” that you miss actually enjoying being with your kids! Enjoy those moments cuddling on the couch listening to your child read. Enjoy watching the look of excitement in your child’s eyes as they understand a scientific principle or finally get that math problem. Enjoy learning alongside and from your kids. Enjoy laughing together and taking breaks to have a popsicle in the tree house outside. Enjoy using math as you make cookies together during the school day (don’t forget to lick the beaters!) . Enjoy the fact that you can stay up late looking at the stars though a telescope in your backyard because you can start school late tomorrow. These are all the moments we want to remember! These are the moments that define your children and their childhood memories –  So don’t miss them. Be looking for those precious moments and encourage them!   This is where my blog name come from – my desire to live intentionally!


Do you have Homeschool Questions?

I’ve shared a LOT of information, advice, and resources with you!  So sit back, let it soak in, and explore some of the resources. If you have any questions I didn’t answer, I’d love to help you answer it! Shoot me a message on Facebook and I will ask it for your as a “Reader Question”

Homeschooling Tips

Plus, I don’t want you to miss some of these great posts with lots of ideas, advice, and homeschooling help  on your homeschooling life:

>> See ALL our Homeschool Posts <<

Take a Peak at Our Homeschool 

Homeschool Resources

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  1. Jill Avatar

    I just neeeeeded to tell you how much I appreciate your free resources!! You have no idea. All the other sites seem to want money. With —, I have been thrown into homeschooling both my children this year (kindergarten and grade 2) and have felt so overwhelmed. Your site is like striking gold. THANK YOU.

    1. Beth Gorden Avatar

      Aw, so glad we can help =) Thanks for the encouraging message!

  2. Abigail Avatar

    Thank you for your dedication and for countless hours spent offering these wonderful resources to the rest of us. Our family truly appreciates it!