Home Education

Top 5 Types of Resources Every Homeschool Needs

If you’ve been homeschooling any amount of time, I’m sure you’ve questioned what kind of resources are best to use. Some parents choose to take the common core route, while others use a boxed curricula that have the resources and milestones already laid out.

Personally, I take the do-it-yourself route and it has proven to not only work for me, but also tons of others homeschoolers too! The method I use is one that encompasses natural learning, children-led learning, and a unique approach to education in general.

What is the DIY approach?

Before diving into the top 5 types of resources every homeschool needs, I’d like to briefly explain what I mean by the DIY approach. This is not creating your own curriculum resources, coming up with worksheets, or writing a book.

Nope.

The DIY approach is simply compiling pre-made resources to use in teaching your children whatever concepts/topics you wish. There are tons of ways to get these resources, whether you’re looking for free or cheap. I typically use Google, Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and hit up yearly sales like the annual Build Your Bundle Sale.

Being a homeschooling mama of 5 kiddos ranging from newborn to 12 years old, it’s important for me to make wise investments in resources that I can use with multiple children, use over and over, and easily tweak. This is another reason why the DIY approach works for us.

How does the DIY approach work?

The DIY approach gives you the ability to pick and choose what resources you’d like to use to help teach your children. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s nice having everything all laid out for you; however, if you’d like more control over what to teach your child, I highly recommend this method.

I first began by mapping out what milestones were most important to my husband and I. Skills such as learning to read, learning basic math, understanding and processing emotions – just to name a few – are what’s most important to us in the early years. With that in mind, we are able to determine what we’d like to teach them and plan accordingly.

Getting caught up in a “school system mindset” is what led me to believing my children needed to learn specific things by a certain age. Taking myself through a specific deschooling process helped me to realize that what the school system had in mind for my children is not the same as what my husband and I had in mind.

Since we’ve swapped that mindset with one that accommodates our unique family dynamic, we’ve experienced even more freedom in our homeschooling journey. We are able to confidently teach our children according to their unique rate of development instead of enforcing them according to someone else’s. The concepts taught facilitate a love for learning versus a resistance to learning. And, there are more cheers than tears.

5 Types of Resources for the DIY Approach

I’ve been a do-it-yourself kind of homeschooling mama since the beginning; however, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I truly tapped into what would work wonders for our homeschool. I have discovered 5 types of resources that typically cover all subjects, learning styles, ages and grades. (Resources in bold are part of the Build Your Bundle Sale.)

Unit Studies

Hands down, unit studies are my go-to since I am homeschooling a variety of ages. I am able to easily accommodate each child and meet them where they are developmentally. Unit studies also have a unique way of providing a well-rounded education. You can choose one topic – like landforms – and touch just about every subject.

There are a few unit study resources I highly recommend:

Foreign Language

Learning a foreign language is another important milestone to most homeschooling families, ours including. For us, our chosen second language is Hebrew. Some families I know choose other languages like Spanish or Chinese. Regardless, learning a foreign language has many amazing perks.

A few resources I recommend for foreign language are:

Health & Wellness

Health and wellness are topics that don’t get enough attention. A lot of times the concepts taught through these topics aren’t seen as homeschooling, when in fact they truly are. Think about personal hygiene, cooking healthy meals, and learning how to stay healthy through exercise and play. This is all homeschooling!

A few resources I recommend are:

  • Earthley has an incredible Spring Garden Unit Study that offers the nitty-gritty on when and how to plant common vegetables, how to fertilize, water them and more.
  • Meal Planning for Kids by Homeschooling Dietician Mom.
  • Fit2B offers a Premium Membership that gives you 200+ workouts with a focus on core building and recovery.

Electives

Electives are another aspect of education that aren’t given enough credit. All of the arts, music, physical education, and sports classes definitely count as homeschooling. Not to mention, there are a lot of developmental milestones that can be reached through these.

Some overlooked, but much needed electives I recommend are:

Homeschool Journey Help

Regardless how long you plan to homeschool, it’s always nice to have support for the journey. Often times we can feel like we’re the only experiencing particular roadblocks or setbacks, when in fact, we aren’t. I’ve learned to lean and depend on people and resources to help keep me sane (LOL!).

A few homeschool journey resources I recommend are:

Tips for Your DIY Journey

Putting together your own curriculum resources to homeschool your children can be simple, inexpensive, and rewarding. Keep the following tips in mind as you start your DIY journey:

  • Take into consideration your child’s current developmental stage.
  • Brainstorm milestones geared specifically to your child.
  • Use your child’s natural development to gather resources to accommodate the milestones you’ve created.
  • Teach with grace and ease!

There are also other resources to take into consideration:

  • Virtual learning platforms (online courses)
  • Workbooks (from places like the Dollar Tree)
  • Fiction and Non-fiction books from Usborne Books & More
  • Public libraries

If you have any questions about the DIY Curriculum Approach, comment below or shoot me an email at withthehuddlestons @ gmail . com

The Build Your Bundle Sale is a TIME SENSITIVE sale beginning May 11-18! SHOP NOW!

Home Education

Deciding When Homeschooling Is Right For Your Child

Although it seems that majority of the world is doing some form of homeschooling, there is coming a time when schools will reopen. Countless parents will be faced with the choice of sending their children back to school, or continuing to educate them at home.

How to Know if Homeschooling is Right For Your Child

The education that your child receives is important, and as the parents, it is up to us to make the best decisions possible here. The future for our kids may seem uncertain, but we have to do everything we can to try and steer them in a direction most beneficial to them.

In some cases, homeschooling might be the best choice, and in this post, we’re going to look at how to know if homeschooling is right for your children. Keep in mind this is not going to be the case for everyone, but keep reading if you want to find out more.

They Find Socializing Difficult

First off, if you notice that socializing is difficult for your child when they do go out or when they are in social situations, then it might be necessary to consider homeschooling. Some people say that this is a bad idea because they need to learn how to do this, and suggest that school will help.

While this could be the case for some children, if your child is uncomfortable doing this, then thrusting them to it every day could have a negative impact. Something that homeschooling offers is the ability to partake in parks or clubs where they can interact with others, but not in a forced way. 

This is going to be a good way to get the communication going, without them feeling out of their depth for hours every day.

They Aren’t Doing Well

If your child is currently “enrolled” in school and they aren’t performing well, you are probably wondering why. Potentially, it could be because their academic needs are not being met. In most cases they are likely good at other things, so it could simply be a case of them not getting the right support.

If you think that you could help them by providing the support they need in a home setting, then this is something to try. The one on one time could be invaluable, especially if it’s just a lack of support and attention academically that is holding them back.

Every child deserves the right to succeed, and some children need something different from others. Homeschooling provides parents and their children with the ability to meet specific needs, and it’s such a blessing. You can help fill in gaps by getting them everything they need from an AP physics book and printables to a whiteboard and flash cards!

They Ask For It

Finally, your child might ask to be homeschooled. If this happens, sit down and ask them why. Figure out what makes them want to be educated from home and then make the best decision for your child. It’s a big decision to make that usually comes with some major changes, especially for the previously public schooled student.

In the end, offering the educational support that your child needs should be one of the biggest deciding factors in choosing to homeschool. Of course there are many other factors, but knowing that you are giving your child every opportunity to thrive is best!

CHIME IN: Why do you homeschool, or want to? Let me know in the comments below!

Home Education

Dear Parents of Public/Private Schoolers: What You Are Doing Is Not Homeschooling

With the mass hysteria of COVID-19, schools worldwide are being forced to close their doors. This means an influx of students are now spending their days at home, and parents are being forced to do what they believe is homeschooling.

I write this post with all sincerity in hopes to dispel some myths and spread truth about what’s really going on. One thing I’d like to clear up is this – parents of public/private schoolers, what you are doing is not homeschooling.

What homeschooling is not…

First, let me be clear about what homeschooling is. Homeschooling is the choice to educate your children at home. It is never a forcible act. It is a parents conscious choice to say, “Hey, I want to start homeschooling my children.” Typically, it is not something a parent is forced into doing.

But my children are having to do school at home…

Precisely my next point. While school-at-home is technically one of the methods that homeschooling families could choose to do, majority of them do not. This approach practically mimics the school system, from classroom setup to curriculum used. And in all honesty, that is the last thing that homeschooling parents want to do.

You’ll find that most homeschoolers today take a more relaxed, eclectic approach. One that is rooted in interest-led learning or a style that promotes natural learning. Some even purchase full boxed curricula to aid in the teaching of important concepts. However, this is done willingly and with much consideration.

How do I make schooling at home less stressful?

That is the question that before-the-crisis homeschoolers are being asked the most. Trust me when I say that we see you. And we genuinely see your concerns. I believe I speak for the majority of homeschooling parents when I say that we cannot imagine being in your dilemma.

Without knowing your specific situation, here are five overall stress-relievers that I personally suggest:

1. Let your children take a break.

I understand that some schools have sent work home to be completed, while others haven’t sent anything. Regardless, let your children adjust to the new norm by simply giving them a break.

2. Develop a plan.

If there’s one thing that gets us homeschoolers through, it’s having a plan. Plan out certain times for doing school work. Don’t try to plan every single minute of every single day. Consider block scheduling!

3. Stop panicking about your child not learning.

Our children are learning 24/7 whether they have a textbook in their face or not. Take this time to figure out things they are actually interested in learning and go from there!

4. Get creative.

Consider thinking outside the box for a moment. There are many ways your child can learn about a concept or topic. Thanks to technology, you can access lots of online resources from the comfort of your home.

5. Relax and focus on other key areas.

In addition to taking a break, this is also a good time to focus on other areas of development – especially the mental and emotional domains. Our children are learning how to react to life’s events by watching us. Now is a good time to not only model good behavior, but also talk about what is really going on.

Where do we go from here?

To be quite honest, I have no idea. What I do know is that some parents are enjoying having their children at home. They are even contemplating on sticking with keeping their children at home and may choose to actually make the switch to homeschooling.

For others, the light at the end of the tunnel is dim, but when schools open, their children will return. Regardless of what end you find yourself on, just take it easy. Don’t stress yourself out, and definitely don’t think that what you’ve been forced to do is truly homeschooling, because it’s not.

If you’re looking for help during this time, my friend Shaun the Homeschool Guru is hosting a free Temporary Homeschool Bootcamp. In her 1-hour bootcamp, you’ll get the information you need to homeschool while your children are out of school. She’ll help you navigate:

  • research options
  • schedule creation
  • working while temporarily homeschooling
  • tips for kids who refuse to do any work
  • ways to bond during this time
  • and more!

Click the image below to sign up! Remember, it’s FREE!

CHIME IN: What questions do you have about schooling at home? Are you contemplating making the full switch to actually homeschooling? Let me know in the comments below!

Home Education

Homeschooling in Kentucky

Homeschooling in Kentucky is fairly easy and pretty laid back compared to most states. This will probably be one of the most informational posts you’ll find that cuts straight to the chase. Bookmark it and come back as much as you need it.

What are the most important things I need to know about homeschooling in Kentucky?

For starters, it is 100% legal to homeschool your children in Kentucky. The following are the most important things you should know upon deciding to homeschool:

  • Regardless of when you plan to start, you will need to notify the superintendent of your local school board in writing. The letter must include the name, ages and residence of each child in attendance of the homeschool. Find a sample letter here.
  • The legal age of children that must be homeschooled is between the ages of six (6) and 18.
  • Minimal record keeping is required in the event you want to transfer your child to an institution. The record keeping should contain courses taken and grades received. Click here for a free record keeping pack.
  • The minimum school term is 1062 instructional hours, or 185 days.
  • Subjects taught should include reading, writing, spelling, grammar, history, mathematics, science, and civics. It is the parents’ right to offer other subjects.

Some of this may seem intimidating at first, however, it is quite easy to get the hang of. Once you find a system that works for you, it’s easy peasy!

How do I know what to teach and where do I get the resources?

Per the Kentucky Department of Education, the parent is responsible providing the curriculum and the instructional materials for children being homeschooled. Don’t panic! There are tons of FREE RESOURCES just a click away. (Snag your Welcome to Homeschooling goodies at the end of this post.)

As mentioned before, the main subjects you’ll want to ensure your children learn (per law) are:

  • reading
  • writing
  • spelling
  • grammar
  • history
  • mathematics
  • science
  • civics

Many of these subjects can be combined and taught simultaneously using a method known as unit studying. For a brief overview of the different methods some people choose to use to homeschool their children click here.

If you want to find out certain concepts typically taught for a specific age or grade, I recommend utilizing Google. There are tons of websites like Time 4 Learning that offer thorough information for each grade.

When it comes to getting the actual resources, your possibilities are virtually limitless. You can purchase boxed curricula which usually comes with everything already laid out for, down to the daily lesson plans. There are also options to buy individual workbooks (whether purchased from a publisher or the Dollar Tree).

The do-it-yourself route is the most flexible way and saves the most money. There is a little work to do on your behalf, BUT you can pick and choose resources based on your child’s exact learning needs. These resources can be pieced together from the public library, online resources (like Teachers Pay Teachers), or even thrift stores.

Also keep in mind that home education does not have to look like public or private school. In fact, a lot more learning can take place in homeschooling because of its versatility. Imagine being able to go on field trips whenever and wherever you want, or incorporating real life into learning??

Homeschooling truly offers that, and more!

I still have concerns.

When you’re new to homeschooling, it is very common to have ongoing concerns. You may wonder if you’re doing it right, if your children are actually learning, or if you’re on the right track.

This is all perfectly normal, and thanks to modern day movements – especially in technology – you don’t have to do this alone. There are lots of support groups both local and online that provide reliable resources tools and support.

Below is a somewhat detailed list of resources to check into:

Facebook Groups:

Online Learning Resources:

Legal Aid:

Start Homeschooling with Grace & Ease

Despite there being a small to-do list, a few things you may need/want to gather, and the questions/concerns – don’t worry. I have a Welcome to Homeschooling pack for you that has a few resources to help get you started. Get it below! I am also just a message away should you need personalized help!


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CHIME IN: Are you new to homeschooling? What concerns or questions do you have? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll answer them ASAP!