Friday, August 13, 2010

So…you’re thinking about homeschooling?

Woo Hoo! Once you start thinking about it, there’s no turning back, the wheels in your brain are going to be spinning! I’ve had the privilege of encouraging people who were interested in homeschooling from time to time and if you find yourself wondering if you can do it, let me just start by saying a loud, “YES YOU CAN!!”

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I know it’s totally overwhelming to think about. There are hundreds if not millions of websites and resources and opinions out there. When I was just starting out and asking questions, I got what I feel was fantastic advice. I’m not saying that because our homeschool is perfect or because we’ve never had issues, but because after 10 years of homeschooling and seeing lots of other families come and go in the homeschool community, I know it was sound advice!

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1. Read everything by Ruth Beechick. She will calm all of your fears and instill confidence in you! Her writings have encouraged me time and time again and I love to give her books away to new homeschoolers! Many of her books are available at the library and on Amazon! She will give you authority to be the master over your curriculum choices and not the slave. She will explain why homeschooling is a gift and a honor.

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2. Don’t buy Abeka. No offense to those of you who love Abeka. I even bought it myself last year just to see if I was correct about my judgments towards this curriculum. If you want to be stressed out and burned out after a year, then this is the curriculum for you. Abeka is written for Christian Private Schools. They tried to make is so you can teach it in your homes, but let me tell you, Abeka is public school at home. And that’s hard to do if you are teaching multiple ages. And it takes a long time…One of my best girl friends used Abeka since her oldest was four. She was ready to quite homeschooling altogether by the time he was 10—it was so stressful for her! Abeka has a high dropout rate in the homeschool community, for the same reason --it sucks all the joy out of learning! I know I’m being kind of strong here…but I’m pretty passionate about this! :o) (I should mention to you seasoned homeschoolers who are reading this post, I’m talking to newbies here! )

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3. Focus on the basics: Reading, Writing, & Math. As you get deeper into homeschooling, you will naturally move into other areas of learning. Soon there will more to learn than you have time to teach!

4. Start out taking it year by year. Pray! We started out that way, now I’m sold for life, but that came about a different way that I’ll blog about another day.

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5. Expect for their to be hard days. My mom is always a great comfort to me during the hard days, giving me permission to let the kids watch science DVD’s and play with play-doh or Legos as part of their education. Usually after the hard days…the sun comes out and all is glorious again!

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6. It really helps to have your husband behind your decision to homeschool. I often tell people, if your husband approves you’ve got it made! Just having that one person believe in what you’re doing will help you get through the hard days and the days of doubt. But if you have strong enough convictions, you’ll be okay too. I’m not saying to homeschool if your husband doesn’t want you too, but I know some husband’s are just sort of apathetic about it and leave it up to the wife to decide. If you have a husband like that, you would do good to join a support group or find a veteran homeschooler to get some support from. My husband is a great listener and an awesome enforcer to the way I run our homeschool. I would be a mess without him.

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So that about sums it up! Homeschooling works and it’s a good decision, in a few years you’ll be the one handing out the advice and encouraging newbies!

Joyfully,

Mrs. Taffy

24 comments:

  1. When you said "don't use Abeka"...I had to laugh. Then I wondered..."wait a minute, she uses Abeka"...Then I read the rest of the post. ha ha.

    You know what, you are right about not using Abeka. But....I do like their reading/phonics. :) I don't buy their teacher plans...just the workbook and then teach as I go.

    This year due to short funds I am going to be using a little bit of this and that. I've also been reading some Charlotte Mason books and Lifestyle of Learning books (have you heard of Marilyn Howshall) These are my foundation books (I do have Beechick books also) which is why I began homeschooling in the first place. So I'm going back to that this year...the foundation. :) Looking forward to shelving some of those Abeka books my kids never really got around to finishing (the older kids--that is)

    Great advice BTW.. :)

    Chris xoxo

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  2. AMEN!!!

    I totally agree about Abeka and Alpha Omega or SOS is another one to add to that list.

    Been there done that.

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  3. You have some great advice here! Homeschooling is a huge decision and responsibility but it doesn't have to be overwhelming! I have to disagree about Abeka though- We've used it for four years now (since we started hs'ing) and it hasn't been that difficult or stressful! I only have two that I am doing it with right now but I just pick and choose things I want to use from it and I also add in my own ideas. I actually think it is good for new homeschoolers because it has the lessons all planned out and all the materials you need. After you get more experience, you can switch if needed, but I think it is a big help in the beginning. Just my opinion though. (: I know that each family is different! You just have to go with what works for you! (:

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  4. I would like to add that Mrs. Taffy encouraged ME (her mom) to homeschool my youngest! I think that is ironic! People ask me why I didn't homeschool my first two children, my response is, I had never even heard of it! I only taught one child - I don't know how Mrs. Taffy does it! It was a beautiful experience for our family and I also wholeheartedly recommend it! Not everyone approved until my son started making the dean's list in college - now they get it!

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  5. Great thoughts Mrs. Taffy! :) My mom has been homeschooling for about 25 years now and I have been home-schooled my whole life! It's funny but I have had a few people ask me about homeschooling and how to do it. :) I ,naturally, just tell them "let me tell my mom about you." :) I know a few things, but not from the teachers end, though I have helped the little ones in their studies.
    We have looked into and tried allot of different curriculum. We switched over to computer school (of sorts) and really love it! And curriculum that is made for homeschooling is great, but we have used both and there are a couple of the ones that are for private Christian schools that work pretty well. We just have to make it fit us.
    I have seen in a couple pictures that your kids are on the computer for school. What do y'all use?
    Blessings!
    Anna

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  6. I agree with the Abeka and any "packaged full blown curriculums". You'll run your self ragged and most always be behind . . . even public schools seldom finish books by the end of the year. :)

    BTW Beautiful classroom - Jon will be over to play games tomorrow around 9ish . . . . ;)

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  7. Anna~If you click on my "Taffy Academey" tab you can see what we use for curriculum.

    PebbleKeeper-LOL! I bet Jon would have fun over here!

    Everybody Else-Thanks for your lovely supportive comments! It's always scary writing something SO opinionated!

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  8. Hi again! I saw that you are using Beautiful Feet books. I had never heard of them before so I found the website and they look really neat! I like how one course spans several grades so you can use it with multiple children (one thing that is hard to do with Abeka, I admit)! How is Beautiful Books different than say, Sonlight? I am also looking into Apologia science. What do you like most about Apologia? Thanks for any information you have! (:

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  9. Hi Leslie! Thanks for the questions! :o) I'm not really familiar with Son Light. I did look into them once and was turned off by the price and the fact that most of the reading is reading out loud. I do enjoy reading outloud to my children, but it's hard to do with a big family, at least for me! I have my children doing the reading independently and then telling me about what they read during meal times.

    My older children did not like science until we started doing Apologia. It's written in a conversational tone, so it's much easier to read and understand. In fact, Chocolate Taffy started asking me if he could learn astrophysics after reading a chapter in one of his book. He has to wait though...got to get through a few more years of science first!

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  10. Dear Readers....

    I have to be the one who she is talking about in the post-LOL! And I was so burnt out and frustrated! Mrs. Taffy showed me through what she was told that it should be different and exciting and glorious...not something that we all looked forward to ending...ugh the memories.
    I still use some Abeka, for the younger grades, but I do not use all that they suggest and have really enjoyed other curriculum that give me freedom to fit it to my children. One day my children will probably write Mrs. Taffy a thank you note...honor her at their graduation...pick a day on the calendar just for her...bake her a cake...why because she showed their mommy that school is to be all about successful learning...not hated learning...thank you Mrs. Taffy...from all of us thank you for being harsh with me way back when...thank you for sharing and encouraging me to get out of the "Abeka" box...smile!

    Leslie...Apologia is fantastic! I can't say enough good things about it. The most important thing for me is the fact that Apologia dives deep into whatever subject is being covered...my son really loves science and would do it all day long if he could. I've used the General Science and now we will be using Physical Science. I also switched from Abeka to the Solar System study for the younger two - I can't wait to use it and neither can they...

    Have a great day!

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  11. What are Bubble and Laffy doing? What are those clothes pins doing? Looking for something great for Titus this year...and you have something interresting going on...smile!

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  12. Keeper of the Home...Bubble Gum is playing with a clothes pin game. She's doing addition and attaching the clothespin with the correct number to the equation. I bought it a used-curriculum sale for .50 or something. Lots of fun! Laffy Taffy is just sorting multi colored pom-poms. He's loves that! I think you should look at printing out some file folder games for Titus. There is a link on the side of my blog. I'm working on printing a few new ones for Laffy and Bubble Gum. Very fun!

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  13. Thanks Mrs. Taffy. :) I was the first in our family to use Teaching Textbooks math and after using it for a while mom switched all the kids over to it! We love it! I understand math so much better now. How long have y'all used it?

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  14. I completely love your honesty. I too would not advice anyone to use the Abeka system. I have found several of their books at garage sales and we do enjoy the readers but only for reading purposes not for drilling and schooling.

    Blessings,
    Amy

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  15. Hi Mrs. Taffy - visiting from the crew to check out your post - love it! This is only our 2nd year homeschooling so we still have A LOT to learn! Have a wonderfully blessed day!

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  16. Great advice! I've used a couple ABeka books. I never could really understand all the hoopla about them. I was disappointed to say the least.

    Great photos.

    God's Blessings

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  17. HA! totally laughed at the Abeka comment. I was raised in a private Christian school, it used Abeka.... I knew just from doing it as a kid.... I didn't want to go there when I homeschooled.

    Great advice!

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  18. Great post! I agree that Ruth Beechick is a wonderful place to start to help you relax and know that your children will learn! Thanks for participating in the Blog Cruise this week!

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  19. I had to laugh out loud when I read your first paragraph, btw. My ONLY daughter is almost 12, but images of Bob the Builder and "You can do it. YES, YOU CAN!" came flooding back into my "I'm sort of tired but I can't sleep" mind.

    Great advice!

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  20. Hi,
    Can advice which one is good to use for homeschooling to teach Phonics?

    Appreciated it very much.
    Eileen ( Singapore)

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  21. Hi Eileen! I've been using Explode the Code with my 5 year old, I really like it and so does she. It's mellow, we only do a couple pages each day. I also used Phonics Pathways with my now 7 year old, after he learned how to read but needed a little more practice. You can find both at www.rainbowresource.com! Hope that helps!

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