Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dear Friend From Alaska!!

 You wrote to me asking about home schooling and I thought I would spend some time here on this blog sharing a little of what I have found true of home schooling.  There are lots of different things that bring a family into the wonderful world of home schooling.  Some parents only plan to stay in that world a short time and some plan to make it a life style choice forever.  Whatever the case, it can feel over whelming when you get started.
 There are several typs of home schoolers.  I can only speak to the type that I am and offer information from my perspective.  That does not mean that all people will like or agree with my information..but I have to say it works for me!!
 I am a scheduled home schooler. And what that means to me is I make a weekly plan and stick to it.  All assignments checked off and corrected.  All work completed before we call it a day.  I make a plan and STICK TO IT! I have  mentioned before that I follow Mother Of Divine Grace Curriculum.  WHAT DOES THAT MEAN???
 What does following a curriculum mean??  Well I am like my own school district.  I decide what I want to teach and I follow a plan to teach it.  Just like your local elementary school teacher.  I get a book to teach science from and the answer key. Next I break down the book over how long I plan on teaching from that book and I MAKE A PLAN!!  That is following a curriculum!!  I use the knowledge and information from another source and teach it to my children.  What Mother Of Divine Grace has done for me is lead me to the right books to use  each year of their school..what order and a suggested pace!!
 I do break away from some of their suggestions because I have found something that works better for my kids..but for the most part I follow their guidelines and books.  Another thing some "curriculum's" do for you is help break down each subject into daily chunks.  Teachers at the local school get the same "help" from their selected text book company.
 As a home school mom I do not only impart my vast knowledge and skills to my children (nor does your local Elementary school teacher) ...I follow other smarter, wiser people through books and activities. This is how it is done!!  Some people do not follow a curriculum that is laid out for them.  They take books from different subjects and break it down themselves.  They decided if they want to teach physical science in 3rd grade or 4th.  Then they get the book they want and work out the way they will go through it!!
 The longer you are in the game of home schooling you realize certain things are not neccessary for your child.  Or maybe not neccessary in the way you were going about it.  For example, MODG has spelling as part of the curriculum until 6th grade.  We use the same book Writing Road To Reading from 3rd-6th.  This is our 3rd year doing it.  Emily is a REALLY good speller...(which she did not get from me)..she just reads SO MUCH!!!  Well, we often times skip spelling in a busy week  because I know she is getting spelling from so many different subjects that week and one less thing would actually be helpful for both of us!!
 There is so much to consider when you start the road to schooling from home.  What type of person are you?  How is your house run?  I am a morning person who like to get moving the minute the day begins.  I have to do all the hard stuff first before I can move on.  I need a plan in order to make things happen and I follow it !!  My kids know what is expected and we follow a basic routine EVERYDAY that we school!!
 None of this is as easy as it sounds right now.  Having many  kids is challenging and having  child is challenging.  When you committ to home schooling you take on the challenge of being all things to your kids...teacher, mom, social director, trainer, councler.  It can feel like a lot. 
 Some people try out for a short time and realize it is not for them.  Some people try it and decide they can never go back.  So much depends on your own family!!
 You do not need to know EVERYTHING to start..just starting will teach you enough to keep going!!  But this is a job!!  It is a full-time job.  A job that requires weekends and nights!!  A job that can end when you are done...but it is a job none the less!!
On a personal note... Sometimes I feel self concience about home schooling.  When you meet people and they say.."What school do they go to"..."Oh, we home school!!"  I hold my breathe sometimes.  Because I will get a reaction..either a "I COULD NEVER DO THAT" reaction..or "Oh" as they look for the next chance to LEAVE THE AREA!!  I have to get over that.  I don't know why it bothers me..but doing something outside the norm can feel...different enough to make me hesitate sometimes!!  You may feel this way too..or not....just know at least one other person in the world feels the same!!
                                             What should I Use?
Well...I already gave you some names but maybe other people who read my blog can shout out what they are using too. 
Some good books to have on your home school shelf are:
The Well Trained Mind
Designing a Classical Curriculum...

Please help add to this post with any advice you have for a mom who is making the home school plunge this year..even if it is for a short make it a good one for her!!


  1. If you are Catholic and thinking about homeschooling I highly recommend Mary Kay Clark's book Catholic Homeschooling.

    I used Seton from grade one to eight for my boys. It was a good fit. With my daughter this is our second year of CHC. It's a great fit for her. After eight years I am finally comfortable to make substitutions in our curriculum as I see they are needed. I was not very confident for many years and now it's just my daughter left at home. She will benefit from my years of experience!

  2. My new favorite resource for all things homeschool is So encouraging and helpful!

  3. You also need to find a group of supporters, in the flesh if at all possible. This is CRITICAL in the beginning. Seek out some homeschoolers who share your philosophy and let them help you.

    There are also many online homeschool support groups but they do not afford near the level of support face-to-face friends can give.

    The best advice someone gave me when I was starting homeschooling 14 years ago was "stick to the basics"--math and reading, especially in the beginning and during those times of feeling overwhelmed. Make sure you have a good math and reading set up that you and your children can work with well, then you can plug in other subjects as your home situation allows.

    The most important part of homeschool is HOME, not school. School serves the home, not vice versa.

    Good luck! It's a wonderful adventure!


  4. Know that I am one of those mom's too!I had one of those "hold my breath" kind of moments a few weeks ago at a wedding (you can read it here: Sometimes it is just frustrating the reactions that we receive!

  5. Thanks for this post, I'm not from Alaska but find myself in a similar position this year. I appreciated all you've shared.
    We'll be doing the Alphabet Path starting this fall and I am really looking forward to it. Thanks again for this post!

  6. Thanks, Lisa! You are so sweet! What a surprise to find this on your blog today! I sure appreciate the information from you and the other mothers. It is really overwhelming for me right now, but it is such a relief to hear from you and get pointed in the right direction. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart! CC