A Mother's Account of Learning to Teach Her Children At Home
I am a SAHM and teacher of six beautiful daughters. I decided to create this blog because I needed somewhere to write down what I was and am going through as I learn about the wide world of homeschooling. I figured why not share that process, in case there was anyone that found it as overwhelming as I did! I hope you enjoy your stay and perhaps find something helpful in your own journey!

Monday, May 31, 2010

First Day of Homeschooling

For our first official day of homeschooling, it was a holiday. LOL

But I wasn’t planning on lessons for the first month of homeschooling, so it’s okay. For this first month, we are going to work on establishing a house cleaning routine in the morning. First, we go room by room and clean all the public rooms together. Then the girls clean their bedroom and I clean mine. I would like us to develop a good rhythm so that we can have all the basic housekeeping done by 9AM each morning. Then we’ll be ready to start our lessons for the day.

Obviously, this is going to take some practice. As such, I was not surprised that we did not finish before 9AM today. But the girls were very good about pulling their weight and I’m sure they’ll get better with practice. But the rooms that we did clean look very nice, which does this mother’s heart good. I think the girls enjoy cleaning together better than being given an assignment to do on their own. This way we can talk, sing and laugh as we go.

After cleaning, I did some cooking and then we went on a picnic for Memorial Day. For our ‘lesson’, we went to the local veteran’s memorial. I don’t think we’ve ever taken the girls to one since they became old enough to understand what they’re for. It gave their dad and me a chance to discuss with them those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. They wanted to know if their Uncle Bobby, a marine, had a plaque somewhere. It’s good to see them relating what they’ve been shown to their own lives; so we explained to them that he doesn’t but that doesn’t mean his service has been worth any less.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

'The Beginners Guide to Homeschooling' Review

Okay, I’ll admit it; I was a little frustrated with The Beginners Guide to Homeschooling, by Patrick Farenga. Instead of being a person’s experiences and thoughts on homeschooling, it feels more like a book catalog in a library. The author will give a sentence or two, then tell you for more information to see his appendices or reference another book. In a 124 page book, the appendices start on page 62!

The best part of the book is that while the author is a fan of unschooling, he does give resources about many types of homeschooling. And if you’re looking for a book to give you references for other books to read on homeschooling – this is the place to go. Though a lot of his references he readily admits are out of print.

Next I'm onto The Complete Guide to Homeschooling.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Homeschooling For Excellence" Review

So, I just finished reading Homeschooling For Excellence by David & Micki Colfax and wrote a review on Goodreads.com.

"I gave this book two out of five stars.

The main redeeming quality of the book is that it is well written in terms of grammar and thought flow. But it is extremely dry and I felt like I was being lectured by a holier than thou hippie, there was absolutely no humor or personality in this book. The book also has some good appendices. Though they are a bit dated, they still give one a lot of information and a place to start on your search for more up to date information.

The Colfax’s obviously have very talented children and their style of homeschooling worked for them. But unschooling is not a style that I really like. And due to that, some of their book recommendations were not good recommendations for my family. But they may work well for families that are interested in unschooling.

Also, the book spent a lot of time on simply tearing down the public school system. While I agree that public schools are not working, I was not looking for a book to bash them. But if you are looking for a book that discusses what exactly is wrong in the public schools of the United States, this book has very well thought out arguments."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

First Book Finished!

So, I am done with my first foray into the homeschooling world via book. And Heavenly Father seems to have led me to a great starter book. So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Second Edition: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It doesn't delve into so much detail that the potential homeschooler feels overwhelmed. Whelchel doesn't demonize public schools or their teachers. She doesn't spend all her time trying to convince you of one form of teaching over another. Instead, she takes seventeen easy to read chapters to introduce you to fifteen different possible ways of doing it and fifteen different styles of teaching. Then, at the end of the book, her appendix is 20 pages of books, magazines, websites, etc. to give you lots more places to go for more in depth information if you're still interested. This book has reassured me a lot; because it really helps me to see that I can adapt homeschooling anyway I need to so that it best fits the needs of our family.

Next, I'm on to Homeschooling for Excellence. I will be sure to write up what I think as soon as I'm done!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Books, books and more books!

Today I am going to the library to pick up several books I’ve put on hold on different ways to homeschool. My library had a pretty lousy selection on such books (only 6!), but it at least gives me a place to start. As I read, I will comment here on things I like or dislike. Once I’m done, I’ll also add a full review of each book at Goodreads.com (I love that site).

I’m having a tough time finding a science curriculum for the girls. At 2nd and 5th grade, I don’t want a curriculum that focuses on only one science field. I’d much rather have some sort of curriculum that covers lots of types of science throughout the year. I’d also like to have something that I can do the basic lesson and experiments with both girls at the same time, but it has an option to go more in depth for my soon to be 5th grader. Suggestions would be very helpful.

I could also use some help finding some decent priced vendors for children’s videos, literature and music in Chinese. We have Rosetta stone and books to teach the girls basic vocabulary and how to write the characters. But we want something for them to listen to, watch or read to give them extra exposure to the language.

And may I say - homeschool curriculums are Expensive! I am very thankful for sites like Amazon, Ebay, Half.com, Learning Things, and Homeschool Classifieds (among others) that help me find the supplies I need for cheaper! If you know of other sites with good deals, please send them my way!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In The Beginning…

I guess a good place to begin on this blog is a bit about our family. My husband just recently graduated with a bachelors in Economics and is now job hunting. I am a SAHM. We have four daughters that are 9 (fourth grade), 7 (second grade), 2, and 6 months.

Next, our family’s reasons for homeschooling. We are staunch political conservatives and active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As such, we have not appreciated the direction the public school system in the United States has been taking the past few years. We had been debating pulling the kids out of the public school system, and then last week was the straw the broke the camels back for us. We do not appreciate hearing about three incidents in one week of children in US schools being punished for wearing, defending or drawing the US flag! We’ve also been having a bit of a problem with a teacher this year being fairly liberal and pushing vegetarianism onto our seven year old. We are not rich – I cannot afford to make one of my children separate meals every day. Yet she is now refusing to eat most proteins because of this teacher. So not happy about that. We are also homeschooling because we feel our children will thrive better in such an environment, our oldest daughter in particular. She is extremely artistic, but rarely has time to develop this talent because there is no time during school or after due to homework. Both of our children that are in school are also showing signs of boredom due to being very smart but having to work at the slowest denominators pace. So we feel homeschooling will allow them to learn at a faster pace that will keep them more engaged.

This blog is to help me organize my thoughts as I go about learning how to homeschool and choosing from the plethora of ways to teach and curriculums. It is also meant to be a learning place for me and anyone that reads it. I would greatly appreciate comments, suggestions and criticism. Especially from other homeschoolers about what curriculums and learning styles they have used and liked or hated. On the side bar, I’ve also placed a list of the curriculums I’m planning on using for the kids next school year. These are not complete (I still need something for science and Chinese) and will probably change as we learn better our individual styles.