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One Change that Transformed Our Homeschool Year


One change that transformed our homeschool year
We have reached the end of 3rd and 4th grade! We have completed our 5th year of homeschooling and friends – it just keeps getting better. I LOVE homeschooling!

DSC_0799
The first day of school!

I have one tip to share with you that has transformed our entire school year to make it the best yet –but first I want to speak to all the moms of littles who have only just begun homeschooling.

This is hard isn’t it? Really hard. The amount of patience it takes somedays is unbearable – I know. Please do not hear me say that I LOVE homeschooling and equate that in your mind as me calling this EASY. I want to encourage you with this.

Pre-school, Kindergarten and first grade are the hardest years to homeschool. During these little years, your children are 100% dependent on mommy to teach them everything – from reading to math, to history and science. They need you at their side teaching them. This is draining.

But friends – 3rd and 4th grade look NOTHING like that. Independence has begun and my children’s reading abilities are soaring and taking them beyond where I can take them myself.

My son reads on average 4 hours a day. He devours every book we buy him or get at the library. That’s 4 hours a day that he is not bouncing off the walls, playing mind numbing video games (don’t get me wrong, he does play video games), or bothering his sister. Lol!

As a result, he is able to read and comprehend all of his own science, history, literature and yes, even his math. He is extremely independent and this is a huge load off of me as the teacher. It has become more about me directing him to rich literature or helping him solve difficult equations or drilling him on memory work – than it is me teaching.

My daughter –has come a long way and is half-independent. She does not love reading like her brother therefore, I have to be at her side a bit more. Somedays she wants space and says she can do it herself and so I give her space.  I let her lead on how much independence she can handle. One thing I have found is I might think she is comprehending something because she is doing it on her own…but then I find that she isn’t on the right track, which can be frustrating for her. She wants to keep up with her brother but she is two years younger and that makes a big difference in her learning abilities.

Alexis spends a lot of her free-time making crafts, playing Minecraft (did I just admit that? Yes…yes I did), jumping on the trampoline or begging me to play games. Lol! And I do play the games but well – I can only do so much of that. Her crafts used to be a mess but at this age, she is capable of cleaning up after herself – bonus!

So, before I share my wondrous tip that transformed our homeschool year, I just want to say that ages 9 and 11 are fantastic years to homeschool.  And you might be thinking – what about their attitudes? They are kids – so of course we have our rough days – but they are far out numbered by our good days. I talk about this in a 5 part homeschool video series  here.

Some things in the past year that have helped my journey are:

1.) Our Classical Conversations homeschool group. This group has enriched our learning and provided wonderful friendships.

CC Foundations Class
Lexi’s class – 9 and 10 year old girls
It was our best homeschool year to date, and this is the one thing we did to transform our homeschool year. It is so simple, you wont believe it! One change that transformed our homeschool year #WomenLiving #Homeschooling #ClassicalConversations #postits
Alex’s Afternoon Class – 4th-6th grade boys and girls
Homeschool entire group
The Entire Homeschool Group ages 4-12

2.) Grandpa comes on Fridays and eats lunch with us and does Science and History. I *{blush}* when I share this because I know that so many do not have a helping hand. I know this is a huge blessing in my life and I don’t take that for granted.

homeschooling wiht dad

Dad and kids

3.) We love our curriculum:

Classical Conversations provides our History, Science, Geography, Grammar, Latin, Art and some Music.  This is a class we attend with other homeschool students on Tuesdays from 9am-3pm.  We LOVE this group!

For Math, we used Saxon.

For Language Arts, we used Sonlight.

For Writing we used Essentials of the English Language.

For Handwriting, we used Classical Conversations Pre-Scripts (cursive).

For Bible, we read out of the  Family Reading Bible and the kids memorize verses and do daily devotions through the Olympians Program at our church.

And on Fridays, my father comes to my house and helps me out and he usesApologia Science and The Story of Our World History .

And the one change that transformed our homeschool year…drum roll…

Post-it Notes on the breakfast table!

It was our best homeschool year to date, and this is the one thing we did to transform our homeschool year. It is so simple, you wont believe it! One change that transformed our homeschool year #WomenLiving #Homeschooling #ClassicalConversations #postits

Yep!

Every night before I go to bed, I put out for the children their Bibles, devotionals, a book they need to be reading and some math or phonics worksheets.  I put post-it messages to them, telling them what I want them to do. When they wake they are not allowed to use any electronics until they have completed the morning table work (it’s usually about 45 minutes of work).

homeschool morning

Would you believe they actually do all the work I put out without complaining 98% of the time?

There is NO one more surprised than me — that this worked! I suppose they are fresh in the morning and ready to get some work out of the way. And so they have a habit of coming to the table with their bushy hair and smudged red cheeks from sleeping and in a trance – they work work work.  Hooray!

It was our best homeschool year to date, and this is the one thing we did to transform our homeschool year. It is so simple, you wont believe it! One change that transformed our homeschool year #WomenLiving #Homeschooling #ClassicalConversations #postits

I have no idea if this could work in your house or if somehow I just randomly hit the lottery.  But having 45 minutes of work done before 9am —rocks!  They usually break from there and we don’t start again until closer to 10am. Then they work until lunch.  After lunch they do one more hour of work and then they have an hour in their rooms for reading and that’s their day.

The kids have been involved in lots of activities – Alex played tackle football on the public school team and his team made the championship.  Then he played basketball for Upwards and his team lost all their games (good life lessons right?) and he achieved his purple belt in Karate.

Football and cheerleading

Alex purple belt

Alexis took piano for 2 1/2 years but in March she decided to quit. 🙁  We agreed this was the best choice for her.  She takes gymnastics and has mastered her front and back walkovers and is working on her back handspring now. In the fall, she was a cheerleader on the public school squad and cheered for her brother’s football team.

The kids were also involved in our church Sunday night program called Olympians.  They both earned gold medals, a trophy and a new Bible for memorizing verses, doing service projects, and writing book reports.

Olympians 2

So that sums up our school year — which was quite full – especially with the launch of my book!!!  I’m EXHAUSTED but we made it – Hallelujah!!!! Lol!  I feel so incredibly blessed!

**Chime In: Do you homeschool?  What worked for you this school year…and what did not work for you?

Walk with the King,

Courtney 

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112 Comments

  1. This is so encouraging! I have 5 little ones under the age of 6. We have done classical conversations for the last 2 years, and while I don’t feel quite as overwhelmed and lost as I did last year, I still wonder if I’ll ever feel confident in what we’re doing and have any wisdom to offer. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this!

  2. I really loved this post. We don’t have children yet but I dream of one day homeschooling my little ones. It is so encouraging to hear how rewarding an experience homeschooling can be. I love how sometimes the smallest change can make a big difference. I’m a big fan of post-it notes and use them to aide in my own efficiency and productivity.

  3. We started to homeschool this year with our 4 year old. I found that I’ve really got to plan my days so that we can get everything from cleaning and meals to the lessons done each day. We didn’t have that successful of a year this year, especially with a new baby half way through, but now I know how to handle next year when we’ve got 2.

    1. I just want to encourage you and your assessment of a not so successful year this year. I am also homeschooling young children (gr 2, K, Preschool, and 3 year old) and i have to constantly remind myself of realistic expectations for each of their years. Really, “school” is no more than structured playtime with mom at 4 years old. But it’s so easy for me to over-structure book-work and even push them to tears when it’s totally not necessary at that age. Read lots of story books together, talk talk talk about everything you do as a mom, in the kitchen, in the garden, about your Bible.. Blessings.

    2. I feel like I am in the same category as you. This past year I’ve worked on homeschooling my 5 year old PreK (he turned 5 late Nov). And he has a little sister that is now just 19 months. We also moved from VA to MS (hubby is Navy) right after Christmas. So, that really shook things up around here. And we probably didn’t do half of the curriculum that I had set to do for the year, but I will use it for my princess when she’s ready, so it’s not lost.

      My little man, well I do feel that he’s learned so much this year. Life has a funny way of doing that. I got him a states puzzle before our move (so he could understand where we were going) and now he can place each state where it goes easily. (On the Kindle we have the State the States game and he has mastered the placement of them, WOW) Going into Kindergarten this fall he already can read, count, and write his name. That’s just from daily play, reading etc. And he loves to bake with me. It all works itself in.

      I’m excited about Kindergarten. Nervous about having his little sister still demanding so much time. Still don’t know which curriculum that we’ll use…so feeling overwhelmed…but it will all come together, God is good!!

  4. My son goes to public school and is also finishing up 4th grade. He turned 10 at the end of April. Unlike your Alex, my Patrick does NOT like to read. AT ALL! If it weren’t for the required reading logs they do for the first 1/2 of the school year, he wouldn’t read at all. I get him books that he likes from the bookstore but he’d rather play Xbox of course. 🙁

    Huge sports family here too! Patrick is active with tackle football in the fall. Basketball in the winter and right now we are in the middle of baseball season. He’s having a fantastic season! He’s the star pitcher of his team, and of the whole league actually. He’s pitched two no-hitters and has only allowed less than 5 runs to be scored against him while he’s on the mound. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be in the major leagues one day? We don’t push him. He likes to pitch and it’s pretty much all natural talent.

    After the regular season is all-stars, which is the pre-cursor to the Little League World Series. Then in July, we’ll jump right back in to football as they start with conditionings in Mid July and then practices at the end of the month!

    I just wish I could get him to enjoy reading books and such as much as I do! I have stacks of books throughout our home!

    1. My sons played baseball from the time they were 3 years old through high school and one even pitched all through college. All Stars was my favorite, very special memories. I taught my boys to learn to love reading by giving them amazing books to read. We used Sonlight and their reading material is excellent. I made my boys read for 2 hours a day and they learned to love reading. It has greatly benefited them in life! {I did homeschool them through junior high and this was when they learned to love reading. As a retired school teacher, most schools pick out boring books for the children to read.}

    2. Hey Kelly K – have you tried any sports biographies? Reading about some of his real-life heroes is a great way to spark his interest!

  5. Thank you! What an encouraging read! I homeschool my 6 year old(first grade) and also have a 3 year old son. It is challenging to say the least. I wish you lived close to me and we could be good friends. I love your blog. You are such an inspiration! God bless you!! Ps- I will try the post it note thing, once my daughter is old enough to do her sheets on her own.

  6. My husband was seriously injured during the winter this past homeschool year, so the one thing that changed our homeschool year was dropping my perfectionism and my expectations! I changed 🙂
    My kids are teens and this is the first year I dropped the ball on scheduling their work every day because my husband needed months of care. Know what? The previous ten years of homeschooling won and my kids hardly fell behind at all. They stayed motivated, did their work without badgering, helped with dad, did their chores often without asking, learned about compassion and that family is so important, and are nearly done with school for the year. I thought they would have to do summer school, but they are both going to finish just fine. Thank you, Lord!

  7. Thank you for your encouraging words at the beginning! I am currently in both situations. My oldest just finished his 4th grade year, our middle son will be doing pre k in the fall, and we have an 11 month old son. 3 boys! Shew! I’m tired just thinking about it! 😉 We actually tried some pre k already, but I quickly realized I needed more planning and preparation. I love that my oldest will be mostly independent next year and that will help immensely with 4 year old and pre k. I love that you found something so simple that worked so great for your family! I also love that Grandpa is involved in the kids schooling. That is just awesome! I hope you all have a great summer! Blessings!

  8. My favorite quote from this post: “Please do not hear me say that I LOVE homeschooling and equate that in your mind as me calling this EASY. ” I think it is too easy to equate a simple statement others make about loving HSing/their joy in it and feel like you are not doing something right because it is so hard, the days so ‘unjoyful.’ Our year was hard. I have 4 school aged, 1 toddler, and a 2 month old. Life is demanding right now without HSing but with it, well, let’s just say it was difficult! 😉

  9. I homeschool my 5 boys and just finished grades 8, 7, 6, 3, and 2. This was a tough year for us because it was the first year I’ve done it on my own. We had been doing cyber school for the previous year and a half, but REALLY didn’t like that. I have sone new ideas for next year, but I’m nervous because I’m working on my M.Ed. so that takes a lot of my time as well. However, we’re doing some curriculum changes and I’ve finally got my husband on board to help me with making some tougher consequences for behavioral issues. So I’m cautiously optimistic! 🙂 Our main issue is getting them to sit still long enough to just get finished without dragging it out all day long, but by the end of the year, it was improving.

      1. Mary,

        While I only have two to homeschool, they are 4 years apart in school. I also have had some great mentors, who have more children than I. Here are a few suggestions for you.
        Combine some subjects, for example Science or History-find ones that have reading and then different activities for the different levels (examples Mystery of History, Story of the World, Apologia). Some of my oldest reading time is used to read to the younger, frees mom up to cook, do the laundry or other activities. One other way is to split days. Mon and Wed you do history and science with the older ones at their level and Tue and Thur with the younger one, Friday you come together and do art or hands on activities for the week. Whatever will work for you! I also know some families who school on some Saturday when Dad is home to help too!

  10. I’m on the fence right now whether to homeschool or put my going in 5th grade son & starting Kindergarten girl into public school for next school year. I pray but not consistently on this subject. My reasons to homeschool do outweigh the reasons for public school, yet I’m still hesitant! Any advice out there on how I can just finally come to peace on which one to do!!?? Besides flip a coin 😉 Appreciate it ladies!!

    1. I was homeschooled and now homeschool 5 of my 6 kids. I can hardly think of a more challenging parenting experience than trying to teach, on top of a mother’s ordinary responsibilities. HOWEVER, the value to your children is so incredible, I cannot imagine doing anything otherwise! I have a friend who wanted to homeschool for a long time but her husband wouldn’t let her. He finally let her start when her oldest was going into 8th and her youngest into 4th. That woman has FLOURISHED as a homeschool mom. So have her boys. People get scared of homeschooling because it IS an extra responsibility, but the ones who let go of unrealistic expectations, who let go of strict “by the book” mentality and who realize that curriculum is NOT what it’s all about, are the ones who end up up thinking outside the box, who allow their children to pursue their interests (such as astronomy and how electronics work and magic tricks and gardening, etc etc etc) and who end up never regretting their decision to educate their children at home. I’ve had some terribly difficult yrs but my children amaze me with their ability to cope and to learn and make progress. There is grace for the rough spots and joy on a regular basis. Go for it, Crystal!!!

      1. Iva, your words are very encouraging & have nudge me even more to the homeschool side 😉 It’s almost like I have to deschool myself as well! 😉 I’m thinking if it has to be anything like public school then forget it!! Gotta think like the few do & not the majority! Thank you for taking the time to respond back!! Much appreciated!!

    2. I was scared to death thinking of homeschooling. It seemed unreal that I was even seriously considering it since I was so accustomed to the status quo. My mind played a heavy game of tennis back and forth for months and months. Technicalities aside, I realized the bottom line issue of my decision making trouble. First, I realized that most of my reasons for not homeschooling revolved around unknowns and fears. Second, I realized that most of my reasons for pursuing homeschooling revolved around my love, hopes, and dreams for my children and family. So, it boiled down to a faith jump for me; a moment to put my arms out and trust God to provide and equip regardless of my own understanding, assumptions, and fears. We will soon be heading into our third year of homeschooling and I’m already making plans for my youngest. It has been a highly rewarding, successful, and amazing journey so far. There are struggles in working out the balances and spiritual battles are ever present. Nothing much in life is easy. However, I can not think of a more rewarding and fulfilling job than to be a full-time Mother and a homeschooling mom to boot! It is beyond my dreams how blessed we are to be out of the fray and into this wonderful and opportune life of homeschooling. Here is something to think about also: Although I did not continue in Classical Conversations communities due to cost, I would recommend it as a means to help get your feet wet, learn from other moms, etc. I did this and it was a HUGE help in my decision making. We still do CC at home as a supplement b/c it’s such a great memory work program. Best wishes for you and your family!

      1. Thank you Barefoot Mama!! I’m all too familiar with that lovely game of tennis 😉 Been playing it since the beginning of the school year! Just recently the feeling got heavier on me! Can’t ignore it! Thank you for your response!!!!

  11. I love this idea! And I’m at the point where I’ll try anything. We are trying to finish up first and second grade and I’m about spent. We are making big changes to our curriculum next year, in hopes that things will go more smoothly. Looking forward to their independence is encouraging!
    Thanks!

  12. Thank you SO much for the encouragement about preschool, kindergarten and first grade being the toughest years. Since I’m just starting out with a kindergartener and preschooler, I have no idea what to expect … I had no clue things will get easier!

  13. So proud of you and your children. HOMESCHOOLING in my opinion is the very best of the best way to school children. It makes such a bond and tons of memories. But the biggest bonus is how much better their education can be. I taught public school and that showed me I wanted to homeschool when I had children. We did and going to college was no problem.

  14. Love the suggestion of morning work. I have had a 1st and 2nd grader this year but doing the same 2nd grade curriculum. I find they still need a lot of help to stay on task, and to read through chapters ,etc. But I love the idea of math, handwriting, journal work being at the morning table. That would also give me time to get ready, have a quiet time, or clean up the kitchen from breakfast. We might try and incorporate this next year.

  15. I have a 1st grader and PreK/preschooler right now plus a 2 year old and one due in August and homeschool. I love this idea and can see it working a little bit with my oldest who’s an early riser. Thanks for the suggestion.

  16. Thank you Courtney for your encouragement.. As I type my mind is filled with anxiety about what to do for my boys next year. All three of my children Daughter 17, Son 13, Son 12 we enrolled in a virtual school.. My daughter does wonderful on her own and will graduate a year early with straight A’s.. My boys however disliked the program very much. I struggle knowing what is the right and perfect fit for our family.. They absolutely hate to read. 😉 I am on my way to a homeschool convention today, and I can get overwhelmed with all the choices and wanting to pick the “perfect” one… Please y’all pray for me that god gives me wisdom and a clear mind to choose what He wants me to choose for this family.

    Tired Mom But not Giving Up. On homeschool,

    Christine

  17. Thanks for the encouraging post Courtney. I totally agree about it becoming easier the more independent your children are in their learning. I read ‘The Self-Propelled Advantage’ by Joanne Calderwood last year, and it has been really helpful in homeschooling my older two (12 and 10). Bless you 🙂

  18. Thanks for sharing this. For all of you starting out it is hard and very busy and your days may seen very crazy at times. God taught me after a rough year that character training had to be at the top of the list, helped so much when we put God first in our homeschooling. I have four children, grades 10,8,7,4, we are almost done our school year. This was very encouraging and refreshing. We sometimes struggle with finishing well, everyone just wants to be done. This has given me that last boost that I needed. I’m thankful that you shared the curriculum you use, I may need to change up a couple things and will look into what you shared. Love your posts!!!

  19. As they get older the homeschooling gets easier. At least for me. (I have been homeschooling for 10 years now 15 b, 14 b, 14 b, 12 g, 9 g) They are more independent. And the post it notes is what made it work for us too. Three of mine this year are online FLVS students. Though it is not mandatory that I tell them what needs to be done each week. They love seeing on colorful post it notes. They can check it off as they go. It is their goal sheet. When it’s done then electronics and toys can come out. Great post and thank you for sharing it with others 🙂

  20. I LOVE this! I’m going to try this next year! I too am at independent ages, we will be 6 & 8 grades next year & our 5th year at HS. I have literally switched things up every year, just trying to find our flow. This year we did multiple things together as they are now at similar reading & comprehending levels. It was nice! I too have an older boy & younger girl, they are opposite of yours- my son hates reading & my daughter LOVES it! Thanks for mentioning the Mine Craft & Video games, lol- we too splurge on those here & think it’s great! Have you heard about the Mine craft Homeschoolers? We are going to look into doing it next year! Ty for sharing & keeping it real!

  21. This is my second year homeschooling. My oldest is in 3rd grade and youngest is a combo of K/1st. I love it because I can go at my own pace and spend additional time on tricky concepts. My big change this year – I decided to homeschool year-round. We have a very relaxed “school,” and this just made it much more pleasant for everyone. I use workboxes for their daily work – similar to the post-its.

  22. We homeschool as well. I have a 9, 5 and 3 year old. We have homeschooled since the beginning and both my kids and I love it. It has not been easy for us either. I wanted to encourage some of the moms that are feeling like they are not doing enough for one reason or another. I was a classroom teacher for several years before kids at a public school and then at a very prestigious private school. I was amazed at all 3 schools how little time is actually spent on academics. Here is South Florida our elementary schools start at 8 and get out at 2 so you figure kids are learning for about 5 hrs or so, right?? LOL NOPE!! By the time you take out lunch, specials(music, PE, art, etc) bathroom breaks, time for getting out books, discipline problems, waiting for EVERYONE to get to the right page, etc. they are really only spending about 1 1/2 hours of academic time. Most homeschoolers even on a bad day are getting much more than this. And also on a much more individualized basis. My son gets to read the whole chapter to me not just a paragraph or a sentence like my previous students did. Another thing to keep in mind is that the WHOLE workbook /book doesn’t have to be finished. I don’t know what happened to me when I became a homeschooling mom. I all of a sudden had to finish every single page in the book. This was never expected of us in the public or private schools I taught at so why do I expect that of my children? We were expected to finish about 75% of the books we were assigned. So even on a really bad homeschool day, my kids are getting more than what they would be in a classroom.

    1. Jamie,
      It was so helpful to hear from a person with such a vast experience in education. Thanks for your advice!
      Sara

      1. Thank you so much for sharing this information about amount of time spent really learning ie. Bookwork!! I’m on my third year of homeschooling and my daughter actually started public school and after only 3weeks of kindergarten, she asked me to do school at home. I also teach pre-school for my home daycare and just had a baby in August. I was concerned about making sure we went through her whole workbook for all the subjects and so this is encouraging to know. I guess the important thing is that she grasps the concepts.
        I will be defiantly trying the post-it notes because she is reading very well now. She reads to my pre-schoolers for circle time and she loves it, which is great for her getting her independent reading work done.
        We do Right Start Math and I’m so thankful for that curriculum because I didn’t like math in school and this has given me a love for math and I’m learning along with my daughter. We do Language Learners for Language and Science we use Abaka! Phonics and Reading I started with Hooked on Phonics and love that she can work independent on that now. I will probably introduce a handwriting curriculum next year but she has very good penmanship because I had her for pre-school since she could sit in a chair to color with other kids, so still debating on that.
        I was feeling a little overwhelmed this year with a new baby and all and was almost considering sending her to public school but thanks to all the comments, I’m seriously reconsidering.
        We have a homeschool coop on Fridays and she did piano lessons and art and also horse back riding, which she loves.
        Thank you so much for sharing about the breakdown of a public school students day. I remember my daughter coming back from school histerical because she was so hungry as they were only allowed so much time to eat.
        She loves to bake and help me cook meals, as long as I’m supervising, she had been baking since she was about 6years. Now at 8years she does all her own baking as long as my husband or I am present.
        I feel that she is years ahead in cooking skills compared to her 3 older siblings who all went to public school. God willing I can continue to homeschool for a few more years. Please keep me in prayer.
        Thanks
        S Ratu

  23. So encouraged by your words also Courtney! I just started homeschooling in September last year. I have a 6 year old and 4 year old and I have loved every minute of it, however, I just had a baby 9 weeks ago and now the challenge of homeschooling and maintaining my household duties just went way up! LOL!! Trying my best to take one day at a time and trust in God …with Him it is possible! Grateful for your ministry …Lord bless you and continue to give you the desire and strength to keep it up! 🙂

  24. I have been thinking more & more about Classical Conversations & switching to it. We have always did a Charlotte Mason style/Heart of Dakota. But we are moving & interested in CC to challenge my daughter who is going into 6 grade & also for the community aspect. Is 6th grade to late to start? Also blessed with my son who will be going into 1st grade boy. For some reason the CC website overwhelms me :-/

    Thank you for your encouraging post! Love following a like-minded sister in the LORD.

  25. I’m about to pull my soon-to-be 7th grader out of school start homeschooling her next year. This info is great to know! I live in Wisconsin, though, so group homeschool activities or classes are not allowed to be counted toward our homeschool hours. That said, I still can’t wait to do it! I know it will be extremely stressful but for my 12-year-old’s sake I need to get her away from the poor influences at school and really reinforce God’s love and adult life skills with this child. Thanks for the encouragement, Courtney!

  26. Thank you, Courtney! I have little kids, but I have a five year old who is learning reading and writing and basic math and he’s always stressed when it is time to do his lessons. But I read this post last night and decided to give it a try. Would you believe that he was excited to do his work?! He was proud that he could read the instructions himself. Sure, he’s little and I still have to be right there to help, but it’s a lot easier when he is happy to be there too!

  27. Glad you had a good year! In the picture with all the books open and laid out on the table, what are the two colorful spiral bound books? Are they devotionals?

  28. Hello Courtney!

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am truly appreciative of all your wisdom, care and thoughtfulness. My husband and I have our first child who is now 10 months, and I am very much looking forward to homeschooling him along with any future children.

    I read your blogs all the time and can honestly say that you are teaching the younger generation here because already I have learned and am learning a lot-like how to love my husband and put priorities in place, God first, to live a life a woman should be living, well and with the King!

  29. I do alot of the same things!!!…So with that schedule how do you fit in chores?And do you still keep like a planner to write there schoolwork in for records?Cause if you tell them what to do on post its(which i use them regularly!)im just curious to do you still write there work in a planner as well?

    1. No, I do not use a planner – we just work everyday until the curriculum is complete. Our state requires a portfolio which shows progress – so I save worksheets and writing from the first month of the year, middle month and last month to show progress.

      🙂 Courtney

  30. Your words are encouraging………… Just to share with you, I homeschooled my five children….. a long time ago, (before it was popular). The baby graduated in 2000!!! I, too, did some of these things that you suggested and found them to be of great help. Our day was scheduled much like yours. I did find, however, that those little “notes” (or whatever one would use as incentive) would not last and I would have to find another. In saying all of this, I know that God will always give us what we need right when we think it is all going down the tubes! I pray for all those who choose to homeschool their children and set standards of righteous living! God Bless you!

  31. We don’t use Post it notes, but my kids do like when I write all their work out on the whiteboard and let them pick the order in which they do their work. I do like the Post It note idea and I’ll have to give that a try.

  32. It warms my heart – all of your posts. If I could be a kid again, I’d want to have the kind of childhood you’re giving to your children. Some of us didn’t have it so nice. Great pictures – Beautiful, Happy children and I Love seeing those smiles. (Love the dimples too!) I just received your book. I can’t wait to start reading it. Have a Great Weekend!

  33. We love our CC group–we’ve been in it for 5 years and my kids love going to “school” and learning with their friends. My best tip sounds similar to yours–I write out my kids’ work for the week and they enjoy being independent and doing their work at their own pace and crossing off what gets done! Plus it keeps me accountable and organized.

  34. I am new to homeschooling…my oldest just turned 5 last week and will be starting kindergarten in the fall! I also have a 3 1/2 year old, an 18 month old and am expecting our 4th child this November!!!! I feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of homeschooling this fall, but I enjoyed reading your post and it was encouraging! Thank you!
    Jamie

  35. Thanks for the encouragement for those of us with little ones. We’re finishing up our third year of homeschooling, and my girls are 7, 5, 3, and 8 months. I sometimes wonder why I put myself through this (Even though I know why, I don’t always remember in the midst of the struggles and chaos). Thanks for the reminder that it will get easier. And I really think that post-it note trick might work with my oldest, who I have difficulty with getting her to do certain subjects. Thanks!

  36. We too just finished our 5th year homeschooling. I have a 6th, 4th and Kindergartner. I have to say it does get a lot easier as they get past 2nd grade. My oldest are about 80% independent minus Grammer and Math. I like to go over those subjects with each of them before they start. Right now the hardest part is keeping my 5 year old quiet and occupied while the older two work. One thing I found makes my days smoother is setting up the lessons the night before. I lay their books out in order of how I want them to complete them with sticky notes on each book to give direction. Sometimes it’s do this page or that or “wait for Mom.” If I don’t do this I’m stressed in the mornings and we don’t get everything completed.

  37. Courtney, Oh how I hope you read this! I have a few questions for you so Im also going to post this to you in our fb group in hopes you see it.

    1st thing: thank you for this “Pre-school, Kindergarten and first grade are the hardest years to homeschool. During these little years, your children are 100% dependent on mommy to teach them everything – from reading to math, to history and science. They need you at their side teaching them. This is draining.” — I am headed into prek with my son (no formal lessons ya know but he will be in the classroom, and 1st grade with my daughter after she tried a year at public school. she was homeschooled since she was 2 however, yes 2, she is gifted and wanted to learn!) I have so many fears but reading your blog and so many other Christian homeschooling blogs has left me feeling empowered by the Lord to this calling! Also your book is helping me too!!!

    SO EXCITED TO START THE BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW AT GMG!!! Its my first! by the way.

    Okay my question for you is this: What were you and your husbands thoughts on letting your daughter join cheerleading? I see in her photo there (Im assuming that is her) that she is involved in it. My own daughter has sign ups and they said even homeschooled she could do it until high school I guess. My husband and I talked long and hard about this because you know that every little girl wants to do this. Okay so our thoughts. The outfits are not modest. The boys worldly view from what you see on t.v. makes the label ‘cheerleader’ out to be ‘popular, slut, stuck up ext.’ from movies and shows and just in general. SO, I am wondering your personal thoughts on your decision. Although your daughters uniform did NOT seem unmodest to me, I have never seen one HERE so I fear signing her up and then it being so and what I would be able to do. its rather expensive, like $60 for the year in fact. She wants to do it, but she also wishes to do teakwondo, so maybe I should let her do that instead? right now is softball season, but after that I will need to get her into something! I would love your thoughts on the cheerleading question though.

    Be Blessed and Be Inspired, Tara Eveland

  38. We began using switched on schoolhouse this year, and it gave my kids so much independence. I love it! Also, since it is on a laptop, we can take our work anywhere without having to gather books for every subject.

  39. I wonder if I can ask all of you homeschooling moms a slightly off-topic question?
    My little boy starts Grade 1 next year, and we’re still debating what the best option will be for him – homeschool, public school or private school… My one concern regarding homeschooling is this – he’s an only child (not our choice, but it’s worked out that way!) … is 24 hours a day with mom too much/unhealthy at some point, with no siblings to play/work with? He is already involved with extr-mural activities (tennis, horesriding, swimming), so I’m not worried about his socialisation abilities … I think I’m wondering if that much 1-on-1 mom-time is the best option?
    Gosh, I’ve waffled about this – can you see the debate that’s going on in my head over this!!?? 😉

    1. My eldest was an only child for a very long time until our other two came along, and I worried about the same thing!!! I decided that having one on one instruction was the best equation. That being said, we also became part of a homeschool co-op, and I started a HSgroup for field trips. This along with church allowed others to teach my child for a bit. (Your public library might also have reading/ activity times ) Praying you find the right path for you.

  40. We just finished 1st and 4th grade and, I’ll be honest, I thought the year was pretty much a disaster. I also have a 4 yr old and a 2 yr old and I felt like the constant interruptions hindered any real work. At this point, I’m feeling frustrated AND I’m having a baby in August. So, this fall, will not be much better. I have looked into CC and it’s just too expensive for us BUT I like the idea of the post it notes. We tend to not get started until 10:00 when it’s closer to the baby’s nap time. So, I think I will try this way of getting some of their independent work out of the way early. I think this will make all of us feel a little more productive and less rushed later in the morning.

    THANK YOU!

  41. Thank you for writing this and sharing about your family, Courtney…it is so helpful without being an overwhelming amount of “how to” info. This fall I’m going to start homeschooling my young children. I, too, have family nearby and I would never, ever have thought of asking them to help with regular teaching, but now I’m going to pray about this possibility. Great ideas, thank you!

  42. I actually read this while my little one was napping and let’s just say I didn’t take my eyes off the screen even when my phone rung! 🙂 I love it! You are just an inspiration. I have been looking into classical conversations once my little one is able to attend and I find one that suits us. Again thanks so much for writing this! I will be back 🙂

  43. This was a fantastic read! Thank you. We also do our table work in the mornings. Just after breakfast as our daughter likes to sleep longer than our son. *smile* Our daughter is also involved in gymnastics and our son also does karate. *smile* We are in our fouth year of using curriculum homeschooling and I agree, the older they get the more independant they also get. I also noticed that once the reading confidance excelled they became more independant. *smile* It’s odd but nice. *smile* My beloved husband has taken teaching new math concepts, which is fantastic because his mind works well with numbers. He also does some fun things with science when we share what we are learning in our books, he makes it come alive. It’s wonderful! *big smile* For a while now we have been on an earth science mode making time to notice the bugs in the spinich or how long different plants take to grow or pointint out different star constilations. *smile* We were involved in the A.W.A.N.A.S. program durring the fall where our children memorized and recited all the scripture in the programs’ given books and we found more new ones for them to learn so they kept up through the entire program reciting verses along with the other children. *smile* I love that part of the program but it was also nice to see them having fun with other children each week. *smile* We are signed up for VBS this year again because it’s a great place to have fun and to hear bible stories in a different way than we talk about them at home. *smile* I really enjoyed reading this post and wanted to share a bit from our year also. *smile* Have a fantastic rest of your week. Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!

  44. I really enjoyed reading your encouraging (and realistic) post. It sure is challenging trying to school with “littles” in the house, but homeschooling is so worth it. We just finished our second year of Classical Conversations and love it. I’m so glad a friend told us about it as it’s a great fit for us and we have thrived with the academic material and the connections with other families (adults and kiddos). One thing to mention now that summer is here, is that families who want to get more information on CC can attend a FREE 3-day summer parent practicum. Check the Classical Conversations website for more information and to find the nearest practicum location.

    I’m curious about the Olympians program. Is there a way to purchase the Olympian books and use it in our homeschool without being involved in an official Olympian group at church? I checked online and there are no Olympian programs in our state. The books and daily devotions sound great! Plus, the material looks colorful and fun! Please advise.

    1. Camille, my husband works for Word of Life (they produce the Olympian program) and you can order the quiet times straight from them. Here’s a link to the web page to order from: http://www.wolstore.org/c-88-quiet-times.aspx

      There are 3 age groups in the Olympian program – Challengers (Grades 1-2), Conquerors (Grades 3-4) and Champions (Grades 5-6) – just so you know the right one to order :). There is also a Quiet time for 4 and 5 year olds (Gopher Buddies) and for Jr./Sr. High and adults. The verses for each day are taken from the same passage over all the ages, so parents and kids are reading the same passage each day (just fewer verses for the younger kids).

      I hope this helps! 🙂

  45. I think this is great, but I hope these experiences give you more respect for teachers who do this in a classroom of 30+ students. Teachers do not get the respect we deserve. When I read people complaining that teaching their 2 kids is hard, try 35 kids and tell me that isn’t hard, its near impossible and we are held to much higher standards by 35 sets of parents, administration, taxpayers, and most of all; ourselves. Most teachers leave teaching after the first 5 years because the demands and stress are too much. I am entering my 10th year only by the Grace of God and my continual hard work at the expense of my family and friends. I do this because I ask myself everyday, “what kind of a teacher would I want my child to have?” One who works smart and does everything possible to educate my child to the best of their ability.

  46. I LOVE when something so simplistic is so game changing. It means its easily reproducible and it cost next to nothing to implement and takes so little time!!!

  47. That is so awesome that you can enjoy your morning and enjoy their indepence. I have a 4th and a 5th grader and unfortunately I can not say the same thing about my children.

    I have homeschool for 6yrs and everyone encourages me to hang on it gets better but its not. I have tried so many schedule and cut down seat work and nothing seems work.

    I am embarrassed to let people know I homeschool. My hard work does not reflect on my children. I am so disappointed and sometimes depress because there is nothing I can be proud of. I don’t want to list all my children imperfection but when you have people time after time pointing out their imperfection it just breaks my heart. I have taken them professionals to be tested and they are fine. I stop spanking them, it didn’t work.

    This week is the week that I verbally said, “I give up.” They will start regular school and I feel like a total failure. I congratulate you for your outstanding work.

    1. Live – I’m so sorry you are feeling this way. Please do not let your identity be in whether you homeschool or not.

      Are your children loved, fed, clean, hugged, kissed, and taught about Jesus? Then you are a good mom. Do not set a standard for yourself than is higher than God’s for you.

      If it is time to send them to school – then do it with confidence knowing you are doing what is best for your family. That’s a good mom.

      We are not meant to be cookie cutters of each other – every one has different life struggles, set backs, circumstances, strengths and weakness. We all have different children who react to their environment differently.

      Take heart – God loves you and I know you love your children. You are a good mom – don’t beat yourself up. You did your best – that’s all God asks.

      Sending much love and ((hugs)) your way this evening.
      Courtney

  48. Thank you for encouraging me today. I was home-schooled my whole life and intend to do the same with my kids. My oldest is almost four, has sensory processing disorder, and teaching the SIMPLEST things are met with resistance, no matter how fun I thought I’d made it. And there’s a crazy demanding toddler running under foot! Thank you for admitting that it gets easier. Gotta put in the work up front, huh? Also, I must be hormonal or something, but seeing your dad teach your kids made me tear up. My parents just moved here from across the country. My dad is stoked to teach our boys math and science, just like he used to with my brother and me. Ah, so blessed!

  49. I basically do the same thing as you, only a tad different. lol I bought composition notebooks when they were on sale. At the top of each page I write the day and date. Then I draw a little square in the left hand margin and next to that write the subject. Then I write what I want them to do next to that. I also add the extras like piano practice, ect. Then they check mark it off when thye complete it. This has been a HUGE help for them, and me. And I’m able to make a whole week’s worth of lessons on Sunday night. And my son likes to work ahead and do the whole weeks worth of math in a few days, so he’s able to see what to do. 🙂 I love your blog! 🙂

  50. So glad to hear that it gets a little better! It makes sense that once they can do more for themselves they WILL do more for themselves. I have a very independent 6 year old but he’s only independent when he’s doing something HE enjoys. Like if I have found a way to incorporate LEGOs into our lesson or it’s a book or art project he’s just really excited about. Or math….I have to STOP him from doing extra pages in his math book. 😀 But there are some days that just getting him to the table is impossible. And I try to explain to him the importance of his school work and that we HAVE to do it (which is really hard to convey without making it sound like a chore!) To a degree he’s been “homeschooled” his entire life. Just not in a structured manner He was reading by 4 and even though his peers just started Kindergarten we jumped right into 1st grade this year. He’s never been to school so he there is a lot that his little mind just doesn’t understand about the why and how of this.

    But then there are days that are just magical. Maybe not as many as you are having right now…but we do have some.

  51. I am a mother of four children 13, 12, 7 and 6. My oldest one is not doing good in school and I am thinking of homeschooling for next year when she start 9th grade but I don’t have any idea of where to start please give me any advice.

  52. I love the idea of utilizing that time before breakfast to do seat work. My kids are 10, 8, 6, and 1 and we were in our groove until the sweet surprise of our baby joined. Now flexibility is our middle name and we utilize nap times. Thanks for sharing this great idea.

  53. After teaching public school for almost 20 years, my husband and I decided that our 7th grade don was needing more a ademipcally than he was receiving in public school. He has always loved school, and has been our, “little sponge”, u able to ever get enough, wanting more, needing to understand how thing us work, etc. do, we are half way thru our first year of homeschool. This us by far the most difficult year either of us has Had. After extensive researching, we purchased a curriculum with great structure, believing it would help us both accomplish all he needed in all content areas. We still depend many days in a power struggle, and seldom get thru our Bible study and 4 core dupbjevts. He doesn’t miss his friends. He is active in church and the HS association I located. He has gone from loving to read , study and explore to having to be forced to do every songlpe task. I have tried everything! I do wanted to help him excel and work with him in his learning style! I gave trouble getting him to bed, and thus getting him up in the mornings. I have tried asset schedule, a relaxed schedule, different class times, possible idea I find to help us. I know we are behind and greater still I know he losing his desire to read , study, build, explore new ideas, etc. I am really afraid he will not be anywhere near the next grade level, and so undisciplined. He simply wants to be at home but not let me or anyone teach him. I have prayed; I am still seeking wisdom! I don’t know how to turn this around to help him find his way. I need advice and help! I have tried every single idea I can find to make this his school, letting and leading him to learn hisway, and all to no avail. He has become the opposite of who he was and while he says he likes HS , I believe he is using it as ay way to stay home and really stop learning. What can I do to help us turn this around? I truly believe he needs to be homeschooled and God can help us. However, I smile at a complete loss and KNOW this is not working. He won’t read anything from a text and rarely from a book for his own pleasure. He is almost 13 and I do not recognize my own child! He has been an all A student to a rude, belligerent child who is challenging my authority and losing his love of school,and learning! Please advise! What can I do? What have I done if he has lost this year of academics? He is so smart, fun-loving and I realize this was a huge transition for him. I am do afraid I have hindered him rather than help him expand. Any advice for a ver desperate mom?

    1. The first year is the hardest,many seasoned homeschooler will tell you the same. One of the hardest seasons in life is when a momma has a preteen or teen son. I have boys as well, and knowing that one day the power will shift is a little difficult. They will be over me, and I’m not sure I like that. I’m the momma! We struggle during these years, naturally. They are finding their way to being men. They will be heads of household. You are not alone! I recently received some sound advice from a Christian friend. She said she struggled with homeschooling her son daily, in a way she hadn’t with her daughters. By the time she realized that she was squashing his spirit, it was too late. He was 16, and he didn’t want to be around her anymore. Four years later, he of course loves her, but they had A LOT of relationship rebuilding to get through. She recommends letting our boys have more power, more choices, more say so, as soon as they feel that need. Of course, they’ll need much guidance to make responsible choices. Dad needs to step in here, and model for him. As far as schooling goes, perhaps he might like to choose the books he reads? Or let him plan the order of his assignments? Let go of the power just a little bit, and hopefully he’ll be gladly receptive.

      Blessings! You can do it!

  54. What a great blog! I am 2 weeks into homeschooling my 5th grade and 7th grade daughters. We also have our preK son who I do some letter/number work with in the mornings.
    We dont follow a set curriculum, per se. We use Abeka for lang arts and spelling (5th grade) and then science, history and some reading exercises (7th grade) . The rest (spanish, sign language, math, 7th vocab, 5th science, 7th lang arts) I have either downloaded based on subject matter I want to cover or tweaked whatever I could find that was close. We aren’t able to afford an entire prepared curriculum for our children, so I am doing the best I can with what we have. I will be a frequent visitor to this blog…it is fabulous!!

  55. i needed this today! My kindergartener and I are floundering a bit on carriculums. He is in the process of learning to read and his writing is going well all be it repetitive, but math seems to be too easy. I can’t find where we should be in Saxon first grade. I tend to feel unorganized because I’ll start a lesson and realize he knows all that and try to skip ahead. He doesn’t care but I want to set those high expectations for him. Anyway, I actually said out loud today ( whether I was talking to myself or the Jesus I’m not sure) “what have I done today? Not dishes, not laundry… Oh yeah we did well in school! I can’t seem to do both!” Anyway, thanks for the encouraging words. A friend told me about a co-op close by that she lives so we will try that and keep plugging away. I’ll try the post its it may force me to find my own expectations too!

  56. Thanks for the idea! I’m always looking for ways to simplify how to get my son to do his work without me constantly nagging him. I’ll try this!

  57. This will be so helpful when my kids can read! My oldest is only 6 and doesn’t read anything “useful” yet like directions i would put on a post it i love the idea though 🙂 i can’t wait to use it when they are bigger! i have 4 kiddos my oldest just turned 6 and my youngest is just turned 1! 🙂 exciting stuff

  58. I love that your dad is involved! What great memories for both you and your kids as well as wonderful relationship building.
    How did you introduce the post its? I love that idea and think it may work, but need to find a GREAT way to tell my kids about it and get started with it. Thanks for a great read. I have a 2nd and 1st grader… I have noticed that 2nd grade is much easier than 1st.

  59. I’m curious, how do you do your saxon math? We Are transitioning into saxon, and I’m having a hard time. What portion do your kids do alone in the morning? Then do you hit math again, for a lesson? Another page?

    1. Hi Donna,

      My kids do the daily Facts Practice Test in the morning after their devotions on their own. Then after breakfast they listen to the Saxon lesson on a DVD and work through the practice problems with the DVD teacher. When they finish the DVD, they work through their daily 30+/- problems at the kitchen table and I help them with any questions they have. I usually do dishes and lunch and dinner prep while they work. My daughter calls out her answers after she completes each problem and I check it with the teacher guide. If she gets it wrong – we rework it together.

      That’s our system 🙂
      Courtney

  60. Just curious as to what devotional you are using. I could not tell in the photograph. If someone asked already or it is listed then please excuse the extra question. Blessings and thank you for all that you do!

  61. Mine are teens which means they are capable of working independently, though we were having problems with motivation UNTIL I started writing out their entire schedule for the week on Sundays. They quickly figured out that if they worked hard on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday they could have Thursday off (we do co-op on Fridays)!

  62. Yay! I love hearing about other families that enjoy Classical Conversations and have been blessed by that community. When we joined 2 years ago, my husband lost his job after about 4 months and we were without any income for a year.
    Many of the moms in the group hardly knew me, but when I came tearful to meeting one day and shared what was going on, they brought food, money, toys, clothes, and lots and lots of love and prayers. They truly blessed us with their generosity. I had never been ministered to like that in my whole life, and it was so humbling yet precious to feel Jesus’ arms around me when they hugged me, and each time they brought something that we needed, I felt like Jesus was saying to us, “I hear you and I will care for you.”
    Thank you for sharing about homeschooling getting easier as they get older. My two are still very young. God bless you Courtney and thank you for all your encouragement!

  63. We use post-its as well! However, I put the books with the post-its in their work boxes. But, I’d like to encourage them to do more independent work in the morning. I may have missed this in your post, but when do your kids eat breakfast? Before or after their initial 45 min morning work?
    Sidenote – Women Living Well is such an encouraging read!!!

  64. My two kiddos would totally thrive with the morning post-it note idea! They love mornings and enjoy being given “tasks” to complete. What subjects do you have them do first thing with the post it notes?

  65. We too joined Classical Conversations this year. I wish I had started this program from the begining because I feel like my kids have learned SO much more this year than we ever have! Next year I will have a 5th grade boy, a 3rd grade boy, a kindergarten boy and a 3 year old girl. I must admit, I am scared to add another child to my list of little people to teach! Just as the bigger boys were starting to get a bit easier, I have two more littles jumping into the mix!
    I just discovered your blog and I love hearing about your homeschooling journey. I love this post-it idea and think i’ll try it tomorrow! We homeschool year around so I can’t exactly say our year is almost over like most families, so now would be just as good a time to start this as any. We’ll see how it goes!
    Thanks for sharing what works for you!

  66. How wonderful! Thanks for offering encouragement for the years ahead! We homeschool, and our children are 9, 7, and 5. None are reading independently yet (though our 7 year old is making great progress) due to their special needs, so we can’t use the Post-it note idea yet, but I’m pinning it for future reference when they’re more proficient readers! I was also considering joining our local Classical Conversations, but just wasn’t sure since we homeschool by calendar year vs. a traditional school year, but I might take a look again to see if there is a way we could work with it! Thanks!

  67. I may need to give this a try. Just as I was basking in the glory that comes with that independent 3rd and 4th grade bliss (we’ll start 4th and 5th this fall) I have one child starting Kindergarten in the fall. I’m trying not to be nervous, but just as I get to that independent stage, I’m starting all over again (I will also have a kindergartner starting NEXT year as well 2016). So the post it may work VERY well… I want to spend that early morning with the Kindergartner like I did with my first two.
    The other thing that has really worked well for us (outside of being HUGE routine people) is starting with Bible reading. We curl up on the couch or in my bed under the wonderfully warm IKEA comforter in the winter and we take turns (5-10 verses each person) reading the Bible. It starts our day off on a good note, it brings us all together early in the morning (we start at 8a). My non-readers listen, my older readers are reading aloud to me so I can teach them new words, concepts, punctuation, and some godly teaching as well (and really, when you just read, the Bible can even teach basic sex ed… I learned this quickly as I heard my kids reading things we’d never really talked about before! haha)
    I sure wish Classical Conversations wasn’t SO expensive… it’s been a desire of mine since I learned about it, but the funds are not there.
    Thanks for sharing!

  68. I’m curious as to what the spiral bound books that sort of look like comic drawings are? We’ve been homeschooling 9+ years… all great ideas and wonderful words of encouragement. Thank you! Even veteran mama’s need encouragement!

  69. my homeschoolers are going into 4th and kinder this year and your article was honest, encouraging and refreshing! Homeschooling is the hardest most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I find that the mornings are the easiest to get our schooling done. Often, school starts before breakfast is even on the table because, like you, I have it ready to go for them when they wake up. The motivation is there to get it done so they can go do more active things when their bodies and brains are all fired up. Messy hair and pjs to boot. Thanks for sharing! We use H.I.S. Through the school district so all our materials are provided at no cost.

  70. Thank you for the idea of this. I feel like even if I have just a couple things out for my daughter to get started on while I feed toddler brother it will help our day start off well. I too am curious about the sprial bound books in the pictures with the graphics and such on them. Thanks!

  71. I love your idea of post it notes!! We tried something similar last year and it worked well, but I may try your idea this year instead. It was so simple…I wrote out all their assignments for the the day on our white board and they could complete their work in any order they wish and just check it off when finished. But I like your idea of setting out specific subjects and setting the goal of being done by 9 am. Definitely gonna give this a shot! Thanks!

  72. Yes it is very exhausting when they need you by their side the entire time. But it is far less exhausting to do it with a little than have my 5th grader do it (which she does and draining doesn’t even begin to describe it) One day I hope to figure this out. If I even glance away from her during math she stops doing it or pretends she can’t. I even tried to see how far she would take it and sure enough she pretended she couldn’t do kindergarten math.. She is advanced academically but wants my full attention for everything and I’ve tried patience I’ve tried consequences I’ve tried giving options and changing things up I’ve tried problem solving with her and reasoning and trying to get her to talk about why she does it. I dream for the day I can give some worksheets or something and just have her do them without fight or playing the dumb card just because I’m not sitting there holding her hand through it all.

  73. Thank you so much for sharing about your schooling! Your posts are so encouraging. It is nice to see where someone else’s journey is taking them.
    I love the United states map you have pictured in your class area. May I ask where you found it? Thanks!

  74. I absolutely loved this post! We’ve homeschooled from the beginning and this year my son went to a charter school for 6th grade, and my 8yo 3rd grade daughter stayed home. However, God is leading me into an entirely different area and next year my time needs to be focused on that, so they’ll both go to public school. The year after I have confidence we’ll all be back home and refreshed for a new homeschooling adventure to start again. I am SO looking forward to the break! But, I’m pinning this because I’ll review my Homeschool board before the 2017/18 year and I’ll mark this as a favorite! You’re very real & transparent and I adore that. Thank you!

  75. Hi! I love the post it idea. I noticed you use Saxon, which is what I use too, but it looks like you have a DVDs with it. Does this allow the ” lesson ” to be gone over with a tutor? I have two ages using Saxon and it’s so time consuming having to sit down with each of them and go over the lesson and practice. This would free me up greatly if I could just pop in the DVDs like you do with teaching textbooks. Thanks!

  76. 12 kids and 24 years of homeschooling …I often cringe when a homeschooling mom offers expertise when she hasn’t schooled through all the years and witnessed the fruition of their labor and the consequences of mistakes made. I don’t want to be negative or minimize the great advice (post-its work great! Try index cards then keep a file box for each child – they became assignment cards on which I write grades and notes for completed work then they are ready for easy record keeping and credit-tracking) but until you’ve experienced high school, I wouldn’t determine what the hardest years are. That’s where the rubber hits the road and your commitment is tested. It is worth it, no matter hard it gets but potty-training a toddler is easier than teaching civics to a freshman…I think it’s because more is at stake….

  77. This is a late comment— but lunch and history & science with grandpa! Sounds so wonderful— what a treasure to give your children. No doubt some wonderful memories built and strong bonds formed!

  78. I noticed in one of your photos of the morning work there is a headset and something that appears to be audio math. Is that Saxon?

    Your family is blessed! Thank you for sharing your ideas and children’s achievement!

  79. In the picture of the table with only books; I’m wanting to know what those very colorful books are that almost look like comic books and where to find it? Thanks.

  80. Wao i’m super encouraged. I homeschool my 6 and 7 year old children. I’ll keep following guess I can learn a bunch from your expertise and experience

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