"More Info. for new Homeschooling Families"
I receive many email each week filled with questions about how to teach
specific subjects, my opinions on certain curriculum, how to have better
discipline in the home, organizational skills for homeschool supplies, and
so many more. Recently the Lord enlightened me that I should turn some
of the most frequently asked questions into webpages so that other
homeschoolers or even potential homeschoolers could perhaps glean some
information from there. So this is "Page 2" of this venture.
I hope you will find something helpful here!
If you have a question that is not answered here, please feel free to
email me and I will do my best to answer your question.
As with my other "How To" pages, this one is rather lengthy.
And as I always say....
"Homeschooling is a's hard to put a lifestyle into a "nutshell" !"
Thanks for your visit...      :o)dgw
Dear Ginger, 
It sounds like you are so "calm and collected" about your first year of Homeschooling. I am so proud of you! I was a total MESS and I spent a fortune on boring text books and supplies that the girls looked at for a week or so and then God finally gave me the smarts enough to put them on the shelf and let the girls LEARN! move joining HSLDA. It is SO worth the annual fee just for the peace of mind. I think their last statistic was that the number of homeschoolers more than doubles every year!! What does THAT say about our government education system?  
  Don't worry about Mary's math and Grammar/Language Arts. I would recommend first doing some FUN "assignments" know, the kind that the kids don't even recognize as "school work"! By doing this you will have a chance to observe a few things... #1- her style of learning (i.e.-audibly, hands-on, etc.) #2-you can get a feel for where she's at/what her needs are...or in other words..."a starting point" and what I think is most important #3-Mary AND You will have a chance to RELAX and to realize how much FUN it is to opposed to the burned-out boredom that comes from thick textbooks, uncomfortable desks, crowded classrooms and some school officials "cookie cutter" imagine that they think that ALL kids at such-and-such an age or level HAS to know at such-and-such a time. (Hope I'm making's hard to type in slang... hee hee). My ideas' for FUN activities would be.... cooking/baking for measurement/ well as reading recipes, following directions, gathering information/supplies, compiling info. (recipe collections!), etc, etc. Play "Store" with either real or play money (if your house is anything like mine you'll have much more of the latter...), counting and sorting blocks, crayons, Cheerio's, or whatever....showing her what addition, subtraction, multiplication, division actually LOOKS like..rather than just seeing numbers on a paper. And some fun Grammar/Language Arts ideas: play "Hang Man" (the old word game that we played as a kid...hope ya know what I mean...), have a "Spelling Bee", lots and lots of reading aloud together on the sofa, the front porch swing, at the park, etc. Create her own BOOKS! Either make one with paper and staples or buy the cheapo blank ones, start a COPY WORK collection...this is something all 3 of my girls STILL do and their in grades 7,8 and 12! What copywork is (in case you don't know) is that Mary would find a good quality piece of Literature, a famous quote or poem, etc. and she would sellect a favorite passage or paragraph and she would then COPY it word for word into her "COPYWORK NOTEBOOK", being sure to include the author and the date. My girls have enjoyed doing this because they now each have a wonderful collection of wonderful selections of their favorite authors and poets (Laura Ingalls Wilder, Emily Dickinsin, E.B. White, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, etc., etc.). In doing this copy work, not only do they develop an appreciation of good literature but they are able to observe and dictate CORRECT Grammar and word usage, vocabulary, spelling, etc.  
those are just a few ideas that we have used ourselves over the years.  
And then later on...once you all are more comfortable and relaxed...then you will probably want to atleast get a good Math Curriculum. That is the one subject that you almost HAVE to use a text. For me...math was always my toughest subject and I was really scared I'd not be able to sufficiently teach it to the girls. But then I found SAXON math. i love it! It is VERY easy to teach...each lesson explains the new skill step by step in an easy to understand format. And old skills are constantly reviewed. Abeka has a good Math text too but it has been my experience that it always seems to be advanced...for example if I need a 8th grade math book for Erin I would order Grade 7.  
The way that I have taught Grammar/Language Arts is that most years I would order an Abeka Spelling book for each of the girls. I love their spelling books! They actually include Spelling/Vocabulary/Poetry in the same book. And then I'd quiz the girls each Friday on their spelling words...the ones they missed would be added to next weeks list..until they learned the word. (I've never understood the sense in marking something wrong on a kids paper and never correcting them...showing them what they did wrong and then having them to learn it correctly! Doesn't make sense!!) Sorry...didn't mean to get off the subject there :o) As far as Grammar...I have found a few wonderful resources that I've used for each of the girls. One is called "Learning Grammar Through Writing". This book has the student learn grammar by using it... they write a creative writing essay, book report, science composition, etc. When I grade the written paper...I use this text ...each grammar rule has  a code...for example..."PLacing a question mark at the end of a question=A3" so if they wrote a question but left out the question mark I would just write "A3" next to it. Then I gave them back their paper...and they then had to look up the codes/rules for any mistakes. This helped them to learn the rules of Grammar. As the girls have gotten older I've found a book we really like called "EASY GRAMMAR" by Wanda C. Phillips. This is a text of reproducible worksheets (I save money by buying ONE book and then making copies of the worksheets). This book teaches grammar from a very different approach than starts with memorizing prepositions and then learning to identify the prepositional phrase, then the subject and the verb. Later the book teaches forms/tenses of verbs, types of nouns, etc. My girls have done very well with this book. (On each opposite page is a copy of the previous worksheet with the correct answers filled in)  
  You will find the texts or the methods that work for your girls. My advice is to remember that a big price does not always insure a good curriculum/text. One year I contacted our local "extension office" (the people that run the local 4-H programs) and I was able to get some small booklets for $1-$3 each on subjects like "electronics", "breadmaking", "Equestrian Science" and several others. Also...we rely a lot on our local library. I do not use texts or workbooks for science or history. The library is an endless source for these types of things. One really intersting way to learn history is by reading biographies of people in history.....or by doing a "Unit Study" on Laura Ingalls Wilder's books/her life (Once year we made homemade butter using a mason jar and some marbles, we made a bonnet like Laura wore, we followed the trail that her family travelled on a map, etc.). And going to the used book sales is a really SMART thing too! might find a h.s. support group in your area...or a church that supports homeschooling...sometimes these groups will have "Used Homeschooling Book Sales" and I have gotten some really good deals there as well as sold some things we didn';t need anymore.  
And Ginger...tell me what grades you're gonna be teaching...and I will look through our piles and piles and shelves and shelves of books and see if I've got anything left from those grades...if I do I'll be happy to box them up and send them on to you. I'd much rather do that than to have them sit here and collect dust and not be of use to someone. So let me know...okay?  

   Well, I fear I have once again written you another "novel" :o) As you might guess, I can be a bit "long-winded" sometimes. But it's always such a joy to share my heart with kindred matter how many miles may seperate us.  
    I will end this by saying how much I have enjoyed sharing my heart with you. Thank You for allowing me to do so. For me homeschooling my girls has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Our own homes are our "mission fields"!! What a blessing to be with my children each day! And what an even greater blessing it is to be able to encourage other mothers as they seek to do the same thing!!!  
   Forgive this loooong email and my ramblings once again. I will end this one before you go cross-eyed!! Email me anytime...and keep me posted on how things are going for you and your little ones.  
    Blessings across the miles!!  
Love, Laughter & Lollipops,  
Denice Whitaker  
 Living Beyond Adversity  
     <><   <><    <><  
"The Lord is my strength and song"  
                             Exodus 15:2  

Other Pages in Our New "How To" Homeschooling Series
"How Do I Homeschool?"
Page 1 in this series. Here I share my best tips for getting started on this journey
"How Do I Teach Reading?"
What I know about teaching phonics and the importance of reading in our home
"What Do I Do When They Want To Go Back?!" Every homeschool mom's worst fear...
How our family handled it when our daughter considered returning to public school.
"Getting Organized"
Tips for finding organization in the midst of chaos!
How to organize your home and life even when you're being buried under books, papers, folders and science experiments :o)
"Recordkeeping for HS Mom's"
My ideas for keeping yearly records and getting ready for end-of-year evaluations
More to Come!~
I highly recommend
"The Homeschool Gazette"
This is a wonderful newsletter that is
published and designed by homeschooling veteran Kathy Reynolds and her son Josiah.
This big, fun-packed newsletter is filled with games, stories, "Flabbergasting Facts", book reviews, and lots more and it's all written by HOMESCHOOLED STUDENTS from all over the country! AND there are always helpful and informative articles written BY and FOR homeschooling parents! 
Kathy and Josiah happily accept submissions prior to each issue from homeschoolers everywhere... via email or "snail mail".
For subscription information
Email The Gazette
send them a "snail mail":
"The Homeschool Gazette"
c/o Kathy & Josiah Reynolds
address: P.O. Box 178, Hollister MO 65672
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