Home Schooling

2 Tim 1:5  When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

 Where to start?
-The first thing you will need to do, is learn about the laws concerning home schooling in your state.
Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has a page that can direct you to your state's laws.
Remember as you read your state's laws, sometimes simple "wording" can make all the difference in the world! 

(HSLDA is an organization that will help you in the event of any legal trouble with homeschooling. They are not 100% necessary if you are on a tight budget, but they are a HUGE blessing if you need them.)

For example; In my state, if I claim/register as a "home school", I have to register with the local superintendent. But- if I claim/register as a "church related school", I do not have to register locally.
There's also all sorts of ways to claim/register as a "church related school", that can change my
qualifications as well as requirements.

Also, read up! Use the internet, your library, and other people to glean ideas about methods, curriculum, local opportunities, and umbrellas/church-related schools. Not everything is right for everyone. Reading several blogs and books will help you get a feel for which things will work best for your home school.

Here's a few of my favorites:





Also, books about "unschooling" and "dumbing down" would be good to read.

Register? Church Related Schools, Satellite and Umbrella Schools?
-This needs to be your second step. This link explains Umbrella Schools. These are what keep you legal.
They are your Superintendent, so to speak. In the case of "church related schools", they are the school and you are one of their teachers.( I am unsure if all states require one for all home schoolers.This is another important reason to check your laws and check with other home schoolers.) Umbrellas are often Christian Schools. They sometimes have a set curriculum. I've picked ones that didn't. They keep up with grades, they offer diplomas. (They keep records and send to colleges and talk with you about scholarships, etc.)  You will want to know what their guidelines and requirements are and study to see if this is your preference. Some may require testing every couple of years and some may be registered in such a way that you don't have to test unless YOU want to. Some may be accredited while others are 'recognized'. (This usually means the difference in curriculum requirements, particularly in high school. Ex: One may give you complete control and the say-so, while the other may demand 'textbooks'.)

Here is a list of Church Related/Umbrella Schools in my state, Tennessee. 

You may join one umbrella school and later decide to change, especially if you move. Many offer activities and testing so you may want to choose one local to you. However, you may like one's requirements better than another's, so you may choose an umbrella on the other side of your state. You don't have to be close to them normally (check requirements). I've known of parents to change schools in high school, due to requirements and graduation ceremonies. You simply enroll in the new school, and they will request paper work from the old school. If you are new and its your first time enrolling, they may require vaccination records depending on laws in your state.

Support Groups and Socialization:
Some feel more strongly about this than others. If you are able to involve your children in extra-curricular activities and feel they are important, this may be a good thing for you, especially if you are new to home schooling and want to learn more information. They often meet at local parks and allow the children to play while the parents share ideas and information.They also, along with your local umbrella, will organize field trips sometimes. As far as socialization goes; you could do what I did ;-)...have enough children for them to get all the socialization they need! But seriously, church is a good place for socializing and you may feel that regular attendance at these meetings isn't really necessary for you.
(There is a whole set of these, from Pre-K to 6th.)

Now- What to teach them with????
This one is a big puzzle for every home school parent. There are many ways to home educate your children and many many curriculum to choose from. There are some that are much like the public school system would use that are "textbooks". (Some umbrellas require this for high school credits, some do not. But elementary is usually very lenient and up to the parent.) Those can often be quite pricey, but you can find used books online for a fraction of the price oftentimes. If you have an opportunity, a great place to learn about home schooling is at curriculum fairs. You pay a small fee, you get to go in and look over tons of materials for sale/order. Some set-up booths with used materials, which I love! You also can listen to 'classes' on things like; "How To Home School" and "Making Phonics Easy" or "What Your High Schooler Needs". And the people- so willing to help and answer questions and you'll meet some of the brightest, friendliest, and well-mannered kids you've ever seen!

In the early years, things can be very frugal and very simple. Your first goals are reading/phonics and math. Which you can do with M&Ms, clothespins, blocks, etc. Phonics can be taught with a simple homemade flash card set.

There are also many curriculum and educational plans that are literature based. Real books and Living Books teach all subjects but math. For history, you read books about Washington, Lincoln, Ben Franklin, etc. (Older children read their auto & biographies.)For science you read about a cute little bear who lives in the forest and what he eats and how he sleeps. You might also read a poetry book about the different kinds of flowers.

There are books out there that teach about "learning styles" and how to determine how your child would learn best. Many home schoolers live by these.A little study on this came in handy for me when one of my children was overwhelmed by pencils and paper. Instead of writing the ABCs, I had a shoe box with sand that he could draw them out in with his finger.

There are also more frugal ways of home schooling. Use your library and the numerous resources on the internet. For example, some of my children loved Starfall when they were learning to read. I also used Math Fact Cafe and other places to make work sheets and flash cards. There are also printable writing lessons.

This is a great book if you don't live close to your library and need to use the internet:

If you've read much on my blog, you will see that we use Robinson Curriculum.We found it to be a very frugal choice for our 6 children. It has approx. 400 (mostly public domain) books on 21 CDs. You would need a laser printer, paper, folders or some type of covering for the 'books', pencils, notebooks, and math books to teach your children for several years. It is a K-12 curriculum and would be a one-time purchase of $195. The literature on the program is tops in my book. Many times my children have been drawn to a particular writer and we were able to get more free books from Gutenberg, by that writer. You might find that you would like to add more to this curriculum, especially in high school, but it is a great choice for multiple kids and a tight budget! You can read more on my take on this curriculum under my Robinson Curriculum tab and some under home school.

Another EXCELLENT free resource is Old-Fashioned Education. I've used her site for years. She has built links by grade, subject, and even gender on her site to all sorts of free or low cost materials. Her choices are great. Her approach would likewise require a printer and lasers are cheaper in the long run because you can refill cheaper and get more pages per refill. Also of great value is HomeschoolForFree. I especially like some of her links for Bible and have used them many times.

If you're looking for a Christian curriculum that's more like school, Abeka and Bob Jones are very good, but costly. But remember, check ebay and Amazon and Christian Book Distributors as well. (Links on my sidebar!) You may also like ACE, which are very popular in Christian Schools in my area.

Rod and Staff Books are some of my all-time favorite. They're tough, but their English, Grammar, and Phonics books are VERY thorough. All of my children read through the Bible readers as their very first books once they got far enough through phonics lessons. The Bible Readers are true to Scripture and very well written.

I've recently heard of a new program called K-12. It is supposed to be accessible in many states. It is also supposed to be free and completely contained online with real teachers overseeing the program. This may be an option for some for various reasons, but keep in mind, it is secular in nature and similar to public school materials.

I'm sure you will still have lots of questions and want to know about other curriculum. Here is another site that is loaded with information about curriculum, methods, and "all things home school''. I highly recommend her tabs on "approaches".

Remember, home schooling doesn't have to cost a fortune. In the early years, you can get by with almost nothing but your computer and printer, and possibly your library. High school will offer more challenges in collecting a good curriculum. But when they're little, so much can be learned through 'play'.

One of my goals for home schooling was to give my children a love for learning and books. I wanted them to grow up knowing, that they could learn anything that they set their mind to. The knowledge is available for the taking! William Butler Yeats said: "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."

But my highest goal for homeschooling, is below:

Deu 6:5-9 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

wishing you the best-

This is the Robinson Curriculum and has served our family very well. It can be used for years and is an extremely frugal way to home school on a very tight budget. We have loved it!  (Posting on it here and here (2nd link is mostly dealing with phonics). Also a post about cheap toner (refills) for printing here. With the RC, and free or frugally gained math books, we have been able to keep expenses  between $25 and $50 a year for all 6 of the children. (This is a tentative list for last year ,1st semester.)

This was an exciting addition that we were able to add this year. It has brought new life to our home school and it has given a sense of pride and confidence to my children as they've been able to learn many words quite rapidly. This curriculum is superior to most foreign language packages that I've seen. It is packed with grammar information that helps them with their writing and English skills. It is an excellent program! Lord willing, we hope to add the next levels in the future.    (My children are all doing this and they are ages 9 to 16.)

Apologia Science is tops in our book! We love that it is "Christian", has experiments, and helps give your children more answers for defending their faith.

We have grown to love Susan Wise Bauer after reading The Story of the World(Vol. 1) .(Two,  Three, and Four), which were a very generous gift from a friend.

and The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition)
We added this book to our collection for upper grades. It's a great book, but it does briefly discuss the 'sins' of Rome and its leaders.

When it comes to English, Rod and Staff take the cake in my opinion. Their materials are filled with Scriptural references, they're reasonably priced, and they are challenging and thorough. We received the one below as a gift this year.

We primarily use Saxon, starting with Saxon Math 5/4
But we've discovered a miracle worker for those who struggle with upper math and algebra!
It truly is like having a tutor. You use the book, do the math, and grade. The CDs cover every single problem in the book and will work it out while verbally explaining step by step, insuring that your child will be taught every formula. Totally recommend this product!

Before the children are ready for Saxon 54, we've used Modern Curriculum Press. I've gotten their workbooks in slightly used condition for as low as $5.

My daughter was blessed with a gift of these and the timing couldn't have been more perfect. She loves them!

Most of the boys have consumed one or both of the following sets through the summer and this first semester. We were able to find both of these at local used book stores.

For character training with Scriptures: