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You know you are an OFFICIAL homeschooler when.....

You know you are an OFFICIAL homeschooler when.....

Each child has a pile of unfinished projects they still want to finish because they found something else they wanted to do first. ~ Cynthia

You tell the kids to go read in their rooms while mom and the dogs go nap. ~ Bonnie

You're on a first name basis with the UPS man, the Postal Dude, and even the occasional FedEx person. ~ Pam

You find a way to turn a Disney trip into an educational excursion! LOL! Yep, I did that! Lots to learn while navigating an airport, reading maps of the park, riding "It's a Small World" and naming all the countries, walking through the country portion of Epcot......the educational fun never ends. ~ Lisa

You have a lovely group of like-minded ladies you call friends and it's difficult to think of anyone who doesn't homeschool. ( and so's kids might be in public school?) Your family room decor includes educational posters. ~ Marie

You think of every moment as a teachable opportunity. ~ Yuki

No one wants to help you move because 90% of the boxes are books!! ~ Dolores

When getting ready to go to bed, you realize that you're switching one pair of PJ's for another. ~ Kellie

When you drive by the school and think about how much it looks like a prison block. ~ Sandy

When mom's day out to shop is in search of books and not shoes. ~ Marilyn

The first time you go out during school hours with the kids and you don't even think twice about what people will think!!! ~ Pamela

Your students do not know the answer to the question, "What grade are you in?" ~ Kim

Your son asks if reading up on a specific Tesla experiment is sufficient for free reading hour.... ~ Janey

You no longer even consider putting them in public school! Bobbi

Buying 'school' clothes is all about comfort so they can concentrate, or are useful for doing chores - or both! ~ Susan

You can answer this question with confidence and anxiety, at the same time. ~ Mike

When I say, "WE are in the 9th grade..." ~ Ellen

When areas in your house have designated names like, "The Science Center", "The Library", "The Classroom", " The Computer Center", "The Craft Area", "The Music Center", and "The Hobby Shop"! ~ Ron

You max out the limit on library books, DVD's, etc. ~ Carol

You spend your summer planning the upcoming school year... ~ Samantha

On your Facebook page, it's not about friends anymore, it's about info on homeschooling ~ Donna

It's the first day of public school, yet all your kids are piled in the van on the way to a homeschool support group meeting, singing along to "Grammar Songs" at the top of their lungs. (True Story) ~ Lisa

You forget what grade you are in. ~ Evelyn

The smell of new curriculum totally makes you! ~ Julie

It's more important to get started than to get dressed. ~ Wanda

Your child is not sure what grade they are in, so they say, "I'm in all the grades." ~ Tammy

The homeschool convention is your idea of Vacation! They are pretty fun... ~ Olivia

You are not sure when your kids' school start day is, and it is almost August. ~ Rose

The day the new books arrive, and the day each child gets their 'own' pens, notebooks etc seems like a small party. ~ Susan

When "box day" is better than Christmas! ~ Laura

You realize how much they really are learning on field trips and start planning more. ~ Zoey

Your 15 yr. old daughter says, "Daddy, guess what? Mommy and I are going to shop for school clothes tomorrow!" And your husband says, "What are you going to do, buy a pair of pajamas?" LOL True story! ~ Jean

When you purposely take your child to your dentist appointment as an educational thing. ~ Dyann

You realize you haven't had a vacation since you started homeschooling. All your travel has been "educational field trips." ~ Lynn

Your educator relative starts expressing concerns about your child's socialization and chances at college to other family members! ~ Sandee

When your child starts correcting your spelling. ~ Julie

Every vacation is a field trip! ~ Michelle

When the sound of the school bus driving by you house is the alarm clock! ~ Betty

You do not know what grades your children are in. ~ Sharon

When your children have a traditional school friend come over to 'play,' and that friend just kind of stands there staring, not knowing what to do, or how to 'play'... ~ Wendy

You never noticed that your grown-up friends left years ago; mommy and daddy like teaching and Legos too! And books, and poetry, and art, and karate, and old black and white films....oh, did I mention the children's friends left us a long time ago too...we want them back to homeschool them also!~ Julie

When your kids friends come to see if your kids can play outside after they get home from school and your kids answer the door still in their PJ's. ~ Crystal

When your child looks at you and asks what grade he is in! ~ Evelyn

Our unofficial nonscientific homeschool poll demonstrates 
the NUMBER ONE REASON  you know you are an official homeschooler..... 

Confusion about grade level! 

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Playing Christmas School

Playing Christmas School
When our kids were in high school, we cut WAY back on homeschool work during December, because there’s so much more going on during this time.

We did school for about 3-4 hours a day. Like public schools do during half-days, we crammed the core subjects into the morning, and took the rest of the day off.  We covered math, foreign language, science (sometimes), journal writing, and reading. Our boys loved reading, so nothing I could do would make them stop reading their beloved books.

After finishing their schoolwork, they helped with holiday things.  They wrote Christmas cards, composed a Christmas letter, shopped, budgeted and bought gifts, helped decorate, baked, and delivered gifts.  Most of the time, though, they just  “did their own thing.”  I kept them away from computer games and the TV, so they entertained themselves in ways that didn’t make them brain dead.  I found out later that “doing your own thing” meant you were actually learning something too!  They were reading, playing educational games, and working on real projects.  It was all learning; it just wasn’t all school learning.

Some of the great Christmas literature that we focused on during this time included “Norman Rockwell’s Christmas,” one of my favorites. Girls might particularly enjoy "Little Women" or Louisa May Alcott's "Christmas Treasury" of Christmas theme literature.  “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry is also a great Christmas book. Although many people read it as a tradition during Christmas, it’s also one of the great works of literature that high school students should read, so make sure to put it on your high school reading list.

Learn how to translate all those great homeschool high school classes into the words and numbers that colleges will understand.  Get the Total Transcript Solution!
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Homeschool Credit for Special Courses

Homeschool Credit for Special Courses
If you’re struggling to evaluate your student’s courses, and how to assign credit, you’re not alone!  A lot of parents have a particularly hard time figuring out how to evaluate special courses, such as the culinary or fine arts.  One approach is to think of all the different skills that your child demonstrates. In culinary arts, sometimes people come up with things like shopping, meal planning, and menu creation. Other times people will list general skill areas like baking or frying. It just depends on what you want to evaluate.

Another way is to think about what your child did today that you would call ‘school’. For example, if she went to the grocery store to do shopping, she learned school because she learned the value of the dollar. You would then know that shopping for resources is one of the ways that you can evaluate your student.

The fine arts present challenges sometimes too.  A parent once asked me, “Would piano practice be considered a music credit? My son plays two hours a day but he gets just one credit, right?”  It’s true. When a child practices piano for two hours a day, it usually indicates that they’re at a fairly advanced level, but they still are earning one credit of piano.  Of course, if you have different musical experiences, like your child plays the piano and sings in a choir, then you could have two credits of music: one would be piano and one would be choir.

What special courses have your students completed?

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New Homeschooler Jitters

New Homeschooler Jitters
The first year of homeschooling is such an adventure!  It's hard to balance school stuff that matters (like reading, writing, and math) against the school stuff that simply isn't necessary when you are homeschooling (desks, tests, and watching the clock.)

Even if you know you are supposed to be homeschooling, it can still be pretty intimidating.  If you need a boost of encouragement, watch my video on "How do you know you can homeschool high school?"

First of all, feeling insecure and afraid is how moms have been feeling through all the ages, particularly when starting a new stage - ANY new stage.  I'm guessing that is how you felt when you brought home your newborn, right?  However, there are some curriculum choices that can make you feel MORE inadequate and scared than necessary.  Curriculum that is originally intended for a school setting will assume that the teacher knows the material.  Curriculum originally intended for a homeschool will assume that the parent knows nothing about the subject.  You are more likely to feel inadequate when you use curriculum intended for a school setting.  Here is my article about other ideas for choosing curriculum:
10 No-Fail Strategies for Choosing High School Curriculum.

When you are in a school, everything is separated by age groups.  When you are homeschooling, you can recognized that grade levels don't matter, it's the LEARNING that matters.  You may be able to group the kids together in many or most of their subjects.  As long as they are learning, then that's the thing that matters.  You can use a curriculum that is intended for multiple ages, like Sonlight or Tapestry of Grace, etc.  Or you can just use a regular curriculum each one of them has not yet been exposed to.  So for example, they may all do chemistry this year together.  I did all of our schoolwork together, except for math, all the way through high school, even though my children are over two years apart.

What curriculum you decide on doesn't really matter, because it's more about the fit between your curriculum and your children.  You just want to choose a curriculum that is a good fit for you.  On the other hand, if it is NOT a good fit for you, then it's best to make a curriculum change.  That's the benefit of homeschooling - you can change when things aren't working.

There are a million ways to save money when homeschooling.  On the other hand, I think a first year homeschoolers would do best by investing in their ability to succeed.  That's why I often suggest Sonlight for beginners.  It's a little bit more expensive, but it can really help your first, most critical year, be successful.

I have a lot of homeschooling beginners on my Gold Care Club.  They call me every week and talk for 20 minutes as part of their membership, and it can really help to get rid of those nagging worries, and feel confident.  Here is more information if you are interested.

Learn how to save money homeschooling with my free Special Report: “7 Secrets to Homeschooling Through a Financial Storm.”
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Should I Pull My Student Out of Private School?

Should I Pull My Student Out of Private School?
A mom poured out her heart to me about pulling her child out of private school.  She homeschooled her son until high school, but then put him into private school.  There were some issues, and a change was needed, so her son wanted to attend public school. She was considering homeschooling again, but was very concerned.  Even though her son wasn't rebellious, he had no desire to homeschool.   She wanted solutions.   Here is my reply to her.

I'm not sure there are easy solutions.  When a teen has not been homeschooling for a while, and doesn't WANT to homeschool, then often it becomes extremely difficult.  It's possible to homeschool against their wishes, and there is a greater chance of success because you say he is not rebellious in any way.  Often, when kids begin to homeschool again, their socialization skills improve, and they quickly adapt and like homeschooling again.  Still, I think the greatest chance of success is when the child WANTS to homeschool.

If you are having troubles already, and he has only attended a private school so far, then it seems like a public school situation might make the situation even worse.  I have seen teens that act out more and more, rather than less and less, when put into public schools (and private schools too, but you have already seen that.)  My advice, then, is to remember that changing into public school could in fact make the situation deteriorate.

If you decide to homeschool, have your child choose the curriculum.  My favorite is Sonlight Curriculum, but I know it doesn't fit everyone.  Here is a link to Sonlight.   Have him choose his own math, using the strategies in this blog post.

If you decide to homeschool, demonstrate that he can study subjects he likes, in a way that he wants to learn.  Explain that he will have MORE time to spend with his friends, because homeschooling is a more efficient way to get academics out of the way.  Explain that he can get a real job while homeschooling, earn real money, while still getting his academics done.

If you decide to homeschool, then get some support.  I do have the Gold Care Club, which comes with a once a week 20 minute phone call for support.  Here is the link to the Gold Care Club.  Just make sure you feel confident.  I do have a YouTube video on how you know you can homeschool high school here.

When returning from public school, often the experts will recommend "de-schooling" for a while.  That means taking some time off from heavy academics, in order to get used to the idea of homeschooling with delight directed learning.    Here are links to articles about de-schooling.  Don't look at the ads for online schools - those would be the worst thing in this situation, in my opinion, and make him wish for public school even more.

It's very normal for a child of 17 to not have any idea what they want to do in life.  Homeschooling can provide a wide array of opportunities, so kids can try out a variety of different things within the context of "school" that goes onto the homeschool transcript. But still, it's just a normal situation - only in VERY rare situations do teenagers know what they want to do.

I have two boys - no girls.  17yo boys are HARD.  My husband taught a class on YouTube about Raising Boys vs. Raising Men, and it might help.  I know what 17yo boys are like, and it's not easy!

I'm here to help if you decide to homeschool.

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How Do You Know You Can Homeschool High School?

How Do You Know You Can Homeschool High School?
Here is a nice little "pick-me-up" video on how you can be sure you can homeschool high school.


We are so excited about our newsletter, which (as always) comes out on the 1st of the month.  It will be waiting for you when you wake up on Monday morning!  You can sign up here.
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Christmas School!

Christmas School!
When our kids were in high school, we cut WAY back during December.  We just did the very CORE subjects, doing just the things that needed to be done in order to make progress during the year.  That means we worked on math and foreign language every day, mostly. They loved reading, so nothing I could do would make them stop reading their beloved books.  It was fun for them.

The entire month of December we did school for perhaps 3-4 hours a day. Like a public schools half-day, we crammed in all the core subjects into the morning, and took the rest of the day off.  Math, foreign language, some science perhaps, so we wouldn't lose our place in the book, journal writing, and their reading.  After that, they helped with holiday things.  They wrote Christmas cards, composed a Christmas letter, went shopping, budgeted and bought gifts, helped with decorating, baking, and delivering gifts.

Most of the time, though, they just  "did their own thing."  I kept them away from computer games and the TV, so they entertained themselves in ways that didn't make them brain dead.  I found out later that "doing your own thing" meant you were actually learning something too!  They were reading, playing educational games, working on real projects.  It was all learning, it just wasn't all book learning.

Think of December as a good time for them to work on their  electives.  Service projects or Occupational Education (even get a seasonal job, perhaps.)  Or you could do what I did, and just let them do something that didn't include TV and video games.

Christmas was a huge stress to me as well. Perhaps because I had boys, but it seemed like EVERYTHING was my job - it was very overwhelming.  Taking it a bit easy can save your sanity.  Nothing good will happen if mom goes insane, you know!

A lot of people are getting REAL excited about the launch of our new e-book, "The Easy Truth About Homeschool Transcripts."  We will be sending out additional emails to give more details on the book and the very special offers for our first purchasers!  Lots to do between now and our December 12 launch!
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If at first you don't succeed; test, test again!

If at first you don't succeed; test, test again!
Eva asks:  In the situation of a poorly completed test where it is clear either the student misunderstood the instructions or was truly ill, is it acceptable to ask for a "re-do" and record the score only on the second attempt? (9th grade spelling)

I absolutely encourage you to allow your daughter to retake tests.  The goal in homeschooling is completely different than the goal in other schools.  In a classroom setting, tests and quizzes are their only way to really assess kids.  In contrast, our goal is LEARNING.  Retaking a test or quiz can really help students learn. That's why I believe it's OK to provide solution manuals and teacher manuals during the learning process.  My own son learned upper level math without my help by using the solution manual on a daily basis.  I only took it away when he was ready for a test.  I know the strategy worked, because he has a great grade point average in electrical engineering.

Homeschooling high school is easier if you know how to avoid The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make When Homeschooling High School.“  Grab your free mini-course here.
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