Ellen@HomeschoolingHighway

Active Shooter Situation: Teach Your Kids What to Do

Teach your kids what to do in an active shooter situation

My daughter and I were doing our grocery shopping the other day at Wal-Mart, when this thought popped into my head.

“What would my daughter and I do if an active shooter situation occurred while we were in this store?”

I hesitantly asked her the question. I didn’t want to scare her, but I informed her of the latest mass shootings, one being in a Wal-Mart. 

She looked at me with innocent eyes, and said, “I don’t know”. 

 

With both of us being in the store, I said what I felt would have been the correct thing to do. 

I told my daughter, “You get down, you hide. Let’s stand here and look around for possible places to hide.”

After she and I discussed some possibilities, we finished our errands and headed home.

Teach your kids what to do in an active shooter event

After we got home, I decided I needed to look into this further and see if the advice I gave my daughter was true.  And guess what, I was wrong.

 

According to https://www.ready.gov/active-shooter, the very first thing we should always do is:

Be Prepared by Assessing Your Environment

  1. Know where the emergency exits and employee exits are located.
  2. Know where to hide safely
  3. Know the normal environment, so you can identify things or people that are out of the ordinary.

Be Prepared by Brainstorming Your Plan of Action

Teach your kids what to do in an active shooter situation

When you’re ready to practice with your child, STOP.

  1. Look around.
  2. Can you get to the exit safely from where you are?
  3. If not, where can you hide either temporarily or for a long period of time.

Be Prepared if You Can't Run

  1. Do not hide in groups (larger groups are easier to find)
  2. Silence your phone
  3. Stay still and quiet
  4. Stay out of view of the shooter
  5. Only come out when police officers say the area is all clear

Be Prepared for After the Situation

  1. When coming out of hiding, keep your hands visible so the police can see them.
  2. There may be wounded and upset people around
  3. Get help for dealing with a traumatic situation

Be Prepared Now for a Worse Case Scenario

Even though this is difficult to think about, what will happen to you when you die?

There is only one of two places that you will go. Heaven or Hell.

Both of these places are very real. 

The Bible describes hell as being a fiery place of constant torment, where you burn but don’t burn up. You will also cry and gnash or grind your teeth together in agony.  You will be totally separated from God.

 

Spending eternity with God, on the other hand, is a completely different place. A wonderful place where there is no crying, pain, or sadness. A place filled with beautiful colors and mansions of gold. 

How to Spend Eternity with Jesus

  1.  Know that there cannot be any sin in heaven.
  2. Since we are sinners, we cannot get into heaven on our own.
  3. Jesus Christ was perfect, sent by God, to be the only way that we can get to heaven.
  4. Jesus died on the cross, taking our sin on himself, shedding His perfect blood, covering the sins in our lives.
  5. We must have faith and believe that Jesus did this for us, and that He was buried and rose again three days later. He now is in heaven with God.
  6.  Have faith that Jesus will be coming again to take those of us that have believed in Him, to heaven, to live eternally. 

Conclusion

Talking about scary situations is not easy, but it is important.  Being prepared could save your life. 

Please share this information with others. It could save their lives too.

Teach your kids what to do in an active shooter situation

This video, created by the government, is for adults who find themselves in this type of situation.  

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Homeschool Tips to Keep Your Child Focused

Help your child stay focused with these homeschooling tips

The morning has been going great. You’re right on schedule. The kids are all quiet, seated nicely, doing their schoolwork…..except for that One. 

What are you going to do with him? 

He’s just not able to keep his mind on his work. If only he’d quit looking around , he’d be able to get something done.

Does this sound familiar? It does to me. I’ve had to deal with these types of problems with all of my kids, and here are some tips to help your child concentrate and stay focused to the task at hand. 

If you’d like to have a printable sheet with these tips already typed up, just click here for your free printable

 

  1. If your child tends to procrastinate on project and paper due dates, try setting a kitchen or cell phone timer. In this way, your child will know that as soon as the timer goes off, he/she can move on to something else.
  1. If your children are easily distracted by noise and people, try having them use earplugs when they do their work. Also, remove or turn off the tv, radio, computer, notifications, phone, etc. Avoid windows and people if they must see what others are doing.
  1. If your children can’t concentrate because it’s just too quiet, then try some background white noise, turn on a fan, have instrumental music playing softly in the background. Also, there are plenty of YouTube videos that have hours of library noises, coffee shop noises, etc., that help with having mundane sounds in the background
Help your child stay focused with these homeschooling tips

4. If your child is tired of sitting in one spot to study in, try moving to a different location in the house, or go to a public place altogether, like the library. Sometimes just being out of the house can give renewed energy and focus to the task at hand. It could be something as easy as just going out to sit in the car to do your work.

Help your child stay focused with these homeschooling tips
  1. If your child can’t complete tasks, try a check off list. Sometimes, just the satisfaction of getting to check something off a list is enough incentive for a child to get something done. Also, a school schedule of what subjects to be working on at what time, can help to focus a child so there are not any extra decisions to be made that will slow him/her up.
  1. If your child gets bored with the same old thing all the time, try using different colors of paper, pens, and highlighters to keep focused and add interest. Who doesn’t love a colorful organized paper to look at? Also, train your child that he/she will do better if they break up a big task into smaller chunks and let them take a five-minute break to get up and stretch.

Longer assignments can be broken up into different times of the day. For instance, do all the odd problems in the morning, and the even ones after lunch. Or, divide it by the front and back of a worksheet.

When trying to focus and learn textbook information, do a little reading, then summarize out loud. Have your child write out their own quiz questions on index cards, for added interest. To make a game of it, challenge your child to see how many questions and index cards he can come up with. 

If you would like these tips already typed up for you, just click here for your free printable

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Popsicle Stick Activity: Help your Child Learn the Books of the Bible

Use popsicle sticks to learn the Books of the Bible with this fun learning activity.

One of the first things in getting your child used to his/her Bible, is getting them used to reading the Bible names and finding where they are located.

A fun way to learn is the best way to go, and with this activity you can let your child practice independently. 

Print off the books of the Bible labels onto cardstock (for durability), hot glue them onto popsicle sticks, write the correct number on the back of the stick, and then give your child a few from the beginning to get started.

Use popsicle sticks to learn the Books of the Bible with this fun learning activity.
Use popsicle sticks to learn the Books of the Bible with this fun learning activity.

With practice, you’ll see improvement with his/her reading, and in memorizing the books of the Bible. 

For a game idea, print off two sets of labels and create two sets of sticks, then see who can put the names in order, in the fastest time.  Don’t forget to check the numbers on the back, to see if they are all in the right order!

You can get your free printable labels here, and then let me know how your kids do.

I’m anxious to hear from you. 

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Living Books: Underground Railroad and Freedom from Slavery

I read slowly and carefully while my children hung to my every word.

The running, hiding, and terror, in the story,  edged my kids on to root for the poor colored family that was trying to find the way to freedom and happiness. 

All too soon, in the middle of an exciting moment, I had to place the bookmark in our chapter and shut the book, announcing that this is where we needed to stop for now.

Their cries of “No, No! Keep reading! Please?!” Made my husband and I smile. Not only was this quality family time together, but we were all learning about the underground railroad.

Living Book list about the underground railroad and getting freedom from slavery

Living books in your homeschool is a great and memorable way to teach your child about all sorts of topics. If you’re unsure what a living book is and how to use them in your homeschool this article will help you out. How to use Living Books Effectively in Your Homeschool. 

The following books are ones that I’ve picked up at yard sales or book sales, and they are really good. Our family has really enjoyed them, and if you can borrow them from the library or purchase them on the internet, your kids can enjoy them too. 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

Amos Fortune; Free Man

Written by Elizabeth Yates

This story is based on a true story, about a fifteen year old boy in a tribal village in Africa. He is prince of this African tribe, but is taken captive by slave traders from America. He watches his parents die, and is torn apart from his disabled little sister.

In America, he is given the name of Amos, and is sold as a slave. This book tells the story of how Amos worked hard, obeyed his masters, saved his money, and thought about others.

Amos’ life mission was to work hard and long enough to buy his own freedom and then to buy the freedom of others, particularly of disabled young ladies.

Amos’ problems never stopped as he dealt with racial prejudice, and the injustices that people caused him. But, Amos rises above it all, and teaches the reader that love toward others is the most important, and that is how to have true freedom.

This is an excellent book.

Your child will be introduced to tribal customs and life in an African village, and as Amos learns the trade of tanning, your child will be learning about that as well.

There are no pictures in this book, but Elizabeth Yates does a good job of making the story come alive with her vivid details.

Living Book descriptions about the underground railroad and freedom from slavery

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” – Frederick Douglas

Stealing South: A Story of the Underground Railroad

Written by Katherine Ayres

Sixteen year old Will is ready to leave home and make his own way in the world.

Following in his family’s footsteps, of helping runaway slaves, Will promises to help a separated slave find his other family members and get them north to the free states.
Will’s eyes are open to the horrible reality of slave breeding, but through this topic, Will is able to assist a whole wagon load of slaves escape the south.

A picture of book covers from stories about the underground railroad and freedom from slavery

This is a good book that will keep you reading.

The topic of slave breeding  took me by surprise because I had never thought about that aspect of slavery and of farmers making a profit, literally by selling their good “slave-stock” for higher dollar amounts.

Katherine Ayres does a good job of making the story come alive, but I wish that she would have watched Will’s vocabulary more, as he says “durn it” quite a bit.

Will’s experiences keep the reader reading, as the poor child  has plenty of trials to go through, as he becomes a peddler in the south.

He faces his own medical emergencies, getting lost, being chased by mean men, being chased by dogs, and swimming for his life against raging river currents.

“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.”
 – Robert Louis Stevenson

From Slave to Soldier: Based on a True Civil War Story

Written by Deborah Hopkinson
This book is a Ready to Read, Level Three book: Rich vocabulary, more-challenging stories, and longer chapters.

This wonderful reader includes a colorful map at the beginning showing your learner the free states and the slave states. There is plenty of colorful illustrations that help your elementary-age child figure out the words of the story.

Little Johnny works hard every day at his chores, to please his master.

He takes care of the cows and helps make butter. Unfortunately, Johnny receives no thanks for his long days of work, and even at times gets punished when something doesn’t go right.

When Johnny comes across some union soldiers out in a field, Johnny has to make up his mind if he wants to go back to his master, or join the army and be free. Johnny chooses the army, and soon finds himself working hard with the mule teams.

Living book summaries that have been written about the underground railroad and freedom from slavery

Johnny has to prove himself to the others, that he can drive the mules, as a flash flood is washing out a bridge that he is crossing.

In the end, Johnny really does become a free army man, and the captain gives him his own uniform.

This story is based on the real life of John McCline.

It is a good book for a little person, with just enough suspense to make it great, but not too scary.

“The person who deserves most pity is a lonesome one on a rainy day who doesn’t know how to read.” – Benjamin Franklin

The Drinking Gourd: The Story of the Underground Railroad

Written by: F.N. Monjo
An I Can Read book, Level 3, for grades 2-4

Little Tommy is sure to get into trouble because he just can’t sit still during the church service.

When he disrupts the entire congregation and the service, his dad sends him home.
Once home, Tommy discovers there are runaway slaves hiding out in his dad’s barn.

Tommy is given a big job to hide and then drive the hiding slaves to the next station on the railroad.

Picture of the book cover for The Drinking Gourd

How does Tommy know that squirming and getting in trouble at church is the exact thing he needed to get out from under the sheriff’s watchful eye?

This book is filled with great pictures and large text. It is perfect for the beginning reader.

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney

Riverboat Adventure Series (Also known as The Freedom Seekers)

This extraordinary series of six books will have you on the edge of your seat as soon as you start page one.

You won’t want to miss any book in this set.

The titles are:
1. Escape into the Night
2. Race for Freedom
3. Midnight Rescue
4. The Swindler’s Treasure
5. Mysterious Signal
6. The Fiddler’s Secret
This series was written by Louis Walfrid Johnson
For ages 8-13

After the death of her mother, thirteen year-old Libby Norstad gets to travel full-time with her dad on his boat, The Christina.

Mr. Norstad, uses his boat to hide and transport runaway slaves up north. Caleb, Mr. Norstad’s fourteen year-old cabin boy, is a helping hand to the hiding slaves, and soon Libby realizes that something on the ship isn’t what it seems.

When Libby learns the harsh reality of slavery, and the ability to help slaves, Libby pleads with her dad and Caleb to help out on the underground railroad.

Unfortunately, Libby’s mouth and actions get ahead of her thinking and she says and does things that jeopardize the safety of her “cargo”.

Many different people ride on The Christina, and Libby and Caleb often find themselves in dangerous situations with slave catchers on board.

Pictures of book covers from stories about the underground railroad and freedom from slavery

Within all of the books, Libby and Caleb attempt to rescue Jordan and his entire family and get them north. They must not be spotted and caught by the awful dangerous Riggs, Jordan’s slave catcher.

With disguises, detours, and disasters, they barely miss being captured.

All the while, Mr. Norstad runs a tight ship, hiding fugitives, battling storms, dealing with sabatoge, and almost losing The Christina with financial troubles.

Libby learns to deal with anger, jealousy, and fear by trusting in God. Louis Walfrid Johnson does an excellent job within the stories, weaving in biblical principals and the gospel message.

There are a few pencil drawn pictures throughout each book that are very well done, and add just enough visual help to keep the characters real in our minds.

Each book comes with a layout of The Christina, which is really interesting to look at.

While reading, your child will be exposed to plenty of boat terminology and seaman terms.

Also, many river names and states are mentioned as the Norstads and Caleb travel.

Some books have really good maps in the beginning so you can follow along as The Christina travels north.

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Bible Trivia: Start Your Homeschool Day the Fun Way

Free printable Bible trivia calendar for homeschool students

What is the name of the Sea that Moses crossed with the Israelites, when they left Egypt? The correct answer is… the Red Sea.


What weapon did Jael use to kill Sisera, the captain of the Canaanite army, during the time of the judges? A tent peg


What was the present that Jacob gave to his favorite son, Joseph? A coat of many colors

Free printable Bible trivia school calendar for homeschoolers

Bible facts. Sometimes it’s really hard to remember everything.

I know that whenever I reread a Bible story, from the Bible, I always learn something new and interesting that I have never seen before.


The same thing goes for your children. How can we as parents, get them to recall Bible facts about present and past Bible stories that they have or are studying?



The answer comes in the form of a fun, non-threatening Bible trivia calendar.

This free calendar is colorful and easy to use. Each school day has one question on it, with the correct KJV answer given on the back side.

If you need to look up an answer, to reread a story, or discover a new story you have never heard of before, the Scripture reference is right there along side the correct answer.

Different forms of questions are used including fill-in-the-blanks, and multiple choice.

If you or your child don’t know the answer, it’s ok. Use this free printable calendar to encourage learning and fun.

Mark the question and come back to it in a few days. See if your child remembers it then.

Free printable homeschool school calendar of Bible trivia

             Make it fun. Start your day the right way, with Bible trivia!

                                     Download your personal copy today.

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How to Create a Mission-Minded Homeschool

make your homeschool mission-minded

STORY:  My husband, daughters, and I stood at the airport and watched my son get in line to board his plane to Ecuador for his medical missions trip.

He was excited to be going with the team, and he was anxious to be helping any way that he could so that the patients there could hear the Gospel message.

Not every child will have such an opportunity to go on a missions trip, but can we as parents help our kids be mindful of lost souls, and be aware of the men and women around them that are witnessing to folks locally and around the world?
I believe we can.

How Can We Keep Our Minds on Missions in our Homeschool?

Buy Christian Curriculum That Emphasizes Missions

My Father’s World, a Protestant based curriculum, does this very well.

When my kids and I did their geography for a year, I was blown away by the wonderful books that brought to life children in different lands, and missionary stories that were both happy and sad.

We really enjoyed that year of social studies and it was a real eye opener for all of us.

Read Books About Missionaries

Family story-time is a good time to share a missionary story.

Youth With A Mission (YWAM) has excellent missionary stories that my kids have enjoyed over and over.

YWAM has missionary stories for two age groups. The ones for the elementary years are written in rhyming poetry, and have good pictures.

The set for middle school age to adult is in novel form. YWAM fills all of my personal criteria for a living book.

Do you know how to use living books in your homeschool? If not, here’s where there is help for you.

Make your homeschool mission-minded

Watch Videos About Missionaries

The Torchlighters DVD series are animated stories highlighting missionary lives.

They are done in a cartoon form, perfect for little people to get used to hearing missionary names like Corrie Ten Boom, Adoniram Judson, and George Mueller.

Christian Book Distributors has the Torchlighter videos, plus movies aimed for the older child and adults, such as C.T. Studd, and Steve Saint.

“You have one business on earth – to save souls.” – John Wesley

Get to Know A Current Missionary

This has been the BEST way to keep missions on our minds. Getting to know a missionary that is currently on furlough or on the field opens up a whole host of opportunities and ideas.

When your church has their missionary conference or a missionary visiting for a Sunday or service, be sure to attend. In this way, you can:

make your homeschool mission-minded

*Watch/listen to their report
*Get introduced to the part of the world that they are called to
*Introduce yourself to the missionary
*Sign up for their prayer letter
*Take their current prayer letter home with you
*Take their prayer card home with you
*Ask them to sign your Bible with their favorite verse
*Get to know their children, especially if they are your own kids’ ages
*Ask them if they would like to connect with you on social media
*Asking questions is a great way to break the ice and be memorable in the missionary’s mind
*Offer to take the missionary out for a meal, or have them to your home
*Provide lodging while the missionary is in town

Provide Support and Encouragement to Your Missionary

There are multiple ways to support a missionary:

A. Write their prayer requests in your prayer journal and pray for them daily.

B. Raise/collect money to support a project/need that the missionary has.

(You will need to obtain the missionary’s Mission Board address off of their prayer card or website to send the money to.
You should write on the check the project or the need so the mission board knows how and where to send your money.)

STORY: One missionary our church supported, had a need for a van to transport his family and community children to special church events and church services.
Thankfully, God provided the funds for our church to buy a van for them. My husband and I volunteered to drive the van to them, a few states away. We had a wonderful time delivering the van and staying two days.
Our kids became friends with their kids, and had a good time together.
This missionary was part of an aviation ministry. He offered us a plane ride, but unfortunately, because of time, we couldn’t take him up on the offer.
(I’ve never been on a plane before, so it worked out! (RELIEF!)
No, I’m sure the kids would have really enjoyed it, if we would have had time.

C. Acknowledge their birthday and anniversary

D. Send holiday cards or letters

E. Respond to their prayer letter and ask for updates on previous requests

F. Send a “praying for you” e-mail occasionally

G. Make a visit to their home, if possible

STORY: We had the privilege to visit a missionary family that was serving on an Indian reservation in the Dakotas. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and left on Monday morning. We had a great time with this family. The Saturday we were there, we were blessed to be able to pick potatoes, help with wood cutting, and can green beans. On Sunday, we attended their church. I was given the opportunity to teach the children’s class, and it was wonderful to meet the Indian children and their parents.
We were able to get so many pictures, and we have so many happy memories. It was really a great time.

H. Attend a special event or service that they host

STORY: My family also had the privilege to visit a drug rehabilitation facility that was located on a farm on the East coast. This special service was for the participants who had graduated from the rehab program. We were able to tour their facility, encourage them with our presence, and meet some of the guests that had completed the program. The missionary had a free meal for everyone, a time of testimonies, an award ceremony, and then all of the children in attendance got to have pony rides. Once again, we were able to get so many great pictures, and we have a lot of good memories of that visit.

I. Send their child a Christmas gift box (Beware if you send a box overseas. Make sure that the fee and time that the missionary has to pay to get the box is worth it, if the box gets delivered right to their door, then perfect!)

STORY: For a few years, our church was able to send a Christmas box to one of our missionaries in Liberia. This missionary lived in such a remote area that he had no address to send the box to! We were able to send it to the closest ship docking area, but the missionary had to travel there to receive the box. He couldn’t get the box though, unless he payed the fees to receive it. We took the chance that our box might be stolen or broken into, but it never was. Unfortunately, we had to stop sending the gifts because it was just too hard for the missionary to obtain.

STORY: Another missionary in Cameroon also received our gift boxes for a few years. The missionary wife had a great idea. She would only let her kids open one gift per day. (Every item was wrapped individually) In this way, Christmas lasted a while! They were so happy to receive even the simplest gift. Who would have thought that Jello would be a delicacy for them?

Sometimes, a mission board will be having a freight container being sent to the missionary. If you ask the mission board, sometimes your item can get on the container too! 

STORY: Our church was blessed to be able to send linens and toiletry items to a deaf school in the Philippines. It was really awesome to track the container, which was on a boat, across the globe. Unfortunately, it took months to get there, but it finally made it!

J.  If your missionary is part of an organization, organize a work-day.

STORY: One missionary we supported was a director of a homeless rescue mission in the city. We were blessed to be part of our church’s work group to spend a Saturday working at the mission. The men did construction and other type work, while us ladies worked at filling bags with gifts that would be given to the homeless on Christmas day. We all got a lot done that day, and we were a big help to the missionary.

Take Advantage of Your Missionary's Geography

Use the missionary’s geography as a starting point for more study.
You could find out:
1. The country name
2. The country’s flag
3. The population
4. The types of food the people eat
5. The climate
6. The type of housing
7. The main religion
8. The language

Take Advantage of Writing Opportunites

Here are a few ideas:
1. Become a pen pal with the missionary’s child
2. Ask the missionary if your child can be a pen pal with another child their age in the country where the missionary lives. That would be awesome for that child far away.
3. Conduct an interview and write a report on the missionary.

have a mission-minded homeschool

Art Assignment

Do you have any empty wall space? You can have your child make a mission wall and post a map, the missionary’s prayer card, and latest letters.

Bible Assignments

“If you take missions out of the Bible, you won’t have anything left but the covers.” – Nina Gunter

Studying missionaries in the Bible is a great way to see how they spread the gospel.
People like Jonah, Paul, and Peter would be an excellent place to start!

Being mission-minded is a lot of fun, and it is incredibly awarding as you get to know your missionary.  

The more you correspond, talk about, help, and encourage your missionary, the more it will keep the missionary on your children’s minds, and in that way, your homeschool will be very mission-minded. Yeah!!!

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Homeschool Curriculum Review: Ready for Reading

Are you ready to begin teaching your 4-6 year old child to start to read?

Finding curriculum that is easy to use, fun for you both, and has a great system is no easy task.

With Ready for Reading, Level One by Jen Merckling,  your search is over.

Fun, Fun, Fun!

Jen has done an excellent job in creating a course that meets all the expectations that I look for when I search for curriculum for my own kids.

Ready for Reading, Level One helps you to teach your child to recognize and name all the letters of the alphabet, recognize all of the initial consonant and short vowel sounds, and master twenty sight words.

This colorful, 240 page curriculum gives you all the lesson plans, worksheets, readers, games, ideas, helpful hints, teaching tips, flashcards, recording sheets, and encouragement that you will need to be successful and organized.

From one homeschool mom to another, Jen knows exactly what you need and she really delivers.

Each week of lesson plans is broken down into four daily plans. One alphabet letter per week is learned, plus review.

Jen's Unique Approach to Learning the ABC 's

Instead of learning the alphabet in alphabetical order, Jen has creatively fashioned the list in a way that your child will learn the most-used letters first.  In this way, blending consonants and short vowel words together will happen earlier.

 

Each daily lesson through the week builds upon the previous, as review, games, worksheets and creative ideas and tips are given for you and your child’s success.

No Need to Guess What to Do Next

There is no need to guess what you need to do.
The lesson plans are simple to use and the worksheets, readers, and game idea lists are easy to find. 

You will find that beginning phonics awareness can be fun and easy
at the same time.

I highly recommend Jen Mercklings
Ready for Reading, Level One.

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Homeschool Curriculum: Choose with Confidence

Choose your homeschool curriculum with confidence

Choosing your homeschooling curriculum is no easy task. 

It’s hard comparing curriculum and trying to decide which one will be the best for you and your child. 

But it doesn’t have to be too difficult if you can figure out the basics first.

I’m going to let you in on my first steps so that you can look at the broad picture, and then narrow down your focus so that you can choose your next homeschool curriculum with confidence.

Choose your homeschool curriculum with confidence

I should say, before we get too far, that I use an eclectic method to homeschooling. 

Being eclectic means that I pull curriculum, ideas, videos, and techniques from everywhere.

While this may sound like the perfect choice for some, beware, you have just opened up the whole entire world of curriculum publishers to peruse, analyze, and choose from. 

But don’t let that deter you, because once you find a curriculum publisher or series that fits you and your child, you will absolutely fall in love with it, and you will come back to it year after year.

So let’s get on with it.

Step One: Identify the Legal Requirements

Each state has its own requirements for what your child should be studying for each grade.

Now granted, it most likely is a generic subject that they will tell you, but you should still know if you need to find a tenth grade science class for Junior or if you’re going to need a fifth grade health class for Suzie.

Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has a page where you can choose your state and they will lead you to the information where you can find exactly what is required of you, according to your specific state laws. It’s very nice of them.

If you’re required to be under an oversight group’s supervision, then they also will most likely have some guidelines that you should follow to be compliant with the state laws. You’ll have to talk with your oversight administrator and make sure you have the exact details of what is required of your child for the coming year.

Most likely, for Kindergarten to fifth grade, you will need all the basic subjects: math, social studies/history, science, language arts (reading/phonics, writing, spelling, grammar), health, art and physical education.

For sixth through eighth grade, you will probably need all of the basic subjects, but you should also look into the fact that the subjects are getting harder. 

choose the best homeschool curriculum with confidence

More states now are requiring pre-algebra and introduction into geometry during the middle school years. Also, high school credits are now being opened up to middle schoolers, either required credits or voluntary credits. So it’s wise to know this stuff ahead of time, for your state.

High School is where the real fun begins as the basic subjects are now extremely focused into specific areas of study. 

Each state and oversight group rules will be able to tell you how many credits are required for each basic subject. 

For example, they’ll say you need three credits of science. So that could be biology, animal science, and veterinary science. 

You as the parent, will have to keep that in mind as you order curriculum. You certainly don’t want to order something that is not an interest or isn’t even a credit/class that is needed to graduate.

Step Two: Identify Your Personal Requirements

We as parents know there are items that we think our children should learn that is not taught in a textbook or curriculum. You may want to think of these things so that you can add them in. It’s nice to plan ahead.

For instance, I think computers are going to be around for a while. Don’t you? 

You may want to plan on a typing curriculum in the elementary years. 

 As your child grows, their computer skills should also increase.
It’s helpful to answer this question each year.
What do I think is important for my child to know about
computers right now?

Here is a list of possible ideas:
1. Computer basics
2. Computer and internet safety
3. Working with email
4. Using social media
5. Using word processing software
6. Web design
7. Blogging and Vlogging

How about Home Economics? I had this class when I was in middle school. It covered everything from cooking, cleaning, to personal hygiene. 

I remember that shop class was also a requirement. Now you may not have access to drill presses and big power tools, but being able to handle a hammer, nail, and a saw, could come in useful one day.

As your son gets older, you may want to consider a home improvement class that covers basic electricity, plumbing, heating & air conditioning, and landscaping.

Automotive fundamentals is not a bad class either. 

These types of classes may not be “required” but sometimes this basic stuff can get overlooked, and we are trying to raise our kids to be independent adults, right?

Step Three: Identify the Type of Teaching Assistance You will Need for Each Subject

Based on your own personality, interests, and talents, you will be able to figure out how much assistance you will need from a curriculum’s teacher’s book or publisher.

As you read through the descriptions below, think about each subject or topic that you decided on from above, and make a note on what you will be looking for in each teacher’s book, for each of those subjects.

#1: I am a confident teacher about this subject.

The teacher for this subject is o.k. with having a teacher’s book, but does not feel bound by it. 

The teacher’s own knowledge for this subject is high, so she does not need to be told in the manual what to say or ask, and what the student’s response should be.
This teacher is confident enough, where a general outline of topics may be all that is necessary to have.

This teacher enjoys teaching this subject so much that she is able to come up with her own creative ideas and supplemental materials to enhance her children’s learning. She does not feel that seeking out her own supplies is a burden for the ideas that she is able to come up with on her own.

#2: I am somewhat comfortable with this subject, but not one hundred percent sure.

The teacher for this subject would definitely prefer a teacher’s book that has the answers and examples on how to do problems. 

She likes to see the pages that are assigned for the day, but does not feel compelled to follow it strictly, because of her own interest in the subject. 

She would be happy with the option to use a “teacher asks/student says” format in the teacher’s manual for each lesson. 

She would like supplemental and creative ideas for experiments or crafts, along with the list of supplies that will be needed. She would like the option of being able to order these supplies to come ready-to-use, if time becomes a factor.

#3: I am not comfortable at all with this subject

This teacher honestly admits that she will need a high level of help with this subject.
She will not be able to deviate from a lesson plan because she will be learning along with her child. 

This teacher would be o.k. with another teacher teaching, but would still definitely need the answer key, with each answer explained and shown, how to do.

Any supplemental materials or creative options should be explained in detail, along with good pictures on how to do crafts or experiments. This teacher would really like to have that availability to have all supplemental books, videos, craft supplies, and/or experiment supplies come packaged, organized and ready-to-go, as all of her energy will be focused on getting through the subject.

“Dear Homeschool Mom, You’ve got this! God called you to it, and He will see you through it. Inhale Grace. Exhale Doubt.” 
― Tamara L. Chilver

Step Four: Identify Your Child's Learning Style According to Their Senses

Each person learns things differently, and it changes with time and maturity. There are three ways that our senses help us to learn.
Analyzing your child, to see which way of learning is the most prominent, will help you know what to look for when choosing your curriculum. 

* Visual Learner: 

a child that is a visual learner, seems to remember what they see and can recall information just from visually picturing it again, in their mind. 

Some may say this child has a photographic memory. This child enjoys plenty of colorful pictures, diagrams, maps, videos, and labels. 

Memorizing spelling words comes easy.

* Auditory Learner: 

This child remembers what she hears. 

She may not need to be looking at the video to remember and retain what was said. You would probably never say that what you say to this child goes in one ear and out the other. 

This child enjoys and can remember songs, jingles, commercials, and facts that are put to music. 

This child also has the ability to do more than one thing at a time. He/she can be doing something with his/her hands, but also be listening and memorizing what is being said.

 

* Tactile/Kinesthetic Learner: 

This child learns best with hands-on learning and moving around physically.

 If you can make a concept more concrete instead of abstract, this child will understand it better and faster. Building a history lesson with play-do or blocks will keep this child more engaged and interested and then he/she will remember the lesson more. 

This type of learner, requires more work for the teacher to come up with creative ideas to make the abstract principle more concrete.

Step Five: Putting it all Together

Now, all you have to do is evaluate your
curriculum choices based on
the options that you chose above. It’s like a puzzle.

Make sure you know:

  •  What subject/topic that you need
  •  What kind of support that you will
    be looking for from the publisher or
    in the teacher’s manual for that
    subject.
  •  What kind of learning style(s) does
    the curriculum cater to. 

When you find what looks great and all
the pieces of the puzzle fit well, it’s a
good chance this curriculum will
work for you.

Choose your homeschool curriculum with confidence

Step Six: Get Connected

Homeschooling tips, free resources, curriculum reviews, and courses will be coming your way. In order for you not to miss any of the good stuff, just fill out the form below. 

I look forward to meeting you!

 

 

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