Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Few Things I Have Learned after Eleven Years of Homeschooling

1. Trust yourself.

Try not to second-guess yourself too much. I know. I have done it too often. But the thing is, if you do the research and think about how your family functions, how your kids learn, how much time you have for instruction and grading, you will be able to figure which curriculum to use and what homeschool style will work for you.

2. Don't be afraid to switch curriculum.

If a particular curriculum just isn't working for your student, find another one. This can be tough on the parent, but I feel that if they just aren't "getting it", it is better to switch and try something else. Math is the subject that my kids have the hardest time with. We have tried multiple texts, but we ended up back with what we started with. After trying the other texts, my son decided to stick with the beast he knew. Figures. 

3. Do what works for you.

Try not to feel pressured by the success of homeschooling friends and the way they homeschool. This is a real temptation, but just remember that to be successful you have to do what will work for your family, not someone else's family. It is better to get inspiration and ideas from others than to try to change who your family is and how they learn.

4. Always bring a book to read - everywhere.

This for your own sanity and self-education. It also sets a great example for your children.

5.Be a lifelong learner.

Demonstrate your love of learning for your children by always challenging yourself to learn. Read ahead on the list of books you have for your kids to read in high school. I know you have a list going - at least in your head. Or enroll in a MOOC like Coursera. I have really enjoyed some of the courses I have participated in. I will discuss some of them in a later post.

6. Find or start a homeschool support group that meets your needs.

When we started homeschooling, I went in search of a support group - like all the books suggested. I found a couple of groups in our area, but they turned out to not be right for us. There were a couple of other families in the group who felt the same way and we started our own group. We have a growing and active group that our kids have grown up with. I can't imagine trying to homeschool without the help and inspiration of these wonderful families. We older homeschooling moms have watched our kids grow up together and head off to different colleges, but the bonds they created are still strong.

7. Take a deep breath - it will all work out.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that everything will get covered, learned, cleaned up, done. There will be messes and chaos and struggles, but there will also be laughter, fun, peace, learning and love. One of the beauties of homeschooling is that we don't have to adhere to rigid schedules -- unless rigid schedules are what work for you. I have had to learn to give myself a break and just let the worry go. Amazingly, my oldest graduated homeschooled high school and will be starting his sophomore year at college. Somehow, we got through it all and he is doing very well. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Things we did in June

June was the beginning of our "summer". Since we homeschool year-round, we usually spend the summer finishing up our work and reading. I also spend the summer preparing for the next school year.

Books I read in June:

Endangered by Jean Love Cush
You can read my review here.

Baudelaire's Revenge by Bob Van Laerhoven
You can read my review here.

The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank.
You can read my review here.

Favors and Lies by Mark Gilleo
The review will be posted in August.

What Strange Creatures by Emily Arsenault.
You can read my review here.

Among the books read by my daughters in June were:

Galen and the Gateway to Science by Jeanne Bendick

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster

Epidemics Deadly Diseases Throughout History: Malaria
Holocaust Memories: Speaking the Truth

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The History of the Renaissance World

I was so fortunate to be one of the lucky winners of an ARC of Susan Wise Bauer's next book in her world history series - The History of the Renaissance World. I am so excited to have the opportunity to read it before it is released. We use this series for our high school students and I have been waiting not-so-patiently to add this book to our curriculum. By the time our upcoming freshman needs it, it will be published. I am currently reading the book and will post a review once I'm finished.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Trying something new. . .

Now that the oldest has been accepted to his preferred college and is finishing up the remainders of his senior year of high school at home, I have been looking back and pondering what I want to do differently with the younger two students. Each student is different and I must work with each one to fit their curriculum to their needs and interests. But generally, I like to be somewhat consistent in how we school.

I use The Well Trained Mind as my template for our homeschool. I find it to be the best in explaining the method and in giving examples of curriculum to fulfill the needed coursework. I also believe that it is the most complete and ambitious vision of what homeschooling can be.

My kids don't seem to enjoy math very much and we tried various math curriculum with the oldest and Saxon Math seemed to work as well as any other. With my upcoming freshman, I am considering switching to Jacob's Elementary Algebra. If this doesn't seem to work, we will probably fall back on Saxon Algebra 1.

This summer we are trying something we haven't done in quite awhile. My kids are all good readers and prefer to read books on their own.  However, I will be reading Sophie's World out loud and then we will discuss together. That is the plan, anyway.

We will continue to school year-round and take short breaks throughout the year.
Their music study will continue with private lessons.
I think the biggest change will be that I am going to try to add much more literature that we all read and discuss together, not just one student and parent.

I am still trying to figure out the best way to tackle Latin study. Nothing we have tried has really clicked with all of us. I am considering Wheelock's Latin this year - but we will see how that goes.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Something Old is New -

When I started homeschooling way back when, there was The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. It was a staple for many homeschooling families. I thought we were past the need for this particular resource. Well, I think I may have been wrong. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine now has a wonderful membership required website called I just recently joined and have been really pleasantly surprised by just how many resources there are available.

The Schoolhouse Planners are pretty amazing and if you like a paper planner, they include pretty much everything you could hope for - including high school planning, many reference sheets and several different versions of calendar pages that should suit pretty much everyone.

I am excited to start using the French and Spanish lessons and worksheets as supplements to our current book-based curriculum.

I think the resource I am most excited about is the Classics-Based Writing Course for Middle and High School Students by Janice Campbell. I have used some of her curriculum from Excellence in Literature and have been quite impressed.

I have barely scratched the surface of what is available at, but I am looking forward to exploring and implementing some of what I find in our homeschool. Stay tuned for more updates soon.

~AGeeky Mom

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Where have I been, you ask?

If anyone is out there who cares or is curious, yes, we are still here and we are still homeschooling. This school year has been crazy busy. My son is a senior and we have been focused on all the many things needed to get ready for college admissions.

Over the summer he finished up his testing and did very well. His SAT scores were pretty impressive - I was even a bit surprised at how well he did. I have been working on compiling course descriptions, reading lists, and transcripts.

Now that he has been accepted to the college he wanted, he is finishing up applications to a couple of other colleges - just in case and just because. Now the focus is on maintaining his grades and finishing up all his coursework.

Oh, the things I have learned in the last several months! I will begin working on suggestions and maybe even a couple of templates that may be useful in college preparation.