Do you have a student who’s tried just about everything to get those math facts memorized and nothing seems to work? We’re here to share with you an exciting new product that might just make the difference. This product is especially designed for an older student who has not yet mastered their addition and subtraction facts.
I want to first of all encourage you, the parent who is out there dealing with this, that you are not alone. Here are the answers to some questions you might have about AIM.
9 Questions About AIM
1) What is AIM?
The new product tis a portion of our of Math-U-See curriculum. It’s called AIM (Accelerated Individualized Mastery) and its focus is on helping older students get their addition and subtraction math facts memorized.
2) Do we need to be using Math-U-See to use AIM?
Absolutely not. You do not need to be using Math-U-See as your core math curriculum to benefit from AIM. This intervention is tremendous to help students fill in the mathematical gap that exists in their fact knowledge with addition and subtraction.
3) How often do you support parents regarding mastery?
AIM is designed for a student of any age who has completed addition and subtraction coursework without achieving mastery. It seems like almost every phone call we have someone that has a student that doesn’t have their math facts memorized.
It’s tough because a lot of math programs and schools don’t put an emphasis on this. We’re finding that more and more students need to go back and achieve mastery of their addition and subtraction facts.
It’s a very common problem, and it’s actually the reason why we developed the AIM program with the help of parents of struggling students. From countless conversations with parents, we heard their needs, which helped us develop the program.
4) What are some signs that mastery needs work?
Some of the obvious signs are counting on fingers, using touch point math, relying on calculators, or hesitating when completing a math problem. Sometimes we see that in the non-telltale signs of, “I hate math. I don’t want to do math.” Parents avoid doing math with their kid and all of that usually speaks to one root cause: the child doesn’t have confidence in their own mathematical ability.
5) How can lack of mastery affect confidence?
We see a lot of times that as problems get bigger, confidence decreases. If we don’t have the confidence for those smaller problems, it’s hard to have them for the bigger problems.
At the same time, when we count on our fingers or count in our head, we tend to look away from the problem, come back, and forget where we were. We miss certain steps and we have all of this stuff in our head; when that happens we make easy mistakes. Memorization of facts is so important to the confidence and flow of doing well with these bigger problems.
6) How will AIM be better than flashcards and drills?
In all honesty, we often resort to flashcards and drills because that’s what we were taught. Unfortunately, flashcards or drills don’t teach. You have to have the fact committed to memory before you can become proficient at them through this repetitive practice. The techniques that AIM uses allows a student to step along a continuum. To go from initial understanding to complete memorization is an expeditious process.
7) Will AIM result in my student becoming behind?
It’s recommended to take a 6-8 week break from other math studies while working through AIM. This is a common question, and a very big concern for a lot of families: making sure that their student is up to speed.
We recognize that math builds upon itself. We don’t use grade levels because it’s hard to learn mathematical concepts if you haven’t mastered the previous concepts. Our goal is that we take the time to fill in those gaps in understanding, which AIM can do in about a 6-8 week period.
We sometimes see that other gaps that were there earlier might tend to disappear because of the work that we’re doing at the beginning. If we keep doing what we’re doing, the gaps are only going to get bigger; they’re not going to decrease. It’s more important that we go back and fill in those gaps to cause more success and greater confidence later on. The additional understanding and confidence gained by filling these gaps can mean greater and faster progress when you return to your regular math studies.
8) What if my student has a learning glitch?
We often work with kids who learn differently; we find frequently that even students who have been diagnosed with a specific learning challenge can use the principles of AIM and learn effectively. Those learning glitches seem to disappear when we give kids the ability to step along that continuum and learn in a different way.
9) Where can we learn more about AIM?
One of the things you’re going to notice is we’re very passionate about helping families find success for their students in math. We’d love to have an individualized conversation with you; we’d love to help.
You can learn more about AIM on our website and take the assessment there.
AIM Unboxing Video
Do You Have Any Questions?
We have long used the Math-U-See curriculum’s strategies and manipulatives to allow students to successfully master math concepts. We’re proud to introduce a short-term “fill in the gaps” program for older students who could benefit from additional support in fundamental skills.
A new solution for struggling math students with gaps in their math fact knowledge:
Accelerated – move quickly through a skill set they have not yet mastered
Individualized – appeals to a variety of learning preferences
Mastery – recall math facts with as little mental energy as possible
AIM was created for students aged 8 and older who:
○ Have gaps in mastery of their single-digit addition and subtraction facts
○ Show signs such as tally marks or counting on their fingers
○ Are struggling as they face increasingly advanced math concepts
AIM Unboxing Video
Some parents make the decision to homeschool because their child is struggling in school. It was the opposite for me. With the support of my husband, I decided to become a homeschool teacher because I did not want our children to struggle through school like I did. Actually, through elementary, high school, and college, both my husband and I had a vision impairment called myopia that went undetected in school. Myopia is a refractive error in the eyes causing nearsightedness. We received our first pair of prescription glasses after high school, after we were married, and after we became parents. We both found out we had a vision problem long after we passed the eye chart exams at school and at the DMV. With our first pair of prescription glasses, we gained clarity and confidence. Learning became easy, and homeschool became our way of life.
Perception at School
Without his glasses, my husband is able to see for about five feet before the world becomes blurry, and his prescription is -1.00 in each eye; therefore, his was a minor adjustment, and he was an average student. My prescription is -3.25 in each eye, and I can only see clearly for a distance of about 10-12 inches; therefore without corrective lenses, I function at a level considered ‘border-line-legally-blind.’ In first grade, I was placed in special reading classes, and the special education label stuck all the way through school. As a child, trying to focus on an object was a game I played with my eyes. I assumed everyone’s perception of the world was the same. Squinting created a pin-hole-effect, a lightning flash moment of clarity, enough time to identify a single letter. By standing still and concentrating, I was able to pass an eye exam. I was never told I wasn’t allowed to squint; I was told to do my best. Although I was able to see my books and my homework on my desk at school, I was not able to read words written on the board, nor posters on the wall, nor signs in the street. Although my husband and I were not the best students, both of us were actually quite bright and creative to do as well as we did in school.
We Weren’t Good Spellers
Before our children were ready for kindergarten, I used a popular phonics curriculum to teach them how to read, and I realized I was learning with them. As an adult, I taught myself to read, by teaching my children to read. I accomplished my goal, my kids could read well at a young age, but none of us were good spellers. I searched and searched for curriculum. I found wonderful math, grammar, and writing programs, so we excelled in these areas. I became more of a student than a teacher learning along with my children. I completed all the work with them as I was truly learning it for the first time. We took turns doing math problems; they did an even numbered problem, then I did an odd numbered problem. We did most of our work together as a team; sometimes, they took turns being the teacher for the day. Remembering my days in special education classes, I realized I never did experience working through a step-by-step, well-planned-out-curriculum.
Looking for a Spelling Curriculum
During our homeschool years, I was still searching, yet not able to find a spelling program that worked for us. Something was missing, but I could not find the missing piece to the puzzle; until, Spelling You See. The Spelling You See curriculum was the missing part to our homeschooling program. I finally understood; after talking with Dr. Karen Holinga, The Reading Doctor, that reading is decoding (converting words from print to sound) while spelling is encoding (converting sounds to printed form). Reading and spelling are completely different skills that use a different part of the brain. As she explained the progression of the spelling levels, I realized that we had skipped over and missed the third and most difficult level of spelling called the skill development stage. My kids had a strong phonics background, but not a strong encoding background; therefore, irregularly-spelled words remained easy to read but difficult to spell. Nevertheless, with help from spell-check, my adult children graduated with honors at a university.
One is never too old, nor too young, to learn. I ordered the Spelling You See program, and I am using it with my grandson who is now almost two years old. It is exciting! After all these years God answered my prayers. After story time, my grandson watches me write my dictation words. This has become our favorite time together. What I love the most about the Spelling You See program is that in Level A (Listen and Write) it requires only ten minutes a day. Once I have completed the assignment, my grandson practices his prewriting skills, drawing over the words he just watched me write, spell, and read. He uses pens to color and highlight. He is beginning to trace over the letters. Babies are so smart! He already knows all the uppercase and lowercase letters, is learning the letter sounds, and is even beginning to recognize some words. Because he watches and listens, he understands the concept that letters spell words. Together, we are having so much fun.
Eye care professionals recommend children have their first comprehensive eye exam sometime around preschool age, and just before starting kindergarten. Our grandson will be having his first eye exam at the optometrist office soon. He may or may not need to wear prescription glasses like grandpa and grammie. The good news is, with good vision, and without having to rely on spell-check, we can all have more clarity and confidence in everything we do.
This blog post was written by a Spelling You See customer who wanted to share per personal story using the curriculum.
Demme Learning has been named one of the Best Places to Work in PA for 2019! This is our first time receiving this award and we’re honored to have ranked #27 in the small-sized company category this year.
We’re proud to be recognized for our culture, benefits package, and talented employees. Our culture is very relaxed and family-friendly. Employees are encouraged to be themselves at work. In addition, new employees are eligible for benefits starting on their first day. Some of our benefits include telecommuting opportunities, paid family leave, paid time off to volunteer, tuition reimbursement, gym reimbursement and flexible work times. Most importantly, our workforce is made up of driven, talented, and energetic people with positive mindsets that help us continue to grow.
The Best Places To Work in PA program was established nearly 20 years ago and is one of the first statewide programs of its kind in the country. The program is a public/private partnership between Team Pennsylvania Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the Pennsylvania State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management, and the Central Penn Business Journal.
Let’s Build Lifelong Learners Together
There’s a lot that goes into your child’s education and we want to help by giving you the tools you need to succeed.
Since we have a lot to talk about, we’re breaking things down and giving you all the answers in our upcoming webinar series about our Math-U-See and Spelling You See products.
Sign up and watch our webinars LIVE to:
• Learn from experts and get your questions answered in real time
• Find out what it takes to build your lifelong learner
• Get insight on our curricula
• And much, much more!
How Math-U-See Will Lead Your Student to Mathematical Success
Is your student struggling with math? Join me for a brief webinar to discover 5 reasons how Math-U-See can help build mathematical confidence for your student.
WHEN: Tuesday November 5th at 11:00am Eastern
Check back soon for more webinars! In the mean-time, subscribe to the Demme Learning newsletter:
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Stewardship, 2nd Edition
After six months of writing and filming (and four months of editing and proofing), the New Edition of Stewardship has been released.
Stewardship is a personal finance curriculum taught from a biblical perspective. With Steve Demme’s signature humility, humor, and sharp math skills, practical math instruction is combined with Biblical principles of finance and discipleship material. This edition is updated with current topics relevant to young people aged 15 and older, who are beginning to explore more independent financial opportunities and responsibilities.
Watch a short video about Stewardship below.
What’s Included in Stewardship?
There are three books that comprise the written material: the Instruction Manual, Biblical Studies, and Student Workbook. The video instruction may be viewed or downloaded via the Internet.
This book is where you will find teaching, several examples of the new materials, and the answer keys for all 36 lessons. Study this book and watch the video instruction to learn the content of each lesson.
As this book was written, it was I assumed that students would have some knowledge of algebra, and would be between fifteen and seventeen years old.
This book has two sections: one on Biblical Principles to govern our treasure, and the other on Scripture Studies to instruct our heart. As stated earlier, Jesus says in Luke 12:34, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be.” Steve’s objective in pulling these studies together is to impact our heart and our treasure (money, time, gifts, talents, and energy) with the eternal Word of God.
After you’ve watched the video portion and read the Instruction Manual (along with the two Biblical Studies portions), then you are ready to begin work in the Student Workbook. Each of the 36 lessons has five worksheets per lesson, for a total of 180 student worksheets.
Each worksheet has ten questions. Questions 1-7 are taken from the math involved in personal finance, 8-9 are from the Biblical Studies, and number 10 is a discussion question to facilitate interaction between students and their parents and grandparents.
The Stewardship curriculum provides solid, practical lessons that gave my student a strong start to real-world financial decision-making. The worksheets challenged my student to think through real-life situations that she will face coming into adulthood. The Biblical Foundation and Discipleship portion frame the study and clearly show Mr. Demme’s heart for helping parents build lives of consequence. Our family highly recommends adding Stewardship to your homeschool plan! – S. Cooper
It’s Kyla from Little Footsteps Big Learning, and today I will be discussing the pros and cons of homeschooling. Before we get to this, I thought I’d give a little background on myself. I’m a mom to three boys, age 6, 5 and 2, and I’m currently homeschooling them.
I studied elementary education, and after that, I had several years of experience teaching in a variety of situations, including working at an elementary school, working with special needs kids, and teaching preschool. Preschool is kind of my main area of focus that I spent the most time in and love the most, and now I teach homeschool. My oldest son went to kindergarten in public school, and then first grade we started him in homeschool. So we’ve had a little bit of both, me from the teaching side, and him from the student side, and me also from the parent side.
This blog post was originally published as a video.
The Pros of Homeschooling
1) Being Involved With Your Kids
The top reason for me is being involved with your kids. Obviously, with homeschooling, you’re going to have them at home more, and you’re going to be more involved in their education and what they’re learning. You have a little more control over what they’re learning and just knowledge about what’s going on in the school day. I’ve appreciated being able to discuss things at the dinner table to reinforce what they’re learning. When Dad comes home, we have dinner together. I can prompt the kids to tell him about their day, and if they just say, “Uh, I don’t remember,” I remember what they learned, and I can prompt them in that.
2) Control Over Your Schedule
You get to choose their schedule if you homeschool, customize your schedule, and make it work for you. There’s a lot of flexibility in that.
3) Not Confined
With public school, you have a start time for school and an end time for school. You might have a bus coming and picking up and dropping off your child at a certain time that you need to be at the bus stop, and your whole life runs around that schedule and being there.
With homeschool, that’s usually not the case. You may have your child signed up for certain classes or activities that happen at certain times, but usually the schedule is pretty flexible.
3) Lots of Options
When I first started looking into homeschool, I didn’t realize how many options there were. I kind of thought the options were you homeschool, or you do public school or there’s other private schools and whatnot, but it’s mostly a classroom setting or a homeschool setting. And as I started looking into homeschool, I realized there are a lot of different options.
There are some state funded homeschooling programs that you can use their curriculum and teach them at home. There are online public school options, which is kind of public school, but it’s also kind of homeschool. It’s a little mix in between. You can also just buy your own curriculum, find your own curriculum that you love, and do your own thing. Lots of different options to choose from.
4) Snow Days & Sick Days
If your child is sick or if there’s too much snow outside that a public school would call a snow day, that’s not something you have to worry about really at home. You don’t have to worry about driving on the roads to get someplace because you’re already at home where you’re going to have school, and you can still do school like normal.
On sick days, those are a little more flexible depending on how sick your kid is, but you can still squeeze school in. You’re at home; maybe taking things a little bit slower, but you don’t have to worry about your kid going to school and getting other kids sick.
Instead of having snow days or sick days, where your kid is not going to school, something that’s really nice with homeschool is being able to do things like sunny days that instead of taking the day off of school when there’s snow outside, I would much rather take the day off of school when there’s sun outside, when there’s really nice weather and say, “You know what? Today we’re going take a break. We’re not going to have school today. We’re going to get outside and do something outside because the weather is so nice.”
5) Opportunities & Flexibility
I have chosen to have my kids involved in a nursing home. We get together with a group of other homeschoolers, and we go to a nursing home. We sing songs to them, and what a great way to get out and serve and to have them involved in that. We have a lot more flexibility of our time because we homeschool, to be able to pick a time that works for us, and that ends up being part of our school day once a month.
Another thing is swimming lessons. Since we’re home during the day, our hours are more flexible, and swimming lessons can be at an earlier time instead of just needing to cram everything into those after school hours. That was something that was a really hard thing for me when my son was in all day long kindergarten. He would be gone majority of the day, and then when he got home, it was rush, rush, rush from one thing to the next. If you wanted to do any extracurricular activities, it needed to happen during those times after school, between after school and bedtime, and that can make your family time really stressful. With homeschool, you have a little more flexibility in your schedule to choose to have swimming lessons earlier in the day, or some sort of extracurricular activity where it’s not taking away much family time in order to do those things.
6) Kids Learn From Each Other
At school, obviously at a public school setting or a classroom setting, but also at home, it’s really neat to see how my 2-year old picks up on the things that my 6-year old and 5-year old are learning. We’ll do calendar time right here in this space, and I involve our 2-year old. It’s really neat to hear him chanting what different letters of the alphabet and see him mimic what his older brothers are doing. Even though he’s 2 and I’m not doing any formal schooling with him, he’s learning. By time he gets to be the age of doing a little more formal schooling, I hope that he already has ingrained in him a little bit more of the schedule of things.
The Cons of Homeschooling
1) Not Feeling Prepared
The number one con that I hear people talk about when they are considering homeschool is not knowing how to start, or if they are ready.
“How am I going to know where my child needs to be at?”
“How am I going to know if I’m teaching them the right things?”
“If there are any gaps in their learning, am I leaving anything behind? How am I going to know that?”
There are definitely resources that can help you with that, but that’s definitely a con of homeschooling versus not homeschooling. It’s your responsibility to make sure they’re learning what they’re supposed to be learning.
2) The Schedule
We talked about customizing your schedule as a pro, but there’s also a con to that because you have to choose your schedule. You have to figure out what you’re doing and what’s going to work best for your family. It’s not already built in; it’s something that you have to do.
Also with that is the flexibility. I talked about that being a huge pro, but it can also be a con because, depending on your kid’s personality, too much flexibility could lead to laziness, to not getting the things done that you’re supposed to. What’s your personality like? Is flexibility going to help your kids stay on top of things, or is it going to be more damaging for you and your kids?
3) Being With Your Kids All the Time
I talked about you getting to spend a lot of time with your kids and how great that is, but that can also be a con because there are a lot of things that needs to be done in life. And doing homeschooling, I have constant responsibility over my kids, and that is great. I love spending time with them, and I love teaching them. However, it does make it a little bit difficult to schedule doctor appointments, to have just me time, getting home projects done, those other things that need to be done can be a little more tricky when your kids are with you all the time.
4) All the Options
I talked about how many options there are with homeschool and choosing different options, and that is really great if you know what you want and customizing that to your child. That can also be overwhelming because there’s too many options, and it’s so hard to know how to choose.
5) Limited Access to Teachers & Specialists
Wen you’re doing homeschooling versus something like public schooling, you do not have the access to lots of teachers and specialists that can help you out. For example, if your child has speech delays or another disability that you might not detect but a specialist at a school could detect, not only are they there to help hone in on those things, but then you also have the resources for those. And not just for things like special needs, but also having all of the classes like art and music and gym. You have teachers who have gone to school for that specific area, and they know that so well. And if you’re doing homeschool, you don’t have access to those right at your fingertips like you normally would with something like public school.
6) A Sense of Community
Something that I really loved about sending my kid to kindergarten in public school was this built-in sense of community. My child already has kids in his class that he’s getting to know, kids that he’s friends with. There are events that happen at the school. There’s the wonderful PTA that puts on events like the science fair project or talent shows or cultural events, just lots of different activities like that that are already built in.
You already have that community, and with homeschool, if you’re wanting a community like that, it’s something that you need to seek out, which is great because you can customize and know what you’re getting into and not just, “This is what’s given to me.” But you have to go to the work to go out and find it, and that can be a little bit of a challenge. There are lots of online groups that you can find in areas, but it is definitely something that you have to dig out and you have to find.
About the Author
Kyla Shurtz is a mom of 3 boys (ages 6, 5 and 2) with a baby girl on the way! She studied Elementary Education in college, taught 8 years in a variety of school settings, including public school, working with special needs children and teaching preschool. Kyla now homeschools her own children and is enjoying the adventure! She has been married to her wonderful husband for 9 years, she enjoys photography and loves the outdoors-especially hiking, camping and family bike rides. Kyla has a love of learning and a love of teaching. She is passionate about bringing encouragement and sparking ideas for other moms and teachers.
Many families who are considering homeschooling first want to look into the demographic data of homeschoolers. It is important for homeschoolers to have support and confidence in their
journey so that they can have a successful and enjoyable experience, and the good news is that the number of families engaging in home education has grown significantly in North America in the last twenty years and continues to increase.
‣ Homeschooling rates are growing at a rate of 2-8% each year.
‣ There are about 2.3 million home educated students in the United States.
‣ 3.4 million adults in the United States have been homeschooled at some point in their education.
‣ The average homeschooler educates at home for 6 to 8 years.
‣ In 2011, 91% of homeschooling
parents were concerned about the environment of other schools.
‣ Homeschooled students score 15-30% higher on average than public school students on standardized academic achievement tests.
‣ Only 83% of families continue homeschooling past their first year. However, 89% of those families continue home education for a third year and beyond.
‣ Whether or not homeschooling parents are certified teachers does not impact their children’s academic achievement.
Why People Choose to Homeschool
Some of the most common reasons for homeschooling include:
‣ Being able to provide an individualized learning experience for each child.
‣ Achieving higher academic accomplishments than traditional schools.
‣ Using alternative approaches to learning.
‣ Enhancing family relationships between parents and siblings.
‣ Fostering meaningful and healthy social interactions with peers.
‣ Providing a safer environment for their children.
‣ Teaching a particular set of values to their children.
Being the oldest of seven kids, I was reluctantly appointed the family’s official tutor from a very young age. My parents weren’t very educated and so it fell on me to help my younger brothers and sisters with their learning. So, it was no surprise to anyone that I became a math teacher.
Today, I homeschool my boys and still do some tutoring on the side. When I ask homeschooling parents why they are seeking a math tutor for their child (other than their student having a hard time with math), the number one answer I get is that they don’t understand it. This is then followed up with negative responses such as “Math was my worst subject in school” or “I just hate math!”
Now, these parents know how to add, subtract, multiply, or divide but beyond that, math is like trying to decipher hieroglyphics. So, what do homeschooling parents do when their middle schooler begins taking pre-algebra courses that go beyond their scope of mathematical knowledge? They enroll their child in online courses or they hire someone like me to tutor their child. But here is where I ask parents to reconsider their decision to do either of these methods.
Enroll in an Online Course?
First, if your child is in need of help in math, the last thing you want to do is to enroll them in an online course. Most online courses are only suitable for students who are proficient self-learners. They are for those students who can open a book, understand what they are reading, and have the ability to apply it to their studies easily.
Parents should also be aware that some online courses do not have moderators to help your child. And if they do, they are not easily available for one on one help.
Hire a Tutor?
Now, as for hiring a tutor, this is where I caution parents. Again, I say this from experience. Remember that our children learn from example and we are their number one role model. So here are the signals our children receive when parents hire a tutor because of their limited knowledge in math:
● Kids feel they are being forced to learn the kind of math that their parents obviously did not master.
● Kids feel that they don’t really need to learn that much math since their parents seem to be doing well in life without it.
● Kids come to believe that the only people who seem to need or use this type of math are math teachers (and tutors).
When you couple these messages with a parent who verbally groans and proclaims that they hate math, parents are saying to their children: “I can’t be bothered with math and so I’ll just shirk it off to someone else.” Now, I know this is not any parent’s intention but these are the cues our children receive…
Learn With Your Children
So what can we do about it as homeschoolers? We can learn with our children. We can take this second chance to finally get it right. We can show our children how important all subjects are. We can take this wonderful opportunity as a lesson in never giving up. And when we don’t have all the answers, we seek help and don’t pass the buck.
Take language arts and writing for example. What math is for most people, language arts and writing was for me. When I started homeschooling I was anxious about tackling this subject because I didn’t do so well in my writing and language art courses. I had no idea what a transitive verb is or the purpose of the indirect object.
So, to help me help my children, I bought a standard type of language art course, the kind most schools use with a textbook and workbook. As my children learned new concepts, I learned with them. As they practiced problems, I also practiced them too. Over time, I began to understand all those things I missed during my own learning as a child.
Now please don’t get me wrong when it comes to hiring a tutor or enrolling your child for online classes. There are situations when this becomes necessary. If you know that your child is a self-learner, then, by all means, enroll them in online classes. But understand that having a smart child is not a sign that they are self-learners. You really need to observe them and see how they go about solving difficult concepts when they arise.
If you work outside the home or homeschool multiple children at different grade levels, then yes, hire a tutor. And, naturally, if you are struggling yourself as you try to teach your child concepts you still find difficult, then you will definitely need a tutor. However, take the time to sit with the tutor as he/she helps your child. I am almost certain the tutor will not mind you learning with your child. I know that I don’t and, in fact, I welcome it.
About the Author
Dionne is the mother of 13-year-old twin boys and wife to a Navy sailor for over 21 years. She is a middle-school math teacher turned homeschooler since 2013. When she’s not blogging at Home Made Our Way, she enjoys audiobooks while crafting, organizing, and inventing things for her husband to put together.
When you’re first considering homeschool, whether it is your child’s first educational experience or you’re switching paths, it’s an exciting and potentially overwhelming time. So many choices! So many options! Which curriculum do I use? Wow, look at all the fun, character-building, educational activities that are available! LET’S DO ALL THE THINGS!
Whoa. Pump the brakes. Take a breath.
You will have a much more successful, much more peaceful and satisfying time if you ease into things. There is no one correct homeschool path; that’s the beauty of homeschooling. You have the opportunity to make it your – and your student’s – own unique, custom learning path. You may feel pressured or overwhelmed to make big decisions right away, before you feel fully informed or ready. Keep in mind, there are very few hard and fast deadlines once you decide to homeschool. There are no “shoulds” when it comes to where your student should start, or where they should be at a certain age. Grade levels are provided for the convenience of schools so they can place students with similarly aged peers; it can make it easier to teach a large group, but you don’t have that problem. You can start where you are, and as long as you can demonstrate progress in some way in the subjects your state requires, you will be just fine.
Talk to experienced homeschoolers. These savvy veterans can give you great advice on how to make things work from day-to-day and year-to-year. But keep in mind, your homeschool experience is just that: yours.
But not everyone has access to a community of wise, experienced homeschoolers…or do they? The internet has a plethora of resources. There are homeschool bloggers who write on all kinds of topics, and most of them keep it real. We’ve included advice for new homeschoolers from six of our personal favorites. Their blogs are great places to start whether you’re looking for practical advice, encouragement, or just to know that you’re not alone in this endeavor.
This piece was originally written for our free Homeschool 101 eBook. It’s filled with information, from the history of homeschooling to going over the different homeschooling styles.
6 Homeschool Tips
1) Research Homeschooling Before You Start
“When I first started homeschooling, I had all the answers. I had been homeschooled myself, I was going to use the same curriculum I grew up with, I had little desks and planners with carefully planned lessons months in advance…and it didn’t work! It was a disaster from the start! I wish I had known that there are different styles of homeschooling. I wish I had understood my children’s learning styles beforehand and taken the time to really figure out what curriculum would have worked based on that. And MOST of all, I wish I had known to have more realistic expectations, to use curriculum as a mere tool, not to be a slave to it! I homeschool completely differently now, we are more at peace, more flexible, and whole lot more fun! I love sharing real life, helping new homeschoolers see that they are not alone, that there is another way to homeschool, and that homeschooling doesn’t have to be mimicking a school setting.”
Homeschooling for over 5 years.
2) Your Homeschool Experience Is Your Own
“There will be multitudes of people giving advice, scores of curriculum to choose from, and various methods for doing things. At times the abundance of information (although a blessing) can get noisy and distracting. In the end, trust that if God called you to this journey, He will equip you. He will provide all that you need. Your homeschool is not intended to look like anyone else’s. God has a unique purpose and plan for your family and that is exciting! Don’t get caught up in trying to recreate what someone else is doing, but trust that the Lord is going to lead you each step of the way to develop your homeschool uniquely for your family, and ultimately to glorify Him.”
Homeschooling for over 11 years.
Simply Living for Him
3) You Don’t Have to Look Like a Public School
“Your homeschool doesn’t have to look like a public school classroom. If I could go back and do those early years over again, I’d have spent much more time reading quality books with my kids (historical fiction, captivating biographies, and both classic and modern literature) and learning through hands-on experiences (playing, field trips, nature study, etc.).
It’s important to remember that sometimes it takes awhile to find your groove. Homeschooling for the first time is like being a new parent. Everybody has an opinion, but no one is an expert on homeschooling your child. Sift through the advice and tips, take what works for you, and discard the rest. You’ll probably make mistakes or look back and wish you’d done things differently, but that’s just part of being a parent – homeschooling or otherwise. You’ve got this!”
Homeschooling for 14 years.
Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
4) Don’t Feel Pressured; Take Your Time
“It’s easy to get caught up in the pressure and advice about what you must do the moment you start homeschooling. Many parents feel like they need to run off and purchase curriculum right away and start immediately with a rigorous school schedule. Don’t do that. Give yourself some grace, give your kids some time. It’s okay to start homeschooling slowly. Bring the kids home, and take the time to read and research, play and explore the big beautiful world out there. Take time to get to know how your kids learn and how they tick. You really do have time. Take it.”
Homeschooling for over 5 years.
Only Passionate Curiosity
5) Learn to Say No When It’s Too Much
“Stretched a little thin on your time outside of the home? Feeling overwhelmed with over commitments is very common! Take a good hard look at the various co-ops, extra classes, sports, volunteering, and events you are involved in and evaluate if they are truly necessary.
We ALL need breathing room and running ourselves (and our kids) ragged is only going to burn us out in the end. You need to be the best mom (or dad) you can for your kids – and sometimes that means saying no to something that is good, but not good for you at the moment. This can be so hard, especially when there are many things that are beneficial – just maybe not in this season for you or your family.”
Homeschooling for over 11 years.
6) Be Flexible in Your Homeschooling
“Homeschooling looks different for everyone. It is unique to each family and sometimes even each child within the family. I think my best advice is to be flexible and go with what works best for your family’s needs. Don’t compare yourself to others because what works for them, probably won’t be what works best for you!”
Homeschooling for over 10 years.
Confessions of a Homeschooler