Friday, April 21, 2017

Notgrass History: Exploring America


Oh my goodness, I am super excited to tell you about Notgrass History!! "Notgrass History curriculum uses narrative lessons, primary source documents, historical novels and biographies, and hands-on activities to create engaging learning experiences."

Started by the Notgrass family in 1999, they produce courses for Middle School and High School centered around God's Word. 

We received Exploring America, an American history high school curriculum. This set is simply amazing but I don't want to give anything away, so you will have to wait until my review toward the end of May. 




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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Homeschooling Support


Before homeschooling even becomes a reality, I think it is so important to have the support of your friends, family, and community!

Start with your family first


Discuss it with your spouse.  What are your goals?  Are they in agreement?  Make a plan.  Will he or she help with teaching?  Are the children on board?  Are they excited?  Do you have the support of the grandparents?  Will they have a role?

For us, homeschooling was something we started considering when our daughter was about three years old.  It didn't really become a reality until she stayed home for Kindergarten and was only official when she didn't enroll in First Grade.  Hubby and I knew that this was the right move for her at the time and we were both in agreement.  Staying home indefinitely would be hard financially, but it was on our radar since she was about three, so we saved up.

The grandparents on the other hand, weren't quite as sure.  Homeschooling was new and never attempted in either family.  I'm sure it didn't make sense to them at the time.  Both had questions and weren't quite sure she would get the same kind of education as if she were in school.  It took some time for them to understand our decision and become comfortable with it {and that's really all you can hope for}.

Find a local support group


Search online for a support group in your area and get involved.  Facebook is a great place to start. Finding a well rounded and thriving support group will help you more than you know.

When our daughter was three we joined a local homeschooling group which just happened to have a preschool subgroup.  Her and I both met some wonderful families that we are still friends with now over 10 years later.  I had so many questions back then and it was helpful to talk with moms who could steer me in the right direction.  By the time she was "official", it was a breeze.

From that small group, we started a local Facebook group that currently has more than 400 families.  Inclusion in the group is by invite only and all new members have to be currently homeschooling school aged children and local to the area.  Any member can start an activity or smaller group and we have been able to become involved in many things we otherwise would not have been.  Oh, and the online support and encouragement is AMAZING!!  

If you aren't having any luck finding a local group, try searching for your state on Homeschool World.  This is the most comprehensive site I have found but you could always just Google homeschool groups in your city or state.

Join a Co-op


Sometimes it's just easier for everyone when you have a group you are meeting with on a regular basis for accountability.  A cooperative, or co-op, is an autonomous association of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual, social, economic, and cultural benefit.  Co-ops come in all shapes and sizes and finding the right one for your family is important.

We've been involved in many co-ops over the years.  Some which have included core subjects like math and history and others that just covered things like nature study and art.  Sometimes it takes trying one out to see if it is a good fit.  We have been involved with Classical Conversations for her 7th and 8th grades years.


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So there you go! I think having a good support system is so important! For other homeschooling questions, take a look at these Homeschool FAQs.



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Monday, April 17, 2017

Roman Roads Media: Classical Rhetoric

Another company that I am anxious to tell you about is Roman Roads Media. They are classical Christian publishers, "with the goal of making high quality curriculum accessible, affordable, and flexible for the Christian homeschooler."

Roman Roads Media was founded in 2011 from the love of classical education and the desire to publish material for the homeschooler. 

I will be reviewing Fitting Words | Classical Rhetoric for the Christian Student. 


Look for my review around the middle of May. 



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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

IEW U.S. History-Based Writing

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I am excited to share with you the reviews that I will have coming up over the next couple months.

The next company that I'm excited to tell you about is the Institute for Excellence in Writing or IEW. The mission of IEW is "to equip teachers and teaching parents with methods and materials which will aid them in training their students to become confident and competent communicators and thinkers."

IEW offers curriculum for children K-12, college students, special needs, English Language Learners, and Professional Development.

I am thrilled to be reviewing the U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons.


Look for my reviews around the end of April to the beginning of May. 



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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Homeschool FAQs


I usually tell people I've been homeschooling our daughter since birth. Officially though, accorging to our county, I've homeschooled her since she was six. But I think the first curriculum I purchased was when she was three...so we can go with that. She turns 14 next month so I've been at it for about 11 YEARS!!  Ekk!  

That's 11 years of homeschool groups, individual curriculum, boxed curriculum sets, co-ops, playgroups, activities, programs, testing, evaluations, sports, online classes, and more.

Some years we joined outside groups and some years we didn't. Some years we tested and some years we had her portfolio evaluated. That's the wonderful thing about homeschooling...YOU decide what is best for your children. Every year is a surprise.

So, here are some frequently asked questions that I have received over the years about homeschooling. 


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What about socialization?

This is honestly the most absurd question I get and probably the most frequently asked over the years.  The mainstream thinking is that if you don't send your child to a brick and mortar school with 30 other kids in each class, all day long, they are not socialized. I was especially asked this question since I have an only child. Of course those who know her personally, know she is very well rounded. Homeschool children have an abundance of opportunities to interact with, not only children their same age, but children of all ages, as well as adults. There are so many opportunities for homeschool families now, it can be overwhelming choosing the right one. So, yeah, she's pretty socialized. ;)

I don't have the patience to homeschool, how do you do it?

Honestly, some days I feel like I don't have the patience either. A child who is in 2nd grade math and one in 8th grade math may have different struggles, but the struggles are still there. The technique I used last week no longer works this week. She got it and then she didn't. Bad attitude yesterday and lovely smiles today. Sometimes I just need to take a deep breath, walk away, and pray. But it's so worth it for the times she finally gets it!  The days she doesn't get any wrong or the special times we are just sitting and learning together. The days, weeks, and years are flying by and I've enjoyed every moment of them!

Is homeschooling legal?

Yes!  Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states BUT you must follow the homeschooling guidelines in your state. Click for current homeschool laws in your state. 

Do I need a teaching degree to homeschool?

No, you don't need any special degree to homeschool and you do not need a college education. However, depending on the state where you live, you may need some sort of education qualification, like a high school diploma or GED, to homeschool. Our state currently has no parent qualification requirements. You can find more information on your state here

How can I teach a subject I know nothing about?

I have felt this way on more than one occasion, especially since our daughter has been in Jr High. Latin? Algebra? Chemistry? Logic? Did I say Latin? Well thankfully, many of the curriculum packages out there are easy to use and come with teacher's guides, lesson plans, and DVDs to help the parent. You can also find online groups and forums with other families using the same curriculum and ask questions. 

How do I choose a curriculum, there are so many?

At first it's going to be research, lots of research, and quite possibly trial and error. Join a local homeschool group or a group online and ask what others are using. If you can, go to a homeschool convention. If you have never been, check out my article on homeschool conventions and how to navigate them. Here is a list of our favorite curriculum over the years. 

Is homeschooling expensive?

It can be, but it doesn't have to. It's really up to you. There are so many resources out there to homeschoolers. You can read my articles on Homeschooling for FREE and Homeschooling - Can You Afford it?  Some years I have purchased all of our curriculum and books used at local homeschool sales and online buy/sell groups. Other years we have joined co-ops and programs that came with a cost. It's really up to you.

Can my kids play sports while being homeschooled?

Yes, but the rules vary state to state, and more likely, county to county. Because it's different for each state and county, check with a homeschool advocate, like HSLDA. You will most likely need to call the school in your district as well.

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I hope these questions and answers have been helpful to anyone thinking about homeschooling but not quite sure where to start. Or maybe you have thought about it but don't think you can do it. Believe me, you can, and it is very rewarding, for both you and your children. 



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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Memoria Press Writing and Latin


I mentioned last week that I am excited to share with you the reviews that I will have coming up over the next few months.

Memoria Press is the first company that I want to tell you about. For those who have never heard of Memoria Press, since 1994 they have been family-run publishing company that produces simple and easy-to-use classical Christian education materials for home and private schools.

They offer curriculum for preschool through 12th grade and their products are characterized by simplicity, quality, and affordability. They are also designed for homeschool families who have no familiarity with the subject being taught. 

I will be reviewing First Form Latin and Classical Composition.


First Form Latin


Classical Composition


Look for my reviews around the end of April to the beginning of May. 



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