Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: getting started homeschooling

Finding Homeschool Support

Finding Homeschool Support

Finding the right homeschool support is almost as important as knowing why you’re homeschooling in the first place. And, sometimes, even knowing where to look for that support proves to be a challenge.  If you are just starting on your homeschool journey, I hope you’ll find some good ideas for where to look for the support you need. If you are a veteran home educator, I hope you’ll purpose in your heart to look around and see the many ways you could bless those around you by using what God has put in your hands and offering that needed support to those who are starting after you.

Look to Those Who’ve Done It

When I was first considering homeschool as a young mom, I called a veteran home educator in our church to ask her what homeschooling was really like. This woman’s children were many years older than my own, and they were very accomplished in the way they handled themselves and interacted with both children and adults. This gave me confidence that home education could actually work as I was seeing it in action right in front of me.

One afternoon, this mom graciously spent more than an hour on the phone with me, answering my questions openly and honestly and painting a clear picture of what homeschooling looked like for her family. I was particularly intrigued that their schedule allowed them to take more than a month off from school at Christmas time each year so that their teens could work in the family business making fresh wreaths for the holidays. This idea of building flexibility into a school schedule was totally new to me. And, because she knew my children from church, my friend was also able to weigh in on learning styles and to give me some ideas to help my kids with the transition to learning at home. Of all the homeschool books I’ve read and the numerous speakers I’ve heard talk about home education, that single conversation with a friend and veteran homeschooler remains the most powerful and informative I have had.

Other Great Places To Get Support Along the Way

Outside of the special friend who can serve as a mentor and sounding board to you (and I pray that God sends you one of those, and then that you BECOME one of those,) there are a number of great places to find homeschool support along the way. God created us to live in fellowship with one another, so local groups, co-ops and associations are fantastic places to get connected and find support for your journey. Joining with local and even online groups can build lasting friendships and be a source of valuable help and encouragement along the way.

Local Homeschool Support Groups

Homeschool groups, like everything else in home education, are as varied as the people involved. Our family belongs to an academic co-op that has well over 500 students enrolled, but that same co-op started with just a few families meeting together at a home to do some classes and activities together. Field trip groups, enrichment groups, athletic groups, and others are available in many areas around the country. We have certainly been blessed by taking an active part in homeschool groups through the years, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to find one near you to get involved.

Can’t find a homeschool group in your area? Consider starting one yourself! The Teach Them Diligently Leadership Summit would be a great place to share ideas and get pointers from homeschool leaders in your area. Click here to learn more about this free event at Teach Them Diligently 2018.

Online groups can also serve as a great place to ask your questions and share ideas. We would love to have you join us in our Facebook Community and in one or more of our special Facebook groups. (All are remarkably drama free!) :)

Homeschool Support Events

Finally, taking time for personal education and enrichment is also an important way to get support along the way. I tell my children all the time that “you don’t know what you don’t know,” and that certainly becomes evident when you find yourself in a situation where there are a lot of resources and continuing education offered. Special events and conferences like the ones Teach Them Diligently produces offer an intensive dose of encouragement and equipping, often in a weekend. You will be amazed to find yourself among so many like-minded  families, and you will always leave energized, much more knowledgeable, and ready to jump right back into your homeschool journey.  Time and again we see that families who live in fellowship with others and attend homeschool events are much more likely to stay the course and continue on the path God has called them to.

The New Teach Them Diligently Blog Is A GREAT Resource To Help You On You Way!

Support. Strength. Encouragement. Resources. These are just a few of the words that sum up what our vision is for the new Teach Them Diligently blog. Our prayer is that this will become a go-to place for you to get great information about parenting, discipleship, marriage, homeschooling, and more and the support you need just when you need it. And, we’re assembling a great host of amazing writers to share their heart with you right here.

Check back regularly to hear from speakers, authors, homeschool veterans, bloggers, and more as well as regular content from Teach Them Diligently staff. You can be confident that the information published here will be gospel-centered and Biblically sound. We simply cannot wait to see how God will use this platform in the days ahead.

There are many other great homeschool blogs and resources as well. In fact, we just ran an article earlier this year that listed about 15 of the top homeschool blogs as voted by Teach Them Diligently families. You should definitely check them out as well! Click here to visit that post.

Want to learn a little more about the different elements of the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Support offerings? Click on the links below

Is there a specific topic you would like to see us address in the days ahead on the Teach Them Diligently blog? How about a specific writer or speaker you would like to hear from? Leave us some feedback in the comments below. We want this platform to be built to serve you the best way we can.

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today
Homeschool Unit Studies Pinterest

Are you thinking about homeschooling using Unit Studies?

We’ve created a Pinterest board with resources to help get you started.

unit-studies-pinterest-board

Are you thinking about homeschooling? Find out more about how to get started on our Getting Started Homeschooling Resource page.

Don’t forget, Teach Them Diligently is offering a free “Getting Started” workshop on Thursday at each of our convention locations and many other Getting Started workshops throughout the event. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to build a solid foundation for your homeschool!

 

Register for your convention today.

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today

Have you ever stumbled into that one thing so obvious that you wonder how you overlooked it for so long?  I admit that I have done that often, for I seem to be inclined to make things a little too complicated from time to time.

Block Schedule

This school year, I was determined to get more done in our days– and to be better at balancing teaching and discipling with the other ministries God has allowed us to be a part of. As I prayed fervently for wisdom and direction for my days, God reminded me of something I have often told new homeschool moms– you need to set up your homeschool and curriculum choices in a way that you as the teacher are comfortable with, taking into account the bent of your children, of course. Ultimately, though, if a system or curriculum doesn’t work for mama, it probably won’t be a success in your homeschool.

This particular mama craves order. I like schedules. I like lists. The last couple of years, though, as our children have gotten older and our lives have gotten busier, order and discipline have taken a big hit. Teaching 4 children and participating in as many different ministries and outreaches as God has called us to doesn’t allow for chaos if we are going to be successful at anything.

Last school year was really difficult for our family, quite frankly. As our children have grown and the Lord has blessed the work of our hands, I have found myself overwhelmed more often than not and very slow to respond to the needs and changes happening all around me. My children are all getting older, and they struggled last year in an environment that was chaotic at best. God is a God of order, and our homeschool seemed to reflect anything but order. I knew we had to change.

Block Schedule and Google Calendar

Google Calendar Homeschool ScheduleWe have four children. Our boys have the seemingly supernatural ability to fritter time away. Left unchecked, in fact, they could easily work on a single subject for the entire day– and accomplish little. (Believe me, it is happened!) I am convinced that boys have no sense of time whatsoever. I have another child who is an escape artist. The minute I get distracted, she finds her way to greener pastures, knowing that it may be quite a while before I will get back to her again.

For me to keep our family on schedule each day, I needed to have more order to my hours, so I set up a Google Calendar specifically for my school day. Each hour is noted as a class hour for each child. For example, on non-co-op days, first hour is history class, which we do all together, but second hour has an assigned class for each specific child. This schedule allows me to spend time teaching my youngest (the escape artist) while my older ones do classes that they can handle independently in the mornings. Then later in the day, I spend time with the older children while my youngest finishes up, plays or reads.

Although I had a plan for each specific hour, I was still losing track of time. To help with that issue, I downloaded the Schedule Planner App. This app syncs with my Google calendar and gives me an alert when it is time to change classes. Each hour, I get a message on my phone to Schedule Planner.jpgremind me to move everyone along in their schedule. This keeps all of us from losing track of time, spending way too much time on any given project to the neglect of others, and frittering our days away.

For our family, the accountability of the class hours has been great, but we do not stick to them completely. As homeschoolers, we still have the flexibility to keep working if we are close to finishing something or to move on early if we finish an assignment in less than an hour. The class hours are really good guidelines for us, though, and have been a good motivation for my older children to work efficiently knowing that any work they do not complete during the school day moves into the evening hours. Please remember, too, that I am now teaching primarily middle school and high school. Most younger classes would not take a full hour. For my teenagers, though, their work does take about that long per subject. You would want to set up your block schedule appropriate to your children.

We are still early in the year, but this has already proven to be a huge homeschool victory for our family! School work is being done better, grades are higher, frustrations with each other are lower, and we are accomplishing so much more. What could possibly be better from a homeschool standpoint?

Have you had a Homeschool Victory this year? We want to help you celebrate those– and we want to share them with others. Share them in the comments below or on social media with the hashtag #homeschoolvictory. Let’s cheer for each other’s successes!!

FB_GodOfOrder-FamilyStack

Does a block schedule seem like a terrible idea to you, but you still feel like you need to work on the organization in your own homeschool? Click here to get a free workshop about finding your perfect homeschool schedule. We are sure it will be a huge help to you!

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today
homeschool preschool encouragement

It’s August! Again. And you’ve got your schoolroom all fixed up and the curtains are pressed. The workboxes are labeled, the unit studies are planned, and everything you need through Christmas is already laminated. Or not.

If your palms are sweaty just thinking about everything you need to get/have finished so your homeschool year can properly begin, relax. Grab a cup of tea/coffee/Trim Healthy beverage of choice and join me for a few minutes. While preschool is my cup of tea, we are actually beginning a weird mesh of kindergarten/first-grade materials alongside tot-school, because little brother wants to learn, too. And frankly, it can all seem like a bit much. Without further adieu, here are my

Top 10 Back-to-Homeschool Preschool Tips:

  •  Stock up on coffee/tea/lemon for water or whatever it is that makes you breathe a sigh of “I can do this”. Not only will these begin your day with a comfort item of your own (because I know little Suzy is not going to share her stuffed ostrich with the pink bow), but when you need a “mommy moment” at some point you will have a favorite treat ready to go while the kids watch an episode of Word World for 15 minutes and you regroup.
  • Get everyone comfy pajamas for the days when you rock the stereotype and keep them on all day while doing school, chores, and having fun growing together as a family.
  • Go ahead and buy the laminator. Office whatever store that is close to you is going to charge you an arm and a leg for all those units, PreK packs, and chore chart cards to be laminated.
  • Don’t think you need a curriculum. Piece together fun things you find, enjoy nature, go to the library, check out all the amazing free printables online! Or get a curriculum if you feel that would work best, but don’t let anyone tell you-you have to have it.
  • Plan preschool activities around your household tasks. Did you know that teaching your child to wash windows in small counter-clockwise circles actually helps their muscles prepare for cursive? Teaching your child the steps to make the bed helps them understand the process of following directions. Baking cookies helps put in pegs for fractions later on. Don’t think it has to come out of a book to be “learning”.
  • Get some good read alouds that you loved or have always wanted to read. Picture books are great for lap reading, but get meaty books for 10-15 minutes of quiet-play read-aloud time each day. We are reading the Dr. Doolittle stories this year along with some others I’ve never taken the time to read. The point is to teach them to listen and eventually to be able to narrate back, so it’s OK to pick something you enjoy.
  • Be prepared. For days to go off track. For sick days and cranky days and days when it’s too sunny or snowy to stay inside. Be prepared for forgotten crock pots, spilt juice, and occasional naps to throw your schedule for a loop. And just go with it. God blesses messes, too. Not every day fits on the “perfect homeschool day” Pinterest board.
  • Try to have a routine. Not necessarily a schedule, but a routine is good for everyone. Let your kids know that mommy has her coffee and reads her Bible for 15 minutes before it’s time to start asking questions about the day. Have a set night of the week for your family’s favorite dinner. Help your kids to know it’s chores followed by school work before it’s playtime. Whatever routine works for your family, give yourself a grace period to figure it out, then nail it down.
  • Play a lot of games. Hide and Seek, Sum Swamp, Super Stretchy ABC’s, CandyLand, etc. Make learning fun for everyone.
  • Each morning, before your feet hit those floppy bunny slippers and head for the caffeine, give the day to Jesus. Give the kids and their hearts and minds to Jesus. Ask for grace and patience and more grace. Thank God that we live in a place where we can teach our children diligently to walk with Him. And then hop on out to begin your day.

What is your number 1 tip for homeschooling preschool?

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, a small percentage goes to support the author, but you are not charged any additional fees.*

Lara Molettiere Laras Place and a Cup of Grace

 

I’m Lara, a sinner saved by grace, wife and help-meet to my best friend, John, and homeschooling mama to two bouncing (literally) boys, Teddy and Frederick. Hot tea, good conversations and dark chocolate are some of my favorite things. Grab your favorite mug and join us on our adventures at Lara’s Place and a Cup of Grace!

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today

Whether you’re looking for a hub of information, practical support, social opportunities, or homeschool encouragement, homeschool support groups (in all shapes and sizes) can meet these needs and more — especially as you move into homeschooling middle school and beyond.

Although homeschoolers are characteristically an independent bunch who enjoy the freedom to make individual decisions about curriculum and methods, we can all be strengthened in our unique journey when we have the support of others to inform, encourage and assist us.

homeschoolsupportgroupsTTD

In today’s homeschooling world, that homeschooling support ranges from traditional and structured to a casual coffee group. There are support groups organized more like a traditional school (with shared curriculum, co-op teaching, and sometimes even public funding), umbrella groups that simply keeps your paperwork on file for state legal requirements, and a lot of variety in between.

What do these groups provide?

Again, the variety of benefits are vast. You can find legal registration support, curriculum assistance, testing and placement options, co-op teaching, lab opportunities, electives, field trips, social activities, promotion and graduation ceremonies, Web resources and support, and more.

Here are a few examples of homeschool support groups you might find in your area:

  • Publicly funded homeschool co-op or charter schools provided by your school district
  • Independent schools or state homeschooling organizations
  • Nationally organized homeschool co-ops (such as Classical Conversations)
  • Privately organized homeschool co-op schools (such as Artios Academies)
  • Regional and local homeschool support groups
  • Faith-based homeschool support groups

However, beyond filling the practical needs of curriculum or legal paperwork, a homeschool support group can provide a more important benefit: plugging you in with your local homeschooling community. Within your support group, you may develop a few close friendships with women you can open up to in times of need and vice versa. You have the opportunity to learn from mentors who’ve been in your shoes and can help you stay on course as you approach the more daunting middle school and high school years. You can also meet families with children of similar ages and build social connections for your kids.

I’ve been a part of a local homeschool support group for the past four years — and I can’t imagine homeschooling without it. Not because our group provides co-ops or anything formal in the way of education, but because of the support I’ve received from other homeschooling moms and the friendships that we’ve made for our entire family.

I’ve made practical connections that allowed us to start our own girls book club co-op, as well as spiritual prayer partners who’ve been able to lift each other up during our times of need. I learned early on that it’s important not to homeschool in isolation: Your personal homeschool support network is vital to helping you stay on course.

As to be expected in any group of people working together, there are pros and cons to opening yourself up to a group. I believe the key to maintaining positive relationships is to make sure you don’t fall into the comparison trap. Whether it’s comparing your children to other children, or your own performance with other moms, resist the temptation to look at one everyone else is doing — keep your eyes on what God is calling you to do for your family.

Don’t be surprised if that looks different from others. Don’t expect to agree with everyone on what church to attend, curriculum or learning style to use, schedules and chore programs, etc. But do agree to encourage one another to seek the Lord first in all areas of discipleship for your family.

Lastly, if you’re struggling to find a local homeschool support group in your area, consider the homeschooling community at large: There are both local and national homeschooling events taking place yearly that are designed to support and encourage you in the practical, emotional and spiritual aspects of homeschooling.

I’ve attended both a state homeschooling conference and the Teach Them Diligently Convention, and I can honestly say that I’ve never been so energized and refreshed. I’ve also made inspiring and supportive friends when attending these events, and these friendships are now an important part of my personal homeschool support network.

So don’t homeschool in isolation: Make time for a homeschool support group. Build your personal encouragement network for the road ahead!

Are you currently part of a homeschool support group? Is it formal and structured, or more casual in nature? Are you looking for practical, social or spiritual support from a homeschool support group? What other ways do you seek homeschool encouragement if you don’t have anyone local to connect with regarding homeschooling?

 

 

 

 

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today

Are you thinking about homeschooling using the Classical Method?

We’ve created a Pinterest board with resources to help get you started.

Follow Teach Diligently’s board Homeschool Classical Education on Pinterest.

Are you thinking about homeschooling? Find out more about how to get started on our Getting Started Homeschooling Resource page.

Don’t forget, Teach Them Diligently is offering a free “Getting Started” workshop on Thursday at each of our convention locations. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to build a solid foundation for your homeschool. Register for your convention today.

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today

Simplify

As a veteran homeschool mom of 18 years, allow me to warn you about three thieves that prey on home schools. These thieves are notorious for creeping into your midst when you’re not looking and carrying off valuables like joy, relationships, harmony, a love of learning, and peace.

The three thieves are:

  • Too much stuff
  • Too much information
  • Too busy of a schedule

The best safeguard you can have against those thieves is to simplify your life in three areas: your schedule, your house, and your child’s education.

First, simplify your schedule.

This can be a tough task; there are so many activities that beckon for you to be involved! New homeschoolers, especially, can be drawn toward overloading their schedules, because they want to make sure their child doesn’t miss out on anything. But veteran homeschoolers can also be pulled into an overloaded schedule by adding one more thing and one more thing over the years, until suddenly they realize that they’re spending all their time in the van and little to none at home.

It’s time to take a good look at this thief known as “a busy schedule” and realize what it’s stealing. In short, a busy schedule can rob you of time for relationships. The more you allow those outside your family to dictate what you must do and when you must do it, the less freedom you will have to flex with real life, to seize moments ripe for discipleship, to work through the sometimes-tough emotions of living in a fallen world, to spend time dealing with conflict in a manner that glorifies God.

Cultivating a good relationship with and between each member of your family takes more time than you think. Simplify your schedule.

Second, simplify your house.

You will collect a lot of stuff as you homeschool. Make room for it by cleaning out and paring down what you own. You see, the thief of too-much-stuff steals your focus. The more stuff you have, the more time and effort it will take to keep track of it all, keep it in good repair, and move it from one place to another. And if you are constantly having to focus on the things, you will have less inclination to focus on what is most important: the people.

Simplifying your house will allow you to view things as tools that help you care for the people in your home. If you get those two switched—if you begin viewing people as tools to help you care for the things in your home,—that’s a red flag that the thief called “too-much-stuff” is at work. Keep your focus where it should be. Simplify your house.

Third, simplify your child’s education.

The brain needs time to process; the heart needs time to ruminate. Our goal is to educate the whole person—cultivating his beliefs, his loyalties and character, the ideas that will rule his life—not just stuffing his head full of facts. Therefore, we must allow time for the child to contemplate and assimilate the ideas he receives.

Beware of overloading your child’s mind and heart, trying to stuff in too much information. There is no way he will be able to learn everything there is to know during the years of his schooling. It’s impossible. Accept that fact and choose his studies wisely. You can thwart the thief of too-much-information by intentionally giving your child plenty of time to digest the truths he is reading about and make them his own possession. Simplify his education.

Look for workshops at the Teach Them Diligently Conventions this spring designed to encourage you in these three areas of homeschool life. Hope to see you there!


If you are just starting out, or if you need some encouragement on your homeschooling journey, check out our Teach Them Diligently course on How to Homeschool with Confidence. You can also join Teach Them Diligently 365 for many more resources to help you in your homeschool.

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today

Successful Homeschooling takes commitment, time, expense, hard work, thought, and prayer.  TeachThemDiligently.Net (1)

“It’s a girl.” Twenty-four years ago my husband looked at me in the delivery room, uttered that phrase, and life changed. We went from a two-person family to a three-person family. We started spending money on different items, like diapers and car seats. Our schedule began revolving around caring for this young life, and our thoughts and prayers constantly turned toward her needs.

We desperately wanted to do a good job as parents. We wanted to provide what she needed and to bring her up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We wanted to disciple her and encourage her in her relationship with Jesus Christ. We knew it would take a lot of time and effort, but we were willing to make that commitment.

Five years later my husband looked at me in the living room and uttered another phrase: “Let’s homeschool.” And life changed again. We still needed to keep the focus on discipling our daughter, but we again started spending money on different items, like books and a globe. Our schedule expanded to include teaching this young person about God’s world and how it works and the people who have lived in it and their ideas. You can be sure that our thoughts and prayers continued to turn toward her needs, but now in more areas than ever before.

We desperately wanted to do a good job as homeschoolers. We wanted to provide her with an excellent education in addition to nurturing her spiritual life and keeping her heart turned toward her parents and siblings. We knew it would take even more time and effort, and we were willing to make that commitment.

There’s the key to getting started in homeschooling: Decide if you’re willing to make the commitment. Before we talk about setting goals and choosing methods and all of those details, you need to take some time to look at what lies ahead with your eyes wide open.

Maybe you’ve read the statistics about how homeschoolers do better academically and you want that for your child. Great!

But you must realize that a successful student doesn’t happen simply by changing locations from a classroom to a dining room. Successful homeschooling takes commitment, time, expense, hard work, thought, and prayer.

But successful homeschoolers are willing to make those investments because their goal is to bring glory to God. Once that commitment is made, the rest can follow.

Both as a new parent and as a new homeschooler, the one thing that I wanted most was to talk to other parents who had been there—who had older children whom I admired—and listen to the wisdom they had acquired through their experiences. You have a prime opportunity to do that at the Teach Them Diligently conventions. There you will rub shoulders with parents who have walked where you are heading. You will be able to share your heart with other attenders and glean encouragement and wisdom from speakers who have made the same commitment to homeschool for the glory of God.

Speaker Tip:

I wish I would have remembered that the burden of the outcome of our parenting rests on God’s grace, not my efforts. I could have rested in His righteousness and learned to listen more closely to His voice. 

Kendra Fletcher, Preschoolers and Peace. She’ll be sharing her wisdom at the Nashville and Dallas events. 

Register today. Think of it as your first investment toward successful homeschooling!

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today