New To Homeschool? Check this out!

This week I will be answering some questions from parents who have chose to homeschool their children instead of sending them to public school for this next school year due to the pandemic.

Although these were asked by those whose kids normally go to public school, they can benefit anyone who is new to homeschool or those who will be doing another year of remote learning.

What supplies should I buy?

This can depend on a few things. Younger kids will need more than the older kids. For our younger years I buy crayons, markers, construction paper, scissors, etc. It can depend on what your curriculum requires/needs, or if their teacher will be having them do assignments that will require them as part of their at home work.

Other supplies that I make sure to keep on hand are

  • Composition notebooks (2 for each class/subject)
  • Pencils (both mechanical and regular)
  • Black, blue, and red pens
  • Printer paper
  • Printer ink
  • Folders
  • Graph paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Paint and paint brushes (we always have these anyway)
  • Dry erase markers & board (for me)
  • Counters (for the younger ones)
  • Hole punch (I use both a regular one and a Happy Planner one)
  • Pencil sharpener or lead refills
  • Calendar poster
  • Multi section organizer for pens/pencil/markers/etc.
  • Binders (to keep their work in or extra loose leaf paper)

We sometimes get stuff that I didn’t include, and really you don’t even need all of this. If most of your child’s learning will be done online, you can probably get away with getting a couple notebooks (at least one per subject, maybe two for math), pencils, a pencil sharpener or lead, and a binder or folder. You really don’t need a lot, it is all about whatever makes it easiest for you and your child.

What about socialization?

The first thing people always ask about when I say we homeschool is “What about socialization?” Which, I get! Being taught at home leaves you with a lot less interaction than you would have going to a public school. However, there are a lot of ways that homeschool kids can socialize. There are co-ops, library days, homeschool days at the park, field trips with other homeschool families, extra curricular activities, support groups, volunteering, community sports team, local clubs, summer camps, and other community events. There are a lot more, but those are the most popular ways that homeschool children get socialization time.

I know a lot of people think that homeschooling means that we stay home all day. This is not true. We do school, run errands, go to the park, do extracurricular activities, play dates, etc.

Right now it is harder to get socialization in, but that goes for everyone. Some states are starting to open back up and with that parks and such are open again, but we haven’t ventured to a park yet. We do lots of family time right now and when we are ready we will engage in other social activities.

Curriculum

This is a loaded topic. There’s so much out there and I will be honest.. it can be VERY overwhelming researching it all. My best piece of advice is watch YouTube reviews. There are so many videos of homeschool parents doing flip throughs, reviews, unboxing, day in the lives, etc. It will show you what the curriculum looks like, what all is involved in the curriculum, and give you a basic look at what the work load will be like with that curriculum. I haven’t used many different curriculums but I will share with y’all some of our favorites.

Abeka – This curriculum is amazing. It is a Christian curriculum so you will see religious content. I love that it is all laid out, each day is listed with what I need to teach, what the homework is, what I need to go over for tests, etc. It made my life so much easier.

BJU Press – Like Abeka, this was laid out for me. We used this with Sophia this past year for kindergarten and we both loved it. It was so easy to use and easy to follow directions. Again, this is a Christian curriculum.

Easy Peasy – This is a FREE full curriculum that is, again, laid out 100%. I like that you can do this completely offline by purchasing the workbooks off Amazon (they are $5-10 a piece) or you can choose the online part which is free, minus the printing of the worksheets. The only cost that you will have to spend would be the workbooks off Amazon or the ink and paper to print the worksheets off, the actual lesson plans are already written out and provided for free.

LifePac (Alpha Omega) – This is what we will be using for Autumn for seventh grade. It is a curriculum that is 100% offline. Each of the subjects are broken into 10 workbooks that contain the reading (textbook) they need to do and the assignments that go along with the readings. I can’t comment on if I like it since we haven’t used it but I am almost certain that we will both love this one. You get 10 workbooks and a teacher guide for each subject so you know what needs to be done and the answer keys to all of the assignments, quizzes, and tests.

K12 – I just recently looked into this one and will for sure be doing more research on it for 2021/2022. It is an online public school that has licensed teachers teaching it. You have to enroll your child as you would an actual public school and you need to provide proof of age, immunizations, etc. like you do for public school as well.

Keeping your sanity.. or trying to.

My biggest piece of advice for this is to stay organized and lesson plan. Homeschooling can be so overwhelming but I personally find that when I know what I need to do and what our lessons look like for the week ahead, I am much more calm.

Also, don’t be scared to take a break. If you or your kid are having a bad day, take a break. Come back to it later, or tomorrow. I cannot tell you how many times we have had to walk away and come back later. Kids are human and have bad days just like we do. It’s okay!

Another thing is to understand that this will not go as planned. If you can understand that.. things will be much easier. The first couple years I stressed so much when we didn’t get to everything I wanted to get to or it took longer than I planned to get something done. Now, I just go with the flow. If math takes us longer than I planned, it is what it is. We can move onto the next thing when we have completed math.

Extra Resources

IXL – This is a website (or an app) that you can use as a comprehensive k-12 curriculum or as a extra practice/review. It goes over math, language arts, science, social studies, and Spanish. There are over 8,000 skills covering those subjects. I love this website and have used it every year.

Khan Academy – This website (and app) offers so much! Math, art, computer programming, sciences, history, finance, and so much more. This, along with IXL, are my two favorite resources. There is also a Khan Academy Kids app that the younger ones can use, and my 5 year old loves it.

ABC Mouse – This is an amazing, amazing resource for your younger ones! It is geared for kids 2-8 but also offers Adventure Academy for kids 8-13 (I haven’t checked this out yet). It covers Reading, Math, Science, Art & Colors, and Music. We have been using this with our 5 year old and she loves it.

Education – I use this for printing off worksheets for extra practice and review. There’s so many options to choose from. It is a great resource.

Pinterest – Believe it or not, Pinterest is an amazing resource for finding worksheets, crafts, learning games, unit studies, lesson plans, planning pages, etc.

I hope this list was helpful! If you have any questions leave them in the comments! Also, share any other resources you have found helpful for you and your family.

Thank you for reading.

xoxo

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