Category: homeschool helps

elementary schoolhomeschool helpsProduct Review

MaxScholar Orton Gillingham Software- A Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

If I can teach my children to read, I will have given them the keys to the world. If they leave my homeschool as competent and confident readers, I will count it a success. When a child learns to read, a door to learning is opened. They can take ownership and learn all the things. Each one of my kids has been so different when it comes to learning to read. There has not been a set formula that has worked. My oldest was reading chapter books by the time he was four. He was reading dinosaur encyclopedias at age five. I never taught him to read. He learned completely on his own. My second took some time to get there. We did phonics and leveled readers. One day, when she was eight, she picked up a chapter book called “Life with Lily” and consumed it. She retained all the information and was able to articulate the story line and characters to me. My third was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was six- right at the age when most kids are in the thick of learning to read. Reading became associated with pain for her and it wasn’t until she was nine that she began to come around and realize it isn’t so bad. Then we have number four. She is bright and articulate and curious. To talk to her for any amount of time is to realize how smart she is. However, when we did our yearly testing this year at the beginning of June, our friend and tester shared that she had some concerns about dyslexia. Not an official diagnosis, but some concerns. It doesn’t surprise me that one of my kids would struggle with dyslexia. I struggled my entire school career and wasn’t given a name or strategy for my struggles until my senior year of college. I was beyond thrilled when the opportunity to review MaxScholar Orton-Gillingham Software came our way. I went ahead and requested accounts for both of my younger girls.

The Orton-Gillingham Approach is a direct, explicit, multisensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic, and prescriptive way to teach literacy when reading, writing, and spelling does not come easily to individuals, such as those with dyslexia.

MaxScholar Orton-Gillingham Software is an online reading subscription program. It is like having an online reading tutor. We received a six month subscription through MaxScholar. Everything is accessible online. There are no additional materials to keep up with. You could use this program with any student, regardless of reading ability. However, it has been specifically designed for students who have learning disabilities… specifically dyslexia.

My eight year old working on her phonics placement test. Please excuse the excessive amounts of post-it notes. I have a problem.

Both of my girls did a placement test as the first thing to determine the level at which they should start. It is tedious. My youngest was totally cool with it. She is a box checker and detailed oriented person. She sat patiently and didn’t question the process. My older daughter, however, was less than impressed. She kept looking at me and asking how much more she had to do. She would get to the end of a section and think she was done only to have another part of the assessment pop up. She could have stopped and come back to it, but I encouraged her to keep going. This is my very tactile/ kinesthetic learner- my girl who is constantly moving and does not do well when she has to sit at the table and work. In fact, most days, she doesn’t use a chair- she stands, dances, and wiggles her way through school.

Each girl has her own log-in to her customized account. Once the placement tests were finished, they were able to log on and pick an activity. As you can see in the image above, the activities include MaxPhonics, MaxReading, MaxWord, MaxPlaces, MaxBios, MaxMusic, and Max Vocab. Phonics, Reading and Words are the three main programs. You can actually block the extra activities if you want your child to focus more on the main topics. I may end up having to do this with my older daughter as she immediately went to the MaxMusic section and didn’t want to give the others a try.

The program is very easy to navigate. You can see the teacher chick at the top guiding where to go. She talks to my girls whenever they log on- welcoming them back, etc. You can use MaxScholar Orton-Gillingham Software on your desktop through a web browser or through an app on your device. We chose to use the web browser to access the program.

The girls have their own log in and I have mine. The parent portal is fantastic and easy to navigate. You can adjust their grade level, turn on and off the placement tests, grant access to games, and more. You can keep track of what your child is doing and how they are doing.

Coming soon are training videos for MaxScholar. These are super informative and easy to follow, making the MaxScholar experience that much better. As part of the Review Crew, I was able to have access to these videos and it really helped as the girls and I navigated and utilized the program.

I am impressed with MaxScholar Orton-Gillingham Software. I am excited to see how it helps my girls learn to decode and gain confidence in their reading abilities. I am sad to think that I missed something early on with their learning to read, but so thankful for tools to help them now.

Be sure to follow MaxScholar on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaxScholarLLC/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaxScholarLLC
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maxscholarsoftware/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/MaxScholarLLC/pins/

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homeschool helpsProduct Review

Help Teaching Pro Subscription- A Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. 

I create a good bit of my children’s learning materials. With our delight directed approach to learning, we are often thinking outside of the box and not using a specific curriculum or program. While I have the skill and ability to create my own worksheets, I would rather not reinvent the wheel. I was so excited to discover HelpTeaching.com. We were given the HelpTeaching Pro Subscription to review.

What is HelpTeaching?

Teacher Worksheets, Tests, Activities, Lessons, and Games for PreK-12. Printable & online resources for educators: teachers, tutors, trainers, and homeschool parents.

Help Teaching Consists of

  1. Tests and Worksheets: A library of pre-made tests and worksheets for early learning through 12th grade, covering all subjects… including AP learning material. The worksheets are aligned with Common Core.
  2. Test Maker: Can be used to create tests in a variety of formats including multiple choice, fill in the blank, true/ false, and open ended questions.
  3. Test Room: The platform can be used to administer online assessments for individuals and classrooms.
  4. Worksheet Generator: Generate your own math and game worksheets.

The website is very easy to navigate. When you log on, you’ll see menue tabs across the top labeled:

Tests and Worksheets

Lessons

Test Maker

Online Testing

My Content

Blog

The “How To” Guides are easily accessed from the sidebar menu. These cover such topics as “How to Administer Tests Online” and “How to Customize Your Tests.” The guides are thorough and easy to follow.

The online testing platform is pretty awesome. It allows instructors to administer assessments online. It also provides data for tracking a student’s progress. The test room is a convenient and flexible way to customize your homeschool or classroom. You can choose to create your own test questions or search from the massive library of created content.

I created a sample Social Studies test about presidential elections. I was able to search the pre-loaded test options and adapt it as I wanted. I could then customize the date and time I wanted the test completed. I could customize if I want the student to be able to go back and review or change answers, if I want a practice mode enabled, and if I want the results to be shown upon completion.

Once the test is complete and ready to go to the students, I can email it to them or upload directly to Google Classroom. You can create a list of students with your HelpTeaching Pro Subscription so you can email the test and instructions directly to them.

I could see how this feature would be great for homeschooling middle and highschoolers. I think it would be great if you are teaching a co op class. It is very organized and user friendly.

I was also able to generate my own worksheets using my HelpTeaching Pro Subscription. I LOVE this feature. If a child needs extra help with a topic or a fun worksheet to go along with a topic we are working on, this is a great option. I created the above Summer Time Word Find for my elementary age girls in a matter of seconds using the worksheet generator.

You can search the library of tests and worksheets by grade. I have a rising eighth grade. The subjects offered for her grade include Arts, Music, English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Study Skills/ Strategies, and Vocational Education. The amount of content is a bit overwhelming, but very well organized.

HelpTeaching offers online lessons as well. These are self-paced lessons. Some of their content comes from sites like Khan Academy, Educator.com, and Bozeman Science. I am particularly excited to use the SAT prep video lessons and their accompanying assessments.

As you can see, HelpTeaching has three different levels of membership. You can join for free, but your access is very limited. The Pro Subscription is what we are using and it is only $49/ year. That is an awesome price for all the content and resources you can access!!

Be sure to follow HelpTeaching on social media:

Facebook: facebook.com/helpteaching
Twitter: twitter.com/helpteaching
Instagram: instagram.com/helpteaching
Pinterest: pinterest.com/helpteaching
YouTube: youtube.com/helpteaching

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highschoolhomeschool helpsProduct Review

Who Is This Kid? Colleges Want to Know! A Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

As much as I want to be in denial, I have a highschooler who is going to be setting his sights on college in the next couple of years. I remember taking an entire course my junior year of highschool to prepare me for writing college admission essays! While thinking about prepping for college, I am happy to find resources like Who Is This Kid? Colleges Want to Know! From The Critical Thinking Co.

We received a physical copy of Who Is This Kid? Colleges Want to Know! by Joyce Slayton Mitchell. It is also available in eBook format. It is designed to bring ease to the college admissions process… particularly the essay portion. The book provides exercises to help students get to know themselves with confidence. I think it is a rare find when a student exists who actually knows what they want to do with the rest of their life upon completion of highschool. With so many career opportunities out there, how does one ever choose just one path?

It is not enough any more to rely soley on grades for college admission. As stated in the Introduction to Who Is This Kid? Colleges Want to Know!, “Many American colleges use a ‘holistic’ admissions method, which looks for the most interesting students who ask the best questions- who know themselves- how they think and what they think and how well they know their own culture: their history, literature, their government and politics, their art, and music.” Colleges want to know what a student will bring to them. Talents, extra-curriculars, art, sports, etc. all carry weight in the college admissions process.

Who is This Kid? Colleges Want to Know! is an excellent tool to help personalize the college admissions process. The five main parts of the book include:

  1. Student Assessment: Thinking and Writing Exercises
  2. Searching the Colleges- Building Your College List
  3. Communications
  4. College Admissions Calendar
  5. Glossary

My son just completed his freshman year of highschool. He is considering what college might be like, but not thinking about it too often. While we did not dive fully into the book, it is never to early to teach self-awareness. The exercises found in the book are fantastic for affirming uniqueness and giftedness. I also love that he is able to see what colleges may be looking for. He can see that the extra things that he is involved in like community service, theater, art, etc. are incredibly valuable. He can be proactive in his highschool career.

Because not all colleges look for the same things in their admissions process, there are several exercises in the book to help cover the holistic approach and bring into focus what an individual student is considering. Activities such as the following are included:

  • Student Self-Assessment (including a campus culture quiz)
  • Building the Colleges List (college fairs, campus visits, etc)
  • Applications, Essays & Interviews
  • Calendar for College Admissions

The book is incredibly thorough. It includes places to record observations about college visits, asks questions to narrow down what type of college culture you are looking for, has sheets to fill out with questions for when you visit a college fair, sample college applications, interview practice, and essay practice.

I think this would be a fantastic book to use in a highschool co-op class. I also really think it is would be a wise investment to have one for each of your college bound students as they are getting closer to that process.

The Critical Thinking Co. is wonderful. We have used several of their resources in the past. They serve PreK- 12th grade!

Be sure to follow The Critical Thinking Co. on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCriticalThinkingCo
Twitter: www.twitter.com/criticalthinks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecriticalthinkingco/
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/criticalthinks
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsVEVNa6UpVqXxo_t5sbb7Q

The Review Crew had the opportunity to review several products from The Critical Thinking Co. Click the banner below to learn more:

CurriculumGetting Started Homeschoolinghomeschool helps

Getting Started Homeschooling Part 3- Choosing Curriculum

One of the number one questions I see being asked about homeschooling is “What curriculum should I use???” This is a pretty loaded question. The truth of it is, there is not a right or wrong answer. So many options are out there in the homeschool market and just like anything… some are great… some are … meh!

As a homeschool parent, you have the flexibility and freedom to put together curriculum, learning goals, etc. I know in North Carolina, there are no checklists of what your child has to accomplish in each grade. That is truly up to you as the parent. Public schools operate on standards… the standards were mandated by the state when I was teaching. I believe most schools now use the common core standards. Most homeschool curriculum do not even refer to such standards. You do not have to be bound by standards when you are homeschooling. Even in a more regulated state like Massachusets where parents have to have their curriculum, assessment plan, and intended of hours of instruction approved by their school district, there seems to be some flexibility in how those things can be accomplished.

To get started, you’ll want to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you want a curriculum that is all inclusive? Meaning… do you want a box to show up at your house with everything you need for all the subjects, including a daily schedule and checklists?
  2. Do you want to piece your curriculum together?
  3. What type of homeschooler are you? Read THIS POST to understand a little more about different homeschool philosphies and methods.
  4. Continuing with # 3… what type of teaching style do you have? What type of learning style do your children have? Do you prefer a more traditional teacher led environment where you are in charge and present all the intruction, etc. Are your children auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learners. Are they more independent and self motivated or do they require more attention?
  5. What is your budget? You can homeschool on a shoe string budget… I promise you this. So many free and inexpensive resources exist. I have spent most of my homeschool career scouring the internet for resources, bartering my skills and time with other homeschool moms for help, networking at conferences to do curriculum reviews. If you are on a strict budget, never fear… you will be ok! If you have a large budget… congrats! The homeschool curriculum world is at your fingertips!
  6. What’s your worldview? Are you wanting a curriculum that teaches from a Christian worldview or a Secular worldview?

Time

When choosing curriculum, consider how much time you are wanting to go into your homeschool week. How much planning time are you budgeting? How much instruction? How much free learning? Creative play? Park time? Extra curriculuars? You want your curriculum to work for you. You’ll want to pick a curriculum that is in line with your time needs.

Structure and Freedom

Do you want to have everything laid out for you? Or do you want to have some freedom to develop your own resources? When I was a young mom, always pregnant or nursing… I wanted a boxed curriculum that told me what to do. My brain’s bandwidth was limited and I just did not have the creative energy to come up with my own learning goals or resources. We used My Father’s World for the first 3 years of our homeschooling journey. It was fantastic and affordable. My kids really enjoyed it!

Now that I am a little more seasoned and have been at this a while, I have learned my children. I have learned myself. We are a more ecclectic kind of crew. We are a more relaxed kind of crew and don’t like busy work. My children are highly invested in picking and choosing what they will be learning through the school year. One of our primary resources is Schoolhouse Teachers (dot) Com. This is a company that offers over 400 courses, written by a myriad of individuals. The courses cover preschool through highschool and include a TON of resources for parents. Read more about Schoolhouse Teachers HERE and HERE.

Schooling Multiple Ages

You will likely need to consider multiple ages and stages in your homeschool. Never fear… many curriculum are geared toward multi-age learning. There is no need to buy an individual curriculum for each child. Many people will teach the same social studies, science, history, etc. to all of their children while providing age/ level appropriate material for math and language arts.

You teach the same information, but allowing for various ages. Here is an example of how this has worked in our homeschool. One year, we chose to use the Christian Hero Then and Now books from YWAM as our spine… the thing from which everything else was built on. When we read the book about David Bussau, an entrepreneur from Australia who used his skills to teach business to people in South East Asia, I was able to create activities for my children at their level (at the time, they were 9, 7, 5, and 3). When we created a map of Australia, all four children had their own paper, but I expected more from the nine year old than from the three year old. I wanted the nine year old’s map to have landmarks and cities while I was fine with the three year old just coloring. We did family projects like Aboriginal style painting and writing a letter to Mr. Bussau. We did individual projects like creating a tourist brochure, doing a report on Australian animals, and more. Are you tracking with me?

Your youngest child will absorb more than you realize when you include them in the family work.

Strengths and Weaknesses

When choosing a curriculum, consider your own strengths and weaknesses. I don’t know anyone who is strong in all the subjects, all the time. I am strong in Language Arts and Arts, in general. Math and Science are not subjects where I thrive. I didn’t do well with them as a student and am struggling to provide solid and consistent instruction for my own kids in those areas now.

Because I struggle with math, I know that I need a solid math curriculum. I know that I cannot provide what my children need in that area without help. We have used Math U See the whole way through. My oldest started struggling when he hit Algebra and I will be getting him a private tutor in the fall.

I would encourage you to look into your local homeschool community. Are there groups that offer classes? Do you have friends who could join you in co-teaching? Maybe you offer to teach math and they offer to teach history?

It is also important to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses when choosing a curriculum. How do they learn well? If you have a very wiggly child, choosing an online program that requires sitting for long periods of time may not be the best option. If you have an easily distracted child, choosing a curriculum with a lot of frills and extra pictures, etc. may not provide the best environment to concentrate. If you have a self-motivated child, a curriculum with boxes to check and clear lessons may be best.

Don’t Stress!

I don’t know many homeschool moms who experience true love with the first curriculum they choose. You are not married to it and you don’t have to keep using it if it turns out not to be the match made in heaven you had hoped for. You can research all day long, look at curriculum pieces, borrow from a friend, read reviews, etc. .. but until you actually start using something with your children, you won’t really know if it is the right fit.

If you are worried about wasting all that money you just spent when you realize the curriculum doesn’t work, take to ebay or local buy/ sell/ trade groups. Someone will more than likely gladly take it off your hands!!!

Also… don’t abandon ship right away if you find the curriculum you chose isn’t working. There is something to be said about stick to it-ness. You could try using it less often, modifying your pace, supplementing with other things.

Research

As will all things homeschooling, I would encourage you to do your due diligence. You do not have to blindly choose a curriculum. You can find reviews galore on the interwebs!

I am part of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew. I regularly receive products to review in our homeschool. The crew that reviews the products is comprised of real life homeschoolers… a variety of styles, philosophies, and methods.

Cathy Duffy is a HUGE NAME in the Homeschool World! You can learn about all things homeschool through her reviews!

If you have an opportunity to go to a curriculum sale or a homeschool conference, you can get a hands on look at what you might be interested in.

Here is a list to get you started of some solid curriculum that either myself or my friends have found.

Classical Education

Veritas Press– Classical Education from a Christian Worldview

Classical Conversations– A Classical Co-Op that is active nationwide

Charlotte Mason

The Good and The Beautiful: Literature heavy. The Language Arts for levels 1-5 are available for FREE DOWNLOAD.

Ambleside Online: Free, but you have to buy the books.

Simply Charlotte Mason: Utilizes nature, composer, and art study. Heavy on “living” books.

School At Home (More Traditional/ Conventional in approach)

Abeka: Christian worldview, guided lessons, textbooks

Sonlight: Christian worldview, all subject packages, guided lessons

Bookshark: Secular worldview, all subject packaged, guided lessons

Unit Studies

Homeschool In the Woods: History units- hands on learning

Homeschool Legacy: Once a Week Unit Studies covering a variety of topics

UnitStudy.com: Downloadable content for a variety of subjects

Online Programs

Easy Peasy: Online, complete FREE Christian curriculum. Preschool- Highschool. Great for self-motivated, box checking kids.

Power Homeschool: “Power Homeschool is a program intended to aid parents in homeschooling their student. Parents may choose up to 7 courses at a time from numerous courses (grades PreK-12). Students are able to learn at their own pace under the supervision and assistance of their parent.”

Time for Learning: online, secular homeschool for preK-12th grade. Easy grading, student focused, and flexible with tools for parents.

Want to know a secret???

Some families don’t use curriculum at all! Say what?!?! It’s true. Some people piece together their learning materials based on interests and learning styles.

For us, it is a year by year process. I evaluate what my children need and try to buy or find resources that will best help them. Some year that looks like buying curriculum pieces and sometimes it looks like unit studies and field trips.

I keep open conversation with my children to help determine what their goals are. We build our year to meet both their interests and my goals for them.

Some companies and resources that I personally enjoy are:

SchoolhouseTeachers.Com : We can pick and choose courses from the large menu of options. The classes are self-paced.

Institute for Excellence in Writing: I was very, very hesitant to incorporate this into our homeschool life, but I heard the founder of the company speak at a conference last year and was so impressed with his philosophy of education. My son used the Student Writing Intensive Level C this year and really enjoyed it. CLICK HERE for THREE FREE WEEKS of Instruction from IEW.

Teachers Pay Teachers: This is a market place filled with resources made by teachers. Pro tip- every Teachers Pay Teachers store has to offer something for FREE!!! Check out MY STORE with tons of No-Prep Printables!

Beyond the Stick Figure: This is a complete drawing, painting, 3D art course for the whole family!

Reading Eggs: This online program has been great for my elementary and middle school kids. It is a wonderful supplement to any reading and math program. CLICK HERE for a 4 Week FREE TRIAL.


Other topics I’ll be covering in this “Getting Started Homeschooling Series” are:

Getting Started Homeschoolinghomeschool helps

Getting Started Homeschooling Part Two- Community and Socialization

If you want to get me fired up, tell me homeschoolers aren’t socialized. I think it is one of the laziest and most ill-informed arguments against homeschooling. It is the fall back question that people immediately ask when they find out someone is homeschooled, usually coming in a form like one of these:

How do you socialize your child?

Aren’t you worried about socialization?

How will they learn to interact with people?

This question comes up so often in the homeschool arena. Sometimes I think homeschoolers should be given a manual on how to field the frequently asked questions given by well-meaning and not so well-meaning third parties. Why is this so important? There is an underlying assumption that when you homeschool, your child will stay home all day and not get any time out in the “real world.” Let me tell you that this “issue” of homeschoolers being unsocialized is a non-issue. Homeschoolers are, in fact, socialized. They spend time around other children and adults in a variety of settings.

Let’s define the terms. What is socialization? Socialization is simply that process that allows an individual to learn values, language, culture, behavior, and social skills that allow them to function in a normal community. This is a process that begins in the home. Most people don’t question if a baby, toddler, or preschooler is socialized. So… why start when they hit kindergarten age?

In my experience, Homeschooling does affect the social skills of a student… in a positive way. I have worked with a variety of ages and stages in my life. I have worked in the public schools as a pre-K teacher and an in-school suspension teacher for elementary age. I also worked in an after school program for at risk upper elementary and middle school students. I have experience with camps, VBS, youth groups, homeschool enrichment classes… In my experience, homeschool students tend to be more comfortable moving and talking within a group of mixed ages and adults. They are confident and self-aware in a way that I don’t always see in their public school counter parts. I am not saying this is a black and white issue… there are always exceptions to the rule. I work with some amazing public school kids in our youth group.

Homeschooling your child gives them the opportunity and ability to interact with people of all ages and stages including siblings, friends, adults, and community figures. My kids have gone with me on errands that many adults handle during school hours… post office, hair salon, DMV, chiropractor, doctor appointments, shopping at the mall, dropping off donations at a thrift store, the dentist, the library, grocery shopping. They have real life opportunities to observe and participate in social ettiquette on a regular basis. These are things that books and simulated situations cannot fully teach.

I do not have experience homeschooling in every state in the United States. I do, however, know that it is legal in all fifty states. I know that homeschoolers exist in all fifty states. HERE is another great resource from the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. You can look up local support groups by state and by county!

When I was leaving for college, I got together with my youth leader and some other graduating seniors. He was encouraging us to find community… to plug into the campus ministries, etc. He told us that if there wasn’t a group to plug into, we should start one! My college had some great opportunities to connect with ministry, but even still I took the advice and and started a prayer group in my dorm. It was a sweet time of connection with girls who lived together and were doing life together.

Co Ops

If you do not have an established homeschool community around you, start one! It doesn’t have to be big and flashy. It could be you and one other family. Commit to meeting together weekly or every other week. Have some co-schooling time and some free play time. When we were still young in our homeschooling life, we joined a co op with three other families. We all committed to using My Father’s World, Exploring Countries and Cultures. We agreed to meet together once a week where we would learn more about a country and do some of the things that normally get put on the back burner… like art, science, and cooking. It was so much fun. We looked forward to that time every week. We had kids ages babies through middle school. They worked together. The moms split up the teaching duties. We shared the load and had a blast.

In our county, several co ops are availbale to homeschoolers. We have groups that are more social and groups that are more academic. We have some age specific groups and some that are open to everyone. Do you due diligence. Be brave and put yourself out there! Do Facebook and Google searches and see what homeschool groups are available. The first year we were members of our local association, I observed. I read the emails sent out so we knew what was happening, but we really didn’t get involved until year two. It takes time to build community…. time that is worth the investment. Our dearest friends have come out of our homeschool community.

4 H

4-H is an amazing way to find and build community. “4-H welcomes young people from all beliefs and backgrounds, empowering them to create positive change in their communities.”

If you’re not sure where to start looking for community, you could start with 4-H. CLICK HERE to search for your local 4-H. With the restrictions brought on us right now because of COVID-19, 4-H is providing many virtual learning opportunities.

4-H offers so, so many learning opportunities. In our county, we have groups focused on barnyard animals, horticulture, public speaking, community service, astronomy, horses, science, technology, and more. We have a local extension center that offers classes for sewing, cooking, gardening, embryology, and more.

Sports

We have participated in a few sports programs. My girls have played soccer through our local Parks and Recreation Department. All of my children took karate for a time from a local homeschool mom.

In our area, there are a couple of sports leagues just for middle and highschool homeschoolers. They require a lot of time and commitment. Most are travel teams.

Look into to other local sports programs… the YMCA, Upward Sports, Club Sports, Private Lessons, etc.

Park Days

One simple and organic way to build community is creating a park day at a local play ground. This is one of my most favorite things that our local homeschoolers have done. It started very simply… a few moms wanting to meet up for a play date. I’m not even sure when it became an organized event, but when there isn’t a world wide pandemic on our hands… or incelment weather, you can find a group of homeschoolers hanging out on Mondays at one of our local parks. Most people bring some chairs and a picnic lunch or cooler full of snacks. The moms find a nice shady spot in a central location to sit and chat while the kids play. Usually there are some blankets spread out for babies and toddlers.

The park where our group meets has a play ground equipment, a walking track, a big field, and a basketball court. It is perfect for all ages. The older kids will often head to play basketball or throw a frisbee, kick a soccer ball, etc. I know four square is a popular game as well. The younger kids play together on the play ground equipment.

My girls have met some of their best friends through park day. I have deepened relationships with other moms. The conversation usually revolves around homeschooling and mom life. And you know what… I totally count it as a school day in my book. The kids are outside, playing, spending time with friends. Looks like PE, Science, Social Skills, and more rolled up into one.

More Opportunities for Community

  • Music Lessons
  • Field Trips
  • Library Programs
  • Volunteer at a Local Soup Kitchen
  • Theater
  • Language Lessons
  • Summer Camp
  • Volunteer at a Pet Shelter
  • Visit a Nursing Home
  • Organize a Skate Party
  • Family Picnics
  • Homeschool Movie Night

What opportunitities do you have for community with other homeschoolers? Do you have a local support group? Do you have friends that are homeschooling? How can you plug in for your sake and for your kids?

Other topics I’ll be covering in this “Getting Started Homeschooling Series” are:

What other topics would you like to see discussed???