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8 In Homeschooling

Middle School Wrap Up & Where We Go From Here

*This post is much longer than my normal. Thank you for hanging with me to the end.

It’s taken me about six weeks to write our middle school recap post. I’ve been struggling a little bit with our “next” concerning our son’s schooling. But I think I’ve finally come to a place of acceptance and am able to allow God to move us forward.

I can’t believe my youngest is about to be in high school. It really is surreal. We have only been homeschooling this one for two years, but I felt as if we were finally getting into a grove. Over the course of the last year we

We are very proud of what we’ve accomplished this year, but things will be changing for us as in just a few weeks.

 

When I first began homeschooling our oldest son five years ago, he was flunking out of high school in the 10th grade. With the help of a veteran homeschooling mom, we pulled him out of school and homeschooled him. While he was labeled as “lazy” by his teachers, we found a huge gap in his learning. After returning to the basics in Math and English and working very hard, He graduated with A’s and B’s just six months after his class as a homeschooled student.

Then there is a our second daughter, who we pulled out of school in the 7th grade, mostly due to fear. While I did my best to pick the right curriculum and resources to make learning fun, she fought me every step of the way. Most days were spent in arguments and in tears, and it was too much for this full-time working mama to handle. By the middle of 8th grade we had given up and took the rest of the year off. We put her back in public school her freshman year and she will graduate this coming June with very good grades.

Then there is our youngest son, who just completed the 8th grade as a homeschooler. While I had already decided we would homeschool him, at least during the middle school years, he asked to be homeschooled. We did fairly well, considering that I work full time. My husband helped monitor assignments and I gave our son lots of freedom to work within the structure we set. Even though it’s been a struggle at times, we finally got into a groove this year and I was looking forward to beginning his high school journey of homeschooling.

But the Lord is taking us on a different path, at least for now.

I am not “anti public school”. I’ve always been a working mom and my children (aside from the times mentioned above) have always been in pubic school. My oldest daughter successfully graduated public high school. She never was led astray and we always knew what was being taught. She took stands in her classroom, and is strong in her faith. I always promised my kids when I felt they were ready, they could return to public school if they desired and if we felt they were strong enough emotionally and spiritually. Oldest son never returned, youngest daughter couldn’t get there fast enough, and now youngest son “wants to try school so he can make more friends”.

I do not believe my son lacks social skills. He attended public school through the 6th grade, and is actively involved in church groups. So the idea of putting him back in school just so he can socialize is not reason enough. My husband, while supportive in my homeschooling efforts, was never 100% on board with it. I think he needs more convincing that our youngest learns better in a homeschooling environment.  While I believe our son lacks the analytical and critical thinking skills, among other things, to be successful with public school curriculum, I have decided to do a “test run” next year.

We have enrolled our son in a public charter school for independent study. He will still be doing all of his work at home, but I will no longer be in charge of his curriculum. He will be held to public school standards, as well as testing. Our son is technically behind his middle school peers in both Math and English. Unless we can get him ready for Algebra by his Sophomore year, as well as writing concise papers and analyzing literature, we may very well be homeschooling again in another year. Although the charter school has adopted a lot of different ways of learning, I’m not sure it will meet the needs of our son, who is a mostly an auditory and visual learner.

While I believe homeschooling is still the best option for him, I am prepared to help our son to be successful in the coming year as he gets use to a much more rigorous schedule. We trust the direction the Lord is taking us. With all that is going on with my mom, perhaps He just wants to give me a little break.

I will still be writing about our schooling from time to time. We hope to incorporate some electives of our choosing and to continue with our Bible studies.

Thank you for reading and for your prayers or this next part of our journey!

3 In 2017 TOS Crew Reviews/ Homeschooling

Memoria Press “The Book Of Trees” // Review

If there is one subject my son loves it’s science. While we have covered a lot of different sciences this year, we were lacking in the area of Botany. We were excited for the chance to review The Book of Trees by Memoria Press, which is an introduction to Botany through the study of trees.  Memoria Press also offers Latin Curriculum from Early Elementary to High School!

The Book of Trees Set
For the purpose of this review, we received a reader, student book and teacher guide. *The student book is intended to be used by one student, so if you have multiple students using this curriculum you will want to purchase additional books.  If you purchase the entire set from Memoria press, it also comes with two other recommended books, The Tree Book For Kids and Their Grown-ups, and the Peterson First Guide to Trees of North America.  As these two items were not included with what I received, we used the internet for further research.  This set is recommended for children in grades 6-8.

There are 9 chapters included in the 82-page soft cover student reader. What I love about the reader is that the chapters are relatively short, some just 4 pages, but no more than 15. Most chapters are between 5-8 pages. It’s just the right about of information for a student who gets overwhelmed with a lot of reading, as mine does.

The student book contains 108 pages. It is broken down into four regular units, with a fifth advanced unit. For each lesson, there are reading and questions for each chapter, diagram and labeling as well as other activities.

My son worked through 1 chapter a week, 3 times a week. On day one he read the assigned pages in the reader. On day two he worked on answering the questions pertaining to each chapter, and on day three he worked on diagramming, labeling and/or other activities.

What I loved about the activities for this curriculum is it gives the student a chance to get outside to observe nature in their own surroundings. For the activity for the lesson on roots, my son was able to dig up a plant in our yard to examine it’s roots closer. The photo below shows the plant my son dug up and he was able to identify it as having a fibrous root system.

After each unit there is a Unit Review that incorporates questions, diagramming, and labeling from what is learned throughout the lessons.

The Teacher Guide contains all of the answers for the questions and activities for each chapter. It also includes quizzes, tests and keys. The quizzes and tests do need to be photocopied from the teacher guide, as they are not contained in the student guide.

Overall, we loved this product. We love that it’s simple to use, not overwhelming on the reading, and has just enough of a hands-on component to really help the student understand what it is they are learning. If you are looking for an introduction to Botany course for your 6th-8th grade student, The Book of Trees by Memoria Press does not disappoint.

Memoria Press
For more about Memoria Press, you can find them here:

Be sure to click the banner below to read other reviews from Crew Members on this and other curriculum offered by Memoria Press.

Latin, Nature and Trees {Memoria Press Reviews}  
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1 In Homeschooling

A Working Mom’s Homeschool Life: O – Overcoming Objections

Thanks for joining me today for the blogging A to Z challenge as I share my life as a working homeschool mom and blog my way through the alphabet. Visit my series landing page for all of the posts in this series. 


When I first began my homeschooling journey, I was very fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends who embraced my decision to homeschool. Even though I got a lot of questions about the “how’s”, for the most part the feedback I received about our decision was very positive. As far as objections, my biggest nay sayer was myself.

Today I want to share with you some of the objections I’ve entertained in my own mind on this journey. I would be untruthful in saying that I never question my choice today. I do. But I know that, at least for now, it is the right choice.

OBJECTION #1 – You can’t Homeschool. You Work Full Time.

Yea, I pretty much thought I was crazy to take this on, and most days I still think I am. But you know what, we are working it out and most days are very good days. Some days are very hard, and we have a few days that are just plain aweful. But we are doing it.

I am blessed to live in a State where it’s very easy to homeschool and work full time. I am only required by law to keep attendance records and a course of study. I am not required to follow any certain curriculum, nor do I have to abide by any certain schedule. As I’ve mentioned before, homeschooling works for us because we are able to do school when it fits into our schedule. Most days, that’s between the hours of 12pm and 4pm (some days are shorter, some longer), as my son tackles his course work under the watchful eye of my husband while I work. Sometimes we work together at night on writing, science projects or other things.

It is not impossible to homeschool and work full time. Challenging? Absolutely! But not impossible.

It is not impossible to homeschool and work full time. #abcblogging Click To Tweet

OBJECTION #2 – You can’t Afford To Buy Curriculum.

This was a huge obstacle for me to overcome. With a disabled husband and one real income, I have to make wise decisions regarding curriculum purchases. When I first began homeschooling, I thought I had to buy all of the latest curriculum, use what everyone else was using, and purchase everything new. It’s taken me four years to finally understand that homeschool curriculum and resources do not have to be expensive. Matter of fact, there is an entire FREE site with curriculum in every subject for grades K-12. If you are looking to homeschool and need time to consider curriculum, or simply cannot afford to purchase your own, check out Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool. It’s absolutely FREE!

After four years, I hardly ever purchase anything new. I belong to four different Facebook groups where I buy and sell curriculum, and eBay and Half-Priced Books are also great places to purchase used curriculum. If I am going to purchase new curriculum, I frequent places like Rainbow Resource Center and CurrClick. And anything that I purchase (new or used), I try to keep in great condition so that we can resell it to help purchase next year’s curriculum. This means we are use a lot of notebooks instead of writing in consumables.

OBJECTION #4 – You’re Not Home To Teach. How Will He Learn?

The great thing about homeschooling a Middle School child is that, for the most part, he is self taught. Because 80% of his curriculum is online, he is able to do his lessons without me. Those lessons are self-graded and all I have to do is check in a couple of times a week, review the grade book, and see where he may need assistance.

For the other 20% of his curriculum, the majority of his lessons can be done without my having to explain anything to him. My husband is home to be “teacher”, but acts more like a mentor/guidance counselor. If there are any assignments I feel he needs more direction in, those are saved for evenings and weekends.

OBJECTION #5 – My Son Will Become a Hermit And Lack Social Skills.

Socialization is a question that all homeschooling parents I know face from those who feel their children will become hermits, self-centered, or unable to socialize. I am of the firm belief that there are many ways our children can gain socialization skills outside of traditional school, such as co-ops, group sports, camps, youth groups, youth center activities, volunteer opportunities, etc.

My son participates in a co-op with other homeschool kids at least once a week, where he participates in sports and receives “homework help”. He is also very actively involved in church youth group. Even though he’s been homeschooled the last two years, he has remained great friends with a few of the other boys from his elementary school, and they get together often on weekends, or participate in online gaming activities together.

Some would argue my son does so well with others because he was only homeschooled the last two years. But I disagree. These last two years have been the most awkward for him (both emotionally and physically as he’s entered the teen stage), and I’ve had to push him at times towards socialization. The fact of the matter is we have to be intentional about it or he could easily become a hermit and never want to leave the house.

I am sure there are other objections, but these would be my top five. Thanks for reading!

2 In Homeschooling

A Working Mom’s Homeschool Life: N – Necessary Character Traits

Thank you for being here! I’m still catching up in my series. I really appreciate you stopping by to read! I hope you find some encouragement along the way.

Thanks for joining me today for the blogging A to Z challenge as I share my life as a working homeschool mom and blog my way through the alphabet. Visit my series landing page for all of the posts in this series. 


As a full-time working, homeschooling mom, there are many things that I need in order to have a successful homeschooling journey. Today I want to talk about character traits. These are necessary components for both my son and I to have if we are going to “get along” and make the most of our homeschooling season. Below are a few of the character traits that I find necessary in our homeschooling:

Flexibility. This is probably number one for me. Since I am gone during the hours when most kids are doing school, I’ve learned to be flexible with our schedule. Because my son does a lot of independent, on line learning, I allow him to do his classes any time between 10AM and 3PM, as long as most work is completed done by 3PM. There are some assignments that require more guidance, and I am thankful I have the flexibility to sit with him in the evenings after dinner or even on the weekends when he needs more help. School for us does not have to fit into an 8am to 3pm time frame, and this is what I love most about homeschooling. We have the flexibility to do school when it works for us.

Adaptability. We’ve had to do a lot of adapting to make things work. I’ve been known to take curriculum and modify it to fit my son’s needs. We taken parts of one curriculum and put it together with another and made our own system of learning. Because my son much prefers on line work, we make sure he gets ample amounts of reading and writing so as to stimulate those parts of his brain that are more of a stretch for him.

Responsibility. Because I work full time outside the home, my son is often left to do his school work without much adult supervision. My husband is present in the home and keeps a watchful eye on the computer usage, but otherwise, my son is learning to be responsible to do what is required of him, within the allotted time, and at the same time be willing to accept consequences for laziness or a bad attitude. It’s not perfect, as homeschooling a teenager comes with it’s own challenges whether you work or not (can you say “hormones”?), but we are learning together and we have grown so much during this season.

Accountability. In our homeschooling our son is held accountable to my husband and myself for his lessons, actions and attitudes. When he does well, there are rewards (time off, more screen time, etc.) When he makes poor choices, there can be consequences, especially if the attitude goes south. I keep myself accountable to my husband, especially when it comes to the purchasing of curriculum and materials. As we have one income, I’ve had to really keep my purchasing habits in check. If I have a decision to make, I usually rely on my husband’s wisdom to help me make the choice. I also check in with a group of working, homeschool moms on Facebook from time to time and this group keeps me accountable to all things homeschooling.

What character traits do you look for in your own journey?

2 In Homeschooling

A Working Mom’s Homeschool Life: M – Motivation

I’ve gotten behind a couple of weeks in this series due to long hours at the office and the lack of motivation in my writing. It would be easy to call this series done (or half-way done), but I’ve decided to keep going in the hope that it will bless another working, homeschooling mom who may stumble upon it.

Thanks for joining me today for the blogging A to Z challenge as I share my life as a working homeschool mom and blog my way through the alphabet. Visit my series landing page for all of the posts in this series. 


One thing I’ve always admired about homeschooling moms is there intense dedication to educating their children at home. I’ve come across so many answers to the “whys” of homeschooling and really, no two families are the same. The reasons you may decide to homeschool will not be the same as why we decided to homeschool. But no matter what your reason is, there must be a certain level of dedication to keep both teacher and student motivated for the long haul.

So how do we stay motivated? I have to admit, there are days (too many probably) where I have no motivation whatsoever for schooling, lesson planning, curriculum shopping and the like. I’ve been known to come home and plop myself on the couch without even looking at my son’s completed assignments for the day.

As a busy mom, I struggle just like anyone else. But when it comes to homeschooling, there is so much competing for my attention (work, work, work) that it’s hard to keep my motivation for homeschooling front and center.

What motivated us to homeschool our son was that we felt his auditory and visual way of learning would be better served at home. And, after having his brother homeschool through high school and his sister in middle school, he asked if he could be homeschooled too. Who were we to say no?

There are days when I want to quite. And honestly, our homeschooling future is not clearly set in stone. We are praying through some big decisions as we approach high school next year. But for right now, it’s important that I stay motivated so that I can keep my son focused and eager to learn.

Here are three things that I do help keep us both motivated for the journey ahead.

Take it one day at a time. I am a planner and I’ve been known to schedule out my entire year of schooling during the summer. However, we have deviated from that plan so many times that we are finding that it works best to schedule small chunks of time so that we can assess how things are going along the way. The good thing is that our son is pretty self sufficient. We have to keep a careful eye on him when he’s doing online work (which is about 80% of the time) so his entire school day is not eaten up by gaming or creating YouTube videos with his friends. But because he’s older, it’s easy for me to leave him with his lessons for a few days so I can take inventory of what we are doing well and what needs to change. Having this time keeps me motivated for the homeschooling days ahead.

Interest-Based Learning. I find that we do really well in the subjects that our son loves, but we do horribly with those that he is struggling in or has no interest in whatsoever. Our son loves science. One way to keep him motivated to do science was to allow him to choose his own curriculum this year.  It’s easier to keep him interested and motivated when he enjoys the topic of study. He also loves Bible and History, but only because we’ve found a great online curriculum that keeps him interested. Because he struggles in math, we’ve tossed the curriculum out the door and are doing subject-based workbooks trying to master one area at a time. As far as reading/writing, our son is a very reluctant reader/writer. We haven’t done much writing this year, but what we have done is incorporate the reading of biographies of inventors that go along with the Physical Science we are studying, and written reports on those inventors. We’ve also played around with word prompts to help him in the area of creative writing.

Remember the End Goal. For us, the end goal has never been to homeschool our way through high school. Rather, it has been to help our son gain confidence and disciplines so that no matter how he is schooled, he can be successful. Right now, we’ve hit a little bit of a wall so I am trying to make learning fun and involve him more in the process so we don’t burn out before June. If I am lacking motivation, clearly my son will not be motivated to learn, especially at the age of 13 when his hormones are raging and all sorts of things are going on.

I am exhausted, but no more exhausted than any other mom I know. Because we feel God opened the door for us to school our son at home, it’s important that I continue to find ways to stay motivated so that I will continue to have a motivated learner.

*Although I missed linking up, be sure to click the button below to find others participating in the #abcblogging challenge.

A Net In Time Schooling