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15 In Homeschooling

2013-2014 Curriculum Choice – (8th Grade)

There is one thing I want to be as I head into the new school year, and that’s prepared.  When I began homeschooling this year, I changed curriculums for the first two months of school and I think we pretty much tossed English out the window because I couldn’t settle on anything that I liked.  Granted, the life of a full-time working mom demands flexibility, especially for this homeschooling newbie!  But we could have accomplished so much more had I been a little more prepared.

If you will remember from this post, I had most of my curriculum picked a couple of months ago.  However, I have made some changes.  Here now is my final curriculum choice for my daughter’s upcoming 8th grade year.  My goal was to have everything bought and received my mid-July, and to have my master calendar done by the first week of August.  I am in good shape!

Math – Teaching Textbooks Pre-Alegebra

My daughter loves this curriculum.  Last year she managed to do all of the work using the CD’s, without ever really touching the workbook.  If she needed to work a problem, she used scratch paper.  This year, I will purchase the workbook as I believe it will be needed for pre-algebra.

Science – God’s Design for Heaven and Earth Science (Answers in Genesis)

We did God’s Design for the Human Body this past year to round out our Life Science and anatomy and, although this was not her favorite, she enjoyed it enough to continue on with the series this next year.

History, Vocabulary & Literature – America The Beautiful (Notgrass)


I am extremely excited to begin this history curriculum.  A friend and I went in together to purchase it (It’s about $120).  I will use it this coming year, then she will use it the following year for her daughter, and hand it off to me the year after that for my son.  This is a comprehensive history curriculum which includes biblical thinking, map and timeline work, vocabulary, creative writing, and literature.

Grammar – Abeka Grammar & Composition II

This is one area where I was undecided.  I wanted a little bit more than just Easy Grammar. Although I’ve never used an Abeka product before, I found this for sale in a homeschool forum and it looks good.  Hopefully it will serve it’s purpose.


We will be working through the Leading God’s Generation series of book studies.  I stumbled upon this and know my daughter will enjoy it.  Each series has a student journal that they work through.  We will begin with Hearing God’s Voice, studying Proverbs and Psalm 119. You can view a sample here.  The other two books we will do this next year are Thinking God’s Way (Philippians, Romans 12 and The Sermon on the Mount), and Doing God’s Will (James and topical passages). I was able to download all of the journals for about $5.00 each, saving me about $30 total!

I have to say that I am feeling very prepared and looking forward to starting the school year in just about 8 weeks.  I think summer is too short, don’t you?

Have you finished purchasing your curriculum for the coming year?  I would love to know what you will be doing.  Please share in the comments below.

4 In Homeschooling/ Reviews & Giveaways

Summer Writing Curriculum


Do your children participate in any summer education programs/curriculums to help keep them sharp and possibly get ahead before the next school year?  My youngest son, who will be in the 5th grade next year in public school, has always struggled with writing.  How happy are we to be using a summer writing program to reinforce our writing skills with Time4Writing. With the guidance of an online tutor, who is a certified teacher, we will be taking one of their eight-week online writing courses.

Come visit in a few weeks for a progress report.

21 In family/ Homeschooling

I Survived My First Year Of Homeschooling!



Well, I survived!

I have received many questions about how I do school, while holding down a full-time job, outside the home four days a week.  It hasn’t been easy, for the most part.  But, I am thankful that we stuck with it and didn’t throw in the towel and give up.  Oh, there were so many moments when I wanted to give up!  I thought I would share with you some of the things that helped me to survive my first year of homeschooling while working full time.


I cannot stress enough how important it was for me to invite God into my homeschooling.  I prayed about everything, from curriculum choices, to scheduling, to taking days off.  I prayed for wisdom, strength, grace, patience (which got me into just a little bit of trouble), endurance and more coffee. Yes, I prayed for coffee!  I prayed for my girl, that she would bend, but not break.  I prayed for her heart to come alive to this new journey, for her to fully embrace and accept this as God’s will for her (at least for now, which I am not sure she’s fully convinced yet), and for God to bind us together and deepen our relationship.  Some things improved, some we are still working on.  This is a journey, not a race.

Be myself.

I spent countless hours reading homeschool blogs trying to figure out what it is I was supposed to be doing. I would read until my eyes burned, late into the night.  I would see what methods they used, what curricula they were teaching, what field trips they were taking, etc. In the end, I drove myself crazy!  I realized, albeit late in the game (I could have saved myself so much heartache) that homeschooling does not and will not look the same for every mom. Because of my unique situation as a working mom, things will look much different for me than most homeschooling moms. What is important is that I listen to the Holy Spirit and follow His leading in the day-to-day schooling of my child.  Ultimately, I don’t have to answer to anyone else but Him.

Enjoy some time off.

Yes, there are certain laws about how many hours in a school year a child must do school.  I get that.  But in reality, and in order to save my sanity, breaks were necessary.  This is especially vital when you decide to pull your very hormonal 7th grader out of school, for the first time ever, to school her at home.  Hormones, attitudes and stress levels need room to breath. We went for walks, did some shopping, went to lunch, watched movies and ate chocolate, some days before we ever opened a textbook.  My first priority this school year was the heart of my child.  We still have a lot of work to do.  Breaks allow for necessary breathing room and an opportunity to dig deeper to pull out the gold that I know exists in my child.

Letting go and moving on.

I can tend to be a perfectionist and a control freak.  I’ve come a long way, but there are still parts of me that want to control my daughter’s behavior and performance (like that can be done).  This year, I had to learn to let go and move on.  After the Christmas break, I let go of everything except Math, Science and History and moved on.  I was trying to hang onto things that weren’t working, for the sake of accomplishing something that I determined had to be done.  I was stressed, my daughter was overwhelmed, and nothing was working.  Letting go of the things that were causing the stress allowed us to pour our attention into those things that were necessary and most important.  We can always catch up next year.

Remember my role.

This was by far the hardest for me.  All of my daughter’s life, I’ve been mom. And we all know that with a budding pre-teen, “mom” can be over-bearing.  Add to that “teacher”, well let me just tell you that at times the air in the house was so thick you could taste it. Learning to relate to my daughter as mom AND teacher was a eye opener.  God reminded me that I’ve always been teacher, just not in the light that my daughter was accustomed to. Learning to gain her trust and respect in this area has often been a tug-of-war.  We are still working on our roles.


If there is one thing homeschooling has opened my eyes to, it is those areas where I feel I’ve failed as a parent.  As we’ve fought the battle of the wills, struggled through attitude adjustments, wanting our own ways, and the speaking of harsh words form time to time, I’ve realized that there is still a lot of parenting that I must do in order to have a well-adjusted, Christ like child.  I have had to forgive myself for my lack of parenting in certain areas.  We still have a lot of work to do, but over the last few weeks, I’ve seem a glimmer of hope.  God is able to come in and shore up those areas where I am weak.  I have no doubt that next year will be better on both the parenting and teaching fronts.

*     *     *

How about you, my friends?  Are you wrapping up a homeschool year?  If so, what has been your biggest challenge? What has been your greatest joy?  I would love for you to share with me in the comments below.

13 In Homeschooling

Looking Ahead: 8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Now that the school year is winding down, we are finally in a routine.  Wouldn’t you know it? With only about 7 weeks left of school we are finally settling in.  For this full-time working mom, it has been a hard year of transition.  I cannot tell you how many times I switched curriculums, trying to figure out how my daughter learned best.

I decided that I wanted to be ahead of the game going into next year, so I have been diligently looking at our plan as my daughter prepares to enter the 8th grade.  My goal is to have all of my curriculum selected and purchased by the end of July.  If you are new visiting here, I am a full-time working mom who just started homeschooling.  My curriculum must be self guided.  My daughter is a reluctant reader, so I choose curriculum that is not too wordy where I can.  She also loves workbooks, full of puzzles and games, which helps her to learn.

Here is what I am leaning toward so far:

Math – Teaching Textbooks (Pre=Algebra)

We LOVE Teaching Textbooks.  We started out the year with just the textbook, but we weren’t doing very well.  I do not have a math brain and it was a struggle to help my daughter work the problems she had trouble with.  Then a friend of mine loaned me her CD’s and we have turned the corner.  My daughter is able to do math independently now, as everything is explained on the CD.  She still does not like to ask for help.  There is one unit that she got low C’s on, because I didn’t know she was struggling, but for the most part, it has been a life saver.  The cost for the CDs only is $154.95.  I am going to try to find the workbook on eBay, as well as a lower price for the CDs.

 History – America The Beautiful (Notgrass)

Not really knowing anything about this curriculum, I am jumping in with both feet.  My son (who was homeschooled in his later high school years with a tutor) did some other curriculum by Notgrass and we really enjoyed it.  I like that this curriculum comes with everything you need for the year, as well as encompasses literature.  The cost of this curriculum is about $100, and the workbook is about $15.  I may be able to find it on eBay for less!

Bible – Walking in Faith (Notgrass)

This is a Bible curriculum for ages 7-12.  Because of how may daughter learns, and her reluctance for reading, I want to start here.  This curriculum explores what it means to have faith in God and how God is faithful toward those who follow Him. The lessons look into the lives of men and women of faith in the Bible, with special focus on those mentioned in Hebrews 11. I realize for some, this is minimal, but again, I choose to keep it simple.  When I showed my daughter this, she said, “Yes”!

The cost of this curriculum is about $8.00.

There are a couple of subjects I am on the fence about. Perhaps you have a recommendation?

Science – Alpha Omega LifePac8

I have struggled to find the right Physical Science curriculum. If I were at home full-time, and we had a lot more time for hands on work, I would choose Exploring Creation with Physical Science (Apologia).  However, that is a very intensive, heavy reading and heavy hands on curriculum.  It’s just not something we can handle right now.  LifePac is pretty simple and still has hands on experiments.  They just aren’t as intensive.  I’m not sure it’s enough?  I welcome your thoughts and recommendations.  The cost of this curriculum is about $48 for the year.

Language Arts – Time4Learning – 8th Grade

Right now, my daughter is finishing up Language Arts with Time4Learning.  I reviewed it on my blog, and my daughter actually liked it (although I think it’s a little elementary), and she’s actually learning.  They do have an 8th grade segment for Language Arts and she has asked to continue with it. However, the cost of this curriculum is $20/month.  For one subject, that is beyond what my budget can handle.  What do you use for Language Arts?  I real need help in the Language Arts department.

Well, there you have it. I so appreciate the homeschool community I have found through blogging and welcome your comments, thoughts and recommendations.

Have you started looking ahead to next year yet?  What are your plans for homeschooling? I would love for you to share in the comments below.

*This post is part of a challenge to blog every weekday in the month of April.  You can read more about it here. 

15 In Homeschooling

How I Homeschool {Adventures in Homeschooling}

Since I started homeschooling my 7th grade daughter, I have received a lot of questions from readers and friends about how I structure my day as a mom who home schools and works outside of the home full time.  I thought it would be fun to share what our weekly schedule looks like, which, by the way, is never really the same.  I will prefice this by saying that although my daugther would be doing a lot more “schooling” were she back in public school, I am choosing to focus first and foremost on her heart, her walk with the Lord and the few subjects this year that I feel are most important.  This has truly been a crazy transition for us and in many ways, we are still figuring things out.  I lean heavily on God’s strength and wisdom and am having to learn to give up control in more ways than one.

Here’s a peak into our week!


This is the only day during the week that I am home full time (my only day off).  On Mondays, we focus on Math, English and Science.  After I take my 4th grade son to school in the morning, I have my quiet time, with my coffee, blogging, emails until I wake my daughter up about 10AM.  She will work on her studies until about noon, and then we take a break for lunch.  After lunch, regardless of whether her studies are done or not, we have some bonding time, where we will watch a movie together, go for a smoothie, do some window shopping, or she will tag along while I run errands.  I choose to allow her to catch up in the evening, since her heart and our relationship is the most important.  If she has remaining work for the day, she will complete it after dinner.


On Tuesdays, my daughter goes to my sister’s for supervision while I go to work.  Her focus on Tuesdays is Math, Vocabulary, History and Performing Arts.  Because I am working, she has to be pretty self sufficient.  I pick her up at 4PM on Tuesdays and bring her to church, where she does a devotional set in the prayer room. (sings and plays piano) for an hour, then attends youth group.  Any work not complete when she gets home on Tuesday is either finished before bed or carried over until the next day.

Wednesdays and Thursdays

My daughter goes to my sisters for supervision while I go to work.  On these two days, we choose to do school at night.  Her focus on these days vary, and include Math, English, Vocabulary, History, Literature and Science.  She normally almost always has her English done before she comes home, and she works both before and after dinner to complete her work.  On both of these nights I catch up correcting her assignments for Tuesday-Thursday. I find that giving her two days during the week to do school at night works, as she and my sister have the freedom to go out and have fun.  And I can have a better handle on what she’s doing on those days, and be available for questions and assistance.


My daughter goes to my sisters for supervision while I go to work.  Her focus is usually Math, English and Vocabulary and almost always has it done before she comes to church in the evening.  If not, she works on the weekend to catch up.


The hardest part about working full time and homeschooling is the lack of consistency. Thankfully, my daughter is old enough to be mostly self sufficient.  I could not work full time and homeschool a younger child.  The other challenge I encounter on almost a daily basis is one of attitude and reluctance.  Daughter is not use to mom being teacher, although I’ve been teaching her for her entire life.  She does not like being told what to do, and is not use to the homeschooling environment.  We’ve made great strides, but I am really hoping she will embrace this even more next year.  She is somewhat of a reluctant schooler.  She was making do in school; but now she has mom looking over her shoulder and watching her every move, and not to mention she will be 13 in a few months.


Flexibility is huge.  If there is an event coming up that my daughter wants to attend, I shuffle things around so that she can go. If I know I am going to have an extremely busy week at work, I may let a few things slip.  Who ever finishes curriculum anyways?

Choosing the right curriculum is key.  We are on our 4th science curriculum so far.  But that’s okay.  It’s important for me to find something my daughter enjoys, but still challenges her.

I am learning not to sweat the small stuff, nor the big stuff.  My life is full, but I believe God has asked me to walk this journey, so I am learning to let go and allow God to pour in His grace, wisdom and strength — oh how I need His strength.

Having fun is good for the heart. I can tend to be somewhat of a control freak, and my daughter, well, she will soon be 13.  So I don’t have to tell you that things can get a little heated when we are both in the same room.  Stepping back, taking a breath and allowing ourselves to laugh and have fun is so important.  Yes I am teacher, and mom, but at this critical age for my daughter, I want her to know that I am also her friend.


I am looking forward to next year already, as God has really been speaking to my heart about His plan for my daughter’s schooling.  I have a feeling things will be very different next year. Hopefully, my daughter will come to a place where she enjoys being homeschooled and embrace the benefits of flexibility, which she would hardly have attending public school.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, hats off to you!

*This post is part of a challenge to blog every weekday in the month of April.  You can read more about it here.