We are in our second “recorded” year of homeschooling. If you are new to homeschooling or unfamiliar with homeschooling, you might be wondering what I mean by “recorded”. Well each state has their own set laws and regulations for homeschooling. In our state we do not have to document school work or send in our letter of intent to homeschool until our daughter was 7. This does not mean that she was without any teaching or learning for two years, we did a lot of learning but I just did not have to report it to the state.
The “work” of homeschooling
I am not even sure what many people really think of homeschool. Well, actually I can pick up on subdued actions, tones and comments that are not positive. I know that I am not the only homeschool mom who is faced with doubters. I think many people are unaware of the great number of hours and research that really goes into homeschooling. As my daughter learns and I spend every minute with her, I begin to see her learning styles. I might pull together a lesson that I feel is good and she is capable to grasp, only to find out that it did not match her learning style. The beauty of homeschooling is that I can change our curriculum and teaching style to match her learning style.
I spend countless hours searching the Internet, reading blogs of other homeschooling families and checking out several education manuals from the local libraries. It is true that some people buy curriculum, but with my daughter being so young I am not committed to spending a great deal of money on a curriculum I don’t know much about. I am very shy and hesitant to commit our homeschooling to one specific curriculum or learning style. For some families this works great and that is wonderful. I think it is important to find the way that works for your family.
Pick and Choose Curriculum Building
Okay, so when we first started out homeschooling venture, I had a lot of material from my prior days of teaching. I also cleaned out the Dollar Tree of their educational materials, they have a great deal of reproducible books and single use workbooks. I also began to sign myself up to homeschooling groups and join forums on Facebook. From here I began to get on email list and hear testimonies from other families on curriculums and websites that they chose for their homeschool. At this point I was printing pages from websites and using workbooks I bought from the Dollar Tree. We were still on a pretty tight budget and we only allotted a certain amount a month for homeschooling needs; this would include printer ink, paper, field trip costs, and homeschool supplies. So I was very limited on my ability to just leap onto a curriculum. At one point, I was able to find some curriculum books at a yard sale and bought the companions on eBay for reasonable price. I had to be creative in my ways of finding curriculum for my daughter. One thing I did do was to make goals in each learning area, I think this is important to keep on track with learning and to help progress forward.
Product Testing Opportunities
In the time I was signing up for information about homeschooling and joining various groups, I was presented with the opportunity to join a Homeschool Product Testing group. I signed up immediately and was able to be given several opportunities, some I enjoyed and others I was not able to make it fit into our lifestyle. That is important as well your curriculum choice should fit your lifestyle. The products I enjoyed the most were the ebook that I reviewed on the blog and a cursive writing curriculum. I quickly began to realize that computer based work was not something that would work in our homeschool program. We don’t mind our daughter using the computer or tablet in moderation, but we do not want that to be 100% of her homeschool experience. Now, I am not against those who choose that way because like I said choose what works for your family and lifestyle.
A New Opportunity
While I was reading through my Facebook groups, I came across a post about homeschool review opportunities. The program is specifically for those who have blogs, homeschool and are willing to write honest opinions on products they use. So I filled out the application, but I was not certain I would get chosen because let’s be real–I had fallen off my blog wagon and my posting was sparse. However, I saw this opportunity as a way to get back into the habit of writing, they ask you commit to writing one post a week. I told myself, “you’re going to do this!“.
Well, a few weeks ago I received an email stating that my blog had been reviewed and I was accecpted into the program. If you browse on the blog, on the sidebar you will see a Homeschool Review Crew Team Member graphic. I am so excited to be part of this Crew, I will be given the opportunity to test and review a homeschool product each month. So each month I test out a product I will share with you our honest opinion. I will also have the opportunity to share with you so many resources shared by many other homeschool families. My hope is that this will inspire, help and encourage you in your homeschool journey. I have already started to begin my first product test, so be looking for my review in January!!