4

I've decided to set a goal that each month I review at least one, if not more, items or resources I have used related to homeschooling.  And for this month, I am meeting that goal today!

When I recently moved my blog to wordpress.org, part of the reason was to enable myself to use affiliates to offset the cost of blogging and see if, someday, I could once again add to our family's finances.  I've started small..... Amazon affiliates and.....  hmm???  I really wasn't sure who or what else to start with.  So I looked around my desk area.  I want to be sure that I ONLY EVER advertise or becomes affiliates with products/people I truly believe in and have used.  Right beside me lays open my daily (homeschool) planner as well as my new blog planner - both of which have been published by HEDUA.

HEDUA is the Home Educating Family Association and puts out a variety of materials for the homeschool family including the Well Planned Day Planner, magazines for the family and teen, software and more.  In addition to the Well Planned Day Planner, I've recently been using  My Blog Planner - the most recent addition to their collection of planners offered.

I like my Well Planned Day Planner because not only does it provide me my basic monthly lay out sheets for planning, space for notes, budget sheet, etc.,  it is specifically geared for Christian homeschooling in that there is space to create a daily school schedule for up to four students, forms for student and teacher schedules, field trips, attendance, other varieties of forms,  weekly catechism questions, and intermittent articles on homeschooling to peruse throughout the year.

The second source I wish to tell you about today is the wide selection of books and related items offered by The Busy Mom!

I first heard about Heidi St. John at the CHAP Homeschool conference.  I listened to this sweet woman talk about marriage and homeschooling and bought her book, The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Romance.  It's a simple, easy read filled with good information to help keep the romance alive in any marriage, but of course, speaks directly to homeschoolers.  Remember, the materials we buy for homeschooling does not always have to be just for the kids! You can buy this book and other materials here: (or drop by to follow Heidi's blog - always full of great tips!)

Treat yourself to a Busy Mom resource today!

I'll be sure to add more resources as the months go along....  if you haven't already read past posts, you may find these resource 'reviews' helpful:

The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists

Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons -  I've written several posts on this.  I've not written up a complete review as I haven't finished using it yet - but I believe this is an excellent source for teaching reading!  Here's part two and the last update I wrote.

Donnayoung.org -  This is a great website that I wrote about back in March.

I hope these resources will ease your homeschooling days!

What's YOUR favorite homeschool resource? 

 

 

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about going to the CHAP conference all alone - how I actually did NOT like being there alone - and the things I purchased for next year's homeschool year.  I mentioned that I would post about the speakers I heard at a later date so I figured it's about time I keep true to that!

Every year CHAP has a number of wonderful speakers.  Now that I am more sure of the curriculum I like to use I don't have to spend as much time shopping and now have more time to sit, relax and listen to the knowledge, wisdom and great ideas of these inspirational homeschoolers share their own experiences. There were several speakers I heard in person this year: Blogger and author Heidi St. John, Travis Zimmerman, Andrew Pudewa and Sonja Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason.  All of these speakers were amazing!!!

Heidi was the first speaker that I heard.  Heidi is also known as The Busy Mom over at

The Busy Homeschool Mom (Heidi St. John)

Heidistjohn.com.  The link will take you to her author page but you can also find her bog through the link as well (She's also on Facebook as The Busy Mom). Heidi spoke on romance during homeschooling in addition to the distracted mom and other topics.  I think her talk on romance/marriage was the best.  She emphasized that we must put our marriage as first priority only after God and yes, BEFORE the kids.  So many of us forget to do that.  I bought her book and finished it in less than two days.  It's full of good information - nothing necessarily mind-blowing - but a really well-organized gathering of information that while is mostly common sense, reminds us of essentials married couples often forget.

Travis Zimmerman of Speak My Word Ministries also spoke on marriage and homeschooling.  It blew my mind away how devoted and highly he spoke of his wife.  Every man and woman should be able to talk about their spouse that way and it makes me want to make more of an effort in my marriage to get us back on track and speaking words of encouragement and praise of one another as much as we did early on in our relationship.

The best book, in my opinion, on habit training. I like the companion books that go with this as well thus far!

Sonja Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason spoke on habit training and the Charlotte Mason method. Sonja is the person speaking in the videos that I mentioned in my "Catching Up" post a few weeks ago. It was great to see her in person.  Sonja really made habit training come alive for me as something of high importance and made the concept much clearer on how to go about the training and which ones were of highest significance.

I also enjoyed listening to Andrew Pudewa from IEW speak on language arts.  Andrew shared some of his own experiences with his son who was not a 'reader'. He totally convinced me that when I allow my son to do some of his reading through the use of Audio Books or  read aloud with me, this is most definitely a GOOD thing!

In addition to the speakers I saw in person, I also bought several of the talks on CD.  Well, okay, a LOT of them.  We do this every year.  I tell myself I'm only buying a few and I walk out with over 20.  Yes, seriously - over 20.  But I really do listen to them.  Sometimes more than once.  Of course now, after 8 years of attendance, I have a really big stack of CHAP conference CDs that I have no idea what to do with!

I'm still listening to the ones I bought this year.  The one that I have been most impressed with is Carol Barnier. Carol spoke on "A Prodigal Speaks Out".  She had some amazing insight to children who doubt their faith or simply are the 'rebellious' type. She has published a book on this very topic.  Carol spoke on quite a number of other homeschool topics including learning styles.  I don't believe I am done listening to them all just yet!

If you live in Pennsylvania and haven't been to a CHAP conference yet, I would strongly recommend it. What I have commented on here about the conference and speakers is just a tip of the iceberg!  I know there are some people from the surrounding states that come as well.  The number of hands on resources through speakers and vendors is absolutely amazing and worth the money to support the CHAP mission.

 

 

 

 

 

5

This year was not at all typical. I was all by myself!!! This has never happened in our 9 years of attending the conference. We started out going all together (at that time, my husband and I and the two kids) and even went the year our littlest was born just a few weeks before the conference. Last year was the first we weren't ALL there...our oldest had no need to go as she was headed off to college...and it was a hard adjustment for me. This year that same child was coming home from college, so my husband had to go get her the same Friday as the conference began. My oldest wanted to catch up on some school work so he can be done by the end of May, so he came to Harrisburg with me but stayed in the hotel room and did LOTS of Algebra! The littlest stayed home with Dad. So it was just me. I have to say, in years past I might have thought it would have been nice, but really, I missed having the partner to talk about the decisions I was making, someone to stand in lines for me (he's a sweetheart that way), someone to talk with at the speaker sessions, and someone to just share thoughts and ideas with. It just wasn't the same.

Still, I did make some purchases and was able to attend more speaker sessions than I usually do.

The Purchases:

Around The World in 180 Days - This is what we've determined to make my son's Social Studies requirement for tenth grade. We've already started a Charlotte Mason approach to learning the names/locations of the countries throughout the world this year starting with North America and now we are learning Africa. My son will complete this multi-level curriculum with continuation of this CM approach and a few additional requirements to make it a full high school course.

Exploring Creation with Chemistry - We have been using Apologia's curriculum for science for several years.  I strongly feel it is wonderful comprehensive program that covers the material well in a very understandable fashion.  This year is the year for chemistry as the local co-op sponsors a lab at a camp nearby.

Geometry - I am an avid fan of Teaching Textbooks.  I really wouldn't consider anything else at this point in time.  Obviously I'll be using something else for the little guy since TT doesn't start their programs until 3rd grade... and I'll be exploring the Charlotte Mason approach to math which is pretty laid back, but for my older kids, TT was a must!!

Typing Instructor Platinum

SOS Physical Education - My son participates in a physical education class with the local co-op but it only meets ten times per semester and while he does other physical activity, it's not something we keep track of.  Since he absolutely loves sports, I thought the new Physical Education program put out by Alpha Omega's Switched On Schoolhouse looked like it might be somewhat interesting to him and would be an informative addendum to the activity part of his physical education and will help towards hours to grant him a half credit course in physical education this year.  I like SOS in that the parents can easily modify it, so he can do the interesting parts, leave out anything he's not interested in, add on the co-op gym class hours and get at least a half credit course out of it.

Barron's Grammar Workbook for the SAT, ACT and more - Another purchase I made through Rainbow Resources.  I wanted to pick up a basic review book for my son.  He doesn't need much grammar instruction, per se, as he already completed an extensive program (Analytical Grammar) and has always been rather good at it.  I just wanted a review so he would recall what he needed to know for the SATs when it is time.  I was tempted by Easy Grammar's 180 Daily Teaching Lessons as it's a simple daily review and was debating on which grade to get as I was going to extend it over two or more years when I saw the Barron's Grammar Workbook and decided this was the way to go since it was also specific to the SAT which is the cause of my wanting him to review in the first place.

That pretty much sums up what I bought for my older son since we haven't decided yet on his reading books for English 10 and he'll be taking a writing course online.  Russian also will be covered online.

The part of this year's convention that was a bit more fun was for my youngest.  I got to see Sonya Shafer from Simply Charlotte Mason speak at the conference and of course, made several purchases at the Simply Charlotte Mason booth!  I am eager to really understand and begin the Charlotte Mason method so I bought what I thought to be essential which is the Laying Down the Rails for Children companion books to the Laying Down the Rails book I already have.  I also attended Sonya's talk about habit training. The hardest part about this, I think, will be staying focused on just one at a time!

I also bought the Delightful Reading Kit that is geared for preschool through 2nd grade.  My son is certainly in the beginning stages of reading and I like the CM method because it allows for me to have instruction methods at my fingertips but is a very laid back approach that doesn't drive a parent mad thinking we need to have specific lessons every day or make reading tedious at all like so many curriculums and public school approaches do!

In addition, I bought Letters and Numbers for me which is the kindergarten level book to Handwriting Without Tears, a program I used when I taught in the public schools which I feel to be a very nice approach to formation of letters.  It is not something I intend to approach vigorously either, but wanted to have something on hand to pull out once in a while to introduce this aspect of language arts.  I also  to write bought a pad of kindergarten lined paper to write sentences and stories so that I have it when I feel we are ready for that.

For fun, I bought the Usborne Playtime I Can Draw Animals book.  I really want to incorporate the CM method of nature journaling and drawing is such an integral part of that - so maybe we can start with simple things and make it fun.  This book struck me as a very very simple way to do that.

The only book I bought for him to read (it was soooooooo tempting to buy hundreds!) was the Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book K - a book in a series designed to improve reading and comprehension skills and delight in God's creation!

I also bought several books for me 🙂 I'll save those for another day.

I hope you enjoy my sharing of my purchases and find the links useful.  I'll save my thoughts on the speakers as well  for another post on another day!  Have a blessed day and a blessed evening!

 

 

 

 

7

I have a LOT of catching up to do....   here on the blog, in my own manuscript writing, critique groups, homeschool plans, catching up with friends, decluttering and organizing and oh so much more.  My "To Do" list keeps growing.   I write it out once a week or so and cross out things as I accomplish them but seem to always add more than I cross out.  I never get it all done.  I'm always rewriting the things I didn't get done from the old list to the top of the new list.

I have had some recent achievements though:

My little guy and I are halfway through Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons.   I'll try to get an update on that out soon.  He still enjoys the lessons.  Sometimes we skip a few days, sometimes we do two in a day because he brings the book to me and wants to do it.  He is starting to pick out a lot more words in the books I read to him.  🙂  It's exciting!

I am in Spring Cleaning Decluttering and Organize Mode..   I finally succeeded in cleaning out my closet!  It's a nice walk-in closet with lots of shelves...also, unfortunately, the place I was learning to put things if I didn't feel like dealing with it at the moment...and was no longer very 'walk-in-able'...  But NOW IT IS!  Woot!  I have it all done but one shelf...  lots of pictures and papers that need sorted and put into the right boxes.  But just this one MAJOR task accomplished and the $65 I made cleaning out the game closet (I sold some games and an old keyboard on a Facebook online garage sale) gives me HUGE motivation to continue.

I finally watched the Charlotte Mason video seminars that I bought LAST year at the CHAP (Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania) conference....with only 7 days to go before the next conference!  It was worth it.  It did convince me that I really need to make an effort to get to know more about the Charlotte Mason approach and stay on track with it.  I definitely feel it's the right approach for us for the little man...  if only I had researched it when the others were younger 🙁   Oh well....I did the best I could,

I completed the May Menu.  But I really need to get cracking on the grocery list for next week or I'll have a menu with no food!

I finally wrote the blog post I've been meaning to write for some time.  I posted it last Thursday and it got over  198 views thus far...making it my 3rd most viewed post.  Not a lot of comments were made, but it pleased me that that many people read it and am hopeful it gave   If you haven't and you want to read it, it's right here:  Why I Refuse To Support Homeschool Diploma Programs.

I made a LOT of revisions on my manuscript in the last month or so.  Unfortunately, the last time I sat down to work on it my goal had been to CUT word number...and ended up with 35 extra words....  LOL... but I think the revisions I made were important and beneficial.  I hope to cut some more on the word count today and maybe even write up a draft query letter!

Well, that's certainly not all I've been doing - but it's the highlights of quite a few.  And now, I need to get back to the manuscript!  Wish me luck!

 

4

Apparently, Pennsylvania is known for having tough homeschool laws. Supposedly there's a lot of paperwork involved.  As a former public school teacher, I can assure the rest of the homeschool mom's out there that, in retrospect, what we have to do as homeschool teachers is nothing in comparison.  Sure, as a homeschool mom, I can understand not wanting to have to do one more thing for the state.  I get that.  But it really is not as time consuming or difficult that some homeschool parents are making it out to be.  In my experience as a homeschool evaluator, I find most parents doing MORE than what they need to do.  So I'm going to try to put it all here in a nutshell.  What do we really need to do in Pennsylvania?

If you want to read the actual law, Session of 1988  Act 1988-169,   there are many sources online that provide this.  The link above is one from CHAP (Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania).

But what does this really mean?

The Beginning:

You must fill out a notarized Affidavit and hand this in to the local school district before beginning to homeschool your child either at the  compulsory attendance age of 8 (or the school year in which he or she will be turning 8) or before pulling them out of the public school if he or she has already started or been registered for attendance there, regardless of age or grade.  An affidavit  will include the names of your children (that are to be homeschooled), the name of the supervisor of the homeschool program (this is usually the mother though I recently saw that CHAP actually recommends the father),address and telephone number of the home education site,  and a statement that no one in the house has been convicted of a felony and that the homeschooling parent has a high school diploma. The affidavit should also include a statement that the students listed have received the health and medical services required by the Public School Code (dental exams upon entry into school and in 3rd and 7th grades and medical exams upon entry into school and in sixth and eleventh grades as well as immunizations OR an exemption due to religious beliefs or medical reasons). The affidavit must be legally notarized.

Along with the affidavit, the supervisor must hand in a listing of proposed objectives.  This does NOT need to be difficult!  As a former teacher, I struggled with this one.  I really wanted to give very long, drawn out, detailed objectives.  It's not necessary.  Your list of proposed objectives is really a set of goals.  List each subject you plan on covering through the year (Note the word "PLAN" here:  It is okay to change your plans.  You are not required to fullfill the exact objectives you hand in.  It is just that.  A PLAN.).  For each subject that you list, write about 3 vague or specific obejectives.  For example,  if you are covering 3rd Grade Math, the objectives may be:  - to introduce multiplication and division facts,  - to use math skills in everyday situations as in grocery and Christmas shopping,  - to continue improvement of math skills on a 3rd grade level.   See?  Very easy!  If you are wondering about a subject and what to write for objectives, let me know.  I'd be glad to help!

This is all for the beginning, UNLESS your child has been formally identified throught the school district as having special needs.  In this case you must submit objectives that have already been approved by a "licensed clinical or certified psychologiset or a teacher with a valid certificate from the Commonwealth to teach special education".  In other words, find an evaluator ahead of time that can approve your objectives ahead of time.  (More on evaluators later.)

During The School Year:

Teach.  Duh, of course, right?!     🙂   (But don't teach your kids to say duh....just a little humor...hope you're smiling)

You are obligated by law to provide instruction in the required subjects for 180 school days or 900 hours if your child is in elementary grades, 990 if he or she is in secondary grades.  Most people use a list to show days rather than hours but this is entirely up to you.  Keep the list of days in calendar form or in some other form of logging style to show your evaluator and put into your portfolio for the end of the year (see below for more information on portfolios and evaluators).  The 180 school days is no more than the public school child.

Standardized testing is required just as it is for the public school children but, thankfully, only in grades 3, 5 and 8! So during the course of the year, you will need to find a resource that allows your child to take a standardized test that is one of the approved tests and include the results of this test in your portfolio at the end of the 3rd, 5th and 8th grade years.  The approved tests at this time are:  California Achievement Test, Comprehensive Testing Program (CTPIV), Iowa Test of Basic Skills, Metropolitan Achievement Test, Peabody Achievement Individual Test --Revised Edition, Standford Achievement Test, Terra Nova, and the Woodcock Johnson Revised Tests of Achievement.  Some homeschool co-ops offer one of these tests on a yearly basis to their homeschool group.  One of these tests is actually available online.  Most require another adult to be present during the testing time other than the homeschool parent/supervisor.  You will need to do your research in advance.  Do NOT wait until the end of the year as you need the results to give to your evaluator and to put in the portfolio.

Keep a portfolio.  The portfolio is NOT that big of a deal.  But do yourself a favor.  Decide at the beginning of the year how you are going to set up your portfolio and start saving and organizing the samples to put in it through the course of the year instead of being an overwhelmed homeschool mom at the end of the year who isn't sure what to do with all these stacks of paper!  My suggestions is just purchase a 3 ring binder... no bigger than one inch!  Put dividers in the portfolio for all of your subjects you are covering.  Now as the year goes on, every month, put in one sample of each subject behind the divider for it.  At the end of the year, you will have enough samples in your portfolio!  Easy peasy!

Keep a Log.   This is probably the most contraversial piece of material in the PA law because there are soooooo many interpretations as to what this log is, besides a list of reading materials.  There must be a list of reading materials.  There is no doubt about that.  So keep track of those books your child is reading.  HSLDA provides a thorough explanation of interpretations of this part of the law on their site. Their recommendation is keeping a calendar form and marking the materials you use each day in a type of code.  I will confess, most people do not use this method.  Usually, people hand in a simple reading log within the portfolio that lists all reading materials for the year and often includes curriculum used as well.  This seems to satisfy the majority of school districts. In addition to the reading list, they have a type of calendar form or number list showing the 180 days that have been covered in the year.  It is preferred by most evaluators that this list does show the actual dates of school and not just the numbers 1-180.

The End of the Year:

Before handing your portfolio in to your school district, your child must be evaluated by a qualified evaluator. Most evaluators are certified teachers but some are psychologists while others are homeschool parents who have taught at all levels.  The certified teachers and psychologists are automatically qualified (as long as they have experience testing at the level your child has completed),but those not having certification must be pre-approved by the school district.  Most homeschool co-ops are able to porvide you with lists of evaluators in your area but there are websites that also provide this information:

              CHAP Online         Askpauline.com            PHAA

Be sure to ask the person you call what their qualifications are.  Some are only qualified for particular grade levels (elementary vs. secondary) while others are qualified for all grade levels as well as special education.  Ask their price for the evaluation.  There can be a great variation with this price.  Some, but not many, will come to your home or meet  you somewhere. Some automatically do a long extensive write up for the district that is required by homeschool accredidation agencies (which are not necessary to join) while others hand in a simple form that meets the expectations of the law without providing more than necessary to the school districts.  This may affect the price as well.  Also, be sure to make your appointment in advance!  Do NOT wait until the end of the school year to make an appointment!  Many of these evaluators already have an extensive client list and book up fast for evaluations.  Others may not evaluate past a particular date.  So please, contact them early.  It is not unheard of to at least contact an evaluator early in the year to find out when to call them to make the appointment. Also, by contacting an evaluator early, they should be more able to help guide you in preparing the portfolio and knowing what to expect during the evaluation and possibly answer any other questions you might have about the process or homeschooling in general.

Once you have the evaluation, you will be ready to hand in your portfolio.  Your evaluator will probably all ready make sure it contains all that it needs to contain:

  • reading log
  • 180 day log
  • samples of each subject covered (there should be about three samples from the beginning, middle and end of the school year for each subject, totalling approximately 9 samples for each subject) Samples may be workbook pages, tests, essays, book reports, pictures of events, activity, art exhibit, etc., or artwork.  Unschoolers often use lots of photos in their portfolio with captions to explain the subject being covered.
  • Test results if it is a year of required testing
  • Evidence of Fire Safety being covered (Fire saftey is the ONE subject that MUST be covered EVERY year)
  • A copy of your signed evaluation form given to you by the evaluator

That's it!  Just walk into your district office and hand it in, always obtaining a written receipt that states you have handed in the portfolio with the above pieces included (I always type up my own form, listing everything that's in the portfolio as in the list above and just have the secretary or who I hand the portfolio to sign my receipt).

I usually advise to my evaluation clients that this is the perfect time to hand in the affidavit for the next year as well along with the objectives and to get a receipt for that too.  This way, one is free to begin homeschooling and counting days on July 1, the first day of the school year, if they choose to do so.  This is great as it allows those great summer field trips to count as school days! 🙂

I love helping fellow homeschoolers, so again, if you have any questions, let me know!  If I don't know the answer, I might at least be able to offer a source that would!

Happy homeschooling!

5

HOMESCHOOLING IS AWESOME!!! (just in case you were wondering)

There are actually a number of methods to homeschooling.  Each family has its own style they are most comfortable with and choose as the best method for their homeschooler.  As an evaluator for other homeschoolers (Pennsylvania is a state which requires each homeschooler to be evaluated by either a licensed psychologist, school psychologist, certified teacher, or other persons meeting qualifications and approved by the school district in which the student resides), I am able to see the results of all of these methods over time.  They are all wonderful methods.  But not all methods suit all children or all parents for that matter.

I am only offering a simple overview here.  It is by no means an overall account of each one I mention. If you are looking into homeschooling, I suggest you pick a couple that resonate with you and read more about them.  In time, I will try to add a list of sources with each one.

There is always what is sometimes called the 'Public School at Home Method' which just means the parent uses standard textbooks (sometimes even borrowed from the public school) and the child uses these texts and standard paper and pencil tests for evaluation.  Some parents use Cyber Schools (the student has textbooks at home and attends 'class' via computer at home) to incorporate this style.  Most would not call Cyber Schools true homeschooling and I would be inclined to agree, but if your goal is to simply have them at home away from the influence of youngsters in the public schools, then this might work for you.

The ones I heard about the most when starting out were the Classical Method and the Charlotte Mason Method.  The Classical Method is based on a philosophy which is built  on a three-part process to train the mind. This is known as the Trivium.  In the first step, the child learns and memorizes facts.  In the second step, connections are made between those memorized facts .  The third step is when the student forms opinions of his own about those connections he or she has made with the known facts.   The Classical Method generally involves the use of the Socratic method and the classic books of the Western tradition, extensive learning of Latin as well as Grammar, logic and rhetoric. There is a LOT of reading and writing involved with this method.   The homeschooling families that I have witnessed using this system thrive on the structure involved!  So if you don't like structure, this is definitely NOT the method for you.  And if your child is not a strong reader or writer, it may be difficult to manage.

Sources:  The Well Trained Mind

1000 Good Books List

Circe Institute

Classical Homeschooling Curriculum

 

The Charlotte Mason Method is based on the teaching methods of Charlotte Mason, a British educator who lived in the late 1800s to early 1900s.  The Charlotte Mason focuses heavy on LIVING BOOKS, books that pull the reader into the subject and touches upon your emotions usually written by one individual (vs. a textbook written by a group of authors) who is obviously passionate about the subject.  This method also heavily uses the tool of narration (verbal and written), short lessons, the study of art, nature and poetry and focuses on the importance of teaching good habits.   Parents who choose this method enjoy being heavily involved in the process of the child's education discussing books, listening and reading narrations, enjoying art, music, and nature together  and does not feel the need to have their child take formal tests.

Sources:  Who Was Charlotte Mason?

Simply Charlotte Mason

Ambleside

The Unit Study Method has the student focus on one specific topic and incorporates as many of the academic areas around it as possible.  For example, a student may be intensely interested in the Civil War.  So besides the obvious readings good historical fiction books and biographies (history, literature) about people of that time period, the student will study the geography(geography) of the areas the battles were fought in.  They may research what scientific discoveries(science) were made at the time and make graphs (math) of death tolls for various battles.  All of this while listening to music (music appreciation)composed or enjoyed at that time and study paintings of the war (art).  A lot of people using these methods love making scale models of various things or some sort of final project to demonstrate what they have learned.  This method really helps parents who are teaching children at various levels and enjoy doing hands-on-projects and do not worry about following the traditional scope and sequence of subjects.

Sources:  Five In A Row

Unit Study Resource List

The Unschooling Method allows the child to lead the way in learning.  The parent will offer resources based on the interests of the child at that time.  This method does not in any way follow the traditional textbook, sit at a desk, formal test method of public schools.  The child determines, based on their motivations and interests, what they want to study at a given time and the parent provides books, materials, possibly even online or local classes on the given subject at hand.  This may mean that the student may be 'behind' in certain areas in comparison to a public school child but may be well advanced in others.  He or she may quickly catch up in those areas of lesser skill as soon as they move on to other interests.  I have seen this method work very well with friends and colleagues who have taken part in it and the knowledge that these children acquire can be astounding but I would strongly advise preparing in advance and understand the method before proceeding with it as I would hope anyone would with any homeschooling.

Sources:

Unschooling.com

Unschoolersg.org

The Eclectic Home Schooling Method tends to be what I see the most of and what I have used myself in the past and currently with my high schooler (I am researching another method extensively to use with my toddler).  In this method, a variety of home school methods are used depending on the learning style and interests of the child.  Instead of choosing just one method, the parent may use various methods and various sources depending on the subject.  For example, one child may use a classical approach for history, a Charlotte Mason approach for science and literature, a 'school at home' type method for math and other subjects with an occasional unit study thrown in.

Sources?  See all of the above 🙂

There are certainly other approaches as well but these seem to be the most common.  If you are new to homeschooling, I'd advise starting with researching these methods a bit more and see where that takes you.  There's a huge world out there!  I recall being absolutely awestruck at our first CHAP convention in Harrisburg, PA. I had NO idea how big homeschooling was! I had NO idea how many people were involved. I had NO idea how much curriculum was available.  I had NO idea how many options there were and I had NO idea how much support there was or how much I would fall in love with it all!

Feel free to ask me questions about homeschooling if you'd like.  I can't promise to have all the answers and I only know the homeschooling laws of Pennsylvania, but I can share with you what I do know and what my experiences have been.  And if I don't know the answer, I might know of a source to get you the answer.  My FAVORITE homeschooling source is HSLDA, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.  They are more than just lawyers and I always recommend to my clients that they join.  They have been a tremendous wealth of information to me over the years.

I will try to add more sources for the above methods listed as time goes on.  If there is one that interests you, in particular, let me know.  If there is another method I haven't covered here and you think I should, send me a note and I'll try to address it in the future!