Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Advice to New Homeschoolers

Question:  Share the best homeschooling advice you have been given. What would you advise new homeschoolers?

Man, this is a tough question. I heard a lot of advice when we first started, as we are surrounded by homeschoolers in our area.  There is so much that is just trial and error.  Maybe just a list of thoughts will be best for this question.  Numbering gives me a feeling of chaos coming into order, which may mean more to you as you begin to homeschool.  :)

  • Read.  Just read to your children.  Every day.  Even when they're babies.  Stretch yourself and read things you normally wouldn't read. 
  • You will probably buy curriculum and resources that you just won't use.  Along with this, you will probably buy too much at first.  I've only just begun to know what will and will not work, so my choices are more trimmed these days.
  • When I first started homeschooling, I was a ball of nerves and tried to fit everything into perfectly wrapped boxes, perfectly lined up, with perfectly creased edges.  Anxiety still raises its head in our homeschool, especially as high school looms, and I've realized those early days shouldn't have been such a weight on my shoulders.  Relax.  Take a day off and go hiking or swimming or whatever you like.  Go outside and marvel at the world around you.  I know, I know, you've probably heard that.  Children learn in different ways and at different speeds and if your 5-year-old isn't comprehending this or that, it really is okay.  In most cases, many children will even out in the long run.  
  • On the other hand, trust your spidey-sense too.  You know your child better than the other homeschooling mom who has been doing it for eons.
  • Read all you can about homeschooling, curriculum, forum discussions, and general homeschooling articles.  Even if you don't need a change in curriculum, just reading about the different options will give you ideas, and you can tuck the ideas away for that day when you have a problem to overcome in the trenches.
  • It will most likely be helpful to figure out what your learning style is, along with your children's learning style.  I'm very visual.  I want the words in front of my face.  Audiobooks don't cut it for me.  I must see it to internalize it.  My daughter is audio-driven.  She learns more from me reading things out loud than reading it herself.  I've had to learn how to tailor to her learning tendencies.  I have her read things out loud to herself.  Do stretch your child and yourself into the other areas of learning, though. 
  • Homeschooling isn't a race.  Just because your friend's 5-year-old is reading The Hobbit doesn't mean yours should be too.  Your kids are where they are, and if they're moving forward (and sometimes they'll stagnate for a while), it's okay.  Keep working and moving.  Dory from Nemo comes to mind, "Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."  
  • Heart-problems will raise their heads, and when you're with your kids this much, you may not notice them at first.  When you finally realize that your son might be cheating, stop the boat and deal with that.  The heart issues have priority in our house, and I'm working on dealing with these things instead of ignoring them.  Sometimes I want to check the boxes off our to-do list and just get it done, but those attitudes aren't going anywhere.  I don't want my kids to just act nicely, I want their hearts to be in line with their actions.

I could probably talk for hours about this, but I think I've touched what I feel are the most important parts of homeschooling that I've learned.  Check out a wealth of information below on the other Sonlighter's blogs!


Sonlight Blog Party

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Geography From A to Z Notebook Page

We're using this book for a closer look at geographical formations this upcoming year with our third grader.  The range of ages for these pages is quite wide.  I'll let you be the judge.

I'm reading the book Geography From A to Z and using this notebook page and images to help the learning process.  The notebook page has a world map to note where certain formations are found in the world.  There is a space for a photograph of each formation (all images included in this set of pages) and a space for your child to draw the formation.

I hope you find this resource useful, and thank you for visiting!

Geography From A to Z notebook pages


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

QuietTube for Your Studies

I often like to hop on YouTube with the girls for some educational videos, but I do not appreciate the recommendations bar on the side or any of the sometimes offensive comments.  I have discovered a few different options to combat this.

Check out  You simply drag the quietube button to your browser's bookmark bar.  Then when you come to the page of a YouTube video you want to watch, click quietube on your bookmark bar, and it will open the video without all the ads and comments. 

The second resource I've found is TeacherTube.  This site is filled with educational videos.  This site does have the recommendation bar and comments, but there won't be too much exposed skin or swear words or whatever offends you on YouTube.

I hope this comes in handy for someone!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why in the World Would I Homeschool?!

If you would have asked me fifteen years ago about homeschooling, I would have given you a blank stare and asked, "What's that?"  Homeschooling was not even on my radar.  Granted, I was really young and not thinking of even having kids yet.

When Coconut was 3, I began traveling around our city, checking out various preschools, gathering information responsibly.  All the while, in the back of my mind I wondered about that crazy homeschooling thing.  I had met several (actually many) homeschooling families in my community, and didn't even know people actually did such a thing.  I didn't look down upon those that chose to homeschool, but looked on with mild curiosity.

I informed Joey of my preschool worthiness findings, and he would nod his head.  We didn't need to think about it quite yet.  Out of the blue one day, he asked me if I would considering homeschooling.  What?!  Um, no.  Too weird, too scary, too...unknown.  I started thinking about this option more.  Wait, now its an option?!  After all, wasn't I thinking about it before Joey even mentioned it to me?  Maybe this is what we're supposed to do?

After I researched homeschooling for hours upon hours upon hours, I told Joey that why don't we just try preschool and see how it goes?  Eight years later, we're still at it.

We still take it year by year and are totally open to public school if that is what the girls need.  We're not anti-school at all, and will continue to take it year by year, evaluating each child.  Maybe one day we'll school only one at home while the other two enter school, maybe not.  We'll see.  We both agree we would like them to each try at least one year in public school, 8th or 9th grade, and we hope to give them a say in their education as they approach high school.

I am a book fiend, and I never learned so much history as though historical fiction, so Sonlight had me hooked. I tried a different curriculum one year with hands-on activities, but I found myself substituting the other curriculum's books with Sonlight books and figured I should just go back to Sonlight.  We've been sonlighting ever since.

Homeschooling has really just become a way of life for us.  It's what we do.  Right now, I can't see it another way, but that may change. 


Click below to read other Sonlight family's blogs!

Sonlight Blog Party

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Free Printable Pages for Draw Write Now

We have this whole set of books, and each girl has spent hours within their pages.  Mainly we drew the pictures and didn't use the handwriting portion of the curriculum.  DD7 finished her Handwriting Without Tears book early this year, so I needed to come up with something to continue her handwriting practice.  I thought about making something up, but I don't really have time for that right now.  Enter Draw Write Now!

Not only did my girl get to pick which book to start with, she gets to draw every time we do handwriting!  So I made up these generic pages so she could make a clean and tidy book that we'll take to the office store to get spiral bound.  She's excited and I'm excited that she's interested. 

The first page is a larger 3-lined, second page is smaller 3-lined, third page is wide plain lined, and fourth page is narrow plain lined.  I am considering having my older girls, who write cursive, to copy the sentences in cursive.  They just want to draw, and the factoids and cursive handwriting practice will help them too.

Pages from Draw Write Now

Draw Write Now plain sheets


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Meet the Family

So who exactly is this homeschooling woman who does nothing but share freebies?  You may know my name is Julie and I like making printables for my family and then sharing, but how did we start homeschooling?  Why do we homeschool?  Who are we?

Okay, so maybe these aren't burning questions in your mind.  After all, when I look for free schooling materials, I'm usually in and out, thank you ma'am, goodbye.  I figure that's what most of you do as well, but Sonlight, our curriculum of choice, is having a blog party, and I thought it might be fun to engage my lack of writing ability.  I need to stretch myself.

First up, meet my family.  Joey and I have been married for 16 years, and we have three beautiful girls (astonishingly beautiful if I may say so), ages 12, 10, and 7.  We weren't supposed to be able to have children.  We were both tidily checked out by physicians, who told us our chances of conceiving naturally were "approaching zero quickly."  Lo and behold, enter pregnancy a mere two months after we were told that.  Hello Coconut!  Quickly after her birth, we had Dreamer and last, but not least, Beeps.

We've been homeschooling for 8 years now, if you count preschool.  In fact, I'm a little frazzled right now with the thought of a 7th grader next year.  We just take it one year at a time.

I'm getting ahead of myself, though.  Next month, check back to see how we came to homeschooling and why we are continuing for now.  So there you have it in a nutshell.  My family.  :)


Click below for more posts on Sonlight homeschooling families!

Sonlight Blog Party

Friday, January 9, 2015

Missing Files

Unfortunately, HS Launch, where I stored many of my old files, has gone down.  I have no idea how to contact them to see if I can get my files back.  Normally, I have the files on my computer, but these old files were on a laptop that crashed several years ago, and I lost them. 

I'm looking at my backed up files now to see if I can restore some of my files.  Many will be lost, though.  Give me several days to go through these files, transfer them to Google Docs, and then update my pages.  I'm so sorry for this.