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Category: Homeschooling

Homeschooling freedom.

Homeschooling freedom.

We thank God for the ability to raise our kids in this beautiful state.    Not only is the area we live and learn in breathtakingly gorgeous- but our state has some other qualities that makes it the ideal place to raise our children. The primary reason for our moving here would have to be the freedom we  have in homeschooling here.  Even though Minnesota wasn’t really a horrible place to homeschool- Idaho had more freedom in doing so.

Here in Idaho, we aren’t required to contact our school district each year with a “notice of intent to homeschool”, nor are we required to send in yearly vaccination records and/or exemption forms.

Standardized testing is not required.

Our curriculums do not have to be approved.  So long as they are  “instructed in subjects commonly and usually taught in the public schools”- we’re free to make our own decisions in the direction of our children’s schooling.  If we want a family member, friend or other unrelated person to teach our children- we have the freedom to choose to do that as well.

We teach Science, History, Mathematics, Language Arts, etc.. but this doesn’t mean that we have to teach the subjects AS they are taught in the public school setting.  We have the freedom to teach these subjects as we see fit.   This right here is a big deal to our family, as we really enjoy having the ability to teach our kids what WE feel is important-and in the way we want to.  It also allows us to focus on what they are interested in, if you can make learning fun- go for it!  If your kids show an interest in bees?  Hey- that’s Science.   Want to do some animal track casting?  Again- Science.   A trip to Yellowstone- Science, Geography & History all in one! Throw in a written essay on thermal activity, tourism, native peoples, seeing the park through the eyes of an animal, etc- you have Language Arts thrown into the mix as well.

We have the freedom to school in whatever homeschool style that we choose..We can teach what we want, without feeling like we are required to force our children to fit the same mold as those in the public school system. We can take a classical approach,  Montessori, some may choose an eclectic or relaxed approach, and some will choose unschooling, etc.  You may even decide to “school at home”- following a schedule and curriculum that very closely resembles area public schools.   You as the parent can decide which will work best for you and your family.

Idaho is one of the last states that really allows you as the parent to decide what is best for your children.. not just limited in schooling, either.

Homeschooling IS legal in all 50 states- but laws regarding homeschooling will vary from state to state. HSLDA’s website has a lot of great information on each state, and they have the ability to give you legal advice as well.

If you have questions about homeschooling in Idaho, in your home state, or homeschooling in general, I highly recommend looking into local homeschool Co-ops,  or visiting http://www.HSLDA.org for more information.  Don’t take my interpretation of Idaho’s homeschooling laws as infallible (or even accurate)! The laws may have changed since this post was published.  Look into them yourself!

Blessings,  -A

 

 

 

Affordable homeschooling option for the entire family

Affordable homeschooling option for the entire family

Many families new to homeschooling can have a difficult time choosing the right curriculum for their children.  Some of us may struggle for years with different learners and teaching styles until we finally find the perfect fit.  We are not “one size fits all” families. We have little ones that do not all learn in the same way. They have different interests,  limits, and personalities- all of which need to be considered when choosing the right curriculum for them.   You may not have a problem finding a curriculum that works for your children- but for some of us, it’s a learning process for ourselves that can take many years of trail and error to perfect. After a few years of trying a more traditional approach to homeschooling,  I have found that it is best for our family to build each child’s curriculum around what they love most.  In doing this, they are always look forward to learning.  Coming to this realization, and trying to figure out how to do this has been quite the experience.  If you’re able to do a little research and find a curriculum that works real well for your family on the first time- consider yourself lucky! Most families I have come across have gone through a much similar process of elimination when trying to settle on a curriculum that fits. We have tried out 4 different math programs in one year for one of our children before finally finding one that works for her, thankfully she really enjoys it.  For some families, they’ll do that several times over with 5-7  subjects, sometimes with 3 or more children- possibly even for years before they find their niche.  I’m not joking- the struggle is real for some of us!

Two years ago we had a curriculum set up for our children that ended up being ridiculously expensive. I was actually homeschooled using them.  I didn’t die, so I figured it would be worth a shot trying it out with our own children. For whatever reason, I failed to remember that I was the only one in our family of 4 homeschooled kids that really did well with this curriculum. The others were bored out of their minds, were unable to get through their lessons in a timely manner, or simply didn’t enjoy doing it.   I didn’t care much for it to be absolutely frank, but they worked. They were long, drawn out lessons on very boring, too-simple subjects for me. Not even considering how I was the only one in our family to do well with this specific curriculum- I went all out and purchased all subjects in for all 3 of our children.  That was a huge mistake. They really did not work out very well for our kids.  We continued with it for the first couple of months of that school year because we had already purchased them, and didn’t really feel like wasting any more money on more material that may or may not work out.    I  didn’t want to admit that I had just wasted over $1400 on school books and other materials for 3 children that just wasn’t being enjoyed by the kids. They all hated it. It was a total flop, but we had to make the best of it.

We were about 2 months into our school year with that particular curriculum when we lost everything we owned due to a fire that burned down our apartment building.  We made it out OK- but we had to completely start over. We had lost all of the precious books we had acquired over the years & that awful, expensive curriculum that we all hated.   When we hit our rock bottom, couldn’t justify spending a bunch of money on a new set of school supplies that we all hated..  but we had to figure out a way to continue schooling.  I searched high and low, eventually finding  a couple of amazing options for us.  Our greatest find was  Schoolhouseteachers.com.

This website has been an invaluable resource for us since that fire.  Since switching over to  Schoolhouseteachers.com, I have saved an unbelievable amount of money. I have actually spent less on the membership for this website for 2 years than I had previously spent on ONE SUBJECT, for one child. After years of trial and error, we finally have something that works for us. That fire was a blessing. If we hadn’t lost all of the overpriced long winded school material we had before, I would likely still be doing the same thing today. Our children would still hate their schoolwork. We’ve been using this as a large part of our schooling for the last 2 years now, and couldn’t be happier with the variety in lessons.  There are so many options on this one website that every family out there could find something on there to supplement to what they already have going on at home.   And the great thing is that anyone can use it.  You don’t have to be homeschooling.  If your kids are enrolled in public school, or you run a daycare- the lessons on there are fun and would benefit your kids as well.

If you’re switching over to this from a more traditional curriculum- you’ll be amazed at the money you save.    You pay a small one time fee for access to 300+ self-paced course options for your child’s age/grade, preschool through high school. It includes as many courses as the family needs. There are over 150 teachers that have lesson plans and material on there for you to print out- with no additional textbook fees. They set no limits on classes.  Check out whatever you want- and don’t waste any money “trying” new material from new teachers. If it’s not what you’re looking for- go onto a new teacher within’ the same subject.  Some lessons have videos for the lessons or as supplement to the lessons- also at no additional cost. Did I mention that you also get FREE access to RIGHT NOW Media,  a christian video streaming service? It’s similar to netflix- but has wholesome content.   Sign up for the year for your kids curriculum- and you have access to this amazing video streaming service for FREE!  It’s an amazing resource that I feel so very blessed to have found. Schoolhouseteachers.com truly does help make Homeschooling FUN again.

Having so many options for curriculum materials  allows us to find what we feel fits our children best- and which teaching style we prefer. We have so many options! I believe that most families that use Schoolhouseteachers.com use the materials on there as a standalone curriculum for their children. We use the materials on there as our framework for most subjects- and then use library books and videos that we find as supplemental material.  Most subjects I feel do not need any additional supplementation to already well planned lessons- but I like to add as much fun and interesting information I can find out there to  keep them thinking.

When I think about what I used to spend on homeschooling supplies and curriculum- I just smile.  I cannot believe that we now pay less for materials to school all of our children for the entire year than we were paying for one subject for one child using the previous homeschool curriculum.  That just blows my mind.

Now, that being said-  this probably isn’t for everyone.  It’s worked out very well for us, and I thought I’d pass on the information to those looking, but having a difficult time finding something that works for you.

I do hope that you’ll take a look at what Schoolhouseteachers.com has to offer..  It truly has been an invaluable source for our family.  It isn’t FREE- but it’s affordable.  They also offer discounts for Military and Police families- and also to those who are members on HSLDA.org.   Check it out today for $1.00 for your first month.  Print out as many lessons as you want. You’ll have full access to their website.