Homepreschool and Beyond

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Posts Tagged ‘Making the Decision to Homeschool/Homepreschool’

Finger Play Friday

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on November 4, 2011

 This is one of the finger plays you might learn if you attend Gymboree with your children. You can also  hear it on Parachute Express’s CD, “Shakin’ It”.

Great Big Cat

There was a great BIG cat (hold hands out wide)

And a WEE little mouse (say “wee” in a high-pitched voice; hold pointer fingers close together to show how small the mouse was.)

Who ran around, and around (twirl hands around quickly)

In a high, high house (hold finger-tips together over head to make the roof-line of a house.)

Now, that WEE little mouse (say “wee” in a high-pitched voice; hold pointer fingers close together to show how small the mouse was.)

Got caught (begin to pretend to “catch” mouse by moving arms/hands together to scoop up mouse; clap hands together right after the word “last”) at last

Because the great BIG cat (hold hands out wide, emphasis on the word “big”)

Ran around (dramatic pause here-begin to twirl hands around)  and  around (dramatuc pause here; twirl hands faster)  sooo fast.  (hold out the word “sooo”, emphasize the word “fast”, saying it quickly, while twirling hands around quickly.)


Posted in circle time, Finger Plays, Homepreschool, Homeschool, Homeschool Preschool | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Parable of the Public Poolers

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on August 9, 2011

By Jonathan Lewis

NOTE: This article was originally published in the Jul/Aug 2011 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine and is used with (gracious) permission.

Once upon a time, in a place called America, someone had an idea. It was a bold plan—one that would alter the very social fabric of the nation. It wasn’t long before word of the idea began to spread, and many people thought it was simply marvelous. In due time, after enough support had been generated,the plan was put into action.

At first glance, the plan seemed simple enough. Its proponents said it would be fair, free, and effective for all. The plan was this: to construct government-funded public pools in every community across the land. “Every child deserves a positive swimming experience,” the plan’s proponents argued. “Only the government can truly accomplish this through our new public pool system.”

The plan had its detractors, but in the end, it went forward, and soon virtually every city and town in America had its own government-funded public pool. All the children in the community spent their days at the pool under the supervision of the state-certified lifeguards.

At first the pools seemed wholesome enough. True, there were those who said it wasn’t the government’s business to operate a pool system, but most people seemed satisfied. Things went along smoothly, and within a few generations, the government pools were entrenched in the public mind as a necessary and helpful part of society. They were as much a fixture as baseball, Mom, and apple pie.

In the course of time, however, things began to go wrong. It was observed that the pools weren’t as safe as they had once been. In fact, not only were
they not safe, they were becoming downright dangerous—even deadly. Somehow, the public pools all across the land had become infested with man-eating sharks. Children were returning home scarred and maimed. Many were even being devoured alive.

It was at this point that a handful of parents across the nation became alarmed. They decided not to send their children away to the shark-infested public pools any longer. Instead, they would keep their children at home and supervise them in their own pools. In time, this new movement came to be known as homepooling.

In days gone by, homepooling had been common practice in America. But with the introduction of the government pool system, homepooling had become increasingly rare. It may seem shocking, but homepooling had even been outlawed in some states! Certainly America had wandered far from her ideals of freedom and liberty when parents were no longer able to direct their own children’s pooling.

The pioneers of homepooling were greeted with much skepticism. Most parents were complacent, content to ignore the safety hazards of the public pools. In the meantime, conditions continued to worsen, with more and more children being devoured by the sharks. Statistics reported that up to 85% of the children who went swimming at the public pool were being injured or eaten alive.

As a result, the new homepooling movement began to grow. And it was observed that not only were homepooled children surviving, they were thriving. Researchers began to take notice, and it was discovered that homepoolers performed far above their public-pooled peers on standardized swimming tests. Homepooling was beginning to be vindicated as a valid option.

In an average community in America lived a woman named Mary. She and her husband had both been raised in the public pool system, though it wasn’t as bad when they were growing up as it was today. Now, Mary herself was a young mother of three children whom she was accustomed to sending to the public pool. Every morning she would get her children out of bed, feed them a hasty breakfast, then rush them out the door to catch the pool bus. All her neighbors did the same thing. It was just how life in America worked. Then one day, she met a homepooling family at her church. She was impressed! The children were polite, respectful, and were all excellent swimmers. Mary had heard of homepooling, but had never met a family that actually did it. She realized she needed to give the matter some attention.

One day, as she was researching homepooling, her 8-year-old son arrived home on the pool bus. As she saw him limping into the house, Mary knew something was wrong. Upon inspection, she noticed he had deep wounds on his legs—a narrow escape from a shark. That settled it for Mary and her husband. They notified the public pool superintendent that their children would no longer be coming to the pool—they were going to begin homepooling right away.

It wasn’t long before Mary became a staunch advocate of homepooling. She loved having her children at home with her. She was glad that she no longer had to fear the constant menace of the sharks at the public pool. Her children were safe at home where they belonged.

With all the blessings homepooling had brought into her family’s life, Mary expected all her friends to be excited about it too. She was sure they would
begin homepooling when she told them how wonderful it was. But instead of excitement, she was greeted with indifference by many, and even with hostility by some.

One friend at church told her, “You’re overprotecting your kids. How are they going to handle the sharks out in the adult world if they don’t learn how
to deal with them now?”

Another responded with a more spiritual sounding argument. “My kids are being salt and light out in the public pools. If all the Christians
pull their kids out of the pools, who will reach the other kids?”

Mary didn’t think that argument made very much sense. If her kids were being eaten alive, they certainly weren’t going to be reaching many others.

Yet another mom told her, “The pools in our town aren’t like the pools in the bigger cities. They have sharks and stingrays and alligators there. Ours
aren’t like that. We have a great pool system here.”

Mary soon discovered that very few people were willing to admit that the local pools had problems. “We have an above-average lifeguard-to-swimmer
ratio,” another church friend said. “Plus, some of the lifeguards are even Christians.”

Great, Mary thought to herself. They can pray for your kids while they’re getting eaten up by the sharks.

As she tried to spread the word about homepooling, Mary was astonished at the indifference she saw all around her. Children were being maimed, injured, and even killed every day, yet so many seemed unconcerned. As she continued talking to others, Mary couldn’t believe the excuses people were using. If it had been a spiritual issue instead of mere physical safety, she was sure they wouldn’t use these same arguments. After all, if the public pools had been harming children spiritually—if they were causing kids to walk away from their faith, leave church behind, or rebel against their parents—surely they would see the significance and would begin homepooling. As it was, too many parents were ignoring the issue altogether. After all, it was just a matter of their kids’ physical well-being, and apparently that was easy for many parents to ignore.

“Look,” one friend said, “if I wanted to start homepooling, I’d have to quit my job, and you know we can’t get by on just one income. It isn’t practical in the modern world. Maybe homepooling worked back in the pioneer days, but it just won’t work now—not for us.”

Mary was startled that her friend would put finances above her children’s safety. After all, this other family wasn’t destitute. They had a reasonably nice home, two cars, and plenty of extras such as cable TV, a couple of cell phones, Internet hookup, and more. Wouldn’t it have been worth sacrificing part of their lifestyle to protect their kids?

One friend was bluntly honest. “Oh,” she said, “I just wouldn’t have the patience to homepool my kids! I think it’s great that you can do it, but it just wouldn’t work for me. I’d probably kill them the first day,” she laughed.

Never mind what the sharks are probably doing, Mary thought to herself.

She was surprised at how many people were worried about socialization. “How will my kids have friends if I homepool them? I don’t want them to be social misfits,” explained one.

“Homepooling doesn’t mean your kids won’t have friends,” Mary answered. “It just means you can have more control over who your kids are with. Plus,” she added, “you won’t have to worry about all the sharks and other problems that are in the public pool.”

“That’s just like you homepoolers,” her friend retorted. “You’ve got such a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude. You think everyone should homepool, and you have to start criticizing the public pool every chance you get. I think I know what’s best for my kids.”

Mary didn’t see how close encounters with sharks every day could be best for any kids, but she knew better than to try to reason with her friend now.

Others were concerned about their kids missing out on the opportunities afforded by the government pool system. “My son really loves the diving board at the public pool,” Mary’s neighbor said. “I couldn’t provide that for him at home.”

Others were afraid of teaching advanced swimming techniques. “I never did very well at swimming myself,” one friend confessed. “I just don’t think I could teach my daughter some of the advanced things she wants to learn.”

Mary could relate to this one. She still felt a little intimidated sometimes too. But she knew there were answers. “There’s lots of great curriculum out there that will help you—books and DVDs and all kinds of things. Lots of other people are doing it, so I’m sure you can too!”

Her friend wasn’t convinced. “Well, maybe. I don’t know. We’ll see how things go.”

As she looked around, Mary was saddened. How could her friends not realize that their kids were more important than their careers, social standing, personal free time, and all the other things that prevented them from homepooling?

Time went by. Her friends at church had been insisting for years that their kids would be fine in the public pool system. But now that the kids were getting older, they didn’t look like they were doing well. Lots of them had already become casualties of the sharks and had disappeared from the church pews. Many others walked with a limp from injuries sustained in close encounters. “It’s just a phase,” some said. “All teenagers go through this. There’s nothing we can do. We just have to believe that everything will work out fine in the end.”

“It’s tough to raise kids in today’s world,” others said. “There’s only so much you can do.”

You could have done something years ago, Mary thought. You could have done something before the sharks got to your kids.

But if Mary was grieved by those who rejected homepooling altogether, she was even more grieved by the behavior of some homepoolers. She couldn’t believe it, but some of her homepooling friends were actually putting sharks right in their own backyard pools. “We can’t get by with this,” Mary protested. “Our kids aren’t immune to injury just because we’re homepooling! We can’t bring the same influences that are out in the public pools into our homepools and expect everything to be fine. A shark is a shark. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the public pool or in the homepool—it’s still going to hurt your kids!”

Some who had begun well decided to quit homepooling and started sending their kids back to the public pool. They seemed to have forgotten why they started homepooling in the first place. Mary couldn’t understand it. She knew she was going to keep homepooling all the way through to the finish.

Mary saw the cost of sending her kids back to the public pool. Yes, there were times when homepooling was difficult and taxed her patience. But what was that compared to the heartbreak of seeing her children come home from the public pool with ugly wounds and scars—or worse, perhaps seeing the day when they wouldn’t come home at all? Yes, there were times she wished she could go back to her old job, make more money, and have a more luxurious lifestyle. But what were the luxuries of this life worth in comparison to the blessing of knowing her kids were safe and happy at home?

Mary knew she was unnoticed by the world. She knew she might forever miss out on the acclaim and praise of man. She knew she would probably never achieve success as our world defines it. Many said she was wasting her life. But Mary didn’t care. How could she? Wasn’t it worth any sacrifice to raise her children for the glory of God? Wasn’t it worth any cost to see them reach adulthood whole, happy, and vibrant? Yes. A thousand times yes.

Jonathan Lewis, 28, is a homeschool graduate, and glad of it! Together with his parents and older brother, he helped start Home School Enrichment Magazine in late 2002, and currently serves as Editor. As a passionate advocate of home education, he writes and speaks from his perspective as a graduate, encouraging parents that homeschooling really does work! If you would be interested in having him speak to your group (or to contact him for any other reason), drop him a note at jonathan @ homeschoolenrichment.com

Posted in Challenge to Parents, Deciding to Homeschool or Hompreschool, Encouragement, Homeschooling, Parenting, Spiritual Matters, Thinking About Homeschooling? | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

More About the Charlotte Mason Approach (for preschool through high school!)

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on August 7, 2011

If you are trying to wrap your head around the Charlotte Mason approach—if you’d like to begin using her approach in your homepreschool/homeschool, then you might appreciate the following links and ideas:

To help you get started, I would like to encourage you to feel free to start with two or three ideas that you can apply now. Although CM “purists” might protest, I suggest “gleaning” or “picking and choosing” only the portions of the CM method (or any method) that will work for
your family
. After all, curriculum and methods are simply TOOLS for us to use as we see fit. Few homeschoolers fall entirely into one camp; most are
eclectic in nature, using a little from here and a little from there to make a unique whole. I myself am a “unit study/ Charlotte Mason/Ruth Beechick/literature- approach” type of homeschool mom. I use elements of each of these approaches in our homeschool (you can find out which methods you gravitate towards by taking THIS SURVEY—scroll down to the second page.)

I take the best parts of these approaches—the parts that work for our family—and make my own custom “approach.” Personally, I can’t imagine CM’s basic ideas failing anyone. They add depth and beauty to your curriculum, to your home…to your life! Remember, if you are overwhelmed by CM’s ideas/own writing, start with just two or three key elements and try implementing them in your homeschool. I think that when you do, you’ll be hooked and ready to try more.

Here are some more details about several different CM elements that are important yet easy to add to your homepreschool/homeschool:

 *Work to train/develop proper habits in your family. So much of our life is habit! According to Laying Down the Rails, developing habits is like laying down ruts for a wagon, or tracks for a train…they make the path easier. CM herself says, “The mother devotes herself to
the formation of one habit at a time, doing no more than keep watch over those already formed. If she be appalled by the thought of overmuch labour, let her limit the number of good habits she will lay herself out to form. The child who starts life with, say, twenty good habits, begins with a certain capital which he will lay out to endless profit as the years go on.” 
Examples of important habits: Obedience, truthfulness, self-control, patience, temperance, orderliness, and so on.

Links having to do with habit training:

FREE e-book on habits

Habit training tips

*Give your children the opportunity to spend lots of time outside. The heart of nature study begins with spending time outside. To quote CM: …the chief function of the child––his business in the world during the first six or seven years of his life––is to find out all he can,
about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses; that he has an insatiable appetite for knowledge got in this way; and that, therefore, the endeavor of his parents should be to put him in the way of making acquaintance freely with Nature and natural objects…”

   Charlotte suggests spending as much time outside as possible, even eating outside, when weather permits. You can extend your children’s learning by allowing them to start nature collections (help them label what they can) by exploring new natural environments together, and by reading books about what you see and find. (See my posts on nature study: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4.)

Expose your children to the best in literature, art, and music: 

*Read lots of “living” books. Expand your read aloud time! My goal is to read aloud to our children at least four times a day: 1) During Bible time,

2) During circle time, 3) After lunch/before nap, and 4) Before bed.

Even if you decide that the CM method isn’t for you, keep the read aloud time! The time you spend together with your children (and discussing what you’ve read) is the heart of the homeschooling lifestyle.

*Listen to classical music, and enjoy “folk” music together (“folk” music: Traditional American children’s music such as “You Are My Sunshine”, “Row Your Boat”, “On Top of Old Smokey”, etc.) CM encourages “composer study”, but the aim of composer study, in my opinion, is not only to get to know the composers, but to get to recognize, know, and love the composer’s music. Even young children can learn to name classical pieces like the “Flight of the Bumblebee” or recognize portions of “Peter and the Wolf.” Older children can begin to learn to identify the composer, too. And while CM referred to classical music, I like to expose my children to many different types of music—choral music, show-tunes, bluegrass, and “new” classical-type music (such as John Williams), American folksongs (lots of singing here), etc.  I want my children to develop an “ear” for music and LOVE music! So the best place to start is simply listening to good music and playing with music (rhythm instruments, singing, chanting, etc)—for enjoyment. Later, as children get older, they can begin more serious composer study and formal music lessons.

*Provide your children with a multitude of different, open-ended art/craft activities and expose your children to the work of the masters. Even preschoolers enjoy looking at fine art!  Look at and talk about famous art pieces with your young children…talk about the medium used, the use of light in the picture, etc. Open-ended art/craft experiences are important for many reasons; they provide an opportunity for children to express themselves and their emotions; they build attentiveness and patience in children; they build eye-hand coordination, muscle strength and small muscle control; they teach science (color mixing, light and shadow), language (talking about art/describing pictures), math (shapes/spatial skills), and art itself (art
appreciation; art skills and art terms such as “perspective”, “shadow”, “color wash”, etc.)


   By bringing these few elements into your homepreschool/homeschool, you will be giving your children a tremendous advantage. Perhaps consistently using a few of CM’s ideas will inspire you to investigate her philosophy further, or add other CM elements to your day. If so, great! If not, you and your children will still benefit from these ideas. Along with Bible training, I consider them to be at the heart of successful homeschooling.


Helpful CM Links:

Charlotte Mason Help

Penny Gardner’s site

Be sure to download the FREE e-books about the CM approach at Simply Charlotte Mason. Also: Check out Simply Charlotte Mason’s take on making the transition to a CM approach…I like the simple way it is laid out here—but I must emphasize that there is no right or wrong way to use the CM approach; feel free to pick and choose the elements that work for you. Personally, my “basics” are the ones I listed above (they are different than Simply Charlotte Mason’s.) Also, I use more of a “literature approach” than a pure CM approach.

Catherine Levinson’s site, “Charlotte Mason Education”

© 2011 Susan Lemons all rights reserved. Copyrighted materials may not be re-distributed or re-posted without express permission from the author.

Posted in Art, Charlotte Mason, Charlotte Mason Approach, Crafts, Encouragement, Family Life, Homepreschool, Homeschool, homeschool methods, Homeschool Preschool, Methods, Music, Nature Study, Reading Aloud | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Why Homeschool: Common Myths About Homeschooling Debunked (part two)

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on June 23, 2011

Myth #4: I’m not patient enough to homeschool—OR-I don’t like my kids enough to homeschool. Remember, when God calls
us to do something, He always gives us the abilities we need to complete it. Patience is developed with practice, prayer, and the work of the Holy Spirit. You
will find that the Lord will use homeschooling to teach you many things; patience may be one of them.

If you don’t enjoy being around your children all the time, perhaps you need to work on strengthening your relationship with them. Or perhaps the issue has to do with discipline (with my two strong-willed little boys, I totally understand the discipline struggles!) If so, take the time to deal with it now. Your children are your responsibility; you can’t pawn off the problems to institutional schools and hope they will deal with it; they won’t. Discipline starts with the heart…only you can do the job. (See my links on discipline helps on the right sidebar, and chapter 3 in my book.)

-Myth #5: Homeschoolers get an inferior education. Only people with teaching credentials are qualified to teach, right?! Wrong! A twenty-plus year study has shown that homeschooled children do better academically than their public-schooled counterparts. Homeschoolers score (on average) 30 or more percentage points higher than public school kids, and do better on their ACT and SAT tests as well. Homeschoolers are MORE likely to go to college, and are heavily recruited by colleges, as well.

-Myth #6: All homeschoolers are right-wing, conservative, religious fanatics. It’s true that many homeschoolers proudly claim that title–myself included (I don’t think you can be too “fanatical” about following God!) However, you should know that since homeschooling has become more common, and since its success has been proven, the number of homeschoolers has grown to include all types of families and religious beliefs (or lack thereof.) Just do a “Google” search for the type of group you are interested in, and you are likely to find them. Many different religious groups are jumping onto the homeschooling band-wagon, including Muslims, pagans, atheists, liberals, and more—so you can no longer label the homeschooling movement in that way. Not everyone homeschools for religious reasons. Some families homeschool to achieve academic excellence; others choose to homeschool due to family situations; to accommodate gifted or delayed children; to maintain a close family life, or just as a personal preference.

Myth #7: Homeschoolers are “indoctrinating” their children. Yup. You’ve got me on that one. But so are the government schools. The truth is, no system of education is completely neutral. Public schools teach their own philosophy (secular humanism/liberal political slant), while others teach theirs (Judeo-Christian values/traditional, constitutional/conservative views.) However, it is not up to the government to decide which is correct. As parents, we have the right to teach our children what we think is best. We strive to teach our children truth. God’s truth. We teach our children creationism and intelligent design; but we also teach them about evolution. We do not hide our children from opposing views, but rather teach them truth, and how to discern between the two. We want our children to know about evolution, and also how to refute it.

For more information/an encouraging look at the effectiveness of homeschooling, take a look at THIS encouraging video.


© 2011 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.  Copyrighted materials may not be re-distributed or re-posted without express permission from the author.

Posted in Deciding to Homeschool or Hompreschool, Elementary School, Getting Started, Homepreschool, Homeschool, Homeschool Preschool, Homeschooling, Thinking About Homeschooling? | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why Homeschool: Common Myths About Homeschooling Debunked (part one)

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on June 21, 2011

Almost everyone has heard them: the myths about homeschooling. If you are thinking about homeschooling, they may be bothering you…or perhaps they “bother” your friends and family, and in turn, they are bothering YOU about them! If that is the case, be assured: they are only myths. The truth about homeschooling is far different.

Here are some of the myths you may have heard:

-Myth #1: Homeschoolers are anti-social. Some people believe that homeschoolers choose to homeschool in order to isolate their children from the “real world.”  This is not true. Many families choose to homeschool to protect their children from some of the negative
influences of the world, yes; but isolate them…no. In fact, most homeschooling parents go out of their way to make sure their children are well  “socialized”.
Homeschoolers are commonly involved in multiple “outside the home” activities, including church activities, “lessons” of various kinds (music, art, sports, co-op classes, etc), scouts, team sports, homeschool support groups, etc. Furthermore, homeschoolers have many social opportunities that other kids don’t. They get to interact with people of all ages (adults, the elderly, young children, babies, etc) through home life, field trips (homeschoolers get lots of amazing field trips), community service, etc. Homeschoolers get to live and learn in the real world…the world is their classroom.

If you think about it, home is the real-life environment, and institutional school the “artificial” environment. When else in your life are you with people all the same age, all thinking about and doing the same things at the same time? Never. Adults (and employers) appreciate creative, independent thought.

-Myth #2: Homeschoolers are socially awkward.  Well, it depends. Every child is different. Some children are naturally shy. When these children are homeschooled, often their extended families (who may not have supported homeschooling in the first place) will blame their shyness on homeschooling. Other times, homeschooled children will be deemed “awkward” or “backward” when they are simply “culturally different.” Most homeschooled children are more mature than other children in some ways, and less mature in others; hopefully they are mature spiritually, but innocent to the ways of the world. They may not understand modern teen culture, know who Madonna or Lady Gaga is, or be up on the latest “R” rated movie, but that is a good thing!  None of those things are the things we want them to aspire to or be involved in.

I don’t know about you, but I want my kids to be different. I want them to be committed Christians, who keep their ways pure. I want their culture to be our family’s culture…a Christian culture. I think we should be different from the rest of the world…part of the world, yet set apart.  Perhaps “socially awkward” or “backward,” as most people judge it, is actually something to be desired, considering today’s culture (which never ceases to shock me.)

Myth #3: Parents aren’t smart enough to homeschool. Many parents who are considering homeschooling think they aren’t smart enough to carry it off. They worry that without a college degree or teaching credential, they simply aren’t qualified. In fact, NHERI has done a twenty year study that shows that
homeschooled children do better academically than children in public school—regardless of the educational level OR the income level of their

Homeschooling parents have the opportunity to learn along with their children. You will find that you will fall in love with learning all over again. You’ll have the chance to learn those things you never mastered in school, or relearn what you’ve forgotten. As to your children—all you have to do is keep one lesson ahead of them.

When it comes to those difficult subjects that you might have struggled with or feel unable to teach, there are many viable options: Online curriculum, virtual classrooms (some curriculums, like ABeka, offer CD’s that show a Christian school classroom for your child to watch, then do the lessons), co-op classes (many homeschool support groups offer them—my kids have taken yearbook, creative writing, Spanish, choir and biology—with full labs—in that way), and even private tutoring (we found a foreign exchange student to teach my daughter Japanese.) Additionally, sometimes spouses, grandparents, friends and family can help fill in the gaps.


Next post: Part two!

© 2011 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.  Copyrighted materials may not be re-distributed or re-posted without express permission from the author.

Posted in Deciding to Homeschool or Hompreschool, Elementary School, Getting Started, Homeschool, Thinking About Homeschooling? | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

The Old Schoolhouse’s Review of Homepreschool and Beyond

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on May 10, 2011

     I’m excited to announce that The Old Schoolhouse magazine has included a review of my book, Homepreschool and Beyond, in it’s latest issue.  Amy M. O’Quinn gave a very positive review, stating that Homepreschool and Beyond is “a resource that is sure to become a handbook for home preschool education for years to come.” You can read the review for yourself HERE.


Posted in Homepreschool, Homepreschool and Beyond, Homeschool Preschool, Homeschooling, Methods, Reviews of Homepreschool and Beyond, Susan Lemons | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Are You Thinking About Homeschooling? Meeting Dates in Bakersfield, CA

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on April 15, 2011

        Do you live near Bakersfield, CA?  Are you thinking about homeschooling?  Then you are invited to join us for “Thinking About Homeschooling,”  a Christian ministry that provides information and support to families who are considering homeschooling/homepreschooling their children.

        I’m happy to announce the dates for our Thinking About Homeschooling Meetings, 2011.  Please save these dates on your calendars!  All the meetings are FREE and will be held at 7 PM-8:30 (or so) at my home (comment on this post to find out where.)  THERE IS NO CHILDCARE, but nursing babies are welcome….husbands are welcome, too, and especially encouraged to come for (at least) the first meeting.

   Please remember to invite any friends/family who are “thinking about homeschooling” or those “experienced” homeschoolers who need refreshment/encouragement to “keep on keeping on.” 
Tuesday May 10: Making the Decision {please come even if you’ve already decided.  This meeting will encourage you, give you facts and information to share with friends/family who are critical of your decision, AND information that will help you “detox”; that is, step out of the usual way of thinking about education and its goals/purposes and find GOD’s ways.  It will also help you define your goals for education and your beliefs about how education works.  This will help you (later) choose your curriculum and methods. You will also be introduced to our local support groups, and what they offer.} 
Tuesday, June 7:  Legalities and record keeping/planning: {some states make homeschoolers jump through lots of hoops to homeschool legally, but we are blessed to live in a state that keeps it easy.  Learn about your 4 different legal options, and which I recommend; learn how to get started and discover important resources to help you, etc.  Learn which records you need to keep, and see different ideas for how to keep them; get lesson planning tips.  NOTE:  If we get done early, we usually go ahead and start introducing curriculum, since there is so much to cover on that topic.}
Tuesday, July 12:  Choosing and using curriculum {learn about different homeschooling methods and the curriculums that go with them.  Learn what you should know before you choose curriculum, what you should do before you choose curriculum, and how to use your curriculum once you’ve got it.  I will introduce the major curriculum suppliers, and let you in on money saving tips. Curriculum catalogs and curriculum samples will be available.}  NOTE:  This is usually our longest and most popular meeting. 
Tuesday, August 9: Teaching Preschool and Kindergarten {learn about “homepreschool” and Kindergarten.  Specifically, learn about what your preschoolers really need;  the importance of readiness;  routines, and how long to spend in a day/how long to spend on each subject (for Kindergarten);  how to organize your day, etc.  Get tips and ideas developing a balanced approach that includes plenty of play, art, music, and reading aloud.
Tuesday, September 13: Group choice OR question and answers: {For our last meeting, I will let you choose the topic.  We might have a question and answer time, OR we will choose a topic ahead of time (choosing/using good literature, hands-on activities/games, art and music, or whatever is of most interest to the group.)  Sometimes we pitch in for food, or bring desserts to share.}
     Final notes:  I will email notes to you before each meeting.  You should print them up and have them ready to go for note-taking.  If you don’t have a printer available, please let me know.  (It might be a good idea to put your notes into a binder.)  Due to printing costs, I will have only a few copies of the notes available, so please be sure to remember to bring your printables.  I will also email recaps of the meetings, in case you can’t attend–but the recaps are no substitute!  Finally:  Finger-foods/snacks are always welcome!  
    I will send reminders around before each meeting to those who are on my email list.  RSVP’S are appreciated, but not required (it is helpful to know how many chairs to drag out.)  Please spread the word, and I look forward to meeting you soon!
     Many blessings,

Posted in Deciding to Homeschool or Hompreschool, Elementary School, Getting Started, Homepreschool, Homeschool, Homeschool Preschool, Homeschooling, preschool at home, Thinking About Homeschooling? | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Preschool/Kindergarten: A One or Two Day Unit for Groundhog Day (Feb. 2)

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on January 17, 2011

Books to read:

Groundhog Day, by Gail Gibbons

Gregory’s Shadow, by Dan Freeman 

Groundhog Day (Rookie Read About Holidays) by Michelle Aki Baker (all the books in this series that I’ve seen have been good.)

What Makes a Shadow (a Let’s Read and Find Out book)

 Shadows and Reflections, by Tanya Hoban

How Groundhog’s Garden Grew, by Lynn Cherry (I haven’t seen this one, but I have some of her other books and enjoyed them very much.) 


-Watch the news in the morning (on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2nd) and see what the groundhog “predicted.” Talk about the prediction, and whether or not you think it could be true.

-Record the weather for the next six weeks and see if the groundhog was right or wrong.  If he was right, be sure to explain to your children that he isn’t always right.

-Check out the website, Groundhogs at Hogheaven and look at pictures of groundhogs and listen to the groundhog’s calls.  Find out even more about groundhogs (or woodchucks)  HERE and more about Groundhog Day HERE

-Play shadow tag.   

Learn a Tongue-twister:  Teach your kids the old stand-by:  “How much wood does a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”  (“Woodchuck” is another nickname for the groundhog.)

Vocabulary:  Hibernate (“Phil” is pulled from his burrow—he hibernates), groundhog, woodchuck, whistle pig (other names for the groundhog), predict, weather.

Art: -Make a pop up ground hog or a stick puppet groundhog (preschoolers can assemble these if you prepare the pieces.) 

-Make shadow art:  Fold a piece of construction paper in half.  Have your child paint (thick tempera paint works best) on only ONE SIDE of the fold.  Then carefully fold the paper together and press gently.  Open the fold to see an exact copy (or shadow) of what your child painted.

© 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.  Copyrighted materials may not be re-distributed or re-posted without express permission from the author.

Posted in Homepreschool, Homeschool Preschool, Homeschooling, preschool curriculum, Uncategorized, Unit Studies | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Help! I’m Afraid to Homeschool!

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on July 10, 2010

       Troll the blogs and you’ll “meet” many moms who say that they want to homeschool—but they are unsure that they can really do it.  They ask all their friends and family to give them opinions:  “Should I homeschool Johnny?  I think I’d like to, but I don’t know if I can really do it…”  My heart goes out to these Moms, because many of them are genuinely afraid.  They are afraid:

~That they aren’t smart enough

~That they aren’t “educated” enough

~That it will cost too much money

~That they aren’t self-disciplined enough, or patient enough

~That their families will object

~That their children won’t be “normal”. 

~They will ruin their children for life.

        Sometimes fear can be paralyzing.  Let me reassure you; you can do it!  There’s no need to be afraid.

~Do you think you’re not smart enough to homeschool?!  Worried that you’ll need a college degree?  Here’s the truth:  Studies have shown that homeschoolers outscore their government-schooled counterparts, no matter the educational level of their parents.  The individualized attention your children can receive at home makes the difference—as does your love and concern for your children.  You know your children better than anyone else—so who better to teach them? 

         Another thing to consider:  I have several homeschooling friends who are credentialed teachers.  They tell me that their education has NOT helped them homeschool their children.  To the contrary, it has been a hindrance.  They have had to “unlearn” many things…especially their attitudes about education (what it is, how it is to be carried out, and so on.)  Homeschooling is totally different than teaching in a classroom setting.  

       If you have decided to homeschool, but a part of you is still worried that you aren’t smart enough to teach your children, be sure to remember these tips:

*Don’t look at the big picture.  Don’t worry about high school when your children are in Kindergarten.  Instead, plan for one year—or one month—or one unit at a time.  Remember the way to eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

 *Remember that homeschooling is a team effort.  If you have an area of weakness academically, you can delegate that subject to your spouse, another family member, or a friend; alternately, you could cover it via a co-op class or a computerized curriculum.  We hired an exchange student to tutor my high school aged daughter in foreign language.  I’m proud to say that while she still has lots of vocabulary to learn, she can now read, write, and speak Japanese—something I never could have taught her.

*Remember that you will read along and learn along with your children.  As your children grow older, all you have to do is stay one lesson ahead of them.  Just one lesson ahead.

       Many moms are amazed at all they learn.   You’ll discover history/science again but from a Christian perspective.  You’ll be amazed at how much you learn (and how much you didn’t learn in public school.)   I sometimes brag that my handwriting has improved…and I can figure out fractions now!  Yahoo!  In short, I think you’ll discover that homeschooling will rekindle your love for learning, as well as your children’s.

*Don’t be ashamed to let your children know that you don’t know the answers to everything…no one can know it all.  If you don’t know the answer, be honest about it, and say, “I don’t know…but I know how to find out.  Let’s look-up the answer up together.” 

*Don’t forget that as children grow older, things begin to get easier…they can do more of their school work independently.  Also remember that, as a homeschool mom, you won’t be giving lectures like a classroom teacher; you’ll support their learning via reading aloud, discussion, follow-through, etc. 

*Do you worry that it will cost too much money to homeschool?  Homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive.  If you want to, you can homeschool using only the internet and a library card.  There are many wonderful resources online such as Project GutenbergAn Old Fashioned Education, the Baldwin Online Children’s Literature Project, Google Books, and more.  Some of the most desirable, “living book” style history texts can be found on these sites (many are being reprinted by Yesterday’s Classics, but you can also find them online for FREE.)  An especially important online freebie is Anna Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study; you can find free lessons to go with the Handbook of Nature Study HERE.   

       Other ways to save money: I’ve built a huge library over the years…mostly from thrift stores, yard sales, and library sales.  You can, too!  You can often find books, texts, (the few that we use) and other educational supplies at thrift stores, dollar stores, yard sales, and used curriculum sales for pennies on the dollar. 

 ~Are you worried that you won’t be self-disciplined enough to homeschool?  Do you think homeschooling will try your patience?  Well, you’re partially right.  Homeschooling is too hard to do—in your own strength, —and it will try your patience.  But in the power of Christ, all things are possible.  You’ll need to pray a lot, and keep in the Word.  You’ll need to lean on the support of friends, family, and your local homeschool support group.  

       Homeschooling forces us to “grow up”, and do the things we know we need to do.  Sometimes I really struggle with elements of this and I have to admit to myself that 1) I need to grow (oh boy, oh boy do I need to grow);  2) I need to choose to daily surrender to God’s will for me,  3) I need to consciously choose  to be self-disciplined and to have a good attitude about it (so hard!), and that 4) I need to be consistent and develop habits for me and my children that will help us achieve our goals.  The Lord has really been laying this on my heart lately.  After all these years of homeschooling, you’d think I’d have it all together, but nope…I still fail a lot.  But God always gives me the Grace to keep going.  More than that, I need to remember that God does not call us to a task without equipping us for it.

       Sometimes God uses our weakness for His own Glory.  When things are tough—when we struggle—we learn to rely on Him, draw close to Him, and give Him the Glory for pulling us through.  Others can see what God is doing in our lives, and be blessed by it, too.

       Be assured that the struggle is worth the effort.  You will reap benefits beyond what you can imagine right now.  Some of the best benefits for you and your children include:

-Seeing our children grow in the Lord

-Seeing our children develop spiritual strength and discernment

-Helping our children grow in moral clarity/discernment

-The protection of your children’s innocence

-Family togetherness and closeness

-Academic excellence

 ~Do you worry that your family or friends might not support your decision to homeschool?  You’re right—some might not.  My mother didn’t think homeschooling was a good idea at first.  But I just kept going, and I passed along positive articles/statistics about homeschooling as I found them. 

       One relative, when informed of our decision, thought we were crazy (“why in the world would anyone want to do that?!)  We did not have a pleasant conversation about it.  They ended the conversation by saying, “well…we’ll be watching you.”  Brrr.

       Over the years though, as they watched my children mature, learn and grow, things changed.  My Mom became my biggest fan, and soon started passing articles about homeschooling on to me—just to encourage me.   Our other relatives, while still not understanding our decision, they have accepted it (although I’ve noticed that my children still get “grilled” about what they have learned from time to time.  <Sigh>) 

 ~Do you wonder if your children will grow up to be normal?  Perhaps you’ll ruin them for life.  Normal?  Who decides what or who is normal?  And is normal really good enough?  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my children to grow up to fit in with the “normal” youth culture of America.  I want them to be a part of our family’s culture.  No, I don’t want them to be “normal”; I want them to be different!  After all, we are Christians.  We are called to be “in the world, but not of it”; we are called to be lights.  If we are living the way we should, we will look “weird” to those who are not living for the Lord…we will look different.  And that’s O.K.

       So don’t be afraid to take that leap of faith.  Homeschooling is nothing to fear.  Through His strength, you can do it….the Bible says so.  (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!)   

Additional Resources:

Not Everyone Thinks You’re Wonderful Because You Homeschool… (but we do!)  

Why Be Different

Anti-Homeschooling Excuses…Are They Valid?

 © 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.

Posted in Challenge to Parents, Deciding to Homeschool or Hompreschool, Encouragement, Getting Started | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Summer Fun and Learning for Homeschool or Homepreschool

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on June 9, 2010

     Summer has finally hit here in the Central Valley of CA, and it is not only HOT, but it’s humid, too.  That’s unusual here.  We mostly get HOT weather from May-October, but little humidity. You might as well say we live in the desert.  We’re lucky to get 5.72 inches of rain a year!  We have an average of 223 sunny days a year, and of those we average 38 days over 100 degrees.   Day before yesterday it was 98 degrees and 70% humidity.   So now, after a rare extended spring, we are adapting to our summer schedule. 

        Due to the heat here, we have to do things a little differently in the summer.  I try to find a balance between “summer fun” and our year-round school schedule.  Here’s what we do:

 –Rearrange our schedule:  In the summer our kids play outside in the morning and stay inside during the afternoon.  They often go outside again in the cool of the evenings (if there is such a thing.)  In years past, I’d let them stay out until dark.  This year though, we’re trying to keep to our usual bedtime so it isn’t so difficult to readjust bedtimes in the fall.   

 –Avoid the “summer slump”:  Children who take their whole summer off from school lose two months of learning (or more.)  To avoid this, we do a light school day (one or two hours) at least three days a week for most of the summer (working it around our vacation days.)  My goal is to keep things short, light and fun:  We’ll play games (especially math games); do some art projects, baking, or science experiments, and read, read, read (read aloud.)  This year, I need our boys to keep up their reading practice and cement those math facts, too. 

     Learning Ideas for Summer:

 -Explore new ways of learning:  If you normally use textbooks, try a summer unit study.   Choose a subject your child is fascinated with, and explore it together.  If you avoid art, music, science experiments or geography during the school year, spend some time doing some “catch-up” work (err, I mean fun) in those areas over the summer.   

-Try lapbooking, notebooking, scrapbooking or stamping.

 -Continue doing your Bible study, devotions and memory work through the summer.  I’ve learned the hard way that if we skip our Bible time, my children’s behavior starts to deteriorate.

 Summer Ideas For Moms:

Be sure to give yourself some time to recoup and refresh.  Try to arrange a day alone, time alone with your husband, and time with a friend. 

-Lay out your plans for next year’s schooling:  Use the lighter summer schedule to explore new curriculum options, decide on your curriculum, and prayerfully set goals for each child.

-Spend some time reading a novel or catching up on your “how to homeschool” books.

Favorite FUN Activities For Kids of all Ages: 

     Summer isn’t summer without some fun!  Plan to spend some time in nature, even if it’s just a day trip.  For fun around the house, try:

-Playing in the mud (use a water hose to make rivers, lakes, and mud pies.)

-Coloring with sidewalk chalk

-Painting with Crayola brand sidewalk paint using old, heavy paintbrushes (it washes off the cement just like chalk does.)

-“Painting” the sidewalk with paintbrushes and buckets of water. 

Making a “playhouse”:  Ask you local appliance store if you can have an old refrigerator box for your kids to paint, and then play in.   Cut out windows and a door using an Exacto knife.  (This is a job for Mom or Dad.)

-“Camping” in the backyard:  Either set up a tent, or sleep under the stars.  Be sure to turn off the automatic sprinklers first!

-Blowing bubbles

-Using old soda bottles and a baseball to “bowl”.

-Combining toys in new ways:  If you haven’t done this yet, try adding plastic animals/”Pet Shop” animals/cars to blocks; Toilet paper for bandages for a doctor kit (add a cat carrier and stuffed animals to play “vet”, or check out these PROP BOX ideas.)  

-Have a woodworker in the family?   Try asking if you can have all the little leftover pieces of wood–especially those small, odd shapes.  Glue them together to make a sculpture, or use a combination of nails and wood-glue to make a unique creation (one year I made a “house boat” for my Barbie dolls that way.)  Note:  Be careful of splinters!

-Try using a variety of different sized containers and freeze water in them (old yogurt cups, plastic margarine containers, etc.)  Pop the ice out and let your child play with it in the tub, the pool, or outside (science!) Tip:  Freeze small plastic animals in some of your containers. 

 -Consider investing in one keepsake “family toy” over the summer.  Our ultimate favorites are:

Marbleworks  have been a long-time favorite around our house for children who can be trusted not to put things in their mouths.  At first we had to help them build it, but now they create their own special design with drops, jumps, and more. 

 Dr. Drew’s Blocks (we made our own)

 Brio or Thomas wooden train sets:  Target.com carries some nice sets.  Brio or Thomas brands are the best, and they are compatible with each other–but they are very expensive.  However, any nice wooden set will suffice, although I’d check to make sure it was “Thomas” compatible.  We bought the wooden tracks on the cheap, and added the “Thomas” trains.  A few times we caught “Thomas” sets on clearance.  Over the years, we built up a large set. 

 -Make an obstacle course in your back yard.

-Have a family game night.  For preschoolers, try Hi-Ho Cheerio, Candyland, or Chutes and Ladders.  Our newest faves are Uno Flash (ages 7+), King Me Checkers, and various card games.

 -Make “waterland”:  That’s what my kids call it, anyway.  When our kids were little, we put our snap-set side pool under the slide (get the 8 foot size if you can), filled it up, and then ran water down the slide to make our own water slide.  You should stand in the water and “catch” your kids the first few times, until you see how far they slide on landing.  (WARNING:  They’ll go FAST!)   HERE is a link to a great idea from Family Fun Magazine that shows you how to use PVC pipes to make your own “waterpark.”  

-Make some art, then have an art show—invite your friends and family!

-Christmas in July:  Finally finish those big, messy art/craft projects you meant to make for Aunt Ruth the last three Christmases…spend a week  or two making Christmas presents and crafts.

 FUN Activities for older kids:

-Teach your children to play traditional games like Jacks (age 6+), Hopscotch, (ages 5+), Chinese Jump-rope (age 7+), and Marbles (age 6+)  Jump-rope and skippers are fun, too.  

-Set up an area where your children can  pound nails OR set up an “inventor’s laboratory” with all types of things to take apart, “repair”, or build.  (Supervise carefully.)

     For more ideas, check out:




      Have a fun and safe summer!


© 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved. 

Posted in Homepreschool, Homeschool, Summertime Fun and Learning, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Getting Started: Attend a Homeschool Conference FOR FREE/Join Your Local Support Group

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on June 2, 2010

      I know that many of my readers are investigating the possibilty of homeschooling…others of you may be ready to move your preschooler up to Kindergarten level,  “officially” starting your homeschool journey in the fall.  Either way, I thought you should know that many of the homeschool conferences now offer FREE one day admission for parents of preschoolers (those whose oldest child is 4-5, and will start homeschooling in the fall.)  A day’s admission often costs upwards of $55, so this is a great deal.   Even those that don’t offer free days may offer free “introduction to homeschooling” seminars, often the night before the conference officially begins.

        Here is the link to find out more about our state’s conference (CA):  Plan now to attend our state’s homeschool conference (CHEA–in Pasadena this year).  Remember, parents of preschoolers get to attend one day FOR FREE!  Check out the details here:  http://cheaofca.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.viewPage&pageID=6…

     You can find out about your state’s conference by looking up your Christian State support group at www.hslda.org or by Googling your state’s name and “homeschool conferences.”  You can also find your local support group via your state’s group.

      I highly recomend that any of you who are planning on homeschooling–especially if you are new to homeschooling–join your local support group.  A good support group is vital!  Ours is akin to church family; we even take meals to those who have new babies or who are facing family losses/illnesses. I joined our group when our oldest was 4 (he’s 21 now.)

     All the groups I know of welcome parents of preschoolers.  You can bet they’ll be lots your preschooler can participate in:  Park play days, field trips, etc.  You will have the chance to make like-minded friends, glean ideas from experienced homeschoolers, and more.  That way, by the time you are ready to “officially” start homeschooling, you and your children will have friends and support already in place, and you will have the information you need about homeschooling in your state, available curriculum, etc.

     Our local group offers a “Homeschool Forum” that provides information for new/perspective homeschoolers, including information from other local support groups and PPSP’s (Private School Satelite Programs).  We also offer a “Newcomer’s Social” to welcome newbies to the group (all this is FREE–I bet your local group offers something similar!)  I myself run a series of meetings called “Thinking About Homeschooling” every summer, wherein I cover in depth all the information parents need to get started (Making the Decision; Legalities and Record Keeping; Choosing and Using Curriculum; Planning and Scheduling, and more).  Your local support group might offer similar groups or progams.   Some are called “Considering Homeschooling” or “Exploring Homeschooling” and others are called “Smoothing the Way” (this group helps you your entire first year.)

     Another bonus of joining your support group now:  This is the time of year (as is the fall) when the groups hold their used curriculum sales.  Not only can you can pick up curriculum for a song, but you can often find things such as preschool picture books, manipulatives, etc–almost anything related to homeschooling–all for pennies on the dollar (sometimes for FREE). 

    If any of you have questions about starting homeschooling, please look over the archives for the subject “getting started”, and review the links on the tab, “important links”.   Please feel free to contact me by commenting on this post with any questions or concerns that you have.


     ~If you are planning on attending conference, be sure to read my convention tips HERE. 

 © 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.

Posted in Deciding to Homeschool or Hompreschool, Elementary School, Encouragement, Getting Started, Homepreschool, Homeschool | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Are You Homepreschooling for the Wrong Reasons?

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on May 28, 2010

          The more I talk to parents of young children, or read their blogs, the more I see that many of them are, in my opinion, homepreschooling them for the wrong reasons:

      *To keep the kids busy and “out of my hair”:  I don’t know how many times I’ve heard moms say that the only reason they homepreschool their little ones is to keep them busy and “out of my hair” so that they can have some time to themselves, or some time to teach their older children.  Homepreschool is not about what is best or easiest for us; it is about giving our preschoolers what they need to optimize their growth and development.  If you are homepreschooling only to “keep them busy”, examine your motives carefully and ask yourself if you are really giving your preschoolers what they really need and deserve.  Additionally, remember that our little ones are perceptive of our attitudes.  They will know if we teach them half-heartedly, and if we view them to be a burden or interruption instead of a joy. 

      *To get them “ahead” academically:  Whether it is their own pride, a desire to impress others, a desire to “prove” themselves to others, or simply because they don’t know what else to do, many parents push their preschoolers into early academics.  Remember that no study has shown any lasting advantage to early academics, but many have found great risks (see the tab, “Readiness”, the tab, “Early Academics?!” as well as the archives for the topic   “Readiness” for more information.)    

      *Because you love to teach, and can’t wait to start “officially” homeschooling:  Some parents are so excited about homeschooling (a good thing!) that they can’t seem to wait until their children are school age to begin formal, academic lessons (a bad thing!).  Some parents start their preschoolers in a “Kindergarten” curriculum at the tender age of three or four.  If you really love to teach, and want to settle your children into a learning routine, by all means do so—but in a developmentally appropriate way!  Remember that preschoolers do not learn in the same ways that older children do.  Preschoolers need hands-on/real life experiences with things they can touch, see, and explore. Preschoolers need time to reinforce their learning through play.  Preschoolers need to be read to, talked to and sung to; they need to get dirty and make messy art projects.  Preschoolers need much more repetition than older children do; in fact, young children thrive on repetition, while older children often “balk” at it.  Preschoolers need time just to be—time to be little kids, and time to mature.  (See the tabs, “Preschool Goals” and the “4R’s”.)

       I’d like to encourage each and every one of you to write down your reasons for homepreschooling and/or   homeschooling.  This will help you examine your true motives.  It will also be a great blessing to you on those days when you feel as though you want to give up (believe me, we all have those days…this is “the toughest job you’ll ever love.”)  Re-reading the reasons you started homepreschooling/homeschooling in the first place will help you “re-set” you mind and provide you with the encouragement you need to keep going (as will a short break and some long prayers!).  For some ideas to get you started listing your reasons, re-read the tab, “What is Homepreschool?”, and check out the links on making the decision to homeschool under the tab, “Important Links.”  Next, decide which reasons are the most important to you (I hope they are spiritual reasons.)   Finally, assess yourself:   Does your homepreschool really, consistently reflect those reasons?  Are you “making the main thing the main thing?” 

 © 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.

Posted in Deciding to Homeschool or Hompreschool, Encouragement, Getting Started, Goals, Homepreschool, Homeschool, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Me and the Moores: What Peaked my Interest in Homeschooling

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on May 19, 2010

        Way back in 1990, when my oldest was two, I heard Dr. Raymond Moore talk about homeschooling on the radio show,   Focus on the Family.  That single show started our family down a path to a major lifestyle decision–homeschooling. 

        Before my son was born, I was a huge supporter of institutional preschools.  I planned to keep teaching after our first was born.  I thought I’d find a preschool/daycare situation where I could take my baby to work with me…I was also considering starting my own home daycare.  But once I held my son in my arms, I saw preschool/daycare in an entirely new light.   I realized how much time it takes to care for a baby.   I remembered the preschoolers I worked with and saw them through new eyes…the eyes of a mother.  I realized that most of the children I worked with were lost, confused, and hungry for love and attention.  I knew I wanted better for my little boy.

        After hearing that radio show, I knew in my heart that the solution for us was homeschooling.  I’d already realized that I enjoyed the company of my then 2 year old way too much to ever send him away to preschool, but before the show I had never thought about homeschooling him.  I don’t know if I’d even heard of homeschooling.  

        I started to research homeschooling right away.  The first thing I did was to check out the book, Homegrown Kids from the library (Dr. Moore’s book).  I didn’t agree with everything in the book, but my background in Child Development told me that his emphasis on readiness and natural learning was right on the mark.  

        Dr. Raymond Moore is considered to be the “father” of the homeschool movement, and rightly so. The Moores have been at the forefront of the homeschooling movement since the early 1980’s.  The Moores emphasize developmental readiness, and introduced the idea of an “Integrated Maturity Level” or IML.   The IML includes our children’s cognitive, physical (including eye sight, eye-hand coordination, small muscle strength, and general coordination), and social maturity, which often doesn’t “come together” until age 8-10; therefore, the Moores suggest that children should learn in natural ways and not be forced into formal academic lessons until that time.   The Moore Formula encourages us to provide our children with approximately equal amounts of 1) manual work (think, life-skills!), 2) service (in the home or the community), and 3) “school” or study time (for young children, reading aloud and natural learning.)  I would add play to the list, especially for younger children. 

        Although the Moore’s method is often called “delayed learning”, it is anything but.  As I stated in my post, Preschool Myths, waiting for readiness is not the same as withholding learning.  It’s very different from un-schooling, as well.  The Moore’s advocate neither pushing children nor holding them back; they simply discourage “formal” or workbook/textbook type learning early on.  Instead, children learn through loving, consistent care and conversation (relationship),  a regular routine, lots of reading aloud, unit studies (delight directed), real life/hands-on experiences, games and oral work, and often through starting their own home business or helping their parents with theirs (a large component of their method.) Obviously the Moores have had a huge influence on me, since I am definitely a proponent of relationship, routine, readiness, reading aloud, and unit studies!

        The Moore Formula meshes well with many other methods, including Charlotte Mason (lots of lit; few if any textbooks, short lessons, oral work, etc) unit studies (lots of books and hands on/life experiences) and the Beechick method (again, lots of books and reading aloud, readiness, life experiences; emphasis on correct dating of early history), and even Montessori (life skills, hands-on activities, using real, adult-sized tools versus toys.)   

         Personally, I don’t go quite as far as the Moores do when it comes to delaying formal academics…Dr. Moore would have us wait for any type of formal academic lessons until our children are 8 years old.  Instead, I believe a more balanced approach is in order.  Having had an early reader (reading well at age 5-6) and a later reader (not reading much at all until age 10), I believe I see both sides of the issue.  I do believe in planning short, play-based lessons for the early years, but I believe they should be done carefully, with readiness and interest in mind.  Even so, I do see the good of the Moore Formula and I think their research is very comforting to parents of young children.  I recommend that parents of preschoolers and Kindergarteners (especially) read Home Grown Kids–if for no other reason than to help them relax and back off from an emphasis on formal academics during the preschool and early elementary years.  

        Reading Home Grown Kids helped me let my young children be young children, without worrying about a check-list of “facts” and “skills” they should conquer by age 4 or 5.  Their research held me together when my second born was struggling with reading.  The Moores are right–delayed readers do just as well or better than children who learn early (and I might add, there is not one study that shows that learning to read early is beneficial in the long run.)  My daughter went from struggling to read the simplest books (Boxcar children–at age 10) to reading Lord of the Rings so fast it made my head spin.  She now holds our family record for the most books read in one year, and she wants to be a Christian fiction writer. She never goes anywhere without a notebook, and she loves to read.

        I guess my point is, if you haven’t read Home Grown Kids, it’s worth your time.  If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of the Moore’s developmental research, read Better Late Than Early, too.  The book, The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook shows how the formula works in real families.

        To find out more about the Moore Formula, check out these links:

Read explanations of the Moore Formula HERE

Read articles about using the Moore Formula HERE

Read the article, Learning How to Think by the Moores (great ideas, except for the line about “the family democracy”; I don’t know about you, but our family is NOT a democracy!) 

Read the article, Unschooling and the Moore Method, by Dorothy Moore HERE.    

 © 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.

Posted in Curriculum, Deciding to Homeschool or Hompreschool, Elementary School, Encouragement, Homepreschool, Homeschool, Methods, Readiness, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Freebies for New Homeschoolers (and the rest of us)

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on May 12, 2010

          If you are getting ready to start homeschooling next year, or if you are still in the process of making the decision, here are some freebies that will be especially helpful to you:

Homeschool 101, a FREE e-book from The Old School House Magazine

A Free Copy of Homeschool Enrichment Magazine, the magazine I write for from time to time

Read the book, The Underground History of American Education, by John Taylor Gatto online for FREE

Here are some websites that offer free resources for homeschooling:

Angel Fire, Curr ClickAn Old Fashioned Education, The Baldwin Project, Calvary Chapel’s coloring pages, Donna Young’s homeschool forms, Dr. Mike’s FREE math games and drills , Homeschool Share-free unit studies and lap book templates, Notebooking Pages.com–FREE notebooking pages, Printable KJ Bible for inductive study etc.

Have fun!


© 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.

Posted in Deciding to Homeschool or Hompreschool, Freebies, Getting Started, Homeschool, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Planning for Your First Homeschool Conference

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on April 12, 2010

       It’s the time of year to  prepare for homeschool conferences!  If you are planning to homeschool next year–or even in a year or two–and you’ve never been to a homeschool conference–I hope you’ll consider attending this year.   Conferences are a blessing that’s not to be missed; they will give you the confidence to know that you can homeschool.  You can learn all about homeschooling legalities, methods, support, and more (most conferences offer a “newbie” track that explains all the basics), as well as having the opportunity to look at curriculum “hands-on” before you buy.  Here are some tips to help you get all you can out of your first conference:

 ~Pre-register.  If you preregister for your conference, you’ll save time and money.

~Check for deals:  Many conferences offer free admission (for one conference day) to parents of children ages 5 and under who are planning to homeschool the following year.  Almost all offer a “free information” night to families who are still making the decision.  

         Check and see if you can save money on registration by joining your state’s support group first.  Many times joining your state group will get you a discount on membership in HSLDA as well.

         If you have to travel for your conference, try to car pool with a friend if possible.  Reserve your hotel room in advance and share that, too. 

~Plan ahead: Be sure to study your conference’s schedule and plan your day ahead of time.  Don’t skip the keynote speaker or the “warm up”; they add to the total experience.  When you plan your day, remember that you’ll want to schedule plenty of free time to browse the used curriculum sale (go early if you can–the good stuff goes fast), as well as the convention hall. 

        Before I leave home, I make a list of the things I must buy, the things I want to buy and the things I want to look at.

~What to bring:  Most large conferences are held in hotels or convention halls, which are notoriously cold—so be sure to bring a light sweater, and dress in layers.  Plan to wear modest clothing and comfortable walking shoes (tennis shoes are best); wear a fanny pack or bring a lightweight, over-the-shoulder (no hands) purse.  You’ll also need bottled water, snacks and/or a sack lunch if these are allowed (you won’t want to leave the conference for lunch—you’ll want to browse the convention hall or discuss the lectures with friends.)  You’ll also need something for taking notes.  If you pre-register, you might be provided with a bundle of maps, seminar descriptions, outlines and notes that are pre-punched for a three ring binder—so bring a binder!  But remember that you’ll still want blank paper as well.  Finally, you’ll need something to carry your goodies in.  Find out if your conference allows a small crate on wheels or a small wheeled suitcase.  If not, you’ll at least want to bring a roomy, lightweight canvass bag for catalogs and purchases.  Tip;  It’s worth the time it takes to stash your goodies in a locker, car, or hotel room (if it’s close enough) once in a while so that you can save your back. 

~Budget:  Be sure you and your husband have agreed on a budget before you leave for conference.  Remember that you will usually save money by buying there.  This is because many vendors offer specials, and because you won’t be paying shipping costs.  Purchase the items on your “must buy” list first, and then decide what else you want/need. 

        You’ll want to have at least some cash, and if you bring a credit card, make sure you stick to your limit.  Most vendors do take the more common credit cards.

        When I plan my budget, I plan for travel expenses, lodging, food, curriculum, some inexpensive but fun surprises for the kids, and some books to help me teach or encourage me (“teacher training”; I’ll share my favorites in my next post.) 


       To find your local conferences, Google your state’s name and “homeschool conferences,” check with your state’s support group (find them at www.hslda.org ) or look on these sites:  http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/calendar/events.htm


      Have fun!! 

 © 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.

Posted in Curriculum, Deciding to Homeschool or Hompreschool, Encouragement, Getting Started, Homepreschool, Homeschool | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

How to Start Homeschooling in 10 Simple Steps

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on March 31, 2010

1.  Pray.  Pray about your decision, and ask the Lord to give you the wisdom and patience you will need.  Also ask Him to give you His vision for your homeschool.  What should your goals be?  What does He want you to teach your children this year—and how should you teach it? (See tab, “Homepreschool Goals” if you have a young child; your primary goals should be the same–just add mastering the basics–the  3 R’s.)  To solidify your decision, be sure to explore the links related to “Making the Decision to Homeschool” under the tab, “Important Links”. 

 2.  Write down your goals and the vision the Lord gives you, and then don’t be afraid to step out in faith and go for it!  This vision might have to do with your homeschooling lifestyle, character and Bible learning goals for your children, or academics…but whatever it is, trust the Lord’s inspiration and follow His leading. 

 3.  Research the legalities involved.  Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states; some states require little to nothing, others make you jump through a few hoops.  Go to Home School Legal Defense’s website, You Can Homeschool.  There you will find links to your state’s laws and support groups.  They will help you meet the requirements of the law in the simplest way possible.

          If you are pulling your children out of public school, HSLDA and your local support group can guide you step by step; be sure to contact them before  pulling your children out of public school.          

          Remember to check the compulsory age of attendance in your state.  In many states, Kindergarten isn’t mandatory.   You might not have to worry about the legalities at all until your children are 6 or even 7 years old (this varies from state to state.)

    4.  Join HSLDA; most private school satelite programs  require it.  HSLDA is an essential part of protecting our rights to homeschool.  They will also protect you from any legal problems you might encounter if you need to pull your children out of public school.  HSLDA monitors legislation in every state, as well as nationally.  Best of all, HSLDA can provide you with peace of mind. 

 5.  Contact your local Christian homeschool support group and join it now.  The best place to find your group is Home School Legal Defense’s website.  Click on your state to find the group closest to you.  You can also Google your city/state and the words, “Christian Homeschool Support Groups”, or your state’s name plus the words, “Considering Homeschooling groups,” “Exploring Homeschooling” or “Smoothing the Way Groups.” These groups offer mentors and/or  meetings to help you get started and help you during your first year of homeschooling.

        I can’t overemphasize the importance of a good, Christian support group!  Our group is like our church family; we love, support, and encourage each other.  Our group even serves each other in emergencies (when I was on bed rest during a pregnancy, our support group brought us meals!)  Your group has a wealth of love and support, as well as a network of helps and activities just waiting for you.  Don’t try to be a lone ranger; get involved and let them bless you.  You and your children need them, and they need you, too.

 6.  Find out where your child is in his/her learning now.  (This is vital because our goal should be to start where are children are now, and move them out from there.)  There are several ways to do this.  The easiest way is through home assessments.  Depending on your child’s age, assess the following:   Does your child know his phonics, including the “blends” like ch, ck, cl, cr, th, sp, sw, etc?  Is your child reading fluently and with expression?  Can she write a complete sentence?  (Does she know what a complete sentence is?)  Does your child know her math facts? And so on.  

        If you child is being pulled out of school, you might have tests or paperwork to look over or perhaps, if you believe it is wise, you could talk to your child’s former teacher.  (See Homepreschool and Beyond for more information.) 

7.  Determine your child’s learning style.  How does your child learn?  Through hearing it? Seeing it?  Experiencing it?  Writing it down?  OR, perhaps some  combination of these?  Oklahoma Homeschool’s site has lots of good information about this, as does A-Z Home’s Cool Homeschool site.  If you are still not sure about your child’s learning style, don’t worry about it; just observe your child as you go along, and note your child’s most successful learning experiences.  Finally, remember that it’s better for young children to learn using hands-on/several different modalities (see it/hear it/play with it/etc.) 

8.  Research methods and curriculums. If you feel totally lost, a good place to start is (again!)   Oklahoma Homeschool. Be sure to print up and use the Curriculum Planner Worksheets—especially the first one, which will help you assess your preferred methods of teaching (scroll down to find it.)  Another helpful site is Home School Curriculum Advisor .  (Just Google “homeschool methods”, though, and you’ll get thousands of results.)

          The most commonly used methods are traditional textbook/worktext (a textbook with “fill in the blanks” included); unit studies (see my posts that explain units), literature approaches, including Charlotte Mason, and the classical approach…but there are many more.  You should know that most homeschoolers are “eclectic”, meaning that  they customize and combine several different methods, and use several different curriculums (versus ordering a “boxed” curriculum from one supplier.)  My preferred methods include the “Beechick” approach with elements of unit studies/Charlotte Mason/literature approach and Notebooking.  (Many different methods fit together perfectly.)

        Before you order anything, remember to ask yourself:  Can I teach this without using a curriculum?  Does this fit the methods I like to use, and my children’s learning style?   (For much more on choosing and using curriculum inluding 20+ important tips, read Homepreschool and Beyond.

9.  Gather your materials.  Start simply.  Start by choosing your Bible curriculum; it’s the most important.  I find that once I choose my Bible curriculum, the rest seems to fall into place.  It could be as simple as a Bible story book or a devotional book, or it could mean a more formal “curriculum.”  You might even find what you need at your local Bible bookstore—especially if your children are young.  (See Homepreschool and Beyond for more details.)  I encourage new homeschoolers to start with only 4 subjects:  Bible, math, language arts, and reading aloud (for us, a unit study.)  This will give you time to break into the homeschool routine, and discover what works for your family.  You might even discover that you and your children are enjoying the read aloud time so much, that you want to stick with it and continue to use a literature/unit study approach.

          If you are pulling your children out of public school, you might want to allow your children some “detox” time before you begin, and then, you might consider slowly adding to your daily routine (again, start with Bible) until you are doing all your subjects daily.

 10. Set up a simple daily routine (see “Routine” tab.) Remember, it doesn’t have to be timed to the minute; just a simple schedule of “what comes next” will suffice.  Be sure to keep your lessons short and give your children frequent breaks.

            Now you’re ready to get started!

       Remember, relationship is more important than curriculum.  It is the love, time, and attention that you give to your children that is the most important element of your homeschool.  The heart of homeschooling is time spent together reading aloud and discussing what you’ve learned.  Whatever curriculum/method you use, be sure not to overlook homeschooling’s greatest strengths:  a) One-on-one attention (beware of any method that asks your children to work too independently),  b) Conversation, and C) Individualizing the curriculum (your child might need 1rst grade math, 2nd grade phonics, and 3rd grade history–and that’s OK!) 

           You can make due with almost any curriculum if you have to, but it’s almost impossible to homeschool successfully without developing healthy, loving relationships, so make the main thing the main thing! (See the Relationships tab.)

           May the Lord richly bless you as you start homeschooling!


This post contains excerpts from the book,Homepreschool and Beyond”; used with permission.  © 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.

Posted in Curriculum, Deciding to Homeschool or Hompreschool, Getting Started, Goals, Homeschool, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

How to Start Homepreschooling (Homeschool Preschool) in Six Simple Steps

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on March 25, 2010

           How do you start homepreschooling?  Are there any specific things you need to do to start your homeschool preschool?  Here is a simple list to help you get started:

 1.  Pray.  Pray about your decision, and ask the Lord to give you the wisdom and patience you will need.  Also ask Him to give you His vision for your homepreschool.  What should your goals be?  What does He want you to teach your children this year—and how should you teach it? (See tab, “Homepreschool Goals”.)

 2.  Write down your goals and the vision the Lord gives you, and then don’t be afraid to step out in faith and go for it!

 3.  Contact your local Christian homeschool support group and join it now.  (Be sure to ask them if they offer meetings for newbies, or mentors for new homeschoolers.)  This will give you a chance to make like-minded friends for yourself and your children; participate in park days, field trips, etc, and it gives you the opportunity to glean ideas about parenting, curriculums and methods so that by the time you are ready to “officially” begin homeschooling (which I hope you will!) you will be informed and prepared.  The best place to find your group is Home School Legal Defense’s website.  Click on your state to find the group closest to you.  You can also Google your city/state and the words, “Christian Homeschool Support Groups”, or your state’s name plus the words, “Considering Homeschooling groups” or “Smoothing the Way Groups.” Both these groups offer mentors and meetings to help you get started/to help you during your first year of homeschooling.  

4.  Set up a simple daily routine (see “Routine” tab.) Remember, it doesn’t have to be timed to the minute; just a simple schedule of “what comes next” will suffice.

 5.  Decide on your preschool “units” (see my posts about unit studies, especially THIS one, which lists suggested units.)

 6.  Gather your materials:  For the very basics, I’d start with four things:  1)  Classic picture books/books related to your units (see the archived posts on “book lists”, especially THIS one);   2)  art supplies;  3) classic toys (such as blocks, pattern blocks, props for dramatic play, puzzles, and so on,)  and 4) my book, which has chapters covering all the things your preschooler needs to learn, how ot choose quality toys, learning games to make/buy, and chapters to help you make the transition to Kindergarten. (See tab, “My Book.”)

         Remember, preschoolers learn differently than older children do.  They don’t need workbooks or flashcards; they need a simple daily routine; they need to be talked to, read to, and sung to; they need art and music experiences; they need real life experiences, and they need lots of free time to play.

© 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.

Posted in Curriculum, Deciding to Homeschool or Hompreschool, Encouragement, Getting Started, Homepreschool | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Making the Decision to Homeschool/Homepreschool: Comparing Institutional Schools with Homeschools

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on March 16, 2010

          It’s spring here in sunny California, and before long, it will be summer.  It’s the time of year when parents-especially parents of young children-make important decisions about their children’s educational future:  Should your child go to preschool/school, or should you teach her at home?  Does your child need another year of preschool, or is it time to break into Kindergarten?  And of course, every parent wants to know:  What are the advantages/disadvantages of institutional school versus homepreschool/homeschool?  Why do parents choose to homepreschool/homeschool, anyway?   

                Parents decide to homepreschool for many of the same reasons they decide to homeschool: 

*To avoid the bad behaviors children “catch” from each other within institutional settings

 *To protect their children from communicable diseases, head lice, bomb scares, and bullies (yes, even at the preschool level!)

 *To avoid pushing their young children from the security of the “home nest” prematurely, realizing that parent/child attachments are diluted when children attend  institutional schools (Home Grown Kids, by Moore.)

 *Because they want to raise their own children, maintaining their role as primary caregivers to the   children they love

 *To protect the innocence and joy of an old-fashioned childhood

 *Because their children are too developmentally delayed or too developmentally advanced to benefit from traditional schooling

 *Because they think they might want to homeschool, but they want to “try it out” first

 *Because they enjoy their children’s company, and want to continue doing so

 *Because they know they can do a better job for less money than any “preschool”  or government school could

 For spiritual or religious reasons!

          This is by no means a complete list of the reasons families choose to homepreschool/homeschool.  There are many, many more!  Some of those reasons become clear once we compare institutional schools (of any kind) to home-schools.  Below you will find a chart, inspired in part by a chart Clay and Sally Clarkson include in their wonderful book, Educating the Wholehearted Child.

Institutional School Homeschool
Who is Your Child? Who is Your Child?
       Your child is a part of a group, and is treated as such.  Institutions must focus on conformity to group standards in order to teach “en mass”.   Children must progress along with the class.        Your child is an individual with individual needs, learning styles, strengths/weaknesses, readiness skills, and even interests –all of which are addressed.  Each child progresses at his/her own pace.
Development of the Whole Person Development of the Whole Person
             Only academics are addressed, not the whole person.  Emotions, spirituality, character issues, family life and life skills are not attended to.        The whole person is addressed, including emotions, spirituality, family life and life skills.  The family’s own morals and beliefs can be systematically taught.
Learning Styles Learning Styles
       Learning is usually formal, regimented and heavily teacher directed.  This stifles individuality, creativity and the natural desire to learn.      Time is limited, and activities must be stopped when time is up.        Learning can be formal or informal, as needed to best fit the child, family and topic studied.  Time and freedom help to unleash the child’s creativity, individuality and enthusiasm for learning.
Scope and Sequence Scope and Sequence
       Instruction follows a scope and sequence turned on its head.  Children are pushed into early, formal academics before developmental readiness has developed.      Older student’s curriculum is “dumbed down”, accommodating the slowest learners.   Too much is asked of younger students, and not enough is asked of older students.        Instruction is individualized and children can progress at their own pace.  This allows younger children the time they need to develop emerging skills.  As children grow older, curricula gradually becomes more and more challenging, and students can tackle advanced studies and thinking skills that are normally not pursued or developed.
Relationships with Teachers Relationships with Teachers
       Children have little opportunity to develop lasting relationships w/ teachers.    Children must learn to adapt to different teachers and expectations every year. 

      Relationships between the teacher/student are necessarily distant and formal.  Just as the teacher and student begin to know each other, the relationship is broken off. 

       Parents have a lasting, loving and comfortable relationship with their children, and children naturally want to please their parents.       Behavioral expectations do not change from year to year. Since parents and children already know and love each other,  there is less stress and no adjustment period.

     Studies continue year to year in a seamless, uninterrupted manner. 

Time and Attention Time and Attention
       The teacher can give students a limited amount of individualized attention, and is unable to respond to each child’s individual needs and interests.  Most students receive less than 7 minutes of individual responses in an entire day.        A warm, loving parent can give each child nearly unlimited attention, and the parent can accomplish in 2-3 hours what a institution cannot accomplish in a whole day, or even longer!  One-on-one tutoring cannot be surpassed.
Independent Learning Independent Learning
       In a classroom, the teacher is the authority and children rely on him/her to disseminate information.  There is little time to oversee independent learning.         In the home, the parent is the authority and also the facilitator, helping each child learn how to think, learn, and do research independently.
Wasted Time/Distractions Wasted Time/Distractions
       There is much wasted time: Taking attendance, passing out papers, waiting on other students, settling the class down, etc.      In reality, most hour long classes boil down to 30-40 minutes of actual instruction time—and little to none of that time is individualized instruction. 

       Real life experiences offered?  Few to none.    

       The classroom is full of distractions and disruptive students.

      Less is taught in more time compared to homeschool.

       There is no wasted time.  Life itself is the classroom;  many real life lessons/hands on experiences are included.       Parents can teach more efficiently, covering more information in more detail in less time. 

      The home has less distractions and a more relaxed/quiet atmosphere.

Methods of Teaching Methods of Teaching
       The classroom setting routinely employs methods that are “experimental”, rather than the tried and true (such as “whole language” versus phonics.)  Reliance on textbooks, with little or no usage of real books or experiences, results in lifeless learning.  Retention is often low, since  children “learn the test” and then forget it.        Parents are free to choose the best “tried and true” methods, carefully choosing the best textbooks or “real, living” books to enhance learning.  Life experiences, real books, discussions, games and activities augment and reinforce learning as the parent sees fit. 
Advancement/Testing Advancement/Testing
        Children are routinely moved ahead in their studies without regard for the child’s skills or mastery of the subject.         Children are tested yearly, on “grade level” materials.  True retention is low, since children are “taught the test” and then promptly forget it.  Most government school students score in the 50-60% range.         HS children have the time needed to master basic concepts and skills before moving ahead.        Children are tested as parents see fit*. Parents know how their children fall academically, and often use alternate methods of testing (such as oral tests, presentations and narration.)

       Children are not taught the test, nor do children always use curriculum that teaches the same topics as public schools do.  Even so, children usually score in the 80-90%.

Grading Grading
       Grades are necessary to help parents/ teachers track a child’s progress.       Assessments tend to concentrate on academic progress while overlooking spiritual development and character/morals        Grades are unnecessary, at least until Jr. High/ High School age, are used only to help motivate a child or for transcripts.        Since parents can work with the child until the concept or skill is mastered, every child can get an ‘A’. 

       Parents can assess their children’s spiritual/character development and work on these areas as part of the curriculum.

Homework Homework
       Homework is routinely assigned and often necessary, due to the time constraints of institutional learning.  Parents often spend many hours a day helping their children with homework…they might as well be homeschooling them!        Homework is usually unnecessary.  Work is finished during “school” hours.       Immediate feedback is available on completed work, and mistakes are then corrected while the assignment is fresh on the student’s mind.
Worldview Worldview
       Government schools routinely teach a worldview that is anti-God, anti-family and opposes the beliefs of parents.       Tolerance of sin, acceptance of “theories” as facts, rejection of absolute truth, and the consensus of the masses are taught.  Children are encouraged to reject their parent’s values and “think for themselves”.        Parents are free to teach their own worldviews, beliefs and morals so that their children can be grounded in the faith before being exposed to opposing views.        Children are encouraged to see morals, religion, and politics through a Christian worldview, and are encouraged to truly think for themselves, unswayed by the ‘conscientious of the masses”. 
Family Ties Family Ties
       Institutional schoolers miss out on growing up with their siblings, and close ties are often difficult to establish–especially if there is a great difference in age.  Every family member goes his/her own way, and does his/her own thing.        Homeschoolers develop close ties to their siblings, and usually are each other’s best friends.  Age differences don’t matter; families with children who are spaced widely apart find that older children are not only great helpers, but benefit from learning how to care for younger children.
Socialization Socialization
       The goal of institutional socialization is to make each child fit in with his/her peers, school, and society at large; to turn out a certain type of person–a tolerant “global citizen” (conformed to this world.)       Christian children often succumb to the “youth culture” in order to “fit in”.         The goal of HS socialization is to instill a set of morals, manners and skills that help the child interact with people of all ages and cultures.       Children are encouraged to think for themselves, not just follow the crowd. Children are prepared to stand firm in their own beliefs.
Peer Pressure Peer Pressure
       The secular values/philosophies taught in class and modeled by other students often clash with the values taught to Christian children.  The pressure is so strong that many children choose to disobey family/Biblical standards in order to fit in and avoid ridicule.         In the Christian home, Biblical and family morals are taught, modeled and reinforced.       There is no culture conflict; the parent’s culture and beliefs become the child’s culture and beliefs, too.
Peer Dependency, Identity Peer Dependency, Identity
       Children become peer dependent, and come to respect the values and opinions of their peers more than those of their parents. (Thus, the “Generation Gap” is formed.)      The child’s identity becomes based on the acceptance of peers, which is based on conformity, appearance, sports abilities and sometimes intelligence.        Children do not become peer dependant, and continue to respect and value the advice, opinions and beliefs of their parents. No “Generation Gap” is formed.     Children’s identities are formed within the family and as a child of God.  Children mature without the worry of “conformity”, and learn how to think for themselves.
Friendships Friendships
       A friend is someone who sits next to you in class or plays with you.  Little time is spent developing deep and lasting friendships. (Remember a teacher telling you weren’t at school to socialize?)      The atmosphere in most schools is a competitive “pecking order” that includes groups of exclusive friends called “cliques”.  This is not very conducive to forming lasting friendships.        A friend is someone who has similar values, beliefs and interests.  Deep and long-lasting friendships are formed as families’ fellowship together.       The atmosphere of the home and the real world is naturally conducive to forming friendships; children become friends with people of all ages and from all walks of life.
Real Life and the Real World Real Life and the Real World
       “School” is an artificially created atmosphere that is unique unto itself.   When else in life are you grouped with people all the same age, doing all the same things at the same time?       Little or no experience with real work or the adult world is provided, thus children are usually unprepared to live the adult life and instead live in a perpetual childhood.       “Home” is the real world.  Home provides experiences with people of all ages. As children work with their parents and accompany them on their errands, they are exposed to the real, adult work world.       Children are bettered prepared to live as adults, and understand the roles and duties of both parents. 

*Some states do require testing; find out what your state requires at www.hslda.org .

          To find out more about making the decision to homeschool/homepreschool, take a look at the following tabs above:   “What is homepreschool?”   “Resources.”  “Important Links.”  “Goals of Homepreschool.”   You can find even more information on my posts, “Preschool at Home:  You Can Do It!”   “What Preschoolers Really Need”, and “What Preschoolers SHOULD be Learning,”  and “Preschool Goals.” 

          Deciding about preschool versus Kindergarten?  Check out the tab, “My Articles” and look up “Preschool or Kindergarten?”  If you are in the process of making the decision, be sure to click on my links on the sidebars:  “Exploring Homeschooling,” and “Why NOT to Put Your Child in Preschool?”  Finally, don’t forget about Home School Legal Defense, where you can find information about your state’s homeschooling laws, support groups, and getting started.


This post contains excerpts from the book,Homepreschool and Beyond”; used with permission. 

© 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.

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