School. That is a loaded word. This is the space where I continue to share homeschooling tips, though I’m retired. I am grateful to have graduated 4 of my 7 children. 20 years and when I was ready to end my reign, peace abounded. Zero regrets.
In 2019, I put 3 of my kids back in public school. I have 2 boys that I put into middle school (7th and 8th grade). My youngest son (medically fragile) entered kindergarten.
It has been an experience, to say the least. We have been super pleased with most of the kindergarten experience. It helps that the principal and I have been friends for over 20 years. That and I know several of the teachers. His teachers are AMAZING.
Now the boys, that is a different ballgame. It has been game on since they started and my presence is known by students, teachers, and administration.
**Get your Homeschooling: Letter of Intent Sample mailed out, friends and neighbors. Ideally, this needs to be done 2 weeks before school starts. It is also best to send it by certified mail. You do not have to send a letter until your child is in 1st grade. Any younger than that is fine, but not necessary. **
I encourage you all to reach out to your local Director of Pupil Personnel and schedule a meeting. It takes a lot of the stigma out of the “Big Bad Wolf,” so to speak. Just share your heart, tell that person about your family, your motivation, etc. I had a great visit with our (new to me, but his second year) DPP.
Both of us are on the same page on so many levels. The most important thing is the children and their well-being (not just mine, all kids). We had an outstanding visit and a better understanding of each other.
Our public school is instituting a new program called MC at Home. This is a program where homeschoolers can still homeschool, but the curriculum, grading, test giving, falls under the heading of the public school. You will use their curriculum if that makes sense.
This gives new homeschoolers a chance to get their feet wet or to have the flexibility (due to whatever reasons) of homeschooling, without the stressful event of choosing the “right” curriculum. The only drawback, as I can see it (well, there is more than one, but this one in particular), is that my children *still* cannot participate in extracurricular activities or sports.
They would be under “umbrella” of our PS, but not have some of the benefits of it. That being said, this is still a great opportunity, and it is just the first year. I can’t even begin to imagine how great it can be when all the kinks are worked out.
Good luck to you all!
Letter of Intent Sample Letter
Local Board of Education address
To Whom It May Concern,
This letter is to inform you of our intent to privately enroll our children in our homeschool for the (CURRENT) school year. Their names and date of birth are as follows:
List all children and their birthdates, in order.
This notice is under all applicable Kentucky Revised Statutes.
The school administration, on behalf of the students enrolled therein, expressly prohibit the release of any and all information contained in this notice, including directory information as defined in 20 U.S.C.§ 1232g (a) (5) (A), without the prior written consent of the parents of the students or of the students who have reached the age of majority. See 20 U.S.C. § 1232g (a) (5) (B).
Here is a Kindergarten Agenda. Please realize, this is what *I* teach my kids…if they do not master a concept, we do it until they do, regardless of if they are in K or in 12th grade. I have many kids with learning disabilities, so keep that in mind also.
Sight Words (Dolch word list)
Bob Books, beginning readers
Calendar and weather
Simple math (addition, subtraction)
Learning about different cultures (food, clothes, houses, family)
Community helpers (adding in field trips to those places)
Leaf collections and learning about different types of trees
Continuing on our rote memorization from Preschool
This is a simple Kindergarten Agenda that you can go by in order to help prepare your child. It is a simple list that can definitely be added too or some things taken off. Depending on the child is what I add onto this already good list of things to teach.
New School Year: New Outlook. This year, I will have 1 married and graduated college; 1 will be a junior in college and preparing for her marriage; 1 junior, 1 senior, 2 in 6th grade, and a preschooler.
What on Earth??????!!!!!!!!! I have been homeschooling for 19 years.
That does not even seem possible. I’ve always been a semester at a time kind of chick and I never dreamed I would HS for this long. Last year was tough, not gonna lie. I was a slacker, but the kids did finish up their stuff. Hunter was diagnosed with OMS in June 2017. That just encompassed our lives. This year, we are moving forward and being more aggressive (or back to normal, last year was just not normal).
Noah will still be working. He will do the first half of this senior year as normal…he will take the ACT again. Once that score gets to where it needs to be, he will be on target for college. **Excuse me while I lay in a fetal position while eating cheese and crying.** Grayce will be tackling 10th grade. Realistically, it will be more of middle school review and freshman work. She has hit a bit of a plateau in some areas. She excels in others. She has FASD, so we push as far as we can push, but we make sure she has life skills and the basics down. We are looking into Job Corp or Cosmetology school for her, for her future.
Daniel should be in the 7th grade, but he is behind. He is considered MMD (mild mental deficiency) and FASD. He is also dyslexic, so he has always been an uphill battle. I have a curriculum for him, that is specific for kids with dyslexia. I’m going to supplement that with a ton of history (his strength), some science, Bible, and he is pretty on target for his math. It is getting tougher, so we will just really make sure he has down pat what he knows. Jude is on target, so we will trudge forward and try to keep his emerging tween attitude at bay.
And the Wee One
Hunter, I have some stuff for him, but his learning will all be memorization and lots of reading. His memory is affected by OMS and he can’t hold a pencil, so writing is out of the question. He will also have his 3 hr therapies, once a week.
I hope to get up the curriculum that I will be using, this year. I also want to add in some freebie sites that we will be using or even free apps. I have ideas swirling and twirling around in my brain…just got to get it all out on paper and then I can write about it.
Here are my thoughts on our Thoughts on Lifeskills Class for homeschooling. This has been an interesting experiment, to say the least.
Child 1’s Job
Peach (works at McDonald’s): We *sort of* have this ironed out. She will be doing daily lunches, at my house. Also, she will have to make sure the bathrooms, during the lunch hour, are clean. Realistically, she will also have to keep the dining area clean and the kitchen clean. She will create menus with prices. Next, she will pull that hair back and slap on those rubber gloves. Finally, she will cook, serve, collect money, and clean.
One day a week, she will be cooking McD type items (burgers, cheeseburgers, McChickens, fries) for our two families. She will have to create fry holders and wrap all items appropriately. She will be accepting checks, debits, and cash…she must learn how to count cash back. We would like to get a field trip to a fast food place (or any restaurant) to see how things really work. Pizza Hut is usually really good at doing this.
Child 2’s Job
Gigi (farmer): She has had to clean out the meat chicken’s coops and the laying hen coops. She has had to feed and water all farm animals. Also, she has had to transfer the horse poop and work it through the garden area to prepare it for planting next year. Then, she is weeding flower gardens and soon will be planting fall flowers. Finally, she will learn how to feed horses/cows properly, any “how-tos” with horse maintenance. We will be planning a field trip to a local farmer and learn how to milk cows and work tobacco farms. She will work the yards of both families.
Child 3’s Job
Boo (stay at home dad): We have that pretty much covered. Whatever I have to do, he does. He will be cooking/cleaning/chauffering, etc.
Child 4’s Job
Catfish (army): He will do exercise drills, hiking, learning how to live in the woods, shoot guns…he will teach a couple of times to all the kids and every day do drills with my children. We are going to try and plan a field trip to Ft. Campbell…we shall see on that one. We will also be planning a field trip to the police station, ambulance service, and the fire department. In doing that, we will bake these people cookies and create cards to show our respect and appreciation for all they do.
Child 5’s Job
Little Man (doctor): He will take blood pressures, pulses, and blood sugars from everyone in the family. He will learn how to clean out cuts, what types of creams to use on burns or cuts, how to bandage properly. We would like to go on a field trip to a local doctors office. We will also try to get a field trip to the health department. They will talk about nutrition, staying healthy, how to do examines (hearing and vision), etc.
The Experimental Egg. Peach is taking Biology with a Lab, this semester. She enjoys experiments, but sadly, they don’t always turn out the way she needs them too.
This experiment, however, exceeded our expectations! She had placed a raw egg in a glass and cover it with vinegar. That had to sit, covered, for a few days. In that time, the outer shell began to flake off. Once the outer shell was completely gone (the egg is raw, mind you), she had to pour out the vinegar and then cover the egg with syrup. That had to set covered, for a few days.
In the midst of the egg hanging out in either vinegar or syrup, she had to measure the egg each time. Once the process was complete, the egg had shrunk considerably. When she pulled it out of the syrup, this is what she found. A gelatinous egg where you could bring the yolk around and you could see the yolk. It was squishy and awesome! I’m so proud of her! We enjoyed The Experimental Egg.
Trying new experiments can be super fun. There is not much that my kids would not enjoy when it comes to creating or exploding things.
Homeschooling has been really fun, this year. Now, Meet Boo Lifeskills Class. Boo is my 4th child and he is 13. He drew high school drop out (pursuing his GED) and being a stay at home dad. His wife makes $13/hour. He has drawn out a small 2 bedroom/1 bath home and he wants 1 child (because that is easier).
We began his training on Monday afternoon. We started off by going to the pharmacy (I wish I had taken a picture…will do better). He had to walk in, talk clearly and concisely to the staff, hand them my prescription, as well as, getting 3 other filled. We talked about why they only stock one item, at a time, of bathroom products (think cost). What the difference is between Walmart and a drugstore. Why people buy “expensive” things at the drugstore…what is the best thing to buy at the drugstore. How to look for deals. Also, just being polite and speaking up when talking to other people.
Grocery Store Time
After that, we headed to the grocery store. Had I been brilliant, I would have let him create the menu for the next couple of weeks, but I did that and made my list. He, however, took the list, a pen and did his thing, We talked about branding and how sometimes you pay more the brand name or the packaging. We compared prices on the same item, 3 different brands. I taught him how to shop for produce and fresh vegetables.
We set a limit of $200 for a 2 week period. That includes paper products, cleaning supplies, dog food, food, etc. He came in at $166.60. I totally would have made him put something up if he went over budget. Gotta learn to live within means! It took FOREVER to get through the grocery, but it was time I got to spend with him…one on one!
A Proper Cashier
As we were loading the groceries on the belt thing…I explained to him that there are good cashiers (separate your items properly and don’t overload your bags). Then, there are the struggling cashiers (those that suck and smash your bread). I told him that it was our job to make their job a bit easier….especially when I normally shop for a month at a time. Sadly, I can be an overwhelming presence in the grocery store. I taught him how to group cold stuff together, freezer stuff, canned goods, boxes and always…always….load the squishy stuff last. It makes everything go much more smoothly.
Credit Cards are From the Devil
When we went to check out, I used my debit card. He was in shock because he *thought* it was a credit card. I explained the differences (while the little girl was checking our groceries) between the two. Debit (or used as credit) goes directly out of my bank account…instantly…no money into an account, it will decline my card. I then asked him what I had taught him about credit cards and he gently replied: “they are from the devil!” Well done…son….well done!!!!!!
Unloading and Starting Dinner
We got home and he had to hurry to put everything up. After he got everything put up, he had to hustle to get Little Man prepared for soccer and we can’t forget his water! He was a soccer dad because every kid likes to be involved in something. After 2 hours of waiting, he had to come home, feed LM and then put the rest of the groceries (pantry items) up. He will take my menu list and he will separate out each meal and put the recipe items (as well as the recipe) in the boxes. He will then place those in the pantry…when it is time to make that particular meal, he will have everything at his fingertips.
Yes, he will be cooking (pray for me). He made Corn Chowder and Broccoli/Cheese Soup. Both were delicious.
Taking a Kid to Therapy
Tuesday, he attended speech therapy with Catfish. He had to come in, sign him in, meet the therapist and shake her hand. He had to properly introduce himself to the head of the department, as well as, an undergrad student who was taking notes. My boy took 2 pages of notes AND he asked many questions to the head of the dept. and the grad student therapist. He loved it!
Doctors, Soccer, Errands, Oh My
Wednesday, he will be going with 4 of the other children to the doctor, as well as, making sure everyone is bathed and ready for church. Thursday is therapy and soccer again….he will do everything that I do and I will shadow him. He was exhausted, yesterday…maybe he will have an appreciation for me 🙂 Friday, we have a down day and will probably pay bills (he will write checks, as well). Saturday is a full day of soccer in another town about 2 hours away. He will have to prepare snacks for everyone, make sure they are properly dressed, make sure LM has all he needs to play, get blankets and chairs and be ready to cheer! Then everyone needs showers because Sunday is church! Then it starts all over again.
Not Done Yet
We will be going to the bank, doing some couponing, reading recipes, making phone calls, attending therapies, doctoring boo-boos and he has to clean the house from top to bottom….good times people, good times. My goal is to teach him to look people in the eyes, have a firm handshake, be prepared, be polite and to be efficient.
Homeschooling at its Finest. Books a Million is one of my favorite places. I love going and looking through the education section. It brings me joy, happiness….and a whole lot of other adjectives. I found this box called the Big Box of Words. There are several different variations for different aged children.
As you can see, it is a puzzle, so each word can interlock within the other word. It has blank puzzle pieces to add words (using dry erase markers) and each word is tabbed with different colors. Each color represents a word type (adjectives, articles, pronouns, nouns, verbs, punctuation marks, etc).
Due to D’s learning disabilities and his dyslexia, I limit his choices. I give him all the words that start with a capital letter, all the punctuation marks, nouns, and verbs. We are making simple sentences. I use the blank pieces for writing his spelling words of the week. It takes time.
There are more times than not that I want to pull my eyelashes out…but you know what? This boy can tell you what a noun is. He knows what a verb is. He knows that every sentence HAS to start with a capital letter and he can put correct punctuation marks at the end.
For my older kids, I give them free rein to create sentences, as long as they know the definitions of what each thing is (what an adjective, article, adverb, etc.). This was well worth the money I spent and I would like to get an easier version for Little Man, I just haven’t been to town to get one.
DIY Slime Recipe. This could be the coolest thing…you know…ever. It has lasted for a month. We keep it in a tupperware bowl with a lid (or a plastic baggie). The kids have played with this for hours and they were completely bummed when it *finally* dried out.
This homemade slime far surpasses silly putty or playdoh…hands down. Plus, when I’m stressed, I get a big ol wad and squish it in my hands to relieve tension. It does not stick to you, your clothes, furniture….love it!
DIY Slime Recipe
white glue (like Elmer’s™)
food coloring (unless you want uncolored white slime)
Mix 1 teaspoon borax in 1 cup of water. Stir until the borax is dissolved. n a separate container, mix 1/2 cup (4 oz) white glue with 1/2 cup water. Add food coloring, if desired.
After you have dissolved the borax and diluted the glue, you are ready to combine the two solutions. Stir one slime solution into the other. Your slime will begin to polymerize immediately.
The slime will become hard to stir after you mix the borax and glue solutions. Try to mix it up as much as you can, then remove it from the bowl and finish mixing it by hand. It’s okay if there is some colored water remaining in the bowl.
Here is my Homeschooling 101. I’ve been homeschooling for the better part of 12 yrs. Do I do things in the “normal” fashion? Well, I guess that demands on your definition of normal. My definition of normal is a mom with pink and purple hair (much to her mom’s chagrin), being barefoot 99.5% of the time and drinking coke out of wine glass….your definition probably is a whole lot different and that’s okay. That’s what makes the world turn.
Here are some questions that I have been asked, as well as, some comments people have made:
1. What does a typical day look like?
A typical day is Boo coming upstairs to wake me up at about 8 am. I meander, make phone calls, take a shower, etc and then I come downstairs by 8:45 or 9 am. Bear in mind, my kids are now older and I wasn’t always able to do that. While I’m “getting myself” together for the day, the kids eat breakfast, clean up their breakfast spaces and then do their chores. Once 9 am hits, I’m checking my email, Bug (oldest dd) helps Little Man (youngest son) with his work; Peach, Boo and Gigi are doing their work and I have Catfish write his spelling words.
When Catfish is done, I go and work solely with him. He has some delays and some learning disabilities and it takes a while to get things done. Everyone else works independently, asking me questions as the day goes by. I have one who sits in the kitchen, 3 who set at the dining room table and 2 that work in the living room.
We stop at noon to eat lunch. They eat, then clean up their space. Once that is done, they go upstairs and watch a movie, go play in their rooms or outside, or read a book until about 2. This gives me time to make phone calls, do specific housework, check email, text, read, watch a show, relax….they do not bother me during this time. After that time is up, they finish up schoolwork for about an hour or so. By then, we are doing other things, outside the home.
We “school” Monday-Thursday. Fridays are reserved for makeup stuff, tests, field trips, etc. I also grade all the papers on Friday. Once a month, I write out their schedules. Each child has one and we check things off when we are done. The kids are responsible for keeping up with their schedules. If they get lost, then they get to do extra work until their schedules are found.
To make things easier, we have crates. Each child has a crate and that is where they keep their books/pencils/papers and schedules. I make things VERY organized for them.
2. What type of curriculum do you use?
I have been known to use Sonlight, Abeka, Bob Jones, Starfall.com, enchantedlearning.com, or I make up my own. This past year, I got on timberdoodle.com and I looked under their “complete packaged curriculum” and I wrote down what each child would need. Then, I bought those books off of timberdoodle, homeschoolclassifieds.com or amazon.com That has been my favorite thing, so far.
I do lap books, unit studies, Mystery of History, Teaching Textbooks, Exploring Creation…it is free for all. I have also found a WONDERFUL site allinonehomeschool.wordpress.com that is COMPLETELY free and AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!! She has done all the work for you. You will need a copier and some small supplies. She has it completed from preschool-8th grade and is working in high school.
3. How do you teach multiple kids, multiple ages?
My oldest dd (17) has classes at our local university. She started them last August and is able to go for a fraction of the cost because she is still in “high school”. By the time she “graduates”, she will also have her Associates Degree. She does refresher math courses because that is her weakness. She does this online and it is also free. Khan Academy is a great resource. She wants to be a teacher, one day and so she has taken on the challenge of teaching my youngest son, 6. He works part-time with her, part-time with me and he does computer work to help with his letter/number recognition.
Peach (almost 15), Boo (almost 12) and Gigi (12) have their schedules are are independent learners. They come to me when needed.
Catfish (8) works one on one with me due to his learning issues.
4. Your house is so clean, how do you keep it that way?
Each child has an area that they are solely responsible for. I have learned to let go of my OCD tendencies and my perfectionism in those areas. I teach them how to properly clean it, they do it. Sometimes they do it halfway and when that happens, they redo it. I am not the maid, I am a mom. My job is to not raise perfect children…my job is to raise Godly responsible adults.
Bug (17) – laundry and laundry room
Peach (15) – both bathrooms
Gigi (12) – kitchen
Boo (11) – chickens, living room/dining room
Catfish (8) – take out/feed dogs, hall/foyer
Little Man (6) – feed cats/help Catfish
They are all responsible for their own rooms.
We “deep” clean on Mondays. Do chores every morning and then we pick up before daddy gets home.
5. Do you still have time to cook?
I vary on this. Sometimes I cook once a month, sometimes once every two weeks and sometimes I cook nightly. I do not cook on Sunday or Wednesday nights…we eat at church. I also don’t cook on Thursday nights. Big Daddy makes me a pizza and the kids either eat pizzas or macaroni. It’s their favorite night.
I make out my menus, ahead of time for the time frame that I’m cooking for. I write down, in my calendar, what we will have each night. Visual helps my sanity. I make out a complete grocery list and then I go through my pantry/fridge/freezer and mark off what I already have.
6. Do you feel like your kids are “socialized” enough?
Uhmmmmmmmmmmm…………yes. My kids are learning how to love their siblings and to love others. There are all different kinds of socialization. Some good and lots bad.
7. What outside activities do your children participate in?
Girl Scouts, 4-H, church, field trips, eventually karate and boy scouts. I would like for each kid to be in something…we shall see.
8. How do you remain so calm?
I don’t. I deep breathe, go to my room, drink a coke, pet a cat, sing a show tune…that is how I attempt to stay calm. I’m not a yeller, but I get frustrated. Chaos and loudness are part of my life.
9. What are your qualifications?
What are yours? I’m a mom. I’m a daughter of the King and I read the greatest instruction manual ever…the Word. I am just trying to be obedient.
10. What are the “requirements” that meet state standards?
In KY, which is the only state I know about, the requirements are to send a letter to the superintendent 2 weeks prior to school starting, stating your intentions and keeping a record of attendance. However, I keep everything. Then, I test once a year. Bob Jones University standardized testing is what I use. I start testing in 5th grade, but not before.
11. What do you have against public schools?
12. What does your family think?
Ha….they think more of my pink/purple hair then my choice of homeschooling. My mom is a retired teacher…she has thoughts…my siblings have thoughts….and if I wanted to know their thoughts, then I would ask LOL. They pray for me, for my children and that is what is important.
I will say that it is wonderful when you do have a support system. I have an excellent one, in my husband.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Comment on here, ask on Facebook and with your permission, I will post your thoughts/questions on here…someone else may have the same question.