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FAQs



Q:

Do I have to attend co-op to be a member of SLHE?

A:

No. SLHE is first and foremost a support group! Families who join SLHE can attend calendar events, have access to our website, and our private forums. We strive to support homeschooling families in all walks of their journeys! Our support group is unique in that we offer a homeschool cooperative to our members. Our co-op meets on Thursdays in Winter Garden where it offers a full day of a variety of classes K-12. 

Q:

Does SLHE have an illness policy?

A:

The SLHE Illness policy has been created with the goal of avoiding a Covid outbreak at co-op or any of our functions. SLHE Illness Policy  

Q:

Do I need to fulfill at least one duty for the year to maintain my membership in SLHE? 

A:

Yes! When you log in to the SLHE website, you have the ability to edit your family's membership information. You will be prompted to check volunteer areas that are of interest to you. Every family must volunteer in at least one of our activities that benefit SLHE as a whole. For example, you may be led to sign up for the Sunshine Committee. You may be a natural organizer and want to organize a field trip or two. Volunteer where you are gifted and we will all be blessed! 

**If you're a member of the co-op, you will also have a co-op duty to fulfill. This is in addition to the one SLHE membership duty. 

Q:

Does SLHE have an expected code of conduct? 

A:

Yes! SLHE has an Expected Family Conduct form. These documents will need to be signed electronically at the beginning of each membership year confirming that your family has read and agrees to all parts of the agreement.

Q:

Does SLHE offer a membership card? 

A:

SLHE does offer a membership card. We recommend printing these so they can be used to identify your membership in a homeschool organization for discounts, etc.. 

Q:

I want to arrange a field trip for the group. How do I do this? 

A:

If you'd like to arrange a field trip, please email SLHE's field trip coordinator, Marisa Leslie. Please have the answers to these questions ready. It's that easy! laugh

**Please note: All monies must be collected as cash or check and submitted to the field trip coordinator on or before the date required.

Q:

I would like to put together a Mom's Night Out or Parent's Night Out for our group. Who do I contact? 

A:

If you would like to put together a Mom's Night or Parent's Night, for our group, please contact the SLHE MNO coordinator, Marisa Leslie. It's best if you have an idea of what day you would like to coordinate the event. You may need to call the restaurant or facility ahead of time to ensure availability for the group. We try our best to not have more than one event on the calendar in a day. However, oftentimes it's ideal to have Mom's Night Out meetups when the kids are at dances, etc.. We have had meetups at all sorts of locations such as restaurants or others' homes in the past. It's up to you! 

Q:

I have an idea for a fundraiser for our group. Who do I contact? 

A:

If you have an idea for fundraising, we're all ears! Our fundraising can be designated for our seniors or our general fund. You choose. Please contact our fundraising coordinator, Dee Harrington.

Q:

I would like to arrange a community service event for our group. Who do I contact? 

A:

Many families enjoy participating in community service. It can teach our children invaluable lessons and make a lifelong impression. Community service always looks great on a high school transcript, especially if you're planning on applying for scholarships. If you have an idea for a community service project, please contact our community service coordinator, Rachel Little.

Q:

My child will be a senior this year. Does SLHE do anything to recognize seniors? 

A:

SLHE enjoys recognizing the hard work and efforts homeschool students put into achieving the goal of high school graduation! If you have a senior, please contact our Seniors Coordinator, Jodi DeRosa. SLHE offers a promotion night and other activities for our seniors. We are pleased to be able to offer seniors a gift for their efforts. We require an essay to be written, detailing their accomplishments and achievements throughout their homeschool careers.

**Please note eligibility requirements for the senior gift in the link provided above. 

Q:

I took some great photos at an SLHE event. Can I share these with someone so they are put into the yearbook? 

A:

Yes! Please email: [email protected] 

Q:

Did you know that SLHE has a Sunshine Committee? 

A:

Our Sunshine Committee serves our SLHE member community by blessing our new mothers, assisting with meals or sending sentiments when members suffer circumstances beyond their control. If you'd like to take part in assisting our Sunshine Committee, please sign up in your member profile. If you'd like to contact the Sunshine Coordinator, please email Rachel Little.

Q:

Did you know that SLHE has a Drama Club? 

A:

We do! Our drama club is a great way to get involved with the group. If your children would like exposure to theater arts, please email Jodi DeRosa or Crystal Collier for more information.

Q:

Does SLHE offer any "teen" only activities? 

A:

Yes! We have a talented teen activity coordinator, Jodi DeRosa. Some activities that have been planned in the past have included: Disney scavenger hunts, movie meetups, go-kart racing, putt-putt golf, and more. If you have an idea for a teen activity, please contact Jodi. 

Q:

What are the requirements to teach a class at the SLHE co-op? 

A:

In order to be eligible to teach at SLHE co-op, we require membership in SLHE,  a minimum of one year attendance at co-op, and the volunteer must be in good standing with SLHE (membership dues & co-op fees paid, good attendance record, etc.). Our families enjoy the flexibility of coming up with classes and offering to share their gifts with other members. 

Q:

Does SLHE offer a discount for FPEA (Florida Parent Educator's Association) membership?

A:

Yes! SLHE partners with the FPEA in order to provide you with a discount code for membership. Go to FPEA  . Register for membership and use the code GRP-0200 for a $10 discount on your annual membership. This is a great deal, especially if you enjoy attending their homeschool convention each year! 

Q:

How will homeschooling affect my family?

A:

Homeschooling can be life-changing. Ideally, it creates personal growth for both parents and children. Parents get a second chance to discover your own special genius while you helping your children discover theirs. Nothing you ever do will have a more profound effect on your child and your family's future as homeschooling.

Q:

How can I organize my time between homeschooling, chores, work, etc. (without losing my mind?),

A:

Remember, homeschooling is like adding another part-time job onto what you are already doing. It's important to be gentle and kind to yourself. Appreciate all that you do, find an organizational method that works for you, and make sure that you schedule in time for yourself. As they say, “if mom isn’t happy, then no one is happy.”

Here are some suggestions from veteran homeschool moms:

1) “Walk around each room in your house and ask yourself honestly, “How do we use this room?” If you use your dining room for studying, then store your study materials nearby so they’ll be handy. Create learning centers in your home – a music center, a science center, a quiet reading area.”

2) “Each week I look at my calendar and mesh together my curriculum goals with my kids outside activities and then plan my meals around those two things. Surprises still happen occasionally, but at least most of the week will run smoothly.”

3) “Due to the fact that I have to work outside the home, our homeschool is very structured. I do the bulk of the schooling in the morning before I go to work and then my husband takes over in the afternoon with reading and seat work. Also, with my husband being retired he takes on the cleaning of the home and the kids all help with keeping their rooms clean.”

4) “My office & classroom are in the same room. I often get my children onto independent school work and then do my own work. I also will leave the room for short periods--ex: clean the bathroom for 15 mins. while son finishes math.”

5) “Sometimes housework will suffer. You sometimes have to let that happen, because your child's education is far more important than dusting the house.”

6) “I have found that once I came to terms with the fact that it's okay if you homeschool in the afternoons or the weekends my life was MUCH easier. When I tried to stick to a traditional schedule my life was SO unorganized.”

7) “We follow a very loose schedule. We will do math one week, then history, science, and language arts. There are certain things they do every day, writing in a journal, free reading, art projects, and other projects that they have chosen to do.”

8)  “I use a daily schedule or agenda. During the heart of the school year, when all outside activities are in full swing, I schedule our day in 30-minute increments. The schedule isn't set in stone but does guide us through the day. I make doctor appointments and other errands for times that we will be out for a scheduled activity. That minimizes the time it takes to get out of the house and the time it takes to settle back in once we get home. Having a printed schedule for daily and weekly chores is vital to making sure everything gets done at some point during the week. I have set times scheduled throughout the day (after breakfast, before lunch and after school is done for the day) to pick up, do a few small chores and generally get the house in order. I get up about 1-1/2 to 2 hours before my children each day. This gives me an opportunity to have some quiet time, exercise, eat and shower before they arise for the day. Oh, and having a set wake-up time for everyone helps to get us off to a good start.”

9) “I HAVE to have a routine. The laundry must be started before school begins, the kids have to have their chores done before they can have free time, and Fridays are house-cleaning days. School is mostly finished by lunchtime and afternoons are spent picking up and doing any extra schoolwork, then it's time to play until dinner. When Dad gets home, we're ready to eat and spend time with him. This routine keeps things relatively predictable throughout the week.” 

10)  “We turn chores into schooling events. With little ones this is simple because we sort the laundry by color, size, count the amount of clothes etc... Everything we do we try to make a learning experience so we can cover several subjects per day. The joy of homeschooling is not doing things in the traditional manner and the kids just love it.”

11) “I try to make it a family affair as well, for example, break up the day and say, let's break for a dishwasher load, or let’s fold clothes while we discuss this project. And, of course, when things are done early I reward with a field trip or movie, something fun. They enjoy museums and field trips and do not realize I am teaching them, say, at the zoo. Everything can be explained in a way that ties into school learning. My kids have scored in the upper 90th percentile for years!!!”

12) “I get up really early in the morning, and try to have a routine for my chores. I get most of my housekeeping ideas from www.flylady.net. By doing a little bit of cleaning every day, I rarely have to do a big cleanup job. Also, I don't obsess over having a clean house, because that's just one of the sacrifices one makes when committing to keeping the children at home. I plan supper in the morning, so that I am not in a hurry to get dinner on the table when my husband gets home, and we can all sit down and eat as soon as we are finished with our evening activities.”

13) “Get help! Who said you have to do it all. Hire a housekeeper or a mother’s helper to help with the chores and cooking, join a babysitting co-op, trade cooking for tutoring. Think of what you are not spending on private school tuition. And lower your standards. Who said you have to be perfect? Perfect is boring.”

 

Action Steps: Be kind to yourself. Our children are with us for such a short time. In the long run, will it matter that the house is less than perfect? Everyone has their own tolerance for messes and chaos. Honor your own level of tolerance. If you work best in a structured, tidy environment, then set up a schedule that works for you. If you work best with more freedom and flexibility, that’s okay too. The key is to not try to be someone you’re not or to try and live up to someone else’s expectations or standards. Set up a routine that works for you. Do you want to get all your studies done Monday through Thursday and then end the week with Field Trip Friday? Want to set up a daily or weekly chore and cooking schedule? Tell your children, “We need you. We can’t possibly work, homeschool you and run the house without your help. We all have to pitch in.”

 

  

Q:

How do I homeschool different age children at the same time? (Especially with a baby or toddler in the house!)

A:

Here are some suggestions from veteran homeschool moms:

 

1) “We use a rotation system. I have 3 children aged 12, 10 and 7 and while I'm working with one the other two are either working together on flashcards, an educational game or having free time. I combine lessons as much as possible. It's amazing what the younger ones pick up from the older kids lessons. We do a lot of reading aloud, we again use a rotation system with each child and I reading a chapter.

2) “When my children were all small, I would homeschool the oldest while the babies were napping.  Any toddlers had a box of fun toys and such that was only taken out during school time. Now that all my children are teens, my solution has been a home satellite program with each of them having their own taped classes. That leaves time for my youngest to have my whole attention. The others bring their work for me to check after they are done.”

3) “Sometimes toddlers just want to be like the big kids and will sit and do "worksheets" like the big kids at the table. Sometimes we will "read a story" and they don't care if it is out of a science book or that their brother is reading as long as it has pictures and is read with excitement. Sometimes a baby is just happy that everyone is on the floor with them, just have a clipboard for the kids that are writing. If the kids are learning the same subject the younger ones benefit because they will pick up some of the more complicated stuff from the older child's subject matter. I like playing games, board or question games, the kids can play when they are different ages, we will let them pick another card if they haven’t learned that yet but one of the older kids will answer it if they know, then if it comes up again the younger ones might remember anyway.”

4) “We actually teach / work in separate rooms when it comes to the different ages. While I may be working on a task with one, the other is doing some independent learning.”

5) “I have a basket of toys, books, crayons, etc for the 2 year old to do 'school' while we do. I get down on the floor to teach so that the little ones can gather around me and color or whatever they are doing and I am still accessible to the older ones for questions about subjects. We have also taken to doing more of a Unit Study approach with as many subjects as we can and use hands on activities that the littles can do as well.”

6) “I set out an agenda that has me rotating between each child and the toddler. The older children rotate between time with mom, working independently and occupying the toddler.”

7) “I will find something to occupy my youngest such as flour or rice in a container that he can drive his cars through or paint or even markers on the dry erase board.”

8) “I try to keep special "fun" books for the little ones that they can only use during "school" time. I also work around naps etc. I read aloud to all of them while I rock the little ones. That way we're still getting in our reading. Some days I do have to resort to bribing with a treat or two!”

9) “I teach up to the highest child's level. Our oldest is now 19 and in college, our youngest is ten. Math in particular... our middle child yesterday needed help with Polynomials and how to find the greatest common factor, we sat the youngest down and asked her to listen and participate, but to not worry whether she "gets it" or not because this will simply reinforce the information when she is learning it.”

10) “I complete weekly assignment sheets for those in high school. For my upper elementary I make out daily assignment sheets and then work with them as needed. I then fit in the early elementary in the time frames that the olders are working independently. For preschoolers I keep them close by working on things they enjoy. I have found that a great store of stickers from the educational supply store are well worth their cost for keeping little hands occupied.”

Action Steps: Do any of these suggestions sound like they might work for your family? If so, then take action and put together a special homeschooling box for your toddler filled with stickers or workbooks or rice/sand for their cars to drive through. Or a basket of toys, books and crayons. Use a rotation system in your schedule or add more unit studies to your curriculum. Are there books that you can read aloud to the entire family? Do you want to divide the kids up so that each study in a different room? What will work best for you?

 

  

Q:

What about socialization?

A:

Children taught at home typically encounter people of various age groups more frequently than their Your child will not become a social misfit. Quite the opposite, children do not need to be socialized in a large group of same-age children to become well adjusted socially. same age peers in an institutionalized school setting. In addition, the primary role models for homeschooled children tend to be mature teens and adults, helping children to learn appropriate social skills from those who already have them. Children who attend institutionalized school settings typically spend most of their day around other children of the same age and maturity level so the child does not learn to socialize with others outside their own peer group.

Most parents want their children to learn their social graces from adults, not other children. Homeschoolers have healthy relationships with people of all ages from the retired couple next door to their soccer coach. They can enjoy friends at 4-H, scouting, dance martial arts or any other activity.

 

 

Q:

Can a child who has been home educated enter/return to public school?

A:

Yes. Any student who is within compulsory attendance age has the right to enroll in public school. Current district policies and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) standards govern the grade placement of any transfer student.

Q:

How are home school students placed when they enter or re-enter a Lake County public school?

A:

Students will be placed academically according to their performance based on portfolio assessment, standardized test scores, and other evaluation criteria as deemed necessary by the Superintendent.

Q:

How do I make sure that my child is at or above grade level?

A:

 Different schools have different grade level expectations. In Waldorf schools, for example, students are given time to mature and not encouraged to read until they are in the 2nd grade. Some private schools expect their preschoolers to be reading. Catholic schools and public schools also have different grade level expectations for their students. Classical homeschoolers do things differently than Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. In higher grades, college-prep students have different expectations than non-college bound students. And if you are using a set curriculum like Keystone, Laurel Springs, Time4Learning, Calvert, ABeka, Alpha Omega, Ablaze, Allied, Bob Jones, BYU, Christian Liberty, Citizen’s, or Ed Anywhere, these all have their own schedules that they follow. So there really is no one right grade level code to follow. If you think that your child may eventually enroll in a school in your area, then my suggestion would be to follow (preferably exceed) that school’s expectations.

Action Steps: Decide what your family’s grade-level expectations will be. Below are some suggestions on where your child should be. Take notes of anything you particularly like. Do a Google search and put in the name of your state and then the words “grade-level expectations.”

• What Every 1st Grader Should Know  by E.D. Hirsh

• The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, by Susan Wise Bauer.

Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School by Rebecca Rupp.•  

 

 

Q:

May students participate in Florida High School online?

A:

Yes. High school students in home education programs are encouraged to participate in this program. For more information access www.flvs.net The Florida Virtual School is the first statewide online high school in the nation that provides on-line courses to all students in affiliated school districts throughout the State of Florida. It is a no-campus high school that offers interactive courses based on the Sunshine State Standards. It is a school that makes instruction available at any time and in any place convenient to the student.

 

Q:

Do I have to hold a teaching certificate to teach my child at home?

A:

No. A parent is not required to have a valid Florida teaching certificate to home educate his or her child.

Q:

Am I qualified to homeschool?

A:

You are qualified to homeschool your children if you love to read to them, love to spend time with them, love to explore the world with them, love to see them learn new things and, most important, love them. More than anyone else, parents love their children, recognize their children’s weaknesses, and know their children’s gifts, preferences, and learning styles. This naturally makes most parents the best teacher for their children.

Q:

What about actual results to prove that parents can teach their children?

A:

Instead of being concerned about grades or test scores during a particular semester or school year, parents have a long-term interest in the success of their children. Studies have repeatedly proven that children who are taught at home score higher on standardized tests than their same age peers taught in institutionalized school settings. This is true whether the parent has a college degree, professional teacher training, or even a high school diploma.

Q:

Will there be expenses associated with home educating my child, and will I be responsible for all of them?

A:

Yes, there will be expenses associated with home education: books, materials, and any other instructional materials you choose to utilize. All expenses for the home education program are paid by the parents. Homeschooling materials have come a long way in the past few years. Our options now extend beyond private school curricula and used textbooks. Packaged curriculum can cost a few dollars to many hundreds of dollars. Used products are often available at used curriculum sales, online or from other homeschool families. There are many options and resources available if you just look around!

Q:

Will I need to file a notice of intent for my 5 year old kindergartner?

A:

Five-year-old children who turn six after February 1, and who are being taught kindergarten at home, are not required to register for the Home Education Program. However, if a letter of intent is filed for a five-year-old kindergartner, then the parent must keep a portfolio, and the child must be evaluated.

Q:

Will Lake County Public Schools tell me what I should teach?

A:

No. Once a student is withdrawn from the Lake County Public Schools and registered in a Home Education Program (HEP), the decision of what to teach, when to teach, etc. is the parent's responsibility.

Q:

How do I arrange for the annual evaluation of my child?

A:

There are five options for evaluating your child:

1.  Selecting a teacher holding a valid regular Florida teaching certificate to teach academic subjects at the elementary or secondary level to review and discuss with the student the contents of the portfolio, or

2.  Having the student take a nationally-normed standardized test administered by a certified teacher, or

3.  Having the student take a state student assessment test, or

4.  Having each student evaluated by a psychologist holding a valid, active license, or

5.  Having each student evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by the Superintendent's designee and the student's parent prior to the evaluation.

You will be notified by email when this is offered.  There is also a list of recommended evaluators located on the Lake County Florida Student Services page.  The link for the list is https://www.lake.k12.fl.us/cms/lib/FL01000799/Centricity/Domain/48/Home%20Education%20Evaluators%202016-2017.pdf SLHE does offer testing at the end of the school year. 

Q:

What happens to my child's annual evaluation when I send it to LCPS?

A:

The Superintendent is responsible for reviewing the annual educational evaluation of the student in the Home Education Program. If the student is not demonstrating educational progress at a level commensurate with his/her ability, the Superintendent will notify the parent, in writing, that appropriate progress has not been achieved.

The parent will have one year from the date the written notification is received to provide remedial instruction to the student. At the end of the one-year probationary period, the pupil shall be reevaluated. Continuation in a Home Education Program is contingent on the student demonstrating educational progress commensurate with his or her ability at the end of the probationary period.

Q:

What are the consequences if I do not submit an annual evaluation of my child to the district?

A:

Florida Statute 1002.41(2)(c) requires the parent to provide an annual evaluation for each child. Failure to do so places the Home Education Program in non-compliance and the Superintendent may, after notice to the parent, terminate the Home Education Program and require the child to enroll in the public school of residence to meet the compulsory attendance law.

Q:

Do I have to teach my child myself, or are there other educational avenues available?

A:

A family that has established a Home Education Program as required by statute may enlist the help of a tutor, the Florida Virtual School, correspondence courses, or other means to provide the sequentially progressive instruction.

Q:

If I hire a tutor to teach my child, who is responsible for the records?

A:

If a private teacher is hired to provide instruction for the child, the parent is responsible for maintaining the child's portfolio.

Q:

How do I know if my child passes to the next grade?

A:

That is the parent's decision. If the student re-enters public school, testing or performance review by the school's administration may indicate another grade level as more appropriate placement.

Q:

Will the district award my child a diploma?

A:

No. School districts are not authorized to award a diploma to a home education student. School districts are not authorized to award a diploma to a home education student.

Q:

Does LCPS provide opportunities for Exceptional Education Students?

A:

Yes. Students that have been staffed into an Exception Education Program and have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) may receive services. This is arranged by phoning the office of Non-public Schools at (407) 317-3501

Q:

May my child participate in interscholastic, extracurricular activities offered at public schools?

A:

Students are required to maintain a Yes. Home education students may participate in interscholastic, extracurricular activities as long as they meet the requirements of Florida Statute 1006.5.  2.0 grade point average as determined by portfolio review and have a record of the required shots.  Home education students must be given the same opportunity as public school students. The law prohibits any requirement that would make participation less accessible for home education students.

Florida Statute 1002.41 only addresses the participation and requirements of public school and home education students. There is no requirement that public schools provide activities to private school students. 

Q:

What grade levels are allowed to participate in interscholastic, extracurricular activities?

A:

Florida Statute 1002.41 primarily applies to students in grades 9 - 12 but does not prohibit students in lower grades from participating in activities involving interscholastic competition.

Q:

What if the interscholastic, extracurricular activity requires a class be taken in order to participate?

A:

In accordance with Florida Statute 1006.15(4)(c), a home education student must be able to participate in curricular activities if that is a requirement for an extracurricular activity. For example, the school must allow a home education student to take a band class during the day if that class is required for participation in the school's marching band.

Q:

If my child participates in interscholastic, extracurricular activities offered at public schools, must he/she comply with school entry immunization requirements?

A:

Yes. Home education students who participate in interscholastic, extracurricular activities must meet the same immunization requirements as other students attending public school.

Q:

How does the district determine the school at which my child may participate?

A:

Districts permit home education students to participate at the school for which they would be zoned based on home residence.

Q:

What if I don't know how to teach a subject?

A:

There are many products on the market today to help parents teach subjects with which they may have difficulty, such as advanced math, sciences, and foreign languages.  A community college class, Florida Virtual School, a tutor, or textbooks are just a few of the options available.  While some homeschool parents take advantage of these wonderful programs, others enroll their children in co-op classes, which are taught parents who have knowledge of the subject and a passion for teaching that subject.

Q:

Do home education students have the same opportunity as public school students to enter the college of their choice?

A:

Yes, depending on their qualifications and the admission requirements of the post-secondary institution.

Q:

Is there an opportunity for home school students to qualify for a state scholarship?

A:

Yes. Home education students may qualify for a scholarship through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. For information about this program, call the toll free number in Tallahassee (1-888-827-2004).

Q:

How does a parent seek support from others who are teaching at home?

A:

There are home education support groups in every district. One statewide group is the Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA). The toll free number is 1-877-275-3732. Parents with internet access may also search online and visit websites for the various home education oriented organizations.

Q:

How can I find additional information and support?

A:

After you have submitted your written Notice of Intent, you may contact the Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA).

 

1-877-ASK-FPEA

Website address: www.fpea.com

E-mail address: [email protected]

Q:

If I have questions, who do I contact?

A:

Lake County Public Schools Student Services at 352-742-6951. FPEA Director, District 6, at (407) 323-8119 or by email at [email protected] for more home education information.

OR you can reach out to Dee Harrington @ [email protected] 817-372-3011. 

Q:

Where may I order state-adopted instructional materials?

A:

State adopted instructional materials may be ordered from the Florida State Book Depository, P. O. Box 6578, Jacksonville, FL 32236, telephone (904) 781-7192, at the parent's expense.

Q:

Can a homeschooled student get a work permit?

A:

Yes. The student must submit an application to the State of Florida. Visit http://www.state.fl.us/dbpr/pro/childlabor/forms.

Q:

How can I keep myself and my child motivated all year long?

A:

Boy, this is the tricky part isn’t it? We tend to start the school year out strong, with lots of great ideas. But by the end of the year we start to feel burned out and tired. Maybe we start to nag the kids in order to get things done and homeschooling begins to feel like a burden instead of a joy. Here are some suggestions on how to keep your homeschooling fun and productive all year long:

1) “Pacing is important. We take a shorter summer vacation so that we can take a couple weeks off in the spring, the fall and all of December. It seems that the two most difficult times of the year are around the holidays when people are very busy and spring when the weather begins to turn. By scheduling breaks during these times we come back refreshed and ready to continue.”

2) “Try to break up the school year into sections. Then when you complete a quarter, you can mark off as completed!!! I feel like I have accomplished some big task and the kids do too. Then you can reward the kids with a treat, like an ice cream at the ice cream parlor. Some places even give free ice cream, happy meal, or pizza for good report cards. For an older child maybe buy a new piece of clothing or jewerly. Something inexpensive, though.”

3) “Every Friday is "Nature/Exploring Day." We get outside and do hands-on science.”

4) “I take small amounts of time for me, like taking a nap or enjoying a good cup of coffee. Books are a great resource for motivation. For my kids, I let them do fun things like if you get your work done you can play on the game cube. I think kids have to have something they can see or feel to stay motivated.”

5) “We are an eclectic homeschool, but much of what we do is classic education. Sometimes it's dry information that, I believe, should be presented in pure form--a lot of math, grammar, copy work is this way. In the midst of the drudgery, we try to add in games that will highlight these concepts. I also allow music during work time if they are pursuing the study diligently. I try to add a lot of variety (hand on activities, art,etc...) to our literature, history, and science.”

6) “I try to find new and creative ways to keep classes interesting. I also change our schedule and some of our classes around. We have set up our schedule so our daughter has one core class (English, Math, Science, Social Studies) and one extra class (Health, Art, Music, Sign Language, Women's Studies, Home Etc., Tech Ed., Life Skills) and Study Skills each day. We regularly  rotate the schedule. We also rotate the extra classes. She never has more than 2 extra classes at a time. Right now, she has Science and Study Skills on Mondays. Tuesday is Social Studies and Study Skills. Wednesday is "fun" day with Health, Art, and Study Skills. Thursday is Math, Health, and Study Skills. Friday is English, Art, and Study Skills. Last fall, she had Home Ec. and Sign Language. Later this year, she will pick up Sign Language again and start Music. So, by rotating her schedule and her extra classes, we can keep her interested. We also let her help choosesome of the subjects. She wanted to learn to crochet so, in art class, we are learning to crochet.”

7) “I don't choose to do "school at home" so I feel that helps us stay motivated because our learning is so much fun and so much a part of our lives. We do not stop living and take 3 hours and do "school". We learn all day long in our chores, our reading, our shopping, our playing, our living.”

8) “I keep us motivated by a few different means: 1. I choose curriculum that suits our personalities and tastes. We love to read individually and aloud as a family, so a literature-based method is great motivation for us. 2. Changing things up a bit during the school year by finding a new game or activity that builds on what we are currently studying. 3 Outings that inspire us, such as the local zoo, science museum and the botanical gardens. 4. And, of course, the idea of having several weeks off during the summer when we are finished helps, too!”

9) “We keep things simple. If we are having a bad day and seem to be getting nowhere with our work, we close up shop and just hang out and read out loud or play a game. Everything in moderation! We are also very flexible. If the weather is just beautiful in March we head outside and take advantage of it.”

10) “We take small trips--which are learning experiences in disguise. Usually they are one day, yet on long, trips we occasionally stay overnight. These are affordable excursions.”

11) “Motivation comes in many forms! I guess I could say I'm not always motivated, but always committed! We don't always accomplish everything I "think" we should in a day, but there's always learning going on, and we are together, where we belong. Some tangible ideas are switching to games when motivation is lacking, but the biggest thing to me is using materials that your children enjoy. Also, a schedule with vacation dates written in, and a tentative "finishing" date are very motivating!”

12) “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound or cure!!! We school the cores for 6 weeks on and then get one week off. We take off the cores from thanksgiving to New Years, also. During our breaks we still read, write, and have special field trips every day. External rewards get worked in every session or every other~if we get our work finished in time all week we can have a special game or movie night on Friday (or whatever the kids want).”

13) “I am not a big fan of projects (simply because I don't like to prep them!), but throwing a project into what we're discussing goes a long way toward making school fun. Doing a salt map instead of a paper map, hieroglyphics on clay, collages, etc. are all motivating for the kids. As for myself, researching new teaching methods and curricula help motivate me to keep going, especially at the end of the school year. I can plan my next year and get excited again.”

14) “Our family stays motivated by finding fun things to do all year round. If we are studying a certain subject we may do lapbooks, field trips, movies, etc. related to the subject. We also find books to read that relate to what we are studying. Having a special event each day helps too. For example: Monday is Bike Day, Tuesday is Library Day, Wednesday is Awanas Day, Thursday is Homeschool Park Day, and Friday is Backyard Picnic Day.”

 

Action Steps: Be sure to plan ahead and schedule in plenty of breaks for your homeschool throughout the year. Be sure to take time every day for yourself. Read homeschooling magazines and articles for fresh ideas and inspiration. Connect with other homeschooling families. Play games, do art, take time for outdoor exploration. If the curriculum you are using is not working for you, pass it on to someone else and bring in some fresh materials. You don’t have to finish every homeschooling book you start. Be sure to use lots of games, art projects, outdoor activities, and interesting books.

Q:

How can I give my child a complete education without breaking the bank and without spending 8-10 hours a day?

A:

Homeschooling shouldn’t break the bank. On average, homeschooling is more expensive than public school and less expensive than private school. You can spend as little or as much as you want on your homeschooling. I know families who do an excellent job on their homeschooling who spend less than $200 a year. I also know of families who do an excellent job who spend thousands of dollars hiring teachers, building a separate school house, etc. Time-wise, depending on the number of children you have, you shouldn’t have to homeschool 8-10 hours a day in order to be affective. Remember, one on one learning and small group instruction is faster than classroom learning because classrooms lose a lot of time due to behavior issues, passing out papers, taking attendance, etc. When you’re homeschooling, 90% of your child’s learning time is “on task.” The bottom line is that most homeschoolers find that they are able to teach more for less cost and in far less time than schools can do. We’re lucky. We don’t have to teach 20-40 children at the same time. So take heart and read over the suggestions below: 

• Take stock and go through all the learning materials you have in your house. Do you really need all this stuff or is it just clutter? If you like having it around, then take time this summer to organize it so that you will have it handy to use next year. If you don’t love it and don’t think you’ll ever use it then you might want to sell it or give it to another homeschooling family. It may be just what they need.

• Homeschoolers use their homes in a different way than school families. Let’s face it, your kitchen table gets a lot more use than most family’s table. You use it for meals and for studying and for science experiments. Put some bookshelves around your table, if you can, so you can easily store away your studies to be used the next day or after the next meal.

• Leave things out for your child to “accidentally” discover. Leave out a microscope and a neat library book on easy home experiments, leave out the musical instruments so that they can be easily and often used, place interesting books in the bathroom and on the kitchen counter.

• What are your big educational goals for your children? At the end of high school, what is it that you expect them to know? Write down your expectations for each subject like math, science, writing, etc.

• Divide up your school year and set goals for each time period. For example, you may want to set fall goals, spring goals, and summer goals. Ask your child, “what do you want to learn or do this semester?” Take their goals very seriously and do everything in your power to make sure they accomplish their goals. Are there a certain number of books you want them to read this semester? Make sure one or two of these goals are very personal to your child. Do they want to make more friends? Help them figure out how to do that. Do they want to learn to operate every kind of boat? Find out how they can learn this. Do they want to design video games? Then find an online class that they can take. You want them to get used to identifying what it is that they are passionate about, setting goals around this, and accomplishing their goals.

 Here are some more great suggestions from veteran homeschoolers:

1) “First of all we set goals for the year and break those goals down into baby steps. Secondly, having routines helps us to stay focused and on task. Finally, we allow flexibility in terms of methods and even what we study. The children are involved in the planning process so they get to help choose. We also keep the mornings for our seatwork and the afternoons are for learning on their own, playing, exploring, reading, and other activities.”

2) “We take at least one day a month to go over what we did, what we need to learn and what we want to see, do, or make (project). It has worked out that when we decide together, it gets them excited for what is to come even if we don't get to all of what we planned.”

3) “We have our long-term goal and then we break it down into smaller goals that we can see and finish easily. We also schedule more 'school days' than necessary so that we can take a mental health day when we need/want to.”

4) “I set myself a set of targets and timetable of what I need to cover every week.”

5) “My goal is to raise a child who will be socially, psychologically, and emotionally healthy when he is 30 years old. It’s easier to fill in academic holes than it is to heal psychological holes. They don’t have to be on schedule when they are eight. But are they happy and enjoying learning?”

6) “I buy as much used curriculum as possible and use the library for the majority of our books. As much as possible we recycle materials on to the younger students.”

7) “I used to do everything bare bones and about killed myself. Now, I spend time in prayer about what we need for the year and trust God to provide. He ALWAYS does. What God calls us to, he provides for. I used to buy a lot of used items and ended up with a lot of stuff that ended up costing more than if I had waited. Now, I am VERY careful about what I buy used. I NEVER buy something used if it has many parts or pieces.”

8) “I have been using LOTS of internet resources this year. I have organized my bookmarks so the children can find the sites they need for the subject they are working on.”

9) “I sell my children's books that I used for that particular year to buy books for the next fall.” 

10) “I buy a lot of my school supplies on eBay and at local yard sales and flea markets.”

11) “I homeschool for little to no money at all. I love going to curriculum sales and I have found some great bargains there. I also love being part of online homeschooling groups. You will get great FREE information plus you will learn of other places online and around town to get free information or products or something at a discount. It's great to use your local library as well. There are even books out there on homeschooling for free.”

 Action Steps: Talk with your spouse and decide what your graduation goals are for your child. Decide how you want to divide up your school calendar this year. Set goals for each time period, and remember to schedule breaks and celebrate when you achieve your goals.

Q:

What is the best way to prepare for high school and college?

A:

1) “Research! Start early -- 5th and 6th grade is not too early to start talking to your kids about what they might want to do with their lives. Explore their interests and discuss college with them. By 7th grade start looking into colleges with them and discussing which might be of interest. We've gone online and printed out entrance requirements from a dozen Universities and compared them to our local graduation requirements. That way they know why they need to study certain subjects. I want my kids to have a buffet of options when they graduate our homeschool. My goal is to have them as prepared as possible for whatever they choose, whether that's a 4-year University or a drummer in a rock band.”

2) “I am having my high schooler take as many classes as we can and she takes local community college classes that count as duel credit. (High school/college credit). Only take those that are transferable to college needs or that help with a specialty that the student might need (i.e., medical terminology).”

3) “I have prepared each of my children to go into our church's Christian high school beginning with their freshman year. I have mostly used a set textbook curriculum for at least 2 years before they enter school and also have used the home satellite system which gives them more of an idea of what they will be dealing with in high school.”

She could have had almost ALL of her core classes for college finished BEFORE she even graduated. I might add that she is not an If I had been smarter, I would've enrolled her last year and only done dual enrollment classes instead of our homeschool classes. 4) “I am graduating a senior this Saturday. We had her take college, dual credit courses at our community college and she earned 9 credits this year. above average student, so it's something most kids can do.”

“Yes, we are teaching her how to study, take notes, and take tests. She is already taking 5) college-level classes.  We are helping her practice taking standardized tests while making sure not to put too much emphasis on them, as public schools do, and making sure to prepare her for real life as well.”

6) “We do a lot of reading, online and offline. I join online homeschool groups and get inspiration from others who are currently handling high school. I keep track of useful information, suggestions, books, websites, etc. that they offer. We have a supervisor teacher and have access to a home school assistance program that we can ask questions or get advice from when the time comes, which is approaching a lot faster than I'd like it to.”

7) “I feel right now the best skill I can equip them with is study skills and learning how to be an independent learner. My children have been taking notes since 3rd grade. By high school I imagine note-taking will be a reflex.”

8) “I am looking over the requirements for graduation from high school in our state. I will also contact some colleges to see what they will look for in a home school graduate. I use a software program to track assignments, grades and other activities. As we enter the high school years, I will be more specific in what I do with this program in order to create viable transcripts when they are needed.”

9) “When my oldest was entering high school I sat down with him and asked him what he thought he needed to make it once he graduated and also what were his interests that he wanted to pursue. We made a plan for his high school years and revised it every year.”

10) “I teach the kids three things: 1) Have at least a rough draft of a book they are writing completed, 2) start a business or sign-up under an existing one, and 3) work on math for the last two years.”

11) “I have gone with a company to make my transcripts for my high schooler. I teach what & how I want and send them the info and they make transcripts for me. I feel it's worth the price. Around $400 for two kids.”

12) “My son knows what he wants to do, so that makes it easier. I'm following what our state requires for high school graduation, and am looking into what the colleges are looking for. I've found curriculum that fits those requirements and my son's learning style. We keep our eyes open for classes, seminars, etc. geared toward his subject; a local college offered exactly what he's looking for, just for high schoolers.”

13) “I stress independent work, learning to "dig it out" for themselves. I also have found that lots of writing projects are important to prepare for college level work. It is not a particularly exciting text, but my daughter says that Frode Jensen's Format Writing thoroughly prepared her for her university composition courses. She was a chemistry major and was hired her freshman year by the writing lab as a tutor. This was usually reserved for Senior English majors. I also recall Susan Schaeffer MacCauley once saying at a conference that we need to guard against our high school seniors becoming a law unto themselves, and I have tried to keep that in mind.”

14) “I am having my children begin taking ACTs in about 9th grade and continuing until they achieve their best score. I am beginning to check on how to enroll my daughter in dual classes at some point for her junior year. I am coordinating closely with my covering teacher. My daughter is also co-oping and helping to save for college.  We are also trying to work in more essays to improve writing.”

15) “My oldest daughter is preparing to "test out of high school" aka get her GED or State Diploma at the end of this year. She'll only be sixteen, but is ready for it. They offer a full graduation ceremony with cap and gown.  She's excited for that and we'll have the dinner afterwards and all that this implies.”

16) “I am instilling a love of learning. My family always talks about college, and we've visited our alumni schools.  The kids know that they are expected to go to college. Right now, we focus on learning and all the ways one can do this for a lifetime. High school is merely a place to get free classes and college is a place to earn a degree. The luckiest students, though, learn in spite of requirements from institutions.”

17) “Homeschool from the heart! We were blessed that our daughter knew her "purpose" early on. Her passions were evident. We have built her high school years around that. Yes, we still do the basics but they are constructed in a way that feed those passions and prepare her for those things she wants to spend her life doing. We also had her choose at least three plans for after high school (schools, etc...). We then made a list TOGETHER of the criteria needed for those, i.e. entrance requirements, audition requirements. From there, we built our curriculum plan. Not only is she not going to have any problems meeting her first college choice requirements but two of her other dreams have already come to fruition! She will be traveling overseas for the second time this summer as a Missionary. She just got a job in the entertainment industry, at the company she wanted to work with! Next spring we will be traveling to London for her to audition at her college choice. She is 15 1/2.”