Even though it is stinky hot here in Tennessee today, my mind is all about starting school. Our summer has been full with camps and mission trips, road trips and my trip to Vancouver. Somehow August has snuck up and is knocking on the door.
We are about to begin our fifth year of homeschool. Every year I feel like a rookie. I look over my curriculum for each child, it is easy to become overwhelmed. It is easy to feel like there are so many choices…and yet I find myself simplifying a little more each year. Especially for the younger kids.
We have been involved in a couple tutorials here in Nashville from the first year. My younger two, grades Kindergarten and 5th Grade, go to one while the older boys attend a more academically challenging tutorial beginning in 7th grade. This has been such a blessing; it gives them the opportunity one day a week to attend classes, interact with classmates and receive some wonderful teaching. They are able to participate in Labs at the a local college’s science department. They are able to participate in drama and musicals, they have dances and band performances…all the things you might think a homeschool kid would miss out on.
There are such vibrant homeschool communities now, there are a multitude of options for how to structure your approach!
I have in the past offered some suggestions here for websites that are helpful. A caution, though, if you are just beginning the homeschool adventure: It is easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of material out there. Find something you connect with and dig deep there, and find some folks you can connect with to dialog and share the journey with. You don’t have to examine every curriculum available…sometimes you just have to pick one and go for it. You may change after a year or two as you begin to find your rhythm, but your kids will be learning. Give yourself the room to experiment some.
With that said, here are some of the past articles:
Three years ago, when we were really rookies!
So, a new year and some new inspiration!!
This site can be a bit overwhelming, as there is just so much information, but www.homeschool.com is a great place to start. Use the tabs and find a spot to start, then grab a coffee and spend some time clicking around!
Creekside Learning is another one that can be a little overwhelming, but it offers so much. Again, grab a cup of coffee and explore.
You are probably familiar with The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. Did you know she homeschooled? She hasn’t updated the homeschool part of her blog in a year, but if you are new to homeschool, or if you have never read her blog, it is worth reading. Some great encouragement there.
The Growing Home blog is written by someone who was home schooled and now homeschools her kids. She approaches structure in a more relaxed way, not quite unschooling, but “eclectic.” The blog is well organized and you can find a section for Dads as well!
The Story Warren is not a homeschool site…but it is such a rich site for inspiration and imagination. This is a definite site to visit when you are feeling in need of some well written thoughts on childhood, creativity, imagination…and a great spot to discover some new favorite books.
Sarah Janisse Brown was homeschooled and now not only homeschools her family, but has developed a fantastic line of books. She refers to her approach as funschooling or momschooling. Sarah has a blog worth following, and check out the books. Some great journals for kids, and a line of books for dyslexic needs.
I find myself needing to take a deep breath, grab a cup of coffee and spend some time just reading through some of these sites. Taking in the ideas, and thinking of ways to refine what we have done in the past year. The kids are getting old enough to voice their opinions on our structure or lack of structure, and have begun directing their own time in accomplishing tasks.
Every year is a learning process. Every year is filled with that excitement of the beginning of the year, and with the moments of lag where it is difficult to stir the imagination and inspiration. We need to have these sites marked which encourage us and which give us focus and the creativity we need to continue on the homeschool adventure.
So, this a post that is just calling out for comments. List some of the sites you go to often for inspiration. Feel free to list sites about curriculum and what has worked for you. I’m always on the lookout for some new insights!