Homeschool Hints

Do you have a good hint to help your fellow home schoolers? It doesn’t have to be a link to someone else’s information — send your own original hint if you like! Please e-mail us with your suggestions!

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Although your children may love books and be great at comprehending what they read silently, it’s a whole ‘nuther matter to read well orally. Reading well aloud is a skill acquired through practice, and it will stand your children in good stead throughout life.

Have your children read to you several times a week. Besides modeling for them how it’s done, coach them in using expression. Teach them to pause at commas, and what voice inflections go with periods, question marks, and exclamation points. They do all these things in everyday conversation. Now it’s time to translate that into reading!

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Wondering whether to invest in the G. A. Henty books? Or the Elsie Dinsmore series? Or how about Amy Le Feuvre? Some of them are free Kindle books at Amazon (affiliate link). Don’t own a Kindle? No problem! Amazon has a free Kindle reading app that works for your computer, tablet or smartphone.

And, if you can’t find it free at Amazon, you might just find that old classic you’re looking for at The Online Books Page  (Click on “Authors,” search for “Henty,” “Finley, Martha,” “Le Feuvre, Amy,” etc.)

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New to home schooling? Having trouble knowing where to start? The Teaching Home magazine has a very helpful web site, with plenty of info to get you started–where to find curriculum, where to contact Christian support groups in your state (these groups can fill you in on the home school laws for your state), etc.

The Teaching Home

The Teaching Home Questions & Answers Page

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Do you have the desire to home school your special needs child? NATHHAN is a group of committed, Christian home school families with special needs children. Find the support you need, along with valuable info and suggestions for curriculum:

NATHHAN

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Barb Shelton’s Homeschool Oasis web site has a wealth of helpful articles for home school families.

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For character education tips and articles, visit The Character Building for Families Blog.

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New to home schooling? Your State Department of Public Instruction is NOT the best place to find out what the laws are for your state. All too often, their information is incorrect and misleading, and may even encourage you to submit information to them that is beyond the bounds of the law. Your best source for accurate information is your state home school association. (To find contact info for your state home school association, click here.)

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If this is your first year home schooling, unless you are very adventurous and creative, it is usually best to buy a complete curriculum from one publisher. Home schooling for the first time means many adjustments in the home life and schedule, and having the entire curriculum from one source will give you the security of knowing you are covering everything needed. It also simplifies lesson planning, because you only have one “system” to become familiar with. Alpha Omega, Bob Jones University, A Beka, and Christian Liberty Press are just a few of the full curriculum providers.

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A major objective for the first year of home schooling (especially if your children have already spent some time in institutional schools) is to teach the children obedience, respect, and cooperation. Learning to honor Mom and Dad is foundational to successful home schooling. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t accomplish all the academic goals for that first year. You can always catch up on academics, but if the foundation of proper relating to each other as a family is shaky, the academics will eventually suffer as well.

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One of the biggest mistakes I made during the first few years of home schooling was forcing my child to do all the work in her school books, although it was overly repetitious, or even downright useless, at times. I bored her with endless time-wasting activities that taught nothing, not realizing that these were “busy work” activities provided by the curriculum publisher with no other purpose than to keep the child out of Teacher’s hair for awhile. When we dispensed with the unnecessary (and sometimes downright silly) assignments, our stress level went down, we had more time for the important things, and we enjoyed school more. We had time to explore areas that were of interest to us, without worrying about “getting behind.”

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Sometimes home school moms worry that they won’t be smart enough to teach their children, especially when it comes to math or science. I never stressed about this, because I took the viewpoint that if the textbook was meant to be understood by the child, I was probably smart enough to understand it, too. Home schooling is often about learning (or relearning) together.

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I spent quite a few nights, during my career as a home schooling mom, worrying about whether I had taught my child well enough so that she could get a good job or be successful in college. When she took the GED at the end of high school, she passed it with flying colors in all categories. Passing the GED, by the way, is more difficult to do than getting a high school diploma through the public school system, these days. My daughter went on to Bible college and self-motivated herself all the way through with no difficulty. (And this was the girl who had never shown much motivation at home!) I found out that if I just did my best with Jesus’ help, and left the results up to Him, there wasn’t any reason to worry. He was more than adequate to make up for my deficiencies.

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We get the hardest academic work done during the first two years of high school, and then do more electives and/or creative subjects during the second two years. That way, if my teens are starting to get an idea of where their career interests are heading, we can gear the last half of high school toward learning that is more applicable to what they will be doing after graduation.

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With such a wealth of home schooling materials to choose from, where does one begin? Try Cathy Duffy Reviews.