Friday, June 13, 2014

How I Homeschool

   Micaela of California to Korea has a How I Homeschool  series and link-up at her blog. 

This summer it is my intention to write more about how we school at home and curriculum choices, so I thought her link-up was an excellent way to start. 

How long have you been homeschooling? 

The boys and I recently finished our ninth year. Our oldest son went to a small, private Christian school kindergarten through second grade, public school for third grade (because we came back to the Catholic Church after spending several years as nondenominational Christians), and I started homeschooling him in fourth grade. He graduated from our homeschool in May and started college a couple weeks ago. 

How many kids are in your family? How many are 

homeschooled? Are any schooled in a more traditional way?   

I homeschool all of my boys; there are three of them. Homeschooling is part of who we are and fits our lifestyle well. Since my husband works long hours the boys can stay up later to spend time with him, and school can start a little later in the morning. I don't think my boys will go to a traditional school anytime school, but I do leave that up to God. I want to continue to homeschool, but He may have other plans for our family in the future. 

What laws are there in your state 
regarding homeschooling? 

How does your family meet compliance? 

Delaware does not require a lot from homeschool parents. I had to contact the liaison for the Department of Education to let them know I was homeschooling. The liaison asked me to name our school and then gave our school a DOE number. In the fall, I have to update the list of students that I have by grade and age. At the end of the school year, I report attendance and list any graduates that I have. That is it!

Summarize your homeschool philosophy in one sentence.

I think my blog's description sums it up: Creating a beautiful life centered around our Catholic faith, good books, and developing our God given talents. 

What is your homeschooling style? 

I would call it eclectic. I piece our curriculum together from many different resources. I enjoy reading books about homeschooling and most of those books are based on Classical, Charlotte Mason, and unschooling. 

Do you follow any set curriculum?

No! The horror! Okay, all kidding aside, our first year (my oldest son's fourth grade year) I followed the Mother of Divine Grace syllabus, and we were very bored. I know a lot of people who love it so maybe we missed some good stuff by not enrolling in the actual school. I don't know, but it was not for us. The second year I ordered everything from Catholic Heritage Curricula. We enjoyed most of it, but not the science or math. The next year I just pulled curriculum from many different places to meet our needs. It works for us. There was a school year that I spent my mornings taking care of my ailing grandparents, so I used Switched on Schoolhouse for a majority of our schooling (I was only teaching two boys that year). Switched on Schoolhouse was not a great fit for us, but it got us through the year, and I even continued it for a couple subjects for the next year, but then discontinued it after that year. I needed to know that the boys were getting schoolwork, so it filled that need. 

What do your best homeschooling moments look like? 

Our best moments are made up of smiles, laughter, read alouds, and closing all books by 2:00 pm for outdoor play and personal pursuits. 

What do your not-so-good moments look like? 

Our not so good moments have frowns, silence and math still not finished at 4:00 pm. 

How do you stay on track? 

We usually stay on task, but if I sense that the boys need a break we will all go outside for a few minutes, take a walk, or go to our rooms for a little alone time. 

For a glimpse of what one of days looks like check out this post Our School Day

How do you keep any non-school-aged kids busy? 

All of my children are school age now, but before they were, they did a lot of hands-on activities next to us, such as Mega Bloks, Play-Doh, painting, puzzles, and drawing. I would also let them watch a movie or  show too if they became too distracting. We do not have a fenced in yard, so I was not able to send them outside until they were old enough to stay by the swing-set and sandbox without wondering off. Fortunately, I can see the swing-set and sandbox from my kitchen table, so five has worked out at the magic age for my family to play in the backyard alone for short periods of time.

If you could give any homeschool advice to a new mom starting out, what would it be? 

Don't try to do it alone. Find other homeschoolers in your area and join a group or two. Make sure you schedule a mom's night dinner with other homeschooling moms every couple of months so you can "talk shop" while relaxing. Listen to free talks online about homeschooling and podcasts to get ideas and encouragement. And let go of the traditional school schedule mentality. Develop a plan that works best for your family, your children, on your time frame. You do have to meet your states requirements, but your school does not have to run like a brick and mortar school on a daily basis. Unless you want it to, then it can. 

Thanks Micaela for the great questions and hosting the link-up. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this post on how you homeschool! I admire all you home schooling mamas. We plan on sending our kids to catholic school mainly because my husband and I both work and I'm lazy and would probably daily my kids miserably if I homeschooled. Thanks again for sharing!

  2. ...I would probably *fail my kids miserably..

    1. I think that is the beauty of having schooling options; there is not one right way. God calls us to live our life faithfully in different ways. Catholic school is a wonderful option, and I have friends and family that send their children to Catholic, and public school and their children are doing great. The key to all of the schooling decisions is involvement and prayer.
      You crack me up Mia! If you felt like you were being called to homeschool, you wouldn't fail your kids because you want them to do well and succeed. :)

  3. I love your school room photo! It sounds like our good and bad days are very similar. :)

    I also totally agree on having mom's nights sans kids. It can be hard to get to know other moms well while you're chasing down the little ones on the playground!

    1. Thanks!
      Mom's night is a life saver for me. Like you said, it is hard to build relationships when you are actively watching children.

  4. Awesome, Erica! I really need to get hooked up with the homeschool scene around here...

    1. Yes! Find the group or groups and contact them. There is no need to wait until you start schooling. :)

  5. Love, love, love this, Erica. Your good and bad moments look a lot like ours. :)

    By the way, I also really appreciate your suggestion for Switched on Schoolhouse. Sometimes we need that kind of help, and I'm so glad you found it. I actually may consider something similar for after my baby is born in November, at least for a few weeks.

    Thanks for linking up!

  6. Erica, I enjoyed reading this! I'm always in total awe of homeschooling families who have graduated a student from high school! Congratulations! That seems like such a long way off for us, I can hardly even imagine it's possible...

    1. I am glad that you enjoyed it! High School was a little bit nerve-racking the first time around, but I feel so much more equipped for it now.


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