Who Says You’re Not Qualified to Homeschool?

Who Says You’re Not Qualified to Homeschool?

I had just met a woman in ministry when I told her that after I finished my Ph.D. in clinical psychology, I wanted to be a Christian psychologist.

“You can’t just be a Christian psychologist,” she said.

Who says you're not qualified to homeschool? #homeschooling #inspiration

 

I tried to listen to what she said after that about qualifications and training, but I was stuck on that sentence. I was annoyed. How did she know? Why couldn’t I be a Christian psychologist if that’s what I wanted to do? What I felt called to do? At the same time, I was scared. When I entered graduate school, my classmates and I were stunned to learn all the requirements we had to fulfill in order to be practicing psychologists. Maybe this woman was right. I would have another whole list of requirements to meet to be a faith-based counselor.

When I finished my internship and graduated, I applied for a job with a Christian practice. I had to complete a questionnaire about my faith as part of my application. When I was interviewed, I worried that it would become apparent that I didn’t have the qualifications. I had earned my degree in a secular university. My father wasn’t a pastor. My family hadn’t even gone to church most of my life. Maybe he would say, “You can’t just be a Christian psychologist.”

To my surprise, he said nothing of the sort. I was hired and given my own office. Then I was scared again. I had never brought my faith into the counseling room. How would I do that? Fortunately, there were books on Christian counseling that I bought and read. I also had a Christian psychologist supervising me for my first year. But many times I found myself at a loss as to what to say or do with a client. I would say, “Let’s pray!” To my surprise, my clients were pleased with that idea.

Not Qualified to Be a Teacher

I was, in fact, able to just be a Christian psychologist. But that lesson didn’t stick with me. I struggled with it when I was hired to teach developmental psychology at the university. I had a Ph.D., but I had never taught students of any age before, let alone college students. I ordered the recommended textbook, did some of the things my professors had done to teach me, and came up with some of my own ideas. I had a good response from the students, ended up loving it, and my supervisor said he would be glad to hire me again. I quit teaching to have a baby, though, and faced a whole new round of qualification issues. I really didn’t think it was wise for the hospital to let me take the baby home. I hadn’t even done much babysitting!

I muddled my way through parenting the same way I had counseling and teaching. But when God called me to homeschool, I worried that I didn’t have the qualifications for that either. I had taught college students, but I had never taught anyone to read. What if I couldn’t do it? I had never taken an elementary education course. Once again, I managed to do it with reading and wisdom from others. I even began to feel qualified to teach my own children. In more than one discussion with people who asked about homeschooling, I was told that it was fine for me with a Ph.D. Other people, though, weren’t qualified to teach their children. I did what I could to educate them. “There are books, curricula, and support groups to help anyone homeschool,” I would say. And I believed it.

But when it came to me, I still believed that woman who said I couldn’t just be something. I had to be qualified. I had to be trained.

Fast, Easy, Fun Language Arts

Not Qualified to Be a Homeschool Publisher

When I had the idea for writing my own language arts curriculum, I started off in the true spirit of homeschooling. I just jumped in and learned as I went along. I started writing the curriculum I’d always wanted to have for my kids. But as I came closer to finishing it, I got stuck. I made excuses. I quit working on it. I didn’t feel qualified.

I then had the opportunity to meet with a small group of homeschool publishers. I figured I could at least say that I was a blogger if I chickened out in admitting that I was writing curriculum. I met Charlene Notgrass, whose history curriculum I had used with my children. She was so warm that I decided to tell her what I was working on. I told her the concept behind it — that I would use story to teach language arts concepts and make them funny and memorable.

I expected her to ask me about my experience in writing fiction and curriculum. I expected her to ask me about my experience in homeschool publishing. I expected her to tell me what I needed to do before I ever thought of trying to publish. I expected her to say, “You can’t just be a homeschool publisher.”

How foolish of me. I recently read the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright in another history curriculum my kids have enjoyed, Mystery of History. The Wright brothers were high school dropouts. Apparently, no one told them that they couldn’t just be engineers, or they couldn’t just be inventors. Because that’s exactly what they were.

The heart of homeschooling is that we can just be our children’s teacher.

Not only that, but our children can just be whatever God calls them to be. As the saying goes, “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.”

I shouldn’t have been surprised when Charlene’s face lit up when I told her about my curriculum. She got her husband’s and others’ attention and told them about it, too. That encouragement gave me the extra confidence I needed to finish Grammar Galaxy. Charlene found me at the homeschool conference where I exhibited it for the first time and hugged me.

Taken the day the books arrived

Taken the day the books arrived

That was just 21 months ago. Since that time, many moms who have used Grammar Galaxy with their kids have told me their kids beg to use it every day. They’ve told me it’s changed their homeschools because now their kids love to read. They tell me they are using it to learn grammar themselves because it was not their strong suit.

I now have two volumes of Grammar Galaxy published and a third in the works.

I now believe I can just be a homeschool publisher. I also believe you can just be a home educator. I believe you can raise excellent readers and writers, even if you don’t think you can.

Has anyone told you you’re not qualified to homeschool or do something else you long to do? Let’s chat about it on Facebook.

 

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Best Electives for the Homeschool Transcript

Best Electives for the Homeschool Transcript

I know you’ll enjoy this guest post by my friends at 7SistersHomeschool.com. Be sure to check out their fantastic homeschool electives for high school.

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Homeschooling high school years are the best years of all! While building a transcript and serious life preparation can be intimidating, high school is FUN because of the electives! Electives are enjoyable because they expand your teens’ interests, abilities and experience.

One word of warning: Don’t think that your teen MUST have a prescribed set of electives in order to have the proper transcript. There’s really not one set of BEST electives that fit every homeschooler because:There’s not one right way to homeschool. The “best” set of electives for your teen will be the set that best fits his or her strengths, interests and goals.

Best Electives for the Homeschool Transcript

Homeschooling teens is such a good educational decision because you and your teens get to choose the educational electives that are the best fit for them. To put it simply:

The BEST electives for your homeschool are the ones that help YOUR TEEN develop into the person God has in mind.

In choosing electives, you are helping your teens develop into the persons they should be, but you are also helping them develop awesome transcripts. Many colleges look at 4 things on the high school transcript:

  • Level of academic rigor of courses
  • Level of performance (GPA, SATs/ACTs)
  • Level of personal development/Kinds of electives (because they are building a freshman class, they want to know the kinds of students they are considering- electives tell them that)
  • Level of commitment (extra-curriculars, especially long-term involvement extras; and competitions)

With that in mind, here are 5 categories to consider as you choose the best electives for your teens’ homeschool transcript:

Electives that explore an intriguing  interest. If your teen loved chemistry, an advanced chemistry would be an excellent elective. If your teen loves Civil War history, a history elective with in-depth exploration of the topic would be a perfect elective. If your teen loves singing, voice lessons make a wise elective.

Electives that uncover an undiscovered interest. Don’t just run with already discovered interests. Most teens don’t fully know what they are interested in. (In fact, as we work with teens we often hear them say that they aren’t sure what they like or what they want to learn.) Choose some out of the box (but not killer-level) courses just to explore. Consider things like human development, field studies on astronomy (learn the constellations, etc- don’t go in for the physics on an exploratory elective), an out-of-the-box world language (think Cherokee or Celtic) painting, or poetry writing and reading.

Electives that attract an admissions officer’s attention. For this one, you’ll need to look at some local college websites (or college websites your teen may be interested in outside your area). See what kinds of electives they are looking for. Often they want to see a social science like psychology or sociology; this kind of information is empowering when you are choosing your electives for the year.

Electives that delve into career discovery. You really, really don’t want to skip this one. Why spend thousands of dollars on college if your teen doesn’t have a clue about what his major should be? Make sure you include an actual career exploration course. Other good career discovery courses include apprenticeships and courses that explore a career (for instance, a course on early childhood education or personal training).

Electives that leap into life skills. Show that your teen can function in the real world. Courses like home maintenance and home economics have not gone out of style. Courses that prepare for life but also have academic value (like human development or anatomy and physiology) are fabulous, too.

What if you aim for at least one elective from each of the 5 categories over the course of the 4 years of high school? That would be a great guideline, but remember: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school! When you include courses that are a good fit for your students, you’ve found the BEST electives for them. You’ll end up with homeschool high school graduates with stellar skills and terrific transcripts!

http://7sistershomeschool.com/?page_id=5&wpam_id=7407

Meet six 20+year veteran homeschool moms who helped each other make it all the way to high school graduation! Vicki, Sabrina, Kym, Marilyn, Sara and Allison make up 7SistersHomeschool.com, providing ebook curriculum, coaching, and encouragement for homeschoolers everywhere. Firmly committed to the truth that there is NOT ONE RIGHT WAY to homeschool, 7Sisters develops curriculum that is adaptable to a variety of levels and promises NO busywork and NO overkill. Sharing with others via blog posts, social media and The Homeschool High School Podcast, your “big sisters” will help you along on your homeschool adventures. “But I don’t understand the “7Sisters” name,” you may say. “When I count the sisters, I only get to 6…”That’s because when you join us, YOU are the 7th sister!

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The Elective Curriculum Prep Challenge: Week 31

The Elective Curriculum Prep Challenge: Week 31

The elective curriculum challenge. Get your art, music, home ec, and other subjects organized for school this week!Last week we got our core, or primary curriculum, organized for the upcoming year. This week we will take on our elective studies. This could be subjects like art, home ec, or music.

#1 Set up system of organization

You may have organized your materials during the  planning challenge. If not, you will take the time to complete any preparation required to teach these subjects. For example, I have to print the Hoffman Piano lesson materials and add them to my children’s binders. These binders have my children’s names on them and are added to their individual crates on our bookcase.

#2 Research

This is the day to do research for ideas or materials you need to make your elective subjects excellent. For example, if you are using a home ec curriculum, you may be able to find an appropriate video teaching kids how to bake bread on YouTube. Be sure to keep your research organized. I recommend Pinterest and Evernote if you prefer digital or a binder/file system if you don’t.

#3 Plan

Create a simple plan for each subject, unless your curriculum has done the planning for you. In this case, you may wish to delete any activities you don’t like and add activities to replace them you discovered during your research. Remember, this is one of the blessings of homeschooling. You decide what to teach!

#4 Shop / List Materials

Purchase any needed equipment or supplies needed to teach elective subjects or add them to your list. Be sure to read the Special Study Prep challenge for more on this. You may wish to delay purchasing basic school supplies until they are on sale or have no sales tax (if your area has this weekend).

Here is the  list of previous weeks’ challenges:

 

Organized Homeschool Challenge

Week 1: Daily Devotions Challenge

Week 2: Daily Routine Challenge

Week 3: To-Do List Challenge

Week 4: Memory Keeping Challenge

Week 5: The Decluttering Challenge

Week 6: The Organized Computer Challenge

 Week 7: The Marriage of Your Dreams Challenge

Week 8: The Confident Parent Challenge

Week 9: The Extended Family Challenge

Week 10: The Bring on the Spring Challenge

Week 11: The Spring Cleaning Challenge

Week 12: The Organized Easter Challenge

Week 13: The Serve the Church Challenge

Week 14: The Chore Challenge

Week 15: The Organize Your Finances Challenge

Week 16: The Curriculum Challenge

Week 17: The Friendship Challenge

Week 18: The Family Celebrations Challenge

Week 19: The Organized Clothing Challenge

Week 20: The Organized Vacation Challenge

Week 21: The Organized Summer Challenge

Week 22: The Outdoor Activity Challenge

Week 23: The Used Curriculum Challenge

Week 24: The Homeschool Space Challenge

Week 25: The Goal Setting Challenge

Week 26: The Homeschool Planning Challenge

Week 27: The Bible Time Challenge

Week 28: The Special Study Prep Challenge

Week 29: The Extra-Curricular Challenge

Week 30: The Core Curriculum Prep Challenge

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Get the Curriculum You Need for Less

Get the Curriculum You Need for Less

Build Your Own BundleAs we get ready for a new school year, the Build Your Own Bundle sale is a great opportunity to pick up a wide range of digital books, curriculum, and homeschooling helps at an amazing price. There is something here for everyone! I love the option of choosing what you need so much that I signed up as an affiliate for this sale. Some of the options that stand out to me are:

  • Math Mammoth materials (we’ve used them and loved them)
  • Homeschool scheduling forms
  • Writing Through the Bible (a great idea)
  • Christian Keyboarding (I need to make sure my kids aren’t hunting and pecking like their dad!) 🙂
  • Notebooking resources (there are so many topics to choose from)
  • We Choose Virtues materials (a great way of helping kids understand and implement character traits).

Go get ’em!

 

The first ever “Build Your Bundle” – Homeschool Edition sale is here!

For one week only (July 21-28) save up to 92% on bestselling
homeschooling products, including MANY on Cathy Duffy’s Top 100 list!

The bundles are AMAZING, including products such as Learning Language
Arts Through Literature
, A Child’s Geography, Character Concepts,
Picture Smart Bible, Math Mammoth, and more! There are SO
many incredible products to choose from, all bundled up in grades/themes
OR you can “Build Your Own!”


Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!
Our “Build Your Own” bundles offer you the opportunity to select
a certain number of products with a retail price of $19.99 or less for up
to 80% off! We have MANY items to choose from, including Cathy Duffy Top
100 Picks! When you purchase a combination of any 2 “Build Your Own”
bundles, you will get the 3rd one at 50% off!
Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!
Buy more & save more! Purchase 2 “build your
own” bundles and get the 3rd one 50% off! See
site for details.

You will also find the following pre-assembled bundles with saving up
to 92% off retail:
Tot/Pre-K Bundle, K-3 Bundle, 4-6 Elementary Bundle,
Middle School Bundle, High School Bundle, Charlotte Mason Bundle, & the
Homeschooling/Homemaking Mom Bundle!
Charlotte Mason Style Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $377.35 - On Sale for ONLY $49.00 - One Week Only! Elementary Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $220.35 - On Sale for ONLY $39.00 - One Week Only! Middle School Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $361.77 - On Sale for ONLY $59.00 - One Week Only!
High School Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $381.68 - On Sale for ONLY $69.00 - One Week Only! K-3 Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $187.13 - On Sale for ONLY $39.00 - One Week Only! K-3 Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $171.37 - On Sale for ONLY $29.00 - One Week Only!
K-3 Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $118.19 - On Sale for ONLY $10.00 - One Week Only!  Homeschooling Curriculum - You Choose What to Buy - Save up to 80% - One Week Only!  Homeschooling Resources, Curriculum & More - Save up to 60% - One Week Only!
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The Core Curriculum Prep Challenge: Week 30

The Core Curriculum Prep Challenge: Week 30

The core curriculum prep challenge. Get ready to teach the major subjects in your homeschool.By core curriculum, I mean either a complete curriculum, like My Father’s World, or core subjects like math, language arts, science, and social studies. This could be a busy week or an easy one, depending on what curriculum you are using in the next year. We will go through the same process we went through with special studies, so we are organized early.

#1 Set up system of organization

You may or may not need an organizational system for each subject. If you didn’t do the  planning challenge, you may need to make sure lessons are noted in your child’s planners and books are accessible to him.

#2 Research

This is the day to do research for ideas or materials you need to make your core subjects excellent. For example, I will be researching videos to add to my Mystery of History playlist on YouTube. I have to get busy on Volume II. As with special studies, you may want to see if someone has done the work for you, coming up with crafts, videos, songs, experiments, etc. to go with your chosen core curriculum. Organize your research digitally or using binders / file folders.

#3 Plan

Plan each subject, if necessary. I say “if necessary” because many subjects can be taught as written in the curriculum, with no extra planning necessary. If you need to plan in detail, consider creating an undated plan that you can add to a dated planner one week at a time. Nothing is more frustrating than creating all these dated lessons, only to get off schedule. Again, keep it simple. It’s much easier to add ideas than it is to delete them and still feel like you’re on top of your schooling. Extra time allows for some delight-directed learning, too. I love it when we do history and the kids ask to spend time learning more about a subject.

#4 Shop / List Materials

Purchase what you need for core curriculum now, if you haven’t already. Things lab kits and craft supplies are appropriate here. Be sure to read the Special Study Prep challenge for more on this. You may wish to delay purchasing basic school supplies until they are on sale or have no sales tax (if your area has this weekend).

Here is the July Organized Homeschool Calendar and a list of previous weeks’ challenges:

 

Daily missions to organize your homeschool July 2014

Organized Homeschool Challenge

Week 1: Daily Devotions Challenge

Week 2: Daily Routine Challenge

Week 3: To-Do List Challenge

Week 4: Memory Keeping Challenge

Week 5: The Decluttering Challenge

Week 6: The Organized Computer Challenge

 Week 7: The Marriage of Your Dreams Challenge

Week 8: The Confident Parent Challenge

Week 9: The Extended Family Challenge

Week 10: The Bring on the Spring Challenge

Week 11: The Spring Cleaning Challenge

Week 12: The Organized Easter Challenge

Week 13: The Serve the Church Challenge

Week 14: The Chore Challenge

Week 15: The Organize Your Finances Challenge

Week 16: The Curriculum Challenge

Week 17: The Friendship Challenge

Week 18: The Family Celebrations Challenge

Week 19: The Organized Clothing Challenge

Week 20: The Organized Vacation Challenge

Week 21: The Organized Summer Challenge

Week 22: The Outdoor Activity Challenge

Week 23: The Used Curriculum Challenge

Week 24: The Homeschool Space Challenge

Week 25: The Goal Setting Challenge

Week 26: The Homeschool Planning Challenge

Week 27: The Bible Time Challenge

Week 28: The Special Study Prep Challenge

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Week 5: The Decluttering Challenge

Week 5: The Decluttering Challenge

Start off the year right with these simple decluttering missions for an organized homeschoolAs homeschoolers, we can find it difficult to minimize the collection of stuff. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Books are often our greatest treasure; we can’t imagine giving them away
  • We may have more than one child or might have, so we figure we will need the toys, the clothing, and the curriculum again soon
  • We need to save two-liter bottles, empty milk containers, and toilet paper rolls for those experiments and crafts that use “what you have on hand”
  • We may do unit studies and could use just about anything as a prop or costume
  • We don’t want to waste money living on a single income or just to be good stewards

Although we can come up with good reasons to keep our stuff, there are also good reasons to get rid of it:

  • If we keep buying bookshelves, we will have to buy a larger house
  • Organizing hand-me-downs can be very time-consuming
  • If we save too many recyclables, we might start thinking that having 20 cats is normal, too
  • It’s no use saving so many things to use for unit studies if we can’t find them
  • Clutter can cost us emotionally, socially, financially, and spiritually

We can’t clear years’ worth of clutter in a week, but we can get a good start on it. This week:

#1 Make a List of All Gifts Received for Christmas

I receive a few gifts for Christmas, but I buy most of my clothing and other items I need at the end of the year because of sales. If I don’t declutter as much as I take in, it won’t take long for me to look like a hoarder. The same goes for the kids.

Enough time has gone by that it will be an interesting exercise to have your children make a list of everything they’ve gotten during the Christmas season. I’m providing a form for subscribers for this purpose. If they can’t remember, what does that tell them about the real value of things?

How to declutter toys in a large family

#2 Collect Items to Declutter Based on Your Gifts Received List

The idea is to do a one-in, one-out exchange. If you got a new sweater, an old one is decluttered. If the kids got a new game, an old one is given away. If you can’t do that for some reason, just declutter any item in exchange for the new one received.

I had a very difficult time with this where the kids were concerned for many years. One child would get a toy as a gift and everyone played with it. This is great until it comes time to declutter. The teen no longer cared about the younger kids’ stuff, so he would want to declutter it, much to his siblings’ dismay.

I now lay two blankets on the floor when we are decluttering kid stuff. One blanket is for anything any child wants to give away. The other is for trash. The kids enjoy going through their stash of toys and games and putting items on the blankets. As a child sees something on the blanket he wants to keep, he rescues it and returns it to storage. As the process continues, he may change his mind and return it to the giveaway pile, however. Sometimes kids are ready to release things when they feel free to choose. I may also rescue items from the blanket that I want to sell or keep for grandchildren (I’ve changed my mind about many of these latter items with my husband’s encouragement.)

Best Place to Buy Borrow Sell Used Homeschool

 #3 Put Unwanted Books/Curriculum Aside or List for Sale

Once, when I had more books than bookcases, I went through boxes of books while on the phone with a friend. I would explain to her why I was keeping each book. It wasn’t long before I realized that I didn’t need to be everyone’s library. So much of the time I was keeping books in case someone wanted to borrow them. I encourage you to ask yourself why you’re keeping books and release those that hold no interest, no sentimental value, or will not be read again.

Can we talk about releasing curriculum now? It’s tough to admit you spent hundreds on something you hate or that your kids will never be cute little kindergartners again, but you’ll have so much more peace in your homeschool when it’s out of sight. If you declutter something you end up wanting again, you can always buy it (or borrow it) again.

At this point in the school year, you know which materials you purchased that just aren’t working. Box them up to sell at spring or summer used book sales or list them for sale now. Check out my post on the best places to sell used curriculum.

Sink-Reflections-smaller

#4 Deliver Unwanted Items to Charity, Consignment, or the Post Office

Unless you’ve determined that later in the year is a better time to offload your unwanted items, do yourself a favor and send them to a new home as soon as possible.

In our area, many charities will pick up donations. I usually prefer to free up space by sending my husband to the drop-off location (which he gladly does).

My favorite resource for decluttering inspiration is FLYLady.net or her book, Sink Reflections. My one claim to fame is that I have a blurb on the back.

What’s the hardest thing for you to let go of?

Next week’s challenge is the Organized Computer Challenge.

 

These are the previous weeks’ challenges:

Week 1: Daily Devotions Challenge

Week 2: Daily Routine Challenge

Week 3: To-Do List Challenge

Week 4: Memory Keeping Challenge

Organized Homeschool Challenge

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