As if there haven’t been enough changes in our lives these past few months. Now you find yourself considering homeschool!!
I am here to help. I have used all the resources listed below. I can give you honest feedback and answer most questions about them. There are many other resources as well that I have not used, therefore will not mention them here.
I know that navigating the world of homeschooling can be tough. My hope is that this list makes things simpler for you and your family.
Please share if you think this will help anyone else.
1. Letter of intent
First things first, if you have decided that you will be homeschooling a letter of intent to the School district is needed.
If you are homeschooling in Palm Beach County find the form here. On this website, you will also find all the legalities about homeschooling in Florida.
Once you have done this: Welcome to the club!!
The two most important things you must remember are listed below:
Maintain a portfolio containing work samples, reading list (title, author) and a log of educational activities
Provide an Annual Evaluation at the end of the year
The Annual Evaluation is due before the date you sent your letter of intent. Example: your letter of intent was sent on Aug 1st, 2020. Your evaluation is due before Aug 1st, 2021.
Your portfolio is an archive of the work your student has completed all year. It is also to show the progress your student has made. For example handwriting at the beginning of the year compared to the end of the year, etc.
2. Planning and organization
A three-ring binder per student for the year has worked great for our family. Here I maintain samplings of their work. For lower elementary grades you will be able to fit all their work in the three-ring binder (picture is an amazon link).
My go-to planning and day-to-day log of activities and course work is the Erin Condren Teacher planner found here
I make some adjustments to it to make it more Homeschool friendly ☺️
Here I keep the following for the school year:
Curriculum used for my kids
List of books read out-loud
Sport and activities
On the month sheets, I write in any big plans for the month, birthday parties, field trips, play dates, etc. On the subject logs, I write down what we did for each day for each student. (You can use a different line or a different color pen for each child to make it easy to see).
Make sure you write down all the educational activities you do. If you do a craft on a Saturday morning, you can include that in your planner.
We use RightStart math found here
We have used this for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade so far.
This is an award-winning curriculum that is fully hands-on. This program is not worksheet driven. The children learn all material hands-on with manipulatives and math card games. Your children will use an abacus, a math balance, a clock they will set, a geoboard, etc.
I completely love this curriculum. I have noticed the way the material is taught sinks deep into my child’s understanding of the subject. The teacher-handbook is very easy to follow and gives the parent line by line instruction.
Math is a subject that should be done daily and the lessons are created that way.
I use this box to store the manipulatives (picture is an amazon link)
We use Simply Charlotte Mason found here
We have used this for pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade. I plan to use it for 2nd grade as well.
This program is designed to be 15-20 minute lessons. Lessons can be repeated as many times as you feel necessary. Reading should be done every day. The early years are based on word building with letter tiles and writing the words in their word log.
*Charlotte Mason was an English educator that believed that a child was a person and the whole person must be educated, not just the mind. I highly recommend you spend some time reading about her approach. It makes total sense, read here
I used two resources in the following order:
Delightful Handwriting by Simply Charlotte Mason found here
This is great for beginners. I made copies of each sheet so we can re-do the letters as many times as I felt they needed to practice.
Beautiful Handwriting for Children by Penny Gardner found here
This is a great segment to cursive. The end of the book has many, many quotes from historical people the child can copy. It is a great way to discuss things such as character, integrity, and kindness.
Handwriting should be done daily, these curriculums are created so you can do each lesson as many times as you need.
I used the Award-winning Beautiful Feet Early American History Literature pack found here
I HIGHLY recommend this curriculum, even for parents who do not homeschool. It is so important for children to learn about history. This curriculum is based on a read-out-loud approach. It takes age-appropriate literature to put you and your family into the stories of history. History comes alive in a way children love to learn. History is my boys’ favorite part of the day.
You can choose to do history every day or less. For the fall I will be getting The Around the World with picture books pack and I am very excited.
We have used a Science textbook written by Dr. Jay Wile. He holds a Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry. Found here
This textbook has a hands-on activity for each lesson. It brings science to life. A material list is required for each lesson, most of the items you have at home. The boys have loved this and they look forward to the activities weekly. We have had a lot of fun moments. The curriculum presents science topics in the order of creation. Beginning with light and all of its properties.
This textbook can be applied in many different ways. You can do it every day to once a week. Dr. Wile also has a blog found here
4. Homeschool must resources
- Public Library: you can pre-order books online and pick up
Great booklist recommendations found here for all ages and reading levels
- Local Field trip ideas:
Palm beach zoo (offers homeschool special annual pass) https://www.palmbeachzoo.org
The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge https://www.fws.gov/refuge/ARM_Loxahatchee/visit/plan_your_visit.html
Wellington Environmental preserve https://www.wellingtonfl.gov/facilities/facility/details/Wellington-Environmental-Preserve-Sectio-57
Loxahatchee Battlefield Park located in Jupiter, Florida https://www.loxahatcheebattlefield.com
- Fun resource:
Morning time plans found here is a packet you can purchase that contains resources for artwork, poems, books, music, and more. All you need to do is order the list of books from the library. Pam has prepared all the resources for you. It is a great way to add a little extra to your homeschool. Especially if art, poetry, and poems are not your strong suit but you still want to share those things with your child.
- Books resources: (pictures are amazon links)
For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay – Foundation of Education for Home and School.
Teaching from rest - A homeschooler's guide to unshakable peace (This is a yearly read for me) by Sarah Mackenzie
The Read-aloud family by Sarah Mackenzi – inspiration to start reading aloud to your kids of any age including lists of age-appropriate reading lists.
Give your child the world by Jamie C. Martin – Raising Globally minded kids one book at a time. Introduce your children to the world by reading together. Includes book lists for stories from around the world for all ages.
The mason jar
Your morning basket
The homeschool snapshots
Xavier Riddle and the secret museum
YouTube exercise channels:
Koo Koo Kanga Roo
Cosmic Kids yoga
5. Other resources
Info of the 5 types of homeschooling: https://simplycharlottemason.com/five-homeschooling-styles/
Yearly homeschool convention and much more https://fpea.com/homeschooling
Connect with other homeschool families (monthly meetings) https://www.homeschool-life.com/483/
Great local homeschool academic program K-12 (offers higher-level math and sciences) http://www.takeheed.org
That's all folks. Please reach out if you have questions or if you are a homeschooler and love a certain thing you are using.
Homeschool has been amazing for our family and it will be for yours too. Just breathe and most importantly don't forget to have FUN!!
I read once that it takes about two years to feel like you know what you are doing at a new job. This isn't any different. It will take a little time to adjust but with a little patience and grace, you will make it!
Share if you think this will be helpful.
Until next time,
Click here to read why we chose to homeschool