Is your kindergartner ready to move on to the first grade? Does your child have all the essential skills to have a smooth transition into longer days and more work? Use the list below to help determine if your child is ready for the new challenge. This is a checklist of skills your child should have learned in kindergarten. If your child has mastered the first grade readiness skill, you can check it off. If your child still needs to work on a skill, take note of it and help prepare your child for first grade. The summer break before that next grade level starts is a great time to practice these readiness skills.
First Grade Readiness Checklist
1. Does your child know the entire alphabet, along with all the accompanying sounds in capital and lowercase?
2. Does your child read two and three letter words easily?
3. Does your child count from 1 to 100 and back down from 100 to 1?
4. Does your child understand, create, and identify simple patterns?
5. Does your child write his/her first and last name?
6. Does your child write simple sentences, such as "The cat is fat"?
7. Does your child write all 26 letters in capital and lowercase? (Note: They don't have to be perfectly neat, just legible and not upside down or backwards)
8. Does your child recognize and identify all of the basic colors
9. Does your child skip count by 2's, 5's, and 10's up to at least 100? (2,4,6,8...and 5,10,15,20...)
10. Does your child write all of the numbers between 1 and 100?
11. Does your child know basic word families? (at, bat, cat, fat go together & an, ban, can, Dan, fan go together)
12. Does your child recognize and identify basic shapes?
13. Does your child recognize and identify basic coins (dollar coin, 50 cent piece, quarter, dime, and nickel) and their value?
14. Does your child know the difference between consonants and vowels?
15. Does your child understand comparisons/opposites? (greater than/less than, hot/cold, shorter/taller...)
16. Does your child know that sentences start with a capital letter?
17. Does your child know that sentences end with a period?
18. Does your child know that questions end with a question mark?
19. Does your child tell time on the hour and half hour?
20. Does your child understand and recognize rhyming words?
21. Does your child recognize and understand one-half?
22. Does your child speak in complete sentences?
23. Does your child mark vowels in a word or sentence if asked?
24. Does your child complete assignments based on oral direction? (draw a red line over the cat, circle the blue monkey...)
25. Does your child read months and days on a calendar?
26. Does your child make it until 4 pm without a nap?
If your child can complete these skills well, she should be well prepared for first grade. While this may not be an accurate list for every school district (as standards vary), it can help you determine some of the skills required for your child to start first grade smoothly.
If you notice that your child lacks some of these essential first grade skills, do not worry or stress. Take time out each day to focus on one skill at a time. Not all children learn things at the same speed. Each child is unique. While one 6 year old may be able to complete them all or be ahead of them, another 6 year old may only be able to do 10 or so.
The important thing to remember is to take it slow and not get frustrated with your almost first grader. Just because "Sally" can read a chapter book, it does not make her better than "Susan", who cannot. Try many different methods of teaching your child a first grade readiness skill. If one method doesn't work, try another.
Children whose parents focus on the positive efforts they make, rather than the skills they can't master, fare better in school. A child who is yelled at, rushed, or forced to do schoolwork is more likely to fail in school than a child who is encouraged for her strengths, rather than belittled for her weaknesses.
When making the decision to homeschool your children, there will be a variety of things you'll need to be aware of. Some of those things include laws, where to find resources and materials, how to plan a schedule and curriculum, and even record-keeping and grading. Elementary record-keeping is often simpler than during high school (and possibly also in grades 6 - 8). This is due to the necessity of transcripts and course credits in higher grade levels. As a veteran homeschool mom, I've tried many record keeping methods.
What Records and Grades Will You Track?
This might seem like a question that has a simple answer, but it may not. Does your state require attendance records? If so, you will need to record attendance daily. Even if they do not, this is something you just may want to have for your personal records. This way, if any questions or issues related to attendance or truancy come up later, you always have it for reference. Some states require records of the lessons or materials used to teach the children, as well as grades and scores received daily and on lessons. Some have no regulation or requirements on this at all.
Do I Really Need to Track Everything?
Whether your state requires it or not, you may choose to record this information for your own personal information. You never know when the information will come in handy personally or professionally. It is always better to have too many records than it is to be caught off guard and have none. While some states require no record-keeping and are not allowed to inquire about your child's studies, other states are allowed to ask and you are required to provide that information when asked. Outside of following regulations, keeping records will help you keep your child on track.
Preparing Homeschool Record-Keeping and Grade-Tracking Methods
Teacher's planners can be purchased at office supply and teacher supply stores. There are also many homeschool sites that offer printable plans. I personally prefer to use a combination of my own forms and a few quality ones I've found online. Remember that you are going to need several things, including attendance forms, grade sheets, report card sheets, a curriculum and material list, and more. Those are the basics, but your state may ask for more.
Documenting the Grades in a Homeschool
Determine how often you will take down grades and what exactly needs to be graded. You can determine this by evaluating your individual needs and comparing it to state requirements. You may have extra tracking that you would like to do outside of what is asked for. Because you are the teacher, unless your state requires a specific method, you can choose how to determine grades. You may simply follow what is done by area schools, operate on a pass/fail plan, or opt for something else. As long as your method is in compliance with area regulations, being consistent matters more than the method itself.
*Please note that laws and requirements vary by area. Please check with the area Department of Education to see what is required in your state. This guide is meant for informational purposes only.
Home School Laws
Homeschool Reporting Online
Does your child know his neighborhood well? Not just the street you live on, but knowledge of the entire neighborhood is important. If your child ever gets lost, he should know how to get home. Neighborhood knowledge is essential for kids of all ages, but is usually taught in Kindergarten. Use this free homeschool lesson to teach your child all about his neighborhood.
Teach your child his address. This and the phone number are extremely important for your child to know. Not only is it the first step in learning about the neighborhood, but it will also be helpful if your child ever gets lost. I like to use songs to teach the kids their address. Make up a catchy tune that goes along well with the sound of your home address. Sing it to your child and have him sing along too. Also have your child practice writing down the address on paper.
Take walks often. This is a simple, but useful way of teaching your child about the neighborhood. Getting around by foot and by car are two different things. Your child can become more familiar with the area, including parts that can only be seen by walking. This provides a good visual for map-making and studying. Don't forget to collect things from nature on the walk that you can use in other school projects.
Show them where the police and fire stations are located. Your child needs to learn where these important destinations are located. Even if your child is young, there may be a time when he needs the information. A child may get lost, kidnapped, or have another emergency. Knowing where these are located can help him in many situations.
Make a simple map. Draw a simple map of your neighborhood, making sure to include your house, anything surrounding it, and any landmarks, such as a fire station, library, museum, and stores. Have your child study the map. You can point out certain things as well as have him point out certain things to you. Talk about how to get to each place and have him tell you directions as well. Let the child make his own map after the above activities.
Use home, stores, and trusted neighbors as safe havens. Talk your child about strangers and where they can go if they are in danger. Young children should always be with an adult. But emergencies can happen and they need to know what to do. Talk to your child about specific scenarios and locations and give them a breakdown about which places are safe to go in each situation. For instance, while the home is generally a safe haven, if there's an emergency and you are injured or cannot help, there should be a trusted nearby neighbor, store, or police station the child can go to.
As a veteran homeschool mom, I have been asked pretty much every question in the book about educating kids at home. One thing that comes up often is the subject of work. Can working parents or single parents successfully educate their kids from home?
Is Homeschool Even an Option for Working and Single Parents?
The first reaction for many might be "No way!" However, that answer can be quite inaccurate. It's definitely possible to operate a home school even when parents or guardians have full time jobs. It's even possible for single parents, who may have to hold down two jobs. There are many options that could allow for this. Some working parents may hire a homeschool tutor or work from home. Others might assign their kids schoolwork and just have another adult supervise to make sure they get it done. Another method is to work school around the work schedule. That's one of the benefits of homeschooling. You can do it at any time of the day necessary and in any method that works for all involved.
Is it Better for Homeschool Parents to Stay Home With the Kids or Work?
This question is very broad because the answer will depend on who you ask. There is no right or wrong way that covers everyone, so there is no better or worse option. Just like any other method that you consider, think about what's best for the students and the situation combined. Parents who stay home are not better than those who don't and vice versa. The most important factor is that the kids are learning. If education is going on and it's working, then you've made the right choice.
Should Working Parents Educate Their Kids at Home?
The bottom line is that while it’s possible and works for some, whether a family should choose this option actually depends on the family and many other factors. Just like choosing other educational options, the success rate on this happening does not depend on the method, but on whether the method is a good fit for each student and each family.
How Can I Tell if This is a Good Choice for Me?
Can your children work well independently? If so, are they of age to do so on their own? If they require adult supervision due to age or maturity levels, is there a trusted adult available during your work schedule? If the above does not work, is there enough time for the children to study after you get off work? These and other factors will help you determine if this is the right homeschool method for your family or not.
More Homeschool Myths
Choosing the right type of school for your children is very difficult. This decision will ultimately determine your child's success in the future. So, how do you choose? Each family and child is unique and has differences that play a role in this decision. In our family's case, homeschool was the best option when weighing all the factors. However, you may decide something entirely different. Here are some tips to help you choose between public school, private school, homeschool, or other options.
Public school is the most popular school choice and has been around for many years. One strength about public school is that most materials are provided free of charge. Another strength could be that most of your child's neighborhood friends will probably be there. If your child adapts well to a crowded environment and is not easily distracted, public school could be the right choice. However, not all public schools are crowded, so it may or may not be an issue. Check with your neighborhood school about student to teacher ratios before assessing that particular issue.
Look into the teaching methods to see if they are well-rounded. If your child has a hard time processing oral information, you'll need to be sure the school you choose teaches in other methods, besides the teacher standing in front of the class speaking. If higher learning is your concern, you may want to check national public school averages. While all schools will vary, this is something to consider.
Private School or Religious school
This choice is usually made by parents searching for better student to teacher ratios and higher learning standards. In many cases, private schooled students do have a better advantage. Although, you must be careful with this choice. Just because a school is private or tuition-based, it does not necessarily mean that the test scores are higher than those of a public school.
You should interview teachers and staff at public and private schools and determine, if based on your child's needs, they are best. Review private schools you are considering and compare them to each other in all areas. Keep in mind that if you want to make sure your child receives knowledge based on religious preferences, this will not happen in public school. They may be allowed to say a prayer, if they wish. However, religious-based instruction is generally found at a school specific for that.
Homeschooling or Private Tutors
Homeschooling is growing immensely. Much of it has to with growing parental dissatisfaction with public schools or the need for alternative methods on an individual basis. Some parents who choose to homeschool are tired of their children's individual needs not being met. This not to say that public schools are inadequate, just that the setup does not always allow for this extra attention.
While the teachers in public school are mostly wonderful, with classes so large, it is virtually impossible to pay individual attention to every child every day. Even the really good teachers can still face problems with this. There are just too many students for this to happen. If your child seems to fall behind due to lack of attention or if your child is way ahead of others his/her age, homeschooling may be the right choice for you.
Homeschooling can be done many different ways. One way is to teach all the core subjects at home and to send your child to public school for electives. Another way may be to hire a tutor for all subjects. There are many different ways to homeschool. There are even "virtual schools" online for homeschoolers. Choose from varied curricula or choose to form your own, based on your child's needs and abilities. Our family uses a combination of various resources. If you are looking for a flexible method, homeschooling is probably a good choice for you.
Making the Decision
Whatever method you choose, be sure it is right for you and your child. Your child only has one chance at school. Sure, a GED can be earned later in life, but wouldn't you rather your child receive a high school diploma? Also, keep in mind that when your child submits college applications, the grades throughout his/her life will be looked at, so be sure that whatever choice you make, it will be an environment in which your child can thrive and succeed well.
It is possible in the early years to try more than one method to see which works right. Just be sure your child makes any transitions gradually. Try using each method one school year at a time, so as to provide your child with security and stability.
*This article was written by a homeschool mother based on her personal experiences and is meant for informational purposes only. Be sure to do your own research as well.
Why does anyone homeschool anyway? There are millions of reasons people choose to homeschool. Most do so for some educational aspect and some do so for religious purposes. Though the reasons generally run deeper than that. I can't tell you why everyone else homeschools, but I can tell you about our decision to homeschool and why we thought it was the best choice for our family.
There Are Usually Multiple Reasons
When we made the choice to homeschool, there were several reasons. Let's start from the beginning, before homeschooling. Two of my daughters, then in kindergarten and second grade, were attending public school. Everything was fantastic. We had a great school and the kids were doing very well. In fact, they were ahead of their peers in most areas. But, then things changed and we ended up moving to a new neighborhood. That meant a new school for the kids.
Things Going Downhill at Traditional School
At first, things seemed fine, but then my exceptionally bright girls started going downhill in school. I didn't understand because they knew the facts. In fact, they were ahead. Then, after my visit to the school, I understood. This school was far behind according to state standards and rather than catching the children up to the correct levels, they were just working with them at the low levels.
The school's strategy was not helpful for my kids. This may have worked for the majority in that area. They were used to this and may have needed this. My children did not fit into this equation. They had come from a school that was above state standards. The things that were being taught at this school were things my children had learned already 1 or 2 years prior. They were getting bored. After fruitlessly asking the school to at least place them in a class that was comparable to their level, I grew weary.
At first, I decided to just work on new things with them every day after school and on the weekends. We began using textbooks for their correct levels that I had to purchase myself. We frequented libraries, museums, and other places that taught them interesting things. By the end of the school year, most of what they learned having come from me, I was fed up.
Making Difficult School-Related Decisions
I decided to do homeschool, but something else happened first. The good school the kids went to before said they could return in the fall for the new school year. I was so happy and the kids were excited. Things went well for a while. In fact, they were great. The youngest was in first grade, but had to attend second grade for literacy and math because she was so far ahead. It was still easy for her, but what else could they do? She didn't get into the gifted classes (missed by one point), so they did what they could and they did an awesome job, considering.
With kids who didn't align with the averages, area schools did not seem to have an answer. The oldest was way ahead in reading, but had gotten a touch behind in math. The teachers tried their hardest to do what they could, but it just wasn't feasible what with so many other students to worry about. So, pondering over the issues at hand, I again considered homeschooling. This time we went with it. I informed the district, bought tons of materials, and awaited the day. I chose to let the kids complete the first semester and stay long enough to do the upcoming music concert. So, we started homeschool a couple weeks into the second semester.
A Need For Better Social Skills
Another contributing factor was social skills. In so many public schools, including the ones our children attended, children are not allowed to work together or communicate during assignments. In fact, they are punished for talking to one another. I find this appalling. When they get out into the working world, most companies need their employees to work together. If they don't learn this concept in school, where will they learn it?
Perhaps this is one of the reasons many employees don't get along. They were never taught this in school, so when they get to the workplace, they just have to learn by trial and error. I would prefer my child already had these skills, so it would be easier to adapt. When we do our lessons, all of the children work together. Sometimes I give the instructions. Sometimes it is an instructor at a museum, art class, study program, or special class instructor.
Whatever format we use, I make sure that children are encouraged to work together and to think about why and how to solve a problem, not just told to do it and do it quietly. To further enhance social skills, we are in public often. I am in no way insulting those who choose to use public school. It works for some people. It's just not right for us. As with any form of schooling, there are good schools and bad schools, good teachers and bad teachers, and ups and downs.
Freedom to Learn More and Use a Variety of Methods
Another factor that weighed in on us homeschooling was the freedom my children would have in learning new things. My children love to learn, so they needed an environment where they would not be held back when they wanted to press forward. It seems as though the more knowledge they get, the more they want, so I wanted them to be able to get all the information they wanted. I believe children should be allowed to move ahead, rather than have to wait for the rest of the class to catch up. Sometimes my kids learn at the same pace as each other. Sometimes they don't. I assess each one individually and come up with a plan that works with that child.
I use a combination of state standards (which we're usually ahead of) and my child's interests and levels to come up with the appropriate lesson plans. I believe that all schools should use this plan. Teaching a child works much more effectively when they are encouraged to thrive, rather than restricted to a plan that caters to an "average" person based on statistics. No one should be looked at as average. We are all special in our own ways. When you place people in categories, it only feeds into stereotypical setbacks. If a child is ready to advance, that child should never be discouraged from doing so.
School should be a place where a child gets the maximum education that he/she needs with no limits to what can be accomplished. The setting will be different for everyone, but the most important thing is that the child gets a good education.
When you make the decision to homeschool your child, your first decision following that will be the decision of what curriculum to use. There are many on the market and choosing which is right for your child can be daunting. The first part of that process will be deciding whether you'll go with a customized curriculum or a pre-packaged one. First, you'll need to know what each curriculum type is. A definition has been provided for each, followed by suggestions that will help you determine what your child's needs might be.
Custom Curriculum Defined
A custom curriculum is one that is designed to specifically to meet the needs of the individual who will be learning. This can mean anything from being hand-picked by a professional to being researched and written by the one who is schooling the child. Basically, if the curriculum is tailored around the student's needs, versus coming in a generalized plan for a specific grade level, it is a custom curriculum.
Pre-Packaged Curriculum Defined
A pre-packaged curriculum is one that is designed to meet the needs of a specific grade level and subject. These can come as one whole grade level package containing all materials needed or can be sold as individual subjects. They will most often be catered to a specific age, grade level, or subject. These generally cannot be modified, hence the label "pre-packaged". This could be anything from an online plan to one with textbooks and materials.
Which Is Best?
There is no one answer to that question. Every child is different. While one child might thrive on a pre-packaged curriculum, yet another may do better with a custom plan.
Here are some things you can do to figure out what works best.
Advantages and Disadvantages to Pre-Packaged Curriculum
One advantage to a pre-packaged curriculum is that the child will always be performing at the required standards, providing the work is completed well and on schedule. A disadvantage to this could be the fact that if a child needs extra help, there really isn't extra work included in a pre-planned or pre-packaged curriculum, so you may have to purchase extra workbooks or materials. Some families get frustrated with this aspect, as pre-packaged curricula often carry a hefty price as it is. If you don't mind supplementing with other materials as needed, a pre-packaged curriculum could work for your family.
Another disadvantage to a pre-packaged curriculum is that if the child excels quickly, the parent may end up buying three or four grade levels worth of curriculum per year, which can get pretty expensive. If your child excels quickly already, you may need to consider this. Homeschooled children are often known to complete more than one grade level of work in a school year or to perform one or more grade level higher than their age requirement.
Advantages and Disadvantages to Custom Curriculum
An advantage to a customized curriculum is the fact that the child can get extra practice where needed and more challenge in another area both at the same time. For instance, if a child in 3rd grade is at a grade 10 reading level, but is still at a grade 3 math level, that child can have both levels be appropriate to their situation. A pre-packaged curriculum may only contain materials for one grade level. However, that isn't always the case, as some curricula contain materials for all grade levels. Also keep in mind that a pre-packaged curriculum plan can be used as part of an overall customized plan.
Making the Final Choice Between Pre-Packaged and Custom Curriculum Plans
There are many ways to choose or form a curriculum for your child. The main thing to keep in mind is that whatever plan is chosen, the child's skills and learning abilities should be considered when making that choice. Carefully think about which option may better suit your child and go with that plan. If the plan you have chosen is not working, it can always be changed. So, don't stress yourself out too much over making the decision. That is one of the many benefits to homeschooling. Your child does not have to stick to a plan that isn't working for him or her.
As a mother and homeschool teacher, I have come up with various ways to keep kids from getting behind in math. Math is one of those subjects that kids often struggle through. But there are some simple ways to keep them interested, on track, and even ahead. Here are some of my tips on how to give kids a head start in math.
Give Kids a Head Start in Math by Knowing Grade Requirements
Staying educated on the grade level requirements is essential for parents to give kids a head start in math. Knowing requirements will help determine whether a child is ahead, behind, or on track and lets parents know what needs to be taught next. The Department of Education for each state in the US has this information readily available to parents and teachers. Many list it on their websites.
Give Kids a Head Start in Math by Practicing and Reviewing Daily
Daily review of previously learned facts can help keep math operations fresh in the child's mind. With math, each operation is a stepping stone to the next so it's important that knowledge is retained. Practice is key to making sure a lesson is fully understood. Therefore, daily practice is essential. By reviewing old material and practicing new material, it can be easier for kids to move on to future lessons.
Give Kids a Head Start in Math by Introducing Future Facts Daily
Just like practicing and reviewing is necessary, so are previews of what's to come. Each day, parents can challenge children by giving them math problems they haven't yet learned to see what they do with them. These do not need to be graded and it's fine if the child gets them wrong. This is simply a way to stimulate the brain and test a child's thinking skills. It also prepares them for what's next.
Give Kids a Head Start in Math by Making it Fun
Making math more fun can help keep a child interested. Stories, group lessons, and fun math games are just a few things that may get and keep kids willing to learn and advance in math. When a child is eager to learn, advancing faster can be a cinch.
Give Kids a Head Start in Math by Using Varied Teaching Methods
Doing lessons the exact same way each time can be dull and repetitive. This can make math boring for kids. Try switching up teaching methods to keep children interested. Math needs to be practiced in order to learn it, but who says each lesson needs to be taught the same way? As mentioned above, an interested and attentive child can advance more quickly.
Looking for free educational activities for homeschoolers in Houston? As a mom to many, who lived and homeschooled in Houston for a while, I discovered lots of great places to go. Here are 5 of the most interesting free educational activities for Houston kids.
The Sam Houston Boat Tour is great free activity for kids in Houston.Operated by the Port of Houston Authority, the free educational tour lasts 90 minutes. While on the tour, homeschoolers can observe international cargo vessels that may pass by, as well as the operations at the port terminal. While free, reservations for this Houston activity must be made in advance.
The Health Museum in Houston contains a variety of educational exhibits for children to explore.This interactive science exploration is for all ages. It focuses on the human body, mind, and spirit, encouraging kids to focus on health. On Thursdays, the general admission is free for families from 2pm - 7pm.
At Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, kids can enjoy the education and beauty of nature. Native and cultivated plants thrive in this 300 acre horticultural museum of life. In addition to learning about the plants by observation, Houston homeschoolers also can enjoy the educational benefits of observing the animals that live in this park.
Utilize the Kids Workshops at Home Depot to their full advantage. Once per month, the Home Depot locations in Houston offer free workshops for kids, in which they get to learn and build projects that they can use. These educational workshops are not only free of charge, but are a great supplement to homeschool wood shop. They also work as an extracurricular educational activity for Houston kids in both homeschool and traditional school.
Free Crafts for Kids are offered every Saturday from 11am - 3pm at Houston Lakeshore Learning Store locations. Yes, crafts are so much fun for kids. But, did you know that they also have educational value? Craft activities can help homeschoolers with focus, creativity, and fine motor skills. These skills all are required to complete other educational activities. Houston kids will enjoy creating fun and educational crafts that they can use to decorate their rooms, give as gifts, wear, and more. A different craft is featured every week.
A common homeschool myth is the one that assumes children who attend a homeschool will not be prepared for college. Some will make the assumption that a student who is educated outside of a traditional school setting will be unprepared for the academic challenges of a college. In this, and other articles on the myths of homeschool, I explore and help shed some light on some of the common myths surrounding homeschool. My findings come from personal experience and are often combined with research studies or other evidence.
What You’ll Learn:
What Do College Recruiters Think?
Many college recruiters disagree with the myth that homeschoolers are unprepared for college. In fact, some even prefer homeschooled students. Why? Many students who homeschool have advanced studying skills, such as the knowledge of various resources, as well as the ability to work well independently. Homeschoolers can also possess exceptional teamwork and social skills, which are very essential to many college courses.
Homeschooling Opens Up More Opportunities to Learn
In addition to the above qualities, many homeschooled children begin taking college level courses before they are finished with their K-12 education, due to the flexibility of their schedules and the opportunity to advance at one's own pace. According to the HSLDA, they often perform one or more grade levels above their age requirements and can often begin taking those college courses long before their peers.
Even if a homeschooled child is not above his grade level, that student can simply adjust their class schedule to fit in accredited college courses. Homeschooling actually allows students the unique opportunity of beginning (and completing) college early.
Just ask 10 year old Courtney Oliver, who, according to KOMONews, became a vet tech assistant in just 9 months while also homeschooling. Says Courtney, "Might as well get it done early as get it done late." There are other homeschooled students receiving degrees and/or taking college courses early. All one has to do is a simple web search to find them.
What is Required of Homeschool Students?
Many people don't realize that students who homeschool are still required to take college preparation tests, such as the SAT and ACT, which they’ve been known to exceed expectations in. They also are required to have transcripts and earn diplomas, just like any other student. Homeschooled teens receive high school diplomas upon completion, contrary to what some believe.
Are Homeschooled Students Qualified to Attend College?
Because of the wide opportunity to get ahead in studies, homeschooled students may actually be more qualified to attend college than some of their peers who attend traditional public or private schools. A 2006 study published by the HSLDA also shows that homeschooled students are excelling in college socially, emotionally, and academically.
The high school dropout rate for students in a homeschool setting is far less than that of a child who attends public or private school. Students who homeschool also score well above both public and private-schooled students on state-mandated tests.
Are Homeschooled Students Unprepared For College?
When comparing all of the examples and evidence above, as well as personal experience with my own and other homeschooled children, it is difficult to assume that homeschooled students are ill-prepared for college. While a small percentage of homeschoolers may be lax in their studies, most homeschooled students seem to be more prepared than other students to not only attend college, but to succeed when they get there, as well as in many academic or career pursuits.
Some may assume that because parents homeschool, their children will not be social. However, this is generally far from the case. Being social is generally a part of a homeschooled child's daily routine by default. However, there are many ways to increase and enhance these skills on a regular basis. I'm a veteran homeschool mom who has been dedicated to enhancing social skills in my kids for years. Many of these methods will come easy because they are simply an extension of your child's daily learning and activities.
Take elective courses, such as art and music at a separate location from your home. You can even do this in a group of homeschooled kids or a co-op. This way the core subjects will still be taught by you and your children will get a little extra knowledge in something they love. Some community centers and private organizations offer these classes for free or at a low-cost.
Offer arts & crafts time at your house. If you cannot find a resource, consider becoming one. Chances are, other families have been looking for something similar. Try scheduling craft activities a few times per week for children the same ages as yours. If you don't know many people in the neighborhood, try posting about the events at the local library, schools, or anywhere else you are allowed.
Attend story time and other activities at your local library. Depending on the ages of your children and what's on the schedule, your local library could have a great deal to offer. Some libraries offer special classes on a variety of subjects. At the very least, there will be storytimes to take advantage of.
Take field trips often. Visiting parks, museums, zoos, and other educational venues can also help enhance social skills. Because these trips will naturally be a part of the homeschool curriculum, this one is simple to implement. Don’t just visit the places. Talk to the tour guides and other visitors. Take the extra informational courses, workshops, and special classes. This gets the kids interacting with people of all ages, which is vital to social development. When visiting the park, go during times many other children will also be there. Let the kids make friends and schedule play dates.
Be sure that your child also has many opportunities to play with friends, attend birthday parties, attend family gatherings, and other social activities. The next time you go to the grocery store, let your child do the shopping and have the child ask the store associates for help when an item cannot be found. Also ask the child to pay. Maybe your child is a baker. Have a bake sale and sell baked goods and lemonade. Plan a neighborhood block party once per month. You and the kids can volunteer to help out at a local church, soup kitchen, or other social organizations. This can help with not only enhancing social skills, but in teaching humility and caring.
Homeschooling offers so many more ways to be social than other schooling methods because of its flexibility. Just be creative and go with the flow. In the end, your child will grow immensely. When I first started homeschooling my children, I was worried about social skills. But I soon realized that my kids had more opportunities to enhance social skills than they ever did before.
Laws and Regulations on Non-Parental Homeschooling
Does your child seem to need an alternative schooling method, but you aren’t sure who will teach them? Perhaps homeschool appears the best option for your family. You may want to try homeschooling your kids, but know you or another parent cannot teach them, due to work schedules. Is homeschooling still an option? Can someone other than a parent legally homeschool a child? There are laws and regulations on non-parental homeschooling that you’ll need to know.
Can Someone Other Than a Parent Legally Homeschool a Child?
When making the decisions involved in the homeschool choice, some will wonder about all available teaching options. One possible question is whether another adult, besides the parents, can legally homeschool a child. Perhaps a parent would like their child to receive the one-on-one learning experience that homeschool can provide. Maybe the child would benefit from a customized learning plan.
Perhaps the parents have made the decision that homeschool is the answer, but feel they cannot do it themselves, due to work or other circumstances.Maybe the parents are simply looking for a tutor or teacher that can give their child full attention that isn’t possible in a classroom setting.
What Are the Exact Laws on Homeschooling a Child That’s Not Your Own?
The answer to the legalities behind this does not come with a simple yes or no on whether it can be done. The answers are varied, depending on state laws and regulations. Each state has its own set of requirements and regulations surrounding homeschool. In order to be sure you are following those laws and regulations, check with your state’s education department.
Is Certification Required to Homeschool a Child That’s Not Yours?
In some states, it is only legal for a certified teacher to homeschool a child. In these cases, a certified parent or tutor could possibly be the home educator. Still, in yet other states, certification is not required for the parent, but restrictions may apply as to who can be the homeschool teacher. In such states, a parent may not need certification, but another person who would teach the child would need certification because that person is not the legal guardian of that child. In such cases, that would not actually be homeschooling by the definition of the law, but would be considered to be private school education.
In some states, such as Florida and Texas (under the author's understanding of the current law at the time of the initial writing of this piece), anyone can be the homeschool teacher with or without certification. In these states, as well as some others, homeschool is considered to be a private school.
*For the most up to date information concerning homeschool laws and how they pertain to your individual concerns, visit the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, or HSLDA, as well as study the entire educational law for your state of residence. The educational law can be obtained from the board of education in each state.
**At the time this text was composed by the author, it is the author's understanding, based on research of educational laws, that everything herein is true and accurate. Laws can change and also can be interpreted differently by individuals. Thus, the information herein is not legal advice and is intended only for informational purposes. Multiple resources should be used when researching legal matters.
At times it can be difficult and downright stressful to try and run a work at home business out of your home while homeschooling. Trust me, I’ve been there. You may have business phone calls coming in while you're trying to teach a lesson. If you don't answer the phone, you may lose money, but if you do, you may be interrupting an important homeschool lesson plan or worksheet explanation. To solve the problem of juggling your work at home job while homeschooling, you need some tips and a plan from somewhere who’s been there.
Scheduling a Regular Work Time and School Time
You usually need at least 4 hours of homeschooling each day to fully benefit the child as well as to fulfill the requirement for most states (check your state’s requirements). Schedule that time around your work at home schedule. Let's say you need 8 hours of work time and 4 hours of homeschool time. Your work hours might be from 5 am to 1pm, allowing for breakfast time. Lunch can be made at 1pm if you give a healthy snack in between. At 2pm, you can then start homeschool and finish at 6pm. This is just one example. Schedule times according to your family’s needs.
Being More Flexible With Times
If your family needs even more flexibility, you can do things like prepare lunch or dinner while teaching the kids. You can also use the method where the child basically instructs him or herself while you work, using your pre-written lesson instructions for each subject. If the child has questions, you are still there, but the questions don't usually take very long to answer. Since most homeschooled kids learn faster, this method may even be possible at a younger age. Use your better judgement.
To do it this way, you will need to have plenty of things handy to keep the kids busy in case they finish their homeschool lessons during your work time. If you are the only parent available, be sure to give your kids love and attention during your work hours and know where they are and what they are doing at all times. If both parents are working at home during homeschool hours, this can be much easier. One can teach the kids and one can run the business. You can even take turns.
What About Field Trips & Home Economics?
Remember that field trips do not always have to occur during the homeschool week when it isn't possible. A field trip can be done during the weekend, when there is more time. By doing this, the field trip can also count for school hours, which means that the children could take some time off during the week, equivalent to the learning time spent on the field trip. This may also add more availability for your work at home job.
If this time is taken off, the children can chip in with housework and the business, leaving more time for you to get your work done. Chores are an important part of learning, as your children will need these skills when out on their own. You can consider this part of home economics class.
Who Will Answer Business Phone Calls During Homeschool Hours?
One way to solve the phone call problem is to use a virtual office service during your homeschooling hours. This will help ensure you don't miss calls, but your kids will still get their education. As mentioned above, the children may also be able to answer some business calls for you. If another parent is available, one can answer the phone calls and another can teach the kids and/or do other things related to the work at home business. There are many ways to solve this. You just have to be creative and use whatever works best for your family.
Pulling it All Together to Juggle Your Work at Home Job While Homeschooling
You can use the ideas here or come up with your own unique way. The important thing is to brainstorm and make sure your ideas work for all involved. Thinking ahead regarding homeschool lessons and work at home duties will relieve stress greatly. You can take a weekend to plan everything as far in advance as possible. Put homeschool assignments and business plans in order in clearly labeled folders for ease of use. Calendars, planners, and other organization tools may also be helpful. Working at home while also homeschooling is not as hard as it may first appear, if you keep an open and willing mind. You just have to figure out what all the needs are and find a way that you can meet them all.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Free Educational Content for PreK-12 on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Martin Luther King Jr is a special day to celebrate equality among all people. Teaching children about Dr. King is vital to their education. Here you will find a collection of a wide variety of stories, songs, activities, worksheets, and more to celebrate MLK Day. While Martin Luther's King's actual birthday is January 15 (1929), it is observed on the 3rd Monday in January every year. It is a federal holiday.
Free Martin Luther King Jr Acrostic Poem Worksheet
Acrostic poems are those where you use each letter in the name of a person or object to build the poem. Teach-nology.com has a wonderful MLK acrostic poem worksheet and also a variety of other printables. Some are free and some require registration.
Free MLK Worksheets
Ed-helper.com has a large variety of MLK activity worksheets, lessons, timelines, stories, and more. There are MLK materials for a variety of subjects and grade levels. Ed-Helper.com also has a variety of lessons and worksheets on other subjects.
Free Civil Rights Songs
NPR has a wonderful interactive history post on the Songs of the Civil Rights Movement. One can click on each song underneath the historical info. There is also much more history to be found on this interesting website.
Free MLK Lesson Plans
Here is a collection of free Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lesson Plans from around the web.
"I Have a Dream" Collective Banner (K-2)
MLK Jr Theme (Pre-K)
MLK Jr Timelines (3rd-5th, 6th-8th)
MLK Jr Theme (varied ages)
MLK Jr and Me (K-2)
Martin Luther King, Jr. Lesson Plans and Activities
Free MLK Stories, Games, Crafts, & Activities
There are many fun games, activities, stories, and crafts around the web to learn about and celebrate Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. Here is a collection of those which I consider some of the best.
Civil Rights Movement Game
Preschool Coloring Book Pages
More MLK Color Pages
Printable MLK Book
MLK Activities and More
MLK Online Books
Know of another MLK resource? Just have something to say? This author welcomes feedback and discussion in the comments section below.
February is Black History Month. During Black History Month, kids all over will learn about important contributions to American and World History by African Americans. Parents and teachers (homeschool and traditional) alike can help their kids and students learn about Black History with free printables, such as coloring pages, stories, worksheets, and activities.
Free printables can be a great teaching resource for Black History Month and all year long. They can be combined for an entire unit, used as stand-alones, or even used as fun time slot fillers, extra credit, or supplemental unit lessons. Free printables are great for parents, teachers, and homeschoolers because they often offer quality lessons with no additional costs.
This resource is packed full of free black history month printables, lesson plans, and more. Teachers, homeschoolers, and parents can utilize these free printable black history month coloring pages, activities, and lessons for varied grade levels. This guide contains much more than just printables.
Free Printable Martin Luther King, Jr. Coloring Pages
Martin Luther King is an extremely important leader in black history. As such, children should learn about his contributions. Enjoy these free printable coloring pages around the web featuring the prominent civil rights leader, MLK.
Free Black History Month Printables at Teacher Vision
Teacher Vision has a great selection of free black history month printables for all ages. Visit this resource for lessons and printables featuring Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, famous Black American scientists, African folktales, music lessons, printable coloring books, and much more.
Free Black History Month Printable Lessons at Lesson Plans Page
Lessons Plans Page is a user-created resource, featuring a wide variety of printable lesson plans on black history and other subjects. Use this resource for printable lessons on Harriet Tubman, MLK, equality, slavery, and more.
Free Black History Month Printables at Family Education
FamilyEducation.com has an interesting selection of free printables and resources for Black History Month. These are for varied age levels. Visit this resource to find printables, quizzes, lesson plans, coloring pages, activities, and more for Black History Month.
Free Black History Month Printables at The Teacher’s Corner
Here, you’ll find many free printables for Black History Month. Find free Black History Month printables on famous Black Americans including journal pages, word scrambles, crossword puzzles, word searches, matchups, and more.
Free Black History Month Printables at ABC Teach
ABCTeach.com features an assortment of printables on Black History Month. Find printables on Louis Armstrong, Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, George Washington Carver, Abraham Lincoln, and more. Printables include worksheets, stories, facts, organizers, report planners, research planners, famous speeches, word searches, word walls, writing paper, writing prompts, posters, and more.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Running a homeschool woodworking class is not as difficult as it may seem at first glance - even if neither parent knows anything about working with wood or what to buy. It does make it easier to teach the class if at least one parent has experience working with wood, but concepts can be learned together during the process. Sometimes that is even part of the fun. Hands-on practice often produces the best of lessons, as does trial and error. There will be plenty of both in woodworking.
Part of homeschooling is the opportunity for one-on-one teacher/child interaction, as well as learning together as parents and child. Another benefit to homeschooling is the unique opportunity to incorporate any class that the child is interested in. There is virtually no limit on choices, as there is no worry about whether it is offered at your child's school. You are your child's school, in more ways than one.
If you need wood shop lesson ideas, visit your local home improvement store, where free do-it-yourself guides can often be found. Another way to find ideas is by visiting wood shop and woodworking websites. There are plenty of them all over the web. Just doing a simple search for "wood shop projects" will yield a great variety. To get you started, here is a list of basic materials, as well as instructions for 10 simple, fun, and useful wood shop projects.
Basic Homeschooling Woodshop Materials
Not every project will require the same materials and you may sometimes find yourself purchasing additional materials for certain projects. However, the below tools and materials are commonly used in wood shop or woodworking classes:
C-clamp, workbench, wood saw, staple gun, hammer, screwdriver, 14v power drill with bits, screws (assorted sizes), nails (assorted sizes), wood glue, sander, sandpaper, wood-burning kit, Dremel kit, wood (various types - as needed per project), scrap wood (keep after projects for practicing with), scissors, hobby knife, table saw, measuring tape, contractor's pencil
Basic Homeschooling Woodshop Safety
Safety in a wood shop first starts with knowing your tools and materials and how to use them properly. Also be sure to wear safety glasses and a dust mask during every project, even small steps. You never know what is going to happen. Watch fingers around electrical devices and cutting devices. Adults should operate any heavy machinery or power equipment. Also check age guidelines.
Adhere strictly to manufacturer's safety guidelines on any electrical or battery-operated tools and devices. Ear muffs are also a good idea. They will keep out saw dust, as well as cancel out some of the noise from the machinery.
A safety class should be held before giving any other classes. It is also important to test on this, as well as follow up on it periodically and hold a safety session before each project on safety related to that specific project and the tools required for building it. Always be sure all equipment is turned off, unplugged, and out of reach of children. Keep cords rolled up and out of the way.
Keep chemicals, like turpentine out of reach of children. Many materials and tools used in wood shop can be dangerous, so be sure they are not easily accessible to a child. Be sure all sawdust is swept up and anything else used is cleaned up right away. This is not intended to be a complete safety guide. Always follow safety guidelines of each tool or material you are using and use your best judgment.
Free Homeschooling Woodshop Projects: Bulletin Board
A bulletin board is a very simple woodworking project that beginners can try their hand at. With the help of a free lesson plan from UniqueProjects.com, homeschooling parents can teach their kids how to make a bulletin board. A bulletin board is a great wood shop project, as the completed product can be used for class. To make the simple version, materials required will be fabric, plywood, paint, thumb tacks, ribbon, brads, hobby knife, wood saw, staple gun, measuring tape, and scissors. For measurements and complete instructions, view the free guide.
Free Homeschooling Woodshop Projects: Jewelry Trinket Box
A jewelry trinket box makes a great Mother's Day or Christmas gift for that special woman. With the help of a free lesson plan from U-Bild.com, a homeschooling parent can help their child create this wood shop project. Materials include maple, maple molding, butt hinges, small box lock, wood glue, and finish. Measurements are given in the free downloadable lesson guide.
Free Homeschooling Woodshop Projects: Tissue Box Cover
Tired of that cardboard look on your tissue boxes? Try making a wooden tissue box cover.Happy Woodworkers has a free project plan that homeschooling dads and moms can use for wood shop class. To make this wooden tissue box cover, you will need a jigsaw, a hammer, sandpaper, clamps, 3d nails, wood filler, wood glue, stain, varnish, and plywood. Measurements and specifications are in the free lesson.
Free Homeschooling Woodshop Projects: Step Stool
Have a little one who's potty training? Maybe someone's just a tad too short to reach the kitchen sink or cabinets. CanadianHomeWorkshop.com has free instructions for building a simple step stool that a 2 year old actually helped construct. Materials for this project are a sander, a handsaw, a coping saw, screws, a drill, linseed oil, turpentine, tung oil, and pine. Measurements and specifications can be found in the instructions.
Free Homeschooling Woodshop Projects: Toy Box
Toys starting to overfill their current location? How about making them a new toybox? Courtesy of azwoodman.com, homeschooling parents can get a free project plan for a wooden toy box. Tools and materials required are a handsaw or circular saw, combination square, screwdriver, drill, finish sander, bit set, jigsaw, 3 pieces of lumber, plywood, strap hinges with screws, corner braces with screws, sandpaper, wood glue, finish, four plate casters, thick and soft rope, and furniture gliders. See the free project guide for measurements and specifications.
Free Homeschooling Woodshop Projects: Bread Box
Tired of accidentally smashing your bread inside the pantry? A bread box can fix that problem. Am-wood.com has an easy and free step-by-step project plan for a simple bread box. Tools and materials required are a drill, sander, router, jigsaw, pine lumber, plywood, dowel, and a knob handle. Measurements and specifications can be found in the instructions.
Free Homeschooling Woodshop Projects: Key Holder
If mom's lost her keys around the house one too many times, you may consider making her a key holder. At LeesWoodProjects.com, homeschooling moms and dads can find a simple keyholder project to use for wood shop class with their kids. If something more complex is desired, Lee's Wood Projects also has another design that doubles as a mail and key holder. For the simple key holder, materials required are a small piece of walnut wood, metal key hooks, poster board, scissors, hobby knife, drill, sand paper, and file. See the free project plan for measurements and specifications.
Free Homeschooling Woodshop Projects: Bookshelf
Books starting to stack up everywhere but a shelf? This is a handy project that can help clear some clutter around the house when it's finished. Homeschooling parents can download a free wood shop project plan for a simple, traditional bookshelf in PDF form from MinWax.com. Clicking on the link will open the PDF file. Materials and tools required for this project include a small crosscut saw, pine lumber, plywood, screws, brads, shelf pins, finish, a block plane, pipe or bar clamps, combination square, carpenter's square, screwdriver, nails, pencil, wood glue, hobby knife, sander, saber saw, router, table saw, and a drill or power screwdriver. Measurements and specifications can be found in the free PDF.
Free Homeschooling Woodshop Projects: Paper Towel Holder
Paper towel racks are useful in many households. Unfortunately, it is a hard to find one that isn't plastic these days. So, why not make one? It's simple and fun. FreeTowelHolderPlans.com has a great free wood project homeschooling dads and moms can enjoy using with their kids. It can be viewed on the website or downloaded in PDF form. The choice is yours. Materials required are lumber, dowel rod or towel bar, screws, finishing nails, leaf hinges with screws, router, sander, double-stick tape, bandsaw, lathe, and drill. See the free guide for measurements and specifications.
Free Homeschooling Woodshop Projects: Magazine Rack
Tired of magazines being scattered across floors, furniture, and countertops? A magazine rack is a great , helpful project. Instructables.com has a fancy, but simple free project plan for a magazine rack. Homeschooling dads can appreciate presenting this one to the kids because it is not your ordinary magazine rack. Materials required are plywood, white paper, square, meter, pencil, modeling saw, hammer, nails, wood glue, elastic bands, heavy objects to use as press, and 4 pivoting wheels. Measurements and specifications can be found in the free lesson.
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