Search Results for: academics

Kindergarten Skills for Academics

Kindergarten Skills for Academics with the Brain CoachUnderlying developmental building blocks are necessary for a kindergarten child to be ready for more formal academics.  From Little Giant Steps’ perspective, kindergarten is the culmination of effective development in six areas.   When there are gaps in one or more areas of development, children can suffer from a myriad of learning challenges and even learning labels like ADD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, CAPD and many others.  Most people try to fix these inefficiencies with curriculum when in fact, curriculum is designed to advance an individual that already has efficient brain development.

The six areas of development (tactility, auditory, visual, manual, language, and mobility) that are the foundation to function are expanded this week.  The precise activities, described this week, can produce better function.

Not only is proper development necessary but the chemistry of our body has to be considered as well.  You can receive a free metabolic consultation after submitting your request.  See details for this and other savings in the handout. Read More!

Education Methods: Unschooling and Delayed Academics

unschooling-and-delayed-bodyEducation Methods: Unschooling and Delayed Academics

Podcast #11

In this episode,  Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA) Chairwoman, Suzanne Nunn discusses Unschooling and Delayed Academics approaches to homeschooling.

Please join us as we travel along this journey on our podcast adventure. Let’s get connected! Learn more about the Florida Parent Educator’s Association and homeschooling in the beautiful state of Florida. If you are interested in homeschooling our convention is every year in May during Memorial Day weekend.

Please visit to learn more about who we are!


Entrepreneurship as a Life Style with Your Kids

Entrepreneurship as a Life Style with Your Kids

This week we hear from Gina Noble, who started a successful 6-figure business while homeschooling. Gina emphasizes how important interpersonal skills, communication skills, and academics are to entrepreneurship. #podcast #homeschoolpodcast

Life Lessons Learned through Building a Successful Business

Join us this week as we hear from Gina Noble, who started a successful 6- figure business with her four kids, while homeschooling.

Creating a business with her kids, allowed Gina to teach them not only academic, but life skills.

Entrepreneurship as a Life Style gave their family the time they needed to develop  interpersonal skills such as manners and communication skills as well as important academic skills like money management and cost/ benefit analysis and how they both contribue to the success of your current business and are transferable skills that your kids will use throughout their lifetime!


Sign up for our 15 week live online Spring Course that will be taught by Gina herself!~   Entrepreneurship

And don’t forget to check out our other spring semester courses: Old Testament: Adam to Nehemiah, Biblical Philosophy, New Testament Overview, Foreign Language Exploration, Economics and more!

If your kids are college-bound, you can’t miss this seminar about preparing them for the SAT and ACT to ultimately receive FREE college!

Cost: FREE

When: Wednesday, November 17, 2022 | 6PM CENTRAL TIME

Where: ZOOM | Please use this link to register for the class and save the email with your link information for the class.


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How to Homeschool: Practical Tips and Advice to Launch

So, you think you want to homeschool, and you’re wondering how to homeschool; you’re looking for practical tips and advice to launch. You’re asking yourself some of the following questions:

These are the types of questions parents who are considering homeschooling ask. 

In this overview, we’ll cover all those questions and more. Soon you’ll be on your way to educating your kids at home with the know-how, excitement, and confidence you’ll need to create the homeschool of your dreams. 

A Quick History of Homeschooling

You’ve likely read that many of our Founding Fathers and other famous people, like Booker T. Washington, Thomas Edison, and even Beatrix Potter, were homeschooled. Those are handy when discussing homeschooling and socialization or other polarizing issues, but the modern homeschooling movement began much later. 

Most parents of homeschooled children were privately or publicly educated. So, the history of homeschooling begins with public school and an educator named John Holt. His concern with the, in his view, oppressive nature of institutionalized learning gave birth to a method of education that is much like what homeschoolers call unschooling. 

He, in turn, inspired a more recognizable name in modern homeschooling circles, Raymond Moore. Moore, an educational philosopher and theorist. They taught that early learning is injurious to young children and that most kids should be taught at home until age eight or nine. Moore’s view of delayed academics would expand Holt’s early views of “unschooling,” and he would become known to many as the Father of Homeschooling. 

The Growth of Homeschooling

As homeschooling became more widely accepted, it became influenced by Christians. As these Christians stepped into the legal fight for homeschooling acceptance, Homeschool Legal Defense (HSLDA) was born. 

Today, homeschooling is legal in all fifty states and growing at more than 8% per year. 

Getting started with homeschooling has never been easier, and the statistics on the success of schooling at home prove it to be an excellent option for any family who chooses to homeschool. 

How to Get Started Homeschooling

As with most things, the hardest part of homeschooling is getting started. Why is that? In a nutshell, it’s pretty overwhelming to take on the responsibility of your children’s education. 

While ninety percent of kids are getting on a bus to go to school, homeschooling parents are headed to the kitchen table to start their school day. This is bound to create self-doubt, economic concerns, and overwhelm. The best way to combat those feelings is to create a homeschooling plan and start!

Create a Homeschool Plan

Before launching any major life change or undertaking, developing a plan is wise. Any good plan begins with a strong foundation. So, ask yourself, “why am I homeschooling?”

Your Homeschool “Why?” 

 Think through the possible reasons you’ve chosen to homeschool. Start with a clean piece of paper and write those down. Some possible reasons to homeschool include:

  • Religious conviction. These parents desire to pass on their faith culture to their children and believe they are called to homeschool. Their end goal is passing on their faith. Their method is discipleship. 
  • Academic rigor. Families who choose to homeschool to provide greater academic rigor to their children look for educational partners, such as online academies, cottage schools, or classical schools and co-ops, to expose their kids to a more demanding educational model. Their end goal is academic achievement. Their method is academic rigor.
    • Bullying. Harassment and bullying can be emotionally taxing on anyone, but kids suffer a greater impact. Families escaping abuse may be drawn to homeschooling to protect their children. Their end goal is safety. Their method is bringing education home. 
  • Cost of private school. Private schooling is expensive, and homeschooling can provide the same faith-based experience or academic rigor without the price tag. The end goal of these parents is affordability. Their method is schooling at home while embracing those tools that will bring about academic achievement. 
  • Poor public school. Like any form of education, not all things are equal. This applies to public schools. A family may live in a district with poor public schools and want something different for their children. Their end goal is the desire for something better than the public school has to offer. Their method is to take on the responsibility of homeschooling for themselves. 
  • Freedom. Families who want to homeschool to embrace a freedom lifestyle might include reasons such as; missionary responsibilities, travel opportunities, or personal conviction about the role of parents, homes, school, and state. Their end goal is autonomy and freedom. Their method is accepting responsibility and defending their right to homeschool their children. 

Reasons Lead to Decisions

As you look over some reasons an individual might choose to homeschool their children, you’re likely to see yourself in more than one category. That’s the beauty of homeschooling! Each homeschool is as unique as the family homeschooling. Embrace it! 

Use your homeschool “why?” to create a simple mission statement. A mission statement is a short, action-oriented statement that embodies your values. For example, a homeschooling parent’s mission statement might be: The Smith Family Homeschool- disciplining our children to make an impact for Christ in the world. 

Go ahead, give it a try! 

Create Your Homeschool Vision

Once you understand the foundational reason you’ve chosen to homeschool and have your mission statement, you can begin to develop a vision for your homeschool. 

When figuring out how to start homeschooling, a vision will help clear away the clutter of overthinking and provide direction for your homeschool journey. A vision statement for your homeschool incorporates a time element and supports the mission statement you’ve created. 

For the example above, The Smith Family Homeschool, a vision statement might look like this: The Smith Family Homeschool: Pointing our kids towards Christ and the Gospel through the use of the Bible, Christian curriculum, discipleship, and a family-centered lifestyle so that they are equipped to handle life and the rigor of college. 

Developing the vision statement can guide us to our curriculum choices. If we look at the Smith Family, we know: they’ll be discerning when it comes to the worldview of the curriculum author, the curriculum should lend itself to the discipleship model of teaching, and it needs to be academically rigorous. 

Your turn. What are your non-negotiables when it comes to homeschooling? Use those alongside your mission statement to craft your homeschool vision statement. 

Know the Homeschool Laws

Okay, you’ve equipped yourself with the why of homeschooling. Let’s move on to the how of homeschooling. And that begins with knowing the homeschool laws. 

Most new homeschoolers (and even veteran homeschooling families) have questions about what constitutes a legal homeschool. When looking for answers to legal questions, consult a reputable source, such as HSLDA, and think of your questions in advance. Some common questions are:

  • Do I have to register my homeschool?
  • Do I have to notify anyone that we are homeschooling? 
  • How many hours per day do I have to homeschool?
  • Do I have to use the curriculum the school uses?
  • How do I graduate as a homeschooler?
  • Do I have to keep attendance?
  • What about a transcript?

Find good homeschool groups online and in your area, consult with HSLDA, and search your state’s Department of Education website. Understand what’s required to homeschool in your state, and begin. 

Set Up Your Homeschool Space

If you spend ten minutes on Pinterest, you’ll quickly discover a million ways to set up your homeschool space. This is a highly personal thing, so be creative! Have fun!

Having a few things in place is great, but the result belongs to you. Some common things you’ll find in a homeschool space include:

  • Bookshelves
  • A printer 
  • Craft Supplies 
  • A laptop or PC 
  • Maps
  • Timelines
  • 3 Ring notebooks

A central place to homeschool is helpful, but you can school at your kitchen table or on the family room floor. Helpful doesn’t equal essential, and the important thing to remember is to figure out what works for your family. 

Does clutter bother you, and you’ll need to put everything away daily? Can you have kids share a room to create a homeschool space? What type of budget do you have to put towards your homeschool space? Think through the logistics of what you need to do, when you need to do it, and where you’ll do it. Giving this some attention before school starts can help you feel better prepared. 

Begin Your Curriculum Search

One of the favorite parts of homeschooling for most homeschoolers is picking out the curriculum. Keep your mission and vision in mind, and get ready to have fun. 

To keep the search from becoming overwhelming, start with the grade level you’re teaching (Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School, High School, Special Needs)  and then begin with your core subjects. 

As you search through the curriculum, you’ll uncover different homeschooling methods, too. Methods such as Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unit Study, and others. Give yourself some space to learn about these styles of homeschooling. They can aid you in your curriculum search. 

Homeschool Curriculum Core Subjects

The core subjects in homeschooling are generally considered to be English (Language Arts), Literature, Math, History, Science, and for many homeschoolers, Bible. Your state requirements may demand additional core subjects, such as Government

There are so many options for curriculum in the core subjects alone that it’s easy to feel like you’ve been thrown into the deep end of the pool and you’ve forgotten how to swim. 

To avoid panicking about making a choice, review your vision, and consult trusted sources for recommendations. 

What to Look for in the Homeschool Curriculum Core Subjects

When looking through the available curriculum, is it available to know what you’re looking at? This can help you make fair comparisons and choose what’s most likely to work for your family. 

Here are some general guidelines to help you when comparing curriculum by subject:

  • English: Does it teach grammar as a stand-alone subject? Is it a consumable product? Does it incorporate Literature? Will I need a teacher’s guide? Does it teach writing mechanics?
  • Math: Are the principles taught sequentially, or does it use an incremental spiral approach? Are there workbooks? Do I feel confident teaching this, or are there DVDs or online access? 
  • Literature: Do the reading selections align with my family’s mission and vision? Can I obtain the recommendations from the library or read them on Kindle?
  • History: Is it taught in cycles? Does it cover American history fairly? 
  • Science: What does it teach about creation? Are there required labs? 
  • Bible: Does it incorporate memory work? 

And for all core subjects, beyond considering the contact itself, does it excite your student? Will they look forward to the subject in general? Can it be passed down to other kids in your family? Is it in my budget? What’s the return policy? Do you love it? 

Don’t be afraid to try a homeschool curriculum for a year and pivot for the second year. Do the best you can to gather information before you purchase, but know that it’s normal to make a curriculum change at the end of the year or even in January! 

Choosing Homeschool Curriculum Electives

Moving past the core subjects, homeschool electives can truly be where all the fun is at. This is where you can see the individuality of your kids shine. They can be free to try things and experience personal and academic growth! 

Examples of some electives include:

Enjoy observing your children’s choices for electives and seeing them embrace learning!

Where to Shop for Curriculum

Once you have an idea of the subjects you want to cover in your homeschool, you will want to see the curriculum

Many homeschool curriculum providers offer free samples you can download online or a free trial of their software. And, that’s great! 

Nothing beats a homeschool convention for homeschooling parents who want to see the curriculum in person! 

More than just shopping, it’s a time to equip yourself for the important role of educating your kids. You’ll be able to listen to workshops from veteran homeschoolers, motivational speakers, and curriculum providers. Not to mention, you’ll be surrounded by other homeschoolers! 

Attending a  Homeschool Convention

When planning your trip to a homeschool convention, be sure to have a list of the curriculum you need, vendors you want to visit, and your budget. 

How much homeschooling costs largely depend on your own homeschool goals and how much of your financial resources you can dedicate to homeschool purchases. Knowing this in advance will keep you on track during the convention and prevent buyer’s remorse after. 

The average family spends between $700 – $1800 per student per year. Even if you have a small budget, attending a homeschool convention can give you confidence and help you see the possibilities for your school. 

And a bonus: if the convention has a children’s program, it can even become a family vacation!

It’s Time to Get Started Homeschooling

Schedule Your Homeschool Day 

Now that you’ve thought through why you’re homeschooling, set up your space, and begun searching for and choosing a homeschool curriculum, it’s time to start. 

You’ll need a schedule that works for your family. Sometimes the curriculum you choose will help you with that by offering daily instruction for the teacher on a four or five-day schedule. But, it’s really up to you! 

Popular homeschooling scheduling tactics include loop scheduling, block scheduling, and traditional scheduling. 

Loop scheduling is assigning subjects to certain days. For example, Math on Monday, Literature on Tuesday, History on Wednesday, Science on Thursday (alternating with Grammar), and Electives on Friday. This type of scheduling is helpful if you’re concerned you won’t get things done. After all, you’ll loop back around to that subject again and pick up where you left off. 

Block scheduling sets aside blocks of teaching each day for different subjects. So, while you’ll cover more than one subject in a day, you won’t cover all the subjects daily. 

Traditional scheduling covers all subjects for small amounts of time every day. Math is always daily from 8 a to 8:30 a. 

When considering which one to pick, look at your current family life. Think about how your kids learn best. What are the ages of your kids? Don’t be afraid to experiment with scheduling. A good rule of thumb is to give the scheduling style you choose a solid month before you make a change. Give your family grace during the learning period and time to acclimate. 

The Last Word On Getting Started Homeschooling

The Homeschool Teacher Mom

We’ve discussed the when, where, why, and how of homeschooling. Now I’d like to talk about the teacher – YOU! 

Homeschooling isn’t always easy, but it is rewarding. Please keep that in mind as you move forward. There will be days you’re tired and overwhelmed. The laundry will get behind, and supper may be on the table later than you’d hoped. Your kids will be grumpy. And so will you. Your husband may not be supportive, and your family may not understand. It’s okay. 

That’s why we spent so much time on your mission and vision. You’ll need those to hold on to. 

Oh, and prayer. You’re going to need that. 

So take the rest you need along the way in your homeschooling journey. It’s not a race. 

Your kids need the best version of you you can give them, rooted and grounded in Christ. 

When you’ve done your best, and that’s all you can do, “Give it to God; he’ll do the rest.” 

Additional Resources

Credits and Transcripts

Develop Your Student’s Standout Factor


Transition Planning for Teens with Special Needs, Interview with Peggy Ployhar

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Transition Planning for Teens with Special Needs, Interview with Peggy Ployhar.

Transition Planning for Teens with Special Needs, Interview with Peggy Ployhar.

Transition Planning for Teens with Special Needs, Interview with Peggy Ployhar

Our high schoolers are going to graduate one of these days, so let’s help them (and ourselves!) with being prepared for what happens next. Let’s talk about transition planning for our high schoolers!

Peggy Ployhar, with Sped Homeschool, is going to fill us in on what transition planning is and how to get started.

About Peggy Phar

Peggy Ployhar is the founder and CEO of Sped Homeschool, which stands for Special Education Homeschool. Her oldest was diagnosed on the autism spectrum when he was five and that opened the door for other educational opportunities the Ployhars had never even considered.

Peggy has been homeschooling for almost twenty years. Before forming Sped Homeschool, she worked for two different state organizations as their special needs consultants. She didn’t come into this by accident, though. She started her own homeschooling journey in similar situations and she’s now helping other families. So you can say it’s helping families and homeschool children who struggle that is really where her heart is!

What Is Transition Planning?

Transition planning is the process of making sure your child with special needs will have the necessary support when they “age out” of the school system.

There are just so many kids that struggle on so many different levels. And, having the experience of homeschooling her own children who all have had struggles in certain areas, and then her parents who have adopted ten children who have homeschooled on and off, Peggy understands the importance of transition planning.

It’s important to ask questions, such as Where are they going? and How do we bridge that gap?

And that’s what transition skills really are. Whether you have a student who struggles or not, that’s something we should all have in the back of our mind, along with having the answers to questions like, “Do they know how to do the laundry?” and “Do they know how to cook?”

In other words, transition skills are life skills.

How To Begin Transition Planning With Your Kids

If we are going to really face the facts that our kids are going to have to live life and do it well, how can we plan for transitioning not only our special needs kids but also all of our kids?

1. Evaluate where the gaps are they need to fill

The first thing you have to do is take a step back and really evaluate what you can fit in the next four years, or the remainder of the high school years, by looking ahead.

If you know your child is lacking in communication skills, for example, you know to introduce more learning opportunities that help strengthen these transition skills. If your kids aren’t great housekeepers, then start a game plan to make them better ones. See where their personal gaps are and then make a plan to fill those gaps.

2. Set goals for those gaps

Once you’ve identified what those learning gaps are, set goals to strengthen these gaps. Consider where you want your child to be and talk to your kids about what their goals are for themselves. Many kids will not really know exactly what they want to do, but it is good to think about it and consider the options. Even trying their hand at a few different subject areas is good for them to discover their likes and dislikes in order to plan properly for the future.

3. Introduce transition skills in their experiences – not only academics

Be sure to do this also for life skills, not only academics. These other transition skills can be cognitive skills, emotional skills, communication skills, life skills, social skills, physical skills, and so on. Find an activity or something helpful that your child can do on a regular basis where they will continue to work on those skills.

They can take co-op classes, join a club, and explore different extracurricular activities. Encourage your child to just try something different that will fill these gaps. You never know where these different activities or classes will take your child!

For example, Peggy’s son originally wanted to go into the military. Because of this, they directed a lot of their studies around the beginning of his first year of high school.

But then the next year, he decided he wanted to be an underwater welder. And even though that took a whole different spin on their classes, they aimed to study more about that.

And then for the following year, he decided he just wanted to go to welding school first before he did underwater welding. And he did that, for three years, until one day he woke up and decided he didn’t want to do it anymore.

And now? At the end of the semester, he is graduating with a degree in biomedical engineering. How’s that for a change?

What If Plans Change?

If your child, like Peggy’s son, decides to go a different route, that’s totally okay. You tweak, and you change as the kids figure out what they want to do. When you’re looking at transition planning and looking at the high school years, learn how to embrace the bigger picture.

Get the bigger picture in your head and review it on a constant basis. Finish half of the school year or a semester, and then take an evaluation. Is my child still wanting to do this? The great thing about high school students are the opportunities to have wonderful life conversations with them.

When the plans do change, be flexible enough with your homeschooling to let them know the direction they’re homeschooling is going. Help them understand if something isn’t moving them toward their new goals. You can still count the work you’ve done as half a credit, but it’s better to head in the right direction now versus getting to the end of the year knowing it wasn’t helping serve the overall goals.

And if you do change plans mid-year, you will still have notable work to put down on your child’s transcript. So, it’s never a waste of time.

Final Tips For Transition Planning

One thing we often do not think about is communication skills because they kind of go off our radar. But yet employers say that communication skills are the biggest thing they are looking for in employees.

We do not have to have a formal education plan to develop communication skills. We need to put our children in various situations that require them to communicate. And communication is verbal, nonverbal, body language, and written. (Check out these HSHSP episodes on job hunting and interview skills. Also, this post on first-day-on-the-job skills.)

Communication is probably one of the most important things we should be focusing on and just having normal, everyday conversations. There are several things we can absorb and do in our homeschool life to help build those communication skills, and it doesn’t have to look like a classroom or a course to do.

Other ways to help build communication skills:

  • Listening to audiobooks
  • Learning correct grammar through hearing
  • Making videos and podcasts
  • Making videos or podcasts

The more you do these things, the more you learn to control what you say and to think about it before you say it.

Peggy also shares tips for homeschooling high school in this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode.

About Sped Homeschool

Sped Homeschool was formed in 2017 after taking a look around and deciding that there are a lot of organizations that have little help available for special needs kids. Their website is full of resources, partner organizations, and interviews, with an interview showing every Tuesday night live. Also, they are now broadcasting on Facebook and YouTube all at the same time with the primary goal of the interviews to empower parents to be able to make this journey successful.

BTW- Thanks to Richie Soares for transcription work. She is awesome and so is her website: Homeschool and Humor. Check it out!


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What to do When Your Homeschool is Behind

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: What to do When Your Homeschool is Behind.

What to do when your homeschool is behind

What to do When Your Homeschool is Behind

Need a little encouragement today? What if you are behind in your homeschooling? Is it a disaster? Can you catch up? Are you a failure? The answer is “NO!” Life happens sometimes and things get behind. It happens to most of us homeschooling families at some point or the other.

So what do we do when we are behind on the educational goals for our homeschoolers?

Tips for what to do when your homeschool is behind

Get ready for a little encouragement. You can do this!

Tip #1: Ask yourself: Is this a disaster?

Answer: No, it is NOT a disaster. So just take that thought off your plate. Take a deep breath and then get ready to recalibrate your own attitude from feeling like there is a disaster to “We can do this!”

The cool thing about recalibrating your attitude is that you can role model a growth mindset for your teens:

Things did not go as we planned BUT we are going to recalibrate to get where we need to go!

A growth mindset acknowledges the tough things but thinks positively about going forward.

Teens need to know that life is not an endless series of disasters. Yes, tough things happen but tough things do not define them. Rather, those tough things are an excuse to grow. In fact, a lot of life is about growing through the hard times.

Things did not go as we planned BUT we are going to recalibrate to get where we need to go!

Tip #2: Sit down with your teens and ask, “What do we want at the end of high school?”

When times have been tough for a while, it is easy for teens to get lost in “the weeds of right now”. (The same is true for us moms.) That is survival, of course.

However, there is a future! In the future, teens will graduate and need a transcript so they can do something after high school. Even if they are non-college bound (whether they are simply planning on a gap year, joining the military or will be studying for a trade), they will still need a transcript.

  • Many teens start out homeschooling high school, thinking that they will be college-bound. However, some of these teens, change their minds and decide on gap year, military or trades.
    • When that happens, it is a good time to reel in the academics. You can make academics more simple and more tailored to their goals.

However, if your teen is behind in their homeschooling but still wants to go to college, it is time to sit down and ask, “What do we need to get you ready for college?” Discuss with your teens:

  • Is community college a good fit for your teens goals? (Some states even have free tuition for community college.)
    • If this is so, you can recalibrate gently. Get caught up and feeling secure on the basic academics. This is because community colleges are not competitive like some four-year colleges. Rather, they exist to help serve their communities. (They can even do some remedial courses to start their community college experience.)
  • Are your teens interested in a more competitive four-year college.
    • Make plan together for moving forward with age appropriate academics, followed by a “scheduling backwards” plan for going forward with individual academics.

Tip #3: Then ask yourself and your teens, “realistically, what can we accomplish this year?”

  • If your teens are interested in a more competitive four-year college, (such as a state college) and they are a senior now, you might need some realistic recalibration of goals.
    • Your teens might have to do one year at the community college and earn high grades, then transfer.
  • On the other hand, if your teens are non-college-bound thinking gap year, military or trade school, this might a good time to sit together
    • And pare down the credit numbers and credit levels for simpler goals and then, graduation!
  • For a seriously stuck teen who is having anxiety and panic about catching up:
    • You might want to bring everything down to an average or remedial level for this year.
    • That way academics get done in a healthier, lower stress environment
    • Give them some Health credit time by getting some counseling. This is a GREAT life skill!

Make sure your teens are part of the discussion. This will earn you their buy-in.

Tips #4: If it is mid-year and your teen is behind in their textbook, ask these questions:

  • Do I need to take a look at the textbook and reduce the numbers of chapter questions or math problems that must be done?
  • Or do I need to trash this textbook and get something simpler or more fun? It is okay to start over.
  • Do I need to get online instruction with programs like:

Tip #5: If they are behind on their booklist for the year, do you need to:

  • Cut down on the number of books you planned for them to read?
  • Reduce the numbers of study guides they work on this year?
  • Use audiobooks for a quicker read and change of pace?
  • Switch out for shorter books?
  • Switch out for some easier-to-read books along with an inspiring study guide? (Think 7Sisters Chronicles of Narnia Literature Study Guides)
  • Count some books of the Bible? (We did this, for sure.)

Tip #6: If they are behind on labs for their Lab Science course?

Can you take the whole family on a field trip that can be part of a “science lab”?

  • For instance: zoo, nature centers, museums

Can your teen skip some of the labs in their lab manual?

Tip #7: Do a course or two over the summer

Sometimes, “summer school” is necessary for catch up!

Tip #8: To make sure they are not wasting good time, teach them study skills such as:

Tip #9: When you sit down with teens to talk about catching up on academics:

  • Get some snacks!
  • Go to a coffee shop together
  • Doing things over food, just makes things work better.

Remember, you can do this! Recalibrate and live in grace!

Join Vicki for an informative discussion on what to do when your homeschool is behind.


  1. Follow this link to our Apple Podcasts page.
  2. OR take this IMPORTANT STEP: Under our Homeschool Highschool Podcast logo, click on View in “…your favorite podcast source”
  3. This will take you to Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast source and our own podcast page.
  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
  5. Click RATINGS AND REVIEW. (Please take a minute and do this. It helps others find us. Thanks!)
  6. Thanks!


  1. Tap the purple Podcast icon on your phone
  2. Tap the search icon on the bottom-right of your screen
  3. In the search bar type: Homeschool Highschool Podcast
  4. Tap the Homeschool Highschool Podcast icon
  5. Tap *Subscribe*
  6. Please tap *Ratings and Review

Episode #15- Homeschooling Preschool

Today we're talking preschool, more specifically preschool at home. What are the benefits of homeschooling during the preschool years for military families? How do you create a homeschool preschool program, and does your child really need preschool?

Today we’re talking preschool, more specifically preschool at home. What are the benefits of homeschooling during the preschool years for military families? How do you create a homeschool preschool program, and does your child really need preschool?

As the parent of your child, the decision to send your child to preschool, homeschool preschool, or not do preschool at all is totally up to you. You know your child best. So, whatever decision you and your spouse make is yours and yours alone to make. The purpose of this show is not to shame anyone or try to convince anyone of what they should do. In fact, that’s one of the reasons we homeschool- for the freedom to choose what’s right for our children!

On today’s episode, Crystal shares her personal observations and opinions regarding preschool. With a background in child development, she sent her children to private and public preschools and preschooled at home. Although not all with one child!

Listen in to learn a brief history of preschool and kindergarten programs in the United States and how to determine if your child is ready for preschool. You will also learn easy and low-cost ways to teach your young child at home, even if your child isn’t ready for formal academics. Then, when your child is ready, Crystal shares two preschool programs that she’s used, as well as some low-cost alternatives available online or at the local discount store or bookstore.

If you’ve got an up-and-coming preschooler, don’t miss this episode!



Episode Sponsor:

A quality education is affordable and flexible at Upper Iowa University. Serving the military community with online Associate, Bachelors, and Masters degrees for more than 2 decades, Upper Iowa University offers tuition grants for service members, spouses and dependents of all branches of the military. UIU students work one-on-one with an advisor and classes are taught by expert faculty. Learn more by visiting


Join Crystal and her guests each week as they bring relevant information to equip you, stories to encourage you, and content to inspire you. You don’t have to go it alone; tune in to the Military Homeschool Podcast and be energized in your military homeschooling journey!

How to listen:

  1. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, or Stitcher
  2. Subscribe on your favorite podcast listening app
  3. Or listen right here (just scroll down)

Got questions, comments, or have show topic ideas? Contact Crystal via email at or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

 Please subscribe, follow, and share with all of your military homeschooling friends!

Homeschooling Middle School Your Way

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschooling Middle School Your Way.

Homeschooling Middle School Your Way

Homeschooling Middle School Your Way

We don’t often talk about middle school because we are so busy talking about high school. However, there are many, many homeschooling families that not only have high schoolers but middle schoolers as well. Not only that, but there are more and more families with middle schoolers who will be homeschooling all the way through graduation.

SO we get questions about the RIGHT way to homeschool middle school! (Can you guess what we are going to say? You are correct! There’s not ONE right way to homeschool middle school!)

However, parents of middle schoolers often feel a LOT of pressure to homeschool middle school correctly. They are told:

  • If your kids do not start working on high school material in middle school, they will not get into college when they graduate!
  • If you do not do serious academic work with your middle schoolers, they will not be ready for high school…and that means failure!
  • You must keep up with the educational Joneses!

Thus, middle school turns into a pressure-filled situation. Is that what your tweens need? Must middle school be filled with pressure?

SO, let’s talk about how seriously to take academics in homeschool middle school

Remember what we said: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool middle school.

With that in mind, let’s think about statistics: Most middle school students are average academians. That is because “average” is the statistic describing the middle of the population (usually the “bell” in the bell-shaped curve, if you like statistical graphs).

This means that some middle schoolers can start doing the higher-level maths (such as algebra or geometry) and enjoy them. This is especially true for the more academically bright tweens.

However, for many middle schoolers, these higher-level courses are not necessary. They will get to them in high school just fine and will not experience life failure as a result. They are not trying to compete for the most competitive colleges, such as Harvard. Rather, many homeschoolers will start out:

  • at local community colleges to save money
  • going to trade school
  • joining the military
  • or are aiming for less competitive colleges that have the best-fit for them

These middle schoolers are free to work on their academics at a more relaxed pace… in the right timing for them!

Homeschooling middle school your way

Really, really, really: You do not need to impress anybody…and neither does your middle schooler!

If your middle schooler thrives on doing seventh-grade math at seventh grade, followed by eighth-grade math at eighth grade, it is OKAY! If that is what is best for your family, put your shoulders back and chin up and do NOT be pressured to do otherwise!

Instead of heavy academics, why not fill middle school with rich experiences?

After all, middle school years are the last years where students can be free to truly experience learning adventures without being overly tied down to textbooks. High school can wait until high school for many middle schoolers.

Homeschooling high school (even for many unschoolers) will have a fair number of textbooks in order to earn the credits for graduation.

However, middle schoolers do not need to worry about earning credits. Instead, they can concentrate of building their love of learning. Just be sure to record all their cool experiences in their portfolios so you have a good record.

Here are some of the things we concentrated on during middle school

There are endless rich experiences that your tweens can build during middle school. They will extend many of these experiences into electives during high school but this is a good time to start. Think about:

Life skills

  • Cooking
  • Home maintenance
  • Home economics

Social skills and networking skills

If you can allow your tweens to explore and interest or gifting without pressure, they often will run with it. Some middle schoolers will ask about competitions in their interest areas. If so, go for it. However, if they just want to explore an interest for interest’s sake, why not?

On the other hand, there are middle schoolers who need the powerful academics

By the time these kids are in sixth or seventh grade, you know these kids. You understand that they are competitive academically (and often otherwise). You can see that they will be driven and WANT to go to a powerful college.

In that case, have them blast through their maths and other courses at their paces and interests. If they are:

  • Ready and want to do Algebra, Geometry and high school Sciences or Social Sciences
  • Or they are highly gifted in writing or other communication forms

let them run with it.

Give them resources: textbooks, mentors, courses…whatever is best fit for their learning styles. To hold them back to grade-level texts would stifle them with boredom. For these tweens, their interest and talent IS their academics.

Of course, with these tweens you often have to help them develop the life skills of work/life/social/self-care balances. Help them disrupt academics regularly with other activities.

It is good for young people to be the people they are! All kids are gifted in the way God made them to be gifted (check out this discussion on all kids being gifted).

My kid is being the best HIM that God made him to be.

For us moms: How to handle homeschooling middle school your way

Homeschooling middle school in the best way for our unique kids is wonderful at home. However, sometimes it can be a challenge for us moms. Especially when we are at co-op or with a group of other homeschool moms and someone is talking about their tweens’ WONDERFUL accomplishments!!

  • Sally won this amazing competition
  • Bob is just finishing Geometry with his tutor
  • George was just chosen for the Mensa program

And you are sitting there thinking, “My tween is plugging through seventh grade Math but he LOVES hiking and sketching what he sees. He doesn’t want to do a competition with the things he loves, he just wants to enjoy them.”

When your buddies ask you, “SO, what’s your kid doing?”

So you answer:

My kid is being the best HIM that God made him to be.

Because that is what he is called to do. AND we are called to help them be their best selves…not someone else’s best self.

That’s because there’s not ONE right way to homeschool middle school, so homeschool middle school your way.

Check out these wonderful Homeschool High School Podcast episodes:

Also, here’s a fun middle school acrostic.

Join Vicki and homeschool your way!


  1. Follow this link to our Apple Podcasts page.
  2. OR take this IMPORTANT STEP: Under our Homeschool Highschool Podcast logo, click on View in “…your favorite podcast source”
  3. This will take you to Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast source and our own podcast page.
  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
  5. Click RATINGS AND REVIEW. (Please take a minute and do this. It helps others find us. Thanks!)
  6. Thanks!


  1. Tap the purple Podcast icon on your phone
  2. Tap the search icon on the bottom-right of your screen
  3. In the search bar type: Homeschool Highschool Podcast
  4. Tap the Homeschool Highschool Podcast icon
  5. Tap *Subscribe*
  6. Please tap *Ratings and Review


Thank You to our Network Sponsor – CTC Math!

Homeschool Head Start – Military Families

Homeschool Head Start ~ Military Families ~Episode 475

How do homeschool military families do it? Here is a homeschool headstart for you even if you are not from a military family! If you want to give your child a head start in their educational journey, here is your chance. Surprise, surprise it isn’t all about academics, but you are a smart parent so I’m sure you already know this fact. The journey is not complete without an understanding of life skills such as making good decisions. In this podcast, I share some important information you won’t want to miss and bring along a very special guest, our own Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network’s Crystal Niehoff.

Visit the two podcasts that Crystal hosts!

  1. History for Christian Teens – with Pastor Niehoff and Crystal Niehoff
  2. Military Homeschool Podcast with Crystal Niehoff

When we consider a head start it can mean different things to different people. In this instance I consider a head start a good way to begin the homeschool year. It means not getting behind and being prepared enough so that we as parents feel confident in our abilities to help our children achieve their best not only academically but also as mentally which includes spirituality, and in our case, Christian faith. Our military families have so much on their plate. Many moms or dads are homeschooling while dad or mom is away. Military families also move many times in the career of their spouses. Being flexible and ready are two of the traits these families work toward.

Are you a military family or do you know one? Now is a great time to invite a friend to this episode.

Military Families ~ Homeschool Families Head Start

Here are some of the points we discussed in this broadcast on homeschool head start – and military families:

  1. Dealing with discipline – and discipleship, training children from a young age to what is expected.
  2. Having a plan
  3. Giving our children time to think and explore their interests.
  4. Finding your tribe, and other homeschool families (important for military families especially).
  5. The benefits of homeschooling and keeping on track, helps you form a bond with your children
  6. Opens doors to learning opportunities such as field trips, sports, lessons, and delving into historic events at various locales for military families that move often.
  7. Having fun. Keep things moving but have special times for fun activities as a reward. Simple activities mentioned.
  8. Top priorities for the day. What are some of the things you want to accomplish personally and a list for your child as well?
  9. Heading off distractions. Give friends and family parameters of when they can contact you (or when you will answer calls or texts) that do not interrupt your day.
  10. Permission to stay at home. You do not need to volunteer or go to all activities. Pick those that are most relevant or beneficial for your family.

Thank You to our Network Sponsor – CTC Math!

Handling Homeschool Fears, Interview with Homeschool Super Freak

This week on Homeschoool Highschool Podcast: Handling Homeschool Fears, Interview with Homeschool Super Freak.

Handling Homeschool Fears, Interview with Homeschool Super Freak

Handling Homeschool Fears, Interview with Homeschool Super Freak

We are so excited this week to have a chance to chat with a favorite new friend from social media. Vicki has been enjoying Homeschool Super Freak’s posts on Facebook, Homeschool Super Freak website and Parent Busters podcast episodes! So, Vicki contacted her and arranged for today’s interview about what to do with fears about homeschooling!

Homeschool Super Freak is Jacqueline Wilson and everyone who knows her knows how unstuffy and fun she is!

Parent Busters podcast is about having fun learning and sharing fun ideas for learning.

Jacqui’s daughter started out her education with traditional preschool. However, Jacqui always know that she wanted to homeschool her daughter. Jacqui comes from a healthcare background and was a college adjunct professor. Therefore, she had LOTS of research skills…so she researched, researched, researched form six months before she started homeschooling her preschool daughter. After six months of research, she was ready to start with lesson plans in a fat binder and an official school room. However, on their first official day of homeschooling, after only two hours, Jacqui knew that all her research was not going to work for her unique daughter!

Now, ten years later, she is still homeschooling…without the fat binder. Instead, she and her daughter plan an eclectic mix of online classes and unschooling.

Handling homeschool fears

After a decade of experience, Jacqui has learned some things that will help you increase your confidence that you CAN homeschool high school…in your unique way.

There’s not ONE blueprint that fits every family’s homeschool high school

Every parent and every teen is different. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can adapt your educational plans to fit your family’s unique needs and goals. So enjoy the process and freedom of homeschooling YOUR way!

Check out your state homeschool laws

Every state has different requirements. Some are more restrictive that others. Then start planning around those laws.

Do not worry if you have qualifications to teach

Research has shown that you do not need a teaching degree in order to have a successful homeschool. You only need to care and be committed to the homeschooling process. The cool thing is that you can learn alongside your teens!

Also, as you are homeschooling high schoolers, you really become a resource manager rather than a teacher. They will learn lots in online courses, co-op classes, library activities, podcasts and exploring topics on their own (earning credits by logging hours).

Do not worry about failing

There’s no perfect homeschool (also, there’s no perfect traditional school). People are imperfect. You will gain more confidence and skills as you go. You can model the resilience of bouncing back after a tough day or bad-fit curriculum. This gives them a growth mindset.

Let your teen have a say in how they want to be educated

Talk about their strengths and interests. Then, build a unit study around those strengths and interests BEFORE you start in on textbooks. This gives you an interesting hands-on experience to watch how your teens learn.

After your unit study, you will know more about what kind of curriculum your teens may want and need.

It will take ALL our time

In a traditional school setting, class time periods are LONG each day. However, learning can go much quicker in your homeschool because there is less wasted time changing courses and busywork.

(Check your state laws for attendance requirements.)

You can homeschool on your family rhythms

You do not need to have your teens up and sitting at a desk by 8:00am if they are not early birds. Instead, you can help your teens find their best times of day to do their academics. Some teens work best in the mornings. However, some teens would rather work in the afternoons or evenings. There’s not ONE right way!

Teens thrive when they have permission to be themselves and learn their way.

Relax into the learning

As you believe that you can do it, you will find that you are relaxing into how to homeschool. Then you can allow your teen to teach you how they learn. Teens thrive when they have permission to be themselves and learn their way.

Plan together

Each summer, it is wise to sit with your homeschool high schooler and make plans together. Discuss state requirements as well as your teen’s interests and goals. (Remember, you do not HAVE to follow your local public school’s schedule.)

Check out colleges, military or trade skills in the area and list things those institutions are looking for.

Explore opportunities and desires for learning. Then make some plans that already have your teen’s buy-in!

Don’t be afraid to give teens a say in their education! They will have ownership of their education and you will both have more fun!

Remember, you will never cover everything

Life is never-ending education. If teens learn to love learning, then they will keep it going, even as adults.

Don’t forget life skills

Don’t get so stressed with academics that you forget to help your teens prepare for adulting. They will not always be doing academics but they will be using life skills, such as:

  • Paying bills
  • Doing chores
  • Managing themselves

Those life skills are some of the most important things they will learn during their homeschool high school years.

You can find Jacqueline Wilson at:

Homeschool high school? You can DO this! Join Vicki and Jacqui for a fun discussion for handling homeschool fears.


  1. Follow this link to our Apple Podcasts page.
  2. OR take this IMPORTANT STEP: Under our Homeschool Highschool Podcast logo, click on View in “…your favorite podcast source”
  3. This will take you to Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast source and our own podcast page.
  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
  5. Click RATINGS AND REVIEW. (Please take a minute and do this. It helps others find us. Thanks!)
  6. Thanks!


  1. Tap the purple Podcast icon on your phone
  2. Tap the search icon on the bottom-right of your screen
  3. In the search bar type: Homeschool Highschool Podcast
  4. Tap the Homeschool Highschool Podcast icon
  5. Tap *Subscribe*
  6. Please tap *Ratings and Review*

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