When the Homeschool Curriculum Does Not Work for Mom

homeschool curriculum

I am sure you have become an amazing homeschool curriculum researcher. It is a huge component of the homeschool job…What curriculum should I use? It’s the top question asked right after, “What about socialization?”

I could provide you with dozen of links and top 10 lists of things to consider when choosing a homeschool curriculum.

But here’s my question “What do you do when it is mom who hates the curriculum?” Do you preserve through it? Do you toss it? Do you admit to your friends, who all love it, that you can not teach it?

Last year I researched a certain curriculum to help my youngest son. I knew the hands-on approach would benefit him. I knew it was popular and well spoken about in the homeschool community.  I bought two years of the program certain he would navigate the first level quickly.

Then…I could not figure out how to teach it. I read the teacher guide. I struggled through a few lessons. I conveniently forgot to teach the subject for a few days. I tried the teacher guide again. I repeated the lessons. I stopped teaching the subject. The guilt set in. [Read more...]

Writing Co-op for High School Students

writing coop

My daughter has struggled with writing from the moment I asked her to write. Once she reached high school and the writing level increased…we had a huge problem to solve.

The first half of her freshman year, she ignored writing. At her mid-year review with no writing assignments completed, we had an intervention.

Kristen my homeschooling friend, offered to provide a writing co-op class. She knew accountability would help her to keep writing on the top of her own school list, instead of at the forgotten bottom. We both considered the writing co-op an answer to prayer.

Building confidence and basic skills with their writing became the main goal of the writing co-op. Even through our main goal focused on improving their writing we found we could not ignore literature. Kristen is a firm believer that good readers make good writers, so in class they devoured Victor Hugo, Oscar Wilde and the girl’s favorite, Harper Lee. [Read more...]

Teen Pact, High School Government Credit

Teen Pact

“There is something exciting about learning how local government works while sitting in your State Senator’s chair in Legislative Hall.”

Most states and colleges look for a government or civic class on high school transcripts. While not every high school student desires to major in political science, a working understanding of government is vital for adulthood.

Both of my high school students have attended our local Teen Pact program. My future pastry chef was very reluctant to attend a four-day program this year. Since she needs this credit I assured her this was the best hands-on way to teach the subject. Besides pushing my teens out of their comfort zones is one of my favorite things to do. [Read more...]

Junior Church, A Format for Everyone

If you wonder why the homeschool blog posts have been a little lacking on Layered Soul, I have been pouring a lot of my energy into the new junior church format at my church. I never dreamed I would use my homeschooling skills outside of the homeschool community, but the past 3 months I have been able to serve the children of my covenant community.

Junior Church

Guest Post from IRL friend, Kristen McGinnis

Thirty kids, special needs, no budget, small church…What do these all have in common? Trinity Church of Smyrna‘s new junior church.

Junior church is a time after praise and worship where the children age 4 years to 10 years come down stairs during the church service. Since our church meets in a local school we have to address some interesting challenges.

(The following video was presented to the congregation last Sunday. For copyright, basic background music was added from iMovie for Youtube. Originally the video had the song, King of Glory by Chris Tomlin.) [Read more...]

Biology 101 Series, Unit Three and Four

Biology 101 Series

If you are new to the series I recommend starting with Biology 101 Series, unit one and two. The Biology 101 Series does offer a course outline for completing the program with enough hours for a high school credit. We have chosen to add labs and other hands-on learning to the suggested course load. I hope these posts help you as you construct a high school level biology class.

This is a list of the extras we completed.

Biology 101 Series Aquatic Creatures:

Homeschool Advice to My Younger Self

Homeschool Advice

After 14 years of homeschool and graduating one, here is a list of 5 things I wish I could go back and tell my younger self.

*Bonus: You should probably know that the mother face you make, the one that puts the fear in the kids when they are messing up…yeah it will be the cause of the very first wrinkle on your face.

1. Be committed to the process. Girl buckle-up you are in for an amazing ride. It’s great your 4 year old is a self-taught reader. It really makes the homeschool job easy. But you need to know days are coming that you will second-guess your ability to school 4 children, especially when learning issues arise. Do not let the bad days overshadow the good. You will survive this! God will give you the answers, the strength, and the patience at the right moment you need it.

2. You are going to spend a huge amount of money on math curriculum. If only we could have taken the over spending done those first years and saved it for math books. The first few years you thought the goal was to invest in ONE math curriculum to teach your children. Each child will need a different math book to help them learn. Each child will struggle with math in a different way. Really it is all in preparation for you to teach your youngest math, your biggest math struggler. After 14 years of homeschooling it is okay that you want to start a math support group for moms of kids who hate math. [Read more...]

Science in Summer, Creating Margin

Science in Summer

Do you have one subject that always seems to fall to the wayside? A subject you would like to spend more time on but you just cannot seem to add another thing to the school schedule?

At my house it is science. I love science, but I like to do hands on projects and that is where I run out of time and energy.

I taught science in summer and into the fall, but when my science co-op ended, so did my science teaching. I really enjoyed teaching one subject over the summer.

Now I have science guilt. Really I should not be beating myself up. Today, I am letting it go! Hopefully getting some much need margin in the school schedule.

I have decided instead of trying to get science in for the last semester of school, I have moved the science to the summer! [Read more...]

Life of Fred Cats, Extra Activities

Life of Fred Cats

We have almost completed Life of Fred Cats. If you are new to the Life of Fred math series I have written about our journey with Life of Fred Apples and Life of Fred Butterflies.

Since my children suffer from a disease that causes them to hate math, I love that Fred discusses math in the context of history and science topics.

To help build excitement with each new Life of Fred book, I buy a new math game. Since we are using Mystery of History volume one, the Mummy Math game became our new favorite.

For the first lesson in Life of Fred Cats, I bought some glow-in-the-dark star stickers. I had my son create the Orion constellation with the stickers. [Read more...]

Nimitz, Fleet Admiral in the United States Navy

Fleet Admiral Nimitz

Happy Birthday to Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz, who was born on February 24, 1885.

My children love history! After spending last school year in American history studying the last 100 years, I felt a little depressed. It seemed we went from one war to another war.

I have found a great way to battle my war fatigue is by focusing on the people.

You can follow Chester Nimitz through his service in the Navy for both World War I and World War II. He is noted for his gift of being a leader. Nimitz was awarded 30 medals over his 42 years of service. Do you know how many times he received the Naval Distinguished Service Medal? I was amazed that he left high school to join the Naval Academy. Do you know when he finally was awarded his high school diploma? He spoke German. This ability gave him the opportunity to study a new motor in Germany. Do you know what it is? [Read more...]

Homeschool Curriculum, Benefits to Using Again

Homeschool Curriculum

I do believe there are perks for cycling back through a chorological homeschool curriculum. We are currently on our third time through (affiliate link) Mystery of History volume 1.

The amazing thing about using the same history homeschool curriculum is the confidence that it builds, both for the kids and me.

There was a year or two where we tried another all-inclusive program but I kept adding Mystery of History to the history component.

Benefits to using the same homeschool curriculum: [Read more...]