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Inside: Looking for suggestions for first-grade homeschool curriculum? You’re in the right place! Take a look at what we used for our first-grade homeschool curriculum. We have a relaxed classical homeschool approach and use a mix of programs.

First grade is such a fun time in homeschooling. Your child is starting to get a bit of a longer attention span, maybe starting to read, and is so curious. This is a great year to encourage that love of learning and watch your child grow.

My children aren’t quite at the age where they will consistently go through an entire curriculum, so I still piece together my own first-grade homeschool curriculum. I find that I can save a lot of money and get a custom fit for our family that way.

How long do we do school each day?

Ya know, it just depends.

In order for a day to count as a homeschool day in our state, we are required to do four hours of school. Luckily play time counts in elementary school!

I would say my daughter probably sits for about 45 minutes to one hour when we are doing school. But, it’s definitely not all at once.

We might do 15 or 30 minutes of math, then she goes and plays with her sisters. Later on, we might read on the couch or she might read a bit on her own, so let’s say 30 minutes. My girls do arts and crafts just about every day, so that takes another 30 minutes. Recess and P.E. take up about an hour to an hour and a half.

That’s three hours.

The last hour we might do a science experiment, go run errands and talk about money and prices, read some more, cook, whatever. The great thing about homeschooling first-grade is that it is so easy to learn new things as you go through the course of your day.

So, yes, we do school for four hours, but it might not look like a typical four hours of school.

What topics do you cover?

I’m so glad you asked!

My main focus for first grade was learning how to read and working on math. We did lots of other subjects like history, geography, science, etc. But, if we didn’t get to them for a few days or weeks, I wasn’t concerned. There is plenty of time to go back and cover the material in those subjects later.

Without further ado, here are our picks for our first-grade homeschool curriculum…

Math

A friend of mine turned me onto Horizons Math from Alpha Omega and I’m so glad. I love the bright colors and simplicity of the workbooks. They are also very easy to tailor to your child’s needs.

If your first-grader needs to spend a little extra time on a topic, they’ve got lots of review in each lesson. But, if your child is a math whiz, then you can shorten the lessons and not waste their time.

I actually wrote a guest post for Terryn at Just a Simple Home about Horizons Math 1 and you can read more about it there.

The only hang up we had with Horizons Math 1 was the large blocks of addition problems on some of the pages. I realize that they aren’t nearly as fun looking as the other activities, but they’re still important! My first-grader wasn’t buying it. So, I had to find another way to get her to practice and learn her math facts.

A friend suggested Addition Facts that Stick. It’s great! It’s an entire book that gives you fun game ideas to practice with your child. The games are either played with a regular deck of cards or they provide a simple gameboard that you can copy. This book definitely made first-grade math more fun for my daughter.

Reading

We don’t use a set reading program for our 1st-grade homeschool curriculum. We tried Hooked on Phonics, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and a few others and she was just.not.having.it.

She would get frustrated if a word was hard to sound out, etc., so I just let phonics slide for most of the year and we worked on sight words.

About 3/4 of the way through the year, I noticed that my daughter was more willing to sound out words, so we started book 2 of Explode the Code.

Book 2 starts with blends, so if you aren’t quite ready for that you might want to start with book 1. Book 1 covers consonants and short vowels.

My daughter hates to write. I think it’s just a matter of she can’t spell that many words by herself yet and writing is time consuming. I don’t push the writing very much and we try to find activities that require minimal writing.

One reason I love Explode the Code is that there is minimal writing. It’s a lot of circling the correct blend, etc. There is a page or two for each set of words that requires the students to write the words, but again, it’s not that much writing. My daughter generally did it without too much complaining.

As a fun little add-on to our reading, I bought these Disney themed workbooks for reading comprehension. My first-grader loves Disney princesses, so these were fun to have. We read through the stories and then there were questions that she had to go back to the text to answer. It got her doing a little bit of sneaky copy work. The stories are broken up, which is great for this age group. So, you read a little bit of the story, answer some questions, read some more, answer some more questions.

Towards the end of the year, my daughter really picked up reading on her own. She became an official bookworm and I started getting her lots of picture books from the library to read by herself.

History/Geography

I follow the sequence recommended in The Well-Trained Mind for history. History for first-graders covers the Ancient period from early nomads to the Roman Empire.

We listened to The Story of the World on CD. This was great because we could listen to it in the car while we ran errands. My first-grader would always ask “Can we listen to the CD?” Jim Weiss does a fantastic job with voices on historical characters! Listening to an audio CD is a great way to add some variety to your first-grade homeschool curriculum.

In addition to listening to The Story of the World, we used the Usborne Book of World History as a jumping off point to look at different civilizations we heard about on the CD.

I love this book when teaching history to first-graders because it has tons of visuals, reads like a story, and gives a good introduction to important historical topics. If we had more interest in a particular civilization, then we checked out some books from the library for further reading.

Writing and Grammar

We didn’t focus too heavily on writing or grammar this year because my daughter was reluctant to write, so I didn’t push it. We wrote letters to family members and did a pop-up book project. I had ordered Evan-Moor’s Grammar and Punctuation for grade 1.

My daughter would balk at every page.

It was writing. I wasn’t surprised.

I ended up looking at the topics on the worksheets and covering them in a different way.

We discussed proper capitalization and punctuation when she wrote letters to her cousins. I would talk about grammar rules when we read a book, etc.

Sometimes I would pull out a worksheet if it had minimal writing or was something I thought she would like.

I really like the book. It’s a nice, easy approach to grammar. If your child doesn’t mind writing a little bit (like a few words per page), then I highly recommend it for your first-grade language arts curriculum.

My daughter also had an interest in learning cursive, but I knew she wasn’t quite ready. I found this dry erase cursive book and it was perfect! She could easily go through and trace the letters, then practice on her own. It goes through all the letters and then has a few pages of words to practice as well. It’s a perfect start to cursive. I love that it’s dry erase, so she could do it as much as she wanted.

Art

I used Pinterest a lot for art. We basically did a lot of crafts. A LOT of crafts. So many crafts that my daughter can get on Pinterest and type in ‘kid crafts’ and find something she wants to make.

Around January I found Abeka’s Art Project books. I thought book 2 looked perfect for first-grade art projects. This book is a great value and a huge time-saver. Its pages are a thick, almost card-stock feel and everything you need for the projects is in the book.

They even have projects for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, and lots of other holidays. The projects are high-quality, but also easy enough that my daughter could do a lot of it all by herself.

Science

We covered life science in our first-grade homeschool curriculum. And it was a very relaxed life science study. We covered animals, the human body, and plants. As a home base, we would read the Usborne Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Natural World.

The illustrated encyclopedia is very similar to the Book of World History in that every page is a new topic. So, you can read a page about whales, bears, horses, etc. There are more general pages for say, mammals, and then individual pages on specific types of mammals. It has great illustrations and just enough information to suit a first look.

It covers all of life science. There are pages for plants, as well as animals.

I would choose an animal for the week. We read about it in the illustrated encyclopedia, then checked out a few additional books from the library.

When we started covering the human body in our first-grade homeschool curriculum, I knew I wanted to make it as interactive, yet simple as I could. I found this book at a used book store and it was AWESOME!

You start by tracing a life-size outline of your child. This book then provides life-sized organs for your child to color, cut out, and paste onto their “body”. Each page also comes with a little bit of information about that particular body part.

This was great. We would just do a new body part every few days and it was a great introduction to their organs, muscles, etc. And my two-year-old could participate, too. Although, her organs might have been slightly out of place!

Even though we were officially covering life science, I did through in the occasional science experiment just for fun. Mostly I looked on Pinterest for something like “easy science experiments for kids” and then found something that looked relatively simple and fun. We did a few from this site. They have a lot of good, simple experiments.

Keep it Simple and Relaxed

First grade is still such an early phase in the learning process. A lot of our time was spent playing. A lot. Play is so important for children and it’s learning in and of itself.

We used these first-grade homeschool curriculum picks to supplement my daughter’s playtime and satisfy her natural curiosity.

I would encourage you to do school activities when your child is interested and let him or her play when they are interested, too.

I hope these curriculum picks help you satisfy your child’s natural curiosity and lets you encourage their love of learning as you watch them grow.

Be sure to save this article for later, so you can refer to it when you are selecting your first-grade homeschool curriculum.

The post First Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks appeared first on The Busy Mom Club.

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Inside: Are you considering homeschooling, but you are worried that your children won’t get enough socialization? Here is why you don’t need to worry!

How do you make sure your homeschooled kids get enough socialization?

It’s one of the most frequently asked questions that homeschool moms get. I can understand why. When a child goes to a traditional school, they are around their peers all day long every day. So, people assume they are getting great practice when it comes to their social skills.

But, is that really the case?

What is Socialization?

Let’s talk about what socialization is in the first place. Merriam-Webster defines socialization like this:

a: the process beginning during childhood by which individuals acquire the values, habits, and attitudes of a society

b: social interaction with others

c: exposure of a young domestic animal (such as a kitten or puppy [or a kid?]) to a variety of people, animals, and situations to minimize fear and aggression and promote friendliness

Socialization is the process of learning how to navigate the world you live in and successfully interact with those around you.

Acquiring Values, Habits, and Attitudes

Let’s look at definition a:

acquiring the values, habits, and attitudes of a society. When a child is in school, they learn habits, attitudes, and values from their peers and teachers during the day. Now, I will just on the record as saying that most teachers are amazing. Especially elementary teachers. I used to be a high school teacher and my hat is off to those amazing individuals who choose to spend their days with the little ones!

It’s just that my girls are young and their minds are impressionable and I believe that as a parent it is my responsibility to screen what she is exposed to as she develops her “values, habits, and attitudes.”

But, I’m not sure I want my child developing the values, attitudes, and habits of their peers in elementary school. Today, with the internet and phones and the language kids hear on the TV. There is just so much I want to delay when it comes to exposing my girls to the world.

Don’t freak out and think “ok, she’s one of those uber-protective moms who doesn’t let her kids out of the house.” Definitely not the case. It’s just that my girls are young and their minds are impressionable and I believe that as a parent it is my responsibility to screen what she is exposed to as she develops her “values, habits, and attitudes.”

A friend of mine whose children go to public school was telling me a story about her son (first grade) riding the bus home. One night she and her husband asked him how the bus ride was and if he heard any bad words.

Of course he did, it’s the bus.

It was the F-word.

Of course it was the F-word, it’s the bus!

Have my girls heard the F-word? I’m sure they have. I’m just not sure they need to hear it every day on the bus.

As a homeschooling family, my husband and I are in charge of the things our girls hear and see. We try to give them broad exposure to the world. Different cultures, different languages, diverse people an experiences. But, at ages 7,5, and 3, we try to do it in a PG (let’s be realistic, ok, I’m not sure G even exists anymore) manner.

As homeschooled kids, their “society” is our family, so they acquire the habits, values, and attitudes of our family. That’s ok with me. I’m proud of our family.

One benefit of homeschooling is that children to learn to socialize with people of different age groups on a regular basis.
Social Interaction with Others

Ok, definition b: social interaction with others.

This is what most people mean when they ask about homeschool socialization.

More and more it seems we are seeing horror stories on the news of homeschooling families across the country who hid or imprisoned their children. Let’s just be clear – this is not the majority of homeschooling families! These are monsters who abused the privilege of homeschooling as a way to abuse their children.

Now, do homeschooled kids spend more time at home with their families than their public school peers? Of course they do. Homeschooled kids spend anywhere between 20-24 hours with their families. Public school kids spend between 15-17 hours with their families. Those are totally just estimates by me taking into account bus rides and any activities that homeschooled kids or public schooled kids might do.

But, just because homeschool families are spending their time together, doesn’t mean we aren’t spending time with other people during that time. For example, my kids go grocery shopping with me and talk to people there. I go to a weekly bible study and the kids go to childcare with other kids their age. We attend a homeschool co-op where they have a class with kids in their same grade level. We have play dates. My kids do dance and sports.

Here are some great ways to get social interaction for your homeschooled kids:

  • playdates
  • dance class
  • sports teams
  • theater class
  • field trips
  • homeschool co-ops
  • public school sports programs (homeschooled kids can participate in some districts, so check your local schools)
  • music lessons
  • art class
  • summer camps
  • volunteering
  • church youth groups
  • books clubs
  • library groups/activities
Benefits of Homeschool Socialization

#1 We don’t have to worry about “socialization exhaustion.”

I actually find that my kids enjoy being home because all of that interaction can be exhausting for young minds.

When my oldest was a toddler and I was still working, every evening would be awful. She was so cranky and I couldn’t figure out why. But, as I’ve read about it, I think it’s common.

She was so exhausted from being at daycare all day, that she was letting it all out at home, where she felt safe. If I had a nickel for every time I heard a mom say something like “his teacher says he’s a perfect student, but when he comes home he is just cranky”.

I think it’s very common.

Kids use all their energy to “be good” in school and then have to let loose when they get home because they know Mom will love them anyway.

We don’t have that problem with homeschooling. My kids are free to take breaks and play as needed. I’m not saying we never have tantrums because my kids can throw tantrums with the best of them. I’m just saying that we don’t usually have tantrums from “being good” all day.

#2: More frequent interaction with a wider variety of ages

As homeschooled children, my girls are exposed to lots of age groups in most of our social activities.

At bible study, they have play time with all the kids, toddlers to grade school. On homeschool co-op field trips it isn’t just kids their age – it’s entire families. Homeschooled children have more opportunities to interact with different generations of people on a regular basis.

I think learning this skill of interacting with people of all ages is very valuable. When they grow up, they won’t be interacting with a group of people their own age. They will be working and interacting with people of all ages. So, homeschool socialization is a much more realistic way to learn socialization skills.

#3: Homeschooled kids get exposed to much less bullying

All kids need to learn to take criticism and keep rolling. They need to learn that everyone is not nice and some people do mean things.

I just don’t think they need to learn it in elementary school. Or even middle school.

Kids have enough going on in their rapidly developing minds without throwing bullying, teasing, and shaming into the mix, too.

Homeschooled children are largely spared exposure to bullying and shaming. My girls can be mean to each other just like every other set of siblings, but it doesn’t cross the line to bullying.

I love being able to help my girls avoid those harsh situations until their minds and confidence are better prepared to handle it.

#4: Homeschooled kids might not be up on pop culture

My oldest is seven and she doesn’t think she needs a cell phone. Why? Because none of her friends have cell phones. Almost 40% of third graders have cell phones. What?!

At seven or 10, or even 13, most children do not know what they should and shouldn’t be looking at online. Or who they should or shouldn’t be talking to!

Homeschool children may be less knowledgeable than their public school peers on all things pop culture, youtube, and sexting and I am totally fine with that!

IF you are reading this article, then you are probably a concerned and involved parent. Please don’t’ worry about homeschool socialization – your kids will be just fine.

I have full confidence that my girls will grow up to be well-rounded, compassionate women who can maneuver any social situation. But, there’s no need to rush into it. And homeschooling lets them experience all the things as they are ready for them and not before.

The post Homeschool Socialization: Do I Need to Worry? appeared first on Homeschooling My Girls.

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Inside: Are you considering homeschooling, but you are worried that your children won’t get enough socialization? Here is why you don’t need to worry!

How do you make sure your homeschooled kids get enough socialization?

It’s one of the most frequently asked questions that homeschool moms get. I can understand why. When a child goes to a traditional school, they are around their peers all day long every day. So, people assume they are getting great practice when it comes to their social skills.

But, is that really the case?

What is Socialization?

Let’s talk about what socialization is in the first place. Merriam-Webster defines socialization like this:

a: the process beginning during childhood by which individuals acquire the values, habits, and attitudes of a society

b: social interaction with others

c: exposure of a young domestic animal (such as a kitten or puppy [or a kid?]) to a variety of people, animals, and situations to minimize fear and aggression and promote friendliness

Socialization is the process of learning how to navigate the world you live in and successfully interact with those around you.

Acquiring Values, Habits, and Attitudes

Let’s look at definition a:

acquiring the values, habits, and attitudes of a society. When a child is in school, they learn habits, attitudes, and values from their peers and teachers during the day. Now, I will just on the record as saying that most teachers are amazing. Especially elementary teachers. I used to be a high school teacher and my hat is off to those amazing individuals who choose to spend their days with the little ones!

It’s just that my girls are young and their minds are impressionable and I believe that as a parent it is my responsibility to screen what she is exposed to as she develops her “values, habits, and attitudes.”

But, I’m not sure I want my child developing the values, attitudes, and habits of their peers in elementary school. Today, with the internet and phones and the language kids hear on the TV. There is just so much I want to delay when it comes to exposing my girls to the world.

Don’t freak out and think “ok, she’s one of those uber-protective moms who doesn’t let her kids out of the house.” Definitely not the case. It’s just that my girls are young and their minds are impressionable and I believe that as a parent it is my responsibility to screen what she is exposed to as she develops her “values, habits, and attitudes.”

A friend of mine whose children go to public school was telling me a story about her son (first grade) riding the bus home. One night she and her husband asked him how the bus ride was and if he heard any bad words.

Of course he did, it’s the bus.

It was the F-word.

Of course it was the F-word, it’s the bus!

Have my girls heard the F-word? I’m sure they have. I’m just not sure they need to hear it every day on the bus.

As a homeschooling family, my husband and I are in charge of the things our girls hear and see. We try to give them broad exposure to the world. Different cultures, different languages, diverse people an experiences. But, at ages 7,5, and 3, we try to do it in a PG (let’s be realistic, ok, I’m not sure G even exists anymore) manner.

As homeschooled kids, their “society” is our family, so they acquire the habits, values, and attitudes of our family. That’s ok with me. I’m proud of our family.

One benefit of homeschooling is that children to learn to socialize with people of different age groups on a regular basis.
Social Interaction with Others

Ok, definition b: social interaction with others.

This is what most people mean when they ask about homeschool socialization.

More and more it seems we are seeing horror stories on the news of homeschooling families across the country who hid or imprisoned their children. Let’s just be clear – this is not the majority of homeschooling families! These are monsters who abused the privilege of homeschooling as a way to abuse their children.

Now, do homeschooled kids spend more time at home with their families than their public school peers? Of course they do. Homeschooled kids spend anywhere between 20-24 hours with their families. Public school kids spend between 15-17 hours with their families. Those are totally just estimates by me taking into account bus rides and any activities that homeschooled kids or public schooled kids might do.

But, just because homeschool families are spending their time together, doesn’t mean we aren’t spending time with other people during that time. For example, my kids go grocery shopping with me and talk to people there. I go to a weekly bible study and the kids go to childcare with other kids their age. We attend a homeschool co-op where they have a class with kids in their same grade level. We have play dates. My kids do dance and sports.

Here are some great ways to get social interaction for your homeschooled kids:

  • playdates
  • dance class
  • sports teams
  • theater class
  • field trips
  • homeschool co-ops
  • public school sports programs (homeschooled kids can participate in some districts, so check your local schools)
  • music lessons
  • art class
  • summer camps
  • volunteering
  • church youth groups
  • books clubs
  • library groups/activities
Benefits of Homeschool Socialization

#1 We don’t have to worry about “socialization exhaustion.”

I actually find that my kids enjoy being home because all of that interaction can be exhausting for young minds.

When my oldest was a toddler and I was still working, every evening would be awful. She was so cranky and I couldn’t figure out why. But, as I’ve read about it, I think it’s common.

She was so exhausted from being at daycare all day, that she was letting it all out at home, where she felt safe. If I had a nickel for every time I heard a mom say something like “his teacher says he’s a perfect student, but when he comes home he is just cranky”.

I think it’s very common.

Kids use all their energy to “be good” in school and then have to let loose when they get home because they know Mom will love them anyway.

We don’t have that problem with homeschooling. My kids are free to take breaks and play as needed. I’m not saying we never have tantrums because my kids can throw tantrums with the best of them. I’m just saying that we don’t usually have tantrums from “being good” all day.

#2: More frequent interaction with a wider variety of ages

As homeschooled children, my girls are exposed to lots of age groups in most of our social activities.

At bible study, they have play time with all the kids, toddlers to grade school. On homeschool co-op field trips it isn’t just kids their age – it’s entire families. Homeschooled children have more opportunities to interact with different generations of people on a regular basis.

I think learning this skill of interacting with people of all ages is very valuable. When they grow up, they won’t be interacting with a group of people their own age. They will be working and interacting with people of all ages. So, homeschool socialization is a much more realistic way to learn socialization skills.

#3: Homeschooled kids get exposed to much less bullying

All kids need to learn to take criticism and keep rolling. They need to learn that everyone is not nice and some people do mean things.

I just don’t think they need to learn it in elementary school. Or even middle school.

Kids have enough going on in their rapidly developing minds without throwing bullying, teasing, and shaming into the mix, too.

Homeschooled children are largely spared exposure to bullying and shaming. My girls can be mean to each other just like every other set of siblings, but it doesn’t cross the line to bullying.

I love being able to help my girls avoid those harsh situations until their minds and confidence are better prepared to handle it.

#4: Homeschooled kids might not be up on pop culture

My oldest is seven and she doesn’t think she needs a cell phone. Why? Because none of her friends have cell phones. Almost 40% of third graders have cell phones. What?!

At seven or 10, or even 13, most children do not know what they should and shouldn’t be looking at online. Or who they should or shouldn’t be talking to!

Homeschool children may be less knowledgeable than their public school peers on all things pop culture, youtube, and sexting and I am totally fine with that!

IF you are reading this article, then you are probably a concerned and involved parent. Please don’t’ worry about homeschool socialization – your kids will be just fine.

I have full confidence that my girls will grow up to be well-rounded, compassionate women who can maneuver any social situation. But, there’s no need to rush into it. And homeschooling lets them experience all the things as they are ready for them and not before.

The post Homeschool Socialization: Do I Need to Worry? appeared first on The Busy Mom Club.

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I am a lover of books, so I’d like to share my great big list of the best homeschooling books. Some of these I have read and some are waiting their turn in line. I need to learn to speed read!

Homeschooling books are a great way to get inspired, learn about different homeschooling methods and philosophies, or just find some encouragement on those days when you feel like nothing has gone right.

You can click on any of the images for a more detailed look at the book. I will update this list as I find more great homeschooling books, so be sure to pin it to refer back to later!

The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise

Susan Wise Bauer and her Daughter, Jessie do an amazing job of laying out the concept of a classical education in The Well-Trained Mind. This was one of the first homeschooling books I read and it took away a lot of the “I don’t know what to teach” anxiety.

The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart

If you want your child to have an “exciting, even enchanting experience” in homeschooling, then you should read this book. Julie gives inspiration and advice from her experience homeschooling her five children (now all grown). This book will inspire you to model life long learning for your children.

The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie

If you think you should only read aloud to your children until they can read on their own, then this book will convince you otherwise! Sarah does a great job of laying out the benefits of reading aloud as a family even as your children grow into middle and high schoolers.

Relaxed Homeschooling by Christine Owens

Relaxed Homeschooling is a “step-by-step guide that will teach you how to inspire learning at home”. I mean, what homeschool mom doesn’t want that?! Our homeschool is pretty relaxed, so I want to give this a read to get some ideas that would fit well with our family. The table of contents already has me excited! Some chapter titles include candy floss, the hidden secret of books, how to pick an awesome book, to watch or not to watch, and what toys are worth it. Those all really caught my attention.

The 5 Hour School Week by Aaron and Kaleena Amuchastegui

The 5 House School Week is an inspiring read for the homeschool mom who is looking to use the world as her classroom. This book talks about using experiences for education and getting your children engaged. The authors took their kids out of school to travel the world, so you can expect practical tips on integrating learning with real-life experiences. My husband and I want to eventually travel more, so this is on my short list!

Homeschooling 101 by Erica Arndt

Homeschooling 101 is a great book if you are just embarking on your homeschooling journey or if you need a little pick-me-up. Erica walks you through steps like choosing a curriculum, planning lessons, organizing your day, and staying on schedule. Erica is also the owner of Confessions of a Homeschooler, a great blog for homeschoolers.

The Unhurried Homeschooler by Durenda Wilson

One of the reasons we decided to homeschool was the increasing pace of hurrying early education. This book really interests me because it reassures me that it’s OK to take a more relaxed, slower-paced approach to learning “all the things”. Plus, it’s short, so my busy schedule appreciates that!

Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp

Finally, an organized look at what our children need to know every year. If you struggle with “am I teaching enough” syndrome, then please pick up a copy of this book! Rebecca goes, literally, year by year starting with kindergarten and discusses every topic and how to cover it in that year. She even covers art, music, foreign languages, history, science, speaking, and so much more.

Homeschool Adventures by Melissa Calapp

The first part of this book talks about the advantages of using field trips extensively during homeschooling. It’s something I want to do, but never seem to have the time. I’m hoping this book can inspire me to make the change. The second part of this book is a huge list of suggestions for field trips. Yes, please!

Minimalist Homeschooling by Zara Fagen

We are not minimalists by any stretch of the word. I do feel like less can be more when it comes to homeschool, though. And, that “maximize learning and minimize stress” in the subtitle really got my attention! Dr. Fagen even offers worksheets to help you trip down your homeschooling schedule and get back to what’s most important for your family.

102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy

Cathy Duffy is very well-known for her in-depth product and curriculum reviews. I haven’t read this book and I do wonder about its relevance now that she has a website and there are so many reviews and previews available online, but I know several veteran homeschoolers who still use and refer to this book regularly, so it may be worth adding a copy to your homeschooling library.

Homeschoolers Are Not Hermits by Kathy Oaks

The subtitle is “a practical guide to raising smart, confident, and socially connected kids.” I mean, that’s what we all want, right?! Kathy hits on a lot of the big questions new homeschoolers have: how do I get started, is it expensive, what about socialization, etc. Kathy also does a great job of listing resources both online and physical books at the end of each section, which is always helpful!

The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas by Linda Dobson

At over 300 pages, this is a treasure of information! Linda talks about everything from getting started and feeling confident in your homeschooling to listing activities and science experiments you can do at home with your children. The portion on the difference between “school mind” and “education mind” is very insightful.

Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

Could you use a little more peace in your homeschool? I know I could. Teaching from Rest is a great read for the type-A Christian mom (hello!) who needs a reminder that she is not in charge, God is. Sarah’s book is such a great reminder about what is important and how to ‘teach from a position of rest’ that we all need in our hectic homeschool lives.

The Well-Adjusted Child by Rachel Gathercole

Ahh, socialization. What homeschool mom doesn’t worry about it? I mean, even if you say you don’t worry about it, I would bet money that you are still consciously aware of making sure your children don’t turn into hermits. Rachel discusses what is true socialization and make the case that homeschooling is the best way to achieve that. If you have people in your family who are homeschooling naysayers, this would be a good book to pick up to show them the advantages homeschooling can offer.

How We Teach by Jimmie Lanley (iHomeschool Network)

This is a great book if you are just getting started or struggling with your current homeschool method and considering a change. A bunch of homeschool moms share what homeschool in their house really looks like. It is more like a reference book on homeschooling methods than a “cover to cover” read. You will see what Charlotte Mason looks like or maybe classical education in the high school years. Does unschooling interest you? Unschooling moms describe their days, too. The book is divided by age groups, so you can skip to see whatever interests you most.

Managers of Their Homes by Steven Maxwell

This is almost 200 pages on scheduling! If you struggle with consistency or maintaining your homeschool schedule and keeping up with housework, then this would be a great read. It’s very detailed, gives tons of schedule examples, and is very practical.

How to Get Your Child off the Refrigerator and on to Learning by Carol Barnier

Your child doesn’t have to have ADHD in order for you to benefit from this book. Carol started researching ways to help her son, who does have ADHD, but I don’t know a parent who doesn’t have a child at some point is just plain fidgety. This book gives great tips on getting them focused on learning at different stages.

Called Home by Karen DeBeus

This book is for any Christian homeschool mom who needs a little encouragement. Karen brings her experience as a homeschool mom to show us that God will provide everything we need to properly educate our children – even enough patience. I found this little book while I was researching for this post and I can’t wait to get it and her previous book, Simply Homeschool.

Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst

While not technically a homeschooling book, most homeschool moms can related to the need to handle strong emotions and deal with conflict resolution in our important relationships. Please tell me that it isn’t just me who argues with my kids about school! Lysa will show you how to be honest, yet kind when someone offends. Sounds like something we could all benefit from!

12 Homeschool Myths Debunked by Kent Larson

If you have a family member who is skeptical of your decision to homeschool your children or if you are just starting out and have some doubts about whether you can do it, this is a great book to pick up. Kent was a skeptical homeschool spouse himself, but when he started researching homeschooling statistics about academic success and socialization….he turned into a huge proponent of homeschooling!

Free Range Learning by Laura Grace Weldon

This book is a must read for every parent and teacher. If you are considering taking a more relaxed approach to your homeschool of if you feel like it needs to be very structured and look like a regular classroom, please read this book. Laura does a fantastic job of making the case for a slower-paced, more relaxed learning environment for children.

Books to Build On by John Holdren and E.D. Hirsch

If you find yourself struggling to good books to read for your various topics you want to cover, then this might be a good book to pick up. It is a bit old, but good books are still good books ten years later, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. This is written by the Core Knowledge folks, which I find to be pretty solid. They give great lists, by topic and grade level, of books to read with your children (or have them read as they get older).

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Inside: Thinking of homeschooling? Maybe you have decided to homeschool and now you need to know what to do next to get started. Here is the ultimate guidebook to get started in homeschooling.

When I first decided that I wanted to get started in homeschooling for my girls, I had no idea where to start. All of a sudden, it seemed like homeschool people were everywhere. Maybe I just didn’t notice it before because homeschooling wasn’t on my radar. But, now I know, we are all over the place and we love to talk about homeschooling!

So, maybe you are in the same boat – thinking of homeschooling, but not sure how to get started. Well, never fear, let me be one of those ladies who was everywhere for me.

Let’s talk about the first things you should do to get started in homeschooling.

First up: the boring legal side of things.

What Are the Homeschool Laws Where I Live?

The good news: homeschooling is legal in every state in the US.

The bad news: homeschooling laws are different in every state in the US!

When I was starting out on our homeschool journey, I was so worried that I would mess up the paperwork side somehow and ruin my children’s educational careers. Thanks to the internet, that didn’t happen and I was able to easily figure out what I needed to do for our state.

Finding the laws for homeschooling in your state can be overwhelming. Don’t worry. HSDLA has your back!

The Home School Legal Defense Association(HSLDA) is a fantastic resource for homeschoolers. Their website makes it so easy to find out what the homeschool laws are for each state and how to meet the requirements for your state. State requirements for homeschooling vary a lot from state to state. For example, Texas only requires that you teach a few core subjects and use a written curriculum. In New York, on the other hand, you have to provide a “written narrative evaluation” of your child or take a standardized test every year. And you have to file quarterly reports. So, it just depends on where you live. Your best bet is to get the official requirements from HSLDA or your state’s department of education website.

HSLD also provides legal help for members, should the need ever arise, and the membership is very reasonable. I highly recommend it.

Aside from offering legal help when needed, HSLDA provides an enormous amount of information on their website. Everything from state requirements, articles about choosing curriculum, what to do if you get called for jury duty, tips of homeschooling high school, and so much more. It’s really a treasure chest of info for homeschooling. You can check it out here.

Now that we have the legal matter all sorted..on to the fun stuff!

The Fun Kind of Research

I’m guessing that if you are considering homeschooling your child(ren), then you are pretty hands-on and interested in their education. So, the next step in getting started in homeschooling is to do some research into just how the heck you do this homeschool thing anyway.

Maybe that’s how you landed here. If so, great! You’ll find lots of resources here to get you started.

You might find some books to read on homeschooling, listen to some podcasts, or join a Facebook group. Whatever you do, this is a time to jump in and learn about homeschooling. Here are some resources to get you started:

The Great Big List of Homeschooling Books

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschool Podcasts

A Great List of Homeschool Facebook Groups You Can Join

Homeschool Bloggers to Check Out

How does your child learn?

Once you’ve decided on the subjects and topics you are going to cover, you need to understand how best your child learns. There are two main reasons to do this:

First, If your child is a kinesthetic learner and you choose a curriculum that requires her to sit and do worksheets, she will hate it. And you will hate it. And there will be lots of arguing.

I’m not saying you will never do worksheets in your homeschool, but you need to look at how your child is comfortable learning. Do you have a super active boy who can’t sit still for long? Then, you might want to look for a curriculum that is very hands-on.

Second, you want your child to have a positive experience in school. Especially if they are young, these are the years when they are forming their opinions about learning and education. You want to give them positive building blocks for a strong learning foundation later on.

Here are some great posts about the different learning styles to get you started:

Choosing the Right Homeschool Model

Homeschool.com’s List of Homeschooling Methods

Homeschool Methods according to Pam Barnhill

What homeschool materials do I use to teach?

Warning! Warning! Black hole approaching!!

This is one of my favorite things to do and also something I dread. I LOVE looking at homeschool curriculum because there is so much to choose from and I get so excited for all the cool things my kids and I can learn together.

I dread it because there is so much to choose from and I get so excited for all the cools things that I just want to buy them all!

This is me when I get to look through homeschool curriculum. It really could be a full-time job, but it’s so fun!

When you are just getting started in homeschooling, I suggest browsing through a few curricula and then just choose one. Or, if you are doing a mixed approach, which is what I usually do, then just pick whatever you are going to use for each subject. Nothing is going to be perfect! There are so many great programs to choose from and you can always add or change later.

One warning. When it comes to reading/phonics and math, I would try to find a program early and stick with it at least until later elementary school. Each sequence is a little different, so if you change in 3rd grade, you might miss something that your new homeschool curriculum covered in 2nd grade, but your old one hadn’t covered yet. It’s not a super huge deal, but something to be aware of.

Here are some homeschool curriculum websites and blog posts to get you started:

huge list of companies and resources based on fellow homeschooler’s votes

Timberdoodle (great for hands-on or supplementing)

Abeka (Christian-based complete curriculum)

Alpha Omega Publishing (There are a few different options. We use Horizons for math.)

MasterBooks (a very gentle, Charlotte Mason based Christian curriculum)

Sonlight (Christian-based complete curriculum)

The Critical Thinking Co.

Evan-Moor (fantastic workbooks for complete curriculum or add-ons. We use and love these for a few subjects.)

Bookshark (secular complete curriculum)

Moving Beyond the Page (Awesome secular curriculum, I’m am actually looking into using this.)

Here is a great list of secular homeschool options from Brenda at Schooling a Monkey.

Homeschool schedule vs. routine

As you are doing your research on how to get started in homeschooling, I’m going to bet that you come across “homeschool schedules” more than once. Or, maybe you find yourself wondering “how do I fit all this learning into each day?”. There are generally two schools of thought: homeschool schedules and homeschool routines.

What’s the difference?

A homeschool schedule is a schedule for the day broken down into windows of time. For example, you might eat breakfast and do chores from 8:00 to 9:00, then morning basket and “everyone” subjects on the couch from 9:00 to 9:45, and so on.

A homeschool routine is a sequence of events without those time windows attached. This is what we follow in our house. I do not pre-determine how long we will spend on any one subject. It’s one of the reasons we homeschool in the first place. I want to be able to spend as little or as much time on a subject as we need to.

Even if your schedule is “flexible”, there is something that happens subconsciously when you get out of sync with your homeschool schedule’s time windows. Somehow I feel like my day wasn’t as productive or it feels more chaotic.

With a homeschool routine, there are no time windows, so we can just mosey along at our won pace.

If you want to check out some examples of homeschool routines, here are a couple of resources:

Homeschooling with a Routine Instead of a Schedule

A Comparison Between Homeschool Schedules and Routines

Homeschool families are better together

One of the most important things you can do as a new homeschooling family is to find other homeschooling families!

My kids like to be around other kids, so I create opportunities for them to experience that. I realize that a lot of school time is spent quietly sitting and listening, but my kids do miss out on recess and field trips. I do my best to provide those types of opportunities frequently in our homeschool.

We belong to a homeschool co-op that meets nine times in the Fall and eight times in the Spring. The girls get to wear backpacks, walk to class, and sit with their friends. They love it! If your schedule allows and there is one in your area, I highly recommend joining a homeschool coop.

Our homeschool co-op also organizes a ton of field trips during the year. We have gone to plays and the ballet, a pumpkin patch, the aquarium, children’s museum, and lots more. Finding a local homeschooling group is a great resource that I can’t say enough about.

I also love it because it has given me the opportunity to meet other homeschool moms in my area. We regularly get together with our homeschool friends. And, they can have play dates during the school day, too!

Here is a user-friendly map to help you find local homeschool groups in your area.

I am willing to bet that there are more homeschooling people in your area than you realize. We really are everywhere.

Should I Worry about Homeschool Socialization?

This is probably the most frequently asked question when it comes to getting started in homeschooling. A lot of people who don’t homeschool assume your child needs daily interaction in school to grow up “normal”.

Well, no worries because that is so not the case! If you are homeschooling properly (which, you obviously will be since you are doing so much awesome research!), then your kiddos will get plenty of socialization.

I would even venture to say they’ll get better socialization by homeschooling.

You don’t have to worry about bullying as much.

There isn’t as much exposure to the sexuality of pop culture and promiscuous role models. I’m certainly not an advocate of keeping your kids in a bubble, but I do think it’s OK to shelter them from certain things until their minds are developed enough to handle it properly.

There are tons of opportunities to get out and talk to other people and kids when you homeschool. Some ideas are a homeschool co-op, playdates, sports teams, and music lessons. But, really, the list is endless.

And another benefit of homeschooling socialization is your kids will interact with a variety of age groups on a regular basis. In traditional schooling, kids mostly interact with kids their same age. That’s not always to the benefit of the kids.

Homeschooling is a lot like the “good ol’ days” of the one-room schoolhouse. And you don’t hear people saying that was bad!

Read more about homeschool socialization: Homeschool Socialization

The post How to Get Started in Homeschooling: The Essential Guide appeared first on The Busy Mom Club.

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When we decided that we were going to homeschool our girls, I was so excited! I kept thinking about our homeschool schedule and what it would look like and let me tell you……it was awesome!

The girls had their workbooks and loved them. We did fun projects all the time. The house was clean and the girls never complained about doing their work. I mean…who wouldn’t want to homeschool?! It’s so fun!

After the first time my then kindergartner threw a total screaming fit and ran away from the homeschool area (read: the bar in our kitchen), I knew a typical homeschool day might not look quite like I had envisioned it.

And that got me thinking…how many other homeschool moms have grand visions of what homeschooling will be like and then are totally disappointed when it doesn’t actually work out like that? Is it like Facebook where everyone thinks that everyone else’s life is always that perfect and fun?!

Is it like Facebook where everyone thinks that everyone else’s life is always that perfect and fun?!

Gosh, I hope that isn’t the case! Are you worried that your homeschooling schedule isn’t living up to what everyone else is doing and you’re depriving your children of a great experience? Well, that’s why I’m going to share what a typical homeschool day looks like in our family! This should be fun.

For reference, we are currently homeschooling 1st/2nd grade, kindergarten, and then there’s a toddler running around.

No Worms for These Birds

We do not set alarms in our house unless we have to be somewhere specific early in the morning. Well, my husband does because he works outside the home, but the girls and I do not.

Waking up naturally is one of the reasons we decided to homeschool in the first place. When I worked as a teacher, I had to be at work by 7:50. And It was a 25-minute drive and I had to drop our daughter (only had one then) off at daycare before that.

We love our low-key mornings. Have an easy start to our day gets us off on the right foot.

Every morning was awful. I had to scoop her out of bed. She hated that. I had to put her in the car. Hated that, too. She was tired and grumpy when I picked her up. Her daycare provider was amazing…she was just tired from getting up early every morning and being rushed into her day.

So, we don’t set alarms. Sometimes the girls get up at 7:30 and sometimes it’s 9:30. I just heard some footsteps coming and it is 7:15, but I’m pretty sure it’s my oldest and she’s excited about VBS this morning.

We generally do a little lap snuggling when they first wake up. I’m usually at my computer working because I’ve found the most productive time to work is before the kids wake up (ground breaking, I know!)

Then, sometimes it’s breakfast and sometimes it’s play. I unload the dishwasher and might lay out a couple of worksheets at the girls’ seats (2nd grade and K) in hopes that they’re like “oooo, a worksheet, let me do it right now!” Sometimes they actually are like that, so I keep doing it.

When they get hungry I make breakfast and they generally do something at the bar while they wait. It might be reading a book for my oldest, playing (which always counts at this age) for my kindergartner, or coloring.

Our math is not what I would consider classical education. We use Horizons Math from Alpha Omega and I really like it. It’s just a workbook, but it’s a gentle progression, easy to skip some exercises if we don’t need any more of a certain topic, and it’s bright and colorful, which the girls love. It also has short lessons with a lot of variety every day.

Couch Time? Maybe

So, after breakfast, our typical homeschool day includes either playing more(while I do some housework), going to run errands, or reading on the couch. We might read from the Usborne Book of World History or the Usborne Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Natural World. Both are suggested in The Well-Trained Mind and both are excellent books to guide your elementary study of history and life science. We do follow the history and science schedule recommendations in The Well-Trained Mind and it’s working really well for us. You can read more about those recommendations here.

If we go run errands like the grocery store or something, then I will have my Kindergartner help get stuff from the shelves and my 2nd grader cross items off the list. This gives her great practice reading sloppy handwriting (yay for real-world skills!). I mostly try to keep the toddler in the cart seat, but don’t they just always want to “be big, too” and get out?! Then, she tries to help me push the cart and gets mad at me when I help her steer. Cue yelling in the grocery aisle (her, not me).

So, so far we’ve gotten some math and maybe history or science and some reading time.

All the Things

Since the girls are still so young, we are very flexible with our schedule each day. We do also study language arts, music (recorder), science experiments, and art. Lots and lots of art. We do a lot of crafts, but I’ve also started teaching actually art techniques to the girls and they really like that. Here are some of the resources we use and love.

I generally wrap up any notion of homeschooling after lunch. The girls might finish a worksheet from the morning or do a craft or (occasionally) a science experiment, but generally the afternoons are just playing and downtime.

The littlest is still napping sometimes, so I will sometimes let the girls watch a show from our homeschool profile on Netflix while I put her down for a nap. It’s usually some kind of nature documentary. Or they go play outside.

Then, we might play a game while J naps. Or maybe they watch TV the whole time and scroll on my phone. I mean, it just depends on the day, people!

The girls do like to help me get dinner ready, so we’ve been doing that lately in the afternoons. Then, when Daddy comes home it’s family time.

Who Moved My Perfect Homeschool Day?

Our typical homeschool schedule isn’t quite how I imagined it, but it works for us.

For each year, I pick out two or three big things I want each girl to focus on. Then, the rest of the stuff just kind of falls where it may.

For example, I want my kindergartner to know her numbers to 100, all the letter sounds, a few addition facts, and maybe a few sight words. So, if she doesn’t learn the water cycle, I’m OK with that. We’ll pick it up later.

My second grader, I want her to memorize all her addition and subtraction facts to 20 and improve her spelling. She picks things up quickly (except her math facts and spelling), so I’m not overly concerned about the rest. She’s naturally above the pack in most things, so she’ll get everything she needs with no issue.

My almost three-year-old, I’d like to her to know left and right, count to ten, and learn some of her letters (maybe). Really, if she just counts to ten, that’s fine, too.

There’s Still Time

I’ve learned that our typical homeschooling schedule for first grade and kindergarten are not going to look like the grand designs that I had in my head. And that’s OK.

As the girls get older, we will incorporate more subjects and do more in-depth studies. but, for now, their stamina just isn’t there. So, we play a lot.

If you have young children and you are worried that you’re not doing enough in your homeschool schedule, don’t worry. You’re doing great. You can always fill in the gaps next year.

Please share this post, so other moms can realize that they are doing enough, too!

The post A Day in the Life of Our Relaxed Classical Homeschool appeared first on The Busy Mom Club.

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As homeschool moms, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the “we have to get the textbooks done!” mentality that we can forget about all the other ways to incorporate learning into our homeschool day.

I decided to compile a list of “non-worksheet” homeschool activities to round out your homeschool day. This list was as much for me as it is for you because I get stuck in the same rut! But, some of the best learning is done and the best memories are made when we put down the text books and have some real fun! Let’s go!

1 Cook

2 Clean

3 Sew

4 Draw

5 Watch a documentary

6 Do a Lego challenge

7 Complete a STEM Challenge

8 Paint

9 Take a walk

10 Visit a playground

11 Read a book

12 Teach your children to fold laundry

13 Do some woodworking

14 Learn computer coding

15 Look up something your child chooses

16 Go to the grocery store

17 Read a map

18 Visit a museum

19 Learn new computer skills

20 Do a community service project

21 Talk about personal hygiene

22 Do some yard work

23 Work in the garden

24 Go see a play

25 Go to a concert

26 Swim

27 Visit a farmer’s market

28 Learn a new outdoor skill

29 Go for a hike

30 Tell stories

31 Play hide & seek

32 Do a puzzle

33 Watch a “how to” video

34 Play a board game

35 Do some dancing

36 Color

37 Play with Play-dough or MadMattr

38 Play basketball

39 Do a craft

40 Play soccer

41 Create an American Ninja Warrior course

42 Do a science experiment

43 Play a card game

44 Play 20 Questions

45 Build a fort

46 Play with pattern blocks

47 Put on a play

48 Go for a bike ride

49 visit the library

50 Have recess with friends

51 Everyone in the family chooses someone for whom to do something nice

There are endless other possibilities if you just use your imagination! Did you see a homeschool activity that interests you, but you aren’t sure where to get started? Google and Pinterest are great places to do some research.

Workbooks and textbooks are an important part of homeschooling, sure, but they aren’t meant to be ALL of homeschooling. Get out and have some fun!

Do you have another homeschool activity that your family loves to do? Let me know in the comments and I will add it to the list.

The post 50+ Non-Worksheet Homeschool Activities appeared first on The Busy Mom Club.

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For me, it was a bittersweet moment when my daughter started reading on her own. I LOVED that she was excited about reading and improving her fluency. But, I was a bit sad that from now on there would be books that she would enjoy without me or her dad. We would have other memories we would share.

But! It is a very exciting time when your first grader starts reading on their own. That look of pride and accomplishment as they conquer each new book. Priceless.

We jumped to early chapter books way too soon. I completely blame myself. I noticed my daughter’s love of reading dip a bit and then I found this post.

In it, Kim talks about not rushing into chapter books too soon and robbing your child of the chance to experience the myriad of great picture books out there. That hit me square in the face! It is exactly what I did to my daughter.

So, we switched back to picture books and her love of reading came roaring back.

Finding Good Picture Books

There are so many good books at the library, but let’s face it, there are so many duds, too. It’s hard to know from the cover if a book will be good or if it will have some weird twist or words you don’t like. And who has time to look through each book when the baby is in the next aisle pulling all the board books off the shelf?!

So, I decided to put together a list of good, quality books that were either recommended by bloggers I trust, I had read to her when she was younger, but she doesn’t remember them, or I was able to “look inside” on Amazon and check that it was good for a first grade book list.

Getting Your Child Motivated

Most kids are excited to start reading on their own, especially when you present them with amazing picture books. But, sometimes children need a little motivation to get started. So, I created some bookmarks that have the books here in a checklist format.

I made them for my daughter because she loves lists and I knew she would love to check the books off after she reads them. I’m thinking about doing a little surprise for her when she finishes a bookmark, similar to the Pizza Hut Book-It! Program, remember that?! I still remember my Dad would pick me up from school for lunch and take me to Pizza Hut. So, feel free to use the bookmarks for a fun list to check off, a motivating tool, or just a handy list to take to the library when you are looking for books.

Here is a peek at the bookmarks. I made them in two color schemes to suit different tastes, but the lists themselves are the same. I will try and update the bookmarks as I add books to this post, but they do include the first 40 books, so that should get your young reader started! (click the link under the image to download the bookmarks.)

There is also a more blue/green version if your child prefers those colors.

>Grab Your First Grade Book List Bookmarks Here<

Without further ado, here is the list of books! I wrote a little blurb about the first ten (some of my favorites) and then listed the rest. I did include Amazon links because a lot of the books have that “look inside” feature, which I find helpful if I’m not familiar with the book. It helps me know if the story is OK and if the amount of words will be too much or just right for my daughter’s reading stamina level.

If you’d like to see covers for all the titles, but don’t want to spend all that time typing the name of each book into Google, I created a handy Idea List, which you can view here. It’s like a customized Amazon search that will have all the titles in this list, plus a few I’ve found in my wanderings and added for later. View the Idea List here.

Enjoy!

1) Bustle in the Bushes

This is a fun non-fiction book that looks like a fiction book. The illustrations are fun and colorful, but the information is factual. First graders love big bright pictures and learning new facts, so this is a great combination. Readers learn about different backyard insects in a fun rhyming prose. (This series also includes Rumble in the Jungle and Commotion in the Ocean.)

2) The Silly Tail Book

This is just a silly rhyming book about animal tails. It reminds me a little of Dr. Seuss type story telling. My kids thought it was hilarious!

3) Little Black, a Pony

Written by the same author as The Black Stallion, this book is the story of the relationship between a boy and his pony. Heart felt and appealing to young animal lovers!

4) Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon

This was one of our Dolly Parton Imagination Library books that came in the mail. It’s a great story about being comfortable in your own skin.

5) Inside a Zoo in the City

A fun rebus book (where some of the words are pictures, which lets younger siblings join in the reading fun) that follows the same pattern as “This is the house that Jack built. This is the dog who lives in the house that Jack built…”, but with a silly animal twist.

6) Farmer Brown Sheared His Sheep

We actually got this book for free during our local library annual “clean out”. It still amazes me that this wasn’t a hugely popular title because it is so fun to read. It’s a cute rhyming book about some sheep who are not happy about having their wool cut off!

7) Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type

First graders love silly books and this was an instant favorite in our house. A silly story about a crew of farm animals that make demands to the farmer through a typewriter.

8) Giraffes Can’t Dance

At first this books seems a bit sad because Giraffe can’t dance like all the other animals and even gets made fun of a bit. But, then he finds the perfect tune and becomes the best dancer in the jungle. A great book to share the idea that everyone is different and sometimes it just takes finding your own song to realize your talents.

9) The Hiccupotamus

This first grade book is (again) a humorous one! The jungle animals are singing a song, but they don’t know who to thank for starting it. This is a great first grade book because it’s easy to read and it gives your young reader practice reading “sound effect” words, which they might not be as familiar with at first.

10) Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

A classic picture book. First graders will love the silliness of this book that has food for the weather forecast! The weather is delicious at first, but then it becomes a problem when food starts piling up everywhere. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs does a great job of taking something that young readers are familiar with and making it into something unusual.

11) Put Me in the Zoo

12) Little Bear

13) One Fish, Two Fish

14) A Fly Went By

15) The Cat in the Hat

16) Green Eggs & Ham

17) A Big Ball of String

18) The Best Trick

19) The Bravest Dog Ever

20) There’s a Wocket in My Pocket

21) Mr. Miller, the Dog

22) Spike in Trouble

23) Monster Parade

24) Friendly Day

25) Catilda

26) Flat Stanley

27) If You Give a Mouse Cookie

28) The Pout-Pout Fish

29) If You Give a Moose a Muffin

30) The Grouchy Ladybug

31) Harold and the Purple Crayon

32) Ten Little Caterpillars

33) Mrs. Wishy Washy’s Farm

34) The Animal Boogie

35) The Mixed Up Chameleon

36) Johnny Appleseed (the David Harrison Step into Reading version)

37) Five Silly Fishermen

38) The Rainbow Fish

39) Wake Up, Sun

40) Are You My Mother?

41) Stellaluna

42) Amelia Bedilia

I am always adding to this list as I find more picture books for first graders. Do you have a favorite that isn’t on the list yet? Leave it in the comments below and we’ll check it out!

The post Picture Books for First Graders to Read on Their Own appeared first on The Busy Mom Club.

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Maybe you are still deciding whether or not to homeschool your child. Maybe you’ve decided to make the leap and start homeschooling. Either way, this list of my five biggest homeschooling tips is a great way to keep your mind form becoming overwhelmed.

Here we gooooo…

Your Kids Will Be OK

The most common thing I hear when I talk to moms who are thinking of homeschooling is that they don’t think they are a “good enough teacher” to teach their kids. Let me tell you, you are more than good enough!

There are so many resources available today for homeschooling that it makes it so easy to find what you need. Or find out what you need to know.

And, you don’t have to be an expert on a topic – you only have to be one step ahead of your child.

Let’s say your child is learning about the atomic structure of a molecule and you mix up protons and electrons. Well, that is a great way to show them that adults make mistakes, too. Look up the information, correct it, and move on.

I made plenty of mistakes when I was teaching math in the public schools. You’re going to make mistakes. Every teacher does. Don’t let this fear be the reason you don’t homeschool

Homeschooling tips #1: No teacher is perfect, so don’t think you will be, either.

Easy Does It

When we first decided to homeschool, our oldest was going to start kindergarten. As a former teacher and general lover of learning, I was so excited to go on this journey with our girls! I couldn’t stop thinking about all the fun things we could learn and do.

Homeschooling is not a sprint. It’s an easy jog through a beautiful valley where you have time to stop and enjoy the view.

Well, turns out kindergartners attention spans aren’t that long.

And they can’t do much in-depth thinking and reasoning yet.

And there was a baby to take care of.

So, needless to say, I had to scale back my expectations that first year…

And every year since.

One of my biggest tips to new homeschoolers is to not over schedule yourselves.

Take it easy, especially if your children are young.

Make sure you have math and reading covered and then see how it goes. If you feel like your child and your schedule can handle another topic or two, then, by all means, add it in. Just don’t feel like you have to. There will be plenty of time to read a chapter of the bible every day, learn about all the Kings and Queens of England, and do amazing art projects.

Young children need time to play and one of the best things about homeschooling is that we are free to give them that time.

Homeschooling tip #2: Don’t over schedule yourselves!

Bend and Stretch

When my oldest daughter was in first grade, I bought her a spelling workbook because….well…everyone needs to learn spelling, right?!

Well, she hated it.

She would do the words if you knew them, but if we came to a word that she wasn’t sure how to spell…forget about it.

I ended up throwing the thing away and relaxing about spelling for a few months. We did some writing and copywork activities instead and her spelling slowly improved.

Then, a few months later she was ready to sound out and try to spell words on her own.

If you find yourself trying to teach a topic or skill that your child is not jazzed about, try putting it aside for a few weeks/months and coming back to it. Or, coming at it from a different angle.

Being able to be flexible and learn at our child’s pace is a great advantage to homeschooling.

You can also be flexible when it comes to your daily schedule. Maybe your husband is off during the week and works the weekends. Great, take those weekdays off and have family time. Then, do school on the weekends. Create a schedule that is most beneficial to your family.

Homeschooling Tips #3: Be flexible.

What Do They Really Think?

This kind of echoes what I said earlier about that spelling workbook. We all want our children to grow up to have a love of learning and to continue wanting to learn as they go through their adult life. One easy way to do that is to make sure they are actually enjoying their learning as a child.

Now, I know it can’t always be spaceships and rainbows, but most of the time it can.

Watch your children and their reactions to subjects, topics, and your chosen curriculum. Don’t be afraid to change it up if you see a slump in their love of learning.

Watch your children carefully and if they aren’t excited about school ask them what’s up. Maybe they don’t like the curriculum or they need shorter sit-down sessions with active breaks in between or they need more hands-on activities. Maybe the skill is a little too advanced and you need to try again in a few months.

Most kids love to learn if the topic and activities are appropriately geared to their age and ability. Watch your kids reactions to school – they’ll tell you if you’re on the right track. If you need to change something – then change it.

Homeschooling Tip #4: Keep your child’s love of learning alive.

Most Importantly

The most important thing when it comes to homeschooling is to simply enjoy it! Your kids will be able to tell if you are enjoying your time with them or not. Are you snappy and short tempered or happy and patient? Do you say yes when they ask you to read a book or watch a documentary with them?

I can tell you that public school teachers don’t love every minute of every day, but they should (and I did) love most minutes of most days. It’s the same for homeschooling.

Have fun with homeschooling and let it give you the opportunity to make great memories as a family.

If you find yourself in a rut with your homeschool, then change it up. Take a field trip. Do a project. Create an art project. Complete a STEM challenge.

Homeschooling provides and opportunity to spend time with our children that precious few parents are able to do. Enjoy it and make really great memories along the way.

Homeschooling Tip #5: Have fun and make great memories!

Be sure to pin and save this post below to come back to when you feel overwhelmed with homeschooling!

The post Helpful Homeschool Tips for Your First Year appeared first on The Busy Mom Club.

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