Monday, January 25, 2010

Okay Homeschool Moms...

Could you help a friend out? I am looking for some girlfriend council!
As most of you know, we're going to start down the homeschool road this fall, which we're very excited about! I did a lot of reading and research years ago when I thought I was going to be homeschooling for Kindergarten and up. has its detours and here we are. I will be schooling a second grader and third grader next year.
I see the providence in God's plan to bring us to TCA. Wow, so many reasons, but one in particular is that an expert taught my children how to read and gave them a phonics foundation that I'm very happy about (mainly because I came form the whole language era where we learned NO phonics and now the product of that is that I can't spell! Seriously! You might have noticed that here on my blog. Thank you Lord for spell check!!!)

So, here's what I'm asking you...

1) What curricula do you love? What are you using that is WORKING!!? What are you using that is user friendly and not one workbook sheet after another? I need a good place to start here.

2) What tips to do have for me about logistics of your day? What have you learned or gleaned or been the recipient of wise council about? How can you council me on how to order my day? I THINK I know how it's all going to go down, BUT...I could be wrong! I'm looking for practical thoughts here as well as your philosophies!

3) What tips do you have for me on ordering my home while homeschooling? ie. Don't attempt to do laundry daily, have your kids help you with chores, clean your house all in one day or spread it out over each day, get up at least 4 hours before everyone else, etc. :-)

I read the comments for a woman's blog post the other day that so inspired me! She asked her friends about managing her home without losing the quality time with her kids. The comments were so helpful and practical and I knew that coming from my own friends it would be ever so much MORE helpful and specific to where I am.

So, give me whatever you have time to give me! I will appreciate it all...and maybe you will too if you read the comments as well!

Thanks guys!


Kathryn said...

Ok, I"ll send you what I think I know-it changes often:).
Where did you read all these great comments??

Anonymous said...

We are using Rod and staff and loving it. It has great phonics till 2nd and then the english is excellent. It is our first year using the whole curriculim. I do however use Teaching textbooks for math 5th grade and up. A normal day starts off with morning chores and Bible time. Then I try to get as much school done before lunch as possible. Our days are always different with all the little ones. I also try to stay home as much as I can. When I leave the house before everything is done I have a horrible time reining everyone back into finish anything! I will be praying for you transition. Cynthia Berman

Amber Smith said...

A few things that work for us:

1) We only commit to ONE thing outside of the home on a regular basis. (TAFA on Mondays) There are SO many wonderful opportunities for our kids (museum school, classes at Science Etc,various co-ops, etc.) We could be traveling somewhere every day if we wanted. We've found that it works best for our family to stick around the house as much as possible. That doesn't mean that we can't go to the park one day or head out for a spontanous field trip or random family vacation. We just don't commit to more than one outside activity on a weekly basis. It seems like when we are away from the home too much, it makes it hard to get our schoolwork done and detracts from one of the main reasons we chose to homeschool (more time spent with our kids). It also allows the kids lots of uninterrupted time to play together and develop brother/sister relationships. They are truly best friends and genuinely seem happier playing together than rushing to and from activities, however worthwhile they might be. Less is more.

2) We take our schoolwork very seriously and "finish" it every day (well, almost every day). :) If you make a habit of skipping Science one day because you got busy and Math the next, it wouldn't take long for you to realize that you are hopelessly behind!

That's all I can think of in the way of practical advice or philosophies. I'm certainly not much help with advice on how to keep the house spotless. :) I do well just to brush my teeth and hair each day.

I am so excited for you! It is wonderful to be able to see God's plan unfolding in your life and to watch you get to start this special journey with your kids. Love you!

Jenna Edwards said...


Horizons math is wonderful! Seriously can't do much better. Cherrie, Sterling's mom:), as you may remember is such a good teacher, and she recommended to me Horizons math when I homeschooled my oldest. It is excellent and easy to teach!

Mindy said...


I agree with a lot of what Cynthia said, but that's probably because I have so many kids. With yours so young you can take advantage of field trips at this young age at least until you have a little one (Lord willing) that needs to be home for naptime.

1.) Curriculum: Bible, English, History, Science: We started out with Sonlight, but I would recommend My Father's World instead of that, now that I know more. Shannon Harris and my friend, Laura, both use MFW and they love it! You can find out more about it by searching online. We are using Tapestry of Grace, but I wouldn't recommend that for you with your crew. We switched to TOG because we have older kids.
Math - we use Math - U- See, but you might want to continue on with whatever they are used to from Trinity.

2). We start off with room chores and then we have breakfast and Bible time all together at the table. I'd like to have Bible/Worship after breakfast in the living room, but logistically with the little ones having them confined at the table works best for us in this season. I also do read alouds during lunchtime so that I'm interrupted as much by the little ones since they are occupied with eating. If you are going to be consistent, I agree with Amber, you've got to be at home to get the work done. Field trips are good, but you have to limit them and choose wisely what really is beneficial and not just activity.

3). Be flexible. These things are always changing for me as the kids grow and change. I try to do one load of laundry a day...that seems to work best for me. Honestly I think you are pretty good at this, Tamra! You have been including your kids in the chores and doing things with you for as long as I can remember. Now that you'll be home you'll get to do it even more than before because they've grown over the past 2-3 yrs! :o0

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Tricia Lynch said...

How exciting! I love homeschooling my bunch. It can get hectic sometimes but I know I will one day cherish all this time I am getting with them while they are little. I don't have time to do your request justice right now (I only schedule in an hour for checking e-mail and blogging during the day :-) but I will get back over here tonight and fill you in on the little I have figured out about this whole homeschooling thing!

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Anonymous said...

Several times now I've searched for uplifting words for myself or a friend in need, typing "Strength for Today" into Google - each time to find your old blog come up near the top of the search results. While you don't know me, know that your words and life-filled photos have uplifted and your decision to start a NEW blog - with a NEW name reminds me of the second phrase in my plea - a bright hope for tomorrow!

Thank you for sharing your story.

Your sister in Christ,

Julie said...

I have loved reading all these comments! I'm so glad you asked this question because we can all benefit from it! I don't feel like I have much to offer, except that we've really enjoyed the book "An Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading," which you absolutely won't need for Benjamin and Cait. But I can't wait to hear about your homeschool journey. I am confident you will be an outstanding homeschool Mom, and that you will excel in this new role! I'm so happy for you!