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From Pre K-12

Learning how to start home schooling your child may feel awkward at first, but as the days pass, the feeling will quickly fade.

Soon, you will look back and see the progress you have made and realize that home schooling is really quite easy – it just takes a little time and consistency. If you decide to home school mid school year because of a bad school experience, you will want to take a couple additional steps as you begin home schooling your child. You may want to notify the school authorities of your intentions. Remember to be nice as you talk to them. Tell them your concerns and ask for your child’s transcript and records, so you know exactly what has been covered and how your child is doing. A friendly phone call, meeting or letter works wonders. You may be pleasantly surprised at the response and support you receive. Many educational professionals do support parents who choose to school their children at home. But unfortunately, many educators are opposed to home schooling. :(

Remember... homeschooling is legal in all US states (and many other countries). You have nothing to fear and can legally home school your child.

When finding out how to start home schooling, you will want to learn about the home schooling laws and homeschooling requirements for your state or country. Some states require you to register, others do not. For example, a few years ago in Michigan, home schooling parents could only home school under the direct supervision of a certified teacher. You either had to be certified in the state of Michigan to teach, or a certified teacher had to oversee your daily activities. Many home schooling families home schooled secretly to avoid the officials in our state. They didn’t go out during the day and kept to themselves. Thank goodness the laws changed! Michigan is now one of the best states to home school your children in. No reporting requirements, no registering requirements… pure educational freedom! However, your state may be different. You may need to file forms or a course outline when starting to home school. Your state may also require homeschool testing.

Local home school support groups also offer wonderful opportunities for encouragement, support, homeschooling activities or enrichment opportunities – some essentials for home school success! If you have read this elsewhere on my website, it's because I truly believe it! I have been a home school group leader for ten years and firmly believe that the most successful home school families interact with, encourage, and help other families. No one has all the answers. Sometimes we can get discouraged and we need a little encouragement. Other parents want to know how to start home schooling successfully and are looking for guidance. Speaking of guidance, you will find some helpful information in the Homeschool 101 or Homeschooling For Beginners area of my website, to guide you through the initial set-up of your home school. Keep your home schooling costs to a minimum. Find some free homeschooling curriculum resources and other cost cutting ideas too.

Besides my website, you can find valuable home schooling information for your state, specific requirements, as well as home school activities that are available to you, through statewide or regional organizations. Online groups are also a convenient way to meet up with, learn from and communicate with others when looking for information on how to start home schooling. Some area home school support groups, like a homeschool co-op, offer classes to help you learn how to start home schooling, helping you eliminate the mistakes that others have made. By sharing our successes and failures with other families who are starting to homeschool, we benefit others and find blessing, as we give to and encourage those around us.

Whether you begin home schooling at the beginning of the year, decide to start home schooling mid year, want to work and homeschool, homeschool preschool, an elementary aged child, middle school or try homeschooling high school, starting to teach your child at home, can be done quite easily. You will be joining millions of other concerned parents, from all over the world. Parents, just like you who have decided to take the most active roll in their children’s education. It seems like daily, another home school success story makes the news - about children from ordinary families, just like yours. Although most home schooling successes never make the headlines, many families are experiencing positive results as their children successfully complete their schooling at home. I think we have yet to see the positive impact home schooling has on our current generation! As you begin your home schooling journey, remember to have fun and never forget that you can do it! You can home school your child successfully! If you have any questions about how to start home schooling your child, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to provide you some home school help!

Why a Portfolio?

A portfolio requires extra time to put together each year, but it's well worth the effort. Not only will you enjoy looking through old portfolios and reminiscing about the activities and school work in which your children were involved, but some colleges prefer portfolios over grades for homeschooled students. A portfolio is more relevant to homeschooling and is an excellent way of demonstrating the type of education your child has had and what resources were used in giving him or her that education. Supplies Needed You will need a 3-ring binder at least 3 to 4 inches thick (You can use your child's own artwork in front if you buy one with an insertable cover.), dividers, photo album pages ("magnetic" pages for mounting photos), and clear protector pages for each child. How to Begin

At the beginning of the school year, place the following items in the front of each portfolio. Title Page

Include the child's name, age, grade, birthday, and a recent photo.

Medical Records

Use this section to keep track of immunizations and medical, optometry, and dental checkups.

Learning Objectives

Include a list of goals for the year in each subject. [Example: English, to include language, literature, speech, and composition. (1) gain a solid foundation in basic grammar, (2) develop clear and effective writing, (3) learn to read with discernment various types of literature, (4) continue to prac tice verbal communication through oral reports, speeches, and drama participation.]


Include a list of books and materials used during the year to teach the various subjects. Arrange by subject and include the title and publisher or author.

Reading List

Include a list of books your student read on his own. List the title, author, and type of book (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, etc.).


Include copies of report cards, transcripts, achievement test results, or professional evaluations, if applicable.


Include any awards, certificates of completion, and/or diplomas received from classes or outside activities which are not included in the sections below.

Subject Sections

Divide the remainder of the notebook into subjects. Throughout the year add to your portfolio by including the following (Don't wait until the last minute or you won't do a good job!):

Language Arts

Include copies of language arts worksheets and writing projects illustrating what he has learned in penmanship, grammar, mechanics, spelling, vocabulary, and composition. I recommend including at least one or two compositions per month showing the improvement made during the year. Include a list of literature or poetry read or include this in the Reading List above. Include certificates of completion or report cards of language arts classes he takes outside the home, illustrations or drawings your child does related to language arts, and photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject. If your child has his or her work published in any publication, include tear sheets from the publication.


Put in sample pages of your child's math workbook, one or two lessons per month to illustrate what he has learned during the year. Also include samples (or list resources) of additional math activities such logic, consumer math, history of math, and math games. Include certificates of completion or report cards of math classes he takes outside the home, illustrations or drawings your child does related to math, and photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject.


Include samples of written lab reports and compositions related to science, photos of your child doing lab activities (example: building a volcano), photos and brochures of field trips that are science related, certificates of completion or report cards of science classes he takes outside the home, illustrations or drawings your child does related to science (examples: a diagram of a cell or a print -out of a multimedia presentation of the planets), photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject, and sample workbook pages, if applicable.

Social Studies/History

Include samples of written compositions, photos and brochures of field trips that are history related, certific ates of completion or report cards of social studies classes he takes outside the home, illustrations or drawings your child does (examples: mapwork or a print -out of a multimedia presentation of a period in ancient history), photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject, and sample workbook pages, if applicable.


Include samples of written compositions related to technology, samples showing his use of word processing software, samples of your child's internet research (examples: printing out a fact sheet on Egyptian pyramids or a diagram of the heart), photos and brochures of

field trips that are technology related, certificates of completion or report cards of technology classes he takes outside the home, illustrations or drawings your child does on the computer, a print -out of a database or spreadsheet your child created, a print -out of a multimedia presentation, photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject, and sample workbook pages, if applicable.


Include samples of written compositions (related to art, art appreciation, and art history), samples or photos of your child's artwork, photos and brochures of field trips that are art related, certificates of completion or report cards of art classes he takes outside the home, photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject, and sample workbook pages, if applicable.


Include samples of written compositions (related to music, music appreciation, and music history), photos and brochures of field trips that are music related, certificates of completion or report cards of music classes he takes outside the home, photos and programs of your child's participation in music lessons or other music activities (examples: singing or playing on a praise and worship team or ministering to the elderly), samples of music compositions your child has written, photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject, and sample workbook pages, if applicable.

Physical Education/Health

Include photos of your child playing softball, bowling, swimming, doing aerobics, riding bicycles, attending gymnastic classes, etc. Include samples of compositions or illustrations related to health (example: diagram of the food pyramid). Include certificates of completion or report cards of physical eduation or health classes he takes outside the home, photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject, and sample workbook pages, if applicable.

Extracurricular Activities

Be sure to include photos of your child interacting with other children as proof of socialization such as playing soccer, playing games, attending church or youth group, attending birthday parties, or volunteering together to clean up a community park.

k Grades Because grades are not required for homeschool students in Oklahoma, Florida parents can elect to award letter grades, pass/fail, or no grades (credit awarded for course completed in lieu of grades) for each subject studied. A well-kept log book and portfolio are better indicators of what homeschool children have studied and learned. Although many colleges are now asking to see portfolios, most homeschool transcripts do include grades as this is what is expected. If a parent does choose to award letter grades, they should choose t heir own method of arriving at grades and add this information to their portfolio.

Many homeschooling parents quake in their home educating boots when thinking about homeschool transcripts. No need to fear, though... with a few tips and some helpful advice, you can easily create your own professional transcripts for your high school students.

A transcript is a summary of all courses, enrichment classes and activities your student completed in high school, to earn their high school diploma. Your student's transcript is submitted to colleges, during the college application process. As a professional home educator (you know I am talking about you, right?), you can create your own homeschool transcripts to submit to colleges. With a little guidance, your document will include everything colleges what to see and it will look professional too! Your transcript will include:

At the top of your transcript, you will include your student’s name – last name first, then first name, their full address, gender, social security number, date of birth and phone number.

You will list all your student's courses they took for their high school diploma in this section. List them by year: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior. Include the type of class, course title, grade, unit/credit (one unit = one year), and your student's grade point. You will want to include the totals and averages for each year, as well.

In this section, you will put your student's graduation date, attendance for each year, total graduation units/credits and final GPA.

Post secondary institutions look at a wide array of factors when considering applications. Most colleges consider academic performance as most important but they also like to see what other activities and community service projects your student has participated in. Colleges also look at transcripts to determine what kind student your teen will potentially be... colleges like well-rounded students. Create an area on your document for your student's interests, abilities, achievements and volunteer and extra-curricular activities.

Your transcript should include your high school student's standardized test scores. Record the test name, the year the test was taken, the type of test, and your student's test scores.

If your homeschool high school student has attended any secondary schools previously, you will want to include that on your homeschooling transcript. Include the school's name, address and years your child attended.

Include on your transcript, the grading scales used to determine your students grades. Typical grading scales are: A+ = 97-100

B+ = 87-89

C+ = 77-79

D+ = 67-69

A = 93-96

B = 83-86

C = 73-76

D = 63-66

A- = 92-90

B- = 80-82

C- = 70-72

D- = 60-62

A+ = 4.00

B+ = 3.25

C+ = 2.50

D+ = 1.75

A = 3.75

B = 3.00

C = 2.25

D = 1.50

A- = 3.50

B- = 2.75

C- = 2.00

D- = 1.25

At the bottom of your transcript, you will want to include an area for the signatures and titles of your homeschool officials – that would be you :), and your spouse, if applicable. If you haven't already done so, assign one person to be the principal... in our home school, my husband takes on that role. And the other person would be the Teacher/Administator or whatever you officially call yourself! :) There you have it! You are on your way to creating professional homeschool transcripts for college applications... easy and hassle-free!

Perhaps things aren't going as planned.

Maybe you picked the wrong curriculum, or you had some unforeseen difficulties develop in your family. Even if your home school material is working for you this year, sometimes finding something new will add that extra spark to your child's home education and learning. To help you plan for next year, here are some questions to answer when considering new home school material for your family. Grab a notebook, journal or piece of paper. Make sure you write down your thoughts. Sometimes we forget details, especially as we progress in age! :)

Make note of all the products and resources that you use with your family and each child. If something is working well, keep using it and/or look for the next grade or level, if available. Many companies offer additional products with the same format that you have grown to know and love. If they don’t, writing a short email and recommendation may be the encouragement they need to create more! Most often you will find consistency from publishers, so you know what to expect when going to the next level or grade. For example, we have used Saxon Math since we began home schooling. It works well for us and we know what to expect with each grade, since we understand their method and have come to know and appreciate the Saxon style.

If lessons seem a little dry, add some simple hands-on projects or purchase a fun home school science kit to liven up your home school day. Perhaps your children would love to read some of the great works of literature that were presented in their Language Arts or Literature Class. Some curriculum – even the curriculum that I use, only highlights various sections of literary works. Excerpts or large selections are included throughout the lessons, but the complete writing, play or book is not read. Often, I will look for some of the books or writings for my children to read and put them on their required reading list. I want my children to be well read, and think some of the books that are highlighted need more attention – at least read in their entirety.

If you think a particular subject needs more attention, take the time needed to focus on it. You can stray from your lesson plans or curriculum from time to time! :)

Maybe it's the extra time you take to do hands-on projects, or your involvement in some enrichment classes or homeschooling activities. Maybe your children really like the more relaxed atmosphere resulting from homeschool unit studies or your deviance from traditional accredited homeschooling curriculum or the home schooling text book approach to learning.

Realizing that something isn't working is the first step to successful homeschooling. Using home school material that seems popular but isn't working in your family, may be a signal for change. Before scrapping materials all together (which can be costly)... Some curriculum websites have a forum or support area to help answer your questions or find solutions to your problems. A quick click to their FAQ or support page may be all that's needed to bring better results in working with a specific product or course. A little modification can work wonders! Don't forget to create your home school material list now, while everything is fresh in your mind.

Free and Cheap Homeschooling Resources

Homeschooling does not have to be expensive. Here is a list of free and cheap homeschooling resources that you can use in your homeschool to help you save money. While there are suggested products that you can buy on some of them, how much you spend is entirely up to your family's budget. Most of the resources listed can be used independently and do not need the additional products being bought. Many of the books can also be found in the library. Most families do want to own at least some of their curriculum, but you don't need to spend a lot of money (if any) to use these resources. I will be adding more resources to Cheap Homeschooling in the near future so please come back to visit often!

1st Grade 1st Grade Curriculum Resources 2nd Grade 2nd Grade Curriculum Resources 3rd Grade 3rd Grade Curriculum Resources 4th Grade 4th Grade Curriculum Resources 5th Grade 5th Grade Curriculum Resources 6th Grade 6th Grade Curriculum Resources Jr. High Jr. High Curriculum Resources High School High School Curriculum Resources

Scroll down for individual lapbooking subjects. Lapbooks, notebooks and scrapbooking are a great way to do cheap homeschooling. You can use resources off of the internet and scraps from your crafts to save money. Interactive Notebook Resources for putting together an interactive notebook. Lapbook Resources Resources for lapbooking. Lapbooking Supplies A list of supplies good for lapbooking. A great resource for cheap homeschooling. Scrapbook for Learning Resources on using scrapbooking for your homeschool. How to Homeschool using Notebooks Notebooking is a great way to help your child retain what they learn. It also helps improve your child's writing, vocabulary and spelling skills. How to Make a Lapbook Lapbooks are one of the new rages in homeschooling. These books are much easier than they look and they are so much fun!!! Diorama Resources Dioramas are a great way to learn about a subject. Dioramas are miniature models that your child makes. Dioramas can be made in shoe boxes, regular boxes, folded paper (make a box or triangle), a paper plate, a display case or any other container that you can think of. How to Make a Lapbook Lapbooks are great learning tools for both homeschools and classrooms. Learn how to make a lapbook with your students. Lapbook Lapbooks are all the rage among homeschoolers now days. Many public and private school teachers are also learning and utilizing this educational but fun way to learn. Printable File Folder Games Resources for printable file folder games. File Folder Games Resources for file folder games. File Folder Game Supplies Supplies for file folder games.

Beginning Reading Resources for learning how to read. How to Help a Child Enjoy Books Reading can be such a pleasurable pastime. Reading can take you to faraway lands, time long again or out among the stars. How to Help a Child Learn to Read Learning to read is one of the most important skills your child can learn. Love to Read Most parents want their children to love reading. There is no perfect formula to raising a child that loves reading, but their are some things that you can do to help. This page is to help you, help your children grow to love books. Reading File Folder Games Learning to read can be hard for some children. Why not help them learn by playing games? This page has reading file folder games game resources. They are great for struggling readers, children that just need a bit more help, hands on learners or special needs children. To see more file folder games

Living Math Resources for a living math program. Middle and High School Math Resources for your middle and highschoolers. File Folder Math Resources for making math file folder games. Money File Folder Games Resources for a money file folder game.

Colonial Days Resources for Colonial days study. Going West Wagon trains west seem so thrilling to younger children (ok, it does to us older people too!!! lol!!!). This unit study is to introduce children to going west and what it was like in the old wild west. How to Make a Timeline Notebook with your Child

A timeline really helps a child understand history and help understand what else was happening in the world during the time frame that is being studied. Native American Unit Study Very shortly my youngest son and I are going to start a Native American unit study. I thought I would go ahead and gather the resources that I would need to do this study and share them with you. I hope that you enjoy these resources and they help you with your Native American unit study. Timeline Notebook A timeline notebook is a great supplement to any history study. A timeline notebook will help a child what all was going on in history at during the same time period. How to Make a Timeline | An article on how to make a timeline in the form of a timeline notebook. Social Studies File Folder Games Resources for making social studies file folder games. Medieval Unit A medieval unit is a great way for your students or children to learn about the medieval times. A unit study incorporates hands on learning and reading.

Little House Lapbook Resources for a Little House Lapbook Native American Lapbook Resources for a Native American lapbook.

Homeschool Geography Resources for geography lessons. How to Study Geography with Children The world is more globalized than ever before and awareness of the world is very helpful to know yet many Americans are not real knowledgeable about Geography. Children Learn about Haiti By now, you probably will have heard about the horrible earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th, 2010. Here are resources to teach your children about Haiti. Choose a Country Unit Study Studying other countries is fun for children. In this day in age with everything getting more global, it is not just fun to study other countries, it's important too. Give your children the edge by studying other countries with them.

Nature Studies with Children Resources to do nature and science studies. Astronomy with Children Resources for an astronomy study. Magic School Bus Study Guide- Hops Home In the books, The Magic School Bus, Mrs. Frizzle's class takes some really interesting fields trips. Come learn about animal habitats in The Magic School Bus Hops Home. Inside the Earth- Magic School Bus Study Ms. Frizzle's class are always going on wacky field trips and this book is no exception. In the book Inside the Earth, the class go on a field trip through the center of the earth and back out through a volcano. Here are resources to help you study this book. Magic School Bus Study Guide- Inside a Hurricane Mr. Frizzles class is at it again and this time their field trip will take them inside a hurricane! Here are resources for studying this fun and education book. How to Teach Children about Astronomy How to Teach Astronomy to children. How to Make a Nature Journal with Children Creating a nature journal is a fun and educational activity for children. It helps them with their observation skills and gives them a good science lesson. Here is how to get started making a... How to Go on Nature Walks with Children Nature walks are a good way to introduce your child to science. Not only does nature walks help you child learn about nature, but it also helps your child's observation skills. Free Science Worksheets and Printables Supplement your curriculum with free science worksheets and printables. By getting free science worksheets, this will help stretch your curriculum budget and help you save money. Wild Tracks- Nature Book Study Wild Tracks by Jim Arnosky is a great book for nature studies for children. It goes through different animal tracks for children and shows them at life size. The book also tells some about the animals and their various tracks on surfaces like snow and dirt. Nature Study- The Backyard

Nature studies are fun and educational! Many homeschoolers are adding nature studies to their curriculum. Even if you don't homeschool, nature studies is a great activity for your kids to do. It's fun to take your kids places like parks to do nature studies, but there are also nature study opportuni Kids Learn Chemistry Learning chemistry is an important part of high school, but you can make it easier to learn chemistry by introducing it in the earlier years. Nature Study in Summer Learning doesn't stop just because summer is here! It's very important that children still have enriching learning activities during the summer so that they do not loose what they have learned the rest of the year. How to Study Nature with Children | How to Study Nature with Children. Studying nature with children has many benefits including teaching a love of science, observation skills and how to focus. Science File Folder Games Science file folder games are a fun and educational way to teach or supplement science. Some children just need extra practice or some extra help in learning science. Other children just may be better at learning in a hands on manner. Nature Studies for Children Article about nature studies for children. Science File Folder Games Resources for making science file folder games. Gardening Ideas for Kids Here is some gardening ideas for kids. Gardening is a fun and educational activity for children. Gardening can help your kids learn healthy habits and hopefully help them to appreciate fresh fruits and vegetables. Bird Unit Study Learn about birds with a bird unit study!

Weather Lapbook Resources for a weather lapbook. Space Lapbook Resources for a space lapbook. Ocean Lapbook Resources for an Ocean Lapbook. Plant Lapbook Resources for a Plant Lapbook. Tree Lapbook Resources for a tree lapbook. Garden Lapbook This year my kids and I are going to be growing a garden. I want it to be a very educational activity for them and I thought a garden lapbook might make a good supplement to growing a garden. I have included ideas, resources, printables and books that would make for a good gardening unit study.

Bird Lapbook A bird lapbook is a good way to study birds with children! This year, my little guy is planning on doing the bird watching project for 4-H. It has gotten me interested in what other bird projects and activities we can do.

Artist Studies for Children Resources for studying art. Art Study Scrapbook A wonderful project to do in your art studies. Kids Study Art- Monet Resources for studying Monet. Kids Study Art- Van Gogh Resources for studying Van Gogh. How to Do an Art Study with Children Studying art with children can be both fun and educational. An art study does not need to take up a lot of time and you'll be surprised at how much a child can learn. How to Do a Charlotte Mason Style Picture Study Doing a picture study is a good way to study artwork. Studying art was one of things that Charlotte Mason considered important for students to learn. Art Activities for Children Art is an important subject for children to study. I have made several pages of art activities for children. This page is a directory of my pages on art activities for children. I have several type of pages listed. Homeschool Art Homeschool art is popular among homeschoolers. Most homeschoolers I know do at least a little bit of art studies in their homeschool. I think one of the reasons some hold back is because they do not know...

Why do you want to teach your kids at home? Is it for safety, academic, philosophical, or religious reasons? You have to have a clear answer before you can design your own homeschool program and properly educate your children. Education laws vary by state and by town. Talk to your local school district to find out what is required of homeschool programs in your area. Some require a strict curriculum, others stipulate that particular milestones be met by a certain age. You will have to be teacher as well as parent, and the two may not always agree. Where Mom or Dad may be a pushover, the teacher needs to demand and expect excellence because a rich education is the goal. What works for others may not work for you. The two of you need to be a team, with teacher and student each dedicated to the goals you have worked out together. The Internet or local community groups are a good way to find other parents and kids for field trips, science projects, advice, and support. But remember, there are almost as many philosophies as there are homeschooling families. Before you join forces, discuss your particular schooling approaches. Most people with home offices find it's important to have a defined area that sets work life apart from home life. It's just as important for homeschooling. You and your child need a comfortable work space in a well-lighted spot, free from distractions and the obligations of the household. As parent, you are the ultimate decision-maker, but as in other areas of life, listening to the needs and desires of your child helps you make the best choices. As your child grows, he may wish to join a regular school while you still want him at home. If you talk about it together, you can come to a more informed decision. Most locales require some sort of yearly or more frequent evaluation of the home student's progress, such as a test, oral report, project, etc. If you have clear goals at the outset, and communicate them to your child, you'll both be working under the same expectations. Some parents find that following a strict curriculum is the best way to teach their kids, others are much less structured. Whether your local district requires it or not, having a homeschooling plan gives both you and your child a sense of direction. When school is somewhat defined, the rest of

life can fill in around it. Teaching is hard work. You can learn a lot from the teachers who came before you. A pet peeve of one homeschooling parent is how many times she's asked, "Doesn't your child miss having friends?" A homeschooler can have all the friends in the world. Scouting, sports, neighbors, children of friends--all the ways schooled kids find friends are open to your child as well.

Start homeschooling your child successfuly  
Start homeschooling your child successfuly  

Teaches parent how to homeschool their children