If you follow me on Social Media then you know that last month our family attended our first ever homeschool convention. Big thanks to the Teaching Parents Association of Wichita for hosting a great event. By far the most impactful thing for me was seeing that the overwhelming majority of homeschool families are doing so to glorify God – and raise children that will do the same. While this was not the original reason we chose to homeschool, it will absolutely keep us going.
So, why did we decide to homeschool? It’s not because we didn’t have amazing public school teachers or a great school district. In fact, our oldest had great success in public school from Kinder-4th grade. Academics has never been a pain point for Sean. He always enjoyed school and got high marks. However, having a birthday over the Summer meant he was slightly younger than the other kids. I remember being told in kinder that he was the only one still having tantrums. Another year they told us that he was still more “impulsive” than the other kids, but that it would eventually “even out”. Unfortunately for Sean, his classmates had learned his trigger points by then. Around the same time every year we would get daily notes on bad behavior, only to find out that Sean was usually just reacting to some instigator. The counselor used to share some great coping techniques, but in 4th grade we were told the counselor had “more extreme cases” and did not have time for Sean anymore. We had a conference with his teachers about how to move forward, and their response was to “island” him. This is where they put his desk in a corner away from all the other kids – and that was it for me.
I’m sorry, but I believe that preparing our children for the rest of their lives is about WAY MORE than just checking off a list of state required academic boxes. We homeschool because we have higher standards – as in standards set by the most high Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching spirit over subjects.
After checking your state’s rules and regulations regarding homeschooling, you will then be faced with the challenge of picking a curriculum. There are so many options and homeschool parents are very passionate about their programs. The online program we have chosen is by Alpha Omega Publications called Monarch. We initially started with it because it’s only $40/month and we weren’t going to be out too much money if this crazy homeschool experiment didn’t work out. It teaches the main subjects of Math, Science, History, and Language. It’s also Christian based so our kiddo gets daily bible lessons. As he gets older they have plenty of electives. Also, Monarch does pretty much all of the grading automatically. Grading was a daunting task I was not looking forward to, especially with no teaching experience. With Monarch, I can print out daily grade reports or traditional report cards – which is a lifesaver if you live in a state where you have to keep and submit your records. Monarch starts at 3rd grade, so for my pre-schooler we are using another Alpha Omega Publications curriculum called Horizons. It’s teacher/workbook led and he absolutely loves it so far!
Get a 30 day free trial of Monarch using code “MON30SM”.
Bonus – Weekly Binder Pages Download
One thing we really wanted to incorporate was some kind of handwriting, journaling, or note taking tool. Monarch is totally online which means we don’t need a lot of space or materials to learn, but most parents I spoke to felt it was important to balance this screen time. I found some homeschool notebooking templates online, but none were really what I had in mind so I created my own. My weekly binder pages are available for a $1 one time download.
- Page 1: date and reminder of daily electives
- Pages 2-3: list out daily lessons
- Pages 4-6: space to do a daily journal type entry and receive weekly feedback
- Pages 7-8: space to take notes on each subject
Dude’s Family Adventures
Another part of homeschooling I enjoy is the community – watching and sharing with other families as we go along. Perhaps one of my favorites are Dude and Dalia Hunter. They are homeschool veterans who are embarking on an awesome adventure this Summer: traveling from Texas to Alaska (and back) with 7 homeschool kiddos! Check out https://www.dudesfamilyadventures.com/ and be sure to follow along their adventures on Facebook, Instagram, and You Tube!
XO – Olivia