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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why we chose to homeschool & how you can too

I hear mom's say to me quite often how they wish they could homeschool their children.  I ask them why they don't and I get several different answers, but the two most popular answers I get are "I don't have the patience" and "I can't because I work for time".  So I will explain my opinion on each answer and then I will tell you why we chose to homeschool.

#1 -  "I don't have the patience"

Please don't think that I have patience with my children.  I pray almost daily for patience.  You teach your children everyday while you are home with them in the evening, after school.  Do you have patience with them then?  Some nights, maybe not.  But no one, including me, claimed that homeschool moms have patience with their children.  

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There have been several days where I have locked myself in the bathroom for 10 minutes crying and praying for the Lord to help me and give me patience and I will be starting my 13'th year of homeschooling this fall!  It's not easy, but I will tell you that it is worth it!  So don't let patience but an excuse.  You can do it and you will find patience......trust me.

#2 - "I can't because I work for time"

There are several moms that work and homeschool.  I'm sure Youtube is loaded with videos on this.  However, being a homeschool mom isn't just teaching, it's delegating and felicitating.
If you have older children (that can stay home alone), you can have lesson plans all ready for them.  Explain how and what is expected of them; meaning they need to finish their work by a certain time.  If they do, give them rewards; if not, punishments.  As far as younger children go, you can do the same but have someone else stay with them during the day.  Grandma's are great for this!  Also, another homeschool mom may be willing to do this as well.  (It is legal to have someone else homeschool your children.  Just keep in mind that you are still responsible to follow all your state laws.)  

Another thought, if you truly, seriously want to homeschool your child, find a way.  Can you work from home?  Night shift?  You can always homeschool on your day's off.  In our state of WV (under the Notice Option), there are no set days or hours on which you need to homeschool.  You can homeschool 2 or 3 days a week all year around if you want.

Now, why we chose to homeschool.  There are several reasons. The first reason was because I believe the Lord instructed me to do so.  Other reasons include:  I want to be with them, I want to teach them in the way they learn (no every student learns the same way), I want learning to be fun, I want them to learn things from a Christian point of view, I want to teach them Creation not evolution, I want to chose what they learn, I don't want negative influences and peer pressure to be an issue, I want to be able to chose the environment they learn in and who they socialize with, etc.  As you can see there are several reasons why we chose to homeschool and many people have different reasons.   

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Choosing to control their environment, influences and social atmosphere is my job and responsibility.  Call me a controlling, over protective or a "helicopter" mom.  I don't care.  I made some bad choices in my younger years (just like everyone else) and I if I shelter my children from unGodly influences, they will be free to make better choices than I did or just better choices in general.  My job is to raise my children to be responsible, caring adults and support themselves and their families.  

Something I hear and read often is that homeschoolers won't be able to function and socialize in the real world as adults.  I find this both very amusing and utterly ridiculas.  If sitting behind a desk with other peers within your own age all day in a classroom is the real world, then I must have missed that boat because the real world I live in I socialize with people of all ages daily, and it's not in a confined environment with limitations on what I can say and do.  My children can hold entire conversations with other children, adults and groups.  They know how to behave in public.  They are respectful and kind.  I've seen them help strangers load groceries in their cars when needed, help a stranger clean up a mess in a food isle at a store, etc.  They function and socialize very well in public.  Have you ever heard the line, "It takes a village to raise a child"?  (I absolutely cannot stand that saying by the way.)  My response is, "Yes, I've seen the village and I'll raise my own child, thanks anyway".  

So for whatever reason why you are telling yourself that you can't  homeschool........ think about it.  Think about what you want for your children.  If you decide to keep them in public school, private school, virtual school, etc. that is your choice.  You are the parent.  Just please don't let an excuse hold you back from something that will change you and your child's future forever.  Homeschooling is great.  If you are willing to take charge of your children's education, it's totally worth it!

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Curriculum picks for 2016 - 2017 school year, 8'th grade

I thought I'd share my curriculum picks for this coming homeschool year.  However, I am still undecided on a few but this is what I have so far.  (Click on all the pics to take you to a website to purchase or find more info. out about them.)


Math -  



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At this time (8'th grade) my husband and I decided that we aren't going to teach Algebra.   I know, some of you are like "WHAT????".  Take a minute to think about that for a minute. When is the last time you used Algebra in your life?  Really.  If he decides to go to college, he'll learn it.  ;)   I didn't learn how to balance a check book, pay bills or learn anything about interest in the public school system.  Why is that?  I do know that they teach high school students on how to attempt to beat the interest on credit cards.  (Ya, sore subject for another day.)  Anyway, this is what we feel that B will apply in his life more than Algebra.  


Science-

A Reason For Science - Level H

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This science has colorful pages that will keep B's interest.  He isn't the type of student to read and answer questions.  Lets face it, that's boring anyway!  This is hands-on science with cool worksheet pages.  (You can also buy the experiment kit as well that contains all experiment supplies.)


History -

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Rush Revere!

B started this book right at the end of this past school year.  We will continue reading it and then through the series next school year. (Click on the book to take you to the website with the whole series and more info.)  He loves it!  It's funny, quirky,and keeps him in suspense waiting to see what happens in the next chapter!  Not your typical Pilgrim story.  ;)  I plan to add a Geography / map workbooks and read/learn about our Constitution more this year as well.



Bible / Reading / Character Development -



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The Purpose Driven Life by:  Rick Warren

This is great!  Can't wait to start this devotional book.  Has scripture and 365 devotionals.  


Language Arts -

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This one was tough.  I really like the Easy Grammar series, but this was so inexpensive, I couldn't pass it up.  Grammar at this point in our education plan is just to keep the basic grammar sharp in the mind.  ;)


Writing - 

We may continue 'Excellent in Writing' next year, however, I am thinking of going back to my old school method of free writing.  I had the older boys (when they were younger) write a story.  I begin with writing a few sentences.  Then hand the notebook to them so they can add 5-7 more sentences.  This goes on daily throughout the year, passing back and forth.  But then I found this......


Funschooling Books by The Thinking Tree!


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There are several types of these fun journal workbooks for ages 3-17! (Click on the pic above and it will take you to their website with tons of books and Dyslexia games and curriculum!)  This one above is more like a portfolio, but not your typical portfolio.  It lets the kids be creative and tell what they did throughout the school year!  This is a great alternative to those who put together a hand made portfolio every year.  They also have planners for homeschool moms.  So cool!

Spelling -

We will continue (and even through high school) with Spelling Power.

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So that is the game plan for this fall.  I may switch it up a bit.  I still have this on my mind, but it is expensive.


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One of the best things about homeschooling is that if you find something isn't working, ditch it, sell it, change it up!  I remember one year we changed my middle sons math 3 times in one year!  He went on to college and scored a 97% in Algebra his freshman year. So it pays to find what works for your child.  Most of the things I buy, can be resold on ebay or to fellow homeschoolers too. 

Our goal for our children is .........

#1  Love the Lord
#2  Be able to support yourself
#3  Be able to support your family
#4  Be happy in the career your choose for yourself 

So Happy Homeschooling & remember, BE CREATIVE AND LOOK FOR CURRICULUM OUT OF THE BOX!  Besides, homeschoolers can learn about anything they want! 

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Not everyone should Homeschool

Over the years I have noticed that a growing number of parents are pulling their children out of the public school system to homeschool them.  Being an advocate for homeschoolers, you might think that I would stand behind ALL who want to homeschool.  However, I'm don't.

People homeschool for many different reasons.  Maybe they feel they can do a better job then the schools, give their children more one on one in studies, religious reasons, illness, freedom to travel, etc.  Whatever the reason is, there are those who are homeschooling who shouldn't homeschool (in my opinion) not because they aren't qualified, but because they are mad at the school board, teacher, principle, superintendent, etc.  Homeschool is a HUGE decision.  A decision that shouldn't be made under anger.  Homeschooling is a HUGE responsibility on the parent (or guardian) doing the homeschooling.  Remember, you are completely in charge, responsible, and in control all the way around (this includes financially) of your child's education.  The public school system isn't responsible for supplying you with curriculum, supplies, etc. 

You are.  

Have you ever heard one say that when you enroll your child in the public school system that you are giving up your rights to your children while they are there?  It's true and also works in the reverse.  The public school has no right to your child's education (including all the resources that the school has to offer) once you pull them out. Some schools will allow you to borrow materials from them.  Our local schools tell us that they don't have extra mateirals, which we know they do.  However, again, it isn't the school responsibility to supply us with any material.  After all, we removed our children from their schools, why should they help?  My advice is if you need help with materials or supplies, find a local homeschool group to see if they have anything to offer.  But the overall best homeschool resource I've found is free.  It's your local library! 

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They have tons of material for your child.  Yes, even high school. Most libraries have free internet access for you to search material needed.  

There is a free website where you can homeschool your child completely free called Easy Peasy Homeschool .   

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It is online, so internet is needed.  Also, don't be afraid to make up your own curriculum! It's not as hard as it seems.  If you have a child that is interested in horses, for example, then research horses:  the history, biology of, characteristics, breeds, etc.  Remember YOU are the educator. YOU can decide what, when and how they learn.  If you want to teach your child Algebra in 5'th grade, go for it.  If you don't want to teach them Algebra at all, that is up to you.  

So if you are thinking about homeschooling, you need to ask yourself if you are ready to be completely responsible for your child's education and the reason behind your wanting to homeschool. 

Note:  Please make sure you know your state's homeschool laws!  This is also your responsibility, to comply & understand.  


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If you do decide to homeschool, ENJOY!  Don't stress, worry or compare!  Just have fun and explore the millions of possibilities that are available to you!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Homeschool Lesson Plans Ideas

I admit it, I'm a planner when it comes to everyday life.  However, in my homeschool, I kind of plan as I go.  I do use a lesson plan though but it's more for an idea on "what I did and when".  This is only for my records.  I live in WV and our state law doesn't require us to turn in any kind of lesson plans.  We only have to have an outline plan of instruction.  (Funny how they try to control our homeschool by adding dumb laws like this.)

I thought I would share some of my lesson plans over the 12 years of our homeschooling experience.  Some of these are old, may have even been printed off the web, but are worthy of sharing.  I also wanted to mention that the reason why I have so many different kinds of lesson plans is mainly because I like to change things up a bit.  I get really tired of using the same plans through out the year.  I actually use about 4 different ones for one year of homeschooling.  Call me weird, I would say I'm unique. ;)  I keep these lesson plans in a 3 ring binder along with my field trip logs, reading lists, etc.


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This one above is my "go to" lesson plan.  For me, it's easy and stress free.  I just have to check my boxes when completed.  I place the schoolyear in the top right corner, child's name and grade in the middle and the week in the top right. Again, I just do this for me. Please don't poke fun at my self drawn boxes.  ;)


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I created this one myself.  It has all five school days are on one page and I just have to fill in the lesson numbers.  There are boxes to check when completed.  By the way, kids LOVE to check boxes of completion!  


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This one is a 2 pager.  Monday, Tues., Wed. on the left side and Thurs. & Friday on the right.  It is pretty plain.  You write in what they did for that day in that subject.  Small boxes of completion to check as well.


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This one above I found online.  I didn't use it after all.  It was too much writing for me.  So if you are one who likes to write everything in, this one may be for you.  



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This was created by me for my son (who graduated last year and is in first year in college, woo hoo).  I wanted something with very little writing and very simple.  All through high school, he chose to do all his work on his own, I just provided the lesson plans weekly for him.  This helped to keep him on track.  This is great for those independent students who want to do everything on their own with very little instruction from mom.  ;)  Basically, he just had to write in what lesson # he did, or circled it, and the page #'s.  Very simple. At the end of the week, Friday afternoon, he gave it back to me.  I would make sure everything was completed and I would have a new one for him by Monday for the next week.



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This one is totally different from those I've mentioned so far.  It was copied out of a book (legally) for me to use.  It calls for more detail, writing, etc. so I didn't use it very long.  But I did like it.  It isn't all on one page, but it is very detailed.



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This one I created quite a few years ago.  Everything fits on one page.  You just write in what was done or to do.  There is a place for Notes as well.  (Excuse the blue lines, this was the only copy I had.  Not sure what those lines were for originally.)


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This one is for 2 students.  You could print more off of course for multiple students.  I would say that this one is for younger children as well.  As you can see, the boxes are set up for one box, one day of homeschooling.  So you need to write in all the work in one box.  This wouldn't work so well if you have older children due to the work load they have wouldn't fit in the box.  



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This last one above is just another box type lesson plan.  You just write in what is needed to be done or what has been completed.  

For more ideas on how to build your own Homeschool Planner, go to http://www.donnayoung.org/index.htm

There are all kinds of great, free, printables on this site to create your own planner!

Of course, you can always buy your own if you don't want to print your own.  There are wonderful pre made planners out there.  This one by HEDUA (below) is great.  Click on the pic to go to the link to purchase.


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Hope these lesson plan ideas helped!  Happy Homeschool Planning!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent


I ran out of dishwashing detergent for my dishwasher.  I hate it when that happens.  But I've been doing research on homemade products over the past few months and I remembered that I came across a homemade detergent for the dishwasher.  So I looked it up and tried it today (with fingers crossed).

The recipe is:

Add 3 drops of your regular dishwashing liquid to the compartment
Add (ontop) Baking Soda to 2/3 full
Then fill the rest with salt


Well, it worked and my dishes are clean!  :)  This is definetly cheaper than buying it at the store.  I always have those 3 items in stock in my pantry anyway.  The only downfall is I have to get them out each time I do a load.  I could put the baking soda & salt in containers with a scoop (with exact measurement needed), then I would just have to add the dish soap drops in (first of course).

Hmmmmm.  I may be on to something here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Right Way to Homeschool & Our Children's Future

If you were asked this question, what would your answer be?  

Mimic the public school setting?  Used only boxed curriculum? Ditch the books and dig in hands on only?  Join a co-op group and get plugged in to everything they offer?

My answer to this question would be the right way to homeschool is the way that best fits your family.  Yep.  Pretty simple.  Too vague for you?  Ok.  Well, for me, the right right way to homeschool my youngest differs from my older two boys.  (I have one adult in the working world, and another one in college.)  One of my boys was, and still is, a huge bookworm.  I had to ground him from reading to get him to finish his work and go to bed on time.  Yes, this is true.  He asked me, "What kind of mother grounds her child from reading"?  Um, me.  So for my middle child, the right way to homeschool was books, of course.  The reading, answering questions, worked for him wonderfully.  My oldest wanted nothing more than to work independently.  Some days he would have his entire day of homeschool work finished by the time I got up in the morning at 8:30am.  Giving him a schedule with lesson plans worked for him.  My youngest one, well, none of that would work for him.  He is a more hands-on, auditory learner.  If he had to read an entire lesson and answer questions we would have a melt down for sure.  I know what some are thinking, "You are the teacher, he should be able to read a lesson and answer questions."   My response to this is, "Says who?".  This is why the public school system has failed some kids.  Not because of the books or teachers, but because of their learning style.  Let me explain.  

My youngest can listen to me read his entire lesson while he builds things with Legos and he will retain just about everything I have read to him. Same with the TV.  If he watches something on the History channel while building with his Legos, he will retain it. But if he had to read it to himself, he would retain maybe 25% of it if not less. Why?  He doesn't like to read.  He does struggle a bit, but he can read pretty decent.  I didn't like to read when I was a child, but once I graduated, I would go to the library and get books on my own and read without anyone instructing me to.  Some kids don't like to read, period.  

This also goes for his spelling words.  If I give him the traditional spelling test (give him the word, in a sentence, and he writes it down), he gets about 50% wrong.  I struggled with this thinking that I was failing him or he is just failing spelling.  NOT THE CASE!  One day I decided to give him the words orally, upon his request, and he scored a 95%!  He hadn't studied them, written them several times, etc.  Could there be an issue with the brain getting the words to his hand for writing them onto paper?  Possibly.  I do know he has Dyslexia, that could very well be a large part.  But why stress over this?  When in his life will he ever have to write down a group of words and be graded on them?  Sure, he will have to write, but lets face it, this is the world of electronics, spell check, auto correct, etc.  (I am not a fan of auto correct, but hey, it's there to help.)  So he will do fine.  I am not worried.

The public puts so much pressure on these kids to study, work, study, work, study, work.  Well, how has that worked out for this country?  We have more entitlement issues and welfare than we have ever had in the past.  I know several people who are in debt with student loans and can't find a job in that field.  Sad.  Very sad. I encourage those to go to college if they want to, but make sure it's something they love and plan to relocate if necessary to achieve that career.  

I have always told my boys that it doesn't matter to me what they do for a living as long as it's honest, they can support themselves and their families, and they are happy!  If they want to work for the county and dig ditches, fine by me.  If they want to be an associate at Walmart, fine, as long as you are happy.  I'm sure some may be thinking that I am not setting goals for my children or encouraging them to do better.  That isn't true.  How many people have high paying careers and top positions in a company and absolutely hate going to work everyday?  And lets not get on the stress issue.  Some of these jobs consume people so they are so stressed they need to go on medication just to function day to day.  Really?  Why would I push my children toward that type of life?  

Think about our "typical" life.  We work as soon as we get out of school.  Then work until we are 65 years old or so, then we retire and deal with health issues for our entire retirement and some struggle financially.  For what?  To pay a mortgage or have a nice car?  To pay for nice things?  Maybe we need to evaluate what is really important and what we really want out of life.  Kudos to those who are working a part time job (or no job at all), supplying their own family with food from their farm, even living off the grid.  I think that is great!  This country has become to dependent on our government to take care of us.  It isn't their responsibility. It is ours.  I feel that the public educational system is not helping with this at all, but adding to it. And as far as happiness goes, only YOU can make YOU happy.  If you aren't happy, change your lifestyle.  Pray and ask the Lord to show you the desires of your heart, how to eliminate stress, provide for yourself in all aspects of life.  He will show you how to live the life you have always desired!  :)

Happy Homeschooling to you all and find your RIGHT way to homeschool and go with it!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

A few things I've learned over my 12 years of home educating

Over my 12 years of homeschooling, I've met some very interesting ladies (aka homeschool moms).  I am blessed to have met these ladies and be a member of a wonderful homeschool group locally.  My homeschool peeps are not judging or criticizing but encouraging.  Something every homeschool mom needs, yes, even one who has been doing it for 12 years.  

It bothers me how society judges homeschoolers.  I read blogs, watch youtube videos, read Facebook posts and see comments that are rude, hateful and just down right mean.  So I wanted to ask my followers, or anyone reading, a few questions.  (Most of my follows are homeschool friendly, but may have extensions of readers who aren't.)

1.  Why is the 'standard' of education a public school setting?

Schooling didn't start out in a building with a teacher, students and textbooks.  It started out in the homes with parents teaching their children.  Nope, they didn't have a college degree or even attend a school in the beginning.  How did they survive?  ;)

2.  Why do some think that parents are not competent to teach their children now in this day and age?  Have we 'dumbed down'?  

Well, maybe.  Dumbed down from the government cramming all the nonsense, useless information, into our children's minds.  For example, I read an article on how some children in public schools are being taught the Koran, Muslim religion, etc. in school.  This made me very angry. Not that they were learning about it, but they aren't being taught the Christian faith that our country was founded on first!  They aren't allowed to bring the Bible in and teach it, but we can the Koran?   I am all for learning about other religions, but first and foremost we need to learn about the one this country was founded on.  That is like going to an American school and learning Spanish before English.  Enough said about that, I can feel my blood boiling as I write this. So back to the question, are parents not competent to teach their own children at home (with or without degrees)?  Well, I know a few who have attended public school, graduated, and can't read or write very well at all.   Have you ever had an adult count back change to you at the store incorrectly? Enough said.

3.  When is the last time you used the information you learned at school, high school especially?

I've been thinking a lot about what my 7'th grader needs to know. (My other 2 sons have graduated by the way.  One in college and one working as a correction officer at a local prison.  I'm saddened by all the teaching time I spent with the other 2 boys, wasted, that they will never use in life.  Ok, the one in college is using some of what he learned, but that is for another blog topic.  Maybe I'll call that blog post, "College, taking required, expensive, useless classes not related to their major".

I am going to break it down what I think my 7'th grader needs to learn in the remaining 5 years of his education at home (which some of these he already knows).  

* how to balance a checkbook
* how to budget; monthly
* how to shop for any household good or make it on his own
* how to have a conversation with anyone of any age
* how to be self sufficient if needed (growing food, etc)
* how and where to find information he needs
* how to respect others, even the ones he doesn't like
* how to set realistic goals for himself and achieve them
* how to care for a person (or animal) in an emergency situation
* how to do basic repair and construction skills
* how to be a wonderful husband and a good father
* how to be a good neighbor and help others
* how to the love the Lord and keep a relationship with Jesus Christ

Just for the record, I didn't learn ANY of these things/ life skills from high school.  


4.  What have you taken from high school and applied to your life?

For me, nothing.  I didn't like high school, at all.  No, I wasn't bullied or wasn't a misfit.  I was actually a cheerleader, in band and had many friends.  I tried to get along with everyone and give them respect.  I honestly cannot think of anything positive that I applied to my life that I learned from being in high school.  I did however learn things.  I learned that no one cares where "x" went.  I learned that 'clicks' existed then just like they do now.  I learned that some kids were just cruel.  I learned that getting pregnant in high school gave you the reputation of sleeping around when maybe that one person has been dating the same boy for years.  I learned that not having a steady boyfriend also gave you that same reputation.  I learned to judge people by what their parents did for a living, where they lived and how they dressed.  The most important thing I've learned from high school is that REAL LIFE IS NOTHING LIKE HIGH SCHOOL.  I have heard homeschool parents say that maybe they should put their kids back in the public school system in order to prepare them for real life.  Really?  If that is what you think, your outlook on real life is warped.  

I made the mistake by sending my oldest to the local public school for his high school years.  If I had it to do over again, he wouldn't have attended for several reasons that I'd rather not discuss in this post, but he is doing well....great financially.  However, I remember when he learned about credit cards in high school.  He told me and my husband how he learned how to beat the interest on them.  Curious, my husband asked him to explain.  Our son went on to explain that you look at how much interest you are getting charged and you pay that amount along with the minimum payment.  I asked him how that was beating the interest; he was still paying it.  Beating the interest would be NOT paying any correct?  The only way to beat the interest on a credit card is to pay it off within the first billing cycle so the interest won't apply or accrue.  He could not understand and completely dismissed my husband and my explanation on the misinformation he was taught. THIS is the financial information being taught in our schools? By the way, they never went over how to balance a checkbook in high school or budget that I know of.  I taught him that in 8'th grade (homeschooling).

5.  Why are some people so interested in what MY homeschool child is learning?

I personally think it is none of anyone's (including the gov't) business what my child is learning in my home education. Unfortunately, here in WV, we have homeschooling laws we have to follow and of course I follow them, ALL of them.  I just feel that if my child were in public school, I wouldn't have a say in any part of their education, so why are they interested in what my home education plan consists of?  None of your business.  

I love this quote below:

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I'd rather raise a God fearing leader, successor, inventor, creator, or a dreamer rather than raise a follower of the world.

M final question is:

6.  If your children (in public school) had a chance to tour another country or take advantage of another source to improve their education, would you want them to take part in it?

I have 8 words for my response:

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So before you judge another way of educating a child, think about these questions and explore your imagination into the world of homeschooling.   Do your research and you may be surprised!



*Disclaimer:  For all those who have children in public schools, please do not leave any judgmental comments.  If you have a question, I'll be glad to answer.  But this IS a homeschool blog and I don't intent to get into heated discussions, debates or arguments over any issue.  Leave that for Facebook. ;)