Homeschooling 101

So you want to homeschool.

I often get many questions and blessings about homeschooling. It is usually followed up by statements like, “I wish I could homeschool but I don’t know where to start.” or “I don’t have the time.” Well I am here to bust both of those questions and many more in this blog to help you get started.

First, in case you do not know, I am a Business owner of a small consulting firm called Rush Consulting Firm. This business is my pride and joy. It is one I built from the ground up and am able to work anytime and anywhere. With that being said, though my schedule is very flexible, it is still a very demanding position as I wear many hats within the company. So while I can bend my schedule like some of you may not be able to, that also means I work, oftentimes, into the early morning hours of the day. I do get tired and I do get cranky but homeschooling is definitely something I am committed to. I have a cheat for those moments that will allow you a moment to breathe and regather yourself while your children still learn even without you around.

I will say right up front that I do not follow any type of curriculum, I do what I call ‘free teaching’. What that means is while there are a plethora of academic platforms to educate your children, I choose, for personal reasons, not to use any of them.

I will admit that I was thoroughly confused as to where to start and what to teach but I was, and still am, so determined to educate my children according to what I now know as an adult as well as where they are currently in the own educational position that I had to put in some creative work and research to better advance the minds of my children.

I will also forewarn you that, I am all about teaching my children self love and self respect in addition to others, which is something that is not taught in the public school, or private school for that matter, education system. I believe in positive affirmations and daily reminders of who they are and what they can accomplish while including their fellow peers.

For starters, I enrolled in Homeschool Legal Defense Association in the event that I incur any legal issues, because I’m going to be honest, as a black woman I am always mindful of my rights as a parent and I am also aware that I am still black. (That is my stance and it is not up for debate.)

Let me tell you why I pulled my children from the public school system.

My oldest son has always been an advanced honor student who had made a’s and B’s his entire life through the eighth grade, when he was enrolled in High School, I was told he had to go to a particular school which was predominately black. In my experience since moving to the south, That usually means less care (teachers not being paid their worth, struggling academically, less resources, etc) but I didn’t know then what I know now and I went along even against my better judgement because my son was smart. Well, turns out, I was correct. While there were a handful of awesome teachers and administrative staff there, my son kept coming home with straight F’s. Now I am no fool, I know my son paid a part in this as well, however, I should have known this school was not going to give my child the push I know he needed to continue to accelerate.

My other oldest was diagnosed with ADHD, I am not even going to get into that whole agenda. But due to this, he struggled in school because the teacher, due to lack of understanding and compassion, would simple place him in the back of the class, oftentimes giving him an attitude for asking questions, and write inappropriate notes on his papers and in his planner.

My oldest daughter was too smart for the level she was in and often would simply be advocated as teachers assistant to help teach her peers in class. I could already see that this was going to lead down a road to boredom and failing grades.

So, I pulled them. All 5 who were currently enrolled in the Public school system. Now there are 7 technically but of course my rule is, ‘If I’m teaching, you’re learning’ so all 9 are in class Monday through Friday with light review work on the weekends. I am free to teach my children on any level I please, because again, I do not follow any curriculum.

How do I do it? Google. Just kidding. That is my starting point however. I literally googled ‘What should my child know by the end of [whatever grade they are in]. I teach all of my children a level up and that is where the weekend review comes in, That is stuff ‘on their level’ to be sure I am not moving too fast and they know what they should.

For my littles, I go to the dollar tree and get the educational workbooks. I take them home and dismantle them into one page lessons. I separate the by grade level and I make packets that consist of 5 to 6 pages (they are front and back, so you end up with 10 to 12 pages of work. I designate the packets into their individual work spaces and in the mornings, they know to grab a packet and get started. You can do this up the fifth grade from the dollar tree but Barnes and Nobles also have activity books up to the eighth grade that you can do this with. It usually takes them anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more to complete these daily packets. Then you can take a break or continue on teaching.

We have a Goodwill here that sells by the bulk. Thank goodness for this because its where I get most of my academic books from. I believe the books are 50 cents a pound versus 2.99 a book at regular Goodwill stores. I have every level of every book you need to graduate your child from high school and probably college. Anything from literature to microeconomics. My oldest even works from some college books we have. My children excel daily and I can see it. That is something I never experienced in public schools. We also use Khan Academy which is available on an app as well as youtube. My children utilize it for a clearer understanding of what I teach in class in addition to jumping ahead.

I signed up for ABC mouse for my 3-6 year old children but it was too easy and they breezed through it in one day, so I cancelled my subscription. I have learned that my children, and I am sure many others, learn much better in a one on one environment. And while I have nine children I teach, They still get plenty of one on one everyday.

I buy index cards and everything goes on them! Colors, shapes, numbers, sight words, alphabets, addition, subtraction, multiplication, sentences structures, you name it and I am pretty sure I have a stack of flash cards.

The state I am in mandates 4.5 hours a day of learning, and I know some of you may say, I just don’t have four hours to dedicate. Well, remember, this does not have to be a consecutive four hours but also this includes self or Montessori style teaching as well, remember those packets?

Also, trips to the grocery store can be used as a math lesson. Trips to the zoo can be a counted as a science trip. A family trip can be a geography lesson. Paying bills can be an economics lesson. So keep these little things in mind.

I have been slow to put this together because I want to make sure I cover most, if not all of your questions. It does not have to be hard. If you have a difficult child, it will do you and him/her some good to spend more time together to better learn one another. They are human too and thus have emotions. Having sessions discussing this could also be counted as a psychology lesson. <—- See what I did there?

So in closing, Be creative, take charge of your child’s growth and development. Trust me, You will never regret it! You will definitely learn as well along the way. And if you have any questions, I am always available. My contact information is on the front page of the blog.

-Rush

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