Continuing Your Homeschool Journey

  1. Support for your homeschool journey
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Whether you’ve been homeschooling for years or just starting out, there will be seasons when you feel like you’re on your own. Overwhelmed with lesson planning or keeping up with checking your child’s work. Feeling like a failure because it appears your child isn’t making progress. Struggling to maintain positive relationships with your kids as their teacher and their parent. Most homeschooling parents have gone through these stages of insecurity and anxiety because of the high stakes of educating their children. Finding families and friends who homeschool can be challenging but it is an integral part of your support system. Also consider that not everyone in your support system needs to be a homeschooler. So take the time to find a community to become involved in and other parents and families that encourage each other and share interests. Here are a few ways to make connections.

  • Search social media for local homeschool events, field trips, and activities.

  • Visit the library or playground when traditional schools are in session. If you meet school-aged children and parents there, they are probably a homeschool family.

  • Check with museums, state parks, theaters, nature organizations for special homeschool programs. These can be great places to meet other homeschool families.

  • Call churches in your area and ask if they have a support group for moms or parents or if any members are homeschoolers.

  • Visit your state’s homeschool organization page. These are private organizations run by veteran and current homeschoolers. Often, you’ll find information on activities (like conventions, graduation events, field trips), co-ops, classes, and more. Advice from parents who’ve navigated the laws of your state is invaluable. Click HERE for a link to the current state organizations.

  • Check out a homeschool convention in your area. Usually homeschool conventions happen once or twice a year, usually between March and June. At conventions you’ll find speakers on almost every homeschool topic, from how to teach different subjects to balancing instruction for multiple children. Conventions also often have a Vendor Hall, where you can look at curriculum from top homeschool and education publishers. Click HERE for a link to current homeschool conventions.

  • Leadership and vocational organizations like 4H and National FFA Organization, Scouts, and others give homeschool children opportunities to connect with other young people with similar interests.

  • The Homeschool Compass website and blog offers support and encouragement for your homeschool journey with articles, printables, booklists and reading lists, curricula suggestions and more. Sign up for the HC weekly email newsletter and download the HC podcast with interviews from homeschool veterans and best-selling authors.

Stay on-track and organized throughout the year so your year-end reporting requirements are easy to put together and submit to the local or state authorities. There are many educational planners available that help you keep track of subjects; assignment, quiz, and test grades; field trips; and more. Click HERE if you’d like to check out the selection at Christianbook. In high school, transcripts are critical for college applications or resume-building if your student plans to enter the workforce after high school.

  • Grades: keep track of your child’s grades on assignments, quizzes, and tests throughout the year. It’s easier to find that midterm and final average if you record it right away, rather than trying to hunt down all the quizzes and tests months later to get average grades. Keep a record of the assignments that have been completed and the books that have been read. Christianbook’s free Homeschool Planner is a printable resource with a calendar, weekly scheduling grids, report cards, reading logs, and other forms that help you keep track of essential information. It’s a great way to start your record-keeping system, especially if you’re not sure of what type of planner would best suit your needs.

  • Transcripts: a high school transcript is a certified one-page document that records a student’s high school academic work. Colleges require transcripts during the application process, but even if your child is not going to college, it is a good idea to complete a high school transcript, in the event it’s needed for other purposes, like job applications, job promotions, or enlisting in a branch of the military. There are many resources and templates for high school transcripts. Transcripts have a common format that includes information about your homeschool, the courses your student completed, credits earned (including information on dual enrollment), and their GPA. It may be possible to also include additional pages with advanced reading lists, extra-curriculars, curricula, course, or co-op information, especially if the teachers have important degrees/qualifications. If this feels overwhelming, there are 3rd-party transcript services available, and HSLDA also offers transcript preparation.

  • “After school” activities, hobbies, volunteer work, internships, employment, presentations, awards, athletics, involvement in art and music: it’s amazing how easy it is to forget the different day-to-day activities that your children participate in and the achievements that they earn. Keep a family diary of these details. You might be surprised to see how many accomplishments can become points on a transcript or application that reflect leadership, teamwork, skills, competencies, and evidence of reliability.

  • Homeschool Planet is a renewable, subscription-based 13-month online planner that’s easy to learn and launch and full of helpful features like customizable grading, report card and transcript functions, ability to schedule and reschedule recurring and one-time-only assignments easily, and plug-in lesson plans for many popular curricula.

Is it February and the curriculum that you were so enthusiastic about is now draining, boring, or too much work? Does the curriculum seem to be moving too quickly or too slowly for your child? Have your family’s circumstances changed and now the teacher prep time is overwhelming? Before throwing it all out and starting something new, ask a few questions and try to evaluate what’s really going on.

  • Do you need to replace all your curricula or is there just one program in one subject that needs to change? Assess your and your child’s comfort level with each curriculum that you’re using to determine where the trouble lies.

  • Are you tired? Do you and your child need to take a break and de-school for a little while? Try replacing seatwork and assignments with videos, field trips, read-alouds, and hands-on projects that are topical. This may be enough to refresh your spirits so you can finish the year strong without replacing anything.

  • Is the curriculum moving too quickly or too slowly? Try supplementing with workbooks, games, lapbooks, unit studies, or online resources such as video lessons, printables, and online quiz apps. This takes a little more teacher prep time to hunt down these resources, but it may save you time and money. Christianbook has a wide selection of sensory resources, educational games, and workbooks. If the lessons move too quickly, you may just need to add more days to each chapter or unit and take the time to help your student with the lesson content. It’s more important that they understand what they’re learning, than that they finish the book. Remember, in traditional school, teachers often do not finish the textbook.

  • Is the teacher prep and lesson planning more than you expected or is it too much right now? It may be time to slow down, and only focus on two or three activities per lesson instead of including every point in every lesson. Perhaps periodically replace a few lessons with a subject-specific workbook or supplement. Or, is it possible for your spouse to help with planning or teaching lessons? This may become an opportunity to make homeschooling a family endeavor. Another option is to check for pre-made lesson plans for the curriculum you have. There are 3rd party lesson resources for some popular curricula.

If you’ve decided that it’s time to change to a new curriculum, click on the next FAQ, "Changing It Up, Part 2."

If you’ve decided that it’s time to change to a new curriculum, here are some questions to consider as you choose replacement materials. Researching your curricula options online, you’ll be able to find product descriptions, reviews, sample pages, and more. Christianbook’s Homeschool Curriculum Advisors are also available to help answer your product questions.

  • If your old curriculum was moving too quickly or too slowly, make sure that your replacement will meet your student at their level. Try to determine grade level, as that would be the easiest way to determine the resources to buy. Your child may be at different grade levels, depending on the subject, so now’s your chance to fine-tune your child’s learning materials to exactly what they need.

  • Remember that the curriculum that worked for your child one year, may not work another year. As a child matures and develops, the way they learn may also change. If your old curriculum was causing your child to be anxious and overwhelmed or bored and inattentive, their learning style may have changed. This is your opportunity to switch to a program that can engage your child in the way they learn best. If you’ve identified learning challenges that your child has, now’s the time to switch to a program that has the right techniques and learning strategies to help them grow.

  • Be sure to make sure that the new curriculum fits with your family’s values and worldview and helps you reach the long-term goals you have for your child.

  • If you’re changing curriculum to reduce teacher prep and lesson planning, look for a new program that has a comprehensive teacher manual or guide and that those resources have a layout and structure that appeal to you as an instructor.

  • Consider that homeschool co-op classes, dual enrollment college classes, internships, long-running hands-on projects, and online courses or academies may fulfill the educational requirement for a subject. You may be able to sign up for classes at your local high school. As a tax-payer you are still contributing to the school even if your child does not attend. Lab facilities, wood or automotive shops, chorus and band classes, and robotics classes are several examples of how the local high school can provide your child with experiences that will help them prepare for either college or career once they graduate high school.

If you homeschool for any length of time, you will experience situations that challenge and disrupt your homeschool routine and schedule. You don’t have to give up homeschooling, but you will need to get creative. When it happens, be prepared for your homeschool life to change and function differently than it did before.

  • Give yourself and your family time to adjust to the new normal. Do not feel anxious about missed lessons or assignments. It may be time to unschool temporarily (if that’s not your usual style). Find resources that can be implemented easily at the grade level or on the topics that your children are working on, such as high quality workbooks, lapbook kits, and living books.

  • Re-evaluate your expectations as to how much you can accomplish. Zero in on what is truly essential, keeping your long-range goals in mind. Prioritize the subjects and activities that most directly contribute to that vision.

  • Do tiny, bite-sized lessons every day over a long period of time. If you work in each subject area for just 15 minutes a day, you can make significant progress over the course of several months.

  • Change locations. Homeschool doesn’t have to happen at the kitchen table or at a desk. Trapped for long hours in the car while driving to medical appointments? Listen to audio books, educational podcasts, or even classical music on the radio. Stuck on bed rest for the rest of your pregnancy? Put materials in a basket nearby, and let your children climb into bed with you so you can read to them or go over lessons.

  • Ask for help. If you are in crisis, this is an opportunity to learn to receive help graciously. Begin voicing specific needs to trusted friends and family members. You probably have loved ones who would like to help but aren’t sure how. Be honest with the safe people in your life. No matter how unusual your circumstance, you are not alone.

Homeschooled teenagers are accepted by some of the country’s finest universities because of the unique strengths they’ve gained through homeschooling. A strong academic foundation, creative problem solving, independent thinking skills, and emotional maturity are just a few of the assets college admissions officers frequently ascribe to homeschoolers. Homeschool students often place higher on ACT and SAT tests than their private and public school peers. Here are some tips for preparing your college-bound high school student.

  • Look for high school homeschool curricula that explain how to earn high school credits using the course and the number of credits that may be earned.

  • Familiarize yourself and your teen with the typical high school course requirements for college and for the major/course of study that your teen wants to pursue. A science and engineering-bound student will benefit from different high school courses and electives than a student interested in journalism, English, or History. Consider classes at the local community college for either high school or dual enrollment credits.

  • A high school homeschool student is usually an independent learner. A lot of high school homeschooling curricula are written to the student. While parents still monitor assignments and grade quizzes, and tests, the student manages their schedule and workload and is responsible for reading (or watching) and completing their lessons on a daily basis. This prepares high schoolers for college, where professors expect students to be accountable for completing readings, assignments, papers, labs, etc. on time.

  • Throughout high school, collect a comprehensive portfolio of work (essays, lab reports, presentations, involvement in art and music, awards) and personal letters of recommendation from tutors, coaches, or co-op instructors. Include “after school” activities, such as hobbies, volunteer work, internships, employment, and athletics. You might be surprised to see how many accomplishments can become points on an application that reflect leadership, teamwork, skills, competencies, and evidence of reliability.

  • Sign up for PSAT, SAT, and ACT tests during your student’s sophomore, junior, and senior years. You should be able to find a testing facility (usually the local high school) close to your area. Note that some colleges are moving toward “test optional” applications processes.

  • Most graduation requirements include 2 years of a lab-science, which means that the science course has a large hands-on component. This could mean the course includes traditional labs and lab reports or it could mean that your student completes a long-running hands-on project that shows their comprehension of the material.

  • World languages (usually two years) and electives are also important parts of the high school experience. Your student may want to use the typical text/workbook method for a year or find an immersive experience. Be sure to check the homeschool high school regulations for your state to make sure you’re in compliance.

  • Be sure to maintain a high school transcript. This is a certified one-page document that records a student’s high school academic work. Colleges require transcripts during the application process. There are many resources and templates for high school transcripts. If this feels overwhelming, there are 3rd-party transcript services available, and HSLDA also offers transcript preparation.

  • Look for homeschool co-op classes, dual enrollment college classes, long-running hands-on projects, and classes at your local high school that fall into the interest-area or career that your student is considering. Lab facilities, wood or automotive shops, chorus and band classes, and robotics classes are examples of how the local high school can provide your child with experiences that will help them prepare for college.

Employers can appreciate that most homeschooled students know how to develop inter-generational relationships, which is what we do as adults. In the workplace, in our neighborhoods, at church, and in our hobbies and clubs, not everyone is our age. As a homeschooler, your teenager has more opportunities to connect with the real world than students who are in school for six to eight hours a day, only associating with kids their own age. Grocery shopping during the day, visits to community homes, spending the day with older and younger siblings, social time with other homeschool families, and volunteer opportunities are just a few of the ways that homeschool kids can practice compassion, conflict resolution, and communication skills. Add creative problem solving, independent thinking skills, and emotional maturity and your child becomes an employee that a business will value.

  • Look for high school homeschool curricula that explain how to earn high school credits using the course and the number of credits that may be earned.

  • A high school homeschool student is usually an independent learner. A lot of high school homeschooling curricula are written to the student. That means that while parents still monitor assignments and grade quizzes, and tests, the student manages their schedule and workload and is responsible for reading (or watching) and completing their daily lessons.

  • Encourage your teenager to seek out internship opportunities in the field they are interested in. Months of day-to-day experiences in a job, especially at entry-level, will give your teen an idea of what working in a particular career really means. There may also be opportunities for networking with professionals, which may even lead to employment after high school.

  • Prepare a high school transcript for your teenager. A high school transcript is a certified one-page document that records a student’s high school academic work. Your young adult will need it for job applications, job promotions, or enlisting in a branch of the military. There are many resources and templates for high school transcripts. If this feels overwhelming, there are 3rd-party transcript services available, and HSLDA also offers transcript preparation.

  • Throughout the four years of high school, collect a comprehensive portfolio of work (essays, lab reports, presentations, involvement in art and music, awards) and personal letters of recommendation from tutors, coaches, or co-op instructors. Include “after school” activities, such as hobbies, volunteer work, internships, employment, and athletics. You might be surprised to see how many accomplishments can become points on a transcript or application that reflect leadership, teamwork, skills, competencies, and evidence of reliability.

  • Most graduation requirements include 2 years of a lab-science, which means that the science course has a large hands-on component. This could mean the course includes traditional labs and lab reports or it could mean that your student completes a long-running hands-on project that shows their comprehension of the material.

  • World languages (usually two years) and electives are also important parts of the high school experience. Your student may want to use the typical text/workbook method for a year or find an immersive experience. Be sure to check the homeschool high school regulations for your state to make sure you’re in compliance.

  • Look for homeschool co-op classes, dual enrollment college classes, long-running hands-on projects, and classes at your local high school that fall into the interest-area or career that your student is considering. Lab facilities, wood or automotive shops, chorus and band classes, and robotics classes are examples of how the local high school can provide your child with experiences that will help them prepare for a career after high school.

We have Homeschool Curriculum Advisors on staff and to answer your questions about any of the homeschool products we carry. We go the extra mile to help, whether it’s looking at the product in our warehouse or contacting the publisher to get an answer. Homeschool Curriculum Advisors are available any time our phones are open, as well as by email. If you email, be sure to include the subject and grade level that you’re shopping for.

Our website is the most exhaustive source of the homeschool product we sell. But if you prefer to flip actual pages, our Homeschool Catalog is jam-packed with best-selling curricula and resources to make any homeschooler happy.

Contact Information for Christianbook's Homeschool Curriculum Advisors and Homeschool Catalog:

  • Christianbook's Homeschool Curriculum Advisor phone number: 1-800-788-1221

  • Click HERE to send an email to Christianbook's Homeschool Curriculum Advisors.

  • Click HERE to request that a Christianbook Homeschool Catalog be mailed to you.

  • Click HERE to view an online version of the Christianbook Homeschool Catalog.

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