Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A TOS Review: Successful Homeschooling Made Easy

I love a good “how to” manual.  This must not be confused with an “owner’s manual.” I always get one of those strange intrinsic urges to set an owner’s manual aside and tackle my appliance/building project/other doo-dad without having a clue as in what I’m doing. Shew. Like that “owner’s manual” I must have somewhere about run-on sentences.

The “how-to” manual is an entirely different animal. It sets a goal in front of the reader and step-by-step it guides the reader towards that goal. I find the older I get I need a little bit of hand holding. I don’t know as much as I once did.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been blessed to review the Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course by Stephanie Walmsley from Successful Homeschooling Made Easy. This course assists homeschoolers  step-by-step into the whole homeschooling world through encouragement and helpful information.

Stephanie Walmsley is a Christian wife, mother and grandmother. She also has a background in teaching. She shares all of that experience, as well as her understanding as a homeschooler  into this course (you can read more about her homeschool story here).  The course is 26 weeks long. It covers everything from scheduling, organizing, choosing curriculum and even helps with housework.

The lessons come as a weekly subscription via PDF. Stephanie gives us practical guidance and an assignment weekly. There are practical schedule templates and places to add notes. Her suggestions and information is easily tweaked to fit anyone homeschool family’s particular needs or situation.

How it works...How I used it...What I think

I have homeschooled Josiah since he was in 1st grade. He’s in7th now so I’ve had a few years under my belt. I do have a background in education so what I brought to my  homeschool experience was a mixed bag of blessings.

My first few years of homeschooling were all over the place. I tried to cram so much into our short days. When it was discovered that Josiah was dyslexic I was left in a tizzy. I’ve slowly but surely settled into at least some peace of what needs to happen and I’m always quick to assure new homeschool families that it isn’t ever perfect. I’ve also reached a season in our homeschool that I need to reset some things.

  I felt that this course could not only be something that I could point fellow homeschoolers to as well as glean some wisdom for myself.  Already I have been able to review 9 week’s worth of lessons.  I received an email with the download link and saved the PDF document. It is recommended to print off each of the lessons and save them in a binder for easy access.

With some lessons I had more printer ink at the time so I was able to do that. Other lessons I have simple referred to on my computer. I have also sent the file to my Kindle.

For one, I found Stephanie’s tone to be very encouraging. Her assignments weren’t ones that left the reader overwhelmed. I found her advice to be very doable. She also encourages the participant to find what works for their own family. My needs as a homeschooler with an only son who struggles with some learning challenges is different for those who have many children.

From the very first lesson I was inspired. Lesson one begins with establishing a weekly schedule. For years I have struggled with this very thing. I am naturally a morning person. So is my son. However, my husband’s work schedule is a strange one. He works 4 days a week from 3:30pm-1:30am. Often our “family time” has to be in the morning. I have to get his supper reader before he leaves for work. Josiah often has morning activities. Stephanie encouraged me to embrace that afternoon school schedule. Now I have time in the morning to complete my household chores, errands and spend time with my family. This leaves our afternoons free for a school schedule that is seldom uninterrupted.

Stephanie also recommends establishing a Literacy Hour into the routine. And then a Numeracy Hour. Both of these were established in consecutive weeks. I think this is a fabulous idea for new homeschoolers or those who need to ease their way back from a summer break or long illness.

We are also encouraged to set goals for our homeschool . In Lesson 6 moms are encouraged to make self-care an important part of their routine. For me, this advice couldn’t come at a better time. I have been burning the candle at both ends. Contrary to popular belief, homeschool moms do not simple stay at home to eat cheetos, watch soap operas and craft. It is a tough job and I usually find myself stretched.

We are treated to a lesson of the history of home education. Along with this the different methods to homeschooling are outlined and we are given the assignment to decide which style fits our family the best. Although I have pretty much decided on a style we fit most easily into I was glad to see this included. Some homeschoolers simply stay in that traditional mode because that is all they know. There are so many wonderful ways to school.

In Lesson 8 we talk about socialization. This isn’t a “how –to” to get your kids more involved in activities. Instead Stephanie advices us to make the home the center of homeschooling. I found this to be valuable wisdom.  

So far, I have found this to be a very valuable course.  I have a very Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde approach to my organization. On one hand I am very project oriented. Give me an event to organize and I plan to the last toothpick. When it comes to my day-to-day life I am more a “fly by the seat of her stretchy pants” kind of girl. I have tried all manner of suggestion and programs only to disappoint myself. The mere suggestion that I could adjust my schedule to work for my family was revolutionary. I am anxious to see what else I will be able to glean from Successful Homeschool Made Easy.

You can connect with Stephanie via Facebook. Click on the banner below to read more reviews.

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review

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