Many homeschooling families (and non-homeschooling families, too) are living on one income in a two-income economy.
Our own household income was cut by 50% when I quit my full-time architecture career to stay home with our first baby. We had some savings and made it work for the short-term but once we decided to homeschool we realized the “dip-into-savings-and-just-don’t-buy-stuff” approach wasn’t going to work for the long haul.
The loss of one full-time salary or the switch to part-time income with fewer benefits is a huge adjustment. In a culture obsessed with money and material possessions you’ll need to muster all your courage and intentionality to stick to a financial plan that works.
When my oldest son had some pre-writing work under his belt and was ready to start learning how to write letters and words, I researched the depths of the internet in the hopes of finding the one right, best method for teaching handwriting.
Long story short, there’s no such thing.
Some experts say cursive first, others say manuscript. Some say lower case first, others say upper case. They all seem to have an opinion about which letters to teach first and which font style is the best for beginning writers – D’Nealian, Zaner-Bloser, Palmer, Getty-Dubay, Wingdings (ok, probably not that last one). What size should the primary lines be for which grade level? Will tracing ruin my child forever or is it a great first step toward handwriting success? And on and on and on….
One of the beauties of homeschooling is that kids can work at their own pace based on skill mastery rather than age or grade level. This is helpful for all subjects but especially ones with physical coordination aspects like handwriting. Kids are all over the map when it comes to physical development.
Is your kindergartener’s printing better than your spouse’s? No need to hold them back with a “kindergarten” book! Does your older student need extra printing practice before tackling cursive? No worries! You can use whatever resources meet him where he’s at based on ability, not necessarily grade.
At the end of the day, the goal is to have kids who can write neatly (or at least legibly) to communicate in written form.
If you’ve been following this series of posts, we’ve now caught up to real time. I wrote about the first four years retroactively because I started this blog just before we began our fifth year of homeschooling.
Since I can’t summarize a year that hasn’t happened yet, this snapshot will be a look at how our year has started so far. Later this school year I hope to post about lessons learned during Year 5… but I have to learn them first, so stay tuned.
There’s an ongoing debate as to whether or not reading incentive programs are a good thing. (Just so you don’t get your hopes up, this blog post isn’t going to settle the matter).
Some parents and educators say reading incentives have absolutely helped motivate their reluctant readers. The kids just needed a little outside motivation to get them started and now their love of reading has taken off.
Others point to the dangers of external motivation and warn that incentive programs backfire. They say the programs are essentially bribes and when the incentives stop, so does the reading.
No room in the budget for fancy school learning tools?
(Even if there IS money available for the latest and greatest educational gizmos, buying more stuff just because you can generally isn’t wise.)
Please don’t feel like you have to OWN every cool-looking manipulative, learning center set and educational toy that exists in order to provide a high-quality education!
Whether you know it or not, you already own countless items you can repurpose to teach many – if not most – concepts. Or often, a DIY option will get the job done just as well as expensive classroom tools. And, by the time you’re done repurposing and DIY’ing, you’ll have saved enough money to splurge on a few really cool items that you just can’t duplicate at home.
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If you haven’t done so yet, read the first post in this series here and check out Our Curriculum Choices – Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3.
Year 4 Snapshot
While we were (and still are) far from having it all figured out, Year 4 was the first year I felt noticeably more confident in our homeschooling.
After several years of educating our kids at home, I now had some data to work with – some proof that this was working. We could look back on work from the years past and see tangible evidence that growth and learning were taking place. Phew!