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What’s a Homeschool Toolbox?
A collection of items to help you have the best homeschool experience possible
Created by Orietta Rose on June 30. 2022
This toolbox is intended to provide resources to help with all aspects of homeschooling. Homeschool styles, learning path plotting, managing socialization, and more.
Created by me, for me, and offered to others with the hope of giving families an easy-to-use resource to make their homeschool lives better than ever!
When we know better, we can do better. By bringing together a myriad of resources I will further develop this toolbox over time.
Click a link to see a preview of the content & choose to continue to a new website.
Last updated on November 16, 2023
The education climate is iffy
When considering what resources to use with your children, you must ALWAYS fully review the content before making plans around what you’ve found.
While there are many free, high-quality resources available, there are also many filled with extra content you may not want your children exposed to.
Be on the lookout for CRT (critical race theory), SEL (social-emotional learning), DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), and other social justice driven content. There’s also a lot of very anti-American, pro-Communisim content out there, especially in the history/social studies realm.
While I do my best to provide impartial sources, I can’t look all the way through every single lesson provided on a website.
Fully review what you’re planning to use BEFORE you implement it.
Make sure it’s appropriate for your family.
Letting go of your schoolish notions
Check out this tweet thread. It’s all about how to deschool & why it’s an important step:
Deschooling is a process for new homeschoolers to go through, allowing them to shift their mindset about learning.
Current homeschoolers who find themselves on the struggle bus can also deschool to reset!
What do my kids need to learn?
How do you know what to teach & when to teach it?
Check your state’s department of education. They should have their standards available for you to see and/or download as well as information about legally homeschooling in the state. Some states require certain subjects, while others do not. Be sure you know what is required of you.
These are Tennessee’s academic standards. If you look to the left on the page, you’ll see a long list of subjects. Each subject then links to PDFs that detail what students of various grades are supposed to be learning. Your state should have something similar available.
This type of information can help guide you when it comes to planning how you’ll run your homeschool.
Head over to hslda.org for more help and info on homeschooling where you live.
Stage Over Age
Prioritizing the stage of learning over the age of the learner
What it means
Considering the stage a child is at, instead of looking to their age for guidance, means ignoring how old the child is when thinking about what they need to learn.
Instead, we meet the child where they are, no matter the subject, and work on moving forward. We don’t worry about how long it takes, we just make progress.
Using stage over age, we don’t compare children to one another, only to themselves to see where they may be struggling, where they are excelling, & where they’re making general progress.
We don’t compare to shame the child or ourselves!
We use comparison to see where we should focus our efforts.
How to implement
1. Gauge the child’s level in basic subjects like:
3. Communication - speaking & writing
2. Wherever the child is, work forward from there.
3. Track progress
Tracking Over Scheduling
Less stress in the homeschool; keep going from where you left off
What it means
Instead of making & trying to keep a strict schedule, start at the beginning and move ahead until you’re done. This allows you to be sure no one is being pushed forward without a full understanding of the materials & also that no one is being held back when they’re ready to move ahead.
How to implement
1. Decide what books, workbooks, curriculum, etc are going to be used
2. Ignore any schedule provided by the creators of the resources
3. Get started and keep going until you’ve completed the books (or whatever you’re using)
1. Remember! You can stop using any resource at any time if it isn’t working for your family. If people are really struggling, take a break & try something else.
Where you’re going & how you’ll get there
How to create individualized learning paths
A learning path is like a roadmap. This map will take an individual from where they are to where they want to go.
Regardless of age, you can start making & implementing learning paths based on your child’s interests.
Say your child wants to be a zookeeper. What kind of things will they need to know to become a zookeeper? A learning path for that may look like this:
* Learning about the profession by:
* Visiting zoos
* Talking to employees
* Observing how the zoo is run
* Learning about zoo animals
* Species-specific information
That is an elementary learning path outline. From here, you can add specifics like books to use, documentaries to watch, math to learn, etc. All the things you’d need to know to become a zookeeper. If your child stayed with this desire, the path might grow to include continuing education, volunteer opportunities, internships, etc.
Be ready to be flexible! Children change their minds about what they want to be daily. The learning path for a six-year-old doesn’t need to be detailed. Start with the basics and if they remain interested in a goal, then you can put more work into fleshing out your map.
All learning paths should be made with the child’s direct input. This helps develop an awareness of what it takes to move from where they are to where they want to be.
Understanding your people & yourself
Why it’s important
Knowing who you are & who you’re working with is invaluable information! It won’t solve every dispute or dispel all boredom, but it can certainly help everyone understand each other & themselves. Knowing more about how your family members work will make homeschooling so much easier.
* Understand Your Child Better With These Child Psychology Tips
* The 7 most recommended child psychology books
* Child Psychology Books For Parents - Child Development …
* Child Psychology News -- ScienceDaily
* 4 Types of Parenting Styles and Their Effects on Kids
* Why Parenting Styles Matter When Raising Children
* Overview of learning styles
* What are Learning Styles? | Psychology Today
* What's Your Learning Style? - EducationPlanner
Nothing is set in stone
Why it’s important
A growth mindset says, “I don’t know how to do this, yet.”
A fixed mindset says, “I don’t know how to do this & I never will!”
See the difference?
Having a growth mindset, believing that things can & will change and that you can affect those changes in positive ways, is something many people are missing. In homeschool, you can model growth mindset thinking for your children.
Homeschooling provides the perfect climate to learn to keep going, even when something is difficult. There’s time to rest and try again later. There’s even the freedom to change course entirely.
What it isn’t
The growth mindset is not a cure-all. While it’s good to be a flexible thinker, resilient, and willing to keep trying, that may not always positively impact the situation! This includes your child’s academics.
In fact, research has shown that (at least in the classroom), using growth mindset interventions had little to no positive effects on academic achievement.
So, while I still consider it a good way of thinking to model for your child, don’t expect it to have a big impact on their academics (see Researchers find that education intervention doesn't live up to its promise).
I’ll add my own thoughts here, too, though, because I believe the setup of school undermines the positive impacts the growth mindset could have on academics.
Schools are not built for flexible thinkers, creativity, or resilience. There is a schedule to stick to & that's that.
Sadly, even if a child would be willing to keep trying, they don't have the time. Classrooms move forward whether the kids are ready or not.
In homeschooling, a growth mindset has time to be established and practiced.
Find your child’s level
https://k12.thoughtfullearning.com/resources/writingassessment - This site shows assessment models for writing from ‘Poor’ writing to ‘Strong’ writing for grades 2- 12.
https://www.keystoneschoolonline.com/k-12/middle-school/middle-school-placement-exams.html - Math & ELA for middle school + a