Friday, January 24, 2020

Doing School At Night and Weekends

You Can Do School Whenever You Want

Yes, as a homeschooling parent, you can change it up and do school at odd hours, working it around when you and your kids are both home and able to sit down and do work together

Schedule Alternate Times For Schooling

As we worked outside the home, we had to make alternate schooling time work for our kids. Doing so meant we had to realistically spend sitting down and giving one child attention.

Changing up the subject to work with our kid on what they needed help on most was ideal.

Mix in times when the child should be doing independent work. Help them to build the ability to do independent work.

Let The Kids Sleep In

The best part of having the kids work on their schooling in the evening is they get to sleep until they wake up. If you work from home, letting the kids stay up late and sleep in gives you time to work in the morning while they are sleep. 

Weekend Only School

You could make school year around, but only do one-on-one school during the weekend and project based, movie based, independent study and exploration based during the weekdays.

Try It For A Change

Even if you had a day schedule, try out an alternative schedule to change things up and to give yourself and the kids a shake up. You may find that it works better for you.

We did night and weekend school for the entire time we homeschooled since both my husband and I worked, now my kids are still maintaining the schedule even though they are working and college. One child who was an early riser, still does so, she just does things she enjoys before getting to work.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Don't Make Unschooling A Band-Aid For Frustration With Homeschooling

Parental Frustration can cause knee-jerk reaction to Curriculum and Methods for Homeschooling

As a homeschooling and working coach, I have heard it a million times, "My child just isn't cooperating, doesn't want to learn to read, write or do math - I am just going to 'unschool' them."

The truth of the matter, if all parents could push off the learning, curriculum planning, teaching to someone else - even their child, we would.

Supporting a child in traditional school with helping with homework, frustrated teachers and more is difficult - but being the one and only one in charge of teaching a child who may have many challenges in focus, learning or motivation can be daunting.


Child interest led learning that is initiated by the child's curiosity and the parent provides the resources to support their interest. There are several types of unschooling, some extreme, others that work as a hybrid where the child's parents still teach core subjects like reading, math, and or writing - but when the child desires to learn them. Some families the child initiates everything and what some would consider play like video games, watching movies, playing outside, the homeschooling parent categorizes the activity into what subjects the child is executing and tuning while they go about their regular play.


  • Have you 'deschooled' your child and yourself
  • Evaluated Your Child's Learning Style
  • Made sure their frustrations with learning isn't normal child expressions of disobedience
  • Ask them how they would like to learn or be presented with the information
  • Have you made learning fun or are you bringing home traditional school methods that didn't work for your child
  • Is there a parental and child personality mis-match and should you have someone else teach them the subject
  • What is your child's attention span


My post on 'The Curriculum Recipe' is a good place to start before considering unschooling. The method of unschooling is a great option for homeschoolers and after-schooling. However, make sure it is a good fit for your family. You can do unschooling for a short period of time, or infuse different methods of instruction within an unschooling framework for the school year. Deciding on a method to homeschool should always be done with the child's learning style, communication methods, love language, personality type and the parents ability to meet them in consideration.

Monday, November 18, 2019



By the time the holiday’s roll around, most parents are a bit burned out by the hectic pace of managing parenting, schooling, work and more. Use your FREEDOM IN HOMESCHOOLING and be flexible on days and times of the school year that you need to re-ignite your love of managing it all.

First, give yourself permission to goof off a bit. Be thankful for the power you hold to be flexible. Find that freedom and use it wisely.


This time of year, we take it easy and redirect learning to more movie based, experience based, project based learning approaches. This allows us to lay around, watch videos, do craft projects, go on field trips
, notebook what we are learning, have deep discussions on topics of interest. Mainly, it’s about interest lead learning with the exception of math, reading and writing.


Moodiness, holiday burnout, lack of focus, and much more. Let's face it. Our home students have good days and DOG days. You know, they don't want to wake up. They argue with you for hours about how BORING the work is. They want to take tons of bathroom breaks and you want to scream. Sometimes you do. This is a sure sign, a redirection is needed.


Give yourself permission to just take a week off, heck the holiday’s off. Refocus and redirect what you are grateful and thankful for, but need to have a break from. When I have days like that at work, I leave early or I just don't go. Sometimes,  I even take a long lunch break just to get my head back in the game.


Times like this. I give us all a 'timed' break. I set the alarm and tell the kids they can do anything BUT play video games or go outside. Usually, they just get a snack, watch a show, or read a book of choice. Me - I take a short nap.

Why? Well because if Mom's cranky, her kids know it and mom/teacher can't redirect when cranky.


Sometimes the day is a totally wash. So...we make it up. I move the work and lesson to the following day. Or do school on a day I had plan to have no school.


This is another secret weapon. On days where we have somewhere to go, the kids are not engaged, or I'm too distracted to do an entire lesson. We shorten it. I don't do their DVD teaching section, I teach the new subject myself to the student. Or we don't do every homework practice problem or even cut our any of our electives for that day.


Remembering why we are doing all we do is a good way to ignite passion back into a hectic schedule that is compounded by holiday expectations. Thanksgiving seems to come at the right time. Include the kids in the creation of a Be Thankful board that you place on your walls, in your room, on your refridgerator to remind you just how much you have to be thankful for, then tell your kids just how much you are thankful for a particular trait or action they did to make you happy. Words have power and using them to get ourselves on track is a great way to prepare for the holidays ahead.

By LM Preston, and blog:  

Monday, November 4, 2019

My Homeschooling Adventure in Maryland

Homeschooling in Maryland

As a Maryland homeschooling parent, I was rather intimidated by the rules of the state. I’d first stumbled upon Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and researched the legal requirements for homeschooling in Maryland. I was concerned that it was one of the most restrictive states for homeschooling.

The state has the overarching rules:
·       Contact the superintendent of schools for your county to notify them that you are planning to homeschool your child. (See list of Superintendent here: )
o   Do 15 days before planning to withdraw student from school
o   Use form for your county listed here: MD Homeschool Notification Forms by District ( )
·       There is a law regarding attendance and instruction that has to be followed and is verified by a local school system or supervisor.
o   This is where the student can use what’s called an Umbrella school to serve as that supervisor. Here is a list of Umbrella Schools and Supervising entities:
o   The parent can have scheduled documentation review with the state employed supervisor that reviews and validates student is getting instruction
·       Check the HSLDA website that outlines various options:

Maryland has many different counties. Each county supports homeschoolers differently. In Anne Arundel County where we used to live there was a large amount of support from the school board who had one person that managed homeschoolers.

Maryland libraries, museums, gyms and more have homeschooling events.

Unfortunately, as a homeschooling student, kids aren’t allowed to participate in public school sports or extra-curricular activities. However, the superintendent will notify their homeschooling families of certain opportunities that will accommodate homeschooled students.

Here is a list of other support for Maryland Homeschoolers:
·       Maryland Homeschool Organizations and Support Groups - 
·       HomeSchooling in MD – HSLDA - 
·       Maryland Homeschool Association  -  
·       Maryland Homeschool Resource Network - 
·       Maryland Home Education Association (MHEA) - 
·       Hand In Hand Homeschool -


As a Maryland homeschooling family, we decided to homeschool using an Umbrella school. We searched the few offered and found one that was mostly hands off, but had quarterly events for the homeschooled kids and documentation training and review. Many Paths of Natural Learning accepted home educators that taught their kids in many ways. They acted as an advocate for many of us and provided a wealth of support for the small fee they charged. My kids got to participate in a graduation and other events sponsored by the Umbrella school.

Maryland has a large group of homeschooling families of so many variations. My family had two working parents, other families we’ve befriended were single parents, and many more.

Monday, October 7, 2019

My Homeschooling Adventures in Hawaii

My homeschool journey took us from Maryland to Hawaii. I can say, Hawaii was less restrictive than Maryland and only requires the parent sends in a letter of intent to the school they would attend and send the record of their standardized testing every other year to that school. Hawaii offers opportunities for a family that many states don’t simply because of its beautiful beaches, places to explore and outdoor lifestyle. It is easy to make the location part of your child’s education. There is a limited amount of organized homeschool groups that coordinate, likely because there are so many things to do to keep a family occupied through summer and winter months, but the community is open to someone taking the reins and joining in. There are quite a few Facebook groups that were created that share meetups and field trips various people are planning.


The state has the overarching rules:

·       Start with the Hawaii State Department of Education Questions and Answers about Homeschooling:

·       Send form or letter stating intent to homeschool to Principle at the school your child would be attending – keep a mail receipt for your records (OCISS Form 4140: ) You will need to send a letter when your child is moving from elementary to middle school and then from middle school to high school.

o   If issuing a letter make sure to have child’s Name, address, phone number, date of birth, grade, signature of both parents, and date signature (having it notarized is helpful)

·       You should receive the letter back with a ‘acknowledged’ stamp on the bottom signed by the Principle.

·       Hawaii states that the parents are qualified to teach their child.

·       Send Test scores for grades 3, 5, 8, and 10. Your student can go to the local public school for testing – but, they don’t have to, you can submit test results from any standardized testing provider.


Hawaii has some great resources that can assist a parent who likes the idea of homeschooling but wants aspects of public school. There charter schools that are online two days a week and in class three days a week. There are also co-ops and Tutorials available. However, there are no Umbrella schools available.

Charter Schools with blended learning online class two days and three days in school: These schools are like public schools and do not require a letter of intent or form if your student attends.


Hawaii is very transient. There are a lot of military families that come and go in this area that homeschool their children while being stationed in Hawaii due to the beauty and experience here. However, that means that there are many programs and field trip co-ops that start up by eager parents that are not maintained by any group or organization. In this environment, if you want your child to meet and socialize with other kids, signing them up for camps, sports recreational leagues and other activities for their interest works best for building friendships.

Monday, September 23, 2019

We Survived The First Month of School - Barely!


Here's a long awaited update of our homeschooling journey which includes Community College courses, homeschool classes, and online University courses.

Madness I know, yet my highly active, high energy kid keeps rising to the challenge (with some nagging and oversight for accountability by mom).

Parental Support: Review and validate homework before he turns it in. Gives him accountability measures and boundaries.

Monday: Read Physics chapter, create notes in Quizlet for studying, review notes on Quizlet with a practice test. Do reading for his four online college classes. He usually ask me to review his discussion post before he submits them. Mom gets home from work, I read his discussion post, give him the okay to turn it in. Then he plays video games or watch movies until really late at night.
Activity: Martial Arts

Tuesday: He sleeps til 11am. Goes to Community College Physics Lab class, then the homework help center and to tutoring. Physics online class he does the discussion and the homework problems at the homework help lab. He takes the bus to his friends high school and hangs out there while his friend finishes practice, then catches a ride home with his buddy. My husband scoops him up from his friend's house.
Activity: Go to the Gym with Dad and Sister

Wednesday: He finishes the discussion post (usually 2 to 3 paragraphs with 2 references) for each of his online University classes (Project Management, Telecommunications, Systems Analysis and Design, and American Society Sociology). Quizlet study of Physics terms and problems. Dad checks his progress, if he isn't progressing, his weekend plans are usually on the line. No fun on the weekend until work is done. Also, dad takes his cellphone until progress is made. This doesn't happen much but it is the rule in our house.
Activity: Go to Youth Service and Bible Study

Thursday: Draft papers or do projects for University classes. Quizlet study of Physics terms and problems. If he is having problems with papers, he sends email to professor or post on the online board. Then ask mom or dad to help.
Activity: Go to the Gym with Dad and Sister

Friday: Finish papers and all assignments for course. If he isn't finished but has something he wants to do, he has to explain why and it has to be at least 80% done. We check to make sure, then he will do the work on Saturday morning. All his online University work has to be done by Saturday night - the school requires its turned in by Sunday.
Activity: Martial Arts or BreakDance practice
Activity: Hang out with friends

Saturday: All work done and turned into online courses (mom or dad reviews his work and the quality, give him the okay to turn it in, if it's not good, he has to fix it).
Activity: Go to flying lessons or social justice group. Hang out with friends

Sunday: No work, just church and relax

Working and Homeschooling 

MEAL PREP: I've had to change up what I cook. No pastas, no potato, no starch. Oh my! I've basically have delegated dinner to the other kids for 2 days and I am prepping 3 days. Crock pot and oven meals are where it's at for us. We've been doing well - this month.

HOUSE CLEANING: My son who now has tons of activities with his friend has been doing a great job of doing his chores (so he can go hang out with his friends). My youngest daughter cleans on the weekend. However, my room is still unkempt, our clothes need to be washed, so we actually had to go to the laundry mat to catch up on washing clothes. Yes, it's been one of those weeks. Overall, the house is okay, not spotless, but you can find a place to sleep and it smells good (lots of air fresh and essential oils)

LESSON PLANNING: My son request that I give him a weekly schedule and I still have had to send daily reminders (kids!).

MARRIAGE CHECKUP: Well I've basically overrun our date night and my husband and I left the kids home to go out to dinner and a movie. He kidnapped me I think, ha!

SELF CARE: I have been getting my nap time in you know. Thirty minutes to two hours, whatever I need and when I need it. I just tell my son to wake me up in an hour.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Keeping House Clean As a Busy Mom


My number one strategy for keeping a clean house when our children were little was, limiting where they were able to roam. They only had one room that was their domain, and that was THE PLAYROOM. 

PLAYROOM: We had a small house, but we realized that we needed to designate an area where our kids would have their toys, things they played with, and that place had rules.

Coral The Kids

When kids are small and you are a homeschooling and working parent, there is little time for cleaning the entire house. We had to find a way to coral the kids into only a few areas in the house so we had to only clean two rooms daily. The kids rooms they played in was the Playroom (our former living room or dining room). We would be in that room with the kids and if we were working while they wanted to play or watch television, it would be in that room. We would take our laptop and either watch what we wanted on our laptop or tablet, do work, or read.  

The bedroom was only for sleeping and there were no toys in the bedroom besides what toy they wanted to go take to bed with them.

In the bathroom, they had their own shelf where they were taught to put their stuff.

The kitchen was for eating, snacking, and there was a small TV in there that they could watch if there was a show they just had to see while snacking. They couldn't watch television during lunch or dinner though.

Playroom (or Family Room) Rules

This is the kids domain. They need to have one and we gave up a living room and sometimes a dining room for them to have this space. As parents we hung out in the playroom with them. We just learned to tune out their play if we weren't actively playing with them. They also were responsible for helping us clean it as soon as they could walk and carry their own toys they learned to put them in the bins. Truthfully, they were cleaner as children than as teenagers.

-There is only one room for playing with toys, doing art, watching TV and looking at devices for entertainment
-No food in the playroom
-No drinking in the playroom without a top on bottle, sip cup
-Organization of types of toys in toy box with lid and bookcase
-Limit the amount of toys and do an overhaul monthly if needed to donate old toys
-Every night before bed is the sing the 'Clean Up' song and put the toys away