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Each child learns differently and we should adapt our daily structure to meet his needs. Although each of my children was different, I didn’t have to change my curriculum or teaching tools; I simply had to change my style—the way I taught or presented the materials. Scheduling the day on paper helped me spend time with each child to meet each one’s needs accordingly. Setting aside time with the Lord first thing in the morning gave me the focus I needed for my day to run smoothly. As you read further, I hope you will find helpful tidbits to help you better structure and schedule your day.
 
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Could someone please give me advice for homeschooling my children with a newborn or little one in our home?

I often see this question in the Facebook newsfeed and enjoy reading through the encouraging comments that mothers have for each other. Although I understand the joys of having multiple children and juggling the responsibilities and blessings of being a working mom, I have not actually homeschooled, let alone done it with one or more little ones in the mix. As part of the HomeWorks team, I'm able to meet many of you at conventions, interact with more of you on social media, and also work with the many wonderful consultants who homeschool their children. I see those with special needs, many with little ones, those who are fostering or adopting, and those who are grandparents with young children at home, and I am constantly amazed at the depth of your dedication to educate your children for the glory of God. All that to say, it is a blessing to be part of a homeschooling community that can help you bear one another’s burdens and share good advice.
 
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Now that fall is here, homeschooling is in full swing for most families. Some of you teach four days a week, some choose several weeks on and then several off, some homeschool year-round, and others follow a traditional school schedule; but regardless, at this time of year we all are in a “back to school” mindset to some extent. It’s easy to get caught up in the many exciting lessons we have planned for our children, and somehow our responsibilities pile up and we can become overwhelmed. Let me encourage you to find a good plan and do everything you can to follow it, then give yourself some grace. You are a mother first and foremost.
 
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As a HomeWorks Consultant, many times I am placing an order for a new customer who has just purchased a full BJU Press grade kit, and she asks in a worried tone, “What about electives? Is this going to be enough?”

Usually the answer to that question is YES, you have enough. Biology covers a lot of health. World History covers a lot of fine art history. Foreign Language and Bible are both included and make excellent electives.

You will want to cover any electives your state requires and clearly note them on your student’s transcript. In Kentucky, I am including Physical Education, Fine Arts, and Health.
 
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Lately folks have been asking me about math and what I used for math curriculum. I enjoy and LOVE math. I used to tutor math for FUN! And I used to work at a math lab in college. I am not a math major or expert by any means, but I enjoy the math challenge and I wanted my children to enjoy it as well.

As my husband and I looked for a math curriculum that would work for our homeschool journey, we began comparing them and saw that the better recommended ones all did the math and got to the same place. However, there were several things that stood out with the one we chose. It was engaging, piqued interest, and had real life application on the child’s level; the story problems taught character, not just a math concept; biblical worldview was integrated throughout the math text—those were all things that I wanted for my children. In addition, it encouraged critical, logical, and analytical thinking. We didn’t have to memorize because my kids were taught to understand the concepts and know the math.
 
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In my last article, I addressed Determining the Need for Year-End Assessments. In this article, I want to tell you exactly how to set up IOWA™ testing for your homeschool student.

1. Find someone to administer the test. This person must have a bachelor’s degree or higher. This person could be a parent. That would satisfy the testing rules but may not satisfy your state’s regulations. Some parents choose to have someone else test their children so there are no questions about validity.
 
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As a homeschooling parent, should you use a yearly standardized test? Some states require testing. Mine does not. The longer I homeschool, the more I value a standardized assessment like the IOWA™. Here are six reasons I believe standardized assessments are a great value:

Number 1: I worry less at night about how my children are doing academically. Let’s face it—homeschooling is a huge responsibility. A test that shows me where my child performs among national averages eases my mind and allows me to focus on something more productive than worry.
 
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There are many different ways to educate your child using BJU Press materials. Distance Learning provides interesting lessons taught by distance learning instructors. Their lessons are taught on colorful sets and include video clips and visual aids to make learning fun. Distance learning lessons are available online or on DVD. Parents can supervise and facilitate lessons that have been already prepared using BJU Press materials. Teacher’s editions are provided in PDF format or can be purchased for a small fee if a parent prefers to reference a hard copy for reinforcement. Distance learning lessons are customized for the homeschool student and presented by instructors that have prepared those lessons using the teacher’s edition as a guide.
 
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One of the unique benefits of working with a HomeWorks by Precept consultant is gleaning expertise from other homeschool parents. We have asked our consultants to share their best tips for attending a homeschooling convention and here is a compilation of the best ones!

Before you leave home

1. Expect to be overwhelmed. Understand that this is normal and you will quickly find your footing.

2. Do research BEFORE the convention. Having a good grasp of the following will help you stay focused and will give you a more fluid start-up: • Try to find out what kind of learner your student is—visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or combination. • AND explore what kind of teacher you are—prefer lesson plans or free-style • What kind of approach do you prefer—classical, eclectic, unit studies, or an all in one curriculum? The all in one curriculum is the best place to start for newbies! • Discuss a budget with your spouse. The budget should include core curriculum prices PLUS additional resources. Don’t forget to make good use of your local library for extra reading. Try to save your money for your core curriculum.
 
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If you peruse various homeschool chat groups, you will see conversations comparing different curriculums—which ones are too difficult, which are not challenging enough? How do you know which to choose for your child? Academically excellent materials are engaging, help children to use critical thinking and analysis skills, and give hands-on opportunities for children to become creative problem solvers. Perhaps you have heard of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains. If not, you will recognize the underlying principle that there is a progression of learning from acquiring knowledge, to comprehension and application of knowledge. When they understand and are able to apply the knowledge to problem solving, children also are able to analyze by identifying patterns and organizing ideas that will help them then to use the old concepts they have learned to create a new idea. They will be making predictions, inferences, and modifications to formulas or models in order to make improvements. At the top of the taxonomy students are solving, making judgments and comparisons of ideas, making assessments, and making recommendations based on their evaluation—this is the height of critical thinking.

How does that translate to your child and your choice of curriculum? This progression of learning holds true regardless of your child’s ability to learn. Some children struggle just to acquire basic knowledge. Using hands-on materials and asking probing questions helps your child to predict, make inferences, judgments, and evaluations. It makes the “acquiring knowledge” part of learning easier and makes the application even better. Because they can see the value of what they are learning, they can see why it is important to know that concept.
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Consultant Spotlight

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Esther Black

Esther Black is a second-generation homeschooler, wife, mom of 7, and HomeWorks by Precept Consultant from Iowa. Her goal is to encourage and support other homeschooling families to find the tools they need to continue investing in their children. ...
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Carla Heslop

As a homeschooling momma of 7, I’m familiar with the fear of ruining your children for life. I’ve even tossed around the idea of pushing my kids on the school bus and throwing in that towel! I desperately didn’t want to, and I just didn’t know what else to do! I was drowning. I needed homeschool help, and I just didn’t know where to find it...
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Beth Milligan

My name is Beth Milligan. I live in a beautiful part of North Idaho surrounded by glistening lakes and rugged forests. We live in a rural area where fishing and hiking are within minutes and where a moose may pay a visit on our back porch. In the summers, you will find our family of 5 playing a fun round of ...
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Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith lives in Fayetteville, NC – the home of Fort Bragg 82nd Airborne and US Army Special Operations. She graduated from Bob Jones University with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Counseling and a Master of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education. Natalie met her husband, Germaine, at Bob Jones University working in the University Cleaners. They have been married for 13 years. The Lord has blessed them with two girls. ...
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Sharon Huizinga

Sharon Huizinga lives in Michigan with Tom, her husband of 13 years, and their four children. They both grew up in Connecticut, met at church, and got to know each other better in college at Western Connecticut State University. Sharon graduated with her bachelor’s degree just a few weeks before she and Tom married in 2006. She went on to teach second, fourth and fifth grades in Christian schools. ...
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HomeWorks By Precept exists to provide you with the best educational resources to help your child become a creative, adaptive thinker with a strong biblical worldview. Our relationship doesn’t end with the once-a-year curriculum purchase—HomeWorks By Precept is here to partner with you all year long.
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