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The leaves are turning beautiful autumn colors and the outside temperature has cooled. It's that wonderful time of year when we start to bake more often and our kids make crafts of every variety. Our homes are decorated with pumpkins and turkeys.

We all look forward to the Thanksgiving season—spending time with family and enjoying a big meal together. During this time we remind our children of all we have to be thankful for. They write little poems and make cards to share with others. We remember the Pilgrims and give God thanks for His grace to us.
 
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Last time I talked about adapting your day to your child’s needs. Now, how do you create that much-needed schedule? The schedule is just a guide—every day will not be perfect. Having a guide will help though, and scheduling time to spend with the Lord, reading or listening to His Word and talking to Him through prayer, is the key to that happy schedule.
 
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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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Consultant Spotlight

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Abbie Knott

My name is Abbie Knott. I’ve been married to my husband, Michael, for 11 years, and we have four children: Emma (10), Callie (8), Gabriel (5), and Regan (3). I’m a second-generation homeschooler and the oldest of six. I loved being homeschooled. My mom (and dad) gave us a comprehensive, well-rounded education...
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Anna Witt

My name is Anna Witt. My family and I live outside of Palmer, in the beautiful Matanuska-Susitna Valley in Southcentral Alaska. We enjoy the rugged landscape of the Talkeetna Mountains, the midnight sun, and the northern lights. I met my husband, Casey, while he was on a fishing trip to Alaska, and we look forward to celebrating our 15th anniversary in 2020...
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Cassandra DeLeon

Cassandra lives in Southeastern Ohio, in New Concord, just an hour east of Columbus. She graduated from Maranatha Baptist Bible College with a bachelor's degree in nursing. While in college, she met her husband, Michael. She has been married for 25 years, serving alongside him for 18 years as he pastors Lighthouse Baptist Church...
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Jessie Johns

Jessie Johns has lived in the sunny state of Florida since she was two years old. She graduated from Florida International University with a bachelor's degree in psychology and worked in the childcare industry for ten years. In 1996, she married her wonderful husband, Billy, and they have been married for 23 years...
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Megan Hutson

Megan Hutson is a homeschool graduate from Houston, Texas! She grew up using BJU Press Homeschool materials from the time she was in kindergarten until she graduated high school. During her junior and senior years of high school, Megan also took several dual credit classes at San Jacinto College...
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