Lifestyle

How Our Family Became A Homeschool Family

Most of you probably know by now that we are a homeschool family.  For any parent with school age kids you know that each new year brings fresh excitement and new challenges.  Since we’ve been on this homeschool “journey” as a family we have been blessed to have great support and success with our kids, which we don’t take for granted.

We started homeschooling when my oldest was 4.  We had her enrolled in Kumon and she was a quick learner, eager to read and sharp at math.  I was working limited hours as a physician assistant so I could have more time at home with my still nursing baby girl and we were already considering what we would do with our oldest for kindergarden education.  We had a couple very good private schools in our area (we lived in MD then) but, we began to consider homeschool as a viable option for her early education.  We found ourselves connecting with different homeschool families all around us (my mommy buddy at the girls ballet studio, my husband’s coworkers, parents from our church community) and we decided to do a trial run of home education for a year.  We received curriculum recommendations and chose a kindergarten curriculum for our daughter, thinking that it would be challenging for her and if it was a disaster then we’d just go on to enroll her in traditional school when she turned 5 like all her friends.

homeschool learning kids

My kindergardener doing her video Abeka lessons…

Well, that year at home with her worked wonderfully!  Thanks to the comprehensive curriculum I used (My Father’s World) both my daughter and I learned a lot over that year and fell into a comfortable routine, developing a confidence that this could be a great option for our child’s future education.

Later that year we ended up moving to Florida (pleasant surprise and a wonderful decision) and we ran into some challenges with the local private schools regarding what grade she would enter that year.  She was 5 but had completed her kindergarden year as a homeschooler (I had kept her portfolio).  I met with one of the private schools in the area and they were hesitant to place her in 1 st grade based on her age; they wouldn’t even test her for competency.  It was late in the summer and I didn’t feel like fighting with school systems and pushing for that school year so I we decided to continue her home education for first grade!

homeschool learning abeka

By her second grade year we were able to find a private school that offered state approved umbrella coverage for homeschoolers;  by providing her records for her completed kindergarten year and by maintaining current portfolios for her new year, she was accepted as a student of the school (bypassing my need to report to FL Dept of Education).  She was allowed to participate in all extracurricular sports at the school and music classes etc.  She even was included in the biannual standardized testing for her grade level which was important to me.

Even though we love the uniquely tailored education that homeschooling provides, we want our children to be able to move smoothly into the traditional setting at any time if we need to make a change.  We also understand that our current education and professional culture is very “test based”.  And even if we homeschool her through high school, she would still need test taking skills to excel on college entry exams and other professional exams in her future.

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The madness that is our kitchen table on any given day 🙂

By her third grade year (last year) we were able to find a newer umbrella school that offered more options for her.  Circle Christian School offers multiple study tracks for their elementary grade levels (most are literature based, creating art, social studies, history and language arts studies from a variety children’s books).  This school offers an easy reporting system online ( I submit grades monthly and even keep track of her learning in comparison to the state benchmarks for her grade) and they also provide online standardized testing for every grade.  Families have the choice of using the curricula provided by the school or any program of their choosing; our first year at Circle we created our own study plan by using different programs for each subject.

homeschool class kids

My daughter’s 4th grade class at her umbrella school, Circle Christian School

This year I have both girls enrolled at Circle and we are using Abeka Academy online as our own curriculum.  One day a week they are in class with their peers where they have a blast; every quarter there are presentation days in which the students present class projects/programs for parents (developing valuable presentation/public speaking skills).  After school they have a choice of participating is organized sports (even competing with local christian schools), drama, science labs and music classes.  This school has truly been a blessing to me and my family on our homeschool journey.  We also love Abeka though we are still in the growing phase with that program; I’ll have to write about that separately…

I am by no means an expert at homeschooling.  I’m sure there are a lot of other mothers out there who have it all figured out but I’m learning as I go.  I am happy we have found a system that works well for us and that our girls truly enjoy.  For those of you who homeschool,  do you have any tips to share that make homeschooling work for your family?

 

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29 Comments

  • Reply Katrina Elisabet January 20, 2017 at 10:02 am

    I just discovered you today (or you discovered me?), but I am SO excited to have found your IG and blog! It’s providence. 🙂 We are several years away from making a decision on academics (our oldest is 13months and #2 is due in July), but I really do hope that we can homeschool as I had such a wonderful experience with my mother homeschooling us. I only now see how tough a job it is to be a mom and a teacher simultaneously and all the sacrifices that come with a mom staying at home rather than working a career, but I have experienced personally all the blessings it can bring. Keep up the good work! 🙂

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam February 19, 2017 at 12:03 pm

      Thank You! Being mom is challenging, regardless of whether we work outside the home or inside the home. What matters is that we make the decision we feel is best for our family and give it our all, even though we may never get it perfectly. Blessings to you on your journey! Happy to connect!

  • Reply Autum July 26, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Def have been thinking about homeschooling my daughter she will be one next week, so we have a little time. I’m already a stay at home mom with her so I think that this could work!!

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam July 26, 2017 at 11:50 am

      That is awesome! Giving homeschooling a try in the early school years is a great idea as it helps you discover your child’s unique learning styles.

  • Reply Zuqueta July 26, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    I love this post. My son has been struggling because he is extremely bored with our school district curriculum. I love the idea of an umbrella school where he still has face time with peers but I have control over meeting his learning needs at home. Especially since I teach. I will definitely be doing research about homeschooling in my state.

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam July 27, 2017 at 11:26 am

      Ah, that is one of the limitations of traditional schooling; it’s challenging for the teacher to meet the specific needs of each child, just based on how the system works. No fault of the teachers or the system, it’s just how it is. My oldest is one grade/year ahead and my youngest this year is doing a combination of Kindergarten and 1st grade because she needs more time with her reading skills. Homeschooling lets me work with my girls at their own paces, even doing a mixture of grade levels within one year, all based on their specific needs. It’s such a blessing.

  • Reply Dominique July 26, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Wow. How interesting. I love the idea of private schools and homeschooling. My nieces go to private school and they are BRILLIANT

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam July 27, 2017 at 11:19 am

      That’s awesome! I’m sure their parents are very involved in their education as well; no matter how you decide to educate you children, parent involvement is SO important to their success.

  • Reply Kristin July 26, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    This was very informative! I don’t have any children yet, but I’ve always thought about homeschool.

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam July 27, 2017 at 11:17 am

      Thank you! Homeschooling has certainly changed a lot from when we were younger and there are so many resources available now for families who want to take the road less traveled 🙂

  • Reply Jamala Wallace July 27, 2017 at 1:10 am

    That’s wonderful that you and your husband are able homeschool your children. I’m glad everything worked out for best

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam July 27, 2017 at 11:16 am

      It is truly a blessing and we are enjoying it so much!

  • Reply EG III July 27, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I really admire any parent that has the courage and patience to homeschool. It’s something I’ve been cosidering for a while and now that my daughter is 4 decision time has approached faster than I expected.

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam July 28, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      I would recommend researching a lot online and trying to reach out to local homeschool families in your area; you can even email me if you’d like to chat/ask questions. It’s much easier to try it early on to see if it works for your family.

  • Reply Joanna July 27, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    I thought about home schooling if I had kids. Both my parents were teachers so I know how the system is..smh

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam July 28, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Yeah, have many friends in the education system and surprisingly they have all been quite supportive of our decision to homeschool, especially when they see our lifestyle and as they watch our girls mature. The school years are challenging, not matter how we decide to raise and educate our children. I think that everyone has to make the best decision for their family and make the most of it.

  • Reply Tiffany H. July 27, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    I don’t have children and never would have thought of homeschooling them but it appears as if this would be an option to consider. I love the fact that they still have the opportunity to meet with peers, participate an extra curricular activities and can take standardized test.

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam July 28, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      Yes, me too! Those were my main concerns before I entered into the homeschool arena. My girls are very involved in church as well so they see friends during the week and on the weekends and at their gymnastics classes/extracurricular classes. I ask them often if they feel lonely during the week and they are having fun with our schedule as it is. It’s so important to me that they’re happy while we follow this unique path.

  • Reply Ayak July 28, 2017 at 4:39 am

    I absolutely adore this whole post! I don’t have kids yet & totally imagine homeschooling. I’d never heard of Umberella schooling & I think what you guys are doing is brilliant.

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam July 28, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      Thank you for your encouragement!

  • Reply Aija July 28, 2017 at 9:20 am

    I love the fact that you are making sure your daughters continue to develop relationships and their social skills with other children.

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam July 28, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      Oh, yes! We can’t ignore the socialization! I think one of the pros of homeschooling these days is that there are more resources for homeschoolers and families coming together in co-ops and supporting each other so the kids grow up with memories of connecting with other kids during the school week.

  • Reply Felecia Monique July 28, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Very interesting. I wish I had the opportunity to begin that process with my son, but instead I’ve enrolled him in a nice (but pricey) catholic school here in MD.

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam July 28, 2017 at 7:11 pm

      I’m originally from MD! Born and raised there, living in FL only 4 years now. There are some awesome schools in the DMV and I’m sure you’ve placed him in a great spot where he is sure to excel

  • Reply Ebon2 July 28, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    First off, i love yoyr blog, its freah and different. My son attends private school and uses the abeka program and we love it.

    • Reply Jeuelle Sam July 28, 2017 at 7:12 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind words! I’ve met a lot of people who are familiar with Abeka curriculum in the private school setting. It truly is a great program.

  • Reply Ebony July 28, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Sorry for the typos 🙁 ugh my phone.

  • Reply Toni July 29, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Home schooling is done on a large scale. I think that it is awesome because you get to control how “advanced” your child is and your child is not placed into a box on what the state deem is their level.

    But I do agree with schooling being necessary for testing skills, and also on a social standpoint. Great job tho.

  • Reply Toiia L. Rukuni August 4, 2017 at 11:12 am

    My nieces were home schooled and the benefits and take aways that they received as they grew older to high school prepared them for college way ahead of their peers!

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