Is Online School at Home Right For Your Family?

I was asked to write this post about Franklin Virtual High School in collaboration with Activation ReACT. I was not compensated to write this post, but Activation ReACT will benefit and is close to my heart.

My parents, as soon as they realized that schooling me at home was an option, pulled me from my public school. I was in second grade and we never looked back. My parents sacrificed so much to teach and train me at home, but I was only one of five. Each of us graduated from Cornerstone Christian Academy, a class of one. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Back in the day, there were not many options for my parents and other homeschooling families. We adopted a very classical form of education and most of our text books were old documents, classical literature, and curriculum created by my mother. We also attended conferences, and later my siblings were able to take college courses at the local JC for high school credits.

There are so many great resources available now as an alternative to public schools. While I did homeschool my own kids for several years, they now attend a fabulous classical charter school. I always thought, though, I would teach all seven of them at home all the way through, just like my parents did. We will have 3 high schoolers come Fall, so I would most certainly consider online school at home through Franklin Virtual High School.

Is Online School at Home Right for Your Family?

How do you know if school at home is right for you?

Deciding to school at home is a major family commitment and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are many reasons why families decide that schooling at home is best for them. Here are some reasons why it may be best for your family:

  • You have a busy life schedule or love to travel as a family. Yes, you read that right! Home schooling doesn’t mean you have to BE home for school. You can learn wherever you are, whenever it’s right for you.
  • You would like greater involvement in your child’s education. Schooling at home, even through an online school, allows for you to be hands-on and aware of everything your child is learning. No surprise classes or curriculum.
  • Your child would like to get ahead in school and free up future time. It’s always difficult when a child is ahead of their class and there is nothing that can be done. They often get bored and may mess around in class. Schooling at home provides the freedom to work at your child’s pace.

Why choose Franklin Virtual High School?

  • It is privately funded, rather than state funded
  • There is flexible enrollment. Students can enroll at anytime.
  • They have real, live, teachers! Students have an advisor, homeroom teacher and core + elective subject matter teachers. Tutors are also available to help at any time.
  • Teachers and tutors can view where the student is within their coursework. This helps immensely when a student is stuck and needs additional help.
  • Franklin is fully Accredited.
  • It is affordable.
  • Your child can earn credits through the summer.

For more information about online schooling visit the Franklin Virtual School website.

Join us for a Twitter party on February 2nd at 9am PT! We’ll be chatting about online schooling and giving out prizes! Follow @Franklin_VHS and me – @YoungMommy – so you won’t miss a thing! See you there!

Image credit: Marco Mayer | Dollar Photo Club

Create a Quiet Homework Station

We have six kiddos in school this year who are required to do homework after school and, in some cases, even on the weekend. I have to admit that it is pretty difficult for all of them to find a quiet place to work, if they are not completing their assignments at the same time (which hardly ever happens!). Latin, algebra and geometry, art history, and biology are subjects that call for a special atmosphere to encourage concentration. Add 20 minutes of reading aloud for each of my third graders and we could have ourselves a mess of confusion!

But, no matter how many kiddos you have, homework time can be difficult. It’s important to create a quiet space, with everything needed to complete assignments available at your fingertips. To help create this quiet space for my kids, we have dedicated a corner of our loft as our Homework Station.

Homework Station at Home

What makes a great Homework Station?

A Desk
My kids go to a classical school, so most research is done using old documents and books, and a majority of work is to be hand-written. Hand-written papers needs to be done neatly, so sitting at a desk makes this easier and tends to help create superior and more well-thought out work. Occasionally one of my older kids will have to do some online research or type up an essay, so the laptop is brought to the desk, so as to create a working environment free of distractions. The Mainstays writing desk, available at Walmart, is a great option for a small space.

Comfy Chairs
My kiddos have a lot of reading assignments. In fact, Zach read more than half of Homer’s Odyssey over this last weekend. He moved from his bed in his room to the porch out front to our beanbag chair in the loft, but he got it all done and was ready for his test today. Being comfortable while doing schoolwork makes a huge difference. (It helped that he enjoyed what he was reading!)

Big Joe comfy beanbag chair

Plenty of Extra Supplies
It’s smart to have lined paper, extra pens, and even extra binders on hand, just in case. You never know when a project or homework assignment will require something more than what is currently being used, or kept in backpacks and lockers. Now is a great time to stock up, since everything from crayons and glue sticks to those notebooks are on sale at Walmart.

Cubbies or Shelves
And, of course, you need an organized way to keep everything handy. These storage crates I found at my local Walmart (only available in stores) are perfect for organizing all of your extra supplies, books, and learning aids. A 3-drawer cart (on sale for only $16.86!) to store extra goodies would be a great idea, as well.

Storage Crates keeps supplies organized

Creating a quiet homework station has solved a lot of concentration problems for us. Let me know if you create one similar!

As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Kindergarten Learning at Home

As I gear up for Timmy’s first year of school, I am reminded of all of the fun activities I did with my older kids when they were his age. I am taking my own advice from years ago not to stress, but to enjoy this time. After all, it’s his last year home with me and the great thing about having a preschooler or kindergartner at home is all of the fun activities you get to do in the name of learning! I look forward to this precious time of playing and learning together, without an expensive curriculum!

With my little guy I plan to focus on the basic learning of letters and numbers. I have chosen one of each to focus on each day. This is something that can easily be done by printing out templates and allowing your little guy to color in the outlines of each, saying the sound of the letter, or counting to that number, as he colors. You can even incorporate the teaching of basic colors into this activity by choosing a specific color, as well. If you’d like to be really aggressive, throw a shape in there, too.

Like Sesame Street you will have a letter, number, and color of the day. Point out these letters, numbers, colors and shapes as you go about your day. You’ll be surprised at how many teachable moments you will discover, even after just a short time “studying”.

Here are some additional fun activities that encourages learning at this age ::

Make a batch of Sugar Cookies and let your kindergartner find the measurements (whole numbers only, at this age… you don’t want to confuse him) and help you measure the ingredients. This will enhance his number recognition. I’m sure your little guy loves to play with the dough, like mine do, right? Pick up some letter-shaped cookie cutters, or just roll out the dough and shape each letter.

photo via panitanjohn
photo via panitanjohn

Work on only a few letters at a time, maybe the letters in his first name, to start, and then the letters in your last name. Move on to two and three-letter words next. (You can use these same concepts with pretzel dough and roll the dough out in to the letter shapes. Heck, you can even get into the numbers and shapes here, too!)

If your little guy is already reading simple words, use these activities to practice what you’ve already learned. For example, ask him to grab the C cookie cutter, then the A, and finally the T. Cut out your dough and ask him what the letters spell when put together on the cookie sheet to bake.

When you need a bit of a break, set your budding student up with JumpStart or Mia computer games, instead of in front of the TV. These games are great for reinforcing simple reading, counting, and recognition skills. Sit back and take a breather!

Science could simply be planting seeds, watering them, waiting and watching for them to grow. Take advantage of the time waiting to talk about what happens when a seed turns into a flower. You can even incorporate your Bible lesson into this time by reading, reciting and even memorizing related Bible verses (Genesis 1:11 KJV “And God said , Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.”)

photo via Elnur
photo via Elnur

Another thought would be to incorporate Bible, Science and History lessons together by going through the Creation Story. Spend a bit of time talking about the first day :: talk about how darkness is the absence of light and can be scary, but we can rely on God to keep us safe. Talk about the differences between day and night. Then go on to the second day and talk about land and sea. On the third day he created the vegetation, so perhaps here you can incorporate the planting of seeds “experiment.” And, of course, when you reach the sixth day you can talk about how God made each of us special, discussing the characteristics of each individual.

Whatever you decide to do with your preschooler or kindergartner, know that he is soaking everything up just by observing and interacting with you. This is an important time in his life, but the realization that he is a child of God, who is loved greatly, is the most important lesson of all!