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Three Truths Every New Homeschool Mom Should Know

This year is my sixth full year of homeschooling my children. Throughout these years, I’ve learned and grown so much. Here are three truths that, had I really known them at the time, would have helped me tremendously when I first started homeschooling:

Three encouraging truths that all homeschool moms need to know! I love the thoughts on # 3!

1) It’s possible to homeschool frugally.

The first year involves a lot of learning about what works for your family, including your teaching style and your children’s learning styles.

So, no matter how excited you are about the books you’re buying and the lessons you’re planning, whatever you’re using now probably will not be what you end up sticking with for the long-haul. And that’s okay!

There are so many free resources, like All In One Homeschool,” which is a complete, free online Christian homeschool curriculum. You can also browse the internet and visit your library for a plethora of information about every subject!

For visual learners (or on days when you just need a little extra ease), Youtube videos are great for science and Netflix can be utilized for educational purposes as well.

Or maybe, for your own peace of mind, you want to go with a relatively inexpensive box curriculum like a basic set from “My Father’s World.” That’s perfectly fine as well – just remember there’s no need to spend an exuberant amount of money homeschooling.

A great bonus to keeping costs down is that if something really isn’t working for your family, you can pitch it, guilt-free.

2) There is time to relax.

I used to think that I was too busy to relax, but the reality is that I have too much going on not to take time to refresh my spirit.

Give your kids a quiet activity each afternoon, set the timer, and take 30-60 minutes to refresh and relax. You could read a few chapters in a great book, take a warm bath, paint your nails, try a new hairstyle, take a catnap, or work on a hobby or fulfilling a dream (for me, that means writing as often as possible!).

A note of caution: If you’re new to quiet times, keep a pleasant attitude when you lay your children back down for the 15th time in 20 minutes. Eventually they’ll catch on and it’ll be worth your initial effort!


3) It’s okay to be imperfect!

As a recovering perfectionist, this was probably the hardest and most important lesson I’ve had to learn during my homeschool journey.

My job isn’t to be a perfect mom, to have perfect kids, or even to teach my children everything they need to know – my job is to love my children fully, to show them Jesus, and to help them to enjoy learning so they’ll willingly teach themselves anything they need to know as they grow older.

So while we should strive to do our best, we also need to be okay with the fact that our best isn’t perfect.

“And He said to me, ’My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me… For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NKJV)

I’m going to share three more truths next week, but for now feel free to chime in the comments and let us know:

Seasoned homeschoolers: What would you add to this list of encouraging truths that every new homeschool mom should know?

New homeschool moms: What areas do you feel that you need extra encouragement?

Davonne (5 Posts)

Davonne Parks is a married Christian homeschool mom who began teaching her children at home in 2009. She blogs about cultivating a heart for motherhood, as well as organization and simplicity, at DavonneParks.com. Davonne believes that some of life’s richest moments happen when we embrace the beauty of imperfection as we extend grace to ourselves and others. She’s written two eBooks, “101 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms” (free to her blog subscribers) and “28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person.”

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Our Experience: 2014 Charlotte Mason Institute Education Conference Part 3


Welcome back to the short series of posts about our experience at the Charlotte Mason Institute’s 2014 Education Conference. This was supposed to be the last post, but I have decided to split this into two. In this and the next I will talk about the plenaries and the ‘big picture’ of the conference. Please keep in mind that we were not able to attend every day of the conference. There was so much more!

CMI graphic III


What are plenaries?! Perhaps you already are familiar with this word, which simply means a meeting or session attended by all participants at a conference or assembly. I’d never heard of it before this conference. This is what the majority of the conference consisted of for us; well, beside breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ahem. I have teenagers.

Charlotte Mason’s Call to Parents

The very first plenary was presented by Art Middlekauff. It was amazing. Art is a very calm, mild-mannered man, from what I can tell. But he definitely has a passion for the education of his kids. The title of his talk: Charlotte Mason’s Call to Parents.

He pointed out something that I’d never noticed. In Charlotte Mason’s works she specifically addresses parents more often than she does mothers. And although I did not write it down to capture the precise number, her address to fathers is right up there with how often she specifies mothers. It is an equally important task for fathers as for mothers, but we often hear of the mothers when it comes to education.

Art talked quite a bit about Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer and statesman, who was educated almost solely by his father, Johann Caspar Goethe. One thing that caught my attention with Goethe is that he took as much time as was needed to teach his children. When the family learned the English language from a tutor, Goethe didn’t allow them to stop after the lessons were over. He didn’t want them to lose what they’d learned and so he continued with the teaching, and made sure they used what they’d learned by continuing to read and write in English.

Looking at Goethe we can see something of extreme importance: He focused on his children and not on himself. When we live for the children’s sake, we look outside of what it is that we want. We give up our time to be sure they are getting what they need. A blog post he referenced was by Michele Quigley, titled Burning Up, Not Out. Here is a quote from that post:

I’m not saying we moms never need time alone to recharge. Sure we do, but if I am being honest I have to admit that most of the time it’s my own selfishness that leads me towards burnout and not the legitimate demands of my family. And while it can sometimes be tricky discerning what’s necessary and what isn’t, I find recourse to constant and sincere prayer usually helps sort all that out.

There is a lot of ‘self-care’ talk in the world today. Tweet: Do not be misled by the push to constantly think of one’s self. A Charlotte Mason education, a liberal education, is for the children’s sake.

This particular talk really had an impact on my son. Perhaps it was because it was out of the ordinary for him. It was presented not by a mom but a dad. But one of the most important aspects of this particular talk was that this education is not for the rich, not for the special children. This education is for all.

Gillingham Charter School: Renewing the Liberal Education for All Movement

Nicole Hutchinson is my hero. Okay, wait, let me explain. Before attending the CMI conference, I knew about Gillingham Charter School. I calculated the distance to get there from where we live to see if it’d be feasible to enroll my kiddos. Of course, it’s in Pottsville, PA, and I’m in Cleveland, OH. Sigh. Not feasible at all.

Gillingham Charter School is the US’s first Charlotte Mason public school. It is not a privately funded school. There are quite a few, but still not enough!, CM schools such as Willow Tree Community School, RiverTree School, Harvest Community School, and a lot of co-ops and groups around the United States. Gillingham is the first of its kind that uses Charlotte Mason’s philosophy in a public school setting.

Since Mason’s philosophy is founded on natural law, focusing on the ways all human beings learn and live, the methods are universal and applicable to both sectarian and non-sectarian areas. In her plenary session Nicole Hutchinson [shared] why Mason’s ideas need to be in the public school and…some ways to make it happen. The good, the bad, and the ugly [were] revealed, and participants [left] with plenty of practical advice. ~CMI description of conference session (emphasis mine)

This session really helped myself and my kids get motivated to make this way of learning, and life, our own. But not only that, we are convinced that it needs to be out there and available to more people. It is a philosophy, a method, that works. It’s been proven time and again in different scenarios- the outcome is the same. It has pushed me personally to focus more on what I want to do outside of my own home.

Some of the ‘ugly’ bits that Hutchinson shared were of the start-up of the school. So many were against the school! And yet, they persevered and the students (as well as teachers and families) have benefitted greatly. That is why I said she is my hero. *smile*

Some hardships:

  • Classist community
  • Hostile school district
  • Discouraging newspaper articles about the school
  • 20+ refusals for building loans
  • 30% less funding than public schools (due to charter status)
  • High stakes testing
  • Parents, teachers and students that do not know Charlotte Mason


  • Children have a desire to go to school, to learn (examples of students who used to skip school do not any more)
  • Students who were reluctant writers in general now write to editors of newspapers (in response to those negative articles)
  • A great jump in testing scores in just one year
  • A special education survey showed a high satisfaction with the schools (that is rare for many schools)
  • Most importantly, the students love to learn

Amazingly and wonderfully, there is to be a CM charter school to open in Detroit, MI, and Charlotte, NC, in the near future.

There are two more plenaries that I want to cover in the next post. I hope you will join me next time.

North Laurel (9 Posts)

Blossom- "North Laurel" to the online world- lives in Ohio with her husband and two teens, homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way with Ambleside Online. She is graciously allowed to be a moderator for the Ambleside Online Forum. North Laurel loves to read, be on the computer, and learn. You can read her blogging about homeschooling, book reviews and life in general at North Laurel Home & School.

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Homeschooling in Ohio, the Buckeye State

Laws for Homeschooling in the Buckeye State

Homeschooling in the Buckeye State, laws and information

Every state is unique in its legal requirements for homeschooling. Homeschooling in the Buckeye State, Ohio, is considered to be a moderate legal requirement state. This is because notification to the local school district is required as well as follow up assessments at the end of the year. It sounds worse than it is. Really.

I’m going to break down each step of the requirements for homeschooling in Ohio so you can see that while moderate, the freedoms written within the law are very beneficial to the homeschooling parent.

When notifying the state of the intention to home educate your child, it is just that –  a notification. It is not a request for permission. While you are required to assert a few stipulations and you must provide a list of curriculum and materials that you plan to use, doing so is used as a reference by the school district. Basically, they need to see that you have some sort of an educational plan.

  • Notification Form 3301-34-02: this is a basic governmental form that allows you to checklist the specific requirements. Include the names of each child as well as their birth date. You are not required to provide a grade level. In lieu of this form, a letter of notification, containing the same information is also valid.
  • Brief outline of the intended curriculum for the current year. (Such outline is for informational purposes only). Submitting this outline, is in no way limiting you to the list only. You have the freedom to change plans throughout the year, and again, you aren’t getting approval for the plan. It is a simple listing of a plan.
  • List of textbooks, correspondence courses, commercial curricula, or other basic teaching materials that the parent intends to use for home education. (Such list is for informational purposes only.) This list of materials is again, simply showing that you have a plan for your homeschool year and you are in no way required to stick to the plan if you find something isn’t working or you want to add to it.
  • Assessment Report form 3301-34-04 for previous year. (If you are homeschooling for the first time, you will not need this report; it is for ongoing home education). An assessment is required at the end of each full year of home education. With an assessment you have 3 separate options.

Option #1: Standardized test results submitted to your district. With this option you can choose to have your child participate in the local school district testing, or you can submit test results from any nationally standardized test. Often co-ops will host a testing day and such results can be submitted. Or you may utilize a standardized test packet at home that is scored via the publisher.

Option #2: Portfolio Assessment. This assessment may be performed by any state certified teacher. Upon review of a portfolio, the teacher signs a document, available from the state Christian Homeschoolers Association, that states the child is working at their level of ability.

Option #3: This is a little known option that allows a homeschool parent to make an alternative arrangement with the superintendent of the local school district.

As you can see, while there are specific requirements for homeschooling in the Buckeye State, there is a lot of flexibility and freedom written into the Ohio homeschool laws. {Tweet That} Ohio is blessed to have an active Christian Home Educators of Ohio association (CHEO) that monitors legislative law, and lobbies on behalf of home educational freedom. There was an additional law passed within the last year that now allows for home educators to participate in public school extra curricular activities without any additional requirements.

Homeschooling in the Buckeye State Learning Opportunities

Ohio is a large state with 88 counties, 3 major cities ( Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati), as well as a wide variety of smaller cities such as Dayton, Toledo, and Akron. From banking to tires and farming to clothing manufacturers the Buckeye State is home to a wide array of businesses and industry. Science and the Arts are also well represented in each corner of  the state; while the history of Ohio has played a key role in much of the nation’s history. Below are a few of the historical reference points.

Homeschooling in the Buckeye stats; Historical Notes about Ohio for Homeschoolers

Photo Courtesy: Flickr.com/photos/jamiedfw (text added)

History Notes for Homeschooling in the Buckeye State

  • Native American History abounds in the state.
  • Ohio was first settled in 1788 in Marietta.
  • The 17th state in the union.
  • Ohio was the front-line for the war of 1812.
  • 8 U.S. Presidents were from Ohio.
  • Ohio was pivotal in the Underground Railroad.
  • Ohio was home to Harriett Beecher Stowe.
  • Ohio’s River Canal System was pivotal in the expansion into the western front.
  • Thomas Edison was born in the Buckeye State.
  • Ohio is the birthplace to the Wright Brothers.
  • Ohio houses the National Airforce Museum.

As you can see Ohio offers a wealth of learning opportunities. Every county, every town and each city is filled with historical museums, theaters, libraries and industry. The educational offerings are endless. That’s why I took it upon myself to write an ebook guide for the state of Ohio concerning homeschooling in the Buckeye State and included links to enhancement class options, co-ops, field trip opportunities and more: Ohio Homeschooling Guide & Directory.

Ohio Homeschooling Guide and Directory



How about the laws in your state? Are they similar, easier or more involved? Share yours in the comments.

Image Courtesy: Thanks to Philipmartin.com for the Ohio Flag and Buckeye clipart.

Renée (16 Posts)

Renée Brown is author at her personal blog, Great Peace Academy. She is a homeschooling mom to her one amazing son, Jonathan and has been the wife of her Beloved Michael for 21 years. On her blog you will find discussions about her work as a homeschooling mom, her family and her faith.

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