View Full Version : Newbie

04-05-2010, 06:38 PM
What a relief to find this group! I have been homeschooling for a year and everyone around me seems to be doing it for religious reasons. I very much want to keep it separate for my children. I have a 5 year old boy and 8 year old girl. My daughter attended school for 2 and a half years before I pulled her out. We moved out of the country at the same time so I started out really on my own, but I have read most of the home schooling books out there, but secular ones are hard to find. Anyone know of one that I can read?

This past year of homeschooling has been a real adventure for my children and I. I am very lucky to have a supportive husband who is my tech support and researcher. I just discovered lap books and am trying it out with my kids (minus all the bible quotes). Also researching work boxes which I just ran across in one of the blogs I read. Since we left the US a year ago and are not planning on returning for up to 5 years I am not really following any state guidelines. The main reason being we have no idea which state we will be returning too once we return to the states. Anyone one have any thoughts on that?

Looking forward to surfing this site and gaining more resources and knowledge to help with my families home schooling journey.


04-06-2010, 12:51 PM
Hi Anna-Marie and welcome to Secular Homeschool! Sorry I didn't welcome you sooner, I somehow missed your intro. As an aside, Topsy, the site admin, posted that she will be out today so since all newbies' posts are moderated for a little bit, you're not going to see your own posts show up until after she returns, FYI.

So where in the world are you right now? I see that you joined the International Homeschoolers group, I hope you find support there too. A member from my own local group uses workboxes and she loves it. I used lapbooks for Noah in K and 1st grade and we enjoyed it then. We might return to it when we start unit studies/interest-led studies. I have to admit that I got tired of all the cuting and pasting and cutesies little shapes very fast. I did create my own lapbooks for a while (animals, countries) but it wasn't anything fancy. This year Noah created his own lapbooks when we studied the solar system. He enjoyed creating something.

You might already know about these resources for lapbooks, but just in case:

Homeschoolhelperonline offers free lapbooks (http://www.homeschoolhelperonline.com/lapbooks.htm)
HomeschoolShare (http://www.homeschoolshare.com/Lapbooks_at_HSS.php) also does
Here is a Squidoo lens (http://www.squidoo.com/lapbookthemes)about lapbooks
Here are some preschool patterns (http://www.preschoolexpress.com/pattern_station.shtml)on Preschool Express and also at eduplace.com (http://www.eduplace.com/rdg/hme/k_5/shapebook/toc.html) and write-on shapes from storyit.com (http://www.storyit.com/shapes/writeons.htm)
This blog shows you how to make mini-offices (http://www.teachingheart.net/minioffice.html).
Hands of a Child (http://www.handsofachild.com/shop/Freebie.aspx) is NOT a secular provider, but they offer freebies and those are often secular.

If you read the rest of the forums, you'll see suggestions for secular books on homeschooling, as well as secular homeschooling magazines.

Since you don't know where you'll be relocating to when you come back here, I would suggest you document, document, document so you cover all your possible basis. One tool I love to use is Homeschool Tracker. I use the Plus version, which I paid for, but the basic version is free (http://www.homeschooltracker.com/tracker_basic.aspx). Of course, you can always keep records by hand too or in an Excel spreadsheet or whatever system works for you. Homeschool Tracker is a bit of a learning curve.

I hope this helps!

04-07-2010, 02:20 AM
Hi Anna-Marie,

Welcome to the site. I'm new here myself, but have already found it a valuable resource, and people very friendly.

"Since we left the US a year ago and are not planning on returning for up to 5 years I am not really following any state guidelines. The main reason being we have no idea which state we will be returning too once we return to the states. Anyone one have any thoughts on that?" I guess the only thought I have is to make sure you research and comply whatever regulations your current country requires if you are in a resident status that requires it since you may run into problems legally in some countries (I don't know enough about it to advise you about specifics though) and, to echo Snoopy...document everything well, as records seem to be really important for a variety of reasons.


04-07-2010, 05:46 AM
Hi Anna Marie,

Welcome! To answer your questions:

1. Secular homeschooling books - look for the "What Your __ Grader Should Know" series if you are trying to find how-to's. As for homeschool-specific books, Rebecca Rupp's are good (there is a thread here about her book, "Home Learning Year By Year", I believe).

2. As for the state guidelines, you could probably research the states in the general area you are considering settling to see which has the guidelines that appeal to you the most.

For example, my husband is military. We are from Massachusetts, which has some pretty strict guidelines. However, we purchased a home in Delaware while he was based there, and changed our legal residence. Delaware's homeschooling requirements are among the easiest in the nation. I like how simple it is to homeschool as Delaware residents (file an intent to homeschool once a year and file an attendance form once a year).

At present we are living in S. Korea, and we head to Germany in November. We still adhere to the Delaware guidelines, since we are residents of the state, but will ultimately change to a New England state when my husband retires (anytime between the end of his tour in Germany and his body giving up on him... LOL). So if you have a region in mind (New England, Mid-Atlantic, South, etc.), I would suggest doing some research about the states in the area, so you can get an idea of which states would be most homeschool-friendly. Then you can take into account other things that are important (job market, cost of living, etc.), and make a decision. :)

As for us, as much as we LOVE Massachusetts, we will retire to New Hampshire for these very reasons.

Hope that helps and, again, welcome!