Monkee Books

The proprietor for a website for buying and selling homeschool curriculum recently shared their up-and-coming website with us. It’s called Monkee Books. It’s like E-bay or Etsy for homeschool curriculum. So if you have a curriculum need or you need to sell some of you own curriculum, go check it out!

www.monkeebooks.com

sell

When poking around on their website a little, I also noticed that the owners are local! So it would be great for us to support them and help them build their business…all while we are getting good deals on our own curriculum or selling our old curriculum to make space on our over-stuffed book shelves!

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Homeschool FAQ

(Unresearched, somewhat biased, probably a bit inaccurate, and the answers definitely don’t apply to all homeschoolers.)

I just don’t have the patience to homeschool. How do you do it?

First, if we seem to have more patience it’s because we get to practice it a lot! And our patience is tried in a variety of ways! Another reason is we need patience to be effective. We also have opportunities to apologize for our outbursts, repent, and try again!

What about socialization for your kids?

We actually feel that as long as our kids are involved in religious and extracurricular activities with peers, they can still develop healthy socialization skills among their peers. Many of us also purposefully join groups and get together for our own social needs those of our kids. 

Homeschoolers also have a bunch of opportunities to develop great relationships with other adults, kids older than them, and kids younger than them. Homeschooled kids are often ok with being themselves and less concerned with trying to “fit in.” We also find that socially awkward parents often have socially awkward kids and it wouldn’t matter if those kids are in public school or homeschooled. 

How do you teach all your kids everything they need to know?

Well, we don’t, but neither do the schools! We just prioritize what needs to be taught and we get to pick the best way that works for us (the moms as teachers). We are hard on ourselves some days and really proud of ourselves on other days.

What about teaching multiple grades/ages?

There are three basic ways to accomplish this (there could be more):

1. Follow your children’s grade levels and teach them according to their grade, which is usually determined by the state/common core. This probably takes hours each day per kid. Most of us don’t do that cause we would go insane. 

2. Anne of Green Gables classroom: One-room-classroom approach where you teach the same lesson to multiple ages (for science, history, art, geography, literature, foreign languages, etc) and take some time to do one-on-one with the linear subjects (math, reading, spelling). 

3. Independent Learners: Pick a method/curriculum that fosters independent learning and you end up mainly supervising their education. Your main role is to get them to the point of becoming an independent learner—you teach the 3 R’s: reading, writing, and arithmetic. 

What if I have to work?

You can make homeschooling work with your schedule. Your kids won’t need 7+ hours of “school” every day to learn what they need to learn until they are about high school age. At that point, they ought to be independent learners so you don’t need to be by their side for those whole 7+ hours while they study. You can also get creative like hire a nanny or a teacher/tutor to help you with the childcare or their education. 

How do you motivate your kids to learn?

The best trick in the book is no trick at all. It’s only cultivating a love of learning. Humans naturally love to learn, progress, and grow. It’s a part of our nature as children of God. If we can keep that love of learning alive in our kids and not squash it out, they will always have a hunger and a thirst to learn and grow. The trick is to not stifle that love of learning. 

How soon should I start homeschooling my children?

Our culture encourages us to start young and to start serious. So we automatically think we should, too.

I suggest an alternative. Let our kids be Kids. Let them play, explore, visit parks, lakes, zoos, and museums, go on hikes, play freely in the backyard, be bored, and have plenty of free time. Read good books, poetry, classics, and quality literature to them. Cultivate the love of learning.

As they grow, so will their appetite to learn. Keep feeding them good learning material out of “the best books.” As they get older, you’ll see the need for more structured learning and maybe even using some outside resources for their education. Some options are no cost, like JTED for high schoolers. Some homeschoolers also start taking college courses in high school as a way to get a head start for college. 

How much does homeschooling cost?

As little or as much as you can afford. There are many free to very low cost options you can use to teach your kids. If you’re on a budget, look for deals, second hand materials, and use the Internet and library a lot. You don’t have to buy the required school supplies every year so you’ll save on things like pencils, scissors, crayons, and school fund raisers.

Quad City Homeschool Charter Schools and Co Ops

I often get an email here and there from someone new in town who is already homeschooling or someone who is ready to take the plunge into homeschooling. I often get asked about local homeschool Co Ops. Lately, people have been asking if we have a homeschool charter school…like the ones that are popping up in different states like California where kids attend some classes once a month, or once or twice a week, and the parents get the curriculum from the school for “free” or through our tax dollars, just like public school kids, to teach their kids at home. So I want to share with you what I know we have here. I would LOVE for others to help me update this article with additional information about Co Ops or other homeschool communities here. For now, I’ll do my best with what I know.

Homeschool Charter Schools

While we don’t have homeschool charter schools like the ones in CA, we do have some programs that are somewhat similar.

Classical Conversations is a Christian based curriculum with a weekly instructional gathering component. Our area has enough families in this program that they have a weekly group meeting.

Sequoia Choice is the closest thing we have to a homeschool charter school around here. They even have a few different options. You can sign up through their charter to receive textbooks and receive guidance and monitoring through one of their teachers/advisors. It looks like you can take classes PT or FT through them. When they first came to Prescott a few years ago, I attended an informational meeting about it. They were talking about having regular gatherings for kids. Possibly weekly. I didn’t see anything that mentioned that on their website, though.

Williamsburg Academy is an online school that provides real-time, live instruction to a class of students. Right now WA provides classes for MS & HS students. But they may expand to elementary students in the future. WA is a private online school with a private school tuition option (that can be good for families who don’t care for common core standards or state testing or don’t want to report to anyone for their child’s education). However, they have partnered with Sequoia Choice. If you enroll your student for WA for Sequoia Choice, SC pays for your child’s tuition and SC is your child’s charter school. That does mean your child will need to take state exams and you would need to comply with anything else that a state-funded school requires. However, you don’t need to pay the price of a private school for your child to receive a private school education.

There are several families in the area whose kids attend Williamsburg Academy. While their gatherings aren’t weekly, the students do get together for semester kick-off parties or end of semester gatherings. WA encourages its students to interact outside of class and especially in person where feasible.

There are other groups of homeschoolers that meet based on similar interests or who go to the same church or who follow the same educational philosophy. The best thing I’ve found for these special interest groups is to join a Facebook Groups that caters to your style. Email me privately so I can invite you to the closed groups, or do your own FB search to find a group that works for you.

Co Ops

This is even a bit of a mystery to me! I know there are Co Ops in the area. I participate in one and I’ve helped set one up that later dissolved. I know there is a BIG one that meets in a church on Fridays. Word of mouth says that their classes fill up quickly and they rarely have openings. I believe it’s mainly for upper grades. But I could totally be wrong with it. I will try to get more accurate info on this Co Op.

The one I’m in meets in a person’s home and it focuses on Science and Humanities. She accepts students as long as there is room in her home for the extra kids. This one ranges from Pre-K through HS.

Please feel free to email me privately if you’re interested in joining a Co Op. Or, better yet, if you would like to start a Co Op or grow one that you have started, I would be happy to help you advertise it and direct future newbies your way.

Can Homeschoolers Participate in Public School Classes or Sports?

I received this question from a reader in Flagstaff. Let me share what I found out. 

1. It depends on the district. However, most counties do allow it, you just usually have to work it out directly with the school and/or district. Make sure you arm yourself with information. At the time of this blog post, this website had the best links to the county eductional websites with the information you need.

2. Yavapai County Education Service Agency says this on their website:

     Participation in School Activities

School districts are required to allow home schooled students to participate in interscholastic activities. The home schooled student must meet the same eligibility requirements, such as passing grades (as certified by the parent), as regular students. If there is a charge (Pay for Play, etc.), the home schooled student must pay the same fee as other students. Academic activities are not the same as interscholastic activities. Schools can take a home schooled student for any number of classes if the district wants to. However, unless a student is enrolled for at least ¼ time (as applicable to age of student) the district receives no state aid and is under no obligation to take a home schooled student.

2. Coconino County Education Service Agency also addresses this topic. Just access their document by clicking on Public School at Home link and find the section about Interscholastic Activities.
*The information on this blog post is based on a quick internet search and has not been tested or proven. Please comment on your experience with involving your homeschooled children in public school classes and/or activities.