Homeschool Favorites from Our First Year

Homeschool Favorites from Our First Year

Julie Julie
5 minute read

I never imagined myself homeschooling my child. I loved teaching in the traditional classroom setting and was excited to have my daughter be on campus with me. When my family decided that it was time for me to take a break from teaching public school, we gave my daughter the option to homeschool, and she jumped on it right away!

To be honest, it was frightening taking that leap of faith! Luckily, my daughter was entering her first grade year, and I had taught first grade for over 13 years, so the curriculum part of it would be easy! We definitely had an adjustment period initially though. My daughter had never been excited about kindergarten. She often said it was boring and/or didn't want to go to school. She started our first year of homeschooling with that same mentality, so it took about a semester for her to see that learning could be fun and our "classroom" was not what she had previously experienced.
Homeschool Coop

As we near the end of our first year of homeschool, I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to stay home and teach my daughter. Seeing her growth each day and getting to teach to her interests and academic level has been one of the greatest joys of my life thus far. I can't say that everyday was rainbows and unicorns (because there were some rough spots), but we were able to spend quality time learning together every day and it's brought us closer together as a family.

I am grateful to have a best friend who also homeschools her children, and she is a wealth of knowledge! I also found a homeschool co-op that we adore as well, and they have been such a blessing. You definitely can not homeschool without finding a community of like-minded families.

Homeschool Favorites Field Trip to Pick Strawberries

Here are a few of our favorite resources that we used our first year:
  • Jeannie Fulbright Nature Journals : These notebooks are absolutely stunning. The hardbound heirloom leather covers are made to last for generations and the mixed media pages allow us to switch between different tools, from crayons to colored pencils to watercolor paints.
  • A Public Library Account: We spent much of our first year traveling between Austin, TX and Sun Valley, ID, so we were so lucky that both places have beautiful libraries rich with diverse books. We visited the library weekly to check out new books and read in their children's areas. I took full advantage of putting books on hold for various lessons, so that I didn't have to spend a fortune on books to teach specific content.
  • Lesson Plan Template : My best friend shared her various ways of lesson planning and I took some of her templates and made them my own. After several revisions, I finally landed on something that was easy and quick to manipulate each week.
  • Second Language Curriculum : I initially planned on teaching Spanish to my daughter, but after deciding we were taking a trip to Paris this year, I switched gears and taught her French instead. The program created by Homeschool Languages was a life saver! It's easy to follow and highly engaging.
Homeschool Travels
  • Art Curriculum : While I find myself to be very creative and crafty, I am not at all an artist! My daughter and I have had so much fun following along with the Lily & Thistle art lessons.
  • Outschool : Outschool is an innovative education platform that offers a variety of engaging, small-group classes online.
  • Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year : 366 nature poems — one for every day of the year!
  • Audible : We loved listening to books during our afternoon Tea Time.
  • Handbook of Nature Study : I have never been very outdoorsy, so my knowledge of true plant and animal names is very limited. This book has an absurd amount of lessons with background knowledge for the parent. I highly recommend the snail lesson!
  • A Charlotte Mason Book of Centuries : Time is such a hard concept for children to understand. We love using this book to write about, illustrate, or glue in images to show when different artists lived, when various items were invented, etc. We added the dates that my daughter's grandparents were born, as well as mine and my husband's, and my daughter's, and it's been an incredible visual timeline for her.
Homeschool Favorites Curriulum Resources
  • Math for Love Tiny Polka Dot : One of my favorite resources for teaching math fluency!
  • Heggerty : This is probably my most favorite resource from the classroom when I taught first grade so it was a must while homeschooling my daughter! It includes 24 weeks of daily phonemic awareness lessons. Each is very quick and routine, so we would do these while eating breakfast.
  • A Volunteer Program : I think it's incredibly important to teach our children how to give back early. Generation Serve was recommended to me and it's been such a fantastic program to help with many different needs in our community. Plus, many of the activities can be done from home which makes it extra easy to squeeze in to our weeks.
  • Nature & Farm School : A fellow co-op momma recommended this program and we quickly became obsessed! The kids spend the entire day outside on the farm working with animals and plants and playing games/socializing with each other. It also gives me one day a week where I can work on lesson plans, emails with action items, and all things busy bèbés!
Homeschool Favorites Field Trips
As we wrap up our first year homeschooling, I am already thinking about curriculum and resources for next year! I plan on diving into Ambleside Online and The Good and the Beautiful and am so excited to add something new to my toolbox.

Are you homeschooling? What are your favorite resources? I'd love to know what I should check out!

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