10 Best Practices for a Successful Homeschool Year

10 Best Practices for a Successful Homeschool year

As many of us are preparing to start (or have already started) a new school year, I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I’ve learned over the last just about 11 years of homeschooling. No matter how old our children get or how long we’ve been homeschooling, these principles remain the same. They may play out differently depending on the ages of your kids, but the ideas are the same.

  1. Slow & Steady Wins the Race. Your kids don’t have to know everything today or even this year so refrain from turning on the fire hose of information. A corollary to this is don’t worry about keeping up with what public and private schools are doing- it’s a recipe for discontentment at best and disaster at the worst.
  2. Start Simple and Establish a Routine. A framework is great and allows you to get back on track if you derail (sick, fussy babies are super de-railers), but don’t be a slave to your routine. Your homeschool will begin to lack joy.
  3. Let Go of Traditional School Conventions. Some of them may be fine and work well for you, but so often I see parents trying to replicate the experience they know and understand well. We all come to the homeschooling table with a similar background in education. It’s ok to let those fall away and find the niche that you and your children will fill.
  4. Be Consistent. Whatever routine and program of study you choose, do it consistently. While we can leave behind the traditional school model, we still have the responsibility to educate our children.
  5. Choose your outside activities wisely.
    Remember, you don’t have to do everything out there that is available to homeschoolers. In fact, you need to do very little of it. Be sure to weigh the cost of the activity in the commodity of time. Is it worth it?
  6. Say no whenever possible. You’d be surprised at the discipline it takes to be home to school! Trust me when I tell you that your homeschool will be far richer the more you are home. When you are out too much, you settle into the mentality that when you are home you need to hit the basics. Instead, be home and be consistent so there is plenty of time for exploring together.
  7. Minimize Distractions. Whether it’s the phone (and by that I mean smart phone!), the other phone, knocks at the door, your email inbox, etc. Keep focused on what’s at hand. Do the same for your students.
  8. Collaborate. No matter how old your kids are and what grades they are in, choose a time during the day when you’ll come together. It takes work as they get older, but it’s worth the time.
  9. Make Books a Part of Your Day. Everyday. Whether you are reading to them or they are reading to you or simply reading on their own (including you!), books are always, always time well spent.
  10. Be a Yes Mom. When your child comes to you with a pill bug and says, “Can we keep it?” Say yes and see what happens! Don’t be afraid to step away from what you had planned to see what comes of the rabbit trail your child would like to investigate. There is a lot of power in those learning experiences if we aren’t afraid to say yes and enjoy the process.

Bonus Tip: Relax! And enjoy the privilege of homeschooling your children. You know what is best for your kids and you have the unique opportunity to meet them where they are and delight in it. Be confident! Have a great year!

More Posts on Routines at Blog, She Wrote

Ten Things that Make a Great Homeschool Day– If any few of these happen on any given day in our homeschool, it’s a fabulous school day.

How to Implement an Independent & Authentic Homeschool Day– How we spend our homeschool days together and a little on how that has changed as our children have gotten older.


facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

We’re back!!

We hope you’ve had a wonderful summer. It was nice having a break, but we did miss connecting with you. Now that we’re back, it’s time to get Finishing Strong up and running bigger and better than before.

Finishing Strong 500x500As you may have noticed, we’ve made some changes during our time away. First and foremost is a new logo. Hopefully, you love it as much as we do. Feel free to grab one below to add to your site.

Secondly, our layout will be changing as well. Starting next week, each co-host will be choosing a few of her favorite posts from the week before to highlight, so make sure to visit all of our websites to see which posts we loved.

One thing is remaining the same – Finishing Strong will continue to be a key resource for those homeschooling middle and high school kids.

So make sure you come back each Wednesday to share your ideas, stories, and helpful tips. Our link-up is only as good as the posts shared, so we need your help to keep it beneficial and relevant for families.

Finishing Strong back to school collage

Look at what our co-hosts have been up to:

Eva at EvaVargaI Am NOT a Soccer Mom (or How to Avoid Child Burnout)

Heather at Blog She WroteHigh School Curriculum Choices 2015-2016

Heidi at Starts at EightLife Skills: Using The Library – Dewey Decimal System

Megan and Susan at Education PossibleSimple Back to Homeschool Ideas Moms and Teens will Love

Follow Education Possible’s board Finishing Strong on Pinterest.

What are you going to share with us this week?


  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Please Share!

Add our button to your post.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Were You Featured?

Grab an “I was featured” button!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Bloggers, by linking up, you may be featured on our co-hosts’ social media pages or our Pinterest board. We may even select you to be featured in a future post!

We love people who SHARE WITH US!

*By linking up, you are giving us permission to share your images, always with credit!

 Loading InLinkz ...
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

Learning Arabic at Home with Rosetta Stone

Learning Arabic at Home with Rosetta Stone

Disclosure: I received this product for free in order to do the review. I was compensated for my time in creating the review. All of the opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

We’ve been using Rosetta Stone for our language learning for many years. Our high school senior studied French when he was in late elementary when Rosetta Stone was still available through our public library. Almost two years ago, I purchased Rosetta Stone Latin American Spanish for the whole family. Ethan has taken Arabic in the past and was excited to revisit it and complete a whole credit for high school foreign language. Rosetta Stone rounds out his experience very well so, let me explain more about Learning Arabic at Home with Rosetta Stone.

Homeschool Lessons with Rosetta Stone Arabic

Learn Arabic at Home with Rosetta Stone

With all the languages available to study through Rosetta Stone, why did we choose Arabic? We chose it because Ethan, our senior, has taken Arabic in the past and he wanted to add to his credit count in this language. His first experience was a co-op class and he also took Arabic from a native speaker in Egypt. The key to learning with Rosetta Stone is the immersion in the language.

  • Language Immersion– If you talk to anyone who has visited a foreign country and lived there for any length of time, they often come home speaking somewhat fluently. Why is it that students who study a foreign language for years in a classroom may never speak that language fluently? Immersion. When you are forced to use only the new language, you get good at it quickly! Rosetta Stone uses the way baby’s learn their first language to teach a new one and that is a form of immersion. From the comfort of your own home.
  • Self-Paced & Self-Guided Lessons– Once you sit down to begin a lesson, you’ll hear the narrator say words and you must match them to the pictures based on the cues. Your student’s job is to repeat words for pronunciation and identify others with the pictures they go with.
  • Hear Arabic Words & See Them Written– in the Arabic alphabet. Arabic is a fun language to pursue because the alphabet is completely new.
  • Homeschool Resource CD– which comes with the homeschool edition has a written transcript for everything spoken in each level.

Benefits of Learning Arabic with Rosetta Stone Homeschool

Learn Arabic at Home with Rosetta Stone

We chose Rosetta Stone over other language experience years ago for specific reasons, so my benefit list is long.

  • Use with Multiple Students– You can have up to five profiles on one homeschool version set. Right now I have one student studying Arabic and Spanish and another working through Spanish.
  • Easy to Install– It only takes a few minutes on the computer or you can purchase a web based version so you can learn languages on the go!
  • Comes with its Own Headset– This may seem trivial, but I have to tell you this is one nice headset! I use it for all my online recordings as well like G+ Hangouts and webinars.
  • Pay a One Time Fee– Rather than paying for classes and paying for each child, you can purchase more than one level at a time and it can be used for your whole family for the duration of their language studies. We chose a language all of our kids could learn for this reason. The bonus is being able to choose others if we’d like.
  • Self-Paced Lessons for All– Each student can reach milestones during each level at their own pace.
  • Access Multiple Languages from One Program if You Own More than One– We have both Arabic and Spanish on our computer and when you open Rosetta Stone students can choose their language and level. Once a profile is made for them, they can access any of the languages you’ve purchased.
  • Use Parent Administrative Tools – to track student progress and make tweaks in lesson plans. This is a nice perk if you have more than one student using the same language at a time. It helps you to know how they are doing and what they need to work on. Often I am around while they are doing a lesson, so I can hear how things are going.
  • Speak the Language Consistently during Every Lesson– The core of the lesson is speaking and listening so you will have repeated practice at pronunciation and fluency. Many times in traditional language teaching programs students engage in little speaking during class time or, in my experience teachers always call on the students they love to hear! Your student is prompted to speak and has to do it well for the voice recognition. That’s a win!
  • Hear the Language Spoken as You Learn– Helps to avoid pronunciation blunders as you learn. You’ll hear whole sentences in addition to words regularly.
  • Engage in Conversation– Lessons provide a repeating segment and a conversation segment giving you the chance to practice speaking conversationally. If more than one student is taking the lessons, they can talk to each other and this is a great way for me to see they are learning. In addition, the homeschool edition comes with an audio practice CD so you can practice even more!

In my great search for the foreign language credit for high schoolers and reconciling that with the requirements of colleges and universities, I’ve found Rosetta Stone to be a good fit.

Connect with Rosetta Stone and Try a Free Demo

If you’d like to see more about Rosetta Stone for yourself, I encourage you to do so. Rosetta Stone has met a language learning need for our homeschool family.

Try out the Free Demo– which gives you a chance to see the program in action.

Follow Rosetta Stone on Facebook– There are frequent special offers from Rosetta Stone.

Sign up for the Homeschool Newsletter– I have enjoyed an even contributed to the Rosetta Stone newsletter. Sign up at the bottom of this page  and receive homeschool education news.


facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather