Homeschooling ABCs - Lesson A

August 3, 2009 by Terri Leave a reply »

I am so pleased that you have decided to join us for the month of August as we give away the first 5 lessons of the Homeschooling ABCs class.  We hope that you enjoy them.

(If you are reading this and wondering how you can get signed up for free lessons, I do apologize, but the sign-up window has closed.  Maybe we will do this again in the future, so stay posted by subscribing to our newsletter list.  You can do so on the KQ home page here -

If you would like to be included in our drawing on September 1st to win the rest of the course (all 27 lessons), then we ask that you simply post your thoughts each week after you read the lesson.  Please post your comment before 12 noon EST of the following Monday.  So, in other words, you may post here about Lesson A until Monday, August 10th at 12 noon EST.

You do not have to post if you do not want to participate in the drawing.  (By the way, if you want to see the whole list of lessons covered to help you decide if you want to participate or not, you can read the list of classes on Meredith Curtis’ blog here -

Now, about your first post… please comment on what you liked about the class and/or what nugget of information you can use and apply this upcoming school year.  This first lesson is especially geared toward brand new homeschooling parents who are just getting started, but even seasoned homeschoolers can usually find something that makes them sit up and say, “Hmmm… I think that I will try that this year and see how it goes.”

I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Have a great week!


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275 Responses

  1. Meg says:

    I was so pleased to read Terri’s article. I am a first year homeschooler with a kindergartner ready to jump in with both feet! I was so intimidated and worried about doing everything perfectly until yesterday when I read the article. I feel much more at ease now about learning along with my daughter. I’m sure I can handle this new chapter of my life with help like this!

  2. Rachel says:

    Excellent. Simple and complete. Thank you, you’ve removed some of the anxiety of considering homeschooling as an option for us.

  3. Lillian says:

    Very nicely laid out instructions and simple. I like the idea of M&M’s for manipulatives and the morning circle time. I will be incorporating that morning routine and changing my schedule to do reading right after that thanks to your lesson!

  4. Gigi says:

    I liked what you had to say…very good. But you make a common quotation-mark error repeatedly that you should correct. For the complete rules for quotation marks, see Thank you.

  5. Dawn says:

    Yes, this first lesson was for those new to homeschooling. I thought it gave great ideas for “easing” into it. But, as stated, even if you are experienced, you can find “little nuggets” to improve your own homeschool day. The one that popped out at me was asking for prayer requests. We’ve always started our homeschool day with prayer, but I noticed my boys getting into the habit of praying the same things over and over. I think asking them to come up with something specific that is on their hearts is a great idea. Isn’t it funny how you can naturally do something in one setting (church/biblestudy) and not think to bring it into your everyday at home! I think this realization will be a great addition to our homeschool day. Thanks for the ideas!

  6. Brianne says:

    I was impressed reading your Homeschooling ABC’s introductory lesson. I am a veteran homeschooler whose kids never attended public school. Consequently, the material covered was not really helpful for me. However, I did think to myself how wonderful it would have been to have such material so accessible via the internet back when I first began homeschooling. I will certainly send new homeschoolers and those considering it to your website. Many resources these days would be overwhelming and intimidating for new homeschooling moms and I believe your lessons will be just the right amount of encouragement and information.

  7. Brianne says:

    Hi again,

    Just wanted to add that I liked the tips about having a morning “circle” time and quiet reading time. I had just been reading an article by Steve Maxwell in which he stresses the value of individual Bible reading time each morning, so your suggestion helped drive his point home. Thanks!
    I look forward to reading more of the later lessons!!

  8. Pati says:

    like the idea of expanding our morning worship into a fuller circle time. thanks

  9. Judy says:

    Even though we have been doing homeschool for awhile, it is always good to look back at the basics as things can get crazy due to life happening. I like the idea of adding a circle time to our morning devotions.

  10. Marci Kentch says:

    What great advice for a jumpstart into homeschooling. Your ideas are very sound, yet are relaxed and would not make anyone feel stressed out. I love this method and wished that I would have had this advice when I first got started. But, I am getting there now and am loving it. My favorite idea of yours was the circle time. Since my children are getting older we don’t have this time together so much anymore. But, I am going to change that this year and make sure we have that together time in the mornings. Thanks!

  11. Heidi Schaap says:

    We’ve been homeschooling since the beginning, and are very comfortable in our intense, classical studies…but your bit on delight-directed studies intrigued me! I have no problem making my students work hard, even in subjects in which they have no interest. But for my students - well, one student in particular - who finds school taxing and draining, I think it would be very helpful to give him some school time every day in a subject he just LOVES. In fact, it would probably be the motivation he needs to be drawn into reading, writing, and other areas where he struggles.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Charity says:

    I like the idea of a “circle time” away from the school table and books. The idea of facing each other and starting the day off with Bible, verses, and songs seems like a pleasant and foundational starting point. I also liked your comment about starting out at the freshest part of the day with non-fiction books and saving the fiction for later when attention spans might be a bit shorter. I’m looking forward to making math more hands on and fun this year…it will be a bit of a change from former years. Thank you for all these great ideas and thoughts on how to make our time together meaningful and special…oh yes, and full of learning too!

  13. Shellie says:

    Thank you, Terri for giving away the first 5 lessons. I’ve HSed our kids 8 years now, so I’m not new to this. But I am having to change things around for my struggling learner. So, today as I was reading your lesson, I was so thankful because, in a few minutes from now, we are going to do copywork for the first time. Now, keep in mind, they do copywork for handwriting skills, but we have never done it for language arts skills. So when you brought up copywork, I was eagerly reading for any kind of help and inspiration to stick to it. Thank you!

    Can’t wait to see the next class!

  14. Kelly says:

    What an encouraging study! I am a 1st time homeschooler with a 1st grader, 2nd grader, and 2 year old. Boy, am I intimidated! This lesson makes it sound so simple! I liked that there was such a big portion dedicated to talking about Math. My 2nd grader is not picking up on Math the way he is reading and I’ve been a little concerned about that. I am ready to slow down the pace for him and not move on until he’s ready and using manipulatives in every day life will surely help him grasp the concept!

  15. Pat says:

    I liked how clearly and calmly ideas and thoughts were laid out. It can easily be intimidating and overwhelming when the catalogues start coming in, and you hear others talking about their curriculum. I have been homeschooling for 11 years now, and do a lot of the ideas that were presented in this first lesson, but the idea of starting with a morning circle time was new. I like that idea and will be looking at how I can incorporate it with my 11th grader and 7th grader when we start back up again in a few weeks. Thank you.

  16. Linda says:

    I just realized that I’ve posted the comments at your other site. I wanted to thank you for the wonderful lesson for the beginner homeschooling mom like me. In fact, I have tried some of the ideas (delight directed learning) for the past few days in homemaking lessons. One day, we were peeling garlics, we did an estimation and counting game afterwards. Today, we were washing the grapes, we also did the estimation and counting. The kids loved it. Today they get to taste the grapes while learning math (and grapes sure tasted much better than garlic.) :)

  17. Kerstin McClintic says:

    Terri, Thank you for your lessons-I like the easy going flow you write your lessons. This is my second year homeschooling, so many of the things you spoke about I have been doing daily already, during my first year. I love your encouraging tone and am looking forward to the next lessons. My son just turned 6 and my daughter is 3 yrs old. We love to read and read many books each day. I try to incorporate my little girl in as much as possible with her big brother. The subjects that work well for this are science, history, geography, spanish, art and music. I work with them separately with phonics/letters and math/numbers. The lessons on how to teach multiple developmental levels will be good and interesting to me.

  18. Lisa B. says:

    I’m more of a seasoned homeschooling Mom but I wanted to see what I could learn since there is always something new to learn. Much to my delight I see that Teri mentions “circle time.” This is something that I am implementing JUST THIS YEAR after six years of homeschooling. I think it is the one thing I am MOST excited about. I am also going to be including a time just for reading. I look forward to more of the lessons to see what else either confirms what I am doing or shows me a new way. Thank you!

  19. Jenn says:

    Thank you for your lesson. I’m a first time homeschool for my two daughters, one in kindgergarten and the other preschool. I was very nervous but then discovered that if I make a mistake they won’t know. I’m having fun with them as they are learning and I’m relearning about to teach phonics.

  20. Char G. says:

    It made me feel good that I am already doing the 10 steps….for the most part. I have homeschooled for 6yrs, but every year feels like I’m starting over, and this helps to refresh things.

  21. Joni says:

    I’ve been homeschooling now for 5 years, but have been frustrated with our morning routine. I will definitely try incorporating this circle time as a family before hitting the books! Thanks for the gentle reminder of what comes first.

  22. Jennifer says:

    It’s so reassuring to feel that I’m not alone in home-educating. I loved your advice to relax and enjoy - sometimes it’s easy to forget that.

  23. susan says:

    I would love to win. You have a great site and good advice.

  24. Tiffanie Henderson says:

    I like your term “delight directed learning,” and how you stated “focus on your relationships with your kids.” Yes, it should be fun! Thank you for making this lesson available.

  25. Elsa says:

    I’ve homeschooled for a good number of years but feel that there’s always more to learn. I enjoyed reading this first lesson because it refreshed the thought that I need to enjoy the process and my kids. I’ve never incorporated going outside as part of the day, however, this year we will be going for walks/explorations to refresh us in the middle of the day. Thank you for the encouragement to do so!

  26. Marie says:

    Just finished reading the Homeschooling ABC quick start. Your lesson had great basic information. I was convicted of a few things, namely, relax and enjoy your children and the circle/prayer time. We’ve gotten a little too routine at this and are mixing it up a bit. Looking forward to the rest of the lessons. Thanks.

  27. Leslie says:

    I so enjoyed the first lesson! Thank you! I am looking forward to starting gradually this year, enjoying my children, and learning together. We are going to try circle time for the first time. I’m looking forward to it!

  28. Michelle says:

    This was a great lesson. I have been homeschooling for awhile now, but even so, I was able to glean a few extra tidbits of knowledge. My sister is hoping to homeschool for the first time this fall, so we signed up for these lessons together, giving us a springboard for conversations around these topics.

  29. Angelica says:

    I really enjoyed the lesson- I am always looking for ways to better my relationship as teacher and mom with my children. I really loved being reminded that even upper elementary and middle schoolers like to do circle time. Just being together and learning about each other is worth the time and energy put into home schooling. Thank you for the tips on how to teach our children without spending an arm and a leg. I really look forward to the next lesson!
    Thanks again,
    Mom to 4 great kids!!!

  30. Jessica says:

    This would have been great information for me four years ago when I started, it is a nice refresher, however. I am pushed to think more outside the box instead of, “We have to complete this workbook,” a more relaxed mentality. That is great to have with kids. Thank you.

  31. Wendy P says:

    I don’t get it. So where’s the lesson?

  32. Gabi says:

    I never thought of circle time, I’m just getting my schedule together and may have to incorporate that into our day. This would help to include the little ones. I worry that I have too much curriculum and am going to overwhelm my daughter.

  33. Becki says:

    Thanks for the reminder to get together and pray FIRST! Start our day out right………..

  34. Rebecca says:

    What a great start! Terri gives lots of good information about steps when removing children from a public school setting. I wish I had this info when I took my kids out 4 years ago. We did know to do some of the things, but it would have been great to have all the information in one place then.

  35. Bethany says:

    I’ll be officially teaching kindergarten and some 1st grade to my oldest child this year, so this information is a great help as we get started. The ideas for math and handwriting are helpful and I look forward to implementing them. Thank you!

  36. Julie says:

    We have been home educating for several years, so many of your ideas I have heard or already incorporate. It was a good reminder, to me, that it helps to have a delight directed topic of study. I want my children to love to learn and delight directed study is a great way to keep them excited and enthusiastic. I’m looking forward to the future weeks’ topics.

  37. Linda says:

    this is excellent information for a first-year home schooler. Thanks!

  38. Amber says:

    I wish I would have had this in January! I pulled my son out of PS and had no idea where to begin! I appreciated that the information was all laid out and easy to incorporate into a schooling schedule. I am already doing several of the things you suggested, so it confirmed to me that I am on the right track.

  39. Carolyn says:

    Very good article. When you first get started a
    little at a time is very good advice especially if
    you have toddlers also. And remember that what works for you at one season of life has to be revampedfor another season of life! Thanks!

  40. Cindy says:

    For the last several years, I have been teaching in a traditional classroom setting at a private school. I have enjoyed it immensely, but am thrilled that the Lord has brought me back to homeschooling for my three youngest children. Much of what you suggest is what I have been doing. I have often chosen to use nontraditional methods in my traditional classroom. There are two items in your first lesson that I definitely intend to incorporate in our homeschool. The first is the morning circle, something I have already been planning, as it is an aspect of our family life that I feel has been neglected in the rush of getting ready for school each day. The second, which is new and very exciting for me is the unit study. Seldom have I been expected to meet the needs of multiple learning styles that are also at disparate age/comprehension levels. It is a challenge that I embrace; I found your suggestions quite helpful and thought-provoking. I am also looking forward to your lesson on NOT copying the classroom, for obvious reasons.

  41. Krystin says:

    I have homeschooled for seven years (WOW, the time has flown!) and love it more each year. I really liked the way in this first lesson you eased the new parent into the (natural) role of teacher. There were tips in there that I will use this year, too! : )


  42. Dyane says:

    I have been homeschooling for quite a while. I liked the idea of starting the day with circle time. I am going to try that with this new school year. I also like the idea of starting the day with reading out loud. I find most days that I don’t have the energy or the time to read out loud after the school day is done. Thanks!

  43. Martha says:

    After several years of thinking about home schooling I took the plunge last September and began doing it. We all enjoyed the experience and plan to continue this year. I really like the idea of circle time as a way of starting the day, and will also use some of your physical activity ideas. The unit study way of schooling was very successful for me with my younger two school aged kids (3rd and 6th grade last year) so we will do that again this year. I was delighted to come across your lessons - as a newbie, so to speak, I am very willing to take ideas and advice from those more experienced. Thank you for this opportunity to learn.

  44. LE says:

    I really thought the simplicity to getting started was a stress relief. I am trying to decide if as a single mom whether or not I can make home schooling a part of our life. I like the ideas of how to use one book to do reading but pull all the other subjects like spelling and writing from their reading. Circle time is also a great idea, it draws everyone into a like minded state. Thanks for the article it will be a great tool for me if I am able to work it around. It looks like we can make this work.

  45. Lee says:

    I love the circle time idea–I’m going to make sure our table is fully cleared so we can sit facing each other without the clutter! I like to start our day with Bible time but I’d like to incorporate other things as well, like singing hymns and memory verses.

  46. Heather says:

    I loved so many of the ideas! I like the detoxing idea and just taking time to spend with your kids! I also loved the circle time!! To use that for memory verses or songs. What a great way to start your day and to pull everyone together! Thanks for the tips!

  47. Teonei says:

    I loved your specifics on detoxing from public school. Before I started homeschooling last year, I read about the need to detox, but I didn’t know what exactly it meant and kind of thought it would happen on its own in time. Fortunately, my two oldest boys had just gotten started in school and had had good experiences, but I will use your suggestions in the future when we all need to regroup. I also liked your circle time ideas. We already meet for a morning devotional that includes some of these things, but I may add a game, too, to start with more fun. Thank you so much for this glimpse into your ABCs class. I know several people who would also benefit from this course as they are considering homeschooling.

  48. Darel says:

    Love you blogs. They are encouragement for our homeschooling adventure and very helpful. Thank you!

  49. Julie says:

    This gentle way of homeschooling has blessed my family for six years. My struggle has been the transition from breakfast to getting school started for my older ones, especially since the little ones have come along. Circle time seems to be the resolution. I look forward to working on memorizing scripture and praying together( I could get real creative with circle time) and sharing the day’s schedule with my kids during circle time. The days flow better when you all start on the same page.
    Thank you for this nugget!

  50. Sharon says:

    I have been homeschooling for 5 years and am just officially starting no 3. It was so nice to read the getting started and remember to relax and take it easy. We are going to start a circle/group time again as somehow that has slipped along the way. Thanks for the reminders looking forward to the next week.


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