Learning with a tabletSo many incredible learning resources are available to families right now! Whether you’ve been homeschooling for ten years or ten minutes, here’s a list of some of our favorites.

My Father’s World
HSLDA has made 2 free digital activity packs available at no charge for all families.

Rainbow Resource
These math, science, language arts, social studies, and preschool activities are sure to be a hit with the whole family.

5 in a Row
5 in a Row is offering a free mini unit and some sweet scavenger hunts.

Konos
Konos is offering free, online video lesson plans and online homeschool mentoring.

Google is offering virtual tours of the most famous art museums on the planet!

YouTube
Take daily art classes with some of your favorite children’s book authors, including Mo Willems when you tune into their YouTube channels.

Disney
The Walt Disney Parks Blog invites you to be their guest as you learn to draw your favorite Disney characters through online tutorials with Disney imagineers.

Demme Learning
Founded by Steve Demme, an NCHE Thrive! Conference featured speaker, Demme Learning is an independent family-owned and operated publishing company based in Pennsylvania and includes these products: Math-U-See, Spelling-U-See, Kindertown, and Building Faith Families. 

Classical U
Classical U is offering 3 weeks free when you use the link above and code: 3weeks.

Andrew Peterson
Beloved author and musician Andrew Peterson is offering a Facebook Live read-along of the WingFeather Saga beginning Friday, March 20.

Institute for Excellence in Writing
If idioms aren’t your jam and hyperbole is the absolute bane of your entire existence, you’ll be glad to see that the Institute for Excellence in Writing is offering free language arts instruction and support for parents.

SPED Homeschool
Parents who are suddenly home with children who have special needs or learning differences will appreciate this post (and online meet-ups for moms!) from SPED Homeschool.

Simple Homeschool
Can education really be this simple? Learn a great way to find your homeschool rhythm (aka, when to do what!) at Simple Homeschool.

HSLDA
HSLDA has started a Facebook community for families, parents, educators, and students who are having to change their education routines due to the coronavirus… because education isn’t a place–it’s an experience that can happen anywhere! 

Playful Learning
Playful Learning is offering free resources PLUS a free webinar on how to create playful spaces in your home. Join them Friday, March 20, from 11am – 12pm EST.

Chess.com
Play chess, solve puzzles, and learn for free every day.

Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com
These two sister websites have fun, free quizzes and short lessons to build your vocabulary and strengthen your knowledge in all things related to language.

If you are a parent of a school-aged child, there’s a good chance that you have just been launched into the exciting, and sometimes scary, world of home education. I would like to be the first to say, “Welcome!”

Unlike those of us who researched, planned, and prepared for some time for this endeavor, you had no say in the matter as the COV-ID19 pandemic made the choice for you. We at North Carolinians for Home Education are here for you. We believe that whether it is for the next few weeks or for years to come, YOU can homeschool with confidence and joy! We will support you with the information and resources you need at this critical time.

One thing that many people are asking is how to set up a homeschool. While that may be a decision you eventually make, if your child is already enrolled in a public or private school that is temporarily closed, it is not necessary to open your own homeschool at this point. In fact, you may find it impossible to withdraw them during this time, so it is best to look at your situation more along the lines of distance learning. However, it is a great opportunity to have a trial run at something that many of us have grown to love: pursuing education with our children.

So from my 20+ years of homeschooling, what would I say to you if we could sit down for a chat about this surprise you’ve been given?

  • Don’t panic. Take a deep breath and relax. You can do this! I want to encourage you today to look at this as a blessing in disguise. The next few weeks can be a wonderful time for your family to reconnect, recharge, and perhaps learn some new skills together.
  • While you are in relaxation mode, consider relaxing some of the rules. Let everyone sleep in a little; perhaps consider loosening the screen time limits. Have breakfast for dinner, or have family movie night in the middle of the week instead of Friday. Invite your children to take turns leading a family devotion time each afternoon. Work to instill an atmosphere of peace and joy in your home.  
  • Bring out the games! There are so many ways we learn as we play board games. Money skills, arithmetic, logic, strategizing, vocabulary, etc. These are just a few of the strengths that games such as Scrabble, Monopoly, Apples to Apples, Settlers of Catan, and Ticket to Ride can bring out in your child. They may even realize they like learning about them as they play. You might even want to check out some new games to order from a small business near you to support others. 
  • Check out all the resources that are being offered to help families stay active, positive, and informed through virtual connections. From zoos giving daily visits with their animals to virtual tours of Buckingham Palace, fitness classes to ballet lessons, historical videos to famous actors doing an evening story-time, the wonders of the Internet can be a fun way to enhance the lessons your child may be getting from their school system.
  • Don’t try to recreate your child’s classroom at home. Your home is just that – a home. It should be comfortable, personalized to your family’s needs and style, and reflect those who are a part of it. Don’t feel pressured to meet anyone’s expectations. Find what works for you. And be warned that, as is always true with parenting, what worked yesterday may no longer work today.  
  • Have a family meeting. Work together to organize a family chore plan, meal plan, and a routine for the day.  Having everyone’s input helps your children understand that they are a valuable part of the family unit, and feeling heard goes a long way in getting them to help out with a positive attitude.
  • Speaking of attitude, let’s have grace for each other including ourselves. Our worlds have been shaken, whether we are a child who has suddenly lost their anticipated field trip and been cut off from their friends or an adult who is concerned about losing their job, finding toilet paper, and keeping their family healthy. Everyone is going to have moments when stress gets the better of them. Give each other space when you need it and a listening ear when someone needs to share their heart. Anticipate meltdowns, and be ready with a shoulder to cry on or a fun diversion to break the tension.  
  • Take advantage of this extended “vacation” to pursue those things that tend to get put on the back burner in our typically busy lives. Take walks in the woods, learn how to bake bread together, finally finish that crochet project, or start a spring garden.  
  • Look for ways to serve the community around you. This is one of the most important lessons we can teach our children. They can make cards to mail to the elderly who are shut-in at a nearby nursing home, call (yes, there is still such a thing, kiddos!) grandparents or other senior citizens to check in on them and cheer them up. Do yard work for a neighbor. 

I realize that not much of this has to do with classroom learning. There is a time and place for that, but as veteran homeschoolers will tell you, the learning that sticks with you through life is the learning you acquire through living it. Do those worksheets that the teachers will email you, and watch the online instructions form their virtual classrooms. Those are the meat and potatoes of your new diet, waiting to be spiced up with the vast array of options available to you. 

You have been given an amazing gift that is a rarity in our modern times. You may not have looked at it that way when it was given to you, and it may be a struggle to see it that way as time goes on. But for today, take a moment to feel gratitude for the chance to be together and let inspiration fill your soul.  

We are here to support all families in North Carolina as they step into the brave new world of home education. So whether you are here for the short-term, or you decide you like what you are tasting and want to stick around for the long-term, North Carolinians for Home Education is here every day, working to protect your rights to homeschool, equipping you with the information and encouragement you need, and connecting you with other homeschool families in your community and across the state. 

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments or contact our Homeschool Helps Director, Amanda Wares, amanda.wares@nche.com. Let us know how we can help you today!

Should I homeschool my children? More and more parents all over the world are asking this question. Many parents in NC are answering “Yes!” As of the 2018-19 school year, there are over 90,000 homeschool families in North Carolina. 

Why do people choose to homeschool? There are many reasons: academic excellence, scheduling flexibility, special needs, and freedom to individualize a student’s pace and interests. Parents also want to remove their children from bullying, unnecessary exposure to immorality, and worldviews that are contrary to those of the parents.

You are the only one who can make the decision to homeschool your children. It is an important choice, so you’ll want to take the time to consider all your options, pray about it, and discuss it with your spouse. Here are three practical steps you can take in your decision making process.

1. Research.

Make a list of all of your questions. Most likely, some of them are:

In the list above, you’ll find some helpful links to get you started on finding answers to these questions. Then keep digging until you get all the information you need.

2. Talk with experienced homeschoolers.

Plenty of people will have views and opinions about home education. There’s no harm in hearing everyone out, but I recommend paying close attention to experienced homeschool parents. Talking with real homeschoolers might prompt you to ask even more questions:

  • What does a normal homeschool day look like?
  • How do you take care of little ones while educating the older ones?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Will my kids be able to go to college?

Keep writing down your questions, doing research, and asking experienced homeschoolers for their perspective. You can also talk with the NCHE liaison in your region.

3. Attend the Thrive! Homeschool Conference.

This year the conference is May 28-30, 2020 at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, NC. We have been equipping, encouraging, and connecting homeschool families through our conference for 35 years. You’ll find:

  • Knowledgeable and Inspiring Speakers
  • A Huge Vendor Hall
  • Fun Teen Activities
  • An Engaging Children’s Program
  • Encouraging and Inspiring Workshops
  • Experienced Mentoring
  • An Entertaining Talent Showcase

If you are still deciding about home education, one of the most important aspects of the conference will be the workshops that are especially geared to making this decision and getting started. Another will be the vendor hall, which is full of curriculum, books, and resources. There is also a mentoring table and plenty of experienced homeschoolers all over the place you can talk to. 

What is your most pressing homeschool question? Let us know in the comments!

Every night as I lay my head on my pillow to go to sleep, I go through the list.  Maybe you do too. Lock the doors, tuck in the kids, charge my phone, security lights are on, dog is settled, I didn’t order the curtain clips! Okay, tomorrow, I will definitely order the clips.  Note to self. As soon as I wake up. Order curtain clips.  I had done this every night for a week, only to fail to order those clips the very next day.

Then it happened.  Like a kaleidoscope, all the components in my day fell into a gloriously laid pattern.  I called a friend to ask her about strengthening my core. (A new year’s resolution.) We met for coffee.  She said I should consider joining her Facebook group. After I unearthed my Facebook log-in, the first thing that popped up was a homeschool buy/sell/trade group that I followed once upon a time.  Low and behold, someone was offering 26 curtain clips… for free!

“This must be old,” I thought.

It wasn’t.  I knew the seller and emailed her.  She met me at a grocery store the next day.

“I just have to tell you how neat this has been,” I said to the seller.  “I work at a church, and we have an art gallery. For January and February, our installation is devoted to mental health awareness and speaking encouragement into the lives of others.  I’m using these clips to hang student art. I just can’t thank you enough!”

“Oh, friend,” she said.  “I have to tell you something so unbelievably good.  Our family is headed for a walk right now because I have to get outside every day this time of year; I suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.  Have you heard of it?”

I was dumbfounded by God’s timing. His power. His orchestration. His sovereignty. His grace.

“Yes, I have,” I replied.

“Isn’t it just like our God,” she laughed, “to use my old junk to bless others who are so near to my heart? Praise the Lord!”

By being transparent with me about her struggle, the lady inspired me, and we both praised and glorified God.  May we never cheat ourselves out of the opportunity to receive the power of Christ because of the human tendency to hide our weaknesses.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Have you decided to homeschool in North Carolina? Great choice! North Carolinians for Home Education is here to help you homeschool with confidence and joy. Learn more about how we can help and how you can become a member! 

In order to open your homeschool in NC, you can take these simple steps.

1. Make sure you understand the homeschool law in NC. You can read about it here.

2. Decide when you are going to begin homeschooling. You may open a homeschool anytime between July and April. If you are starting in the fall, do not open your school until July or later.

3. Create a digital copy of your high school or college diploma. The preferred format is PDF, but you may also use image formats.

4. Go to the web page for File an Intent to Operate a Home School in the Division of Non-public Education site. Follow the instructions there to open your homeschool.

5. Look for a confirmation email from the Division of Non-Public Education. Be sure to check your spam folders.

Once you open your homeschool, you are all set until you are done homeschooling all your children. You do not need to reopen each year. When you are done homeschooling, be sure you notify the DNPE that you are closing your homeschool.