Welcome to Simply Joyful
“Our homeschool ‘experiment’ worked!” That was literally the thought that crossed my mind as we took this picture. After 12 years of homeschooling, we graduated our oldest son. My homeschooling years are far from over, but having made it through the entire process I feel more equipped than ever to help you get started and find success in your homeschool journey.
Need Homeschool Help?
This page is designed to be your “one-stop-shop” for homeschool encouragement, how-to's, and resources! I'm extremely passionate about encouraging families to find simple solutions for a more joy-filled homeschool! Homeschooling doesn't have to be expensive or overly complicated. I love sharing practical tips on how to simplify your homeschool.
How to Homeschool
Your crash course to homeschooling!
Need help getting started NOW? I've got you covered! I know so many people are looking for homeschooling and school-at-home advice these days. Due to this, I put together a How to Homeschool live webinar. It's all my best getting started advice plus some time for Q & A. Be sure to check it out to see how to get instant access to this webinar recording!Get Access Now
Ready to learn all things...
Homeschool Organization Course
Put Your Homeschool Year on Cruise Control!
My Ultimate Homeschool Organization Course! This is my secret sauce to how I get so much done with so much sanity. I created this course to teach families exactly how to organize their entire year and literally put it on cruise control. It’s been life-changing for over 1,200 families who have gone through the course. This course is a must-have for families who homeschool, especially for those just starting out. It will save you from the hours wasted trying to figure out morning-after-morning what to teach first and what needs to get done that week.Learn more
Get your hands on these...
FREE “School-at-Home Routine” Guide!
With so many families forced into homeschooling during the worldwide pandemic in 2020, I put together resources to help them make the transition to from traditional school to homeschooling. I created a FREE “SCHOOL-AT-HOME ROUTINE” Guide and a page filled with easy, practical advice on how to have the best start to their homeschool journey.
With so many families affected by school closures and finding themselves forced to school their kids at home, I wanted to put together a resource that was easy and practical...and that will add a little sanity to this coronavirus pandemic.
I literally wrote a book about how to homeschool, Homeschool Basics! My dear friend, Tricia Goyer, and I pooled our homeschooling experience together and created a book that is the perfect answer to how to “get started, keep motivated, and bring out the best in your kids”. Be sure to check it out.
Our Homeschool Journey: The Short Version
We have been homeschooling “officially” since October 2009. We pulled our two oldest boys from public school just 8 weeks into the school year. I had no problem with the school (it was one of the best in the county) or the teachers (both were incredible and even Christians). We simply knew that God had been leading us to homeschool for a while, and we had been ignoring the call.
Our first “attempt” at homeschooling! (Long story!)
We homeschool privately in California and use a variety of different teaching styles and curriculums. We've definitely tried a lot of different things. What works one year, doesn't always work the next year — or not necessarily from one kiddo to the next. But that is the beauty of homeschooling, I can customize whatever and whenever I want (yes, we've switched curriculum in the middle of the year before). And, yes, as I mentioned before our homeschool “experiment” worked! We graduated our oldest in 2020.
This was the last year we officially had all five kids in our homeschool! Grant graduated this year and Caitlyn started kindergarten.
Thinking about homeschool...
Are you thinking about homeschooling or just getting started? Then these posts will be your best starting place! Homeschooling is not as scary as it seems. So don't be afraid to take that “step of faith”! I like to describe that “getting started” feeling like that Indiana Jones moment where you step off feeling like you will plummet to certain doom, but find that there is solid ground. I love helping families get started with homeschooling — which is why I wrote Homeschool Basics. I want families to feel confident as they start homeschooling.
Two of my top tips:
#1 Find a community! Get support from fellow homeschool families. HSLDA has lots of resources to help you find communities in your area. You can always do a simple online search listing your city or county and “homeschool” or “coop” or “cooperative” or “support”. Those keywords should help some groups pop up in your area.
#2 Get yourself to a homeschool convention! Not only will you hear from encouraging workshops from homeschool veterans, but you'll be surrounded by people who get you! Hopefully, we can connect at a homeschool convention. I'm often speaking around the country at conventions. Check out my speaking schedule to find out where I'll be. Here's a post with some tips for navigating a homeschool convention.More Getting Started Posts
A Few of My Favorite Homeschool Blog Posts
How to Organize Your Homeschool Curriculum
Snag my 5 Simple Systems to help your homeschool run smoother! After years of trial and error, I've finally figured out how to organize our ENTIRE homeschool year & foster independent learning in my older kids.
How to Homeschool Math
There are so many fun ways to teach math. My favorite way is usually with food! Plus, math is everywhere! Click the button to get my tips, curriculum, and resources in this “How to Homeschool” Series!
Thinking about homeschool...
One of the most commonly asked questions I get about homeschooling is, “What curriculum do you use?” We've used lots of different homeschool curriculum through the years. I try to do a yearly curriculum post about all the curriculum and books we are using for each year, however, I've missed the last couple of years. Here are the posts I have so far that discuss my curriculum:
— My Homeschool Curriculum Reveal (2017-2018)
— My Homeschool Curriculum Reveal (2016-2017)
— My Homeschool Curriculum Reveals (2015-2016)
— Planning Out My Homeschool Year (2014-2015)
— End of Our School Year (2014-2015)
We've used lots of curriculum for our pre-readers. We've used quite a mix. Every child will learn to read at their own pace. Sometimes you just have to switch things up and try different things. Just keep reading TO your child and encourage them along the way! Some catch on fast–some take their time.
— Sing, Spell, Read, & Write Level One
— Get Ready for the Code Books A, B, & C
— Explode the Code
— Primary Phonics Workbook 1
— IEW's Primary Arts of Language (PAL): Reading & Writing
— ABC Mouse: We are having fun doing some online learning using ABC Mouse, too.
As of our 2019 school year, we are using Sonlight curriculum for Wade (Level G) and Ashlyn and Caitlyn (Level B). We are loving all the amazing books that help bring history and Bible to life.
—Honey for a Child's Heart–-This book is full of lists of all the great books. It's a wonderful resource.
—The Read-Aloud Family is another great resource for finding great read-aloud books for your family.
— YWAM has incredible missionary stories! Here are our favorites.
— I use Audible for read-aloud books I don't seem to be getting to. 🙂 Here is my Amazon list filled with most of our favorite read-aloud books.
— I've used a few spelling programs through the years. We like All About Spelling, Rod & Staff Spelling, and Spelling Power. However, as we added kids to the mix I really needed spelling to be less teacher intensive. Now we use Phonetic Zoo with our older boys. I still use All About Spelling and Sing, Spell, Read, and Write with our little kids who are still learning the basics. UPDATE: This school year (2021), we are using Spelling U See and liking it so far.
— There are a lot of great grammar programs out there. Right now my older boys are doing Fix It! Grammar (IEW). We've used Growing with Grammar for years. When we first started I loved Rod and Staff's English books.
— We have been using MathUSee since our first day homeschooling. So far it has worked for all our kids. I also recommend Teaching Textbooks and Singapore Math. UPDATE: One of my kids has been using Teaching Textbooks now for the past two years…and he loves it. So, I highly recommend checking them out. I personally love that it's all graded for me and that I can quickly see how he's doing with each lesson.
— One math tool I'm a HUGE fan of is my Flash Master! It is a handheld electronic device that generates flashcard quizzes. It's incredible!
— Apologia! I love Apologia! Pretty much all my homeschooling friends love Apologia, too. Here's the thing that's important to know. Don't do everything. The notebooks are incredible but are not meant to have everything completed in it. If you are using my crate system, then you'll be forced to tear it apart which will hopefully encourage you to pick what is best for your family to do. The elementary books are meant to be for K-6, so that means that you probably don't want to spend a ton of time learning about all the scientific names and all the details with your kindergartner…unless your child is just devouring what they are learning. So, try it out! We love it. Our favorites: Astronomy, Anatomy, Botany, Swimming Creatures, and General Science…and I think I'm going to love Biology this year. I'm teaching it at our co-op.
— Answers in Genesis: I use AIG's science curriculum to supplement what we're learning. I do really like it, too. It really makes science easy for younger kids.
— Story of the World: We started with SOW and have used it throughout the years here and there. The best choice I made was to get the audio CDs. I love their activity books, too. They have great book lists, activities, and coloring pages.
— Rosetta Stone: We have started Spanish using Rosetta Stone. I really like it so far. I need to be more disciplined turning on our downstairs computer and getting my kids to do it.
*More great books to share on this topic!
— The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos is our favorite story Bible. It walks through the entire Bible in story form and helps to explain the big concepts for the passage of Scripture that it's covering.Homeschool Curriculum Posts
Need a little support...
Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. It is the most rewarding adventure you may ever undertake, but there are also hard days you have to endure. I love encouraging homeschool moms to keep going and keep smiling (sometimes through the tears)! I love keeping it real and helping you tackle some of the unique challenges that face homeschool moms…like when do you ever find time to get house work done.
The “Help! I Homeschool!” Series
I've been writing a fun series called, “Help! I Homeschool!” I have a few linked below, but if you'd like to see them all just click HERE!
Other Popular Homeschool Topics!
How to Homeschool Preschool
How to Homeschool with Multiple Kids & Ages
* Help! I Homeschool & I Have Lots of Kids! (A glimpse at our homeschool day)
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This printable will help you see how to create an easy to manage routine for your homeschool day, plus links to all my best homeschool advice and resources.
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