Hands-on Homeschooling: Getting Started


Around this time last year we made the decision to pull our oldest from public school and begin homeschooling the following school year.

It was a beautiful sunny spring day.  We were out and about, little Corinne asleep in her carseat. We grabbed some Wendy's and parked our van in a shady spot overlooking the river in our little town.  As the boys sat munching their kids meals and watching a movie, Sam (the husband) and I talked again about homeschooling Sam (our son) the next year.   With Kindergarten ending soon,  it was time to turn in the form confirming whether or not Sam would be enrolled in the 2012/2013 school year.

I think we had both made the decision in our own minds, although I was still nervous to say it out loud and make it "official."  But it was then and there that we both agreed, said it out loud, and made that official decision.  I was going to be a homeschool mom next year.

I felt sure about our decision, relieved to have finally made a decision, and really excited to get planning.   Because I generally enjoy planning just about anything.

Turned out planning our children's education was daunting, stressful and only a little bit fun.


I knew we needed to do as many hands-on activities as possible (due to Sam's difficulty with staying focused) and I knew I wanted to plan fun, themed, seasonal projects.  And I did enjoy planning out all of that stuff.

But I didn't count on all the curricula to choose from... to say nothing of the different homeschool philosophies (did I want to use Charlotte Mason?  Classical?  Montessori?  Unit Study?)  What subjects should I include for first grade?  Do I need to buy curricula for every subject?  How do I make bought curriculum work with a hands-on approach?  What does my preschooler need to know?  Navigating through all of ideas and information out there was very overwhelming.  But I got through it, learned a bit along the way, and am planning to homeschool again next year.

*   *   *

Now skip ahead with me to a couple weeks ago.  A friend came to me in the same situation.  She has a son who, like mine, is not the "sit and do a worksheet" kind of kid.  They had made the decision to homeschool, but she's starting to feel overwhelmed by all the decisions yet to be made....

She asked me how I plan, how I find hands-on activities, and what type of manipulatives might she need.

Her questions took me right back to May 2012.  To the days and weeks after my hubby and I sat in our parked van and said "Okay, we're going to do this."

Part of the reason I started this blog was to try and help others the way other blogs have helped me. Now I have made my fair share of mistakes this year, that's for sure.  And I've only been at this a year, I definitely don't claim to be an authority on the topic of homeschooling.  But I would like to help anyone out there who may be looking for guidance and can learn from my experiences.

Maybe you have an easily distracted, hard-to-stay-focused child like mine and you think hands-on learning activities would be beneficial... maybe you are a firm believer in hands-on learning.... or maybe you are just a new(or seasoned) homeschooler looking for resources.  Whatever your reason, I hope offering what I've learned along the way will be of some help to you.

This topic is near and dear to my heart, so please don't hesitate to comment or send me an e-mail if you have any specific questions.  I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I am happy to offer friendly advice if I can.

Because I've been there, I get it.  I know how overwhelming it is to begin as your child's primary educator and sole planner of activities.

This will be a series of posts that will include a peek at how I personally plan and prepare a week of learning, products that have worked well for us, helpful resources, and what I have learned from my mistakes.

All the posts in this series will be listed here as they are published:

1. What Does my Child Need to Learn? (Age 2 - Grade 2 Learning Objectives)
2. How Do I Find Hands-On Learning Ideas for My Child?

Whether you homeschool or not, I hope you follow along and find some inspiration for creating some hands-on learning experiences with the children in your life.

Don't be a stranger!  Follow along with us on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Google + 

                                                                                                    Thanks for stoppin' by!


  1. That is really kind that you have spent the time to help others too. I think this may be an option for a lot of parents this year with so many schools being oversubscribed. Thank you for sharing on MotivationalMonday

  2. In addition to Monday Kid Corner Weekly Linky Party, this week's theme is MUD. Brush off those archives and link them up at thejennyevolution.com. See you there! Jennifer

  3. I don't know if I can wait for this series! I wish I could have all of it right now as I'm making my decision whether or not to homeschool next year!

    1. It's a difficult decision, I remember struggling with it myself. It was such a relief when I finally stopped thinking about it and started moving forward with planning. All the best in making your decision! :)

  4. Hi (: Just came across your blog via Pinterest. Just wondering if you kept up with this series?
    You said above that the links will be updated/posted here as time permits, and you have more to add.... yet I don't see anything beyond # 1 & 2.
    Hopefully u did, I'll be excitedly awaiting :))

    1. Hi Vanessa! Thank you for your comment and interest in this series!! I did not publish any more as I had originally planned. Unfortunately, I have not been able to keep up with blogging and homeschooling. I hope to get back to it in the future, but right now, my plate is just too full! But if you have any questions at all, please feel free to e-mail me: findingtheteachablemoments@gmail.com



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