Why Homeschool is like a Jigsaw Puzzle! Part 2

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Welcome to Part 2 of a 5 Part series on
Why Homeschool is Like A Jigsaw Puzzle.

Homeschool is like a Jigsaw Puzzle

In this series you will learn how to sort all your straight pieces (the frame or outline) of your homeschool puzzle so you can start laying down your foundation and ease into the big beautiful picture that is homeschooling. There is so much to learn and absorb about homeschooling that you may feel a bit overwhelmed in the beginning. I am hoping to encourage you and get you through the start process with a bit of ease. That’s my goal at least. Once you get started it isn’t so bad – just like creating a puzzle.


Welcome to the Jigsaw Puzzle Homeschool Series.
 Be sure not to miss any of the posts in this series.

Please be sure you read Part 1 to this series before moving on to Part 2.
{Part 2 may not make much sense if you skip Part 1}

  1. Sorting your Puzzle Pieces and your Laws and Choices.
  2. Finding your Homeschool Style.   <<<you are here
  3. Finding out what Type of Homeschooler you are.
  4. Creating a Schedule.
  5. Curriculum


We are now ready to move on to Part 2. You are on your way to understanding the how’s and why’s of homeschooling. It can all be a bit overwhelming at first because when we are given so many options sometimes it’s a bit hard for us to sort them all out and know where to start. Again, just as I mentioned in Part 1, homeschooling can be like a 1000 piece Jigsaw Puzzle. You just have to start sorting and building your frame{work} and it will start to make a bit more sense to you.

Join me….. Here we go!

Step 2:

Homeschool Style

I want to take a moment and explain what I mean by your *homeschool style*. Often times when we are a product of public school we are unaware that there are many different ways of learning. Far beyond the realm of Read, Study, Answer, Test method that is public school. You might just find yourself amazed at the amount of options out there for homeschoolers. Researching these options can be a bit overwhelming but once you get an idea of the differences, you can find the options that best suite you and your family. This is simply what you will use to homeschool.

Soon you will be off and running!

  • Boxed Curriculum –

A “boxed” curriculum usually consists of full lessons and lesson plans for every subject to be taught per grade level. Often included is a teacher’s manual. As well, there are generally tests included for each lesson. A boxed curriculum will have enough pre-planned lessons to last a full school year. Too, usually all textbooks, workbooks, reviews, and tests will be included in the purchase. Some will include computer software as well. The term “boxed” basically means all-in-one curriculum or full curriculum, covering ALL subjects in a single grade level. You would purchase based on an entire grade level. Generally, you will purchase one boxed curriculum for each student.

This would typically go along with what a Traditional Type of homeschooler would use. {more on that in the Part 3} Purchasing *boxed curriculum* can get quite costly. Some, however, would rather fit this into their budgets rather than have to do any sort of planning on their own.

You may not feel comfortable planning your own subjects or may not be allotted the time in your day for any additional planning. Other fellow homeschoolers either can’t afford boxed curriculum or do not like the strictness of everything pre-planned out. There is really no room for flexibility in boxed curriculum.

This style will not work for a child who is not on one single grade level in their learning. Such as, being a grade level ahead in math and a level behind in grammar. You will need to know your child and where they are academically before you purchase boxed curriculum. As I stated earlier, if you are looking for some flexibility in your homeschool, than this may not be the best suited option for you.

  • Online Education –

There are private companies that offer classes for one subject or all subjects. There may be a fee for some of the virtual schools but there are free ones as well. Online Education is just what it implies; you are educated online. Sometimes they may be live classes with a teacher but most of the time they are pre-planned pre-recorded lessons. You log in and continue lessons in order, just as you would in regular curriculum.

They often offer tests at the end of the lessons to evaluate where your child is and if they absorbed the lesson. They generally keep track of your child’s progress and often times the progress can be printed out for your records. In the technology driven era we are in, many homeschoolers like this option. If you prefer the pen and paper method than this might not be a good fit for your homeschool journey.  As well, if you have a creative, hands-on learner this option may not keep their interest much. The Joy… It’s an option… Not required!

  • Classical –

Classical is the learning in 3 stages throughout their school years; grammar stage, dialectic stage, and rhetoric stage. Generally speaking, in elementary they will be in the grammar stage. During middle school they will be in the dialectic stage. Finally, high school will be the rhetoric stage.

  1. Grammar Stage: facts
  2. Dialectic Stage: sort questions and evaluate facts
  3. Rhetoric Stage: teenagers (high schoolers) use their wisdom for practical information

There is a bit to learn for this method so, if you are interested in further research I’m going to direct you to this website for more information.

  • Charlotte Mason –

Charlotte Mason was a British Educator during the late 1800’s. This *style* is very literature based. Using “living books” instead of the traditional textbooks. This style also has great emphasis on such studies as nature studies, art and music. She believed that you educated the whole person, not just their minds. This style is a very intentional-life learning experience. Far different than the textbook version of learning.
If you are interested in diving further into this style of homeschooling check out this site for more information.

  • Unit Studies –

Unit Studies cover multiple subjects, based on one topic. I like to describe it as sort of dissecting a topic. Generally, the topic is history or science based.

You may choose a person, time period, geographic location, animal or habitat, the human body, earth science, just to name a few and base your lessons off that topic. There will be lessons within the unit including Language Arts (grammar, vocabulary, creative writing, handwriting, etc)  Language, Reading, History, Science and so on. Sometimes Math can be included as well.

*I will add that a good solid (separate) math program is always suggested. Even though unit studies can consist of some math, often times it isn’t solid enough for a full math curriculum.
Unit Studies are a great way for multiple children to learn together. Unit Studies can also be a great deal of fun. You can easily incorporate field trips into your unit studies as well.

  • Lapbooking –

Lapbooks are great – especially for the creative, hands-on learners. They require a bit of creativity and what I call *fun-learning* all in one. Somewhat similar to the concept of unit studies as far as using a topic and incorporating other subjects into that topic. What’s more, with Lapbooks  you will create a keepsake that can be referred to again and again, for years to come.

Here is a great resourceful website to check out if you are interested in Lapbooks. I recommend you click on the Visual Examples {left hand side of screen} for an idea of how a Lapbook looks, feels, and works.

There are some supplies that will be needed for creating a lapbook.
Such as:
~manila folders     ~crayons, markers, colored pencils     ~glue
~construction paper, colored card stock,      ~printer     ~stickers     ~scissors
~and more, if you want to be more creative!

Lapbooking is a lot of fun for a homeschooler. It really feeds on the creative side and I believe they help children to retain the topic at hand. Because the child is creating with their hands, they tend to dive deeper in to the learning.
Lapbooks can be used for all ages.

  • Notebooking –

Notebooking is a writing (and drawing) process of the students knowledge of the topic they are learning about, using their own words.

Here is another wonderful resourceful site to check out on Notebooking. This site will break down the process and meaning behind creating Notebook pages.

Notebooking can be created by various ages. From the newly starting homeschooler to children who have been homeschooling for some time. It is easily adaptable to many forms of curriculum.

Homeschool is like a Jigsaw Puzzle

{*side note} I was going to compile a huge list of resourceful websites for each of these styles of homeschool curriculum, but honestly, there are so many that I didn’t want to leave any out. Too, in order to keep this post from becoming a gazillion lines long and boring you too death, I decided to leave them out and let you have the fun of researching.

My suggestion is to narrow down what styles of curriculum you feel best fits your homeschool adventure and simply do some research based off of your decision. Doing the research is quite simple now-a-days. There are many avenues you can search for great information. There is, of course, Google and also Pinterest. You will undoubtedly find all the helpful information you need in order to make your decision and continue building your outline for homeschool.

This is where that piece of paper that I suggested you start comes in to play. By simple process of elimination you can’t start to piece your homeschool puzzle together and work on creating a clear picture of the direction you will be headed. Sometimes when there are so many choices and options to choose from it’s hard to start sorting everything out. If you start simple (like with the outline-the straight pieces of the puzzle) you can start to see the big picture – Amen! it’s clearer now!

* You have completed Step 2 and on your way to Step 3 *

Step 2 = Complete!


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