How Do I Get Started Homeschooling?

2020 has left many parents facing the difficult decision of how they plan to educate their child. It can be scary facing a lifestyle change and for the majority of families, the transition to homeschooling would be a huge change. Some of you are not even wanting to consider homeschooling as an option because just starting feels so overwhelming and unknown. Hopefully I can break it down as simple as possible so that you can see its possibility.

Before we begin, let me clarify that online classes through the state are considered public school online and will not require you to perform the steps to homeschool. The details below will not pertain to your situation.

Step 1: Look up your state laws to determine the steps to legally homeschool. You can click on your state on the link above to see the laws. Some states have low regulations and only require you submit a letter of intent to homeschool . You can most likely do this on the Department of Education website for the state. Some states require you join an association (~ $50) which will handle your child’s transcripts. Records, subjects, and attendance requirements are all listed on the website above. If you still are unsure what your state expects there are many homeschooling resources available online. Facebook groups, blogs, instagram accounts, and even some private schools offer help to get you started.

Step 2: Pick a curriculum. This can mean buying a full set of books that are open and go, doing online classes, picking different books for each subject, or joining a group of other homeschoolers to share the teaching. When deciding which curriculum works best for you and your child consider how much you want to be involved, how does your child learn best, what is interesting to your child, what subjects are required by your state, what your budget is and what your schedule is like. Once you have an idea of what your criteria are, you can start looking at samples of different curriculum online. So many homeschooling moms have reviewed different choices in details. Take the time to do some research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Homeschooling families are happy to help answer any questions you have. Don’t be afraid to try something and if it isn’t working after a couple of months, try something else. You have freedom to adapt what and how you teach at any time something isn’t working.

In time, this becomes one of the most exciting elements of learning at home. Picking what you are teaching that year is fun! You begin to imagine the memories made, lessons learned and personal growth to be had while browsing.

Step 3: Familiarize yourself with your curriculum, read the teachers guides and fine print, buy basic school supplies and get started. Most curriculum offer suggested schedules, scripted lessons, helpful resources, and more to make this easy on you. Prior to sitting down to teach, have an idea of what the lessons will look like. Prepare any supplies ahead of time. Cut out flash cards, insert bookmarks for quick reference, make binders to hold loose assignments, etc. Then make a realistic plan to start learning. Personally, I do not teach every subject everyday. I devote a certain number of hours a day to doing prepared lessons. I typically teach math and language arts daily and I rotate all other classes such as history, science, and electives. This will vary based off of the ages of your children since younger children learn mostly through play. You will also learn to see everyday opportunities for potential to learn. These count just as much if not more than the traditional planned education.

Know that homeschooling requires time to grow. You will not know the perfect routine or method for your family immediately. You will need to offer your child and yourself lots of grace as you discover how homeschooling looks for you. Not everyday will be a good one. But the days that are good, will make you realize how awesome this journey can be! I pray that this is helpful. If you have any questions please feel free to ask me and I’ll give my best answer. You can do this! Your child is naturally created to learn and you are just providing the resources and guidance to aid them.

Be blessed!

Curriculum Choices 2020-2021

I figured the best way to introduce our homeschool is to share what we are learning this year. After 10+ years of homeschooling, I still love picking out and getting new curriculum. There are so many options and styles out there it can be overwhelming in the beginning years. Now that I’ve done it awhile, I know what to look for and what works for us. When making your decisions, don’t become anxious just be open to trying something and then changing it as needed.

For my 10th grader and 8th grader: I purposely let my 10th grader do electives, health and government her freshman year, instead of Algebra and Biology so that I could teach them together when she is in 10th and him in 8th. This way I only teach it once and they both get high school credits.

High School Science, Biology: I am using Apologia Biology for Rileigh (10th) and Jett (8th). We bought the textbook, student notebook, flashcards, and tests. I also purchased the Vimeo videos that go along with it for further explanations. We have used Apologia in the past and its my go to for middle and high school science. I teach this to them currently but my goal is for them to work independently. Once they are familiar with what I expect from them for each module I will give them the opportunity to do the modules alone.

High School Math, Algebra 1 and 2: I choose VideoText Algebra which combines pre-algebra, algebra 1 and algebra 2 in one curriculum. This is our first year using it and we all really enjoy it. Your child will get 3 high school math credits for this. I’m planning to do the Geometry course next. I watch the video with them and pause to further explain it. Then they independently do the odd problems. They grade the problems themselves and if they didn’t understand something we work it out together. If they struggled overall, they do the even problems.

High School Spanish I: This was the hardest decision for me. I did not take Spanish in high school. I took Latin. All languages seemed overwhelming to try and teach. I finally choose to use Monarch with Alpha Omega. We purchased the individual class subscription for both of them to take the class online. I do it alongside them so I can learn and help as needed. We supplement this with the Babbel app. So far we are liking this but it is still one of the classes I’m intimidated with since I am fully relying on the curriculum. Monarch was the curriculum I used when I worked full-time since everything is learned independently online, graded and is affordable.

Family Style History: I teach history as a large group for all of my kids. We use The Good and The Beautiful History year 1 for my 10th, 8th and 2nd grade kids. The student binders you download off of the website are broken down by age level. For example, my youngest does a coloring sheet, my 8th grader does map work, and my 10th grader does an essay all on the same lesson. I’ve really enjoyed the activities and stories along with it. We do the recommended optional readers during seasons we aren’t too busy. Sometimes I pick a different reader that we want from a different subject instead.

For high school credits they will receive: .5 US History, .5 World History.

10th Grade Language Arts, Geography, and Art: I use The Good and The Beautiful Language Arts High School 1 set for my oldest. She has finished 1 unit and loves it. What I love most about TGTB curriculum is that it covers so many subjects. Geography, art, spelling, grammar, writing, and literature are all included in each level. It will give her the following high school credits:

  • 1 credit of English Literature, Language, and Composition
  • ½ credit of art history and art instruction
  • ½ credit of geography

8th grade Language Arts, Geography, and Art: Since The Good and The Beautiful doesn’t offer an 8th grade level I am doubling up on some of the level 7 lessons from last year just to make sure we get the most out of it. Then I plan to start the Level 8 Book Study on Abraham Lincoln and Creative Writing.

2nd grade Language Arts, Geography, and Art: I use The Good and the Beautiful and we love it. We have done levels K-1 already and she does really good with it. Like I mentioned above, I love that spelling, grammar, phonics, reading, art and geography are all combined in this curriculum. It prevents me from buying a lot of other resources. Also, this curriculum can be downloaded for FREE. You just need to buy a binder and print it out as needed. They do sell hard copies but are ofter sold out due to high demand so buy ahead if you see them available.

2nd Grade Math: I use The Good and The Beautiful for 2nd grade math as well. I’m not sure if its working as good as it was last year. I feel like I might need something more to the point, instead of the stories. She is struggling to stay focused.

2nd Grade Science: Autumn, my 2nd grader, joins us for as much as possible in the High School Biology for her science. I supplement using ABC Mouse, super teacher worksheets, and brainpopjr for her science lessons. We often do these waiting on brother and sister to finish sports practice. Two hours sitting in the car is the perfect time to use educational apps for lessons.

There is no right or wrong choice when choosing a curriculum. It will vary from family to family and student to student. Seasons change and so do learning styles. Be open to trying something new! Hopefully this insight will let you peek into what our choices are and if they might work for you! Praying you all have a blessed homeschool year!


Hi friends,

I’ve started this blog as an outlet for my thoughts and creativity. Let me start by telling you a bit about myself. I promise to share the typical stuff at the bottom of this post but let me start with explaining some of the methods behind my thoughts.

My passions for living life include thinking beyond what is expected, embracing individuality, and doing things with a purpose. What does that mean exactly? How and why I do what I do all stem from living life influenced by these 3 things. Let me explain.

Thinking beyond what is expected. Call it OCD, type 1 ennegram, or being over the top but I like to push limits. Everyone sees the obvious solutions, everyone runs with their first thoughts, everyone does the same thing everyone else does. Except for a few. I bet you can think of some names off the top of your head that you feel think a little differently. I try to encourage myself and those around me to take the next steps and ask the hard questions, try something new, and create our own ideas.

Embracing individuality. God gave each of us unique gifts, talents, and minds. As a homeschooling mom, I try to find and embrace these things that make us special (aka weird). Our differences can fill the world with beauty. Instead of forcing conformity I try to encourage nurturing of what makes others special. At times that means acknowledging what we are not so that we can be who we are.

Doing things with a purpose. We are only given one life. The time we have to make our influence and create a voice in this world are limited. Everything we do whether it be resting or teaching has purpose. Being aware of why we do things greatly changes the impact the things we do will have. Doing too much or too little can be answered and prioritized with a simple reflection of why are you doing it.

Using these 3 thoughts for life, I mold ideas and choices to follow God’s path for my family and myself.

Now for the survey answers. I’ve been married to my high school sweet heart, Rhett Walker, for 16 years now. We had a crazy beginning (2004) that includes a teen pregnancy, a shotgun wedding, a pastor’s son reputation, and boxed hair color gone wrong. All are stories for another time. Fast forward a few years (2007), we naively expanded our family to have 2 kids and moved 7 hours away from home to pursue music. Years later (2020) we now have 4 kids whom I homeschool, we’ve moved back home and my husband is a professional musician. I am a (currently retired) graphic and web designer. I have homeschooled for over 10 years. My children are in grades 10th, 8th, 2nd, and a toddler.

What will I post in this little corner of the internet? I am not sure. I just feel led to speak up. I am assuming it will mostly be about being a godly wife, homeschooling mother, and creative personality.

I look forward to getting to know you and hopefully making a positive influence on others either by sharing my failures or showing my wins.

with much love,

April Walker

Unnecessary Condemnation Distracts from the Love and Grace of God

I struggled with writing this post because this is hard to write about without coming across offensive. But, my heart is heavy with the way we as Christian’s treat people outside of the safe circle of our religion. The ones that we don’t see as fitting the standards of holy and righteous. The people whose faith develops differently or isn’t as far down the “holy road” as our own. We are so scared of the downfall of sin that we become soldiers against sin instead of being products of grace.

So many people focus on what’s a sin and what’s not that the gospel becomes drowned out in the chaos of the debates. Christians are given a reputation of being judgmental and hypocritical. In all honesty, if you take a step back and look from the outside, the opinions of us are spot on. We shout the sins from a rooftop so of course we look like hypocrites. We are sinners and are just as flawed as the rest of God’s people. So for us to run around pointing out flaws creates a separation between us and them. This growing separation is what makes more and more people turn their backs to the church.

We seem to believe that it is our purpose to declare the sins and show our intolerance of them. We pick sides and celebrate our brave stance of standing up against the worldly desires. We create unnecessary condemnation of sinners because we don’t want to support the sin. If the gospel is our foundation then sin is defeated. Sin has been paid for with the blood of our Savior. The only defeat of the badness and pain on Earth is Jesus and He has already claimed victory.

The accountability of others is something that takes place within a relationship. You are not qualified to understand the needs of your brother if you do not truly know them. When you are standing from the sidelines you are only making assumptions. We need more quality, real time spent with people before we can ever begin to help them. Not a self-righteous, do gooder type invested but a genuine heart for people. Opportunities for healthy conversations about struggles in life will become available in a respectful manner. The majority already know the do’s and dont’s of the Christian faith so there isn’t a need to constantly tell them. It’s not acceptance of the sin, it’s acknowledging a bigger power than our own. God doesn’t need us, we need Him. God will not condemn you for showing love to someone living in sin. After all, if we are to live like Him, then showing love to someone no matter their circumstances is the true calling of Christianity.

The sins exists and always will. When you omit one from your life you discover another. It’s a never ending cycle because it is our nature to sin. Instead of debating what is a sin or not start creating a focus on the love and grace of Jesus so that one will find hope. With Jesus and the hope he brings, hearts are softened and a relationship with Christ forms. The Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts is the only form of battle against sin that is successful. If you truly love your neighbor then get off the finger pointing sin wagon and allow God’s grace to work in God’s timing. You can debate theology all day long but the ultimate change comes from Christ and Him alone. You are actually hindering His work by bringing attention to issues that don’t matter and cannot be resolved through human interpretation. Even if you are right, it’s faith, you can’t prove it. Your tone, actions, and treatment of others is all that is visible of Christ to unbelievers. So make it worthy and glorifying to God. Let compassion, understanding, grace and love be the forefront of your relationships with everyone. Even those who are sinning according to your personal standards. Jesus never attacked those that needed Him most, He actually attacked the ones doing the finger pointing.

The more we force unrealistic, radical change on people the more defeated they become. Change is a process. Faith is forever growing. For us to expect people to turn away from sin because we say so is cray-cray. No one just wakes up different. People are starting to change in a way that excludes religion due to the impossible standards being set by us. Let’s try showing more grace and see people realize they too are worthy of God’s love.

God sees you as righteous through your faith in Him, not your omission of sin. Find strength in that faith to defeat whatever battle you are facing. Ignore the finger pointers, they have there own battle to deal with.


April Walker

**side note: If someone’s sin is causing harm or negatively effecting your life you should separate yourself from the repercussions of the situation. There is no need to just sit back and allow someone to be rude, abuse, or destroy your own. But also no need to stick around to constantly remind them either. Just do what you see is necessary and then step back. Not all people are meant to (mesh well) live in community together.**