Starting Your Homeschooling Journey

Starting your Homeschooling Journey

By Martha Artyomenko

Welcome to the road that is wrought with decisions and emotions! You are now your child’s teacher full time. This means, if you bring in outside teachers, you are responsible for that decision as well.  I wrote this post for our state, but much of this applies for any state.


Find the why for your family/child:

Why do you think you should homeschool?

Are you homeschooling because that is what best for your child or are you doing it because it is what you think you should do?

When you find the reason for you, it gives you something to come back to on the hard days. It can help you when you are evaluating and seeing if this is the place you should be for your child’s education.


  1. File a notice of intent to homeschool. 
  2. Keep attendance and immunization records. 
  3. Provide the required hours of instruction. 
  4. Teach the required subjects. 
  5. Follow health and safety regulations.


Graduation Requirements





Choosing curriculum is a very personal decision. Be sure to not choose it because someone else did. There is a lot out there and it can be overwhelming. One thing to do when you are first starting out, is to keep it simple.



Language Arts (English, spelling, vocabulary, reading)







Don’t get multiple things for the same subject. Trust that one will do the job. There are some that will cover more than one as well.

Work to discover things about your children. How do they learn? What makes their brain get excited? Remember, it is only as boring as you think it is. If you are excited, they can be.





I love this planner as you can buy once and then print as you need. It is cheap and easy to use.

Life as a Mom Planners


Checking out resources like Pinterest and googling your curriculum to see how others organize it.


Think outside the box beyond desks. Some children learn better with movement and need an exercise ball, wobble seats or even working on the floor to learn the best.




What does a normal day look like?

Everyone’s days will look different. This blog has a lot of “Day in the Life of” posts, which are really helpful when determining what you want your school days to look like.



Getting involved and finding support:


(Local Resources)

Support groups at Cornerstone

Local Facebook and Yahoo Groups

Curriculum based FB/yahoo groups

Field trips


Monthly Activities




Common Mistakes

What are some of the common mistakes you have seen?

Believing that you have to use a complete boxed curriculum


Doing way too much

Doing too little

Comparing yourself to blog posts, FB posts, other families etc. Comparison will always bring you up short. Remember the “Grass is always greener” saying.


Not taking advantage of your children’s learning style and gifts

Trying to recreate school at home straight across the board. If that is how they learn, that is great. Otherwise, you can miss out on the advantages of homeschooling.

Forgetting why you are homeschooling

Isolating yourself and not reaching out for help in the community

Remind yourself that what works for you may not be what works for someone else. You need to do what is best for you and your child, not someone else.  But in that, remember the caveat that this is about educating your child. Evaluate if you are doing that well and keep yourself accountable. If you are not able to do that, it might be time to look for an alternate way of educating.


Hard Days


There will be hard days. That does not mean you are a failure. It might mean you need to make it important to come to the support meetings. Get out there and share what you are struggling with. Someone else may have something that will help you or at least commiserate with you.


On hard days, realize you are not alone.


-Park Days

-Educational movies

-Field Trips

-Library Day

-Hands on activities

-Fresh Air


What are some ways you continue to educate through the hard days?

Read some good books

Here are some good titles of books that have helped me throughout the years. Everyone will have different ones they enjoy.

This is a new one that is excellent.

“Homeschool Basics” By Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover 

“Easy Homeschooling Techniques” By Lorraine Curry (I did not like everything in this book, but some parts of it were very helpful).



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Soul’s Cry by Cara Luecht


About the book:

Ione has everything she’d wanted with her busy shop filled to the brim with sumptuous fabrics, gossiping debutants, and a neatly increasing profit margin. Not to mention the unexpected attention of a man who doesn’t know her past.
And then the letter dropped from the mail slot onto to lush carpet. He was back. And the abuse, the shame, rushes in, reminding her of how unworthy she really is.
Miriam also has everything she’d wanted—and with a baby on the way, for the first time in her life, she has everything to lose. When she’d been alone, the future had held promise, but now with her life full, it also holds fear.
Unwilling to risk a vision of loss, Miriam stops painting what will be…right before Ione needs it most.

My Review:

I entered this series late. It did not ruin the series for me, but instead made me want to experience the rest of this author’s novels. I added all of them to my wish list.

I would have to say this book reminded of Pepper Basham’s novels in a way. The seamstress with past issues that she was dealing with, for some reason brought that to mind. But I loved the mystery as well that encompassed the story. White Fire Publishing has not disappointed me yet in one of their books that I have purchased. I am destined to purchase many more, based on my enjoyment of this novel and others. If you are looking for realistic fiction, pick this one up.


This book is available for purchase from Amazon and White Fire publishing.

“Soul’s Cry” 

This book was provided for review by the publisher. The opinions contained herein are my own.


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These Healing Hills by Ann Gabhart



My Review:
Well, anything to do with birth or midwifery always fascinates me. This book is no exception. This book reminded me of Christy by Catherine Marshall of sorts, with instead of a teacher, we have a nurse midwife in training. Her pain from being abandoned  by the supposed love of her life in the beginning of the book sets the stage for us to learn some valuable lessons.
I loved the history that is woven throughout on the training, the hard births, the tough calls that they had to make as well as balancing the old wives tales while still utilizing some of the natural remedies that were good.
Ms. Gabhart did an amazing job telling us this story, while causing us to experience life there in the hills.
This book is available for purchase from Amazon and where books are sold for pre-order.

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Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason



My Review:
As always, Lynette Eason delivers a fast moving suspense novel that will keep you holding your breath.
What is not to love, women that are bodyguards? Then a grandfather than owns a castle?  Death stalking you on every corner, gunshots, knife wounds? This book is full of them.
While probably not the most realistic, I loved how this story brought out about children that end up in bad situations because of how life has been for them. Haley and the street children story that was told in small bits and pieces throughout it really brought it home.
Book #4? I hope there are more to come in this series!
This book is available for purchase on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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A Dangerous Engagement by Melanie Dickerson



About the book:

Just as merchant’s daughter Felicity Mayson is spurned once again because of her meager dowry, she receives an unexpected invitation to Lady Blackstone’s country home. Being introduced to the wealthy Oliver Ratley is an admitted delight, as is his rather heedless yet inviting proposal of marriage. Only when another of Lady Blackstone’s handsome guests catches Felicity’s attention does she realize that nothing is what it seems at Doverton Hall.

Government agent Philip McDowell is infiltrating a group of cutthroat revolutionaries led by none other than Lady Blackstone and Ratley. Their devious plot is to overthrow the monarchy, and their unwitting pawn is Felicity. Now Philip needs Felicity’s help in discovering the rebels’ secrets—by asking her to maintain cover as Ratley’s innocent bride-to-be.

Philip is duty bound. Felicity is game. Together they’re risking their lives—and gambling their hearts—to undo a traitorous conspiracy before their dangerous masquerade is exposed.

My Review:

You ever want a light and happy regency mystery? Look no further. Here you have one. Following the theme of spies and regency romance, this light and happy tale leads you down paths of intrigue. And it might have you questioning why on earth parents of that time period thought that sending your child off to stay with a unknown relative was a good idea.

I loved the whole big family idea/them that was in this one as being one of 11, I totally related to it!
Melanie Dickerson triumphs again with a great read!

You can pre-order it now on Amazon!

A Dangerous Engagement 

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Healing the Scars of childhood Abuse by Gregory Jantz



My Review:

I felt this was a fascinating book. It had some very good info in it, detailing what abuse was. It talked about how sometimes things we don’t even recognize as abuse can be that way, whether we mean them to be or not in our culture today. Lack of child restraints in a car for example, not getting medical care or help for children with learning disabilities, things that even 20-30 years ago was more commonplace, but now realizing that this is not an okay thing and is legally on a neglect scale.

The one key thing that I felt should been concentrated on a bit more, was delving into that even though you have been abused, you do not have to be an abuser. I felt that it instead highlighted some of the greatest fears that childhood abuse victims have of becoming their abuser. It was good to lay it out, but I felt this could have been a bit more key and clearly detailed.

The book was an easier read, despite it topic at hand, but clear and to the point.

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When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


About the book:

Tess Beaumont is tired of being thought of as just a pretty face. Eager to do her part for the war effort, she joins the Navy’s newly established WAVES program for women. Perhaps there she can convince people that there is more to her than meets the eye.

Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills in the fight against German U-boats and hoping to make admiral. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess. Convinced that romance will interfere with his goals, Dan is determined to stay the course, no matter how intriguing a distraction Tess is.

But love, like war, is unpredictable. When Dan is shipped out at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he finds himself torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help the beguiling Tess root out a possible spy on shore. Could this fun-loving glamour girl really be the one?


My Review:

From the name change to hating her looks, Tess seemed like she had something to prove. Dan Avery has his own insecurities, yet for both of them they try to cover it up well.

This is one thing that I love about Sarah Sundin’s books. Her characters are strong, smart, often beautiful/handsome and the like, but they are flawed. They are like normal people, but we get to see what they fear the most. Then top it off with a good spy ring, this book has it all.

I really enjoyed learning more about the WAVES and what the USA did on this end against the German U Boats. I always think there is nothing new to learn about WW2 history and then I am surprised! If you like WW2 history, pick this one up!


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A Name Unknown by Roseanna White

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko




My Review: 

I was not sure what to expect from this book and I found it started off a bit slow for me. But it did not stay that way for long. I found myself absorbed in the story of a thief attempting to basically infiltrate a life and lifestyle she did not know anything about.

Each twist and turn of the story, especially with a hero that stutters made this absolutely unique for me. I loved all the tidbits of history throughout, but the hero and heroine who had no focus on romance whatsoever, but you almost felt like it was a natural part of the story, but not the focus.

I would highly recommend this book, especially if you are stocking up on fall reads at the moment. Check this one out and put it on the “Must read” pile.

You can find this book for purchase from Amazon and other book sellers. “A Name Unknown” 

(This book was provided by NetGalley and Bethany House. The opinions are my own)

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The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


About the book:

Heartwarming and Touching New Contemporary Romance from Victoria Bylin

After two broken engagements, nurse practitioner Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she only trusts herself and God, and she’s focused on her eighteen-year-old sister, Lucy, and caring for patients. Just as she applies to work for an international aid organization, a phone call from Lucy, who’s pregnant and running off to marry her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend, throws a wrench into all of Mia’s plans.

Jake Tanner may have recovered from the physical injuries he sustained on the job as a police officer, but his heart has yet to heal from losing his former partner in the tragedy. He’s poured himself into starting a camp for the sons of fallen officers and mentoring Sam, the adult son of his deceased partner, who’s asked him to be his best man at his wedding.

Mia is expecting a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn’t expecting Jake. And Jake, who can’t help envying Sam and Lucy, doubts he’ll ever experience their happiness for himself. But maybe Jake’s courage and Mia’s caring spirit are just what they need to bring them a lifetime of healing and a forever kind of love. . . .

My Review:

PTSD, broken engagements, teen pregnancy, wounded warriors and hurt people, hurting other people seemed to be the theme of this novel. It was done very well.

The only complaint I would have was the childbirth scene needed a bit more research. But other than that, this was an amazing contemporary novel that handled the issues very well. I found the twists with the F-NP to really fun to see a different career path as well as the detective with hearing loss as the hero.

This book was given to me for review by Netgalley and the opinions contained herein are my own.

This can be preordered on Amazon right now! “The Two of Us”


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With you Always by Jody Hedlund


Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


About the book:

One of the many immigrants struggling to survive in 1850s New York, Elise Neumann knows she must take action to care for her younger sisters. She finds a glimmer of hope when the New York Children’s Aid Society starts sending skilled workers to burgeoning towns out west. But the promise of the society’s orphan trains is not all that it seems.

Born into elite New York society, Thornton Quincy possesses everything except the ability to step out from his brother’s shadow. When their ailing father puts forth a unique challenge to determine who will inherit his railroad-building empire, Thornton finally sees his chance. The conditions to win? Be the first to build a sustainable community along the Illinois Central Railroad and find a suitable wife.

Thrown together against all odds, Elise and Thornton couldn’t be from more different worlds. The spark that ignites between them is undeniable, but how can they let it grow when that means forfeiting everything they’ve been working toward?


My Review: 

This was not exactly what I expected from an Orphan train read as it was not your typical story. Or maybe it was, and I have read ones that are not like this before.

One thing that made me very sad, was seeing how the country has not changed in their actions in treating immigrants, the poor and orphans.  This tale brings to life the hardships that were facing the young people of this time and their desperation. Women were seen as a cheap commodity rather than what they were really valued for. The other sad reality in this book, was parents that manipulate their children with money. So, with those factors being a part of this historical novel, you get a happy ending, which many people in that time did not get,  but after much pain and suffering which was reality.

I really liked this book overall. I could see that some people might not like certain pieces of it, but it was real life and it was not pretty. But for that reason, likely recommend for high school age and adult.

If you want a good historical book to read, pick this one up.

This book was given to me by Bethany House for review. The opinions contained herein are my own.

To purchase, it is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.  “With you Always”



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