Homeschooling: The Last Year Is the Hardest

Homeschooling has its rewards, but it can be hard.

Some years are harder than others.

If this is your first year, you may think this one is the hardest because you are figuring out how to schedule your day and make lesson plans; figuring out how to homeschool.

If you are homeschooling with an infant or toddler, you may think this adjustment is your hardest year.  While that scenario does take some juggling, it's not impossible and not your hardest year.

Maybe your student just started high school and you feel unqualified to teach high school, so surely, this must be your hardest year.

After 24 years of homeschooling, I have discovered that the hardest year of homeschooling is the last year.

How can that be, you wonder? 

Let me tell you why the other scenarios posed above, while they may be hard, are not the hardest.

The first year of homeschooling is accompanied by excitement and maybe a little nervousness.  It is fun to choose curriculum and make plans and schedules.  Some days may be difficult, but you get to see your child learn many new things and it is wonderful.

I always (yes always), for the first 12 years of homeschooling had an infant/toddler and often was pregnant, too.  So yes, I know that can be hard, but you get used to it and plan your schedule to make it work.  It is just part of being a family.

I was never afraid of teaching high school.  Yes, there were hard days when maybe my student didn't understand something and I didn't either, but we figured it out or found outside help.  Just having teenagers in the house can be hard sometimes, but it is not the hardest year of homeschooling.

What makes the last year the hardest?

I am getting the full picture of what life will be like soon.  My youngest is rarely home since all her classes are dual credit at the community college this year.

Maybe this is a bit of early 'empty nest syndrome', but I find myself a bit aimless.  After years of lesson planning and schedule making, I find that I am not in the habit of making a schedule for one - me.  I'm not sure I know how to do this.

So, if you have missed the regularity of my posts, this is why.  It's a hard year, so far, and some things are slipping.  

I might get back in the groove soon, but for now, I have lost my groove.  Any ideas on how to get it back?


After 24 years of homeschooling, it is hard to believe this year has finally arrived.

The final year.

When I started homeschooling, I took it one year at a time.

I didn’t look ahead to high school and wonder if I could teach it when I only had a first grader.

I didn’t concern myself with college admissions before I had students in high school.

I didn’t get too worried about how to teach multiple children in multiple grades, either.  I just found what worked best for us, made a schedule, and stuck to it as best I could.

And now, it is the beginning of the end.

What does that look like for us?

My youngest left for community college this morning (and every morning this week).  She is taking all her classes there as dual-credit courses.

I didn’t think I would ever choose to homeschool this way, but it makes sense this year. 

As the youngest of 7 children, she is used to being around people and we just could not envision homeschooling one student, after years of having multiple children to educate.

So, now I am home alone instead of her being home ‘alone’ with me.

She took several classes as dual credit last year, so this will not be a problem for her.

It might be a problem for me -- adjusting to a quiet house, not lesson planning, changing direction.

I do still direct her education by making sure she has enough of the right credits to graduate and helping her plan for life after high school.

What about you?  How did you transition after your last year of homeschooling?   

It is a little bitter-sweet.  I find myself "looking ahead and looking behind", as Gandalf said.

I have been culling the books from shelves and my next post will be about which books make the cut and get to stay on my shelves!
Follow me by email to find out which books earned top honors.

A Message to First Year College Students and Their Parents


The time of year when first time college students are excited (and maybe a little nervous) about starting a new phase in their life.

The time of year when parents begin to realize that their 'baby' is no longer a baby and is about to spread their wings and fly.

I have written some things in the past to parents and students about how to navigate this time of life that merit re-visiting.

For parents, my post on Coping When Your Child Leaves for College has tips on dealing with your feelings and navigating the weeks after your student leaves home.

For students, even though you probably heard some great tips at orientation about succeeding and getting involved at college, these 5 Simple Steps for College Success are easy to do.  I promise if you implement them from your first day of class, you will have a great semester!

As you shop for dorm room accessories and decide what cooking supplies you need, this post, Dorm Room Cooking will help.  It also has some easy recipes that can be made in the microwave.

Parents, when you start thinking about care packages and finals survival kits, check out Create the Perfect College Finals Survival Kit.  I created this after looking for ideas that didn't include tons of junk food.  It has a good mix of healthy and fun.  

Enjoy the last few weeks of August.  

Rejoice that your student is maturing.

Students- call home sometimes.

When December rolls around, both students and parents, will be amazed at the difference a few months can make.

What Does "Test Optional" College Admission Mean for Homeschoolers?

I received this request from Jennifer this week:

           I would like to see you write on your blog about the potential new trend
          of colleges not requiring test scores for admission. George Washington University
          dropped this requirement for incoming freshmen. How do you feel this will
          change admission for homeschool graduates if it becomes more wide spread like
           expected? I can see it being a potential double edged sword.

I have done a little research and formulated an answer for Jennifer and anyone else who is wondering the same thing about colleges not requiring test scores for admission and how this will affect homeschool graduates.

First, George Washington University is not the first college to drop the test scores requirement for admission.  I found this website  with a list of schools that "do not require ACT/SAT scores for admitting substantial numbers of students into Bachelor's degree programs."  In fact, the website states that more than 800 four-year colleges and universities fall into this category.

Is this a double-edged sword?
Possibly, but not necessarily.

Second, colleges will still accept ACT/SAT scores, but don't necessarily require them.

The colleges that are dropping the test requirement still want some documentation from homeschooled applicants.  Some of the requirements I found (not all schools require everything)are: 

 portfolios that include courses taken including a list of textbooks, books read, statement of philosophy of homeschooling and why it was chosen; 2 recommendations; a transcript; an interview; and all the required application essays and resume.

For me, it would be easier to have my student take the standardized test to verify the grades on the transcript.  For others, the above list is a welcome change.

Some colleges that are test optional still ask home educated students for a test score.  Some of the test-optional state colleges require out-of-state students to submit a test score. 

Bottom line: I believe 'test optional' gives students the opportunity to put their best foot forward.

If a student doesn't test well, but has an awesome portfolio and can interview well, then that is an advantage for the student.  (Even colleges that require ACT/SAT will look at a portfolio for admission.)

If a student does test well, they can still submit test scores as part of the admission process and I think it would be to their advantage to do so.

I am taking my own advice this year about what to do about the new SAT.  My rising senior is only taking the ACT (without writing) because she does well on that test and the schools on her list will accept either test. 

How do you think test optional admission policies will affect home educated students?
Will it help give a better picture of the student's academic ability?

When (homeschooling/parenting) Doubts and Fears Assail

If you are honest with yourself, you have had moments (or longer) when doubts and fears have assailed you- either about homeschooling, parenting, or both.

I addressed that issue at My Joyfilled Life ABC's of homeschooling series.  I had the letter 'Q' to write about.  I chose:  Quit Underestimating Yourself.

Jump over to the blog to read my guest post about how to do that.

What homeschooling/parenting doubts or fears do you have?

Homeschool Curriculum Clearance Sale

homeschool sale

I suppose this could be called my 'going out of business' sale.  After 20+ years of homeschooling, I am down to my last student and she is going to take her senior year dual enrollment at the community college.

So, it is time to clear my shelves! (or at least some of them)

I have lots of books in lots of subjects and grade levels.  Some of the books are older editions, but you can get a bargain if you don't need the newest version. 

 After all, let's be real, how much does a textbook change from version to version?

Prices listed include media rate shipping.  Paypal is the easiest way for you to pay me.  Email me if you want to buy something and I will let you know how to pay me.

If you have a question about a book, post it in the comments so everyone can see the question and the answer.

If a listing is crossed out, it is no longer available.  Listings are by grade level (mostly) within the subject category.   Most items are priced 1/2 of new, or less.

My Father's World High School Curriculum is listed as sets.  


writer's inc sale
$10 each ppd
  Write on Track, hardcover- $10ppd
Writers Express, hardcover- $10ppd

$12 each ppd
Writers INC, hardcover- $12 ppd
Write Source 2000, hardcover- $12 ppd

$12 ppd
Write for College, softcover- $12ppd

Critical Thinking Press Language Mechanic, Level A Book 1 (grade 4-6), softcover
    no writing, like new- $8ppd

Critical Thinking Press Editor in Chief B1 (grade 6-8), softcover
    no writing, like new - $7ppd

$8 each or $30 for all 4 ppd

 National Writing Institute Books, all spiral bound:
Writing Strands, Level 5 (middle school, early high school)-$8ppd
Writing Strands,  Level 6(10th-11th grade)- $8ppd
Writing Strands,  Level 7 (11th-12th grade)-$8ppd
Writing Strands, Writing Exposition (college prep)-$8ppd

vocabulary from classical roots sale
Vocabulary from Classical Roots
Vocabulary from Classical Roots Sets- includes teacher book and student book.  I did not let my students write answers in the books.
Set B, grade 8 ( a couple doodles in the margin)- $10ppd
Set C, grade 9- $10 ppd
Set D, grade 10- $10 ppd
Set E, grade 11- $10 ppd


Critical Thinking Press Mathematical Reasoning through Verbal Analysis Book 2, 
      softcover set includes Teacher Manual, like new (grades 5-8)- $15 ppd

saxon math sale
Saxon Math 76, textbook, test forms, answer booklet- $18ppd 

 Saxon Math 87, textbook- $18 ppd (update-includes test booklet & answer forms)

Saxon Algebra 1/2 Set- textbook, test forms, answer key booklet (yes, the answer booklet is well used). -$18 ppd

Life of Fred Books- practically brand new, bought last summer
Life of Fred Advanced Algebra Expanded Edition, new- $30ppd
Life of Fred Geometry with Answers booklet, new- $30ppd
Life of Fred Trigonometry, new- $30ppd

Saxon Calculus Set including Solutions Manual, Test Forms, and answer booklet- $40 ppd


$5 each or $6 both ppd
Wild Goose Science activity books, 48 pages, softcover, no writing- like new, ages 8+
Bones & Hearts & Other Parts  and Physical Forces & Chemical Changes- 
$5 each or $6 both ppd

Abeka Books, Investigating God's World, softcover, Grade 5 - $6 ppd

Abeka Books Matter & Motion Set, grade 7, softcover- $9 ppd

Critical Thinking Sciencewise, Book 3, grades 7-12, like new- $10ppd 

Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science Set, $32 ppd

Botany Coloring Book by Paul Young, looks brand new except one page has been colored (Plant Cell Structure), one page has highlighting, softcover - $10 ppd

Zoology Coloring Book by Paul Young, 11 of 107 pages have been colored,$8ppd

Apologia Exploring Creation with Chemistry, 2nd edition, textbook- $30 ppd

Apologia Exploring Creation with Physics Set- $40 ppd

 Apologia Advanced Physics Set- $40 ppd

 Apologia Advanced Biology Set- $40 ppd


Tell Me More French, beginner to advanced, 4 CD's, does not include the headset- $50ppd

Latina Christiana Book 1 Student Book, third edition. One page of first exercise has answers in pencil, otherwise unused- $8 ppd

Paso A Paso Spanish textbooks, 1 workbook (has answers in pencil), middle school age and up- $20 ppd

 Elementary Greek, year 2, textbook, audio cd, flashcards- $25 ppd


Artistic Pursuits, High School Book 1,  copyright 1999, not sure about edition $20 ppd

Front- Artistic Pursuits (the funny image at the bottom is a reflection)
Artistic Pursuits- inside- Includes art instruction and exercises as well as art history/appreciation


  State and Local Studies, BJU Press, softcover- $6 ppd

The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide by Maggie Hogan & Cindy Wiggers, softcover, very good condition- $15ppd


The pictures show what I have.  Check to see any other books they recommend that may not be included in what I am selling.

 Ancient History Set

$90 ppd

Ancient History Set includes:  Daily Lesson Plans book, Ancient Lit Supplement, Exploring World History Quiz and Exam book and Answer Key, Unwrapping the Pharaohs (hardcover), Exploring World History Book 1 and              Book 2(shown in both photos), In Their Own Words, Eric Liddell, The New Answers in Genesis, Taking the Old Testament Challenge, Bullfinch's Greek & Roman Mythology (all softcover books)

World History Set
$150 ppd

Set includes: Daily Lesson Plans book, History Through the Ages Timeline Figures, Atlas of the World, World History Map Activities, Heroes of the Faith, In His Steps, Writers Inc, More Than a Carpenter, Beowulf, Julius Caesar, Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret, British Literature Teachers Guide

U. S. History to 1877 

$210 ppd


U. S. History to 1877 set includes: Daily Lesson Plans book, Answer Key for U. S History to 1877, American Literature Supplement, BJU U. S. History textbook, U. S. History Student Activities Teacher edition, Thinking Like A Christian Set (includes dvd, teachers guide, Teaching textbook and unused Student journal), Growing Up Christian, Assumptions that Affect Our Lives, Early American Literature, Under God, Never Before In History,Narrative of the Life of Fred Douglas, My Heart in His Hands, 101 Great American Poems, Of Plymouth Plantation, The Scarlet Letter Study Guide (shown below), Under God teacher book and U.S History Test answer key (not shown)

A general homeschooling resource.  $8ppd

The Well Trained Mind (hardcover, some highlighting) $18 ppd

From Playpen to Podium by Jeff Myers, sofcover- $10 ppd

I hope you find something that you need for your school!  Please be sure to share with anyone who is still looking for curriculum.  Thanks!

If you have questions about any of the books listed, remember to ask in the comments section.

 To find more used curriculum for sale, hop on over to the ihomescholnetwork used curriculum blog hop.

Preparing for the New SAT

Now that the initial uproar about the new SAT has subsided, it is time to think about how to prepare your student for the new test   If your student will graduate in 2017 or beyond, they will be taking the new SAT, if they take the SAT.

As I mentioned last year, one option would be to take only the ACT test.

 But, if you want some excellent information on preparing for the test, my friend Lauren Gaggioli at Higher Scores Test Prep is having a free workshop Webinar to help you determine what is the best route for your student.

Here is the information I received from Lauren in an email:

I know. I know! It's not even July yet, but the time has come to talk about the new SAT. 
This is incredibly important for all students who are in the Class of 2017 because, if they want to have choices, they have to choose their path now

Just to be clear, you may choose not to act until later. That's fine! But those who don't explore what's coming up in a few months may find themselves on a path they wouldn't have chosen to take if they had more information.

Not good.

So, to help families figure out what the best plan is for them, I'm hosting a free workshop with my dad, Bob Verbarg on Wednesday, July 1 and Thursday, July 2.

This is a workshop that is similar to one we've done before. We will be discussing ways you can leverage your test scores for cash in college.

The difference with this presentation is that we will be providing information that is custom-tailored to this year's juniors.

As always, we will open up for Q&A at the end of the session. I'm happy to stay on as long as needed to answer any questions you have about these changing tests and the strategies I'm recommending.

Register to join us at

OH! One more thing...

Maybe you're not in the class of 2017, but you might know someone who is. Would you please...

I want every student to have the opportunity to choose their testing path, not be shoehorned into a schedule they wouldn't have otherwise chosen.

I know I can't reach everyone, but - with your help - we can get the word out to many families who need this information.

I know Lauren and her dad will give you excellent information and advice as well as answer any questions you may have.  Sign up today so you and your student will be prepared!

**This is not a paid recommendation, I truly believe Lauren has good information to help students.
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