4 years ago

Where do I start? {a Homeschooling Book Giveaway!}

I attended public schools and a public college. I graduated high school as Class Vice President, Homecoming Queen, Track team MVP, Art Club VP, with 5 cords and an NHS stole draped over my gown. Woo hoo accolades, accolades. Knowing me as that girl, one might be shocked to find me three children later, having no other desire than to homeschool my children.

It’s a puzzle work which has become the platform for why we are choosing to homeschool our children, but the difficulty comes when we ask the question of how homeschooling can become a reality– more so than a romantic idea.  Because as Pinterest Fails seems to have coined the term, I am a great example of the NAILED IT person.

Property of C. Svellinger

Some of the most glaring holes in our fluffy ideal of homeschooling is the fact that I am not organized.  My desk and counters are cluttered. TO DO lists give me rage. I will drown if I have to adhere to a strict routine or schedule. I struggled so much through Algebra II in high school that my teacher looked at me, defeated, and said, “maybe one of your classmates can help you.”

Knowing I am this way caused me to believe with certainty that I am not cut out to even think about educating our children at home.   But here’s the thing: it has pressed upon my heart, persistently, since Lexington was born.

I started reading various mommy bloggers who homeschool but I was so confused with all the lingo, all the different curricula, and the state guidelines.  These mothers seem to forget how they got started or will quickly rattle off a one-sentence summary of it (which doesn’t help), and on top of that, they’re homeschooling their children– these mothers are busy.

What I really needed after discovering my desire to homeschool was to sit down and have a homeschooling mom give it to me straight, without forgetting the newbie doubts and fears and struggles, on how someone like me can go about doing it.

As soon as I realized this is what I needed, I purchased an eBook for my Kindle App because there was a picture of a woman wearing a macaroni-laden tiara on the cover, along with the phrase “for the rest of us“.  Color me your book-cover-judger, but I knew it had to be pretty good.

And it is.

Rebecca Frech, wife and mother of 7 children, wrote Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the rest of Us, literally, for the rest of us: 

Twelve years ago, when I started thinking about teaching my children at home, I bought and read every book on the market about homeschooling.  It didn’t take long before I realized that those books were written for someone else.

Every book I read seemed to speak to some sort of paragon of woman-kind with an organized house, children whose clothes match, and a life that actually runs on a discernible schedule. […] I wanted to hear about reality, not just a vague and picturesque ideal. I wanted to know both the good and the bad about how it really works and where to begin. “

Ahh.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

After the first page, Frech poses a very simple question to her readers, and I knew I could homeschool my children.  Simply knowing “you really can do this” took the weight off of my shoulders and I felt encouraged to read on.  After the first chapter, all of my doubts, including the stereotypical worry of “How, oh how, will they get socialized?” were suddenly a non-issue.

Rebecca dedicates a few chapters to discussing homeschooling with your spouse, and she shares advice on how to handle friends and family members who do not support your choice, or even reject you for it.
She lists out homeschooling terminology in plain english, she explains the different curricula, and she asks her reader to consider his/her own personality alongside of those curricula and how they may or may not complement each other.
To top it all off, Teaching in Your Tiara has nine pages filled with links for further resources on homeschooling, which I am glad to have on hand.
If homeschooling is pressing on your heart, and you’re not really sure how to begin, or even if you’re cut out for it at all (or you know someone who might be interested), I recommend this book a thousand times, as the ice breaker, the first stepping stone into homeschooling.

I loved Rebecca’s book so much, I had to tell her. She sent me a hard copy (which is now marked up and dogeared cover to cover), and offered to give away a second copy to one of my brilliant readers– youse guys!  Follow the prompts below in the Rafflecopter box to enter to win one copy of Teaching in Your Tiara.
It’s a particularly special giveaway because this week marks the one year anniversary since Rebecca’s book was published! Congratulations, Rebecca!

  • In honor of her one year anniversary, the company which prints her book is offering Teaching in Your Tiara for only $5.00 with code VJG4PC5C at checkout. Click here to purchase through Create Space.

  • Also, beginning on Wednesday June 4, 2014 for a week, Amazon will be selling Teaching in Your Tiara eBook for Kindle and Kindle App for $1.99 (usually $5.99).

If you don’t win, do take advantage of these discounts!

Rebecca blogs at Shoved To Them, which I highly recommend following.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


US residents only.
Winner will be chosen at random.
Winner will be notified by email.  If winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen, at random.

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  1. I worry that we’re feeling more and more called to homeschooling in some way, but our finances will not allow it. Working hard to get the SL’s paid off by the time 1st grade rolls around so I can work part time and be able to HS if we decide it’s best. s

  2. My son was just born and I’m already interested in homeschooling when the time comes. I attended public school, too, so I don’t know the first thing about it. This book sounds like a great place to start. Thanks for the review and good luck with homeschooling!

    1. No. I don’t think so at all. But I kind of look at it in the view of getting into a pool and thinking you’re too lazy to swim. Once you’re in, you’re swimming, and it hardly feels like it because you wanted in the pool in the first place. GRANTED, I’m not foolish enough not to expect things to be difficult, but I am kind of giving that part up in faith that it’s yet another calling as part of my vocation as a mother. …not to paint the opposite in a bad light at all, because hey, if we try and realize it’s not for us, to school, to school they’ll go!

  3. You can do it! I am a teacher and the most important thing about being a teacher is loving your students – which you already have down : )

    Thanks for sharing this! I have debated homeschooling (my kids are still little) and this book for $1.99 will be the perfect summer read.

  4. We tried homeschooling in pre-school and kindergarten but I failed so hard. It was just so hard to make time to do it when I had another little one to take care of too. For first grade we did K12 online schooling and I was so super happy with it. They sent us tons of curriculum, science and math toys, and a computer, fo’ free, and we only had to check in with the “teacher” once every two months to make sure we were on track. Lots of lessons we skipped, we did others out of order, some days we still didn’t get to it. Next year we’re heading out on our own, but it was so nice to have a year where my daughter got the basics like reading down and I learned how to be a homeschooling mom without my head exploding. I know this sounds like a paid ad but it’s really not I promise haha. Its just I hear lots of mothers scorn online public school, like you don’t really have your mom cojones if you have to still rely on it but it really just helped our transition from no-school to homeschool and find our stride while still having back up. Having some kind of structure really helped me to have confidence in myself and my daughter, and really understand what she is capable of, especially since I started off with a “public school mindset” thinking that I had to hold her hand every step of the way. Now we’re on the verge of “un-schooling” because I was just so astounded by how much children can learn if you just give them the opportunities. Is this turning into a ramble?
    TL;DR we used K12 for our first year and it helped us get it together.

    1. YES! My husband and I are struggling to understand/visualize the realm outside of the public school, classroom setting mindset. It’s kind of difficult when that’s all we’ve ever known! I think maybe something like this might help us for the first year, too. Thanks for your input, Kierstin!

      1. If you haven’t already you need to watch Ken Robinson’s TED talk (the most watched TED of all time! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY) and read Peter Gray’s book Free to Learn. It really helped give me a new vision of what education really means and forced me to answer the question….what am I trying to achieve by homeschooling?
        I think for most of us that choose to homeschool the answer is not “so they ace their SAT” or whatever lol :)

  5. My youngest is 14 and has always been homeschooled. I have 4 who went exclusively to public school, 1 who attended parochial school and will graduate from public high school this Friday having spent her junior and senior years there. I, like you, am not organized, but please do not touch my piles of papers,because I do know what is in them!
    I tried many different curricula and found I am not a boxed curriculum kind of gal. We use a little of this and a little of that. I have literally thrown books in the trash part way through a school year because I so detested them.
    I prefer to see and handle books before I buy them. That can be difficult because I usually want to see the one book the publisher didn’t bring to the conference!
    Some sound advice that I received from a veteran homeschooler when I began was this: They don’t usually finish the book in public school, either. That takes so much pressure off! I only insist we finish math, but I don’t use the typical homeschool (No Saxon or Math U See here although we tried both) math program and missing a couple of lessons is huge.
    Finding support, whether in person or in an online community, is a huge help.
    I am not entering the contest as I do not need a how to book at this point, but I wanted to offer my encouragement.
    I need to take the time to write a blog post about what I use and why, I think.
    May you enjoy your journey!

    1. Thank you so much, Christine, for weighing in and giving encouragement. It’s funny about the finishing the book part: I was just talking to my husband about that. I remember always noting that for my entire elementary and high school education, we never ever actually finished the entire text book. (yes, I noticed that even in elementary school!) I’m right with you on wanting to handle books before I purchase, or else it could easily become a costly process! I’m actually excited to find a way to teach math- and do it right, in a way that my boys can learn it! This is what excites me about homeschooling :) Thanks again, for stopping by.

    1. Aww! Jenny I’d definitely order the ebook this week, if you are able. I really love having a physical copy of a book because I am a biblioblasphemer and I take notes in the margins, BUT with the ebook being so cheap right now, it’d give you a start!

  6. I am currently homeschooling my kids, but I’d love to have a hard copy of this book to help reassure me on my journey! I’m not very organized, and sometimes I really feel like I’m over my head. :)

  7. I have known Rebecca Frech for many years (we have been friends since grade-school). What a wonderful review of her book! (and I want to say after reading it, I want to be your friend too!) Please don’t put me in the drawing, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your post. Happy Monday!


    1. That’s how it started with us, just debating the issue. But it weighed more and more heavily on our minds and we kind of figured, why not try, if we’re willing? I’m always honored to have you visit, sweet lady.

  8. We will be homeschooling first grade and kindergarten this year for the first time. I am most nervous about getting things accomplished with the younger kids and about the kids being happy with homeschooling!

  9. I don’t have children yet but my biggest worry should I decide to homeschool them is that I won’t be organized enough and that they won’t get the proper socialization. I wa homeschooled thru sixth grade and I wish I would have gone to school. It would have saved me a lot of painful social experiences later. Even my Kim admits that. However, I learned so much and experience so much from homeschooling I am grateful for that.

    1. That’s definitely a worry for me as well, but really only when they get to be middle or high school aged. I’ve been informed that many local homeschooling groups gather for certain classes, or some families send their children to a school for only a certain subject, sometimes due to the resources that school has, or for many other reasons; one of them possibly being differences in learning type. I definitely worry that my oldest will have a different learning style, but I have hope in the flexibility of homeschooling, AND my husband and I both are open to regular public or parochial school, if in the end, things don’t work out. :)

  10. Starting Kindergarten with my oldest this year, and I am most worried about keeping on an even schedule not giving him too much or too little and staying consistent. Also the idea of teaching while entertaining the two younger seems daunting.

  11. Yay! I’ve still got a couple years to figure this out BUT getting a head start never hurt anyone (right? lol).

    I think finding the time would be the biggest fear of mine since we’ll have who knows how many kids by that point.

    1. That’s something I’m trying to address at this juncture, kind of figuring out what a typical homeschool day might look like, and how to either involve the littles, or keep them occupied.

  12. And I never get the hang of rafflecopter…I wouldn’t press “I commented” until I already did…but that’s wrong, whoops! My biggest worry would also be how unorganized I am, and how I don’t feel qualified.

  13. Wishing you all the best as you start this with your boys! I have a friend who would love to read this book! Hoping I win so I can pass it along to her…


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