Scholarship Alert: EPIC Scholarship Applications are Now OPEN!

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The goal of EPIC Homeschool Network, Inc. is to provide resources and encourage students to achieve academically.  By providing an academic scholarship, students are extrinsically motivated to do well in school.  By providing a materials scholarship, we help to provide resources to families in need.  By providing an entrepreneurial scholarship, we provide resources to encourage students to pursue their dreams beyond the traditional classroom.

To apply for any EPIC Scholarship, the applicant must:

  • be a current and active member of EPIC Homeschool Network, Inc. (Current and Active members are considered first. Please still complete if you are not a member.)
  • be a resident of the state of Georgia (we will look to expand to other states in the future).
  • complete the application specific to the award.
  • provide a professional (digital preferred) photograph for use in EPIC HOMESCHOOL INC. press releases.
  • submit additional documents as required by the specific scholarships:
    • Academic Scholarship –be between the ages of 16 and 21 and submit a home school portfolio or transcript and a 100-word essay describing your future college and career goals.
    • Materials Scholarship – provide a copy of the materials he/she needs for the family, proof of homeschooling (Declaration of Intent to Homeschool, etc.), demonstrate financial need and a 100-word essay describing how the materials scholarship will benefit your family
    • Entrepreneurial Scholarship – be between the ages of 10 and 21 and submit a business plan along with milestones.

This year (2018) we will offer one academic scholarship, one materials scholarship and one entrepreneurial scholarship awarded in the amounts of $100 each.   Please complete the application by clicking here to be considered for the 2018 EPIC Scholarship.  The deadline is May 31, 2018.

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Top 5 Things to Do for Your Homeschool in the New Year

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The new year is upon us and now is time for everyone to start evaluating how the school year is going so far.  This can be a tricky time of year because you might feel you have not done what you wanted to and either be motivated to do better or discouraged and give up.  Don’t give up!

Here are the top 5 thing that you can do for your homeschool in the New Year.

1.Throw Out New Year Resolutions

I know, I know, this is crazy talk.  I would’ve been the first to admit it until I read The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than others do in 12 Months by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington.  This book talks about how New Year Resolutions enable procrastination.  It makes us believe we have an entire year to get it done but then we fail to execute and find ourselves scrambling at the end of the year to be productive or not being productive at all.  This can even be paralleled to your homeschool.  You start of the homeschool year thinking you have all the time in the world, only to find that the year is slipping by and you are homeschooling during the summer (because you didn’t finish- not because you want or chose to).

So do you make no plans at all? Of course not, you just make plans for a shorter time period… a 12 Week Year time period to be exact.  There is so much good stuff in shifting your thinking to the 12 Week Year that I just can’t put it all in here. Go to www.12weekyear.com/gettingstarted to start your 12 Week Year plan for free. And if you are looking for a community to support you, join EPIC at www.epichsn.org .

2. Keep It Simple Silly – K.I.S.S.

As you make your 12 Week Year goals, don’t try to do too much.  Try to keep it simple.  Rome was not built in a day and neither is your kids education.  However, every day counts so make sure you have your basics covered: Math, English, Reading, Science and Social Studies.  All the other extra curricular activities are nice but if it is getting in the way and stressing you out, cut back.  It’s okay! Keep it Simple!  Stick to 2 or 3 goals to execute and focus on that.

3. People Forget, Paper Remembers – Write it Down

This was something my college professor “Shand the Man” use to say.  “People Forget, Paper Remembers.  Write it down!”  Write down your plan for the week or write down what you did that day.  Either way, write it down.  You will be amazed at how much you actually did with your kids  when you write it down.  This is also helpful for reporting or homeschool portfolios.

When you plan, you are more likely to execute. According to Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington from The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than others do in 12 Months “Working from a plan has three distinct benefits: it reduces mistakes, it saves times, and it provides focus” (p. 25).  Write it down, read it and review it daily.

4. Get Plugged In

Don’t be on an island homeschooling by yourself.  Get plugged in!  EPIC Homeschool Network and the South Cobb Regional Library is hosting it’s annual EPIC Homeschool Resource Fair on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the South Cobb Regional Library located at 805 Clay Road, Mableton, GA 30122.  This is a great way to get plugged into other homeschoolers and see what local resources are available.  Check out more at https://epichsn.com/2018-homeschool-resource-fair/.  We also offer a variety of online resources like our Online Resource Library and our Podcast Channel.

5. Get an Accountability Buddy

This piggy backs off the last tip but this is more personal.  Get connected with one like minded person (preferably a homeschool parent)  and let them know your goals and plans.  Ask them help you be accountable and schedule weekly check in calls.

Don’t let 2018 come, pass you by and leave you wondering, “What happened!”  Get started today and follow these top 5 Things to Do for Your Homeschool in the New Year.

The Emotional Cycle of Homeschooling

 

If you are a homeschooling parent, you know that homeschooling can be… well, emotional.  I recently read about “The Emotional Cycle of Change” by psychologists Don Kelly and Daryl Connor and the parallels to the emotional cycle of homeschooling was so amazing I had to share.  So if you are a parent considering homeschooling or a parent already homeschooling, this is for you.

Kelley and Connor’s emotional cycle of change has 5 phases that I will parallel with the emotional cycle of homeschooling.

Emotional Cycle of Change

Phase 1: Uniformed Optimism – “Homeschooling is Going to Be Great”

This is the stage when you decide to homeschool.  You don’t know what homeschooling is all about but you can imagine all of the benefits you’re going to experience.  More freedom, more learning, more field trips, more time with the family…. You can fill in the dots with what you imagined homeschooling to be.  You haven’t done it yet, but you are optimistic!

Phase 2: Informed Pessimism – “So THIS is Homeschooling”

So you started homeschooling… or maybe you started researching about homeschooling and then the reality of it all is finally hitting you.  You start thinking “So THIS is homeschooling!”  Your amazing lesson plan is not going so amazing.  The house is a mess.  It appears the kids are not learning and you start to question if homeschooling is really worth all the effort!  Maybe it would be better to just put them on the next school bus that rolls by, but it’s not so bad… yet.

Phase 3: Valley of Despair – “I Think I Can, I Think I Can’t”

As you continue to experience the throws of homeschooling, your pessimism starts to sink in deeper.  You and your family are experiencing the emotions of change.  It is unfamiliar. It is hard.  Do you give up and send your kids back to school or do you push through?  This is when having a strong vision is crucial.  You might have heard other homeschoolers ask, “What is your vision for your homeschool?”  You might have glossed over that step in the myriad of research that you did on homeschooling  but now, this is when the vision is important.   Having a strong vision keeps you moving through the valley, knowing that there is a mountain on the other side.  

My vision is to “Create 21st century Christian leaders who will stand for right though the heavens fall”.  I want to create children with an “Excellent spirit”. This vision helps me to evaluate the curriculum I choose and on days that I don’t feel like pushing, I think of WHY I need to push.  I push for my kids, I push for their future.  This is also when I reach out for help and encouragement from fellow homeschoolers.  We have all been in the valley of despair.  The key is to not stay there or quit.

Phase 4: Informed Optimism – “I Can Do This”

Refuled with encouragement and the knowledge that it does get better, you press through.  You start seeing your kids learning and all your hard work is finally bearing fruit. You CAN do this!

Phase 5: Success and Fulfillment – “Yes”

Then finally, you feel success and fulfillment.  You’ve got your homeschool routine together and things that were once difficult and uncomfortable are now routine.  Everyday is not perfect, but you learn to celebrate the victories in your homeschool and you stop comparing it to others.

So there you have it!

Now that you know about the emotional cycle of homeschooling, I hope that you feel more prepared to continue and not let your emotions take you off track.  The emotions you feel right now in your homeschool is normal.  Homeschooling is hard, but so rewarding.  So now you know and as GI Joe says “Knowing is half the battle!”  Go forth and Homeschool to Success!

 

Not Back to School Party

Who? Homeschoolers

What? Not Back to School Party

When? On Thursday, September 1 at 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Where? Joe Jenkins Park, next the to Austell Police Station located at 2721 Joe Jerkins Boulevard, Austell, Georgia 30106. We will bring the Popsicles, you bring the fun!

This is FREE but RSVP is requested!

Thursday, September 1 at 11:00 a.m. – Not Back to School Party  https://goo.gl/forms/7v51MdkGQ8X6bhOZ2

 

New Homeschoolers

So you want to homeschool and you don’t know where to start.  Here are 10 steps to help you get up and running if you live in the state of Georgia.  Please note that these are suggestions!

Why Homeschool?

First, think about the reason WHY you want to homeschool.  Do you feel that the curriculum at the school is not rigorous enough or too rigorous?  Would simply changing schools solve your problem?  Did you see something in your child that you think you would be able to develop further?  Do you want your child to have undivided attention?  There are several reasons WHY people choose to homeschool, what’s yours?

Who Will You be Homeschooling?

How many kids do you have?  This is an important question to answer because it helps you to narrow down your focus as you are looking for curriculum that will fit your family’s needs.  The other big WHO is do you know your child’s personality?  Do you know who they are?  One of the biggest mistakes is trying what works for someone else’s child and pushing it onto your own.  Your child is fearfully and wonderfully made.  Ask God to show you who your child is and what they need?

What is Your Vision and Mission for Your Homeschool?

A vision provides guidance and inspiration as to what your homeschool is focused on achieving in three, six, nine, or twelve more years, the vision tells the future.  A mission defines the purpose of homeschooling.  It answers what you do as a homeschool family, who you do it for, how you do it.  It is based on the present and should be focused on a shorter time frame, approximately one to three years.  In the beginning you will find your mission changing often as you get to learn your family and develop your routines/systems.  I recommend your mission be revisited every year.

How Will You Homeschool?

What curriculum will you use?  Here are some things to consider:

  • Public Virtual Charter School. If you like the curriculum of the public schools, you don’t mind the testing then you might want to consider Public Virtual Charter Schools like Georgia Connections Academy, GAC High School, Georgia Cyber Academy, etc.  If you choose this route you do NOT complete the Declaration of Intent.
  • Traditional.  If you would like to take the brain work out of developing your own curriculum consider a one-stop shop option.  One-stop shop curriculum include traditional homeschool programs which require you to pay for their curriculum and resources such as Griggs University & International Academy (www.griggs.edu) and A Beka Book Homeschool (www.abeka.com ) to name a few but there are other options that are even more inexpensive and/or free. Check out the Rainbow Resource Center (http://www.rainbowresource.com/). It is by far the most comprehensive center which offers a review on almost ALL the homeschool curriculum out there.  You may even email them and ask for a free catalog to be shipped to your home.  It is thicker than the Bible…. I kid you not.
  • Online Home School Curriculum. Do you like the idea of doing it online?  There are online websites such as www.starfall.com , www.time4learning.com  or https://shop.edmentum.com/us/georgia .
  • Other Types of Homeschool Styles: Classical, Unschooling, Eclectic, Charlotte Mason, Unit Studies

Homeschool Laws

The next step in homeschooling is know the laws of homeschooling. For Georgia Homeschool Laws go to http://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Pages/Home-Schools.aspx .  For other states visit Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLD) http://hslda.org/ .

When Will You Homeschool?

Will you homeschool year round or take the typical school calendar?  I recommend year round or as close to year round as you can make it to give you more flexibility in your schedule.  Will you homeschool in the morning, in the evening?  Some parents work in addition to homeschooling and that is not unusual.  Schedule your time based on the needs of your family.

Get Your Curriculum, Create Your Schedule

Once you have identified your child(ren)’s learning style and determined your home school approach, it is now time to get your curriculum and create a schedule that works for you and your family.  They key is to be flexible.

Where Will You Homeschool?

In the kitchen, in the living room, outside?  Do you have an area to designate as the homeschool room?  Do you WANT to have an area designated?  The joy of homeschooling is that you can do it wherever you want.  The library is a great place as well.

Next Steps

Go to your child’s school and show them your printed out version of the Declaration of Intent and formally withdraw your child from school.

Get Support and Resources

EPIC Homeschool Network, Inc. services students in the metro Atlanta Area.  Join us.  We have monthly meetings and field trips. We even have a yearbook. Go to https://epichsn.com/membership/ to learn more.