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Did School Happen Here Today?

by Jeanne Faulconer

An occasional complaint of the primary homeschooling parent (most often Mom) is that the other parent (most often Dad) does not appreciate any learning for which he doesn’t see first hand evidence.

If “learning” happens while Dad is away working, but he happens to come home to kids who are on the internet, watching television, or “just playing,” he may not believe any “school” took place in his absence.

This can certainly be a reasonable concern that a father has for wanting to make sure that the children he loves are being well educated. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Did School Happen Here Today? />

Home(schooling) for the Holidays

by Jeanne Faulconer

Thanksgiving is almost here in the U.S., which means homeschooling may take on a different look in the coming weeks.

When our family was young, normal homeschooling routines went out the window. We hung on through Halloween, but Thanksgiving was a clear line of demarcation: We’d squeeze in family holiday traditions, performances, programs, and service work — and a lot of our usual learning routines and classes were squeezed out or not even scheduled. Why should homeschoolers worry less about schoolwork during the holidays and embrace the season? Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Home(schooling) for the holidays />

Interested in Interest-led?

by Jeanne Faulconer

What is interest-led learning, and how can it fit into your homeschooling?

Interest-led learning is just what it sounds like — letting a child’s interests lead the learning process.

This means parents take note of what a child is curious about, enjoys doing, and is naturally drawn to. Then parents help a child learn about that interest. Since this may involve field trips, library books, research, projects, and more, there are many academic skills which are practiced, and a lot of content knowledge is learned — just by helping a child pursue specific interests.

What might this look like in a homeschool? Continue reading »

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The Truth about Attendance at Homeschool Activities for Teens

by Jeanne Faulconer

“We offer activities for teens, but they don’t come.”

If this sounds like your homeschool group, you are probably wondering why teens aren’t interested in attending your events. Many groups are sincere in wanting to offer activities for older homeschoolers, and want to figure out why it’s not working.

As someone who has created multiple homeschool groups and co-ops in the many communities where we have lived, I have a few ideas about some of the reasons that may contribute to low attendance by teens. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: The truth about homeschool activities for teens />

Ask Jeanne: Age Restrictions in Homeschool Co-ops and Classes

by Jeanne Faulconer

I’m a new homeschool mom with an eight year old who is really advanced in his academic skills. My problem is that the people who run the classes and co-ops we’re interested in won’t let me sign him up above his age group. This includes our county recreation department, the local history museum, and activities sponsored by our local homeschool group. How can I get them to place him correctly so he won’t be bored?

This is one of the reasons we took him out of school. He started reading and writing at an early age, and he got in trouble in school because he already knew how to do everything they were working on in the classroom. I’m frustrated that people don’t seem to accept that he is gifted and should be in higher level classes. People talk about homeschoolers being able to work at a customized level, but then they apply restrictions that are similar or identical to school. What gives? ~ Frustrated Mom Continue reading »

Ask Jeanne: The people who run the homeschool co-ops and classes we're interested in won't let me sign up my academically advanced child above his age group What gives? />

Ten Things Homeschoolers Don’t Have To Do

by Jeanne Faulconer

You’re excited about the new homeschool year, and you have a list of things to do to get ready. Do you have a list of things you don’t have to do? Homeschoolers don’t have to… Continue reading »

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Learning with the Olympics

by Jeanne Faulconer

I’m cautious about twisting every interesting thing into a “learning opportunity” that can turn off otherwise interested kids, but the Olympic Games are compelling, and your kids will probably want to know more.

Watching actual competitions on television or via internet is surely the hook. Competition is its own drama, and the personal stories of athletes who have trained for so many years are interesting.

But with the 2016 Olympics in Rio set for August 5 – 21, what are some good resources for additional learning? Continue reading »


Arranging a Strong Week: Your Homeschool Schedule

by Jeanne Faulconer

As a homeschool evaluator in Virginia, I’ve worked with hundreds of kids in families who have used all kinds of weekly homeschool schedules. I’m also in my 19th year of homeschooling, and since we’ve moved around a lot, I’ve been in a ton of different homeschooling communities and groups with so many good homeschooling families. I’ve seen all kinds of weekly schedules work well for people, and creating a strong week of homeschooling can look different for each homeschooling family. Some families have weekly schedules that look like school schedules, but most homeschooling families use the flexibility of homeschooling to create a weekly schedule that is customized for them. Here are some of the homeschool schedules that I have seen work to create a strong homeschooling week. Continue reading »


Grade Level: When It Matters in Homeschooling

by Jeanne Faulconer

In a previous post, I encouraged parents not to obsess over grade level to the detriment of their child’s actual engagement and learning. However — yes — I concede there are times you do have to think about grade level, and your child and your homeschooling efforts will benefit if you do. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: When Grade Level Matters (Or, Jumping Through Hoops) />

Office Schooling: One Way to Work and Homeschool

by Jeanne Faulconer

We hear a lot about the flexibility of homeschooling, but people usually mean that the curriculum or approach to homeschooling is flexible, or even that the daily, weekly, or yearly calendar is flexible. However, in addition to how homeschooling is done and when homeschooling is done, there is also flexibility in where homeschooling is done. One example I’m running into more frequently is something I’ve started calling office schooling — where parents bring their children to work and use their office as the children’s place of learning. In spring of 2015, I met Angie Cutler at the VaHomeschoolers Conference, and she told me she would be office schooling her daughter during the 2015-16 academic year. I caught up with her just before the 2016 spring VaHomeschoolers Conference, and I was able to interview her about how their first year of homeschooling at the office has gone. Continue reading »

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Resources for Homeschooling High School When Mom’s Not the Expert

by Jeanne Faulconer

When negative people who don’t know anything about homeschooling start talking about why it can’t work, one of their criticisms is that homeschooling parents can’t possibly know enough to homeschool the “hard” subjects of high school, which is why homeschooled kids won’t ever get into college. Of course, this would be a shock to all the homeschooled kids who’ve not only been accepted to college, but also already graduated. Continue reading »

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Ask Jeanne: Homeschooling the Child Behind in School

by Jeanne Faulconer

My son is 12 and in 6th grade. He is failing this year. Truthfully, I don’t know how he has passed in past years, and this year he seems to be regressing. He is currently reading at a 1.5 grade level. It is making it impossible for him to learn anything in school when he can’t read. He is in special ed, but they can not work with him one-on-one – not enough resources. We have spoken with the special ed dept and the staff and they agree that pulling him out of school and working with him at home would be best for him. I want to go back and teach him the basics of reading and math. My question is how do I legally do this? I mean I want to start over with him at 1st grade, so how do I do that and still have him enrolled in some homeschool program? He doesn’t have the ability to go to school and then me teach him the basics at home. It’s just too much for him. So how do I start over with him? Please help. Continue reading »

Ask Jeanne: My son is 12 and in 6th grade but is reading at a 1.5 grade level. How do I go back and teach him the basics of reading and math? />

Pushed Out: When the School Says to Homeschool

by Jeanne Faulconer

What if the school is telling you to homeschool? More and more in the homeschool world, we hear from parents whose children have become known as force outs or “push-outs.” That’s because they are children who did not drop out of school or did not have parents who eagerly chose to homeschool, but who were strongly encouraged to withdraw — pushed out — by school officials. Their parents were not seeking to homeschool, but were pushed to do so, being told that the school cannot meet the child’s needs. Homeschool advocates are taking note of the many stories of kids who are pushed out of school to homeschool. Homeschooling can be a great way for children to learn, but parents in this situation need to be aware that the local public school is obligated to provide an appropriate education for the child. Continue reading »

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College Admission Requirements: Homeschooling High School

by Jeanne Faulconer

Homeschooling is not public schooling, and homeschooling parents have wide latitude in what their children should study, how they should learn, and what qualifies a teen for graduation or a diploma. Homeschooling is governed by state laws, which vary from state-to-state, and you should check with a homeschooling organization in your state to see if there are course or “subject” requirements, and how homeschoolers show they have met those requirements in that state. If there are no course requirements, as with homeschoolers in most states, what should your child study and learn during high school, if college is on the horizon? Continue reading »

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Homeschooling and Grade Levels (Or… Relax)

by Jeanne Faulconer

Grade level, schmade level. Homeschoolers — relax.

If your children are below grade level in some way, they still first have to take the next step.

And if your children are above grade level, there are still more steps they can take.

That’s because homeschooling can be potential based, and homeschooled kids can follow their own arc of development as they reach toward their potential. Continue reading »

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You Decided to Start Homeschooling. Now What?

by Jeanne Faulconer

When you’ve suddenly taken your kids out of school to homeschool, there is a long list of things to do, and it all seems like it needs to be done quickly so your kids won’t be behind.

When you start homeschooling, one often overlooked aspect — especially if you hadn’t planned to homeschool — is the need for you and your child to come to terms with the school experience and the reasons you find yourself homeschooling.

To help you process the big change that comes with suddenly starting homeschooling, I recommend this… Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: You Started Homeschooling. Now What? />

Scribes: Narration & Homeschooling

by Jeanne Faulconer

Your child can’t hold a pencil very well? Your child thinks faster than she can write? Your child’s handwriting is illegible? Your child can’t compose in writing even though he can tell you a great story?

Your child might benefit from having a scribe. Continue reading »

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Bad News/Good News of Starting Homeschooling in High School

by Jeanne Faulconer

Starting homeschooling during the high school years can seem intimidating or liberating — or both. There is both good news and bad news about starting out homeschooling in high school, but for many people the good outweighs the bad. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: The Good News/Bad News about Starting Homeschooling in High School />

Martinmas Lantern Walk: A Waldorf-Inspired Tradition

by Jeanne Faulconer

The Festival of Martinmas is observed by many Waldorf schools and Waldorf-inspired homeschoolers on November 11 each year, and you might enjoy creating a little festival to celebrate with your family or a group of homeschooling friends. Anything that involves children carrying their homemade lanterns is sure to be charming to adults and children alike. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Latern Walk for Martinmas, a Waldorf-inspired tradition />

Ask Jeanne: Homeschooling with a Doubting Dad

by Jeanne Faulconer

We will be homeschooling all three of our daughters this fall (ages 9, 12 and 17). I am excited and nervous about this new adventure, but my husband still has a lot of doubts that this will work for our family. He recently said “I’ll never see you” and thinks homeschooling will take over our life. Are there any resources out there to educate him on the benefits, and to somehow involve him more in this change? Thank you. Continue reading »

Ask Jeanne: My husband still has a lot of doubts that this will work for our family. How can I educate him about and involve him in homeschooling? />