How do we do it? Schlep our kids to activities, keep up with the errands, haul around all those overdue library books, and homeschool, without losing our minds? Continue reading »
Are you homeschooling the presidency? No matter our political views, there are issues brought up by the current presidency that our children can learn from. As homeschoolers, we can help them learn about government through most of their homeschooling years, even without an official course. Continue reading »
Did you or someone you know just start homeschooling "after the holidays" - right in the middle of the school year? "What curriculum should I use?" Even among experienced homeschoolers, January ruminations run toward assessing the curriculum and whether it is working. I know you don't want to hear this - but your homeschool priority should be connection, not curriculum. Continue reading »
One way to make homeschooling more effective is to get involved on the child's level. You each carry a basket for treasures you'll find on your walk together. You sit down and paint your not-very-good-painting while your child paints at the table with you. You take your child to the library and model looking up a book in the computer catalogue; then you and your child search among the Dewey Decimal numbers on the shelf to see who can spot the book first. Let's explore the "Let's" Effect. Continue reading »
Question: My wife has been homeschooling my 6 and 8 year old daughters for almost 2 years now. At first I was against it but after it caused friction in my home, I decided to support her. Lately, I have been in a dilemma. I've noticed that my wife hasn't done any school work with my kids for months now (about 2 months to be exact). Anytime I mention if they she have done school with the kids, she gets highly upset... Continue reading »
In Facebook homeschooling groups and in real life homeschool group meetings, I frequently see new homeschoolers asking "Am I doing enough?" You ask this about all ages, from preschool through high school, though it tends to center around the earliest years of homeschooling. The "Am I doing enough?" question often comes from a point of surprise. Continue reading »
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 »
Thanksgiving is almost here in the U.S., which means homeschooling may take on a different look in the coming weeks. I've seen a lot of newer homeschooling parents panic as it becomes clear that forward progress through a math workbook comes to a crawl or the curriculum guide gets misplaced under the clutter -- for days. Then, uh, maybe for weeks. Here are my 9 reasons why homeschoolers should worry less about schoolwork during the holidays and embrace the season. Continue reading »
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 »
"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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
How do homeschoolers learn things that their parents don't know anything about? Just a little research in the world of homeschoolers can show people that homeschooling parents don't have to teach everything their children are learning. They just have to facilitate opportunities so their kids can learn. Here are a few of the ways kids learn things their parents don't know about. Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
Course selection and completion are very big deals when you're in school, and even if you are homeschooling, colleges may have specific courses that they want to see. 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. 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 »