Nutrition is an ideal homeschooling topic for the 10 – 14 year olds in your family or homeschool co-op. These middle years are an excellent time to go into more depth about what we eat and how it affects our health and growth. Tweens and early teens are especially interested in the changes brought by adolescence, and nutrition is a “safe” topic where kids can think about how their current choices affect their future. Continue reading »
Tangrams are simple seven-piece puzzles that build visual-spatial skills. Kids and adults alike enjoy manipulating the standardized pieces in the set, which includes a parallelogram, a square, and three sizes of right triangles. The pieces can be fit together to form a square, and in fact, when the puzzle pieces are made of wood, they are often stored in a square wooden frame. The real fun and thinking occur while moving the shapes around to form “pictures” or shapes. There is a real challenge in matching shapes that are already drawn out as puzzles to solve. Continue reading »
What are the toys in your bathtub? And how good are you at tolerating a little mess? If you’re able to create a nice collection of bathtub toys and allow some extended playtime in the bath, you have the possibility of giving your preschool and kindergarten age kids a good experience “tub schooling.” It’s more important for your kids to enjoy creative play than to sit at a table doing worksheets for hours a day from ages 3 – 6, and there’s no place better to play than in the bathtub. I suggest having a plastic bin full of toys, stocked with… Continue reading »
After we’d met for a homeschool evaluation, a mom of a ten year old wrote to me with concerns about her son’s spelling.
We have are having an issue (problem?) with spelling. Up until last fall we had been using All About Spelling with good success (I thought) and had made it through five levels. Since then, it’s kind of fallen to the wayside, and every few weeks I have my son write a story, mark the words he has misspelled (which he always identifies), and then work on spelling them correctly. When he tries to write things out, he has a really hard time spelling and has to really think things through. Continue reading »
It’s not part of the traditional curriculum in United States schools or homeschool families — but playing chess is a part of the curriculum in about thirty countries around the world. According to Dr. Teresa Parr of MATCH, there are five significant educational advantages to chess for homeschoolers (and others) to consider. Continue reading »
I grew up participating in 4H, and while I recommend the 4H program itself, I also find myself thinking a lot about the four “H’s” as they apply to homeschooling: head, heart, hands, and health. If you want a holistic way to personally assess your homeschooling, think about whether what your kids are doing is working in each of these areas. Continue reading »
Where can you find over 100 free high quality unit studies? Boy Scouts! The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) program offers great merit badge materials to its Scouts, which my older sons used on their way to achieving their Eagle Scout ranks. Completing merit badge requirements was often a great addition to their study of science, history, culture, government, business, and technology, and they also learned some great life skills for staying fit and healthy, managing money, and dealing with emergencies. Continue reading »
There are some times when some homeschooling parents should decide to quit homeschooling.
We’re used to cheerleading for homeschooling and supporting homeschoolers through temporary hard times. We’re accustomed to supporting people who have short-term or medium-term misgivings about homeschooling, but their kids are really doing fine, and they’re really doing fine.
But if we’re really going to be “Homeschoolers Helping Homeschoolers,” as I’ve been writing about in this series, then we also have to provide support for homeschoolers who are making the decision to quit.
What are some good reasons to quit homeschooling? Continue reading »
A common mental picture of a homeschooling family includes Mom, Dad, and multiple kids — if not a whole bunch of kids. That picture may not be accurate for lots of reasons, but today I’ll just take a look at the kids in the picture.
There are a lot of us who aren’t homeschooling multiple kids, much less a bunch. Some of us are homeschooling just one child.
How does “homeschooling for one” come about? And what’s it like? Continue reading »
Many children come to homeschooling directly from attending school, or the kids have been homeschooled their whole lives, but their parents’ only existing model for group learning is the school classroom from their own childhoods.
When parents hear about homeschool co-ops, they are excited about the possibilities that this kind of learning community might offer to their family. Continue reading »
How can I join a co-op?
If you’re looking for a homeschool co-op, keep in mind that co-ops have different approaches to new families. Some co-ops are “closed,” meaning they already have all the families they can accommodate, and they are not accepting new members. Others take new members every year or every couple of years, as children age out, families move away, or needs change.
Some co-ops actually hold an open house or allow families to visit during the spring of one year in order for parents and co-op participants to consider whether prospective members and the co-op are a good fit for one another. Continue reading »
You float an idea on a homeschool email list or a Facebook group:
“I’m planning a field trip to Smith Historical Farm on the morning of April 10. I can get a group rate if we have 20 kids, and they’ll do special hands-on projects with the children.”
You give the details, and people say “count us in,” giving a headcount of 32 children for the field trip.
The day before the field trip, emails start flying with all the reasons people can’t be there. You go anyway, embarrassed to find that only 11 kids are there, and two of them are technically too young to participate. The Smith Historical Farm people are nice, but point out that you no longer qualify for the group rate, meaning that each family is now going to pay double what they expected. Continue reading »
What do new homeschoolers need from “old” homeschoolers?
In a previous post in my “Homeschoolers Helping Homeschoolers” series, I suggested that providing new homeschoolers with information is better than giving directive advice — but what else is helpful?
If you are an established homeschooler reaching back to assist new homeschoolers, in addition to offering basic information about homeschooling — offer Support, Resources, and Inspiration.
What are the best way to provide support? Continue reading »
In an earlier post, I described how hosting an international exchange student can be a benefit to a homeschooling family. Today I’d like to tell you a little more about the nuts and bolts of hosting a student in the United States. These details can help you to know what to expect when hosting an exchange student and can ease the transition for the whole family. Continue reading »
New homeschoolers are bombarded with information from which curriculum to use (see #11) to how to train their children (see #3). Homeschoolers are a wonderful group for crowd-sourcing information, but not all of the information available online or from other homeschoolers is helpful, useful, or productive. New homeschoolers are wise to beware the following… Continue reading »
If you’ve homeschooled for a couple of years, you may be in a position to help people who are considering homeschooling or who are in their first year or two of homeschooling.
Chances are, by now, you’ve learned a lot of content for answering homeschooling questions. You know your state law. You know six or eight different approaches to homeschooling. You’ve examined ten math curricula in detail. You’ve seen the transcripts of homeschoolers who have gained admission to college.
So you have information to share.
But do you know the best technique for communicating homeschooling information to interested parents? Continue reading »
A homeschool co-op is a group of families who meet together and work cooperatively to achieve common goals. Co-ops can be organized around academics, social time, the arts, activities, crafts, service work, or projects — or some combination of these.
Activities and classes that are part of a co-op may be led by parents, or the parents may chip in to pay all or some of the teachers and activity leaders. There may be as few as three families in a small co-op or as many as several hundred children in the largest co-ops. Continue reading »
Parenting a young family is challenging. Babies and toddlers are needy, and homeschooling can feel like a huge responsibility. Here are some helpful tips for homeschooling with a baby or young toddler in the family. Continue reading »
One of my favorite “instead of curriculum” titles is the book Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists by Joel Best.
This book is a great book for your high schooler to read. While it can be paired with a traditional study of statistics, it also works well on its own for kids who need to understand statistics from either a consumer point of view or for fact-checking research or stories in the media. Continue reading »
Do homeschooling parents hate school?
I run across this assumption on the internets here and there. Commenters or bloggers or journalists or politicians will respond to a homeschooling parent based on the assumption that all homeschoolers are anti-school. Continue reading »