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 »
During my busy season helping families meet Virginia's annual evidence of progress requirement for homeschoolers, I enjoy seeing all the resources parents use to help their children learn. This year, one of the resources a child was most excited about was DIY.org.
At DIY.org, children can choose to complete challenges for different "Skills," earning both virtual and real embroidered patches (purchasing the patches is optional and is the only cost involved in the program), and developing a portfolio of videos and photos showing when challenges are accomplished. Continue reading »
My first homeschooling swap occurred in North Carolina when we were just starting out. A mom who was an artist with great homemaking skills taught my kids the basics of baking, sewing, and making pottery, and I worked with her kids on their writing. Her children and mine were widely spaced apart; I did high school work with her older teens, and my children were at young elementary ages. In fact, her children babysat for my kids -- but we never actually homeschooled all the kids "together." Continue reading »
What are your parenting defaults? What are your go-to strategies with your kids? Are they effective? Do they contribute to a positive relationship?
The deschooling period is a good time to begin examining your parenting defaults. Although your default parenting style may be healthy and appropriate, there are a few defaults to watch for that might be counter-productive in the long run. Continue reading »
Do homeschoolers have graduation ceremonies?
Some do; some don't. And those who do have graduation ceremonies may mark the occasion differently from one another. If you are looking for homeschool graduation ceremony ideas that fit your family, there are many options from which to choose. Here are a few that work for many different types of kids and families. Continue reading »
Parental Deschooling Part 4 - I've explained why parents need to deschool as they begin homeschooling their children, and I've given you reading homework and asked you to network with other homeschoolers as part of the transition process.
Another aspect of deschooling involves things to do as you make the transition to homeschooling. Here is your "to do" list... Continue reading »
It's National Library Week, and homeschoolers love libraries!
If you're looking for a way to provide a service for homeschoolers in your community, consider becoming a liaison between your library and homeschoolers. Continue reading »
What do you get when your child combines a unit study and notebooking with a blog? You get the homeschool version of a Virtual Learning Environment (a fancy way of saying learning that is enhanced by the Internet). In my role as a homeschool evaluator in Virginia, I teach about and encourage other uses of blogs—most commonly as documentation of learning—a blogfolio or electronic portfolio. The two uses are slightly different, because the blog as a portfolio is an evaluation tool (to be used by "others"), and the blog as an online unit study—a virtual homeschooling notebooking project—is actually a learning tool (used by the learner). Of course, sometimes there is a cross-over.
Moving can bring wonderful opportunities -- new jobs, new friends, and new possibilities -- but it's also stressful. Our homeschooling family has moved to new homes in new states a few times, and I've realized homeschooling through a move has some positives, some negatives, and some things to think about. Continue reading »
While you're in a deschooling period with your kids, I hope you're doing some of the reading I suggested in Part 2 of this parental deschooling series. Another thing you'll find beneficial is to begin networking with other homeschooling families.
There are two basic versions of homeschool networking, online and IRL -- in real life. Both are valuable in helping you with deschooling -- the transition from school to homeschooling. Continue reading »
One of the most important things you can do is to read about homeschooling, education, and de-schooling. Read books, magazines, and online articles, blog posts, and websites.
Stretch yourself and read some things you don’t think apply to you, that are outside your comfort level. You don’t have to accept the premise of each homeschooling book or article you read, but even if you don't agree or find certain ideas too radical, you’ll educate yourself about the many approaches to home education.
Continue reading »
One of the most accessible basic logic books on our book shelf is The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning by Nathan and Hans Bluedorn. The book helps kids (and adults) spot errors in thinking -- logical fallacies often used in an effort to persuade others. Learning about fallacious thinking is valuable for academic reasons, but it's also important to being a good consumer (recognizing how advertising works) and to being a good citizen (understanding how political communication works). Continue reading »
Working with electronic circuit boards may sound ambitious or advanced, but my kids enjoyed playing with these as part of their science and technology learning when they were in their early elementary years. They learned many concepts about creating circuits from hands-on play, in particular by using a kid-friendly Snap Circuits® Kit from Elenco. Continue reading »
LibriVox is a great online source for free audio books. This means you and the kids can listen to lots of well known classic fiction, nonfiction, and children's books -- at no cost -- right from your personal computer, smart phone, or tablet. The books available on LibriVox are books whose copyright has expired, meaning LibriVox volunteers can record them without violating copyright laws, and you can listen without paying a purchase price. Continue reading »
Everybody knows that your kids should be up early hitting the books, right? Homeschooling goes better if Mom is organized and has lessons prepared for first thing in the morning. Homeschooling works well when kids focus on academics when they're fresh, and they get to play when they've completed their school work.
Homeschooling at any other time of day is risking disaster.
That's the conventional wisdom, anyway.
However, sometimes homeschooling at night makes more sense than the conventional wisdom. That can even include "nightschooling" - focusing all or part of your homeschooling efforts during the evening hours. Continue reading »
Will your child's ADD get better if you homeschool?
I'm no educational psychologist, but I've been homeschooling for sixteen years in three states. I've met hundreds of homeschooling families at conferences and workshops I've presented, I've answered hundreds of calls at a statewide homeschool phone line, and I've been a homeschool evaluator in Virginia for quite a few years now. I've heard dozens of parents praise homeschooling for their children who were labeled with ADD/ADHD in the school setting. But it's not magic. The parents who observe such a change in their children also generally report actively shaping their homeschooling to address attention problems their child had in a school setting. Here are some of the things that have made them successful... Continue reading »
Have you decided to homeschool? You probably need some parental deschooling. Most parents who are choosing to homeschool their children today attended school themselves. We have also lived for many years in a world where the public school model of education is predominant. School is the status quo. School is the default. School is the norm. As many of my school-teacher-turned-homeschooler friends have pointed out to me over the years, one of the hardest things about transitioning to homeschooling as a parent is getting out of the school mindset. Continue reading »
A great activity for your homechool group or co-op is a library scavenger hunt. Working with your librarian, plan a gathering for homeschoolers that includes sending the kids throughout the library to find resources, so they'll get to know the library better. If the scavenger hunt is promoted by the library, you might even find some more homeschooling friends in your community if they show up at the scavenger hunt. You can organize the kids into pairs or teams (and have the youngest kids hunt with an adult), and send them out with a list of things for each child to find or do in the library. A sample scavenger list might ... Continue reading »