Have you ever wondered how homeschooling works for ordinary parents? It’s true: Most of us do not have advanced degrees in education or child development. Most of us are just ordinary people who went to school like every other kid we knew and never imagined we’d be homeschooling our own children someday. How can an ordinary parent possibly be qualified to be a home teacher? Continue reading »
An atmosphere in which real learning can occur exists where the children are nurtured and supported to explore their own personal interests, as well as the world around them. Sharing love is like sharing a treasure. Whether it be through expressing warm thoughts towards one another, opening up and sharing feelings with each other, or just spending some pleasant moments together, it is the essence of the learning process. Continue reading »
Have you recently made the switch from schooling to homeschooling—or are seriously considering it? It can take some time for your child (and you!) to adjust to this new way of learning and being in the world. Some students adapt quickly, but others need a longer transition period. If your child is struggling or needs help navigating the transition, here are some suggestions that may help… Continue reading »
There is no doubt that middle school students can be difficult to engage at times, and this can be especially true for home teachers who are also parents. Middle school aged students are holding on so fiercely to their newly discovered independence, and at the same time they need some guidance while they learn to develop their own thoughts and opinions about the world around them. As your child’s home teacher, you have the difficult position of being both the parent and the educator of your child who is quickly learning to assert themselves. Learning with middle school age student might require a shift in thinking and planning for the home teacher, but it can also be the start of a new dynamic in your homeschooling relationship. Continue reading »
1. Know your priorities. Be clear with yourself about what is most important. Make sure everyone in the family knows what those things are. Talk regularly about the reasons why your family does things the way you do. Be open with each other when it feels like it’s time to revisit or reaffirm your family’s priorities.
2. Always start with a plan, and be flexible enough to… Continue reading »
When the modern homeschooling movement first began a few decades ago, the personal computer didn’t even exist, but now the majority of homeschooling families use a computer as part of their educational program. This not only reflects the growth of computers throughout our culture, but it also indicates that many homeschooling parents have assumed that computers can help children learn more effectively. But if we think that plugging every kid into a computer will transform education, we’re fooling ourselves – and potentially harming our children. Continue reading »
Is yours one of the many families whose “school year” has a beginning, an end, and then a break before the next year begins? Schooling at home is something to celebrate, and when the end of the year arrives, it presents an opportunity for joyful recognition and reflection. Here are some ideas for ways to make it memorable and special for your family.Is yours one of the many families whose “school year” has a beginning, an end, and then a break before the next year begins? Schooling at home is something to celebrate, and when the end of the year arrives, it presents an opportunity for joyful recognition and reflection. Here are some ideas for ways to make it memorable and special for your family. Continue reading »
At first, particularly if you are new to homeschooling, it may seem like there are no homeschoolers around at all. But chances are very good that they are just hidden in plain sight! Families in many areas have established homeschool groups that meet for field trips, projects, playtime, and even parent-run classes. Finding them can be the hardest part. Some homeschool groups maintain a low profile to respect or protect the privacy of their member families. So it can be challenging to make that first connection. But homeschoolers, in general, are very resourceful and well-connected, and once you’ve found one local homeschooling family, you may soon hear about others. Continue reading »
Making the decision to switch gears and begin homeschooling partway through the school year takes courage and faith. Whatever you were doing before wasn’t working, and whatever you are beginning hasn’t had time to feel routine yet. Here are ten suggestions to ease the way. Continue reading »
1. The brain engages differently when we write something by hand as opposed to typing it on a keyboard or by touching a screen. Studies show that writing improves memory; students retain learning better when working with new ideas through handwriting instead of typing.
2. Engaging the body in writing by hand helps make writing a more holistic activity. There is something uniquely physical and multidimensional about putting pen to paper to form words and sentences. Continue reading »
Sending your child off to school is a big transition. Making the shift to homeschooling when your child has been in school is another big transition. It may take some time to feel settled on the homeschooling path. Here are some things to anticipate as you make your way. Continue reading »
What’s it like to educate siblings at home? I caught up with three Vermont homeschooling mothers who do just that. Meghan has six children, aged 11, 9, 7, 6, and eight month old twins. Michaeline’s children are 7 and 5, and she cares part-time for two additional children aged 2 and 1. Pam runs an in-home daycare for three children aged 4, 3, and 1 while homeschooling her own children, aged 13, 7, and 5. Continue reading »
As a homeschool father, I was mostly in charge of going to work to pay the bills while my co-parent was largely responsible for the homeschooling, making food, organizing everybody, keeping us all alive–a ceaseless and thankless profession by most counts. Still, I have to admit, I was often jealous. I would go to the school where I was teaching, pouring my creativity and experience into creating lessons for other people’s children, most of whom didn’t want to be there. Then at night, I would collaborate with Kathy on our home curriculum–finding cool ways to explore the roots of Western Civilization or how to present division using chocolate chips–the creative engagement that attracted me to the teaching profession. Needless to say, I often felt torn between the need to make a living and the wish to participate in my children’s education. Looking back now, I can see that those days when I did play hooky from my job in order to participate in my children’s education are some of the most powerful and meaningful memories I have of my children. Continue reading »
Rhythms, routines, and rituals help us stay centered and on track as homeschooling parents, and they enable our children to relax and feel secure because they know what to expect each day. A thoughtful routine allows us to focus our energy in one area at a time, knowing that other essential areas will not be neglected. Well-established rhythms help us manage the ebb and flow of homeschooling and free our remaining energy to deal with the unexpected. Continue reading »
Whether you’re just starting out or have been on the homeschooling journey for years, organizing your homeschooling routine can seem like an immense undertaking. The key to any successful organizational system is to keep it simple and make it part of your normal daily routine. The first year that I homeschooled my son Matt, I worked hard to make sure that homeschooling didn’t throw our entire household into chaos. By the time his little brother Mason was ready for school, I had gotten a whole lot better at it.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned about homeschool organization. Hopefully these simple suggestions can help you get organized, too. Continue reading »
Homeschooling is an economic challenge for many families, including mine. Sometimes it takes extra creativity to make it work. I’ve had to adjust my habits and expectations along the way. The two most important things for me have been crafting a realistic budget and being clear about our family’s priorities. Making homeschooling work is non-negotiable in our family, so we make adjustments in other areas. I’ve learned that courage and creativity can enable a sense of richness and abundance while keeping things economically balanced. Here are some of the things that I’ve learned. Continue reading »
Holiday celebrations are important. Over the years we’ve focused mainly on simple, handmade, joy-filled ways of celebrating. Our crowd’s favorite kind of birthday party typically includes a special birthday snack, a gaggle of kids, and a fun place to run around. I encourage my children–and their friends–to give gifts of the heart: treasures from nature, homemade goodies, special handmade items, lovingly selected hand-me-downs, thoughtfully chosen items. We’ve stepped away from commercially prescribed traditions and created our own. We have consciously shaped many heartfelt traditions that we can replicate year after year even when the budget is meager. Continue reading »
How can I homeschool multiple children? If you’ve asked this question, you’re in good company. Meeting the needs of multiple children is a challenge for any parent. But homeschooling parents needs to be able to do it all day long. How is that possible? Continue reading »
There are many reasons that lead families to consider homeschooling. Often it comes up when a child’s school is not a good match for their needs. Sometimes it’s driven by a parent’s desire to guide their child’s learning in the context of their own values. Sometimes children need a more flexible schedule in order to pursue athletic or artistic training, and sometimes parents simply can’t imagine missing out on the excitement of educational discovery.
How do you know for sure if homeschooling is the right fit for you and your child? Continue reading »
Literature opens doors to the world around us as well as to worlds inside our hearts and minds. For children and adolescents just beginning to understand the vast reaches of emotion, literature can expand their perspective and add a richness and depth to their social skills. Here are some great ideas and online resources to bring literature into your child’s life. Continue reading »