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Homeschooler, Magician, Dad

by Living Education Contributor
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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, Rituals in the Homeschool

by Living Education Contributor
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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 »

Help! My Home Is Overflowing With School!

by Living Education Contributor
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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 »

Homegrown Riches: The Economic Challenges of Homeschooling

by Living Education Contributor
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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 »

Homegrown Riches: The Economic Challenges of Homeschooling {Part 2}

by Living Education Contributor
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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 »

6 Tips for Homeschooling Multiple Children

by Living Education Contributor
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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 »

Yes, You Can Homeschool!

by Living Education Contributor
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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 »

Bringing Literature into Your Child’s Life

by Living Education Contributor
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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 »

Challenging the Advanced Student

by Living Education Contributor
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One of the most wonderful things about homeschooling is that it can accommodate the needs of students across the full spectrum of ability. One-to-one attention can encourage and expand on individual strengths, and curriculum can adapt to address individual needs.
Continue reading »

Balancing Work Outside the Home and Homeschooling

by Living Education Contributor
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“Can I work full or part time and homeschool my kids? What has worked for people?” Many Oak Meadow families responded with their own stories and helpful tips about what has worked for them.

They recognize that finding balance is a work in progress, requiring flexibility and patience, determination, and a sense of humor! Here are some tips to help you move forward with your decision to homeschool while working outside the home. Continue reading »

Citizen Science

by Living Education Contributor
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How YOU can get involved in real science!

There is a new craze hitting the streets, and hopefully this one is here to stay. It’s called citizen science. With the advancement of technology, it has become easier and easier for “regular” people to do real science. There are people everywhere interested in contributing to science, especially if it’s made easy for them. With citizen science, it is. Not only do citizens collect and report data, but they are becoming valuable helpers in analyzing the vast amount of data that is now available due to increased technology. The best part is that these are not just classroom activities, using hypothetical scenarios to mimic how science is done. While those activities are inherently valuable, think of the additional value of being an active contributor. Citizen science is a perfect way for homeschoolers to get a real world perspective on science. Continue reading »

Homeschooling Multiple Children

by Living Education Contributor
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Families new to homeschooling often wonder if it is possible to successfully homeschool more than one child at a time. It can seem very daunting! There are always challenges to homeschooling, whether you have one child or several. The trick to homeschooling multiple children, ages or grades with some measure of success and grace can be summed up in one word: organization. Continue reading »

Sustainable Living and Learning

by Living Education Contributor
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Many of us find it easy to dive into new things with gusto. Once we’ve made the decision to try something new, like homeschooling, we want to learn everything we can so we can be really, really good at it. We make big plans—we’ll work our annual trip to the seashore into a unit on oceanography!—and create rosy images of winter days with our children studiously bent over their books at the kitchen table while we bake homemade crackers and upload photos of the latest clever homeschool project to our blog site.
Continue reading »

Getting Back to Nature

by Living Education Contributor
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Spending time in nature can lead to some of the most enjoyable and profound learning experiences. Nature-based learning touches on and connects every academic discipline imaginable while enlivening the senses and invigorating the body. It encourages curiosity and inquiry, exploration and experimentation, while the mind catalogs, analyzes, and compares. Homeschoolers are in a unique position to take full advantage of the learning opportunities that present themselves right outside the door. Families who discover Oak Meadow homeschooling curriculum find curriculum materials that actively support and encourage a close connection with nature. Continue reading »

Kindness Makes a World of Difference

by Living Education Contributor
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Kindness is taught in many schools alongside the ABCs and the multiplication tables. And when asked, most parents would probably say we already are teaching our children to be kind every day. But are we? Or rather, how can we do this more consciously and more effectively? Continue reading »

Simple Steps for Teaching Kindness to Kids

by Living Education Contributor
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How we speak to and treat our children matters. Modeling skills such as good listening, how to speak nicely even when you are in a hurry or upset, and the Golden Rule, all contribute to creating a kinder Planet Earth. Of course, demonstrating behaviors like these is one thing—figuring out how to teach these “kindness skills” to our children can take a bit more thought. Continue reading »

Hardwired for Writing: The Intelligence of the Hand

by Living Education Contributor
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It’s not hard to imagine a future where keyboarding replaces handwriting altogether. Keyboarding, with its helpful cut-and-paste, deleting, and spellcheck, allows thoughts to be revised and refined easily, a technological marvel that many writers–particularly those of us who remember manual typewriters–hail right up there with sliced bread. But does that mean that handwriting, and cursive in particular, is antiquated and superfluous? With the media buzzing over recent news that Common Core Standards, which guide curriculum choices for school districts nationwide, no longer require the teaching of cursive writing, a lot of attention in educational circles has focused on how the physical act of writing affects cognitive development. Continue reading »

Can Creativity Be Taught?

by Living Education Contributor
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For thirty years I have been asking these questions, and more: What is the best method for teaching art? Should art only be taught in art classes? Should art classes be discipline-based, process-based, or choice-based? Do certain ages and stages of aesthetic development correspond particularly well with one form of self-expression or another? I have embraced the search for these answers since I first knew that I wanted to be an artist and work with others at making art. While I was a homeschooling parent using Oak Meadow to teach three of my five children, I searched for the best responses to these questions. Now, as an art teacher for Oak Meadow’s high school and as a college professor who teaches others to become art teachers, I continue this quest for understanding how to support creative expression in students. Continue reading »

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