We have always struggled, like many homeschoolers, with the gift-giving part of Christmas. My husband comes from a huge gift-giving family. I come from a family in which money was always tight and gifts tended to be few but meaningful. We both have a faith that leads us to condemn unmitigated materialism, convicts us about our prosperity amongst a world of poverty, and challenges us to find a balance between the joy of giving and the selfishness of indulging. Continue reading »
It’s a skill we’d all love to have – the ability to play music by ear, and not need the actual musical score. You know, sit down at the piano, and just start playing whatever tune is in your head. There are so many benefits to such a talent: the freedom to express oneself musically, versatility in being able to put one’s music to good use for economic or artistic purposes, the ability to entertain and please others…and if we see the talent of playing by ear in our children, we are usually thrilled. And why wouldn’t we be? Continue reading »
If you’re new to homeschooling, you’re going to have to think differently. Yes, you’re going to have to be willing to break the unwritten “rules of school” and forge your own, often uncharted, path. And although this can be nerve-wracking and downright terrifying at first, it is the key to an effective, individualized, fulfilling homeschool experience. Continue reading »
It’s highly likely that at some point in your homeschooling career, you’ll get to the place where you feel like you are done. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will. That moment, in homeschooling, when you are sure you Can. Not. Do. This. Any. More. Continue reading »
I am sitting here, on the computer, listening to animated voices, slams and bangs of metal and ceramic above — and I am very afraid. The snow may be falling outside, but it is the potential mess within that has me huddling over my work in the basement like a besieged citizen in a bomb shelter…anticipating in trepidation what I might discover when I emerge.
The girls are baking. Continue reading »
You’ve probably heard the adage, “Heroes are made, not born”.
Not surprisingly, the sentiment applies equally well to how children come about admiring the right kinds of heroes.
Parents have a significant role in helping to create an environment in which children are drawn to choose role models who exhibit lasting, valuable qualities — by putting into place elements that encourage kids to value those qualities for themselves. Continue reading »
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The hero is commonly the simplest and obscurest of men”.
His understanding of the hero is quite a contrast to the money/sex/power-driven entertainment icons that commonly become the objects of admiration by modern children. I believe that it is parents who have a very important role in changing that — and a responsibility to create a culture in which their children want the right kinds of heroes. Homeschooling parents are in the prime position to do this, through a combination of monitoring the negative, exposure to the positive, education and modeling. Continue reading »
What kind of heroes do I want my kids to have?
It’s a question I’ve been pondering, lately. Because children do have heroes — people they admire, desire to be like, emulate. I know, we homeschoolers tend to hope that we will be our kids’ heroes, but it is pretty inevitable that somewhere in their tween years our offspring will become fans of someone other than just Mom and Dad.
Who children idolize can significantly influence the kinds of people they become in the future. Continue reading »
I have a Valentine’s Day confession.
Yes, on that day when we send out cards and candy, show our “special someones” how we feel about them, and extol the virtues of true love, I feel the need to, well… spill the beans on the truth about a love in my life.
You see, it’s only recently that I have fallen in love with homeschooling. Continue reading »
The reality is that when you homeschool, it can easily seem like an endless treadmill. Often there aren’t the same demarcations in the school year that public school students experience, as many homeschoolers follow non-traditional schedules and do academics year-round. Moving from one “grade” to another becomes an issue of “in which subject?” and summer “break” can simply be a matter of shifting academics from traditional book work to more experiential learning. Homeschooling, like parenting, never ends while the kids are still at home. Continue reading »
If there’s one thing the new year does for me, it’s remind me of how quickly time is passing.
You remember, when you were younger, how a year was an absolutely interminable amount of time? And then you grow up, and then you have kids. And then somewhere around the time your youngest gets to be the mostly-self-sufficient-age (5 or 6 ish), when you wake up from baby and toddler fog, you start wondering, “Where did the time go?” “How did my children get to be so old?” You find yourself saying things like, “How is it already the new year?” and “I feel like we just finished the summer. How is it time for snow again?” Continue reading »
Sometimes by the time Christmas approaches, I feel like I’ve squeezed out every possible ounce of meaning from the season.
We’ve done plenty of family traditions, like putting up the tree and making Christmas cookies. We’ve listened to Christmas carols and reveled in the peace of Silent Night and the reverence of O Holy Night. We’ve served together to raise money for the impoverished of the world. We’ve talked about the importance of giving, and gone out to purchase gifts for family members. We’ve lit our Advent candles each Sunday of Advent, put up our Jesse tree ornaments, and done a unit study on God’s plan for Christmas from the beginning of time.
We’re homeschoolers after all, ya know. And doing kind of comes with the territory. Continue reading »
Thanksgiving got me thinking about all the reasons I am so grateful to be able to homeschool, and I listed a bunch of them in my recent post Thank You, Homeschooling. But now that Thanksgiving is over and we’re almost to Christmas, I’ve discovered that I’m still not done with the thankfulness. Nope — there is another reason that I am thankful for homeschooling that I neglected to address, and it’s a big one. In fact, it’s difficult for me to go a week without reminding me just how important this aspect of home education really is… Continue reading »
It’s like fall comes and then… Boom! You’re getting ready for Christmas. Now, I’m certain that many of you homeschoolers out there already have your December homeschool-worthy Christmas plans in the works before Thanksgiving rolls around, and, well…yay for you. Me? The thought of Christmas plans doesn’t usually seriously cross my mind until the turkey Continue reading »
There’s kind of a holiday about gratitude coming up, in case you haven’t noticed. You know that time when you give thanks for all of your blessings? Well, this whole home education list falls pretty close to the top of my gratitude list. The longer I do it, the more I love it, and the more I realize its value. Let’s be honest — homeschooling is a luxury very few people in this world can afford. Whether it is an issue of needing two incomes to make ends meet, single parents being the sole breadwinners, political opposition, or something else…home education is a phenomenal blessing for which each of us who are able to participate in it should be tremendously grateful. Continue reading »
Well, it’s already into the first week of November, and I’m realizing that I am supposed to be doing something Thanksgiving-y with my kids. I mean, I even write for TheHomeSchoolMom on creative ways to celebrate the holiday with the family, fun Thanksgiving activities, and ways to express gratitude. You’d kind of think that I would have this whole Thanksgiving-focus-during-the-month-of-November thing down. But, here I am, already into November, and realizing I’m not prepared. Have no fear, Thanksgiving homeschooling procrastinators, all is not lost. Continue reading »
Sometimes in homeschooling, it just takes the right tool to make the biggest impact. Well, I’ve found one that has completely transformed writing for our family.
Writing is often a skill that challenges many students, because even if they have a strong command of grammar, it can be challenging to put words together in a way that is persuasive, interesting, and impactful. Even worse – many students struggle to summarize from sources when they are doing research, without plagiarizing the original source. Simply understanding source documents can also be daunting for many children, when they are introduced to research writing. Continue reading »
How often is it that homeschool moms are able to get away to a lovely place in the woods, with no children or husbands, and hang out and talk about homeschooling things? Never? Yeah, that’s what I thought until this past weekend. I had an experience that rocked my homeschool mom world.
I heard about this opportunity from a friend in my homeschool co-op. She sent this information about a homeschool moms’ retreat put on by Landry Academy. I had heard of the place, simply through my homeschool resources and connections, but was not particularly familiar with it. Well, the info explained that Landry Academy was hosting this 2-day retreat for $25. Yes, $25. That’s for the conference, materials, lodging at a conference center, and full meals. I was dubious, to say the least. Continue reading »
A lot of us start this homeschooling thing thinking that we’re going to be Super Mom. Yep, we begin the journey starry-eyed and inspired — optimistic that we will be able to single-handedly teach our children and lovingly usher them into academic excellence and emotional and physical competence.
Then life happens. Continue reading »