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The New Year’s Interview

by Rebecca Capuano
TheHomeSchoolMom: New Year's Homeschool Interview />

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 »

Homeschooling the Son of God

by Rebecca Capuano
Homeschooling... the son of God />

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 »

Post-Thanksgiving Homeschooling Gratitude For… Parental Rights

by Rebecca Capuano
Homeschooling Gratitude... For Parental Rights />

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 »

Our Favorite Homeschooling Christmas Tradition

by Rebecca Capuano
Christmas traditions: Our favorite - The GPPDAdvent calendar />

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 »

Thank You, Homeschooling

by Rebecca Capuano
Thank You, Homeschooling />

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 »

The Little Writing Tool With Big Impact

by Rebecca Capuano
Key Word Outline: The little tool with a big impact />

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 »

Homeschool Mom Retreats for $25? Really?

by Rebecca Capuano
Homeschool Mom Retreats />

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 »

Homeschooling With… Not Just Mom

by Rebecca Capuano
Homeschool Help: How bringing in others can help />

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 »

Fun Fall Homeschooling Activities With Leaves

by Rebecca Capuano
TheHomeSchoolMom: Fun Fall Activites with Leaves />

I know that for many people, it is the advent of Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks that officially signals the beginning of fall, but I tend to be a traditionalist. Yep – cool weather and sweatshirts, homemade beef stew and apple spice muffins…the harbingers of my favorite season of the year. And although farm visits, Continue reading »

An Easy Fix for One of Homeschooling’s Downfalls

by Rebecca Capuano
One of Homeschooling's Biggest Downfalls (And the Fix) />

I think homeschooling has been the single best decision our family has ever made, but I have discovered a downfall. It’s the same thing that makes it a strength – the parent/child relationship being the the teacher/student relationship. Yes, the same bond that leads the parent to be dedicated to going to any lengths necessary to ensure that his or her child gets what he or she needs educationally is also the same bond that often leads kids to become overly dependent on their parent for help. I only realized this recently. And the revelation came upon me in an unexpected way. Continue reading »

The Secret to Encouraging Creativity

by Rebecca Capuano
The Secret to Encouraging Creativity For Kids />

As homeschoolers, we can get our kids involved in music, provide them with art lessons, and give them the freedom to come up with ideas on their own and implement them — all of which are great ways to encourage creativity. Certainly having a home atmosphere in which children are encouraged to try out new things, express differing opinions, make mistakes and fail without retribution, and use lots of resources in ways they come up with on their own is critical to children developing their creative sides, and learning to express themselves in new and interesting ways.

But there is something else. Yep, a little secret I have found, that is the key to encouraging creativity. Continue reading »

The Homeschooling Insider’s Dictionary

by Rebecca Capuano
Homeschooling Insider's Dictionary />

New homeschoolers can’t help but experiencing it. It often happens the first time you go to a homeschool convention, or visit a homeschool co-op. You walk in, start to get the lay of the land, and then it hits you… This is like a whole different world.

There are different norms, different terms, different expectations — and everybody who’s in it seems to “get” it. You start hearing things like “Notice of Intent” and “IOWA” and “lapbooks” and you start to wonder just what it is that you’ve gotten yourself into. Continue reading »

The Homeschool We Never Thought We’d Have…A Year Later

by Rebecca Capuano
The Homeschool We Never Thought We'd Have />

A year ago, we were thrust into a homeschool we never thought we would experience — learning how to deal with the loss of a child. It has been a tremendously painful education; one we would not have willingly chosen. But, like all education, it has also put us into a better position to be able to understand and navigate this thing called life — and has shaped who we are… for the better.

And isn’t that what homeschooling is about? Continue reading »

My Back-to-Homeschool Campaign

by Rebecca Capuano
My Back-to-Homeschool Campaign />

Maybe in your home school, children start school back up, after lots of summer breaks and trips and fun, with excitement and delight. Let’s just say that back-to-school doesn’t look anything like that for us. In our household, even though technically we “do school” throughout the summer to some degree, our August/Septemberish get-down-to-serious-business homeschool re-start is a bit bumpy, to say the least. There is always whining and complaining. Frequently a bunch of “I don’t KNOWs”, even over concepts we’ve gone over many times. Very little patience. Sometimes downright fits.

It’s not a pretty sight. Continue reading »

What Homeschoolers Don’t Need, Part 2

by Rebecca Capuano
What Homeschoolers Don't Need />

With back-to-school gearing up everywhere, the lists of school supplies are long. But have no fear. I am here to bring you some much-needed consolation in all of the school-prep hoopla. Because even though there are plenty of things you can buy and do and have to make your homeschool a success, you don’t need to stress. Because the truth is that this homeschooling thing doesn’t have to be complex. This two-part series is here to help you focus on something revolutionary: What homeschoolers don’t need! Continue reading »

What Homeschoolers Don’t Need

by Rebecca Capuano
What Homeschoolers Don't Need />

Sure, there are basic necessities for getting the job done. But many of the perceived “needs” for an effective homeschool really aren’t. That’s right. You can educate your children at home with much less than most people think. So in this two-part series, let’s look at a new back-to-school list: the list of what homeschoolers don’t need! Continue reading »

Combination Summer Homeschooling

by Rebecca Capuano
TheHomeSchoolMom: Combination Summer Homeschooling />

For many of us homeschoolers, summer doesn’t necessarily mean “no school”. Homeschoolers have the flexibility to choose the level of education they wish to do during the summer months, as they do the rest of the year. And every homeschool family does it differently. Some families school straight through the summer, some take some breaks but continue to school some as well, and other families take the summer off completely. We do the combination approach. Continue reading »

Post-Convention Stress Disorder

by Rebecca Capuano Post Homeschool Convention Stress Disorder: Tips for reentering the real world />

You may not find it in the DSM-5 list of psychological disorders, but I promise you it exists. You’ve heard of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Yeah, just call this PCSD.

Post-Convention Stress Disorder.

Have you experienced it? The “Where am I going to put all this stuff” mind racing, the “How can I incorporate these ideas” insomnia, the “What did she say about managing toddlers while you’re teaching” memory lapses, and the “There is no way I can do all of this” headaches. Continue reading »

Homeschool Convention Insider Tips

by Rebecca Capuano
Homeschool Convention Insider Tips />

It’s here – one of my favorite events of the entire year! And, yes, I know that makes me a total homeschool nerd…

Homeschool convention time!

Can I get a “Woot woot?!”

OK, so maybe you’re not as excited as I am about homeschool conventions, but if you’re not, it’s probably because you haven’t been to one. Workshops on every imaginable homeschooling issue, more curricula than you could possibly think up, experts with fixes for your homeschooling headaches, creative ideas to catapult you out of your homeschooling doldrums, supplies and resources beyond your imagination, camaraderie with thousands of people who do things similarly to the way you do them…

Did I mention the unfathomable amount of resources? Continue reading »

Our Homeschool: The Standard for Success

by Rebecca Capuano
TheHomeSchoolMom: How our family defines successful homeschooling />

Every once in a while in this homeschooling journey, by some miracle — you are able to see that you did something right.

That happened to me, recently, in an unexpected way.

It was testing time. Standardized testing time.

* Insert ominous theatrical music here.*

Yes, in years past, I have seen testing as the time that informs me of all the ways I am failing as a homeschool mom. Of course it’s not that, but that’s still how it felt. If my kids scored well, I scored well as a homeschool mom. If they didn’t, well… Continue reading »