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Fun Fall Homeschooling Activities With Leaves

by Rebecca Capuano

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Fun Fall Activites with Leaves />

An Easy Fix for One of Homeschooling’s Downfalls

by Rebecca Capuano

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 »

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

The Secret to Encouraging Creativity

by Rebecca Capuano

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 Secret to Encouraging Creativity For Kids />

The Homeschooling Insider’s Dictionary

by Rebecca Capuano

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 »

Homeschooling Insider's Dictionary />

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

by Rebecca Capuano

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 »

The Homeschool We Never Thought We'd Have />

My Back-to-Homeschool Campaign

by Rebecca Capuano

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 »

My Back-to-Homeschool Campaign />

What Homeschoolers Don’t Need, Part 2

by Rebecca Capuano

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 />

What Homeschoolers Don’t Need

by Rebecca Capuano

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 »

What Homeschoolers Don't Need />

Combination Summer Homeschooling

by Rebecca Capuano

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Combination Summer Homeschooling />

Post-Convention Stress Disorder

by Rebecca Capuano

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 » Post Homeschool Convention Stress Disorder: Tips for reentering the real world />

Homeschool Convention Insider Tips

by Rebecca Capuano

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 »

Homeschool Convention Insider Tips />

Our Homeschool: The Standard for Success

by Rebecca Capuano

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom: How our family defines successful homeschooling />

Building on Strengths

by Rebecca Capuano

There are so many things I appreciate about homeschooling, but one of the biggest has to be the chance to nurture individuality in my children.

Our school system tends to homogenize – one curriculum, standardized tests, teaching strategies that appeal most to logical, left-brain-oriented thinkers. Even “individualized” tracks of learning necessarily pattern students into “gifted”, “average” “behaviorally or learning disabled” and “special needs”. And I get it – there has to be some reasonable manner of organizing large numbers of students into manageable categories, so that energy and resources can best go toward meeting their needs.

But homeschoolers don’t have to do that. Continue reading »

Benefits of Homeschooling - Building on Strengths />

My Advice for New Homeschoolers, Part 2

by Rebecca Capuano

Thinking of Homeschooling?

As homeschooling has grown in popularity, I have had more and more people ask me for advice on how to do this thing. And let’s be honest, there aren’t a lot of guidelines. One of the great benefits of homeschooling is that you can make it be whatever you need it to be for your individual family. However, in this benefit is also a challenge – there are so many options, so many different ways of homeschooling, it can be overwhelming to those who are starting for the first time. Many a friend considering homeschooling has moaned, “I just don’t know if I can do it!”. Continue reading »

Advice for new homeschoolers />

My Advice For New Homeschoolers, Part 1

by Rebecca Capuano

I’ve had more friends this year decide to homeschool than any other year since we began homeschooling. The reasons have varied — concern over values taught in the public school system, distress about peer relationships, a desire to inculcate principles of faith, worries about increased “teaching to the test” procedures in government schools, an interest in providing more individualized instruction… but whatever the reason, each parent has had a significant “deer in the headlights” look as they have shared their newly chosen educational path. They have one question in common, whether spoken or unspoken: “How do I homeschool my child?” Continue reading »

Advice for new homeschoolers />

Benefits of Homeschooling: Changing Curriculum, Again

by Rebecca Capuano

I am going to be a math curriculum expert before this whole homeschooling thing is over.

Yep, we are now on our third math program in four years.

This isn’t how I planned it, but then, does anything in homeschooling go according to plan? I would have liked to have begun a math program in Kindergarten and stuck with it, at least through the sixth grade. That would have helped me be able to avoid repetition, progress more efficiently, and be able to keep a more accurate assessment of exactly what she was mastering. Continue reading »

Benefits of Homeschooling: Flexibility When a Curriculum Doesn't Work />

How to Choose Extra-Curricular Activities For Your Child

by Rebecca Capuano

Soccer? Dance? Basketball? Piano lessons? Swim team? Debate team? Choir?

There are so many options, it can make your head spin.

At some point in your homeschooling career, you will have to decide: What are we going to do about extra-curricular activities for our children? Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Choosing Extra-Curricular Activities That Fit Your Family />

Bringing in the Cavalry

by Rebecca Capuano

If you home school long enough, you will likely come across a learning obstacle for your child that makes you want to bang your head against the wall. You use different programs, you use creative learning techniques, you incentivize, you, um, maybe yell a little… All to no avail. Your child just. doesn’t. get. it. For us, this concept was number sequencing. My second grade right-brain oriented, creative global thinker just could not get it. She can rock geometry like a star, write three-point expository paragraphs without assistance, and sew her own doll clothes. But she cannot count numbers in sequence, particularly backwards, effectively. Finding 69 on a number sequence chart (in which they are all in order according to tens) takes a while. Turning to page number 128 is a bit of a challenge. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Number sequencing />

10 Ways You Know It’s Spring For Homeschoolers

by Rebecca Capuano

The cherry trees are blooming, the air is warmer, and the snows have melted for good. Every parent of young (or even not-so-young) children wants to do a happy dance when spring arrives and the kids can actually go outside again (“Hide the puzzles! Hunt for the short sleeves!”). Riding bikes, playing in outside forts, soccer practice — the bottom line is that all of it means energy expenditures! Continue reading »

heHomeSchoolMom: 10 Ways You Know It's Spring For Homeschoolers />

An Insider Tip For Keeping Kids Focused

by Rebecca Capuano

I think every family needs a highly distracted kid. Because if you don’t have one, you’re just missing out on life’s best possible training ground for patience. And creativity. And endurance. And…

Well, anyway. Let’s just say if you don’t have one, you are not getting the full parenting and homeschooling experience. So go borrow someone else’s for a while, and give some poor homeschooling mother somewhere her sanity for a couple of hours. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: An Insider Tip for Keeping Kids Focused />