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Mary Ann Kelley

Mary Ann Kelley lives in Virginia with her husband and has two daughters, both homeschool graduates. Mary Ann, who homeschooled off and on for 16 years, believes in school choice as well as allowing children to direct their own learning with guidance and input from their parents. Her desire is to encourage parents and children to take personal responsibility for their own educational options and choices.

How to Raise a “Wild Child” (and Why You Should!)

by Mary Ann Kelley

Research has shown that the simple the act of getting children outside is the most effective way to foster environmental consciousness. As prominent environmental educator David Sobel eloquently stated, “one transcendent experience in nature is worth a thousand nature facts.” It turns out that children who have an immersive experience in nature develop a deep love of the environment that they carry with them their entire lives. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: How to raise a wild child (and why you should) />

September Writing Prompt Calendar

by Mary Ann Kelley

Apples and summer memories and dinosaurs and space! These are just a few of the topics in our September Writing Prompts download. Each month we will be offering writing prompts (you will be able to find them all on the main Homeschool Writing Prompts page), and we start with this chart of September-themed starters. Continue reading »

September Writing Prompt Printable Calendar />

5 Myths About Homeschool Superiority

by Mary Ann Kelley

Despite being an ardent supporter of home education, I find myself consistently feeling obligated to set the record straight when it comes to claims of the vast superiority of homeschoolers. I’ve noticed a tendency of homeschool advocates commenting online to be elitist. I’m not sure many of the commenters are even homeschoolers themselves – I get the sense that they are just politically opposed to public schools – but regardless, it’s not helpful or accurate. If they are homeschoolers, I’m not sure if it is a defense mechanism, a lack of knowledge, or isolation from public school families, but I find it to be disingenuous and divisive. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: 5 Myths About Homeschool Superiority />

Homeschooled “Runaway Radical”

by Mary Ann Kelley

Jonathan Hollingsworth’s mother remembers him coming to her and his father shortly after starting his first semester of college to tell them he would commit to two years of filling up his mind if he could then spend a year emptying his heart. Amy Hollingsworth had homeschooled her son and daughter their whole lives, and Jonathan’s sensitivity was evident from the start. Now, as a freshman at the local community college, Jonathan was idealistic and burdened with a heart for the lost. He had already spent a week in Honduras, but instead of abating his ingrained drive to help the poverty-stricken, the trip only highlighted for him how very difficult it is to meet the need found in isolated cultures — cultures where the whims of nature can threaten the very existence of the inhabitants. Continue reading »

Read Chapter 2 of />

“O Captain! My Captain!”

by Mary Ann Kelley

As a student, I hated poetry. In high school, the words “poetry unit” filled me with dread and an almost uncontrollable desire to feign an extended illness preventing school attendance. As an adult, the aversion stayed with me until I heard Walt Whitman’s haunting verses about the Civil War read aloud – grieved, lamenting the death that seemed to be everywhere. Listening to poetry and experiencing the emotions that the poet meant to evoke brought the words to life. Meter and rhyme, refrain and couplet, sonnet and stanza — they may be important to learn, but only after poetry is experienced. Experiencing poetry is crucial to appreciating it. Once it has been experienced, the process of creation can be studied with a focus on mechanics and editing Continue reading »

Poetry, Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, & the Civil War />

Talking To Your Teen About College Debt

by Mary Ann Kelley

I’m a fan of natural consequences, but sometimes the lessons are too big – with consequences that last a lifetime – for the maturity level of the child. One such example is when a child wants to take on significant debt in the form of college loans. Most 17 year old high school students do not have the life experience to be able to understand the impact that taking on tens of thousands of dollars in debt will have on their lives.

While I encourage young adults to have freedom in making their own decisions, wise and carefully presented parental input is imperative in this issue. Most people would never consider advising a 17-18 year old to purchase a $80K house with payments deferred for 4 years (and a home loan has collateral — if you go into default, they foreclose and the debt is gone), yet are comfortable with student loans that have even more of a financial impact. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Talking to Your Teen About College Debt />

Homeschooling High School: Our 11th Grade Plan

by Mary Ann Kelley

We are homeschooling high school all the way through. If you would like to see how we track credits and create transcripts, see Our 10th Grade Plan. If you haven’t checked out our free Homeschool Planner Plus download, you should take a look at it for creating high school transcripts. It is easy to plug in your courses and credits and the spreadsheet calculates your GPA for you.

The 11th Grade Plan: DE English – This year’s focus is on composition through the local community college’s ENG 111 course. Over the course of the semester, students work to complete a research paper from the abstract topic proposal to the final draft. It is a challenging course that goes into the details of the process for a single paper instead of completing multiple papers. Continue reading »

Homeschooling High School: Our 11th Grade Plan />

What Curriculum Should I Use For My 4 Year Old?

by Mary Ann Kelley

Recently on TheHomeSchoolMom’s Facebook page someone asked for recommendations for her soon to be 4 year old. It took me back to when I had a 4 year old and a 1 year old and had recently decided to homeschool.

I. Was. So. Excited. What curriculum should I use? Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: What Curriculum Should I Use For My 4 Year Old? />

Why Homeschooling Boys Works

by Mary Ann Kelley

Today a friend posted a video called “War on Boys” to Facebook and it showed up in my feed with lots of enthusiastic comments. As I watched the 5 minute video, all I could think was how obvious the video’s assertions are, and yet how far public schools are moving away from addressing the truths presented. Not just limited to boys (many girls share these traits with boys), the video shows how the policies being implemented in schools reward quiet intellectual pursuits in young children while simultaneously removing the opportunities for these kids to explore and learn through play. Continue reading »

Peter Gray quote from TheHomeSchoolMom Blog Post />

Final Homeschool Giveaways: Map Trek, Dave Raymond’s American History, TOS GC, and More

by Mary Ann Kelley

Update – Congratulations to the following winners:

Cheryl Powell – Dave Raymond’s American History Volumes 1&2
Debby Sapp – Map Trek 6 volume set
Jennifer Wennekamp – Cuisenaire Rod Kit and The Fun Spanish
Agj75 – Baktar, A Tale From the Andes and King Alfred’s English
Laurie – $25 TOS gift certificate

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s Great Homeschool Giveaway! Continue reading »

Dave Raymond’s American History Curriculum />

Giveaway Week 5: Notebooking Pages Lifetime Treasury, Titanic Lapbook, and Bacteria Growing Kit

by Mary Ann Kelley

Our 2014 Homeschool Giveaways event is underway and this week we are giving away prizes to 2 reviewers. The first prize is a lifetime Notebooking Pages Treasury membership, and the second prize is a Titanic Lapbook from TruthQuest History and a Bacteria Growing Kit from Lighthouse Educational Product. Continue reading »


Giveaway Week 4: Bacteria Kit, Spring Nature Bundle, and All About Learning Press

by Mary Ann Kelley

Our 2014 Homeschool Giveaways event is underway and this week we are giving away prizes to 2 reviewers. The first prize is an All About Learning gift certificate for $50, and the second prize is a nature guide bundle from Shining Dawn Books and a Bacteria Growing Kit from Lighthouse Educational Product. Continue reading »

All About Learning $50 Gift Certificate />

Giveaway Week 3: Subscription

by Mary Ann Kelley

Our 2014 Homeschool Giveaways event is underway and this week’s prize is a one year subscription to, where the subscriber can access articles, news, information on what’s new in the world of tech and how it affects your family. There will be ratings, rankings on which platforms are safe for kids and age ranges so you know if a site is safe for very young children. Leave a review to be entered to win this and the upcoming prizes in this giveaway. Continue reading » Giveaway />

Giveaway Week 2: Total Transcript Solution & Guide to College Admission

by Mary Ann Kelley

Our 2014 Homeschool Giveaways event is underway and this week we have 2 great prizes from The HomeScholar: the Total Transcript Solution, a wonderful resource to help you assign credits and create transcripts for your high school student, and The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships, a guide to applying and paying for college. Continue reading »

Total Transcript Solution />

Giveaway Week 1: The Fun Spanish and Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal

by Mary Ann Kelley

UPDATE: Congratulations to Shonna Rice, who is the winner of Mere Christianity Critical Analysis and Mary Storm, who is the winner of The Fun Spanish! Please check your email for more information. Our next giveaway is for Total Transcript Solution and The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships. Our 2014 Homeschool Giveaways start out Continue reading »

Mere Christianity Critical Analysis />

2014 Homeschool Giveaways

by Mary Ann Kelley

We’re having a series of awesome homeschool giveaways at TheHomeSchoolMom! Entering is easy – just visit our Homeschool Curriculum Reviews area and leave an original review of a homeschool resource that you have used. Give another homeschooler the benefit of your experience, and you have a chance to take home a great prize like a $50 gift certificate to All About Spelling/All About Reading, Compass Classroom’s complete American History curriculum, a Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership, the complete Map Trek collection from Knowledge Quest, Total Transcript Solution from The HomeScholar, and more! Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom's 2014 Great Homeschool Giveaway />

Homeschool High School Composition: The Assignments

by Mary Ann Kelley

Part I of Homeschool High School Composition gives an overview of how to approach teaching homeschool composition. It is important to read it before using the assignments below, since it is a different perspective for teaching composition. Below are the assignments for composition using this part-to-whole process. The assignments use the UNC Writing Center’s free online resources.

If you would like to download the assignments, we have them as a PDF download here: Homeschool High School Composition Continue reading »

Homeschool High School Composition />

Homeschool High School Composition

by Mary Ann Kelley

The Writing Center at UNC has put together a large collection of writing resources for college writing that are excellent tools for teaching homeschool high school composition. The center’s downloads and videos offer detailed explanations about research, sourcing, organization, editing and proofreading, voice, fallacies, thesis statements, and dozens of other writing topics. The resources are arranged alphabetically, making them easy to find by topic but not offering much in the way of an orderly progression for teaching. The following is a suggested order of study for using the resources for composition for a homeschooled high school student. In our case, we used this for a literature composition, but literature compositions can be the most difficult type to write. It might be more effective to initially use the process with a topic of choice instead of an essay on a particular book. Continue reading »

Homeschool High School Composition />

Homeschool High School: Our 10th Grade Plan

by Mary Ann Kelley

From the feedback and questions that we get on our Facebook page, there is a great deal of interest in how to homeschool high school. This year my daughter is a sophomore in high school, and I thought it might be helpful to share our 10th grade plan with you. Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling high school is often easier than homeschooling younger grades. Students are older, more mature, and better able to manage their own academics. When they need assistance, the material is more difficult, but between teacher guides, online resources, and friends with a knowledge of the subject matter, we have not found this to be a problem. Continue reading »

Homeschool High School: Our 10th Grade Plan />

Lunches Around the World

by Mary Ann Kelley

Kids around the world are going back to school — that means homework, new friends and… lunch. In the US, the typical school lunch is served on styrofoam trays and can range from salads to a full complement of carbs. As homeschoolers we have the benefit of lots of lunch choices that school children don’t have, and a fun way to include geography in your homeschool is to fix fun lunches from around the world. Get started by learning about school lunches in these countries, then discover some of your own and choose a couple of lunches to fix from different countries. Continue reading »

School Lunches Around the World />