When it comes to education, one size does not fit all. One of the benefits of homeschooling is parents’ ability to shape education to fit each, not all. Kids come with a wide range of abilities—academically, developmentally, socially, temperamentally, artistically, physically, and emotionally. Expectations in schools are based on a “standard” student when there is no standard student. Kids mature at different rates, have unique interests, have their own home environments, and have their own genetic traits. Here’s how homeschooling can make the most of that. Continue reading »
To find out about homeschooling's many unique benefits, visit our comprehensive "Benefits of Homeschooling" page. Our archive of blog posts for the topic is below.
The yellow legal pad had a line down the middle: the pros and cons of homeschooling were written on opposite sides of the blue-inked vertical line. Not content with that, I flipped to the next page and drew another line down the middle: pros of public school to the left and cons of school to the right. Continue reading »
What if you asked, “What does my child need right now?” and immediately began working on it, with little to no red tape? Welcome to Homeschooling’s Power of Now. Homeschooling allows the choice to prioritize what your child needs today, whether that’s refuge from bullies, time to make art, help for a learning difference, treatment for mental or physical illness, advanced learning opportunities, or more time to play outside. Continue reading »
Do you want to boost your children’s learning? Homeschooling with your dog can work wonders. The beauty of homeschooling is the freedom to learn anywhere, any time, and alongside your favorite pup. Kids and dogs share a strong bond. Continue reading »
In Facebook homeschooling groups and in real life homeschool group meetings, I frequently see new homeschoolers asking “Am I doing enough?” You ask this about all ages, from preschool through high school, though it tends to center around the earliest years of homeschooling. The “Am I doing enough?” question often comes from a point of surprise. Continue reading »
We hear a lot about the flexibility of homeschooling, but people usually mean that the curriculum or approach to homeschooling is flexible, or even that the daily, weekly, or yearly calendar is flexible. However, in addition to how homeschooling is done and when homeschooling is done, there is also flexibility in where homeschooling is done. One example I’m running into more frequently is something I’ve started calling office schooling — where parents bring their children to work and use their office as the children’s place of learning. In spring of 2015, I met Angie Cutler at the VaHomeschoolers Conference, and she told me she would be office schooling her daughter during the 2015-16 academic year. I caught up with her just before the 2016 spring VaHomeschoolers Conference, and I was able to interview her about how their first year of homeschooling at the office has gone. Continue reading »
Grade level, schmade level. Homeschoolers — relax.
If your children are below grade level in some way, they still first have to take the next step.
And if your children are above grade level, there are still more steps they can take.
That’s because homeschooling can be potential based, and homeschooled kids can follow their own arc of development as they reach toward their potential. Continue reading »
Starting homeschooling during the high school years can seem intimidating or liberating — or both. There is both good news and bad news about starting out homeschooling in high school, but for many people the good outweighs the bad. Continue reading »
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 »
Young children seem to recognize that knowledge is an essential shared resource, like air or water. They demand a fair share. They actively espouse the right to gain skill and comprehension in a way that’s necessary for them at the time. Often children seem to reject what they aren’t ready to learn, only to return to the same skill or concept later with ease. This is not only an expression of autonomy, it’s a clear indicator that each child is equipped with an learning guidance system of his or her own. Continue reading »
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 »
The teenaged years are actually the most rewarding of the homeschooling years. That’s what we’ve found with our four homeschooled kids. And that’s what I was told by many of the 110 families I interviewed for my book Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything. People in Ireland, Australia, India, and the U.S. described coming to this realization in similar ways. Their concerns about helping a young child master the basics or their struggles to find the right homeschooling style gradually resolved. Parents grew to trust the process of learning much more completely and, perhaps as a result, they saw their children mature into capable and self-directed young people. Continue reading »
Everybody knows that your kids should be up early hitting the books, right? Homeschooling goes better if Mom is organized and has lessons prepared for first thing in the morning. Homeschooling works well when kids focus on academics when they’re fresh, and they get to play when they’ve completed their school work.
Homeschooling at any other time of day is risking disaster.
That’s the conventional wisdom, anyway.
However, sometimes homeschooling at night makes more sense than the conventional wisdom. That can even include “nightschooling” – focusing all or part of your homeschooling efforts during the evening hours. Continue reading »
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 »
As you may have read over on my personal blog, I’m thinning my library of homeschooling books, and it’s an occasion for reflection. One of the things I finally feel free to do is to pass along my copy of Saxon Math.
Saxon didn’t work for us. In fact, it didn’t work in dramatic ways. We had multiple reasons for beginning homeschooling, but among the academic reasons was that the math taught at school was a poor fit and created a lot of stress and little math learning. Continue reading »
This year in my role as a homeschool evaluator, I met a number of tweens and teens who are interested in fashion. As we went through their portfolio of work and talked about their year, I was fascinated with the ways they had woven their interest in fashion with their academic studies. Two of the teens I met with had taken their interest in current fashion into the past — studying the typical dress and accessorizing of women and men in earlier periods of history. They also took their fashion interest international — studying the current typical dress of modern-day people in other parts of the world.
Both of these girls (who did not know each other — they had arrived at this independently) had done extensive research to be able to portray the styles of other times and other places, and they could explain how the fashion reflected the culture, religious beliefs, gender roles, classes and roles in society, and daily life. They were articulate about the historical times and geography of the world as they discussed the observations they had made about fashion in these distant centuries and far-off places. Continue reading »
The reputation of homeschooling has progressed to the point that in addition to the occasional vitriol, I frequently get compliments for homeschooling my kids. The compliments often come from other moms who say, “I could never do that.”
There are many reasons they say they couldn’t do it, but maybe the most frequent one is, “I’d kill my kids.”
What they mean, of course, is that they would not get along well enough with their kids to be able to get through it. The conflict and distress would be too much; parent and child would be at each other all the time. Continue reading »
The freedom to pursue one’s passions is a benefit of the flexibility of homeschooling. Making sure that a young person pursues interests for his or her own reasons, not the parent’s, keeps motivation alive and passion genuine. Snake wrangler, computer geek, vintage auto restorer. These are a few of the identities one of my sons tries on as he masters areas of interest to him. Continue reading »
When we first heard about homeschooling, my husband and I thought it sounded like a great idea. Our first child had just been born, and like all new parents, we wanted only the best for her. Neither of us had been greatly impressed by our own school experiences, so we put homeschooling on our mental list of pursuits to consider someday. Continue reading »
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 »