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 »
Benefits of Homeschooling
From a customized learning plan to empowering children to learn during a skills gap, there is a world of possibility when you homeschool. The posts below explore the learning opportunities that are unique to homeschooling. If you are new and want to get started homeschooling, click the image below to go to our 6 step guide to getting started.
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 »
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 »
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 »
I recently wrote about how homeschooling parents can use a dialogue-based approach to education, which I see as a big potential benefit to home education. While many public schools have been forced into test-prep mania that defines success very narrowly, homeschoolers can use this educational approach to develop critical thinking and evaluate learning.
Scientific American has a recent story that reflects my thoughts on the unfortunate increased emphasis on standardized testing in public education. Continue reading »
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 »
One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can continue to help our kids build content during skills lags, customizing what works for each child. Experienced homeschoolers often fall into these techniques over time, but I offer a few of my favorite ways you can help your child get “subject area learning” before his reading and writing skills are developed to an extent that they can be the primary routes to learning. Continue reading »
Much has been made of the academic benefits of homeschooling, but often without getting specific about how those benefits actually work. One of the most important benefits of homeschooling I’ve witnessed over the years has been the way homeschooling allows kids to build knowledge during times that some of their specific academic skills might be seen as “behind” (by school standards). Continue reading »