Are you using audiobooks in your homeschool? If not, you are missing out on the awesome benefits that come from listening to books. Homeschooling parents embrace the benefits of audiobooks because audiobooks create a shared listening experience, with adults and kids on "the same page," like watching a movie together... Continue reading »
Delaying Formal Academics
My 7-yr old spends most of her homeschool time in tantrums wanting to short-cut her work. We have tried everything from punishment to taking away free-time activities. I am at my wit's end and I don't know what to do to get her to do her school work without a meltdown every few minutes. Do you have any advice that may help? Continue reading »
Kids with right-brain characteristics have hit the jackpot when it comes to homeschooling! Although students with a right-brain orientation often struggle in traditional school environments, homeschooling provides the perfect flexibility and individualization to help these children shine! Previous articles explore specific techniques and strategies to help these learners be successful in math. But what about reading? Continue reading »
In a previous post, I encouraged parents not to obsess over grade level to the detriment of their child's actual engagement and learning. However -- yes -- I concede there are times you do have to think about grade level, and your child and your homeschooling efforts will benefit if you do. 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 »
Will your child's ADD get better if you homeschool?
I'm no educational psychologist, but I've been homeschooling for sixteen years in three states. I've met hundreds of homeschooling families at conferences and workshops I've presented, I've answered hundreds of calls at a statewide homeschool phone line, and I've been a homeschool evaluator in Virginia for quite a few years now. I've heard dozens of parents praise homeschooling for their children who were labeled with ADD/ADHD in the school setting. But it's not magic. The parents who observe such a change in their children also generally report actively shaping their homeschooling to address attention problems their child had in a school setting. Here are some of the things that have made them successful... Continue reading »
Many experienced homeschoolers have long valued the ability to delay formal academics to create a more holistic early childhood education for their young children, with the understanding that this creates a rich foundation for later academic and life success. Today, parents new to homeschooling are embarking on homeschooling at a time when public schools are emphasizing early formal academics and implementing standardized testing of very young children, despite lack of evidence that these practices enhance educational outcomes for the children.
As David Elkind (author of The Hurried Child and The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally) writes in "Much Too Early" for the website EducationNext, "Why, when we know what is good for young children, do we persist in miseducating them, in putting them at risk for no purpose?" Continue reading »
Schools are pushing standardized testing and formal academics earlier than ever, with today's kindergartners and preschoolers asked to master skills and content that used to be learned in first and second grades.
Stories like this one from New York and this one from Chicago are popping up all over the country -- frequent standardized testing of five year olds (and the accompanying test prep) is becoming the norm in public education. Formal reading, writing, and arithmetic teaching are displacing the time honored traditions of kindergarten -- play, story time, learning to share, and enrichment activities that lead to numeracy and literacy.
Some school reformers see the same thing that many homeschoolers do -- that a loss of play puts academic success at risk. A complete report on this was issued by the Alliance for Childhood, "Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School". Continue reading »
Why do some homeschoolers choose not to use one of the many complete math curricula available today? And what do they do instead? To many homeschooling parents, math feels like the one thing that must be taught and learned in a systematic way even for very young children. Even many people who are otherwise attracted to or influenced by a version of interest-based learning or unschooling often say-- "except for math."
To understand unschooling, you really have to look back at the history of education and homeschooling. The standard used to be for children to be taught in the home. However, by the mid '70s, homeschooling was nearly extinct. Over 99% of school-aged children in the United States were attending institutional classroom schools. By that point, people seemed to have forgotten that children had ever been successfully educated without going to school. Slowly, though, an increasing number of parents began to recognize that they were in a battle for their children's hearts, minds, and time. They saw the control that the government had taken not only in education but in their families' lives, and these parents began again choosing to be in charge of their children's education. Continue reading »