Now more than ever, homeschoolers are looking to emerge from their homes and engage with the community around them. Whether you are new to an area, a temporary resident, or a lifelong inhabitant, learning about the place you live can lead to all sorts of new opportunities and adventures in learning. Here are 10 simple ways to start using your community to enliven your life and learning. Continue reading »
At first, particularly if you are new to homeschooling, it may seem like there are no homeschoolers around at all. But chances are very good that they are just hidden in plain sight! Families in many areas have established homeschool groups that meet for field trips, projects, playtime, and even parent-run classes. Finding them can be the hardest part. Some homeschool groups maintain a low profile to respect or protect the privacy of their member families. So it can be challenging to make that first connection. But homeschoolers, in general, are very resourceful and well-connected, and once you've found one local homeschooling family, you may soon hear about others. Continue reading »
It's not part of the traditional curriculum in United States schools or homeschool families -- but playing chess is a part of the curriculum in about thirty countries around the world. According to Dr. Teresa Parr of MATCH, there are five significant educational advantages to chess for homeschoolers (and others) to consider. Continue reading »
I grew up participating in 4H, and while I recommend the 4H program itself, I also find myself thinking a lot about the four "H's" as they apply to homeschooling: head, heart, hands, and health. If you want a holistic way to personally assess your homeschooling, think about whether what your kids are doing is working in each of these areas. Continue reading »
You float an idea on a homeschool email list or a Facebook group:
"I'm planning a field trip to Smith Historical Farm on the morning of April 10. I can get a group rate if we have 20 kids, and they'll do special hands-on projects with the children."
You give the details, and people say "count us in," giving a headcount of 32 children for the field trip.
The day before the field trip, emails start flying with all the reasons people can't be there. You go anyway, embarrassed to find that only 11 kids are there, and two of them are technically too young to participate. The Smith Historical Farm people are nice, but point out that you no longer qualify for the group rate, meaning that each family is now going to pay double what they expected. Continue reading »
Homeschool moms get used to questions from non-homeschoolers. Some questions arrive with the seasons, including in the fall, of course: "Have you started school yet?" and in the spring: "Have you finished school yet?" Some homeschooling families make no distinction between starting and stopping learning, so the question is odd to them. As I've written before about the homeschool year, other families do follow the school year with explicit study of academics, while their friends in the same homeschool group might make their own calendar. Continue reading »
In my family, interest-based groups have been an important part of homeschooling life. We formed a number of these groups over the years. Some, like a history club made up of eager parents and not-so-eager young children, barely lasted long enough for a few meetings. Others have lasted ten years. The most successful has been our boy’s science club. It was started by five families with nine boys between the ages of seven and eleven. When we began it was highly structured. We met regularly at each other’s homes. Parents took turns planning a project or experiment, got the materials, explained the educational principles underlying the activity, and if things didn’t turn out as planned (actually quite frequently) it was usually a parent who searched for answers. Continue reading »
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 »