Our twins, now 13, are in eighth grade. When we started the academic year, I sat down with each twin (a boy and a girl) to discuss what they wanted to learn about this homeschool year and to share what I had planned for them as well. Homeschooling middle school is a fluid, flexible few years. I have an older son, now in high school, and he was my test subject and helped me loosen up my rigid thoughts and fears that middle school had to JUST be a launching pad to high school. We're interest-led with a dollop of what I call my "non-negotiables." Continue reading »
Homeschooling middle school can be a great thing because all the peer pressure, negativity, drama, etc. that comes along with these years can be lessened by choosing to home educate. I’m sharing my top four tips to help make your transition into homeschooling middle school manageable—whether you’re brand new to homeschooling or you’ve been homeschooling from the beginning. Continue reading »
As families turn to homeschooling due to lack of information (or what they see as unacceptable policies) from public school systems about what fall may bring, they have questions. One of the most common questions we are seeing is whether a certain curriculum is accredited. Continue reading »
During certain times of the year, I can be a "Debbie Downer" when it comes to homeschooling. Everything looks and feels difficult. Or wrong. Or annoying. Changing my perspective and focusing on the positives and the positively awesome helps me feel anchored. Here are a few of the things that I'm focusing on right now. Do any of them resonate for you? Continue reading »
Since it can be helpful to read about what other homeschoolers are doing for high school, I’ve detailed out our plan for our first year of homeschooling high school with a non-traditional learner. I’m not an expert by any means—my teen is my guinea pig and I definitely needed some guidelines on how I could build an experience for him and not just school. My kid thrives on experiences. The more the better. Continue reading »
My oldest child started high school at home this year. He's a very non-traditional learner, which can present a challenge when mom is the opposite. I never intended to homeschool and I really couldn't imagine homeschooling high school. But here we are, and here's how we are preparing a high school plan that works for us. Continue reading »
One thing that has remained consistent into the teen years for my kids is their need for hands-on learning. We've just updated and tweaked what that looks like these days compared with when they were younger. With some creativity, planning, partnership, and imagination, hands-on learning can be explored in a variety of ways. I've got nine ways you can cultivate hands-on learning for your older homeschooled kids. Grab your pen and planner, and let's chat! Continue reading »
When I decided to tackle a blog post about our 7th grade plans for my twins, I had to pause and catch my breath. How are they already in 7th grade? Why are they taller than me? Will they notice if we do Five In A Row again for old time’s sake? My oldest, a rising high schooler, made his way through middle school homeschool. Sometimes, his learning looked super structured, but often it looked more unschool-ish than I had anticipated. Here are my three key insights about homeschooling middle school . . . Continue reading »
My newly 13 year old son was insisting that he wanted different school projects that didn’t always include his younger siblings (11 year old twins). After discussing, we decided to start a teen book club that would appease my desire for him to branch out into other literary genres AND would give him a social opportunity with his friends. There would, of course, be lots of food too. Continue reading »
Geography. It was not my favorite subject growing up in traditional schools, and I wanted to teach homeschool geography differently from the way I learned it in school. Sure, I knew my states, could identify other countries, large bodies of water, various cities, etc. But, the process was lots of memorizing, spitting out facts, and then promptly forgetting everything. I didn’t want that for my kids. When we began homeschooling, I knew I wanted my kids to have a natural curiosity about out our world. I wanted our homeschool geography study to be something that we naturally discussed in fun and hands-on ways, using a variety of resources. Continue reading »
Homeschooling middle school is a new season of life. I prepared by buying a new prepackaged curriculum, and while I loved everything about this curriculum, I had forgotten to take my kids' learning styles and desires into account. I assumed they would be happy to go along with whatever I put on the table. I had to accept that we were in a new season of homeschooling. I had to acknowledge that my kids were growing up and had developed their own interests. They had their own strengths and weaknesses. They were ready to let go of some anchors in our days that I was clinging to for dear life. Anchors that I thought were required to have a “good” or “productive” homeschool. Continue reading »
Don't depend on boring government textbooks; use an activities approach to learning how government works. If teens do these activities, talk about their experiences with you and others, and follow rabbit trails online, they will likely retain more knowledge about how government works than if they just read from a government textbook. Continue reading »
Is your older child or teen sneaky about using the internet, even though you have rules limiting computer use to online curriculum? Some parents complain of kids straying from school assignments and hiding browser history, especially as kids approach and pass into the teen years when they are more computer savvy and more aware of internet content beyond their curriculum. Continue reading »
"We offer activities for teens, but they don't come."
If this sounds like your homeschool group, you are probably wondering why teens aren't interested in attending your events. Many groups are sincere in wanting to offer activities for older homeschoolers, and want to figure out why it's not working.
As someone who has created multiple homeschool groups and co-ops in the many communities where we have lived, I have a few ideas about some of the reasons that may contribute to low attendance by teens. Continue reading »
There is no doubt that middle school students can be difficult to engage at times, and this can be especially true for home teachers who are also parents. Middle school aged students are holding on so fiercely to their newly discovered independence, and at the same time they need some guidance while they learn to develop their own thoughts and opinions about the world around them. As your child's home teacher, you have the difficult position of being both the parent and the educator of your child who is quickly learning to assert themselves. Learning with middle school age student might require a shift in thinking and planning for the home teacher, but it can also be the start of a new dynamic in your homeschooling relationship. Continue reading »
I'm a new homeschool mom with an eight year old who is really advanced in his academic skills. My problem is that the people who run the classes and co-ops we're interested in won't let me sign him up above his age group. This includes our county recreation department, the local history museum, and activities sponsored by our local homeschool group. How can I get them to place him correctly so he won't be bored?
This is one of the reasons we took him out of school. He started reading and writing at an early age, and he got in trouble in school because he already knew how to do everything they were working on in the classroom. I'm frustrated that people don't seem to accept that he is gifted and should be in higher level classes. People talk about homeschoolers being able to work at a customized level, but then they apply restrictions that are similar or identical to school. What gives? ~ Frustrated Mom Continue reading »
How do homeschoolers learn things that their parents don't know anything about? Just a little research in the world of homeschoolers can show people that homeschooling parents don't have to teach everything their children are learning. They just have to facilitate opportunities so their kids can learn. Here are a few of the ways kids learn things their parents don't know about. 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 »
This week I visited with a homeschooling family whose son was anxiously awaiting his shipments from New Egg and Tiger Direct -- full of the components he would assemble into his own PC.
This brought back fond memories, since two of my three sons undertook this same project during their teen years, and my oldest actually did the same after he graduated. Continue reading »
Homeschooling teens means a lot of questions about preparing for college admission or getting experience and training for a vocation or artistic endeavor. We wring our hands over curriculum and credits, and we help our teens learn to drive and manage their money.
But another little piece of life experience we can help our teens with is being able to work in "a third place."
Typically, a third place is talked about in the world of adults, as the place that is "not home" and "not work."
College students and some high school students often study or socialize in a "third place" that is "not home" and "not classroom." Continue reading »