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Controlling Internet Access While Homeschooling

Controlling Internet Access While Homeschooling

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: The truth about homeschool activities for teens

The Truth about Attendance at Homeschool Activities for Teens

“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 »

Homeschooling Middle School: 8 ways to motivate teens

Homeschooling Middle School: 8 Ways to Motivate Young Teens

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Resources for Homeschooling High School When Mom's Not the Expert

Resources for Homeschooling High School When Mom’s Not the Expert

When negative people who don’t know anything about homeschooling start talking about why it can’t work, one of their criticisms is that homeschooling parents can’t possibly know enough to homeschool the “hard” subjects of high school, which is why homeschooled kids won’t ever get into college. Of course, this would be a shock to all the homeschooled kids who’ve not only been accepted to college, but also already graduated. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: The Good News/Bad News about Starting Homeschooling in High School

Bad News/Good News of Starting Homeschooling in High School

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Teen homeschool technology project

Teen Tech Project: Building a Computer

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: How a "third place" can help homeschooled teens

Homeschooling Teens: Finding a Third Place

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: 20 Topics for a Nutrition Unit Study for Homeschoolers

20 Topics for a Nutrition Unit Study

Nutrition is an ideal homeschooling topic for the 10 – 14 year olds in your family or homeschool co-op. These middle years are an excellent time to go into more depth about what we eat and how it affects our health and growth. Tweens and early teens are especially interested in the changes brought by adolescence, and nutrition is a “safe” topic where kids can think about how their current choices affect their future. Continue reading »

Homeschooling High School: Our 11th Grade Plan

Homeschooling High School: Our 11th Grade Plan

We are homeschooling high school all the way through. If you would like to see how we track credits and create transcripts, see Our 10th Grade Plan. If you haven’t checked out our free Homeschool Planner Plus download, you should take a look at it for creating high school transcripts. It is easy to plug in your courses and credits and the spreadsheet calculates your GPA for you.

The 11th Grade Plan: DE English – This year’s focus is on composition through the local community college’s ENG 111 course. Over the course of the semester, students work to complete a research paper from the abstract topic proposal to the final draft. It is a challenging course that goes into the details of the process for a single paper instead of completing multiple papers. Continue reading »

Teaching Critical Thinking

Teaching Critical Thinking with The Fallacy Detective

One of the most accessible basic logic books on our book shelf is The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning by Nathan and Hans Bluedorn. The book helps kids (and adults) spot errors in thinking — logical fallacies often used in an effort to persuade others. Learning about fallacious thinking is valuable for academic reasons, but it’s also important to being a good consumer (recognizing how advertising works) and to being a good citizen (understanding how political communication works). Continue reading »

9 Benefits of Homeschoolers Hosting an Exchange Student

9 Benefits of Hosting an International Exchange Student

Hosting an international exchange student can be a great experience for homeschooling families. We hosted a student from Ecuador, and while the commitment can seem daunting, having Isaac José with us for a school year enriched our lives.

What are some of the benefits of hosting an international student? Continue reading »

Editing writing (instead of curriculum)

Instead of Curriculum: Bring Me Bad Writing

“Bring me bad writing,” I told my two homeschool co-op classes of middle school and elementary age writers. “Incorrect writing, wrong apostrophes, sentence fragments, typos, passive voice. Horrible stuff. Bring it.”

The next week, they marched in with an array of bad writing they’d found on websites, on convenience store signs, on gas pumps, in a letter from a college administrator, in text books, in novels, and in their own journals.

They had snapped photos, hand copied passages, bookmarked pages, and printed screen shots. Continue reading »

Homeschool composition for high school: assignments

Homeschool High School Composition: The Assignments

Part I of Homeschool High School Composition gives an overview of how to approach teaching homeschool composition. It is important to read it before using the assignments below, since it is a different perspective for teaching composition. Below are the assignments for composition using this part-to-whole process. The assignments use the UNC Writing Center’s free online resources.

If you would like to download the assignments, we have them as a PDF download here: Homeschool High School Composition Continue reading »

Homeschool composition for high school

Homeschool High School Composition

The Writing Center at UNC has put together a large collection of writing resources for college writing that are excellent tools for teaching homeschool high school composition. The center’s downloads and videos offer detailed explanations about research, sourcing, organization, editing and proofreading, voice, fallacies, thesis statements, and dozens of other writing topics. The resources are arranged alphabetically, making them easy to find by topic but not offering much in the way of an orderly progression for teaching. The following is a suggested order of study for using the resources for composition for a homeschooled high school student. In our case, we used this for a literature composition, but literature compositions can be the most difficult type to write. It might be more effective to initially use the process with a topic of choice instead of an essay on a particular book. Continue reading »

Homeschool High School: Our 10th Grade Plan

Homeschool High School: Our 10th Grade Plan

From the feedback and questions that we get on our Facebook page, there is a great deal of interest in how to homeschool high school. This year my daughter is a sophomore in high school, and I thought it might be helpful to share our 10th grade plan with you. Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling high school is often easier than homeschooling younger grades. Students are older, more mature, and better able to manage their own academics. When they need assistance, the material is more difficult, but between teacher guides, online resources, and friends with a knowledge of the subject matter, we have not found this to be a problem. Continue reading »

PhoneSchooling: News Apps for Critical Thinking

More PhoneSchooling: News Apps for Critical Thinking

When I was in high school and college, my mom clipped newspaper and news magazine articles for me. She left them for me on the steps to my bedroom or put them in an envelope and mailed them to me at with a handwritten note in the margin — “Thought you’d be interested in this” or “What do you think about this news?” Today, I do something similar with my teen and twenty-something sons, only I do it electronically. Continue reading »

College Prep: Worldview and Confirmation Bias

College Prep Homeschooling: Worldview and Confirmation Bias

A big emphasis of homeschooling at our house is thinking critically about the resources we use for information. I have always wanted my kids to understand that books, websites, presentations, magazines, television, and newspapers have a point of view, and that in order to be well-educated, we need to challenge ourselves with information that comes from a variety of editorial viewpoints. As part of my commitment to inquiry-based learning, I have frequently played “devil’s advocate” with my kids, especially by the later elementary years, and certainly throughout the middle school years, high school years, and beyond. Sketching out the corresponding point of view for the sake of argument, I’ll ask… Continue reading »

Contextual Learning: Homeschooling Through Fashion

Contextual Learning: Homeschooling Through Fashion

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 »

Instead of Curriculum: The Great Courses

Instead of Curriculum: The Great Courses

Our family has greatly enjoyed using The Great Courses audio and video recorded classes. The first of The Great Courses we used was The Story of Human Language, presented by leading linguist John McWhorter, who gives 36 lectures about the development of human language, why languages change or become extinct, dialects, how languages and their grammars affect thinking, and what the study of language can tell us about history and interconnectedness of early peoples.

From there, we began listening to every Great Courses CD set the library had. They offer courses in science, math, fine arts, music, religion, philosophy, history, literature, living, language, business, and economics. But it’s the course titles that are really intriguing — such as Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World, Writing Creative Nonfiction, How to Listen to and Understand Opera, and nearly 400 more.

Continue reading »