Does the holiday season bring a sense of excitement? Or does it make your head spin with all the amazing possibilities for homeschooling piled on top of all the holiday festivities, food, and fun? The holidays can be a double-edge sword for homeschoolers. We have the freedom to schedule our days how we please or not please. We can sip hot cocoa and read, decorate the house, and take time for special family celebrations. Continue reading »
Turkey and stuffing might be the staples of Thanksgiving, but for many families the holiday means much more. Homeschoolers often seek to go beyond simply a festive meal to create a culture within the home that encapsulates a sense of belonging, security, and love. One important way families do this is through creating Thanksgiving traditions. Continue reading »
Well, it’s already into the first week of November, and I’m realizing that I am supposed to be doing something Thanksgiving-y with my kids. I mean, I even write for TheHomeSchoolMom on creative ways to celebrate the holiday with the family, fun Thanksgiving activities, and ways to express gratitude. You’d kind of think that I would have this whole Thanksgiving-focus-during-the-month-of-November thing down. But, here I am, already into November, and realizing I’m not prepared. Have no fear, Thanksgiving homeschooling procrastinators, all is not lost. Continue reading »
The December writing prompt calendar is full of winter and holiday-themed writing prompts. Each month we are offering writing prompts (you will be able to find them all on the main Homeschool Writing Prompts page), and you can download our December-themed prompts below. Continue reading »
This month’s calendar is full of autumn- and Thanksgiving-themed writing prompts, including menu planning for Thanksgiving dinner and leftovers. Each month we are offering writing prompts (you will be able to find them all on the main Homeschool Writing Prompts page), and you can download our November-themed starters here. Continue reading »
I have kept a secret from my husband. We have moved an average of every two years since we began homeschooling, and some homeschool materials have gotten, uh, misplaced from move to move. Including the squid. Which I had never told him about. Continue reading »
Holidays offer such a wonderful opportunity for crafting and creating. Thoughtfully handmade decorations and gifts always seem to have a willing recipient or admirer, and there is something special about creating something that will be seen and enjoyed by others. Whether you are someone for whom crafting comes naturally or someone who wants to find a way to make more creative opportunities for your children, there are many ways to weave crafts and activities into the holiday season. Continue reading »
An atmosphere in which real learning can occur exists where the children are nurtured and supported to explore their own personal interests, as well as the world around them. Sharing love is like sharing a treasure. Whether it be through expressing warm thoughts towards one another, opening up and sharing feelings with each other, or just spending some pleasant moments together, it is the essence of the learning process. Continue reading »
Thanksgiving is almost here in the U.S., which means homeschooling may take on a different look in the coming weeks.
When our family was young, normal homeschooling routines went out the window. We hung on through Halloween, but Thanksgiving was a clear line of demarcation: We’d squeeze in family holiday traditions, performances, programs, and service work — and a lot of our usual learning routines and classes were squeezed out or not even scheduled. Why should homeschoolers worry less about schoolwork during the holidays and embrace the season? Continue reading »
We have always struggled, like many homeschoolers, with the gift-giving part of Christmas. My husband comes from a huge gift-giving family. I come from a family in which money was always tight and gifts tended to be few but meaningful. We both have a faith that leads us to condemn unmitigated materialism, convicts us about our prosperity amongst a world of poverty, and challenges us to find a balance between the joy of giving and the selfishness of indulging. Continue reading »
Homeschooling is an economic challenge for many families, including mine. Sometimes it takes extra creativity to make it work. I’ve had to adjust my habits and expectations along the way. The two most important things for me have been crafting a realistic budget and being clear about our family’s priorities. Making homeschooling work is non-negotiable in our family, so we make adjustments in other areas. I’ve learned that courage and creativity can enable a sense of richness and abundance while keeping things economically balanced. Here are some of the things that I’ve learned. Continue reading »
Holiday celebrations are important. Over the years we’ve focused mainly on simple, handmade, joy-filled ways of celebrating. Our crowd’s favorite kind of birthday party typically includes a special birthday snack, a gaggle of kids, and a fun place to run around. I encourage my children–and their friends–to give gifts of the heart: treasures from nature, homemade goodies, special handmade items, lovingly selected hand-me-downs, thoughtfully chosen items. We’ve stepped away from commercially prescribed traditions and created our own. We have consciously shaped many heartfelt traditions that we can replicate year after year even when the budget is meager. Continue reading »
The reality is that when you homeschool, it can easily seem like an endless treadmill. Often there aren’t the same demarcations in the school year that public school students experience, as many homeschoolers follow non-traditional schedules and do academics year-round. Moving from one “grade” to another becomes an issue of “in which subject?” and summer “break” can simply be a matter of shifting academics from traditional book work to more experiential learning. Homeschooling, like parenting, never ends while the kids are still at home. Continue reading »
If there’s one thing the new year does for me, it’s remind me of how quickly time is passing.
You remember, when you were younger, how a year was an absolutely interminable amount of time? And then you grow up, and then you have kids. And then somewhere around the time your youngest gets to be the mostly-self-sufficient-age (5 or 6 ish), when you wake up from baby and toddler fog, you start wondering, “Where did the time go?” “How did my children get to be so old?” You find yourself saying things like, “How is it already the new year?” and “I feel like we just finished the summer. How is it time for snow again?” Continue reading »
Sometimes by the time Christmas approaches, I feel like I’ve squeezed out every possible ounce of meaning from the season.
We’ve done plenty of family traditions, like putting up the tree and making Christmas cookies. We’ve listened to Christmas carols and reveled in the peace of Silent Night and the reverence of O Holy Night. We’ve served together to raise money for the impoverished of the world. We’ve talked about the importance of giving, and gone out to purchase gifts for family members. We’ve lit our Advent candles each Sunday of Advent, put up our Jesse tree ornaments, and done a unit study on God’s plan for Christmas from the beginning of time.
We’re homeschoolers after all, ya know. And doing kind of comes with the territory. Continue reading »
It’s like fall comes and then… Boom! You’re getting ready for Christmas. Now, I’m certain that many of you homeschoolers out there already have your December homeschool-worthy Christmas plans in the works before Thanksgiving rolls around, and, well…yay for you. Me? The thought of Christmas plans doesn’t usually seriously cross my mind until the turkey Continue reading »
There’s kind of a holiday about gratitude coming up, in case you haven’t noticed. You know that time when you give thanks for all of your blessings? Well, this whole home education list falls pretty close to the top of my gratitude list. The longer I do it, the more I love it, and the more I realize its value. Let’s be honest — homeschooling is a luxury very few people in this world can afford. Whether it is an issue of needing two incomes to make ends meet, single parents being the sole breadwinners, political opposition, or something else…home education is a phenomenal blessing for which each of us who are able to participate in it should be tremendously grateful. Continue reading »
Valentine’s Day is coming up. And, guys, even if you haven’t thought about it yet, it’s highly likely that your wife has. And that she’s anticipating something from you.
Especially if she’s a homeschooling wife.
Because, let’s face it, she doesn’t get a lot of accolades for what she does from anyone else. No “celebration of the 100th time you got Johnny back on task without losing your cool” or awards for “Homeschool Mom Most Able to Overcome Learning Obstacles All On Her Own”. Not even any team excellence award. Because — oh yeah. There is no team. Plus she has to deal with the “I can’t do this” chair flops, overflowing science projects, and baby poop — often at the same time. Continue reading »
A great project for the New Year is making a calendar with your little ones. I’m talking about making a calendar the old fashioned way, using fresh heavy art paper and your favorite combination of markers, colored pencils, oil pastels, or other media. I first got this idea from the Oak Meadow first grade curriculum, a Waldorf-inspired curriculum which I loosely followed from time to time and adapted for other ages as my family grew. Continue reading »
The time just seems to pass by so quickly. And, lets face it, the year passes by quickly because each day passes by quickly. And isn’t that how it goes? Thinking about what we’ve got to do before we even do it, and then rushing to get it all done. So goes the day. So goes the month. So go the years. And when we look back, we wonder where the time went, and how we can get so much done and still wonder what, exactly, we’ve actually accomplished. This new year, I want to do it differently. I mean, just think about it. If somehow it all-of-a-sudden turned out to be our last moments in this world, and we had to reflect on what mattered to us to have accomplished in our lives, I doubt any of us would mention 90% of the things on our daily mental to-do list. Breakfast prep? Nope. Laundry starting? Nope. E-mail checking? Definite no. Of course many of those things do need to be done, so life can move forward. Yes, kids do need to eat. But what percentage of our time is spent doing the urgent rather than the important? And aren’t we homeschooling, at least on some level, in order to have more time for the important? Continue reading »