Our 10th grade non-traditional learner stated that he wanted to tackle more challenging content, more in-person classes with homework and projects, and wanted to be in charge of his schedule. I got to work researching local classes, online classes, curricula, and more. We had long conversations, lots of texting back and forth, and finally came up with a plan that worked for him, for me and his dad, and for our budget and schedule. Continue reading »
I don’t know about you, but we love to use YouTube videos to complement various subjects and interests in our homeschool. I’ve polled my kids and some of my trusted homeschooling friends to put together a list of 20 YouTube channels to add fun and learning to your homeschool. There’s something for everyone: art, baking, music, science, engineering, and random facts (our favorite). Continue reading »
Every homeschool family is walking their own path. The beauty of homeschooling is that it allows us to look at all aspects of our lives in new and different ways. We have to get creative. We have to push boundaries, or perhaps, enforce them. Here are 5 ways to set yourself up for better balance. 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 »
Is yours one of the many families whose “school year” has a beginning, an end, and then a break before the next year begins? Schooling at home is something to celebrate, and when the end of the year arrives, it presents an opportunity for joyful recognition and reflection. Here are some ideas for ways to make it memorable and special for your family. Continue reading »
Spring might be my favorite time to homeschool. It has quickly replaced the awesomeness of back-to-homeschool in late summer. It’s not necessarily because of the weather—spring just feels different. My kids are all working on different things at this point. It can be overwhelming because I feel like I’m not staying on top of everyone’s everything. In the end, that’s not my job. My role is to be an Educational Opportunity Provider. We can flow with the seasons and our energy levels. It’s spring and it’s a good time to both shake things up and create a flowing routine. Continue reading »
We’ve been homeschooling for a while and we’re asked lots of questions, have endured so many opinions from people we don’t know (and some we do), and have received both resounding support and eye-rolls and sighs. The most common thing we hear is, “You must have so much patience to homeschool. You really need to have patience to homeschool.” Continue reading »
Do you ever scroll through Instagram or Pinterest and see perfectly perfect homeschool rooms? The huge farm tables, the meticulous supplies (color coordinated, of course), built in book shelves with alphabetized books, a delightful desk for planning and a lovely set of double doors to close off everything at the end of the day. Sigh. Perhaps you’re new to homeschooling or maybe you’ve been at this life for a few years. You see the images of lovely homeschool room ideas, and you feel frustrated because you don’t have a dedicated space just for homeschooling. You’re not alone! Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
Put Homeschooling in the Bag – Your homeschool group or co-op might enjoy working together to create homeschooling activity bags for a swap. This was a fun idea our family did with a homeschool group, and it sort of works like a cookie swap at holiday time. You gather inexpensive supplies for a single hands-on pre-school activity, homeschool craft, or simple science experiment or demonstration (up through elementary age), and you put them in a zipper plastic bag with instructions. The beauty part is — you make up ten or twenty identical activity bags (according to the number of families participating), and you take them to the swap. Continue reading »
As a student, I hated poetry. In high school, the words “poetry unit” filled me with dread and an almost uncontrollable desire to feign an extended illness preventing school attendance. As an adult, the aversion stayed with me until I heard Walt Whitman’s haunting verses about the Civil War read aloud – grieved, lamenting the death that seemed to be everywhere. Listening to poetry and experiencing the emotions that the poet meant to evoke brought the words to life. Meter and rhyme, refrain and couplet, sonnet and stanza — they may be important to learn, but only after poetry is experienced. Experiencing poetry is crucial to appreciating it. Once it has been experienced, the process of creation can be studied with a focus on mechanics and editing Continue reading »
I wrote in the first installment of the Grandparent Guide to Homeschooling that grandparents can be a big blessing to homeschooling families — by sharing their time and resources and by providing informed support. Today’s post is about sharing time. Grandparents who are able to share time with their homeschooled grandchildren can make a huge difference in their lives and in the lives of the homeschooling parents. Continue reading »
I’m a fan of natural consequences, but sometimes the lessons are too big – with consequences that last a lifetime – for the maturity level of the child. One such example is when a child wants to take on significant debt in the form of college loans. Most 17 year old high school students do not have the life experience to be able to understand the impact that taking on tens of thousands of dollars in debt will have on their lives.
While I encourage young adults to have freedom in making their own decisions, wise and carefully presented parental input is imperative in this issue. Most people would never consider advising a 17-18 year old to purchase a $80K house with payments deferred for 4 years (and a home loan has collateral — if you go into default, they foreclose and the debt is gone), yet are comfortable with student loans that have even more of a financial impact. Continue reading »
As a homeschool father, I was mostly in charge of going to work to pay the bills while my co-parent was largely responsible for the homeschooling, making food, organizing everybody, keeping us all alive–a ceaseless and thankless profession by most counts. Still, I have to admit, I was often jealous. I would go to the school where I was teaching, pouring my creativity and experience into creating lessons for other people’s children, most of whom didn’t want to be there. Then at night, I would collaborate with Kathy on our home curriculum–finding cool ways to explore the roots of Western Civilization or how to present division using chocolate chips–the creative engagement that attracted me to the teaching profession. Needless to say, I often felt torn between the need to make a living and the wish to participate in my children’s education. Looking back now, I can see that those days when I did play hooky from my job in order to participate in my children’s education are some of the most powerful and meaningful memories I have of my children. Continue reading »
It’s so freeing to hear your thoughts about the effectiveness of a more informal education! I have realized that homeschooling is hard because of my background in teaching elementary school. It’s hard to shake away from formal lessons and expected structure, but, when I do, my active 6yo boy thrives!
Sincerely, Teacher Mom
Ah yes. All my elementary teacher friends say that this is the hardest thing for them. You are in good company here.
Try to think about how much you did in a classroom was because you were in a classroom — with 25 kids who had to get through a set curriculum… Continue reading »
Snowflakes are fascinating to children and adults. They are unique, beautiful, and tiny marvels of nature.
Introduce your children to the fun of cutting paper snowflakes. Instructables has step-by-step text instructions with photos and diagrams to show you how to make six-pointed snowflakes. Six-pointed flakes are the most authentic, since they generally occur in nature with six points.
This YouTube video by The Bookhouse is a great paper snowflake-cutting demonstration that is easy to follow: Continue reading »
My question is this: in your opinion would speech delay in a child directly affect the child’s ability to comprehend and read simultaneously – meaning, the ability to read words is good, however the understanding while reading seems to be disconnected. My little girl is turning 6 at the end of the month and although had a speech delay which was identified at 3, she is now within the “normal” spectrum … translated as: her speech and language therapist says she has caught up with her peers but still has some pronunciation issues. Continue reading »
New homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers sometimes wonder about the word “deschooling” vs. “unschooling”. The prefixes “de” and “un” often mean such similar things. We “de-humidify” and we “un-tie” our shoes — both acts of reversing the meaning of the root word.
And in that sense, the words are related. Both deschooling and unschooling require thinking about the inverse of schooling.
But within the world of homeschooling, the two words deschooling and unschooling have meanings that are, most often, distinct from one another. 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 »