Get access to our homeschool planner and more! Sign Up

Homeschooling

Right-Brained Reading

Right-Brained 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 »

Ready to Use Thanksgiving Downloads - Pumpkin background

Fun Thanksgiving Unit Studies for November

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 »

Put homeschooling in the bag with a homeschooling activity bag swap

Swapping Homeschooling Activity Bags

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 »

Poetry, Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, & the Civil War

“O Captain! My Captain!”

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 »

Improving Homeschool Field Trips

Grandparents Guide to Homeschooling: Field Trips

As I’ve written previously in the Grandparents Guide to Homeschooling series, there are all kinds of great ways to spend time with your homeschooled grandchildren — just having fun, sharing your skills, providing child care, and helping them learn.

But the granddaddy of them all (pun intended), in my opinion, is taking them on field trips.

Field trips combine so much of the rest of the good stuff. They are great learning opportunities, they can be fun and adventurous, and they provide a kind of hands-on help that homeschooling parents really appreciate from their own parents.

And here’s the secret: they don’t have to be big deals — or, they can be. Continue reading »

Grandparent Guide to Homeschooling: Sharing Your Time

Grandparent Guide: Sharing Your Time

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Talking to Your Teen About College Debt

Talking To Your Teen About College Debt

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Homeschooler, Magician, Dad

Homeschooler, Magician, Dad

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 »

Ask Jeanne: Homeschooling is hard because of my background teaching elementary school -- how can I let go of the desire for structure?

Ask Jeanne: When a Teacher Turns Homeschool Mom

Dear Jeanne,

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

Jeanne’s response:

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 »

Winter Warmup: Making Snowflakes (Credit: Image created using photo by Liz West under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license)

Winter Warmup: Making Snowflakes

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 »

Ask Jeanne: Would a speech delay directly affect the child's ability to comprehend and read simultaneously?

Ask Jeanne: Speech Delay and Reading Comprehension

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Deschooling vs. Unschooling - What's the Difference?

Deschooling vs. Unschooling: What’s the Difference?

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Developing a Pet Unit Study

Pet Unit Study Ideas

Your dog, cat, bird, fish, ferret, hamster, or lizard may be a unit study waiting to happen. Many children are fascinated by domestic animals, and their strong interest will motivate them to read, write, solve problems, and create projects. Here are some ideas for developing a unit study around our pets. 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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: The Solution to Too Much Stuff at Christmas

An Answer For Our Constant Christmas Quandary

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Tub Schooling

Tub Schooling

What are the toys in your bathtub? And how good are you at tolerating a little mess? If you’re able to create a nice collection of bathtub toys and allow some extended playtime in the bath, you have the possibility of giving your preschool and kindergarten age kids a good experience “tub schooling.” It’s more important for your kids to enjoy creative play than to sit at a table doing worksheets for hours a day from ages 3 – 6, and there’s no place better to play than in the bathtub. I suggest having a plastic bin full of toys, stocked with… Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Rhythms, Routines, Rituals In the Homeschool

Rhythms, Routines, Rituals in the Homeschool

Rhythms, routines, and rituals help us stay centered and on track as homeschooling parents, and they enable our children to relax and feel secure because they know what to expect each day. A thoughtful routine allows us to focus our energy in one area at a time, knowing that other essential areas will not be neglected. Well-established rhythms help us manage the ebb and flow of homeschooling and free our remaining energy to deal with the unexpected. Continue reading »

Ask Jeanne: Concerns about spelling

Ask Jeanne: Concerns about Spelling

After we’d met for a homeschool evaluation, a mom of a ten year old wrote to me with concerns about her son’s spelling.

We have are having an issue (problem?) with spelling. Up until last fall we had been using All About Spelling with good success (I thought) and had made it through five levels. Since then, it’s kind of fallen to the wayside, and every few weeks I have my son write a story, mark the words he has misspelled (which he always identifies), and then work on spelling them correctly. When he tries to write things out, he has a really hard time spelling and has to really think things through. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: 5 Benefits of Playing Chess

5 Benefits of Playing Chess

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 »

Educating head, heart, hands, and health

Educating Head, Heart, Hands, and Health

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 »