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Homeschooling Styles Archives

Ask Jeanne: Online Schools

Ask Jeanne: Online Virtual School?

The first few weeks of school this year haven’t gone well for Cheryl, and she wrote to me for help deciding whether to homeschool her 7th and 11th graders who are in negative school situations. I wanted to answer a specific part of her question in greater detail: I have never homeschooled and I need advice. I thought of doing the online homeschool called . Please help! Continue reading »

Considering Homeschooling? Find the Right Fit.

Considering Homeschooling? Find the Right Fit.

Homeschooling is all about finding the right fit: finding what works for each child, for the homeschooling parent, and for the family’s lifestyle and values. Luckily, homeschooling has gained mainstream popularity in the last decade and the resources for homeschoolers have exploded into a veritable feast of choices. Continue reading »

Homeschooling styles explained

Styles of Homeschooling

When you mention homeschooling, many people instantly imagine denim jumpers, large families, and kids sitting around the kitchen table with textbooks all day. The reality is a little more… realistic. There are endless ways to homeschool, as well as countless reasons to do so. There definitely aren’t any typical homeschool families. Unless “different” counts as “typical.”

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Homeschooling not working? Try thinking outside the textbook.

Thinking Outside the Textbook

I’m a member of several homeschooling groups and email loops, and the most common questions are all related to, “It’s a battle to get my child to do her work. I thought homeschooling would be better for my child, but it’s all tears and yelling. For both of us. I may have to put her back in school.”

The specifics vary, but many parents new to homeschooling are trying to recreate a public school environment in their home and finding that it doesn’t work. It’s not their fault. Most of us went to public school; it’s what we know. We’re taught that this is the only way to get an education. That children won’t learn if we don’t tell them what to learn and force them do so. We shouldn’t be surprised when we find homeschooling not working under these circumstances. Continue reading »

Homeschooling at Night: How Nightschooling Can Help You

Homeschooling at Night: How Nightschooling Can Work for You

Everybody knows that your kids should be up early hitting the books, right? Homeschooling goes better if Mom is organized and has lessons prepared for first thing in the morning. Homeschooling works well when kids focus on academics when they’re fresh, and they get to play when they’ve completed their school work.

Homeschooling at any other time of day is risking disaster.

That’s the conventional wisdom, anyway.

However, sometimes homeschooling at night makes more sense than the conventional wisdom. That can even include “nightschooling” – focusing all or part of your homeschooling efforts during the evening hours. Continue reading »

Delaying Academics When Homeschooling

Delaying Academics: When Homeschoolers Defer Formal Lessons

Schools are pushing standardized testing and formal academics earlier than ever, with today’s kindergartners and preschoolers asked to master skills and content that used to be learned in first and second grades.

Stories like this one from New York and this one from Chicago are popping up all over the country — frequent standardized testing of five year olds (and the accompanying test prep) is becoming the norm in public education. Formal reading, writing, and arithmetic teaching are displacing the time honored traditions of kindergarten — play, story time, learning to share, and enrichment activities that lead to numeracy and literacy.

Some school reformers see the same thing that many homeschoolers do — that a loss of play puts academic success at risk. A complete report on this was issued by the Alliance for Childhood, “Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School”. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: The Homeschool Year

The Homeschool Year

The Homeschool Calendar: New homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers frequently wonder about whether the “homeschool year” follows or needs to follow the traditional calendar used by most public and private schools in the United States. Long-term homeschoolers frequently find their answer to that question changes as their children get older. Casual observers of homeschooling might think “of course” homeschooling has to follow a school calendar in order to be legitimate and sufficient.
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TheHomeSchoolMom: Support School Choice (It's Not What You Think)

School Choice

I support school choice. Unlike politicians who advocate school choice, I am not referring to vouchers and tax credits. No, when I say school choice, I am referring to the right and responsibility that each parent has to direct the education of their own children. As a homeschooler, you may think it’s obvious that an editor of a homeschool newsletter would support school choice. To that, I would ask you to consider what school choice means to you and whether you truly support school choice for other parents no matter what their choices are. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Dropping Out Was a Good Idea

Dropping Out Was a Great Idea

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of questions raised about how innovations in technology will change education as we know it – Can machines replace teachers? Do internet resources provide everything needed to develop professional skills? What happens if you replace school with online learning? I’ve spent my life trying to find out, and the answers I have are both promising and a little horrifying. Continue reading »

Transcripts and Delight-Directed Learning

Transcripts and Delight-Directed Learning

Some people just aren’t textbook people! What do you do if your homeschooler learns by living, instead of studying textbooks? What if your child soaks up knowledge like a sponge, without being directed in any way? Can you still create a serious-looking high school transcript?

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Letting Go of Teaching

“I always thought the idea of teaching was highly overrated. I was more interested that my kids learned.” ~Lee Binz

Stop Teaching and Start Learning – Do you sometimes long for an “escape from teaching?” I sure did, especially as my kids got a little older. The good news is that your days playing the “teacher” role will someday come to an end. Instead your role will evolve to that of a “learning facilitator.” Continue reading »

Why We Educate at Home (A Discussion of the Classical Education Method)

My husband and I have no qualms about our style of parenting, which is so tied up in home education. He grew up beside his father in a greenhouse. Our first apartment at 500 sq ft, had 31 houseplants in it. He now works as a landscape designer. So we understand this analogy: Children are like little plants. You take the seed and put it in a little cup of the best topsoil. You give it lots of light. You gently sprinkle it with drops of water so the delicate leaves aren’t broken. When it gets a decent root system, you transplant it to a bigger pot. You protect it from the wind and the hottest sun. You bring it in when there’s a freeze. You don’t put it out where the dog will trample it or a deer will eat the buds. When it’s well-established, and the season is right, you can transplant it finally to its place outside your home. Then it will do well on its own in the downpours and coldest winters. Continue reading »

Unschooling – Education Outside the Box

To understand unschooling, you really have to look back at the history of education and homeschooling. The standard used to be for children to be taught in the home. However, by the mid ’70s, homeschooling was nearly extinct. Over 99% of school-aged children in the United States were attending institutional classroom schools. By that point, people seemed to have forgotten that children had ever been successfully educated without going to school. Slowly, though, an increasing number of parents began to recognize that they were in a battle for their children’s hearts, minds, and time. They saw the control that the government had taken not only in education but in their families’ lives, and these parents began again choosing to be in charge of their children’s education. Continue reading »

Introduction to Waldorf Homeschooling

Despite the fact that there are over 100 Waldorf schools and kindergartens in the USA (and about 1000 more in countries as diverse as Mexico, Latvia, France, Germany, Israel, India and Egypt), Waldorf education is not well known. Indeed, amongst homeschoolers, those of us who work with Waldorf are almost invisible! My hope is to address this imbalance and to help get the word out about a form of education which others might find beneficial to their children. Continue reading »

Raising God-Directed Learners

One of the goals of Christian home schooling families is to raise our children to be God-Directed learners… that means not just self-motivated, but led by the Holy Spirit. At first, whether you are starting out with a young child, or if you are just bringing your children home after months or years of institutionalized education, they will NOT be Spirit-led learners, or even independent learners. If they have been in school, then they have learned to open their minds like little birds open their beaks, and wait for someone to cram some knowledge down into their brains, and before they have even digested that morsel of knowledge, open up for the next spoonful. Even if they are home schooled the whole time, they are not able to consistently reason until between the ages of 8-10. This is not bad; this is normal. But how do we guide our children from the dependent learning stage to self-motivated learning, and then on to being God-Directed? Continue reading »

Definition For Classical Education

Those who incorporate the reading of ancient classical authors, and declare this to be of the very essence of any education which could be styled as Classical, are actually referring to what might better be called a Classical Humanist Education. The Applied Trivium, on the other hand, is more interested in teaching by the same educational principles and toward the same educational goals as the ancients than in teaching the same literature as the ancients. Continue reading »

Awakening the Soul Through Liberal Education

A liberal education awakens the soul of a child. Liberal means a full and generous curriculum. After a thirty-year experiment, educationalist Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) said, “I believe the ardor for knowledge in the children of this mining village is a phenomenon that indicates new possibilities… To find that the children of a mining population were equally responsive [as were children of educated parents] seemed to open a new hope for the world. It may be that the souls of all children are waiting for the call of knowledge to awaken them to delightful living.” Continue reading »

Charlotte Mason in a Nutshell

Charlotte Mason In a Nutshell

Charlotte Mason was a big thinker who had a very high view of children. So let me start out by saying that I don’t believe anyone could ever fit Charlotte Mason’s ideas, methods and philosophies into an actual nutshell (I just thought it made a good title for this article). Miss Mason’s ideas were so broad and far reaching, it took six large volumes to contain her writings on just the topic of education. With that said, here’s a very brief overview of a handful of Charlotte Mason’s most familiar ideas. Continue reading »

Unit Study Approach

Unit studies, sometimes called thematic units or integrated studies, are very popular with homeschoolers. Unit studies usually use a hands-on approach for effective learning. The child learns by actually experiencing or discovering through different methods and activities, rather than just reading a chapter from a textbook. Studies show that children using unit-study methods retain 45% more than those using a traditional approach. Continue reading »

Unschooling Flowers in the Spring

Well, a lot of people predicted it and now it’s happened. My daughter’s unschooling has led her to a dead-end job at low pay. Yup, she’s a hired hand on a farm. She didn’t tell me that she was taking the job. I found out about it when I came across a list of her chores that she’d written out. In addition to feeding the pigs, chickens, horses and cows, she has to haul water, milk the cows and even chop wood! And for all this, she only gets room and board! Continue reading »