One of the greatest things about homeschooling is having the freedom to experience education in a way that works best for your student and family. Often, this means enjoying educational models or philosophies that are uniquely designed to fit your family’s needs. One such model is distance learning. Continue reading »
In some states, there are various hybrid education models due to families combining some elements of homeschooling with classes and programs offered by public schools, private schools, charter schools, colleges, and online schools. Often called "homeschool hybrids," these education hybrids may take the form of part-time enrollment at a traditional local public school for a class or two while homeschooling, participation in extracurricular activities and/or sports at a local school while homeschooling, university model schools (usually private) that students attend two or three days a week while learning at home the rest of the time, and more... Continue reading »
I don’t particularly love labels—they can be too general or cause assumptions and are likely not 100% accurate. That said, labels can be helpful when you’re searching for information on various topics. Google is better when you’re using key words, which is how I heard of Type B homeschooling a few years ago. A good old Google search brought me to a few articles, which I read and breathed a sigh of relief. I felt like I discovered a secret society of homeschoolers. I was not alone. Fast forward to this past summer, when a good friend and I were chatting, and we both realized we were talking about the same thing. Type B Homeschooling. Continue reading »
If you’re shopping for a homeschool curriculum program (and even if you’re not!), a great place to see the products in action is at a homeschool convention. Think about it, you have all the vendors in one place and they’ve been preparing to showcase their products for weeks -- all for you and your fellow homeschoolers. You don’t get this type of attention when you’re visiting a website or talking to a person on the phone. Continue reading »
What’s the capital of Montana? How many teaspoons are in a quarter cup? How long do rhinoceroses live? If your homeschool student asked you one of these questions, you’d most likely answer, “look it up.” Your student would probably sit down at their computer or pull out their tablet or phone to do so. In today’s day and age, the thirst for knowledge is almost unquenchable and going online to learn is as natural as breathing. That’s why it’s a wonder that families balk at the idea of using online curriculum in their homeschool. Continue reading »
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 [name of virtual public school withheld]. Please help! Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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? Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
Classical education uses specific terminology—grammar, rhetoric, and logic—for the three stages of learning. The Trivium combines these terms with knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to create Trivium terminology. Learn more about each stage and how they fit with a child's development. Continue reading »
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 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 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 »
Remarkably, the best homeschooling advice I received came when my first child was a baby. My friend Barb, an experienced homeschooling mom who loaned me stacks of Home Education Magazine and Growing Without Schooling, told me that to homeschool I only had to "provide a rich environment, involve children in everyday living, and help find answers to their questions." That sounded very simple, and it is; the challenge is in trusting that such a plan is enough. Continue reading »