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TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Learning when it's "just right"

Goldilocks Effect: Learning When It’s “Just Right”

Young children seem to recognize that knowledge is an essential shared resource, like air or water. They demand a fair share. They actively espouse the right to gain skill and comprehension in a way that’s necessary for them at the time. Often children seem to reject what they aren’t ready to learn, only to return to the same skill or concept later with ease. This is not only an expression of autonomy, it’s a clear indicator that each child is equipped with an learning guidance system of his or her own. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: New homeschoolers, beware these red flags

New Homeschoolers, Beware

New homeschoolers are bombarded with information from which curriculum to use (see #11) to how to train their children (see #3). Homeschoolers are a wonderful group for crowd-sourcing information, but not all of the information available online or from other homeschoolers is helpful, useful, or productive. New homeschoolers are wise to beware the following… Continue reading »

Boy sitting on a stack of books reading a book with text What Curriculum Should I use for my 4 year old

What Curriculum Should I Use For My 4 Year Old?

Recently on TheHomeSchoolMom’s Facebook page someone asked for recommendations for her soon to be 4 year old. It took me back to when I had a 4 year old and a 1 year old and had recently decided to homeschool. I. Was. So. Excited. What curriculum should I use? How should we schedule our days? (I bought Managers of Their Homes and carefully scheduled every moment of our days and then proceeded to never once use the schedule.) I made lesson plans and felt organized and believed that my kids were going to get the best education ever. And honestly, we had great fun with some of the activities. So after all these years (my kids are now 19 and 16), what curriculum would I suggest for a 4 year old? Continue reading »

Peter Gray quote from TheHomeSchoolMom Blog Post "Why Homeschooling Boys Works"

Why Homeschooling Boys (and Girls) Works

Today a friend posted a video called “War on Boys” to Facebook and it showed up in my feed with lots of enthusiastic comments. As I watched the 5 minute video, all I could think was how obvious the video’s assertions are, and yet how far public schools are moving away from addressing the truths presented. Not just limited to boys (many girls share these traits with boys), the video shows how the policies being implemented in schools reward quiet intellectual pursuits in young children while simultaneously removing the opportunities for these kids to explore and learn through play. Continue reading »

5 Things to Do While Deschooling

Parental Deschooling: 5 Things To Do While Deschooling

Parental Deschooling Part 4 – I’ve explained why parents need to deschool as they begin homeschooling their children, and I’ve given you reading homework and asked you to network with other homeschoolers as part of the transition process.

Another aspect of deschooling involves things to do as you make the transition to homeschooling. Here is your “to do” list… Continue reading »

You can homeschool!

Yes, You Can Homeschool!

There are many reasons that lead families to consider homeschooling. Often it comes up when a child’s school is not a good match for their needs. Sometimes it’s driven by a parent’s desire to guide their child’s learning in the context of their own values. Sometimes children need a more flexible schedule in order to pursue athletic or artistic training, and sometimes parents simply can’t imagine missing out on the excitement of educational discovery.

How do you know for sure if homeschooling is the right fit for you and your child? Continue reading »

Parental Deschooling: Deschooling is not just for kids

Parental Deschooling: Homeschool Networking

While you’re in a deschooling period with your kids, I hope you’re doing some of the reading I suggested in Part 2 of this parental deschooling series. Another thing you’ll find beneficial is to begin networking with other homeschooling families.

There are two basic versions of homeschool networking, online and IRL — in real life. Both are valuable in helping you with deschooling — the transition from school to homeschooling. Continue reading »

Parental Deschooling: Deschooling is not just for kids

Parental Deschooling: Your Reading Homework

One of the most important things you can do is to read about homeschooling, education, and de-schooling. Read books, magazines, and online articles, blog posts, and websites.

Stretch yourself and read some things you don’t think apply to you, that are outside your comfort level. You don’t have to accept the premise of each homeschooling book or article you read, but even if you don’t agree or find certain ideas too radical, you’ll educate yourself about the many approaches to home education.
Continue reading »

Will homeschooling help add/adhd?

Will Homeschooling Help ADD/ADHD?

Will your child’s ADD get better if you homeschool?

I’m no educational psychologist, but I’ve been homeschooling for sixteen years in three states. I’ve met hundreds of homeschooling families at conferences and workshops I’ve presented, I’ve answered hundreds of calls at a statewide homeschool phone line, and I’ve been a homeschool evaluator in Virginia for quite a few years now. I’ve heard dozens of parents praise homeschooling for their children who were labeled with ADD/ADHD in the school setting. But it’s not magic. The parents who observe such a change in their children also generally report actively shaping their homeschooling to address attention problems their child had in a school setting. Here are some of the things that have made them successful… Continue reading »

How to Start Homeschooling: Tips for Deschooling

How to Start Homeschooling: Tips for Deschooling

For children who are starting homeschooling after an experience in a traditional school setting, deschooling is an important part of the transition. In an earlier post, we defined deschooling and how it might manifest in children who are transitioning from school to homeschooling. Knowing about deschooling helps parents to have realistic expectations about their children’s adjustment to homeschooling after they have attended school.

Today, we’ll take a look at how to start homeschooling after a traditional school experience with tips for deschooling… Continue reading »

What is "deschooling"?

From School to Homeschool: What is Deschooling?

Deschooling is the adjustment period a child goes through when leaving school and beginning homeschooling. To really get the benefits of homeschooling, a child has to decompress and disconnect from “school” being the default and “school ways” being the standard expectation.

The longer a child has been in school, the more important it is to allow generous time to process the huge change from not being in school to learning as a homeschooler. Continue reading »

When mom is also teacher

The Homeschool Parent-Teacher Conference

My first t-shirt as a homeschooling parent proclaimed, “Don’t bother me. I’m having a parent-teacher conference.”

This expressed well my initial thoughts about the roles of mother and teacher while homeschooling. I could see my “teacher self” talking to my “mother self,” echoing the familiar adult roles in education that involves public school…

Past my first few months of homeschooling more than a decade and a half ago, I have not separated a “teacher self” from my “mom self.” At the same time, I found it was important for me to set boundaries of time and space that made my family function well. Continue reading »

What I learned about homeschooling from Saxon Math

What I Learned about Homeschooling from Saxon Math

As you may have read over on my personal blog, I’m thinning my library of homeschooling books, and it’s an occasion for reflection. One of the things I finally feel free to do is to pass along my copy of Saxon Math.

Saxon didn’t work for us. In fact, it didn’t work in dramatic ways. We had multiple reasons for beginning homeschooling, but among the academic reasons was that the math taught at school was a poor fit and created a lot of stress and little math learning. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Delayed Academics - It's all about learning

Delayed Academics: It’s All About Learning

Many experienced homeschoolers have long valued the ability to delay formal academics to create a more holistic early childhood education for their young children, with the understanding that this creates a rich foundation for later academic and life success. Today, parents new to homeschooling are embarking on homeschooling at a time when public schools are emphasizing early formal academics and implementing standardized testing of very young children, despite lack of evidence that these practices enhance educational outcomes for the children.

As David Elkind (author of The Hurried Child and The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally) writes in “Much Too Early” for the website EducationNext, “Why, when we know what is good for young children, do we persist in miseducating them, in putting them at risk for no purpose?” Continue reading »

Homeschooling: It takes a village

Yes, It Does Take A Village

You’ve heard the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” You’ve probably also noticed slap backs like, “I’ve seen the village and it’s not raising my kids.” Continue reading »

Homeschooling Insider's Dictionary

The Homeschooling Insider’s Dictionary

New homeschoolers can’t help but experiencing it. It often happens the first time you go to a homeschool convention, or visit a homeschool co-op. You walk in, start to get the lay of the land, and then it hits you… This is like a whole different world.

There are different norms, different terms, different expectations — and everybody who’s in it seems to “get” it. You start hearing things like “Notice of Intent” and “IOWA” and “lapbooks” and you start to wonder just what it is that you’ve gotten yourself into. Continue reading »

Homeschooling Multiple Children

Homeschooling Multiple Children

Families new to homeschooling often wonder if it is possible to successfully homeschool more than one child at a time. It can seem very daunting! There are always challenges to homeschooling, whether you have one child or several. The trick to homeschooling multiple children, ages or grades with some measure of success and grace can be summed up in one word: organization. Continue reading »

What Homeschoolers Don't Need

What Homeschoolers Don’t Need

Sure, there are basic necessities for getting the job done. But many of the perceived “needs” for an effective homeschool really aren’t. That’s right. You can educate your children at home with much less than most people think. So in this two-part series, let’s look at a new back-to-school list: the list of what homeschoolers don’t need! Continue reading »

What about homeschool socialization?

What About Homeschool Socialization?

It’s often the first question out of the mouths of non-homeschoolers. For homeschoolers, it’s the question they wish they never had to hear again. As a new parent with homeschooling friends almost 2 decades ago, I asked it. As a homeschooler with young children in an area where homeschooling was prevalent, I had pat answers. As a more experienced homeschooler with a wider exposure to people in many geographic and social settings, I wanted to take a second look at the question of socialization with some input from another experienced homeschooler, Jeanne Faulconer. Continue reading »

Advice for new homeschoolers

My Advice For New Homeschoolers, Part 1

I’ve had more friends this year decide to homeschool than any other year since we began homeschooling. The reasons have varied — concern over values taught in the public school system, distress about peer relationships, a desire to inculcate principles of faith, worries about increased “teaching to the test” procedures in government schools, an interest in providing more individualized instruction… but whatever the reason, each parent has had a significant “deer in the headlights” look as they have shared their newly chosen educational path. They have one question in common, whether spoken or unspoken: “How do I homeschool my child?” Continue reading »