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TheHomeSchoolMom - Homeschool Testing: Evaluating Learning By Asking Questions

Homeschool Testing: Evaluating Learning by Asking Questions

Homeschooling parents are sometimes asked about how often they test their children. Some do give tests that are associated with specific text books or curricula. However, many never give tests, and others only assist their children with learning test-taking skills when there is a practical reason, such as preparing for a state-required standardized test, a college readiness test such as the SAT or ACT, or helping a child prepare to enter a more formal learning situation. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Trying Homeschooling Over the Summer

Trying Homeschooling Over the Summer

This is the time of year when I begin to hear from many people who are interested in trying homeschooling over the summer. For lots of parents who have not made a final decision about whether to homeschool during the next year, this seems like a practical approach.

If homeschooling doesn’t seem to work, their children can enroll in school for the next school year, without any lost academic time. If homeschooling does seem to work, then the family can commit to homeschooling fully and begin the next academic year with home education.

Many veteran homeschoolers will tell you, though, that a summer trial of homeschooling may not be a great indicator of how homeschooling will work for your family. Continue reading »

Why Should I Attend a Homeschool Conference?

Homeschool Conferences: Why Attend?

Why should you attend a homeschooling conference or convention this year? Conferences help you adjust your course and recharge your batteries. If you need to refine your homeschooling style, find new curriculum or resources, or re-consider your children’s needs, a homeschooling conference can provide the stimulation you need to help you figure out how to tweak and improve your homeschooling life. You’ll also have a chance to re-charge your own batteries; hearing informative speakers and being surrounded by other homeschooling families can inspire and refresh you. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Homeschooling for Safety

Homeschooling for Safety

This morning, my jaw dropped when I heard radio host Dennis Miller repeatedly tell a caller who was upset about the horrendous school shootings in Connecticut that he should consider pulling his young daughter out of school and homeschooling her. Miller was clearly serious.

I’m not used to hearing homeschooling being recommended by people like Dennis Miller, but in the wake of the awful event at Sandy Hook, I can see where shaken parents all over the country are looking at their children and thinking, “How can I protect them?” when dropping them off at school each day no longer looks like a safe thing to do.

I get that, and being as pro-homeschooling as I am, I agree. BUT, please know that homeschooling isn’t something you do impulsively. It requires serious thought. Most importantly, it requires at least one highly committed parent (ideally, two). Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: My secret to managing it all

My Secret to Managing It All

Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom: I think every successful homeschool mom has a secret…her secret to managing it all.

Because the truth is that homeschooling itself is overwhelming; it’s just difficult to get it all done. When you add in the responsibilities of keeping the household going along with it, sometimes we feel like we’re on some roller-coaster that we can’t ever get off. Academics to teach, social skills to impart, character to instill, cleaning to complete, food to make, activities to attend, transportation to provide, jobs to fulfill…it’s just so much. Too much, sometimes. Enough that it usually takes some sort of plan, some sort of secret — to actually get it all managed well. Continue reading »

The Beginner’s Guide to Unschooling

Guide to Unschooling for Beginners

There’s nothing I get asked about more as a parent than unschooling, and nothing I recommend more to other parents. 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.
Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Homeschool Support

Homeschool Groups: To Join or Not to Join

Fall back-to-school often brings many homeschoolers to a choice: Do I join a homeschooling support group or co-op? There are many different types of homeschool groups, including intimate family groups with shared teaching, nationally-based tutor-led groups such as Classical Conversations, local extra-curricular-based support groups, state-based associations (such as Home Educators Association of Virginia), and local co-ops with parent-rotated teaching. The goals, purposes, cost, and time commitment varies with each different group, so it’s almost impossible to speak in generality about the myriad options homeschoolers have for joining with other home educators. But if you’re going to consider it, fall is one of the best times to think about whether joining a homeschooling group is the right choice for your family. Continue reading »

Text "What is most important and valuable about the HOME as a base for children's grown into the world is not that it is better than the schools, but that it isn't a school at all. John Holt" branded TheHomeSchoolMom

Homeschooling is Not Public School at Home

She got me thinking. My friend, who, for the first time, was questioning some of the values, methods, and efficacy of public school and began investigating the idea of home education for her family. By asking me questions about this whole “homeschooling thing” that we do, she brought to my attention something with which we homeschoolers ourselves struggle. My friend didn’t even realize it, but with her questions about what we did and why we did it, she displayed what is a very common misperception about homeschooling: that homeschooling is some kind of a microcosm of the public school classroom, transported to the home environment. As I thought about it, I realized that many of us homeschoolers struggle against the very same misconception. Continue reading »

Back-to-School Perspective

Many public and private schools are starting the new year, and it’s not surprising that many homeschoolers use the fall to “get back into the groove” of things. Whether moving up to the next level in curriculum, adding a new subject, or simply trying something new, “back-to-school” can be an exciting time of rejuvenation and starting anew for home educators. It’s easy, though, to get caught up in the whirlwind of curriculum, practices, scheduled events, and educational endeavors that before you know it, the year is halfway over and you wonder where the time has gone. As those with grown children know all too well, when raising a family, the days often seem to pass slowly, but the years pass way too quickly. Continue reading »

Homeschool Convention Survival Tips

Homeschool Convention Survival Tips

Springtime brings warm weather, beautiful flowers, and….homeschool conventions! There are few better ways to be inspired, encouraged, and invigorated along the journey of homeschooling than attending a homeschool convention. It is an opportunity to be surrounded by like-minded people, attend informative workshops, see lots of new curricula, and receive wisdom and encouragement from experts and veteran home educators. Continue reading »

7 Reasons to Homeschool Through High School

Why would you want to homeschool through high school? Do the advantages really make it worth while? My husband and I homeschooled all four of our boys from kindergarten into early college, and we’d do it all over again in a minute. It was a joyous journey! Here are seven reasons you may want to consider homeschooling through high school. Continue reading »