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 »
New to Homeschooling
Thinking of Homeschooling? As homeschooling has grown in popularity, I have had more and more people ask me for advice on how to do this thing. And let’s be honest, there aren’t a lot of guidelines. One of the great benefits of homeschooling is that you can make it be whatever you need it to be for your individual family. However, in this benefit is also a challenge – there are so many options, so many different ways of homeschooling, it can be overwhelming to those who are starting for the first time. Many a friend considering homeschooling has moaned, “I just don’t know if I can do it!”. Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
Trying homeschooling over the summer? Learn how a “trial” of homeschooling this summer may or may not give you a real picture of how homeschooling will work longer-term in your family. You may think that if homeschooling doesn’t seem to work, your children can enroll in school for the next school year, without any lost academic time. If homeschooling does seem to work, then you 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 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 »
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 »
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 »
There’s nothing I get asked about more as a parent than unschooling, and nothing I recommend more to other parents. Continue reading »
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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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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
A new administrator, unfamiliar with the finer points of the homeschool law, asked for more than the legal requirement. She called to tell me she wanted a list of the books I would be using. Being an unschooler, I couldn’t guess what books would grab my kids’ interest. Even if I could guess, this was beyond the law. However, I felt this phone conversation was not the time to say so. Continue reading »
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 »