My oldest child started high school at home this year. He's a very non-traditional learner, which can present a challenge when mom is the opposite. I never intended to homeschool and I really couldn't imagine homeschooling high school. But here we are, and here's how we are preparing a high school plan that works for us. Continue reading »
It took some time and some actual homeschooling my real children to get our grove and to experience a homeschooling life that was uniquely US. I needed to make our own way—mistakes and all—and not feel pigeon-holed into a certain method or philosophy. Fast forward a few years and I now have nearly a decade under my belt (well, under my yoga pants band—do people wear belts?) and I’ve curated a stack of homeschooling-ish books that I am always recommending and also going back to for encouragement, ideas and connection. These are my top five. Continue reading »
My 7-yr old spends most of her homeschool time in tantrums wanting to short-cut her work. We have tried everything from punishment to taking away free-time activities. I am at my wit's end and I don't know what to do to get her to do her school work without a meltdown every few minutes. Do you have any advice that may help? Continue reading »
As a parent of a high school homeschooler, I was approached by a neighbor who asked if I knew what the age limit was to begin homeschool. Her 20-year-old son never finished school, sadly. It seemed almost impossible for him to get his GED, having been enrolled on and off since he was 16. Knowing the need for a diploma, she’s considering homeschool, believing with one-on-one teaching, he will obtain his diploma, and his future will much brighter. Unable to find information on the North Carolina Homeschool help website about age restrictions, I’m hoping you can help us. Continue reading »
Bernie DeKoven may be a guru of fun but he's got a serious message for all of us. We need more playfulness! This game designer and fun theorist was a pioneer in computer game design and instrumental in the New Games movement. His new book, A Playful Path, is jam-packed with awesomeness. It's made up of tools and ideas to inspire the possibility-building, wide-open glory of playfulness. Continue reading »
In Facebook homeschooling groups and in real life homeschool group meetings, I frequently see new homeschoolers asking "Am I doing enough?" You ask this about all ages, from preschool through high school, though it tends to center around the earliest years of homeschooling. The "Am I doing enough?" question often comes from a point of surprise. Continue reading »
An occasional complaint of the primary homeschooling parent (most often Mom) is that the other parent (most often Dad) does not appreciate any learning for which he doesn't see first hand evidence.
If "learning" happens while Dad is away working, but he happens to come home to kids who are on the internet, watching television, or "just playing," he may not believe any "school" took place in his absence.
This can certainly be a reasonable concern that a father has for wanting to make sure that the children he loves are being well educated. Continue reading »
You’re excited about the new homeschool year, and you have a list of things to do to get ready. Do you have a list of things you don’t have to do? Homeschoolers don’t have to... 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 »
October 1. We shall declare it an annual homeschool holiday. We'll call it Curriculum's Not Working Day -- because now we have reached the time of year when so many of the new homeschooling parents who bought curriculum when we said, “Don't buy curriculum yet,” are concerned about not being able to get through the curriculum they bought anyway. Continue reading »
Interesting problems and exciting risks are life's calisthenics. They stretch us in directions we need to grow. Children are particularly oriented this way. They think up huge questions and search for the answers. They face fears. They puzzle over inconsistencies in what is said and done around them. They relentlessly challenge themselves to achieve social, physical, or intellectual feats that (from a child's perspective) seem daunting. They struggle for mastery even when dozens of attempts don't provide them any success. It's a testament to courage that they continue to try. Continue reading »
New homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers sometimes wonder about the word "deschooling" vs. "unschooling". The prefixes "de" and "un" often mean such similar things. We "de-humidify" and we "un-tie" our shoes — both acts of reversing the meaning of the root word.
And in that sense, the words are related. Both deschooling and unschooling require thinking about the inverse of schooling.
But within the world of homeschooling, the two words deschooling and unschooling have meanings that are, most often, distinct from one another. Continue reading »
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 »
Do homeschooling parents hate school?
I run across this assumption on the internets here and there. Commenters or bloggers or journalists or politicians will respond to a homeschooling parent based on the assumption that all homeschoolers are anti-school. Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
It's highly likely that at some point in your homeschooling career, you'll get to the place where you feel like you are done. If it hasn't happened yet, it will. That moment, in homeschooling, when you are sure you Can. Not. Do. This. Any. More. Continue reading »
Working with electronic circuit boards may sound ambitious or advanced, but my kids enjoyed playing with these as part of their science and technology learning when they were in their early elementary years. They learned many concepts about creating circuits from hands-on play, in particular by using a kid-friendly Snap Circuits® Kit from Elenco. Continue reading »
The kids had a bunch of boards, some old nails, a hand saw, and a few hammers. They also had the two most important ingredients, the desire to make something and the freedom to do so.
They spent an afternoon planning their tree fort, enthusiastically arguing over whose plan was best. Their first few attempts failed spectacularly. They were undaunted, even bragged a little bit about the noise the boards made falling down. Several of them asked family members for advice. A few others paged through books and watched YouTube videos as they tried to figure out basic construction techniques. They started again, measuring more carefully as they built a frame. 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 »