Get access to our homeschool planner and more! Sign Up

Rethinking Education

Delaying Academics When Homeschooling

Delaying Academics: When Homeschoolers Defer Formal Lessons

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom: How our family defines successful homeschooling

Our Homeschool: The Standard for Success

Every once in a while in this homeschooling journey, by some miracle — you are able to see that you did something right.

That happened to me, recently, in an unexpected way.

It was testing time. Standardized testing time.

* Insert ominous theatrical music here.*

Yes, in years past, I have seen testing as the time that informs me of all the ways I am failing as a homeschool mom. Of course it’s not that, but that’s still how it felt. If my kids scored well, I scored well as a homeschool mom. If they didn’t, 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: Dropping Out Was a Good Idea

Dropping Out Was a Great Idea

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Don't Push Little Ones To Learn

Don’t Push Little Ones To Learn

Take a look at promotional material for preschools in your area. Chances are there’s an emphasis on early math, pre-reading, and other academics. This approach sells. Nearly everyone I know is sure their children benefit from playing with blinking, beeping toys that “teach.” Most of them sign their children up at the age of two or three to attend specialized enrichment programs that claim to boost abilities in science, art, sports, or language. Continue reading »

Waiting For Unschooling To Work

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 »