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3 Ways to Help Kids Have Good Heroes

3 Ways to Help Them Have Good Heroes, Part 3

You’ve probably heard the adage, “Heroes are made, not born”.

Not surprisingly, the sentiment applies equally well to how children come about admiring the right kinds of heroes.

Parents have a significant role in helping to create an environment in which children are drawn to choose role models who exhibit lasting, valuable qualities — by putting into place elements that encourage kids to value those qualities for themselves. Continue reading »

3 Ways to Help Kids Have Good Heroes

How to Help them Have Good Heroes, Part 2

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The hero is commonly the simplest and obscurest of men”.[1]

His understanding of the hero is quite a contrast to the money/sex/power-driven entertainment icons that commonly become the objects of admiration by modern children. I believe that it is parents who have a very important role in changing that — and a responsibility to create a culture in which their children want the right kinds of heroes. Homeschooling parents are in the prime position to do this, through a combination of monitoring the negative, exposure to the positive, education and modeling. Continue reading »

What Homeschoolers Don't Need

What Homeschoolers Don’t Need, Part 2

With back-to-school gearing up everywhere, the lists of school supplies are long. But have no fear. I am here to bring you some much-needed consolation in all of the school-prep hoopla. Because even though there are plenty of things you can buy and do and have to make your homeschool a success, you don’t need to stress. Because the truth is that this homeschooling thing doesn’t have to be complex. This two-part series is here to help you focus on something revolutionary: What homeschoolers don’t need! Continue reading »

Advice for new homeschoolers

My Advice for New Homeschoolers, Part 2

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 »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Homeschool motivation systems

Motivation System Examples, Part 4

Don’t we all just run out of ideas from time to time for how to get our kids to address troublesome behaviors? Motivation systems can go a long way to help homeschoolers target specific behaviors upon which children need to focus. They are particularly effective with young children, and children who struggle with attention/focus issues. Once you have the principles of motivation systems in place, you can create systems that are as individual as your family. The following are some examples of motivation systems that can be used in the home, and the behaviors they address. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Learning Grief

Learning Grief, Part 2

“Mom, am I going to die, like Dominic did?” The question knocked the wind out of me. You’d think that months after losing our newborn baby, just 4 days after he was born, I’d be ready for all of these things by now. Nope. It’s just one of the many things I’m learning in our new homeschool of grief — that just when I think I’m doing ok, and that I’ve experienced all of the emotions tragedy can bring… I get knocked a new one. These children I have left, my sweet girls, have taught me so much about grieving. Whereas before I was always the teacher, we’re definitely learning together in this new classroom of grief. And I’m so thankful to be doing it as a family. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Homeschool motivation systems

Motivation System Principles – Part 3

Motivation systems can provide that little extra “oomph” to help kids focus on specific behaviors they need to improve. Even better, they help parents be more attuned to responding to behavior in constructive ways. But for motivation systems to be most effective, parents need to keep in mind some basic principles of reinforcement (which apply to both reinforcement and consequences). Following these principles make the difference between whether a motivation system works or not, and they apply to any motivation system, whether it is done with stars, stickers, points, candy, or anything else. Before you set up any token economy for your child, be sure you appropriately incorporate the following principles: Continue reading »

The Beginner’s Guide to Unschooling

More Unschooling: The Beginner’s Guide to Unschooling, Part 3

Unschooling: This isn’t a definitive resource guide — I don’t have the experience or knowledge to write that guide. Better people than I have written much more on the topic, and while I can’t provide a comprehensive list, I will share some books and sites to get you started (many are from Eva and my sister Kat). Continue reading »

The Beginner’s Guide to Unschooling

Why Unschooling? The Beginner’s Guide to Unschooling, Part 2

Why unschooling? Let’s think about what school is about: preparing kids for jobs (and life) in the future … a future that’s probably a decade or more away. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: The Homeschool Year

The Homeschool Year (Page 2)

The Homeschool Calendar Page 2: 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 motivation systems

Motivation Systems, Part 2

Does your child have trouble staying on task? Constantly forget to pick up after herself? Complain whenever it’s time to “do school”? Motivation systems to the rescue! Motivation systems, also known as token economies, can do wonders to help homeschoolers deal with problematic behaviors, recognize and encourage desired behaviors, and establish an organizing principle for children. Continue reading »

Why I Homeschool

Here’s to the New Year: Why I Homeschool Part 3

There are enough pressure, stress, and opposing opinions inherent in the homeschooling journey to give even the most stalwart home educator cause to question his or her choice at some point. So, instead of New Year’s Resolutions, this year I’m reviewing why I homeschool. I’m getting my foundation set right at the get-go, so I’m better prepared for handling the challenges that will inevitably arise throughout this upcoming year. Because when the foundation is secure, you can build something beautiful. Continue reading »

Why I Homeschool

Here’s to the New Year: Why I Homeschool, Part 2

2012 is on its way, and my determination to make this a great homeschooling year is getting revved up right along with it. It’s just so easy to get lost throughout the year, in the continuous bustling flow of everyday life, and to lose focus on why I’m going through all of this effort to teach my children. That’s why at the dawning of this new year, I’m starting back at the beginning. At the foundation for why I’m doing all of this. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Christmas Traditions, Part 2

Christmas Traditions, Part 2

When you think back to Christmases as a child, most likely the things of which you have the fondest memories are those special traditions your family experienced together. Having special routines that you do year after year helps children develop an excited expectation for the holiday to come, and builds family unity and bonding. “Home for Christmas” can be a lot more than just physical location – Christmas traditions can be the glue that makes people feel like they’re home… Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Celebrating Christmas with School (part 2)

Celebrating Christmas With School, Part 2

In a homeschooler’s home is where you want to be in December! This month provides so many opportunities for creative, fun learning as families help children prepare for Christmas. But even for home educators, who generally seek to incorporate education into every aspect of life, it’s easy to let December come and go in a blur of decorations, parties, gift buying and seasonal events. Don’t let it happen to you! Continue reading »

A Homeschool Thanksgiving

A Homeschool Thanksgiving, Part 2

Thanksgiving can easily become the bump in the road on the way to Christmas, but the holiday deserves special attention and effort in its own right. Part 1 of this series offered a variety of ways homeschoolers can prepare children for Thanksgiving, including teaching opportunities and fun activities. There are just so many great ways to enjoy this holiday! Continue reading »

Homeschooling With Young Children

Homeschooling With Young Children, Part 2

If you’re trying to homeschool with children under the age of 4 in the home, good luck. OK, so it’s not really as bad as that, but getting academic work accomplished with older children, when babies, toddlers and preschoolers provide such…excitement…can definitely be a challenge! Moms who are successful at managing it all (and actually getting some education done at the same time) usually have to rely on a little bit of ingenuity, some periodic help, and a whole lot of flexibility! Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Teaching Money Management

Teaching Money Management: Using Envelope Budgeting (Part 5)

Although the last article examined the fact that borrowing money leads to overspending and poor financial health, it is natural to ask the question, “Just how, then, does one purchase items for which he/she does not have the money?” The answer to that question ties in closely with principles addressed in Part 4: 1) Children must learn to delay gratification and 2) Children must be taught to live within their means. When borrowing to purchase an item is not an option, parents can teach children another method to getting what they want, an approach often called “the envelope system“. Continue reading »

Taking School Outdoors

Taking School Outdoors, Part 2

Let’s see…schoolwork sitting at a desk or table, relaxing on the couch in the living room, or lying down on a comfy blanket spread out in the shade under a tree? Fortunately, homeschoolers don’t have to choose! Doing school outdoors is one of the many benefits of home education, which has benefits that are physical, emotional, and educational. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Teaching Money Management

Teaching Money Management: Avoiding Borrowing (Part 4)

A fourth major principle for helping kids learn to manage money effectively is to avoid borrowing. In our culture it is nearly a given that people must borrow money in order to purchase things they want. This philosophy, however, has led to tremendous debt. Continue reading »