I remember our first day of homeschooling like it was yesterday. In the beginning, we followed the traditional public school schedule. This was new territory for me, and I felt safe wrapped in tradition. Later, I no longer needed the safety net of tradition. I had evolved. It felt freeing. After a bit of trial and error, we discovered year round homeschooling. I was in love. Continue reading »
One way to make homeschooling more effective is to get involved on the child’s level. You each carry a basket for treasures you’ll find on your walk together. You sit down and paint your not-very-good-painting while your child paints at the table with you. You take your child to the library and model looking up a book in the computer catalogue; then you and your child search among the Dewey Decimal numbers on the shelf to see who can spot the book first. Let’s explore the “Let’s” Effect. Continue reading »
Learning does not have to be boring. Hands-on, active lessons are best for engaging the child and for memory retention. Below are five fun activities to teach the parts of speech. The 9 Parts of Speech: Before participating in any of the activities, review the following parts of speech with your student. Continue reading »
When the modern homeschooling movement first began a few decades ago, the personal computer didn’t even exist, but now the majority of homeschooling families use a computer as part of their educational program. This not only reflects the growth of computers throughout our culture, but it also indicates that many homeschooling parents have assumed that computers can help children learn more effectively. But if we think that plugging every kid into a computer will transform education, we’re fooling ourselves – and potentially harming our children. Continue reading »
What’s it like to educate siblings at home? I caught up with three Vermont homeschooling mothers who do just that. Meghan has six children, aged 11, 9, 7, 6, and eight month old twins. Michaeline’s children are 7 and 5, and she cares part-time for two additional children aged 2 and 1. Pam runs an in-home daycare for three children aged 4, 3, and 1 while homeschooling her own children, aged 13, 7, and 5. Continue reading »
How can I homeschool multiple children? If you’ve asked this question, you’re in good company. Meeting the needs of multiple children is a challenge for any parent. But homeschooling parents needs to be able to do it all day long. How is that possible? Continue reading »
Everybody knows homeschoolers go on a lot of field trips.
We start them young with trips to the fire department and the water treatment plant. We go to historic farms, art museums, animal shelters, state and national parks, corn mazes, and caverns.
In my state, Virginia, you can study practically all of American history through field trips: Native American sites, Jamestown, Williamsburg, historic grist mills, Frontier Culture Museum, Mount Vernon, Monticello, Montpelier, antebellum plantations, Civil War battlefields and museums, memorials of World War I and II, Civil Rights sites, a Vietnam War museum, and more. Continue reading »
“Bring me bad writing,” I told my two homeschool co-op classes of middle school and elementary age writers. “Incorrect writing, wrong apostrophes, sentence fragments, typos, passive voice. Horrible stuff. Bring it.”
The next week, they marched in with an array of bad writing they’d found on websites, on convenience store signs, on gas pumps, in a letter from a college administrator, in text books, in novels, and in their own journals.
They had snapped photos, hand copied passages, bookmarked pages, and printed screen shots. Continue reading »
One of the most wonderful things about homeschooling is that it can accommodate the needs of students across the full spectrum of ability. One-to-one attention can encourage and expand on individual strengths, and curriculum can adapt to address individual needs.
Continue reading »
My first t-shirt as a homeschooling parent proclaimed, “Don’t bother me. I’m having a parent-teacher conference.”
This expressed well my initial thoughts about the roles of mother and teacher while homeschooling. I could see my “teacher self” talking to my “mother self,” echoing the familiar adult roles in education that involves public school…
Past my first few months of homeschooling more than a decade and a half ago, I have not separated a “teacher self” from my “mom self.” At the same time, I found it was important for me to set boundaries of time and space that made my family function well. Continue reading »
Winter is a wonderful time to take Alphabet Walks with your children. In my part of the U.S., this means bundling up for the cold weather, but hunting for the ABCs in nature may be just the thing to get you and the kids moving on darker winter days.
The main object of an Alphabet Walk is to find letters that have been unintentionally formed in the outdoors. Perhaps crossing tree branches form an X against the blue sky, or a cat curved on your deck forms a perfect C. A front door wreath on your neighbor’s house is an O. The brickwork above the windows in an old Main Street building creates a V. Continue reading »
Part I of Homeschool High School Composition gives an overview of how to approach teaching homeschool composition. It is important to read it before using the assignments below, since it is a different perspective for teaching composition. Below are the assignments for composition using this part-to-whole process. The assignments use the UNC Writing Center’s free online resources.
If you would like to download the assignments, we have them as a PDF download here: Homeschool High School Composition Continue reading »
The Writing Center at UNC has put together a large collection of writing resources for college writing that are excellent tools for teaching homeschool high school composition. The center’s downloads and videos offer detailed explanations about research, sourcing, organization, editing and proofreading, voice, fallacies, thesis statements, and dozens of other writing topics. The resources are arranged alphabetically, making them easy to find by topic but not offering much in the way of an orderly progression for teaching. The following is a suggested order of study for using the resources for composition for a homeschooled high school student. In our case, we used this for a literature composition, but literature compositions can be the most difficult type to write. It might be more effective to initially use the process with a topic of choice instead of an essay on a particular book. Continue reading »
As regular readers know, I’m a big advocate of using accessible learning methods instead of curriculum. For some homeschoolers, this is in addition to their regular curriculum, and for others it’s truly instead of any packaged formal curriculum.
I’m used to hearing that you can’t learn math this way — that’s a common chorus among homeschoolers — but I was in a recent conversation with a homeschool mom who was all for the “instead-of-curriculum” approach except for handwriting. And by handwriting, she meant printing–learning to print. Continue reading »
A lot of us start this homeschooling thing thinking that we’re going to be Super Mom. Yep, we begin the journey starry-eyed and inspired — optimistic that we will be able to single-handedly teach our children and lovingly usher them into academic excellence and emotional and physical competence.
Then life happens. Continue reading »
I think homeschooling has been the single best decision our family has ever made, but I have discovered a downfall. It’s the same thing that makes it a strength – the parent/child relationship being the the teacher/student relationship. Yes, the same bond that leads the parent to be dedicated to going to any lengths necessary to ensure that his or her child gets what he or she needs educationally is also the same bond that often leads kids to become overly dependent on their parent for help. I only realized this recently. And the revelation came upon me in an unexpected way. Continue reading »
Timelines offer students the ability to visually process overlapping and chronological events in history, relating them in a way that is more difficult to perceive through reading. Timelines in the homeschool are a valuable tool to relate subjects together and view historical events as interrelated. Continue reading »
I recently wrote about how homeschooling parents can use a dialogue-based approach to education, which I see as a big potential benefit to home education. While many public schools have been forced into test-prep mania that defines success very narrowly, homeschoolers can use this educational approach to develop critical thinking and evaluate learning.
Scientific American has a recent story that reflects my thoughts on the unfortunate increased emphasis on standardized testing in public education. Continue reading »
If you home school long enough, you will likely come across a learning obstacle for your child that makes you want to bang your head against the wall. You use different programs, you use creative learning techniques, you incentivize, you, um, maybe yell a little… All to no avail. Your child just. doesn’t. get. it. For us, this concept was number sequencing. My second grade right-brain oriented, creative global thinker just could not get it. She can rock geometry like a star, write three-point expository paragraphs without assistance, and sew her own doll clothes. But she cannot count numbers in sequence, particularly backwards, effectively. Finding 69 on a number sequence chart (in which they are all in order according to tens) takes a while. Turning to page number 128 is a bit of a challenge. Continue reading »