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June 2014

by Mary Ann Kelley
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Interest-Led Learning, Waldorf Method, Free Online Textbooks, and More

From the Editor

Summer is the perfect time for interest-led learning, and Jeanne has a great resource for you in her article this issue. As a homeschool evaluator in Virginia, Jeanne encounters many useful tools and ideas for homeschooling and features one of her findings below. This resource gets 5 stars from me – I would have loved it when I was a child! Also check out the free Waldorf online conference in the Educational Resources – it looks like a great weekend full of information.

Enjoy the newsletter!

Warm regards,

Mary Ann Kelley



Teaching Calendar

June 12, 2014 — Anne Frank’s birthday – 1929

June 14, 2014 — Flag Day

June 15, 2014 — Arkansas Admission Day – 1836

June 20, 2014 — West Virginia Admission Day – 1863

June 21, 2014 — New Hampshire Admission Day – 1788

June 25, 2014 — Virginia Admission Day – 1788

June 27, 2014 — Helen Keller’s birthday – 1880

June 28, 2014 — WWI began – 1914

June 30, 2014 — Meteor Day

July 1, 2014 — Canada Day

July 2, 2014 — Civil Rights Act of 1864

July 3, 2014 — Idaho Admission Day – 1890

July 4, 2014 — Independence Day

July 7, 2014 — Pinocchio first printed

View the entire calendar »


Educational Resources

Free Online Waldorf Conference

This conference is an online homeschool event for Waldorf-inspired homeschoolers. “The 5th Waldorf Homeschool Expo is a weekend of free training from 15 of your favorite homeschool gurus. You’ll get ideas on rhythm/scheduling, discipline, main lesson books, temperaments, adolescence, the essence of Waldorf and so much more.” Registration is free and currently open with 4 bonuses for registration. You can get a sneak peek here.

Survey Results of Adult Unschoolers

Peter Gray is well known for his blog on Psychology Today tackling education topics. Gray is a supporter of alternative education methods including unschooling, and over the years has written quite a bit about the subject. Gray and his colleague Gina Riley did a previous study of unschoolers from the perspective of the parent, but were curious about the perspective of adults who were unschooled. In this article and three that will follow, Gray and Riley disclose the results of the survey. The results are worth noting, particularly this: “Almost all of the respondents, in various ways, wrote about the freedom and independence that unschooling gave them and the time it gave them to discover and pursue their own interests. Seventy percent of them also said, in one way or another, that the experience enabled them to develop as highly self-motivated, self-directed individuals.” Read the whole
overview here and watch for the upcoming articles with more about the survey results.

OpenStax Free Online College Textbooks

College textbooks have become an industry unto themselves. Often, the texts used for classes cost as much as the credit hours and sometimes they are not even used after purchase. Whether you are looking for a text to use as a spine for a high school class or want to avoid the high cost of a reference text for a college course, Rice University’s OpenStax college texts are a great option. “OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Our free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of your course.”


Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer (Mac, Windows, Linux, and Ubuntu) that shows a realistic sky in 3D. To use it, download and install the free open source software and input your longitude and latitude coordinates. The user guide is available in multiple languages here.


Recent Blog Posts

Parental Deschooling: Check Your Parenting Defaults

Parenting Styles: What is your default?What are your parenting defaults? What are your go-to strategies with your kids? Are they effective? Do they contribute to a positive relationship?The deschooling period is a good time to begin examining your parenting defaults. Although your default parenting style may be healthy and appropriate, there are a few defaults to watch for that might be counter-productive in the long run. Read more »

What Curriculum Should I Use For My 4 Year Old?

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: What Curriculum Should I Use For My 4 Year Old?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? (I bought KONOS and timeline figures and a gazillion Usborne books.) 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. Read more »

Why Homeschooling Boys Works

Peter Gray quote from TheHomeSchoolMom Blog Post "Why Homeschooling Boys Works"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. Read more »

5 Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Ideas

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: 5 Homeschool Graduation Ceremony IdeasDo homeschoolers have graduation ceremonies?Some do; some don’t. And those who do have graduation ceremonies may mark the occasion differently from one another. If you are looking for homeschool graduation ceremony ideas that fit your family, there are many options from which to choose. Here are a few that work for many different types of kids and families. Read more »

Parental Deschooling: 5 Things To Do While Deschooling

5 Things to Do While DeschoolingParental Deschooling Part 4 – I’ve explained why parents need to deschool as they begin homeschooling their children, and I’ve given you reading homework and asked you to network with other homeschoolers as part of the transition process. Another aspect of deschooling involves things to do as you make the transition to homeschooling. Here is your “to do” list… Read more »

Featured Article

Instead of Curriculum:

by Jeanne Faulconer

During my busy season helping families meet Virginia’s annual evidence of progress requirement for homeschoolers, I enjoy seeing all the resources parents use to help their children learn. This year, one of the resources a child was most excited about was

At, children can choose to complete challenges for different “Skills,” earning both virtual and real embroidered patches (purchasing the patches is optional and is the only cost involved in the program), and developing a portfolio of videos and photos showing when challenges are accomplished.

For instance, the second grader I was working with — let’s call her Becky — had achieved the Gardener Skill. Among the challenges she completed for the achievement included growing seedlings, planting an outdoor garden, and making compost, all challenges listed on the DIY Gardening Skill page.

Using her mom’s iPhone, Becky showed me pictures of her garden and other challenges she had completed along the way to earning her Gardener patch. Most amazingly, she had video of her compost pile, and the narration of the video was Becky herself, explaining the value of compost, how to develop a compost pile, how composting works, and how she will use it on her garden.

Becky went on to explain…

Read the rest »

TheHomeSchoolMom may be compensated for any of the links in this post through sponsorships, paid ads, free or discounted products, or affiliate links. Local resource listings are for information purposes only and do not imply endorsement. Always use due diligence when choosing resources, and please verify location and time with the organizer if applicable. Suggestions and advice on are for general information purposes only and should never be considered as specific to any individual situation, nor are they a diagnosis or treatment advice for any kind of medical, developmental, or psychological condition. Blog posts represent the views of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of other contributors or the publisher. Full terms of use and disclosure