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June 2018

by Mary Ann Kelley
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TheHomeSchoolMom June Newsletter

Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash

You might like to hear about what I’ve been seeing while in the thick of homeschool evaluation season in Virginia. I meet with families, and they tell me what they’ve been learning about and show me evidence of progress. I write a letter documenting that progress as one way of satisfying our state’s annual homeschool requirements.

Among the things I’ve seen in the past month:

  • A child’s beautifully illustrated and handwritten original Encyclopedia of Dragons
  • A middle schooler’s nature collection, with fossils, bones, and feathers collected, identified, curated, and displayed in his home
  • Family field trip photos of visits to museums, historical sites, science centers, nature preserves, trails, manufacturing facilities, and farms – accompanied by children’s explanations of what they learned there
  • Miles of written workbook pages and tests in math, language arts, foreign language, history, and science
  • Reproductions of Roman architecture in Minecraft
  • Lovely Waldorf-inspired form drawings and main lesson books
  • Charlotte Mason-inspired nature journals
  • Video of Destination Imagination competitions
  • Sketchbooks of child-created original anime and Pokemon characters, complete with creation of back-stories for the new characters
  • A collection of plays written by a young middle schooler
  • A narrative film composed, acted, and produced by a group of homeschooled siblings – complete with hand-wrought props and subtitles
  • Kid-designed book dust jacket projects in lieu of traditional book reports
  • Traditional book reports!
  • Research papers, essays, reading lists, book reviews, fan fiction, and creative writing
  • Demonstrations of kid-created computer code in Scratch, Python, and other programs
  • Video of dance recitals, Scouts award presentations, martial arts testing, ice skating, and riding lessons
  • New readers and new writers showing off their new skill (ranging from age 6 to age 9)
  • Photos, videos, and lab reports of science experiments and labs
  • Photos and video of a middle schooler with his home-designed and home-built forge, along with the metal work he has done himself
  • Lots of dichotomous keys!
  • Classwork from homeschool co-ops and classes
  • Transcripts being put together for high school students
  • Playbills for theatre productions attended and acted in
  • Video of musical and dramatic performances
  • Visual representations of adding and subtracting negative numbers – with M&Ms as manipulatives
  • Rubik’s cube demonstrations
  • Solar system models and Little House dioramas
  • Amazing art: ceramic mosaics, handwork, watercolors, art done in the style of the masters, sketches, sculptures
  • Farm life journals chronicling 4H projects, gardening, egg incubation, milk production, and horse training
  • Many backyard chicken flocks
  • Brave Writer-inspired copy work, jot-it-down projects, and Poetry Teatimes
  • Math games and demonstrations
  • Electric and solar operated model cars
  • Unschoolers’ business plans, novels and short stories, bird lists, treehouses, and Raspberry Pi projects
  • So many LEGO™ bricks

All that, plus an adorable kitten a family rescued on the way to our evaluation meeting! Last year, the same family brought a rescued baby chick they found on the side of the road on the way to our meeting. I’m a bit nervous about what they might bring next year.

I’m not convinced providing annual evidence of progress makes a difference in homeschooling processes or outcomes, because I’ve homeschooled in so many places, including in states where this is not required. That said, it’s my privilege to see what goes on in the homes and the lives of homeschoolers each year, and to help families and school divisions understand and value diverse approaches to education  and authentic learning. The learning can be humble, exciting, traditional, or way outside the box. It may include memorization, creativity, data gathering, experimentation, reading, writing, critical thinking, original research, technology, entrepreneurship, or games.

The incidental learning may outweigh the parents’ planned agenda, or the parent’s planned agenda may stimulate most of what I see. In both cases, I see parents partnering with their children to help them learn and thrive.

I love my job.

Jeanne Faulconer

Teaching Calendar

June 14, 2018 — Flag Day

June 17, 2018 — Father’s Day

June 27, 2018 — Helen Keller born this day in 1880

June 28, 2018 — WWI began – 1914

June 30, 2018 — Meteor Day

July 1, 2018 — Canada Day

July 2, 2018 — Civil Rights Act of 1964

July 4, 2018 — Independence Day

July 7, 2018 — Pinocchio first printed

July 19, 2018 — First women’s rights convention – 1848

July 28, 2018 — Beatrix Potter born this day in 1866

View the full teaching calendar »

Recent & Relevant Blog Posts

Combination Summer Homeschooling (Featured Article)


Ahhh. . . summer! Warm weather, trips to the pool, vacations to the beach, out of school. . .

Or not.

Yes, for many of us homeschoolers, summer doesn’t necessarily mean “no school”. Homeschoolers have the flexibility to choose the level of education they wish to do during the summer months, as they do the rest of the year. And every homeschool family does it differently. Some families school straight through the summer, some take some breaks but continue to school some as well, and other families take the summer off completely.

We do the combination approach.

That means we do some school, but we also take some time off – and when we are doing school in the summer, it usually looks a bit different from the rest of the year.

One of the things I love about homeschooling is the flexibility to be able to school when we want and take breaks when we want, throughout the year. That means that when family comes in for the holidays, we take a break. And when we feel like taking a fall trip to enjoy the mountains, we can. If there is a great homeschooling deal or outing in the spring, we go. But, for us, that flexibility means that we school some throughout the summer months as well, so that we can still get everything accomplished that we need to do, and so the kids don’t forget the information they have learned. (And, maybe, to convince this Type-A personality mama that we are still making progress?)

Our schooling does change, though, in the summer…

Read the rest »

Homeschool Links

Sir David Attenborough’s Story of Life App
Get the free Story of Life app so your kids can watch video highlights from decades of BBC’s top nature and animal shows. For Android smart phones and iPhones, this app allows viewers to “explore extraordinary sequences of animals and plants, from iconic large species to rarely seen enigmatic creatures. See them hunt, mate, eat, travel and communicate in their natural habitats; ranging from the high mountains to the deepest oceans, across deserts, forests and the polar ice caps.”

Hip Homeschool Moms Fathers Day Ideas
From candy-filled tackle boxes to Fathers Day reading lists, Hip Homeschool Moms have got you and the kids covered with a “Mother Lode of Fathers Day ideas.” Includes some cute not-too-hard crafts and free printables – and of course, unit study ideas for Fathers Day, because after all, we are homeschoolers!

Free SQUILT Music Appreciation Lesson
This music appreciation lesson from Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time (SQUILT) features Chopin’s “Minute Waltz.” In addition to a YouTube listening link, this free sample provides complete instructions for presenting the lesson, downloadable notebooking pages, and ideas for enrichment activities.

FieldSchooling and Travel Journals
Just in time for summer travel in the Northern Hemisphere, you can read about FieldSchooling and download a free printable travel journal designed just for homeschooling families from Hide the Chocolate. Get ideas for more local FieldSchooling opportunities that may be in your back yard, and read Dachelle’s own travel journal entries about visiting sites in the U.S. and going to Italy with her homeschooled kids. She shares how she prepared her kids for journeys, gives suggestions for making travel plans, and shares her favorite sights.

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

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