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 »
I’m a member of several homeschooling groups and email loops, and the most common questions are all related to, “It’s a battle to get my child to do her work. I thought homeschooling would be better for my child, but it’s all tears and yelling. For both of us. I may have to put her back in school.”
The specifics vary, but many parents new to homeschooling are trying to recreate a public school environment in their home and finding that it doesn’t work. It’s not their fault. Most of us went to public school; it’s what we know. We’re taught that this is the only way to get an education. That children won’t learn if we don’t tell them what to learn and force them do so. We shouldn’t be surprised when we find homeschooling not working under these circumstances. 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 »
This year in my role as a homeschool evaluator, I met a number of tweens and teens who are interested in fashion. As we went through their portfolio of work and talked about their year, I was fascinated with the ways they had woven their interest in fashion with their academic studies. Two of the teens I met with had taken their interest in current fashion into the past — studying the typical dress and accessorizing of women and men in earlier periods of history. They also took their fashion interest international — studying the current typical dress of modern-day people in other parts of the world.
Both of these girls (who did not know each other — they had arrived at this independently) had done extensive research to be able to portray the styles of other times and other places, and they could explain how the fashion reflected the culture, religious beliefs, gender roles, classes and roles in society, and daily life. They were articulate about the historical times and geography of the world as they discussed the observations they had made about fashion in these distant centuries and far-off places. Continue reading »
Our family has greatly enjoyed using The Great Courses audio and video recorded classes. The first of The Great Courses we used was The Story of Human Language, presented by leading linguist John McWhorter, who gives 36 lectures about the development of human language, why languages change or become extinct, dialects, how languages and their grammars affect thinking, and what the study of language can tell us about history and interconnectedness of early peoples.
From there, we began listening to every Great Courses CD set the library had. They offer courses in science, math, fine arts, music, religion, philosophy, history, literature, living, language, business, and economics. But it’s the course titles that are really intriguing — such as Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World, Writing Creative Nonfiction, How to Listen to and Understand Opera, and nearly 400 more.
Everyone has a comment on the increasing popularity of homeschooling. When I talk to people about homeschooling, they frequently mention the availability of “so much curriculum these days,” as if that is the single most important factor in being able to homeschool. Non-homeschoolers, prospective homeschoolers, and new homeschoolers seem surprised that many homeschoolers use learning materials that are not, strictly speaking, part of a homeschool curriculum. There are many reasons why people use other learning resources instead of curriculum. Continue reading »
If you find yourself combining several of the homeschool methods you are probably an eclectic homeschooler. Eclectics tend to gather what works for them from multiple styles of homeschooling and leave what doesn’t fit with their family. Unlike a Classical Education, Charlotte Mason homeschooling, or the Moore Formula, eclectic homeschooling is not a style itself but a combination of styles that work for an individual family. Continue reading »
For many families, homeschooling provides amazing opportunities to reflect on, reconsider, and restructure daily routines and rhythms around what matters the most. They find themselves opting out of the rush ‘n go in favor of a slower-paced, more balanced, fully flavored schedule. Having more TIME is just one awesome by-product: time to slow down and do things your own way, with intention and purpose; time to establish routines that will nourish and nurture you, your children, and your family, your community, restore balance, and provide important flexibility; time to explore and follow your passions, get involved in community projects, try something new; to time to catch your breath, open yourself up to the possibilities and truly relish your time with your children. Continue reading »
Sometimes we have had a designated nature table, something which is suggested by both the Waldorf-inspired approach and the Montessori-inspired approach to homeschooling, and something many Charlotte Mason homeschoolers implement as well.
Other times, we have just gathered seasonal treasures together as a kitchen table centerpiece. A walk in the brisk air, the scavenger hunt for natural objects that are lovely to see and touch and smell and shake, the artful arranging and rearranging of the bounty — these refresh the senses and clear the cobwebs out of minds. Continue reading »
The Homeschool Calendar: 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.
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Some people just aren’t textbook people! What do you do if your homeschooler learns by living, instead of studying textbooks? What if your child soaks up knowledge like a sponge, without being directed in any way? Can you still create a serious-looking high school transcript? Continue reading »
I am now beginning my fifteenth year in homeschooling so I feel well qualified to tell you how our homeschool has evolved into the eclectic approach. My oldest daughter, Laura, graduated from homeschool high school in 2002 and from a one year Bible college in 2003.However, I am still homeschooling my son Stephen, aged 15 for tenth grade and my daughter Mary aged 10 for fourth grade.
Over the years I have tried many different curriculums and eventually I just learned to stick with what works for both myself and my children. I also learned that there is no such thing as the “perfect” curriculum. Each curriculum has its pros and cons for you as the mom, and from the kids persepctive and of course from a cost standpoint. I do know this, kids will learn if you are faithful do school work daily, regardless of the curriculum. Continue reading »