• I could see the tears welling up in my eight year old’s eyes. We were on day three of trying to learn subtraction with borrowing, and we were getting nowhere fast. My frustration was boiling over, and his desire to learn was nonexistent by this point. We had reached a stalemate, and I had no clue to the next step. Teaching kids brings its own challenges, but the most challenging aspect is when you have a learning mismatch. For example, you are trying to teach a math whiz when you’re math phobic. Or you are teaching a child who is struggling in math although math comes easily for you. Sometimes a teaching mismatch works well, but very often we struggle more when we can't empathize with our child's weakness or feel insecure about our own inadequacy with a topic.Read More

  • During the school year, homeschoolers in public stick out like a sore thumb. We’re the only ones in the warehouse club, leading small, elementary-age armies through a minefield of produce. We’re the only ones in the cookie aisle, encouraging mussy-haired moppets to determine ratios of cost to value.We’re the only ones in the library fielding questions from second graders about the breeding habits of aquatic mammals.

    It’s like wearing a target on your back: “Homeschoolers, eh? And what are we learning about today, children?”

    Abject fear, thank you.

    What if she can’t remember the difference between meteors and comets? What if he confuses the American Revolution with the Civil War? What if they can’t tell him the answer to nine times five? And, worst of all: What if I’m failing at homeschooling?

    Here’s a better question, though: what if this fear isn’t you? What if you’ve got Impostor Syndrome?

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  • Ask any veteran homeschool mom whose kids have already graduated from high school, and she will reassure you: She had the same fears you have now. She realizes now how pointless most of those fears were. What a difference 10-15 years of hindsight makes! But you don't have to wait that long. Let's look right now at ten of the biggest and most common homeschool fears so you can face—and more importantly, conquer—them. 1. What if I fail to prepare my child for the real world? Whether a family homeschools or not, parents may still fail to prepare their children for adult life. (The good news is that young adults can learn those adulting skills when they are required!)Read More

  • Spelling can be either a child’s favorite subject or a child’s least favorite subject. While some kids enjoy practicing spelling words and writing spelling lists, others may dread these exercises and feel that spelling is boring. While learning to spell correctly is an important skill that children should learn, doing so doesn’t have to feel monotonous. There are plenty of fun and simple ways to practice spelling. Here are a few that may even get reluctant spellers interested! Play Letter Jumble Written word jumbles are popular puzzle games for adults, and the same concept works well for kids who are practicing spelling.Read More

  • Every homeschool family is unique, with its own reasons for homeschooling. This post introduces you to one BookShark family who has been using our programs for three years so far. Iain is a theater enthusiast in the second grade. We spoke to his mom Lee about her choice to educate at home and how BookShark suits their lifestyle.

    Why did you choose to homeschool?

    When Iain was very young, I halfheartedly looked at preschools. I kept thinking that I would be paying someone to do a job that I would rather do myself. So we skipped preschool and replaced it with lots of playgroups and travel. Iain has a July birthday, so instead of sending him to Kindergarten, I held him back.

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  • It’s one of the most common questions asked of people who plan to—or already do—homeschool their kids: What about socialization? Next time you find yourself on the business end of the infamous socialization question, try countering with a question of your own—asked with kindness and grace, of course! Here are five ideas to get you started. To the person concerned about socialization, reply with one of these rejoinders. 1. “Let’s see if we’re on the same page here. What exactly do you mean by socialization?” Obviously, we all want our kids to be out meeting people and learning about the world.Read More

  • When I first started homeschooling, one of my greatest fears was that I would not know enough to adequately teach my kids up to and all the way through the high school years. It's a common fear. The good news is that you have many years to prepare for upper level maths, and if you follow a path like Saxon lays out for you, you'll be ready. Saxon Math in the Early Years Most homeschool parents do not have a degree in education. That's okay. The Saxon math materials from Kindergarten to third grade are perfect for beginner teachers. The program scripts out the lessons and incorporates a simple routine that builds discipline and consistency for your young logician. You can rest easy, knowing you are establishing a firm foundation to build upon in the coming years.Read More

  • When most people think of the library, they think of long shelves of books, tidy reading nooks, and librarians with glasses on their noses; they don’t often think of games. However my boys and I have a lot of fun in our library by planning a few fun activities ahead of time. I do remind my boys that we need to play games quietly and be careful not to disturb others by running or being boisterous. But being quiet and courteous does not rule out enjoying ourselves at the library with these ten activities and games.

    1. Scavenger Hunt

    To get my kids acquainted with our library, I send them on miniature scavenger hunts with a list of things such as: a music CD, a book that's thicker than 2 inches, a magazine, a picture book with yellow on the cover, a bookmark, and a reference book that cannot be checked out.

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  • Homeschooling is full of challenges from choosing curriculum to managing multiple lesson plans for different ages. But one of the biggest obstacles for many homeschool moms is dealing with negative feelings about their choices. There’s reason to take heart, though. Feeling self-doubt as a homeschooler can actually be a good sign. Here are four uncomfortable feelings that mean you are actually doing a fantastic job as a homeschool mom.

    Feeling #1: Wondering if Public School is Better

    Nearly every homeschooling mom goes through a period of wondering, “Should I just put them in public school? Could a professional teacher do this better than I can?”

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  • As a homeschooling parent, you’re in charge of teaching everything to your kids, right? Not necessarily. Here are five situations where it might be best for you to back off from teaching a certain subject to one of your children.

    1. It is a subject you struggle to understand.

    As a homeschooling parent, you may discover that a subject you found difficult in school is suddenly easier to understand as you’re teaching it to your own kids. Sometimes a different explanation and a few years of experience can help you to see the subject with new eyes. It’s great when this happens, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes your second go round with a subject solidifies that the subject isn’t a strength of yours.

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