BookSharkBookShark

  • The Slow and Steady HomeschoolModern parenting seems to be a frantic race to get ahead, to be gifted, or to outperform all others. While we may hate the race, we simultaneously worry that our children will be left and never achieve success if we don't opt out of the race. Homeschoolers fall victim to this type of thinking just like everyone else. We worry about what preschool curriculum to purchase for our 18-month-old or wonder if our four-year-old is dyslexic since they reverse some letters. (An 18-month-old doesn't need a curriculum, and letter reversals are normal when children are first learning the alphabet.) We forget that childhood isn't a race. The child who reads at four won't necessarily have a better life than the child who reads at 8, or even at 10.Read More

  • Today I am the homeschool mom who is going through big life changes and feeling overwhelmed. In the last 30 days, my husband and I made a big life decision, totaled both of our cars, and put an offer on a house. That's a lot of chaos, mental energy, and physical upheaval in a short period of time! When people ask how I am, I’m not sure how to answer. I feel gratitude. Only the cars and (sadly) a deer was hurt. I feel excitement. We’ve wanted to be homeowners and put down roots for so long. It's finally happening! I am also overwhelmed and nervous. My mind is constantly spinning. I’m not sleeping well. My stomach is a mess. I’m not sure I’m doing anything well.Read More

  • More is more. Or is it? We live in a world where people are always on the go. There are so many things to do and not enough time in the day to get it all done. As homeschool parents it is easy to get caught up in this hustle and bustle, especially with people constantly asking us, “What about socialization?” I fell victim to the “more is more” mentality, and said yes to everything my children showed any interest in because I didn’t want them to miss out. Before I knew it, we had a commitment every single week day, and sometimes even on the weekends. It got to the point where we were all exhausted, and my children were no longer enjoying any of it. So this year I am saying no and staying home. We are saying goodbye to outside activities and hello to our freedom!Read More

  • I admit it: I’m a pretty techie girl. If there’s an app for something I do regularly, I’m on it. However, even after trying numerous approaches to I decided it wasn’t for me. For one thing, it created extra work when the kids had trouble accessing or viewing the online checklists I created for them. Plus, I have to admit, it wasn’t super helpful for me to be tied to my laptop or tablet all day. I needed to be able to step away from the tech to focus on homeschooling. I know some moms love writing out daily checklists on post-it notes or in a spiral notebook. More power to ‘em. But as a tech-happy person, it really bothered me to repetitively complete work that can be automated. Enter the checklist templates.Read More

  • I’m bad at math. I’m a horrible writer. I can’t spell. Have you heard any of these self-desparaging phrases in your home? Maybe you said one of them when you were a child. I did, and I’ve listened to both of my children speak with authority about how they can’t do something. I can’t can become a default phrase when something is hard. This fixed mindset inhibits learning and growth in more areas than the subject that’s challenging. When our kids believe they can’t, they can’t. Does that mean if our children have a fixed mindset all is lost? No. The brain is malleable, continually growing and changing. Research shows people can move from a fixed mindset into one of perseverance and growth with practice.Read More

  • As homeschoolers, we all dream of that perfect schedule. You know—the one that allows you to get everything on your to-do list done. We’re talking math, history, geography, science, reading, extracurriculars, and even the dishes and laundry. Such a schedule is probably mythical though. Most of us find that a homeschool schedule is a complicated dance of push and tug, balancing a never-ending barrage of priorities and last-minute decisions. Having a good system in place will help. A curriculum like BookShark is a good place to start because every subject is mapped out for you in a clear Instructor's Guide. A scheduler, calendar, or planner can also be beneficial. I love using my bullet journal for helping to keep me on task and to remember all of our appointments.Read More

  • Homeschooling requires a bit of a pioneering spirit. It is life off of the beaten path, and as such, if often incurs criticism, or at least skepticism. I understand the urge to have pat answers ready and to hide behind a smug defence. Most people don’t really want to be educated about our way of life. And most of the time we don’t have the energy for their less-than-supportive enquiries. But sometimes those smug defenses do something worse than ward off nosey neighbors. Sometimes they wall in the very people they were designed to protect: us. Oh, But We Love Our Kids!

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  • Life is full of decisions, and the life of a homeschool mom is unusually full. We decide what's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We decide on curriculum, activities, and schedules. Making the appointments, arranging get-togethers with friends, and even booking the vacations often fall to us. Sometimes it just gets to be too much. Coupled with the hundreds of questions we are asked daily, homeschooling can feel overwhelming. When Decision Fatigue Hits Decision fatigue has hit hard this time. I can't answer another question or make another decision.Read More

  • At some point, I am sure you have dealt with homeschool naysayers—folks lurking behind the corner, questioning your decision or making bold statements, such as:

    How will you know what to teach?
    Only teachers are qualified to teach kids. You should just put them in public school.
    How will your children socialize with others?
    Your children are going to fall behind their peers.

    Facing homeschool naysayers is an unfortunate yet expected part of being a homeschool parent. If you know your why, it is easy enough to face these questions from outsiders head-on and continue on your happy homeschool journey.

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  • If you live in a state that requires standardized testing, you may find it annoying or even pointless. After all, many parents choose homeschooling in order to take their children off the conveyor belt and allow them to learn at their own unique pace. Despite the homeschool community’s typical resistance to requirements like standardized testing, I’m one of the rare homeschool parents who actually appreciates my state’s requirement.

    That might surprise you, especially given the fact that I am required to test every single year, when other states only test every three years. Thankfully, my state does not require certain scores to continue homeschooling. In my state, homeschool families are only required to administer the test and keep the results on record.

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