• Homeschoolers come in lots of different flavors; there is no cookie cutter diagram that fits every single one of us. But there do seem to be some common trends among homeschool moms, dads, and kids! Here's my humorous (yet mostly spot-on) take on the composition of a homeschooler. 

    19% Overdue Library Books

    Libraries love homeschoolers for two reasons. 1. We check out stacks an stacks of books—which we actually read. 2. We support their programs with our overdue fines.

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  • I love the idea of a textbook-free homeschool in a house full of living books. I have book shelf after book shelf of proof. That's why BookShark is such a good fit for me. BookShark is an amazing curriculum, full of fantastic books—a lot of books!

    Sometimes organizing all those amazing books feels overwhelming though.

    My high schooler is using BookShark’s American History 100 course this year. Getting it in order is top priority because I don’t want to waste time during school, looking for the materials. And since she is an independent learner, she, too, needs to know where everything is. Here's how I took my teen from Box Day to a back-to-school attitude in five steps.

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  • Communication, observation, critical thinking, problem solving, hand-eye coordination, knowledge of spelling, grammar, and punctuation—what do all of these things have in common? These are the skills we apply when we write.

    It’s no wonder that writing can be such a challenging subject to teach and learn.

    There’s a common misconception that a writer is born. While some children are naturally drawn to writing, people who write well do so because they write; constant practice is the key. Does that mean everyone should be writing short stories and poetry, or we should insist our children journal everyday? Not necessarily. To give kids the writing practice they need, writing tasks should be relevant to their lives.

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  • “Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.” The marvelous Miss Charlotte Mason said this, quite famously now, in regards to education and life.

    This quote has inspired an entire belief system, a lifestyle, a veritable standard when it comes to homeschooling. Mention homeschooling in today’s times and you’ll drum up images of hours-long nature walks in ancient forests, children smiling freely with hands full of butterflies and worms, mushroom studies, lichen watercolors, and babbling brooks filled with wonder and learning. 

    This is not my homeschool. 

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  • Although I have loved books for as long as I can remember, my eldest daughter is not interested in reading. She would rather play outside and build things than read books.

    Because I believe that reading books is an essential part of a child's education, I’ve worked to find methods that promote a love of reading in even the most reluctant of readers.

    Read-Aloud Often

    My mom and dad always read aloud to me and my siblings when we were growing up, and I think that played a large role in my love for books. I also read aloud with my children as much as possible both at bedtime and during the day. I let the children choose a book that is interesting to them but not too mind-numbing for me. We love mysteries, tales of adventure, and classic children’s books.

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  • When we first considered homeschooling, we were living in a state which has charter schools that partner with homeschoolers. I thought homeschooling under the umbrella of a charter school was a great way to start our homeschool journey. I'd have someone to hold my hand through the second thoughts and doubts!

    Sadly, we moved right before our oldest child's kindergarten year and thus found ourselves on our own in a new state without charter schools.

    I still wanted a program that could hold my hand, at least for the first year. Without a charter school option, I was thrilled to discover all-in-one homeschool curriculum options. The program I bought provided the guidance I craved as a new homeschooler. With the help of that curriculum, I started off on the right foot and had confidence I was doing it right!

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  • It happens. Not very often, but more often than I would like.

    I notice a child is behind in his reading assignment, and I start to ask questions. Then, my child drops his eyes and mutters, “I hate this book.” Instantly, I’m a mess of feelings; I feel frustrated, maybe angry, and most of all disappointed.

    What do you do when your child hates a book?

    It’s not the end of the world or the end of your homeschool curriculum when a book bombs. When one of my kids announces that they hate a particular book, I follow a couple of simple actions.

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  • Is It Too Late to Start Homeschooling? Is My Child Too Old?

    Search homeschooling on just about any platform you can think of, and you’ll instantly be flooded with resources. Gorgeous wooden Waldorf toys, nature studies for preschoolers, vintage handwriting tablets, tricks that incorporate LEGO into reading. There are printables, book lists, and math manipulatives galore—so many options. You’ll find books and blogs all devoted to explaining the various homeschool philosophies, from Charlotte Mason to unschooling, classical to literature-based. There are all the checklists and planners and getting-started guides a parent could ever need, just at your fingertips, for when you decide it’s time to start homeschooling your little one.

    But what about when you don’t start homeschooling until your child is a little older? What if you’re looking into homeschooling for the first time with a middle schooler

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  • Spend even a little time with children and it’s pretty apparent the important role transitions play. When I have the foresight to give my kids a heads up that change is on its way, things go a lot smoother. From the simple reminder that we’ll be leaving in ten minutes to the ritual of a bedtime snack and story before bed, preparing kids for what's coming next gives them the capacity to better adjust.

    For our family, summer is all about sleeping in and staying up late. Summer is a lot of downtime and very few requirements. From past experience I know if we go straight from lazy summer days to fall’s more stringent routine, there is going to be a lot of push back! I’ve found it’s best if we take a couple of weeks to gently transition into new rhythms.

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  • We have read the research and we know how important it is to raise our children in a print-rich environment. The number of books a family has in their home is linked to academic achievement. But building a library can be an expensive venture. No one can afford to go out and buy several hundred books at once.

    With planning and patience, you can slowly grow your library over time. Before you buy, know what to look for so that you spend wisely. The following books have helpful book lists: The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt, Give Your Child the World by Jamie C. Martin, and Reading Magic by Mem Fox. Create a wish list of the titles you would like to add to your library, and then start your book hunt!

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