• “All I’m saying can be summed up in two words: Trust children.” John Holt In our home, we tend to lean toward unschooling. If you’re not familiar with this concept, it’s basically about trusting children to learn on their own, without being directed by an adult.

    This educational philosophy lets the child learn what he wants, when he wants, based on what he is interested in. It’s really that simple. Now let's discuss what unschooling isn't because there are a lot of assumptions and misconceptions.

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  • Have you ever considered creating a mission statement for your homeschool? Maybe the answer is no, and you’re wondering why you would even want to take the time to do this! Or, perhaps the answer is yes, but you have no idea how to get started. Whatever situation you find yourself in, I’ve got you covered! We often think of mission statements as fancy proclamations put together by professionals, sitting in stuffy offices for companies that make the big bucks. Our lives as homeschool parents look very different! We are often knee-deep in laundry piles, overdue library books, and dirty dishes. Not exactly the same context as a boardroom, but when we dig a little deeper, we see that, at the core, our homeschools and successful companies have a lot in common.Read More

  • One of my first homeschool memories is of my children and me riding our bikes around the neighborhood one weekday morning. It was early spring and one of the first pretty days in a long while. I remember saying to my son, " If you were still in school and I were still teaching, we would be inside, missing this beautiful day." For our family, learning happens everywhere, and frequently that means outdoors. Whether it’s finding owl pellets to dissect, watching meteor showers, collecting salamander eggs and watching them evolve, or simply taking our books and supplies outside, the opportunity to head outside whenever we want is one of our favorite perks to homeschooling.Read More

  • When I first considered homeschooling my daughter, I wasn’t so much worried about the curriculum or the schedule as I was making sure my house and my brain didn’t turn into a cluttered disaster. I won’t exaggerate and call myself obsessive compulsive, but I must have a clean, organized house and time to myself or my mood and attention suffer. In the beginning, I failed miserably. My house really did look like someone used a t-shirt gun to toss papers, glitter, and every other school tool throughout my home. I put my interests on a shelf in favor of trying to be the best homeschool mom in existence. I had great intentions, but the execution was lacking.Read More

  • In October my family intentionally downsized to a smaller home and minimized our belongings. Decluttering and purging is challenging, especially when you homeschool. Like many homeschool families, our home is filled with books, art supplies, science kits, math manipulatives, games and more games, toys, and paper (so much paper). And we need all these things! I remember standing in our homeschool room, trying to picture where these things would live in our new home and realizing they couldn’t all come with us. It was time to sort. As I went through each drawer and shelf, I put things in piles. My children came in regularly and offered their opinions. We boxed up items to move, give away, sell, and recycle. While I am a constant declutterer, a large purge like this was just what our home needed. I wish we’d done it sooner.Read More

  • There’s no getting around it, reading is a skill we all need to in order to be active, knowledgeable, and educated citizens of the world. We can try any number of strategies for teaching reading, but none of those beats curling up with our children and reading, reading, and reading—showing them firsthand how enjoyable it can be to read a book. Read to them when they are babies and can’t understand a word you are saying. Read with them as they grow up Continue to read with them and in their presence throughout their entire lives. It cannot be stated enough that children learn what they live, and if we live a life where reading is a priority, our children will as well.Read More

  • Are you one of those homeschoolers who watches dolphins at the zoo and calls it school? Here's a secret: Sometimes we all are. Do field trips have a place on your homeschool calendar year? Are you on the fence about taking the time away from your books? Here are facts to get you off that fence and on that field trip. Home educators spend plenty of time on the mastery of their core curriculum. (Much more than educators at “brick and mortar schools”.) Getting out of the house to see history and touch science not only adds to your studies, but it also checks that pesky socialization box. Field trips are not an intrusion if they are part of your curriculum.Read More

  • To say my son is not a big fan of reading may be an understatement. How frustrating! Didn’t he know I had big plans for the type of reader he would be? You know, the read-by-age-four-voracious-can’t put-the-book-down type of reader. I’m a reading teacher after all! Couldn’t I just mold him into the type of read I wanted him to be? Ha! I couldn’t convince him to enjoy reading anymore than I could convince him that peas were his favorite food. I could try. I could coerce. Prod. Reward. Punish. But I could not make him enjoy the act of reading. Enjoyment comes from within, and reading a book just isn’t his thing.Read More

  • As a former teacher turned unschooling mom, one of the many things I love about BookShark is the variety of resources which spark interest in topics that might otherwise seem a bit dense for young children. For example, I recently had the idea to introduce my six-year-old to the wonderful world of ancient Greek and Roman history. I was struggling to come up with a way to make it fun for her and something she’d want to explore for more than just one day. I wasn’t positive I could pull this off, but I wanted her to explore this important and downright cool period in ancient history. So I decided to go for it. My starting point was to look at my BookShark resources and then embellish them with our unique unschooling flair.Read More

  • You assign a volume of classic literature or engaging historical fiction to your child, and he has no desire to read it. You push, assign pages, and encourage your child to stick with it. He fails to read as much as a single chapter. It’s driving you insane. What do you do? Skip It First determine how important the book is to your child’s education. Is it a book easily skipped? If so, my recommendation is to drop it especially if your child usually reads his assigned books. Life is too short to argue over one book. This is an easy solution especially at elementary and intermediate years when what kids read isn't as important as getting reading practice and increasing fluency.Read More

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