• Early in our homeschooling days, we lived in a tiny apartment over a parking lot with almost no natural light and no room to spare. I distinctly recall our first season in that apartment, hugging up to the one decent window and longing for all of the homeschool spaces I’d been saving for months on Pinterest. We made do for awhile, conducting the majority of our homeschooling time on the living room floor. But when the first spring rolled around, we needed a change of scenery. One particularly beautiful morning, I packed all of our books, notebooks, and crayons into a hiking backpack, along with a picnic lunch and a blanket. We headed out to a quiet pond nearby and set up our classroom for the day on a lush, flower-dotted hillside in the shade of a cottonwood tree.Read More

  • While interacting in the gifted homeschooling community, I see one major concern come up pretty frequently. Daily, even. No, it’s not wondering about socialization, or even how a homeschooled child will ever learn how to stand in line (insert sarcasm font).

    It’s wondering how to adapt a curriculum for a child who devours knowledge, programs, and books at lightning speed. Parents find products and programs that they really like, full of information and easy to use, but their kids just want more.

    And more.

    Read More
  • Are you ever curious about other BookShark families? We can assure you that, after interacting with so many customers at conventions and online, every family is unique! While there is another family like yours in some ways, there is no other family exactly like yours! BookShark families span the gamut of family size, makeup, and approach to homeschooling. Of course, the one thing they all have in common is a passion for their kids. They invest deeply in and advocate fiercely for the academic and emotional well-being of their children. One example is Kelsey, mom to Emmett, living in North Carolina. You may know Kelsey from Instagram where she posts under the handle @_little_mama_purple. We recently interviewed Kelsey to learn more about her homeschool experience. She will inspire you to overcome your own challenges and grasp all the benefits homeschooling offers!Read More

  • When people ask me about priorities or goals in my homeschool, I forego the usual “love of learning, top academic school acceptance, being a rocket scientist” answers for something a little more simple. One of my top priorities as a homeschool parent, is to prepare my children to survive out there in the big wide world. We teach math, foreign languages, art, and history, but how many of us really take the time to teach our children one of the most important skills they’ll need as adults? I’m talking about time management. When I was growing up, we were never explicitly taught how to manage our time as students. We were told what to do, when to do it, and if we were late, we were docked marks or failed the assignments. In between the giving of an assignment and the successful handing in of said assignment, there was a lot of work to be done, but no one taught us how to manage that work.Read More

  • You Are Not Ruining Your Child: The Sneaky Temptation to Catastrophize in Your HomeschoolA friend recently sent me an article on faulty thinking that she thought I would find interesting. I hold a counseling degree and remain fascinated by human behavior and emotions, so this was right up my alley. In it, many common cognitive distortions were discussed—literally flawed patterns of thinking that cause damage to oneself. The simplicity of the harmful thoughts stuck with me. A few days later, while scrolling through one of my favorite Facebook groups for homeschooling moms, I was startled to see them, in black and white, fueled by emotion and dripping with desperation—those very same cognitive distortions. Only here they weren’t hypotheticals or obscure examples. They were very real women who were tormented by the very real thoughts they were having.Read More

  • “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.

    Read More
  • 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

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