• The temperatures are beginning to drop. Autumn is well and truly here which means winter is not far behind. I look forward to the first snowflake, the first icicle, and that muffled silence that falls over everything after a heavy snow. But then just as quickly as it all arrived, I am ready for warmth and sun again. Yet my kiddos could spend all day in the great outdoors of winter, provided there is plenty of hot cocoa and a cozy Read-Aloud by the fire afterwards. Reading is part of our family culture. It brings joy and happiness to both children and adults alike in my home.Read More

  • The holidays are a crazy time of year, and if your homeschool is anything like mine not a lot of school work gets done in December. And when I say “not a lot” I really mean none… at least not in the traditional sense. Instead of being stressed about getting behind I have made the executive decision to set the curriculum aside and just enjoy the holidays. No History Read-Alouds, no Language Arts lessons, and no Science. However, that doesn’t mean the learning and growing has to stop! Here are three ways my children continue learning in December even when school's officially out.Read More

  • When you first make the choice to homeschool, what you need and want most is support. And naturally, where do you look first for that support? Family, and almost always, your parents. Now if grandparents have been unsupportive and critical of your parenting decisions from the start, their criticisms of homeschooling probably won’t surprise you. But if, on the other hand, you are used to unwavering support for your parenting choices, opposition to homeschooling may come as a shock. Whatever your experience in the past, keep in mind that unless you are a second-generation homeschooler, homeschooling isn’t an obvious choice. As much as it has progressed over the years, homeschooling is far from mainstream. You are choosing an educational option that is far from vetted with no guarantees of a successful outcome—at least in their minds. You are putting their precious grandchildren’s future at risk, and they probably won’t keep quiet about it.Read More

  • 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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