Amy Dingmann lives in Minnesota with her husband where they have been homeschooling their two sons since 2007. Her hobbies include filling up her sons’ bottomless pits, drinking a lot of strong coffee, and smiling. Her least favorite subject is math. Her favorite subjects are everything else. She likes talking to other homeschooling parents and assuring them that even though they worry they’re totally screwing things up, they actually totally and completely rock. Amy blogs at The Hmmmschooling Mom, and works as an author/speaker on homeschooling and parenting/family topics.
It’s fun to see how other homeschoolers do things, right? Day-in-the-life blog posts can be useful when looking for ideas or because you have an interest in how others live life as homeschooling families. But sometimes seeing how other homeschoolers approach their day can make us second guess the awesomeness of our own set-up. Sometimes checking in on what another homeschooler is doing can make us feel as though our own homeschooling life isn’t quite up to par.
After the rush and chaos of the holiday season is over, how does a homeschooling family—with its members already having spent the rest of the year together—get through a seemingly endless winter?
When cabin fever sets in, conflict can arise because we’re all indoors together. Winter also makes things harder because the weather can affect our mood, causing us to be not only less motivated, but more irritable—and that goes for everyone in the house!
If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow or ice (Minnesota, anyone?) those negative feelings can all be compounded by the fact that you literally feel stuck—the option to go anywhere has been taken away since driving can be treacherous and unsafe.
Some people believe that homeschooling creates unsocialized children who prefer to keep to themselves.
Most—if not all—homeschooling parents wholeheartedly disagree with that belief. Spend a decent amount of time around a group of homeschooled children, and it’s clear there are just as many introverted homeschooled kids as there are homeschooled kids who can sell ice to an Eskimo.
However, having said that, I do think that in some instances homeschooling has the potential to make it easier for kids who don’t like to get involved to stay uninvolved.
Is your kid a joiner? Not all kids are. If you find yourself with a kid who doesn’t like to get involved, there are a couple different ways to deal with it—but first you have to understand the reasons for it.
There comes a time in every homeschool journey when you need to change what you’re doing. Maybe you’re entering a new school year and want to do things differently than last year. Maybe you’re halfway through the school year and need a little variety so you don’t go stir-crazy! Maybe your children are maturing, and what worked before is no longer clicking. It's time for a switcheroo!
Here are ten different areas where you can make modifications to your homeschool when you feel you need a little adjustment. Choose one or try them all!
1. The time you start your day
School doesn’t need to start at 8 a.m., but we sometimes fall into patterns of how we experienced school ourselves. If 8 a.m. works for you, that’s great. But would your kids respond differently if school started at 9 a.m.? Or noon? Or how about after supper?
A friend who is considering homeschooling recently asked me, “You’ve been homeschooling now for a decade. What’s the best advice you ever received in that whole time?” Thinking back on ten years of homeschooling advice covers a lot of things. There have been conversations about what homeschooling method is best, how to choose the right curriculum, and whether or not a homeschool co-op is necessary. There have been numerous suggestions on age appropriate screen time, fun ways to review what you’ve studied, and how to help your kids learn independence.
But I would have to say the best advice I ever received about homeschooling had to do with ice cream.
Choosing to homeschool will change the way you think about a lot of things. The longer I homeschool, the more the lines between school and life blur, and that makes it hard for me to answer the question of whether or not we are year-round homeschoolers. Maybe you have this problem, too?
Why We Probably Aren’t Year-round Homeschoolers
I don’t assign math in the summer months. June through August, I don’t ask my sons to save their work or projects in a three ring binder in our homeschool closet. We have a last day of school celebration in May and a back to school celebration in September.
My boys do appreciate the school’s out for summer mode of thinking that settles over our house during the months of June, July, and August. But when I look at the hands-on reality of it, there’s not a huge difference in our lives when summer comes around.
One of the many great benefits of homeschooling is that our kids have the time and space to dive deeply into their interests. Interest-led learning is an awesome way to approach homeschooling, right? Yes—if mom and dad tread carefully. Here are four surefire ways to kill your child’s love of learning by misusing their interests. (Don't do these, okay?)
1. Make Your Child's Homeschool Experience Revolve Around the Interest
Your child might be interested in dinosaurs or go-carts or astronomy or jazz musicians. While it’s good to celebrate and explore these topics, there also comes a point where you can go overboard.
It’s one of the most common questions asked of people who plan to—or already do—homeschool their kids: What about socialization?
Next time you find yourself on the business end of the infamous socialization question, try countering with a question of your own—asked with kindness and grace, of course! Here are five ideas to get you started. To the person concerned about socialization, reply with one of these rejoinders.
1. “Let’s see if we’re on the same page here. What exactly do you mean by socialization?”
Obviously, we all want our kids to be out meeting people and learning about the world. We want them to form friendships and have healthy communication skills. Let the person you're conversing with know that these things are important to you as well.
My two sons are close in age—12 months and 3 weeks apart, to be exact. While this closeness has benefited many aspects of our homeschooling journey, it’s also handed us a few challenges as well.
If your kids are close in age, it’s common to find they’re able to do their subjects together using the same curriculum or study. When my sons were younger, they were separated for a time in math and language arts to solidify their understanding. Now that they are older, however, we’re able to do everything together. My sons often say it’s easier for them to learn together. To be completely honest, it’s easier for me as the teacher when it’s set up that way.