A photo of Ginny Kochis

Ginny Kochis

Ginny Kochis is a former high school English teacher and adjunct professor of English turned homeschooling mom and business owner. She writes about faith, motherhood, homeschooling and family literacy at Not So Formulaic.

Managing Anxiety in Your Gifted Child

a mom hugs a son from behind

Gifted children aren’t only more focused, curious, and precocious. They’re also more intense, more sensitive, and more anxious.

I have three of them—each one with her own brand of anxiety. It’s an ever-present reality we’ve learned to live with in our homeschool. On good days, it’s pretty manageable: we acknowledge the fear, address it, and move on. On bad days, it’s crippling: there are tears, stomach aches, cancellations and despair.

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Five Writing Activities for Reluctant, Anxious Writers

Getting started is the hardest part of writing. What if I don’t know what to say? What if no one likes what I’m saying? What if I’m saying it wrong? These fears can paralyze reluctant writers.

That’s pretty much the case in my homeschool: while my daughter loves to read and tell stories, writing anything down tends to throw her into panic mode.

What’s a homeschool parent to do, then, when a child struggles to write?

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4 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset in Your Homeschool

a confident girl writes on a chalkboard

When I was in graduate school, one of my literature professors assigned a text called The Elements (and Pleasures) of Difficulty (2004). It arrived from Amazon in a tiny box, a thin volume with an 80s-inspired cover. Irritated, I flipped through the pages and tossed it aside. I had weighty selections from the Victorian canon awaiting my time and attention. Why did I have to wade through fluff?

Probably that attitude, for starters. With the exception of the aforementioned book, the reading list for this course was challenging. I had begun to rue the day I decided to pursue this path and was contemplating withdrawing from the program.

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Say This, Not That: 10 Perfect Phrases to Develop a Growth Mindset

a young boy is dressed in a super hero costume

I’m not a growth mindset mom, at least not by default. I’ve read all about the importance of developing one, and I’ve written about its benefits. But as many a homeschool parent can attest, being aware of a practice and its real life application isn’t the same thing as actually doing it.

My kids know to put their dirty clothes in the hamper. Want to guess how many pajamas I find shoved behind the bathroom door?

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A Mindful Homeschool: How to Respond Instead of React

A mom and child sit looking at a body of water.

The day has not gone well. You were ten minutes late for a doctor's appointment. They cancelled and moved your appointment to next week. You fought with the oldest about her math lesson. The toddler destroyed your homeschool planner while you were busy with his sibling. You washed three loads of laundry and carried it upstairs. The muddy dog came in and took a nap in the basket. You just got a text about book club tomorrow. They’ve asked you to lead discussion on a book you’ve never read.

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3 Easy Learning Games to Keep Your Active Child Engaged

3 Easy Learning Games to Keep Your Active Child Engaged

My first grader was born running. At birth, she showed up 25 minutes after we got to the hospital. At ten months, she ran circles around me and her sister. At 18 months, she potty trained herself. At 27 months, she organized small bands of marauding neighborhood preschoolers. (I wish I were kidding.) 

This girl is my spitfire. She’s my firebrand, my Katie-bar-the-door. And the truth is, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Except when it comes to homeschooling.

Shakespeare's description from A Midsummer Night’s Dream suits this child to a tee, “Oh, when she is angry, she is keen and shrewd!...And though she be but little, she is fierce.”

B is brilliant.  She’s also hilarious, charismatic, and an absolute challenge to teach. I’ve never seen a child with a stronger will or a more insatiable appetite for play. In the homeschool classroom, B requires constant stimulation, and it has to be fun.  

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An Open Letter to My Husband, My Biggest Homeschool Supporter

Somewhere between the third time the kindergarten teacher spoke and the fifth time our responses were challenged, your hand shifted to the margin of the legal pad in front of you. I looked down, startled by the movement.

“I’m ready to pull her out tomorrow,” you scribbled. “She needs to be some place she’s loved.”

I stared across the table at the panel of experts. They had combed through our family history; put our daughter through endless rounds of testing; and interviewed her teachers, her therapists, and finally, us.

The school psychologist slid a stack of papers across the table.

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Homeschooling as a Solution to Autism and Asperger's Bullying

Five year olds aren’t supposed to hate kindergarten, but Gracie did. She cried every morning before drop off; her mother would find her in the principal’s office after school. Conversations at home grew less and less animated. By midyear, she barely spoke about school at all.

Gracie’s parents, Mark and Cindy, were troubled. Their daughter had changed dramatically since the fall. Then one February evening on the way to a school function, Gracie told her dad about an incident three months prior: she’d been forced under a table by a group of boys.

“Why did they do that?!?” her dad inquired.

“They said Brontosaurus was a real dinosaur. I told them they were wrong.”

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Five Steps for Engaging Your Book-Loving But Reluctant Reader

If you homeschool a reluctant reader, you’ve probably discovered an undeniable truth: a variety of circumstances can lead to the frustration, and there’s no surefire, works-for-everyone fix.

While the conundrum is a tough situation, it grows more difficult when your reluctant reader loves books. How do you encourage a child who loves stories, but recoils at the thought of reading on her own? The key lies in engaging your book-loving, reluctant reader with four steps that bring literature to life.

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Why Poetry Matters and How to Make it Work in Your Homeschool

a tree's branches reach up to the sky

There are lots of words to describe poetry, and you’ve probably heard a few: boring, scary, hard, confusing. But poetry is also exciting, inviting, enchanting, enlightening. What makes one person adore the artform while another views it with distaste? In most cases, a disdain for poetry stems from frustration and fear. The abstract nature and inherent complexity of poetry make it difficult to approach.

But poetry instruction in your homeschool matters, precisely because of the division between enthusiasts and detractors.

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