• Maybe it’s just me, but homeschooling in the winter can be a challenge. My children don’t play outside as much, playgroups don’t meet as often, and we spend a lot more time at home. In some ways, this is a gift. We love homeschooling because we love home, but we also love and need our community and friends. When the forecast looks cold and gray, all I want to do is stay in my pajamas and read. My kids seek screens more, and if we’re not careful, we can start to feel blue. Seasonal shifts naturally happen in our homeschool days when winter arrives, but if I want our days to continue to go smoothly and for my family to feel our best, a little extra energy and planning is needed on my part. We welcome more time to read and snuggle, but movement, projects, and getting out of the house—even when it’s cold—are a must, too.Read More

  • Admit it. You’ve seen the pictures of happy, snuggling children listening to a book being read or heard about the deep discussions and family bonding that happens when parents read to their children and thought, “I want that too. I’m going to make time in our home school schedule for read aloud time. I can do this.” So you give family reading time a try. But it doesn’t look like the pictures or work like the stories. Instead, your youngest is running around chasing the dog. Your middle child looks bored, and when you ask your oldest a question about the paragraph you’ve just read, he just grunts and says, “I don’t know.”Read More

  • How long is a typical homeschool day and how does it compare with the hours of a day in public school? Many parents, new to homeschooling, wrongly assume that they should homeschool for the same length of time as their public school counterparts. 

    In general, a homeschool day is much shorter than that of a traditional school. But this shorter school day doesn't mean that less is getting done. In fact, homeschoolers can often achieve more in less time than public school students. 

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  • My son is in fifth grade this year. He’s at that age where he’s growing up fast but he still loves to snuggle on the couch with his mom occasionally. One of the things he loves the most is reading together. We have a long-standing tradition of reading a book together each night, usually one that has a movie coming out that we’d like to see. This year with BookShark as our curriculum, that nighttime reading tradition has become part of our homeschool day, too! Since he's an independent reader, we haven’t included Read-Alouds in our homeschool for several years. I admit that it's something we let slide while we were using other curriculums. But now that we're on the BookShark bandwagon, I'm realizing how wonderful it is to use reading aloud with a middle schooler!Read More

  • 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

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