Am I Doing Enough?

“Help! I feel like I’m not doing enough, that my child isn’t learning enough. How can I be sure that’s not a legitimate concern?”

 

I saw this question and thought: A lot of homeschoolers have this worry. Most aren’t professional teachers. Their child isn’t spending nearly as much time on lessons as the public school students do. Lessons aren’t as consistent as the parent would like them to be. The child doesn’t seem to get the lessons as much as he should–he has too many questions, has to re-do too many problems, etc. And no one’s letting us know on a regular basis if the child’s doing well–it’s not like we’re getting weekly progress reports. So of course we worry.
 
But should we? How can we be reassured? How can we know if there’s really a problem?
 

Continue reading Am I Doing Enough?

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The Mother Who Checked Out

My family and I flew to Detroit and back for the Thanksgiving holiday. On the return trip, I saw a family of three–mom, a boy about 6 years old and a girl about 12 years old. I first noticed them when the boy hopped on a moving sidewalk that was moving in the opposite direction of where they were headed. Mom looked frantic, like she was afraid they would miss their flight, but the boy smiled, tried for a moment to go against the moving sidewalk and then gave up and kept going away from her. She seemed beaten down and not willing to fight him to get him moving in the direction they needed to go.

My attention was elsewhere as I took care of my family, including Continue reading The Mother Who Checked Out

What If the Kids Aren’t Doing Their Work?

I saw this question again today online. Parents debated what to do with homeschooled kids who weren’t doing their work. Could doing chores instead of lessons be the homeschool version of in-school suspension and help get them back on track with lessons? Would it be better to have them write a paper on the reasons for learning and getting an education? Should they be denied fun activities and events until they toe the line?

Sometimes kids don’t want to do Continue reading What If the Kids Aren’t Doing Their Work?

Why We Need Homeschool Support Groups

Fourteen years ago, we joined our first homeschool support group. In those intervening years, I’ve seen many groups come and go. I’ve seen a few moms go a bit crazy and try to wreck groups; sometimes they are successful, while other times they aren’t completely successful but their drama still chases a number of families away. I’ve heard a number of moms say they’d rather avoid homeschool support groups because of such drama. And I’ve seen a lot of newer homeschool moms who feel they don’t need a homeschool support group because

Continue reading Why We Need Homeschool Support Groups

Learning Place Value

A week ago, my husband brought home a dice game called Farkle. The game is simple enough that our 5-year-old was able to play along but the scoring uses big numbers. It takes 10,000 points to win. Which made it perfect for using an abacus for each of us to keep track of our scores. We have simple ones that we made Continue reading Learning Place Value

Kindergarten–week 3

Kindergarten in our house is nothing like the super academic structure of the average modern public school. We don’t do a lot of sitting at desks or tables. I don’t force lesson times. We sometimes go for a couple of days (or more) without any formal lessons.

Does that mean there’s no learning going on? Not at all.

Some peeks at the learning that happened in our homeschool kindergarten today include:
I woke up this morning to our youngest excitedly telling me Continue reading Kindergarten–week 3

Leadership Skills (Day 3 of our “school” year)

This evening, I sat at a table with two other people. As a group, we were conducting interviews. A teenager stood before us. He was asked questions. Some of these were questions whose answers he should know well–the answers he’d recited with a group at least once a week for months, if not years. Some of the questions were typical interview questions of the “How would our organization benefit if we put you in a leadership position?” sort. The young man to my right Continue reading Leadership Skills (Day 3 of our “school” year)

First Day of Kindergarten (at Home)

So today was the first day of public school in my area. My youngest has been looking forward to this for some time as his first day of kindergarten. He carefully planned his outfit the night before so he’d look like a kindergartner for the photo he’d take the next morning. He packed his backpack with assorted school supplies, including a new notebook that he carefully wrote his name on and then added the alphabet and a few assorted math problems to the cover. And this morning, he was up early and dressed himself and combed his hair at least twice. He was ready to go!

There was a moment of shock when Continue reading First Day of Kindergarten (at Home)

High School Prom

Last year at about this time of year, my daughter and a couple of her friends started talking about prom. They wanted to experience a prom and had decided to put together their own. We talked about all that would be involved (picking a venue and setting a day and time well in advance so people could plan, setting a budget for all that would be involved–a DJ, decorations, insurance, rent for the venue, food and beverages, security, etc., advertising and selling tickets, setting rules/guidelines about appropriate wear, behavior, etc., and so on) and starting to plan right then in order to make it happen. They got another friend to help and the four teens (along with a couple of parents) started work.

Last weekend, they hosted their prom. Over 50 teens came (and a few parent chaperones, a hired security guard, parents to check tickets and make sure they left afterwards with their parents, and a DJ). I loved that the majority felt free to come on their own or with a group of friends rather than feeling that they must come with dates. Of course, there were more girls present than boys, but after an hour the majority of the kids (boys included) had warmed up enough that they were all dancing and having fun.

I had my teens take 6 weeks of ballroom dancing classes beforehand. Not that they did any ballroom-style dancing at the prom, but I think it’s a skill they should have just in case. (Especially for the one who’s interested in joining the military since balls are a big thing in the military.)

The security guard, an off-duty policeman that we were required to hire, had a lot of questions about homeschooling. He was quite surprised when we told him that most homeschool parents are very careful about their kids–even their teens–and that while we hadn’t allowed most parents in (in order to make it feel like a prom rather than a parent-child dance), most peeked in to see the venue and then went a couple of doors down to a cafe where they hung out until the prom was over. The more we talked, the more questions he had. Eventually, he revealed that his wife had asked him about homeschooling and he’d known nothing about it, but he said that now he planned to go back and talk to her some more about the idea. He definitely knows that socializing (and proms) are something homeschoolers don’t have to miss out on!