Going to School

My homeschooled five-year-old wants to go to school for two weeks. Or ten weeks. Or, at the latest count, it’s up to 16 weeks now.

So we started today–after spending the morning working on his science project on bats. He pulled up a TV tray table and put a chair by it. This was his

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Project-Based Learning?

“I’m looking for curriculum to help my child get into [a particular university program].”

The woman got upset when I suggested that she might let him spend a lot of time working on projects related to his specialized interest. She seemed to think that was only for younger kids, not for high school students interested in a rigorous academic program.

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Kindergarten: Laid-Back Style

New homeschooling parents worry about are they doing enough or which curriculum they should use or numerous other details. Having seen the journey through from start to almost the finish with my older kids–who are both now taking college classes after having been homeschooled from the beginning–I’m much more relaxed about it. It’s rather like those who’ve potty-trained a couple of kids and figure out that the next child in the family will potty-train when he or she is ready and there’s no need to stress over the details like they did with the first child, so the journey’s much easier on everyone involved.

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Normalizing Homeschooling

A friend worried that her son felt he was weird or unusual since he was homeschooled. He’d been pulled out of school because of issues in the school, but like most kids, blames himself and thinks he’s somehow not good enough for school. The fact that he doesn’t see many other homeschoolers around wasn’t helping. I think it really helps to show kids, as much as possible given your own situation, that homeschooling isn’t that unusual. Normalizing homeschooling can make the child feel better about himself. But how do you do that?
Some options that come to mind include:

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How Did You Prepare Your Children for College Writing?

The person who asked how I prepared my kids for college writing was likely expecting to hear the name of a fabulous writing curriculum that we used. But we didn’t. There are several well-known intense writing instruction programs that are popular with homeschoolers, but I didn’t use any of those. Honestly, I haven’t had my kids spend a lot of time writing; we don’t work on it regularly every day nor necessarily, every week. I don’t teach my kids that way. To me that’s boring and tedious and isn’t likely to bring about a lot of learning. Instead, Continue reading How Did You Prepare Your Children for College Writing?

Dual Enrollment–Starting College in High School

My teens just signed up for their first college level class through Florida’s dual enrollment program which allows high school students (including those who are in home education programs) to take college courses for free. These courses can be used for credit towards high school graduation as well as college credit. The classes count twice–both for high school and college.

A lot of homeschooled friends have been asking for details on how the dual-enrollment process works. So here is what I’ve learned….The rules regarding admission vary from one college to another. There’s no consistent set of rules. Some allow students to start at a certain age and for others it’s based on their grade level. Other rules vary too–for example, books are free at colleges but those designated as universities may or may not charge fees for books or materials.

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Testing–They Did It!

Testing is such a HUGE thing in public schools these days. The public is told that testing not only determines who passes a grade level or graduates from high school, but it determines teacher pay, school grades, and ultimately funding. Students are tested regularly. They practice testing skills and take practice tests. They take multiple types of tests. And this is in addition to the less formal classroom tests given (and perhaps designed) by individual teachers for their specific classes–the math, spelling, history, and other sorts of tests. Testing seems to take up more than half of the time spent in local public schools.

So when a parent starts to homeschool, most worry Continue reading Testing–They Did It!

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?

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

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