The Second Time Around

My youngest is 4 years old. I can’t say that I’ve done a lot with him as far as homeschooling. Well, maybe that’s wrong. I have, but it looks nothing like what I did with my older kids who are now teens. Partly, that’s because I have enough confidence now to take our own road and not feel that I have to copy the school system. Or perhaps more precisely, I know that my husband has enough confidence in what I do with the kids to not worry if I don’t have lots of worksheets to show him. Partly, it’s Continue reading The Second Time Around


Teaching a Preschooler at Home

I frequently am asked “What curriculum should I use with my preschooler?”

After teaching a lot of preschoolers in my home (including my own forever children as well as almost two dozen foster children), I’ve learned a lot about what works with most children and what doesn’t. I’ve learned that Continue reading Teaching a Preschooler at Home

Oh My Word! Have a Little Faith in Yourself!

Ever want to reach through the computer and shake someone? Of course, you wouldn’t actually do it. Neither would I. But if I were to ever meet certain people in real life, I might have to remind myself a time or two that shaking them is not something I would do. This is one such instance.

A woman explained online that she wants to homeschool but plans to use a public school online program, a virtual school, to teach because she thinks she’s not smart enough to teach middle school math because she had to retake a college math course 3 times to pass it. Hello? Lady, you may have had to re-take the class, but you Continue reading Oh My Word! Have a Little Faith in Yourself!

Teaching a Preschooler at Home

Our little guy will be three years old in a couple of months. I’ve been assessing what he has learned. No, I haven’t given him some standardized test or even some informal test. Those sorts of things certainly aren’t necessary at this age (or for several years to come) when the child is with someone with whom he is comfortable and who has time to observe him often.

So what does he know? Currently, he knows all the letters of the alphabet by name. He knows a sound that each letter makes. (We haven’t worked on long vowels, or soft consonant sounds, or other advanced phonics skills yet. “The Letter Factory” video has been a favorite for some time and has to be given most of the credit for this.) Continue reading Teaching a Preschooler at Home

Teaching Toddlers Pre-Writing Skills

Nathaniel story

This year I started a writing club through our homeschool support group for kids old enough to write. Patterned after some writing groups for adult writers that I’ve attended, the students each bring a piece of writing and read it to the others and ask for critiques. The idea is to encourage the children to write something well enough that they won’t be embarrassed to read it to their peers. (Use that peer pressure for good, to encourage them to put forth their best effort.) In addition, they hopefully learn to listen to others and to give gentle, but helpful, advice and perhaps learn to improve their own writing in the process. Continue reading Teaching Toddlers Pre-Writing Skills

Teaching Reading. Again.

The great thing about teaching a child to read when your oldest children, whom you taught to read, are now in high school and reading Shakespeare and such, is that there is so much less panic and worry about it. Teaching reading, in my experience, really isn’t that difficult. I’ve read posts online and talked to parents in person who fret over which expensive reading curriculum to buy and how hard to push those lessons, but I never tried those expensive books, and this time around, I’m not worried at all about taking the less expensive, lower-stress route because I know it worked with my other children and led to kids who love to read.

I’ve already begun with our 2 1/2 year old. Continue reading Teaching Reading. Again.

Potty Training Surprise

We’ve had about two dozen little ones live in our house, between our permanent children and the many foster children we took in, so I’ve got a bit of experience in teaching kids to use the potty, but I have to say that I’m quite surprised at how this latest experience is going.

When my eldest was a little guy, I remember trying to teach him to use the potty. We read books, watched videos, and I sat him on the potty over and over again. I followed advice from other parents as well as parenting experts and used little treats to motivate him–until I learned that he was too smart for that. He quickly figured out that if going on the potty meant a piece of candy, then he was going to go just a teeny tiny amount, collect his candy, and then come back again and get another piece of candy, and drag it out as much as he could. I wasn’t a big fan of handing out candy to little Continue reading Potty Training Surprise

Homeschooling with an Energetic Toddler? How Can it Possibly Work?

Anyone who’s had a toddler in the house for a few days knows how much time and attention they demand. Pairing a toddler with students sitting and studying seems a match destined to fail. Yet it can work.

More than a decade ago, I juggled homeschooling another’s child with two toddlers of my own. Later, we became a foster family and over the next seven and a half years, twenty-three different little ones came through our house as we homeschooled our older children. Many of these little ones were toddlers who came to us with difficult backgrounds, yet my eldest have been homeschooled from the beginning and are now in high school and managing just fine.

Homeschooling with a toddler in the house isn’t easy, but it can be done. Remember that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. There will be days (and weeks) where it feels no progress is made, but in the end, with steady effort and some good strategies, you will reach the end, despite all the interruptions and difficulties.

Some tips I’ve learned along the way:

Continue reading Homeschooling with an Energetic Toddler? How Can it Possibly Work?