Weekend Links

“Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education.” ~ Charlotte Mason

Q&A Friday: Is Homeschooling Best for a Child with Special Needs?

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

Making the decision to homeschool can be challenging enough even in the best of circumstances, but add in other factors like special needs, and it can really become a source of worry for potential homeschooling parents.

I’m familiar with these concerns and insecurities; my daughter has a visual impairment as well as special social and emotional needs. Before she joined our family (at the age of four), I read online about fellow adoptive parents who had successfully homeschooled their blind daughter. It was just the encouragement I needed at just the right time–it made me think that homeschooling was not only possible, but that it could be the preferred situation for a child with special needs.

Recently I received this email from a Simple Homeschool reader, asking for our help:
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From Idealistic Memories to Realistic Goals

The following is a guest post written by Kari of Sacred Mundane.

The 1985 fall cover of Teaching Home magazine features a smiling family of four together on the couch reading a book on space exploration. The five-year-old daughter grins, trying not to giggle, remembering the promise of ice cream on the way home.

I still remember choosing orange sherbet.

At the time I didn’t know we were educational pioneers, I just knew we had a great thing going. While everyone else was at school my brother and I explored the woods and picked blueberries and visited museums and rode bikes for hours on end. My mom made every moment a teachable moment, instilling in me a love for learning and cultivating curiosity and creativity. She taught me to see, to notice, to think. And most of all, to care.

But now I’m the mom, and the tricky part of having such a phenomenal homeschool experience is that my memories are idealistic and dream-like. They stand in sharp contrast to the somewhat lackluster homeschooling that takes place in my present suburban life.

While I remember hours spent by the wooded creek near our home, catching crawdads and water skippers, my children’s version is sugar ants and a garden hose trickling down the driveway.

I shake my head and wonder, “Can I really string these ordinary days into an excellent education?”

No matter what our upbringing, we all, at some point, struggle with comparing our real homeschool days with our ideal homeschool dreams. So what do we do?

Here are a few ways we can use the ideal to fuel our goals for the real.
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Are You a Good Enough Teacher?

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

The start of the traditional school year is nearly upon us, a fact that probably fills each of us with a variety of emotions. Some of you feel the excitement of anticipation, as curriculum boxes and supplies arrive at your home via the FedEx truck. You’re looking forward to getting back to the routine of homeschooling life.

For others, though, the countdown might not feel quite so uplifting. Maybe you’re wondering if you can make it through another year of homeschooling. If you’re like me, maybe the bickering level has been so high in your home during recent days that you question if it’s even worth it.

Maybe you’re just struggling to make it through each day.

Feelings of insecurity can really add up in the life of a homeschooling mom or dad. We want the best for our children, of course. But some days we question if the best–is us.

How can you know if you are a good enough teacher? Ask yourself the following questions. [Read more...]

Homeschooling Benefits for Adolescence

Written by contributor Heather Bruggeman of Beauty That Moves

In the spring I shared a post with you about Middle School Resources and Materials. In that article I referenced Maria Montessori’s thoughts on the middle school years; how she viewed that fleeting time is best spent.

It generated quite a bit of interest – for many of you there was a very real modern day understanding of Ms. Montessori’s century old words.

For today, I thought we could dig a little deeper in that direction. Let’s bring the spirit of those Montessori ideas home, and think about the benefits and gifts an adolescent might experience when homeschooled.

For the purpose of this article, when referring to “middle school,” I am writing about seventh and eighth grade. There is a particular explosion of development during these years, and some people, like Maria Montessori, feel this age group is better off with an alternative experience to the status quo.

Perhaps a good way to start would be to consider the three areas that form the whole child.
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