Archives for November 2011

Your job is to say yes.

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

Am I the only parent to whom the word “no” just seems to roll off the tongue?

I don’t understand why, but my natural tendency is to say no first and think about yes later. This is sometimes legitimate–maybe I’m not sure what the answer should be or I’m in the middle of something important.

But sometimes I say no for no good reason. Can you relate?

Many homeschooling parents started this lifestyle because we wanted to tailor the curriculum and learning process to our children and their individualized interests. But it can be hard to do that when we get so caught up in our own daily agenda that our “yeses” come infrequently.
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Weekend Links

“I always like to learn, but I don’t always like to be taught.” ~ Winston Churchill

Stopping What You’ve Started

Written by contributor Amida of  Journey Into Unschooling

Recently, my kids wrapped up their science lesson from the previous weeks. They had a little mad science action going on as they mixed different substances to see if there was a reaction, both with specific combinations and ones of their own choosing. I think this particular lesson went a little too long (three sessions) and for the most part was a bit redundant, as far as what they already knew.

One of the moms in our co-op had acquired a complete chemistry curriculum with almost all the materials necessary for a middle-grade class. It included everything from textbook, experiments, lab books, and even teacher resources that told you exactly how to teach the class — all of which seemed very exciting but  was, in actuality, a little on the dull side.

Which of course, leads to the question, why was it so dull? They’re sitting around out in the beautiful sunshine (mostly), hanging with their best friends, and learning about what promises to be an engaging, well thought out exploration of chemical reactions. They get to conduct experiments, fill out lab books, and learn state-aligned science standards! What was wrong with these kids?
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Back to Basics: Keeping School Simple

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

A note from Jamie: As we start to head into the holiday season, it’s good to remember how to scale back in our homeschool–how to remember the most important things and let go of the rest. This post originally published on November 15, 2010.

Schooling at home relieves us of many complications that traditional schoolers face: There’s no rushing kids to the bus stop, no packing lunches the night before, and no after school pickups required.

But sometimes the complications in homeschooling arise from within–from the knowledge of the overwhelming responsibility we have taken for our children’s education. If results don’t turn out as planned or hoped, there’s no school system or mean teacher to blame.

Often, in my own life, it can be my fears and insecurities that complicate matters.

That’s why we need reminders of how to keep school at home simple. What is actually needed and required? What is beneficial and a blessing in our family?

Constant tension in a home is not what most of us had in mind when we signed up for this gig. Therefore we need to accomplish what is truly important and let go of unrealistic, unnecessary expectations.

Here are three ideas that help me to do just that.
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3 Things to Do When Plans Don’t Follow the Plan

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats.

I‘m a fairly academically-minded homeschooler. It could be the former public school teacher in me. It could be my big head. But I like to know that my kids are making progress through their curriculum. I like to know that they score at or above grade level on standardized tests. I like to know that “the experiement is working” — at least from an academic perspective.

But I’m also learning to be a realist: things don’t always go according to plan.

  • Kids get sick.
  • It takes me a week to prepare for a week’s vacation and another week to recover.
  • The library doesn’t always deliver on time the book I reserved three weeks ago.
  • On occasion, a child will be sporting two left shoes.

Life is subject to change.

Any variety of moods, household projects, or illness can get in the way of my best-laid plans. Consequently, I have to adjust — and so does my homeschool.

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