And then they hated math: My journey into unschooling

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Written by contributor Amida of Journey Into Unschooling

remember the first time I called myself an unschooler. I had just read John Holt’s Teach Your Own and was impressed with his vision of an alternative educational style in which children were encouraged to learn outside of school.

He saw children as scientists, eager and capable of exploring and experimenting with the world around them. Yes, I thought, that is exactly what I wanted my children to experience.

I had visions of them spending their days wandering through nature, collecting and identifying leaves, filling notepads with their amazingly original stories, learning math, engineering, civics, and science through a year-long project of designing and building a cardboard, solar-powered city.

It was learning at its fantastical best — fun, natural, and meaningful.
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A dose of homeschool inspiration

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Enjoy this week’s homeschool inspiration:

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Honoring the spark

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Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

The storm had come suddenly, sometime between sandwiches and schooltime, and the branches banged against the house, and the lightweight lawn-chairs did flips across the lawn. The storm was just severe enough to be fun.

“May we please go play in the wind before math?!”

It was respectfully asked, and there it was in his eyes, the spark.

I bent down and smiled straight into that spark: “Ten minutes. Ready? GO!”

A blur of boots (no time for a coat!) ran out the door, and I watched from the kitchen window as they ran across the yard, flapping arms and laughing, feeling the Top Ten Reviews powerful gusts push them along.

I glanced back at the book there on the counter, ready to be returned to the library, and gratitude welled up in me again for Kristine Barnett’s message to all moms: [Read more…]

When worksheets don’t work

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Written by Shawna Wingert of Not The Former Things

I have a confession to make.

This may sound a little crazy, but when I was in school, I actually enjoyed completing worksheets. It didn’t matter the subject, whether it was fill-in-the-blank or circle-the-correct -answer, I loved them.

There was something about the promise, as I would write my name in the upper left hand corner (because, of course), that this worksheet would be complete — all the lines filled in, the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed – this worksheet would show how much I “knew.”

Fast-forward about 25 years to when I started homeschooling my own two sons, and not much had changed. I still loved the worksheets. I wanted my sons to love the worksheets.

I wanted them to see the ease and brilliance of just following the directions, and then moving on with your day.

But they didn’t see the brilliance. And the ease? For both of my children, worksheets are suffocating and tedious at best, and a reminder of how difficult some of their special needs are at worst.
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A FREE holiday gift (value $100) from Educents and Simple Homeschool!

A FREE holiday gift from Educents and Simple Homeschool
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

This week I’m teaming up with the generous folks over at Educents to bring you a special, FREE holiday gift! Educents is an educational deals site–offering significant discounts on many homeschooling products and resources.

Over the past year I have discovered quite a few good deals there for our family’s own homeschool, so I was thrilled by the idea of compiling a few of my personal favorites as a Christmas present for you lovely blog subscribers!

Just take a peek at what we’ve put together for you:
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