About Amida

Amida is the mom to three darn kids. She used to stress about state standards and test scores but has since come to her senses and enjoys blogging about her family's journey into unschooling.

5 things kids really want to know about homeschooling

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The following is a post by contributor Amida of journey into unschooling.

So, how do you homeschool? This by far, is perhaps the most asked question regarding our schooling.

One day, upon learning that my children are homeschooled,  a group of elementary school kids instantly bombarded them with questions concerning their education: What do you have to do? How long does it take to finish? Do you get recess? What do you eat at your homeschool? Who is your teacher?

I found it all very amusing, especially my son’s brief responses — everything, until we are done, yes, anything, Mom. I thought I’d take this moment to elaborate for him.

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Amida’s day in a life (with a 3, 7-, 12- and 15-year-old)

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Written by Amida of Journey into Unschooling.

If you are following a traditional school calendar, then your year may look something like ours: fall semester, winter break, spring semester, summer break. And if you’re like me, then you hit fall semester running and start losing steam around December.

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In our family, December marks the countdown to birthday and holiday celebrations, crafting, gift making and shopping, with school falling to the bottom of the priority list.

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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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Slow and steady :: On learning at your own pace

Slow and steady
Written by contributor Amida of Journey into Unschooling.

You know those high achieving homeschoolers who read by age three and recite the times tables backwards and forwards by 3rd grade? The ones with the perfect penmanship, excellent spelling, and an uncanny ability to build complex mechanical structures out of LEGO and K’nex without an instruction manual?

Most of us know someone with at least one or two of these characteristics, the super homeschoolers that are our community’s pride and joy and the ones who also privately put us to shame, especially during those moments of doubt when we compare them to our own, and wonder, are we doing something wrong?

My daughter was a perfectionist, easily frustrated by the slightest setback. At an early age, she showed proficiency in writing and drawing, filling our walls with copywork and colorful, detailed pictures.

By first grade, she could complete a perfect cartwheel, but could barely read with any fluency or know the place value of any given number.

What she was good at she repeated often and well. She loved stories and we read to her every single day. Whenever she wanted to write a word, we spelled it out for her, a letter at a time. Fascinated with science, we read her Ranger Rick magazines from cover to cover and watched Bill Nye often.

Occasionally, I’d ask her to add or subtract a few numbers and work through online reading programs, but never felt she completely understood the concepts.

Truth be told, I had more than my share of insecure moments when I worried about her academic level in comparison to other kids her age.

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4 back to school resolutions to keep in mind this year

Written by contributor Amida of Journey into Unschooling. She really did buy 24 tubes of glue sticks.

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For many of us, it is Back to School season, and with it, all the hopes, relief, and excitement of a fresh start. In a way, it is like the beginning of any cycle, be it the New Year, new house, or new job. You get a chance to do over and somehow get it right this time.

I was at the back-to-school section of a store the other day and overheard a mom exclaim, “I love new school supplies!” She was selecting designer notebooks, fashion folders, and neon paper with her daughter, who kept asking which items and designs she ought to pick.

There was a time when I had shun back-to-school sales. Who needed another dozen brand new #2 pencils? What was wrong with the clothes already in the closet? Was there really a need to plop down $200 for a new “school” wardrobe? But, there in that store, listening to the mom and daughter gush over their shopping, I admit, I too, felt some of their excitement.

There is nothing like a crisp, blank notebook — with its potential to be filled with new ideas and learning — to give you a sense of all that is to come. I watched the groups of parents and children browsing the aisle, each with a shopping list, no doubt sent to them by the teachers. “We need six pencils,” announced one Dad to his son. Those teachers are pros. They know exactly what is needed to be ready to go.

Homeschoolers are a different story. I hear lots of resolutions about how this year, it’s going to be different:

  • This year, we will take more field trips.
  • This year, we will learn hands-on.
  • This year, learning will be fun.

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