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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Montessori at Home: 8 Principles to Know

Written by contributor Heather Bruggeman of Beauty That Moves

Montessori education is a philosophy and model created by Maria Montessori, the first woman physician in Italy, in the late 1800s. At its core, Montessori education is designed to promote peace and considers the whole child as well as the environment in its approach.

It has been a primary influence in our family’s lifestyle and educational philosophy.

We’ve heard from some readers that you are interested in Montessori philosophy as it might fit into your homeschool. And some of you were looking for a little inspiration or direction to light the way.

If you are like me, you appreciate things broken down into easy to follow steps.

In 2005,  Angeline S. Lillard wrote a book called Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, in which she discusses whether or not a century old methodology can stand up to modern day scientific research in developmental psychology. Her research led to the understanding that Dr. Montessori’s ideas were, and still are, a very effective holistic approach to educating a child.

It’s an academic way of saying that Maria Montessori knew what she was doing.

In Lillard’s book she covers Eight Principles of Montessori Education.  Today we will look at those and think about how they may fit into your homeschool.

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Middle School Resources and Materials (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Heather Bruggeman of Beauty That Moves

My Child’s Age: 13
Educational Philosophy Influences: Montessori, Classical, Relaxed

Our family is in its first full year of homeschooling. My girl is an academic who enjoys lessons, grades, and TESTS. As for me? I would call myself a relaxed homeschooler. Somewhere in the middle is where we meet and spend our days.

In the interest of this month’s Curriculum Fair, I’ll focus this post on what we have used this year for our formal curriculum. This includes pre-packaged curriculum as well as various resources that are of high quality and see regular use in our homeschool.

A brief background: My daughter spent her elementary years attending a private Montessori school where learning was celebrated and the idea of school was very positive. Each child felt successful and confident as a contributing member of the classroom community. We did not decide to homeschool because school didn’t work out. We chose it because after graduating from that special school, nothing else could possibly compare.

So, we decided to homeschool.
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5 Ways to Simplify Dinner in a Homeschool Kitchen

Written by contributor Heather Bruggeman of Beauty That Moves

There was a time when I looked at homeschool families and thought they must have it all together at home.  I imagined dreamy, organized living spaces and multi-course meals spread on the farm table three times a day. After all, they were home – they must have plenty of time on their hands for such things.

Then I became a homeschooler.

Very quickly I learned that although I’d be spending more time at home than I ever had in my adult life, my home would become messy and the dinner hour would come fast. Oh, and most importantly, I learned that homeschooling is a very full time job and some days down right exhausting. As it should be for the responsibility that it is.

In addition to homeschooling, I also work from home. I know many of you can relate to the engaging, inspiring, and tiring sort of days I’m talking about.

There was a time when making dinner found me slipping into the kitchen around 5:00, turning on NPR, and pouring a glass of red to be enjoyed while I prepared the planned meal for the evening (I always did work with a menu plan). Nowadays, it is easy to feel done for the day just as soon as we check that final item off our homeschool list.

I actually love to cook, so this lack of dinner hour enthusiasm saddened me. I needed a freshened up approach to making dinner. The kitchen is one area that I have trouble handing over the reins, it is my happy place, my domain… but I knew I needed to enlist some help and shift my own perspective in order to energize the dinner hour.
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Changing Curriculum Mid-Year: Knowing When It’s Time

Written by contributor Heather Bruggeman of Beauty That Moves

Of the many gifts that come with homeschooling, the one I am truly loving right now is the freedom to make changes as needed. Doesn’t it seem rather impossible to sit down over the summer and plan an entire school year, sight unseen, knowing how the whole thing will unfold?

Despite careful research and planning, the science curriculum we chose was all wrong for our daughter.

And it wasn’t for lack of trying. Several approaches, on our part and hers were put forth in an effort to find a workable place with this text. We very carefully considered the idea of switching before doing so. Sure, we invested good money in the book; but more importantly, we value commitment and dedication, and do our best to instill those same values in our daughter. We didn’t want to send the wrong message.

You can’t walk away from everything in life that isn’t super fun.

I don’t expect her to feel warm and fuzzy about every single part of our school day. As humans we need to grow and stretch ourselves in new directions. It’s okay to be bored sometimes, to persevere at other times, be diligent, work hard. As a family, we value all of that.

However, it is also important to know when your child isn’t persevering, they’re enduring. There is a difference. 

The writing on the wall says it’s time to make a change.

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