Charting the path ahead: Making a homeschool “compass”

Making a homeschool compass
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

This post is part of an ongoing series
about the educational philosophy Leadership Education
(also known as A Thomas Jefferson Education.)
Find the other posts in the series here.

I brewed inviting mugs of hot tea, explained to the kids our goal for the day, and carried the mugs to our porch where we could enjoy the recent influx of definitive spring-like weather (Hallelujah!).

I also trying to brew a little inspiration for something we’d never done before–making homeschool compasses. A compass should do what it sounds like–point us in the right direction for our learning as a family.

For years now I’ve regularly created “six month inventories” for our homeschool–plans that form a scaffold for what Steve and I need to do in order to guide and direct our children’s educations.

Every six months (or thereabouts) I carve out quiet, pray for each child, and brainstorm ideas about what he or she needs most at this time.

A compass is similar in some ways–except that the kids have created it themselves! I figured that now–at ages 9, almost 10, and just-turned-11–they would be ready to set some of their own learning goals.

But I was surprised by how deep we went and how much we enjoyed the whole process.

“Each binder should include the student’s past and current compass - a six month list of everything they want to study, learn and do.”
- from Leadership Education The Phases of Learning

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Weekend links

This post contains affiliate links, and when you purchase anything after clicking them it benefits my family. Thank you for your support of this site!

weekend links

Jamie’s recommendations this week:

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I devoured this book five years ago at a homeschooling conference (skipping out on many of the actual sessions so I could keep reading!) John Holt’s words in Teach Your Own totally gave me the courage to begin our family culture of living and learning at home.

An inspiring read if you’re considering home education or just need some encouragement to keep going.

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Check out this limited-time Kindle freebie! Natural Born Learners features essays and interview excerpts from a powerhouse of educational pioneers including John Taylor Gatto, Pat Farenga, Joseph Chilton Pearce, David Albert, Grace Llewellyn and tons more.

Covers everything from what unschooling is, to the ways you can implement it, to stories from those who have grown up in this type of learning environment.

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Do you have a child in your home who tends to blow up (i.e. explode) over very small things and don’t respond to the typical discipline strategies you’ve tried over the years?

In The Explosive Child, Ross Greene puts forward a new blueprint for responding to the challenges that arise with children like these. Over 250 5-star reviews on Amazon and some thoughtful and unique advice.

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I have to admit that doing science experiments with my kiddos is not my favorite homeschool activity, but I loved that this Magic School Bus kit came with a giant life-size poster of the human body with stickers to put on and label the different systems.

Featured sponsors this week:

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Lindsey from Home Art Studio has put together a full art curriculum on DVD for parents to use with their kids in grades K-5.

The lessons include a variety of media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, and more – and the best part is that parents don’t have to be artsy to use these with your kiddos. Inexpensive, too!

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If you follow the Waldorf educational philosophy, Christopherus Homeschool Resources might be a good fit for you.

Donna has translated the curriculum typically followed in a Waldorf school, and has adapted it to work in a homeschool environment. Resources go from grades 1 – 8.

little passports

We’ve been traveling the world via Little Passports for several months now, and all three of my kids still get excited when our monthly package arrives in the mail!

The first month comes with a small suitcase, and each follows with a worksheet, letter, photo, & souvenir to put inside. It’s been a fun addition to our geography studies this year.

Spelling Can Be Easy

All About Reading/Spelling is one of the most popular language arts programs out there, using a variety of multi-sensory approaches to reach different types of learners.

If you’re looking for a curriculum for the upcoming year, it’s worth a peek.

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Educents, a homeschooling deals site, is offering FREE shipping this weekend PLUS no sales tax!

That makes this Life of Fred Math set a pretty good deal – plus there’s plenty of other offers on music sets, language DVDs, magazine subscriptions, and more.

“If [our schools] are still bad maybe we should declare educational bankruptcy, give the people their money and let them educate themselves and start their own schools.”
~ William John Bennett

Weekend links

This post contains affiliate links.
Weekend Links

A special welcome and thank you to the sponsors here on
Simple Homeschool for the month of June!
Take a few moments to check out the incredible resources
they have to offer your family:

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Giveaway: $110 art package from Artterro eco-art kits

Artterro eco-art kits

This giveaway has ended – thanks for your interest!

Welcome to today’s giveaway, sponsored by Artterro eco-friendly art kits!

About the company:

Here at Artterro we make Eco Art Kits, and there’s nothing else quite like them! In 2008, I was shopping for a craft kit for my young sons, and noticed lots of uninspiring projects, cheap materials and wasteful packaging.

I decided to make a high-quality, eco-friendly, engaging art kit so that parents would have a convenient way to bring art into the home and have a great time as a family.”
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Homeschooling an adopted child: The whys and hows

Homeschooling an adopted child ~
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

I sat in a wooden chair at the dining table, telephone nervously propped in one hand, my heart beating unevenly. Steve sat across from me, listening in and ready to speak when called upon.

“So what will you do about Trishna’s education if you adopt her?” the social worker’s professional, yet friendly voice at the end of the line hung a question mark in the air.

Before answering I took a deep breath. I knew exactly what was in my heart for my kids’ learning, but I also knew not everyone agreed with me.

“I believe we will homeschool her,” I blurted out at last, summoning up my courage. Then came the awkward pause, waiting for her judgment…

“I think that’s a great idea,” the voice pronounced, and I finally exhaled.

Why did we choose homeschooling for our adopted children? And what unique issues are there to consider if you’re adopting and trying to decide on an educational path for your family?

Here are some of the whys and the hows Steve and I took into account.
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