Homeschooling: Where to start and how to keep going

Homeschooling: Where to start and how to keep going
Written by contributor Jena of Yarns of the Heart

Have you ever felt like this? A reader shared her heart with me recently:

“I am in a desperate search for homeschooling counseling. I grew up in NYC and attended public school all the way through high school. My parents and friends aren’t very acquainted with the day to day concept of homeschooling.

So I find myself lonely and questioning whether I’m doing homeschool the “proper” way and truly second guessing the whole thing.

I’m a mom to an only child and am wondering if there is a certain approach I should consider. My daughter will turn seven in a little over a week and I find she gets bored very easily with her homeschool activities which makes me wonder whether I’m meeting her needs.

However, if I add a more challenging activity, she cries because it’s too hard. I really don’t want her to have a bitter experience with school. I’m afraid she’s building resistance and/or manipulating.

Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with this? I am currently not following any curriculum simply because I’ve no clue where to start. Because of this I feel a bit overwhelmed with the lack of structure and as to what to do, where to start and how to go about the whole matter.”

Here’s what I told her…
[Read more…]

3 ways to motivate reluctant learners

3 ways to motivate reluctant learners ~ SimpleHomeschool.net
Written by contributor Jena of Yarns of the Heart

I am a big fan of interest-led learning. We found that motivation was rarely a problem because our three kids (all now graduated) were always exploring what interested them.

You can do it too.

For example, if your child loves trains, let him spend time learning all there is to know about trains. As a result, there will be a lot of reading, history, social studies, science and math to conquer, but it won’t feel like school!

What about learning things that don’t connect to a child’s interests?

It’s tempting to say, “Sit down, be quiet, listen and learn,” but if you have a reluctant learner, you know thems fightin’ words!
[Read more…]

What to do with homeschool doubt

what to do with homeschool doubt ~SimpleHomeschool
Written by contributor Jena Borah of Yarns of the Heart

Traditional schooling revs up next month and it’s tempting to jump on board, send your kids off to school and give up on this homeschooling idea. Maybe last year wasn’t as great as you had hoped, or maybe you are considering homeschooling for the first time and are starting to get cold feet.

Take a deep breath and let me tell you my story…why I am glad we stuck with homeschooling even through those days of doubt. [Read more…]

How to make your homeschool an endless summer

how to make your homeschool an endless summer
Written by contributor Jena of Yarns of the Heart

May is a time of endings and beginnings. Graduation, summer vacation…the world tends to follow a public school clock, and even though we homeschoolers aren’t confined by these boundaries, we still find ourselves relaxing more as May comes around.

While you’re spending more time outside and letting go of some routines, I say, “Embrace the summer attitude!” Let a summer mindset be the climate of your schooling.

Look for ways to let summer last all year long.

Here’s what I mean:

  • This summer, notice how your kids are learning on their own. What do they choose to do? Are they learning anything while they do it? Maybe their natural drive could be the foundation of your schooling in the fall.
  • Ask your kids what they would like to do this summer. Ask why, and the answer will give you a lot of insight into what motivates them. Could these sports, activities or travel opportunities open up unit studies and research projects?
  • Do you keep a strict schedule in the summer? Probably not as strict as the school year, so pay attention to the difference. Do you all get along better? Are you more creative? Are you still learning? Maybe you’ll want to incorporate a less scheduled lifestyle into your schooling.
  • Keep a journal or take pictures of what you do this summer, then reflect in August. What elements of your summer could keep going all year long?

child with shell on beachAs I write this, I am reminded of the first post I wrote for my blog in 2008. I called it School, an Endless Summer. It’s a wistful look back as my oldest was about to graduate high school.

When we started this journey, I viewed homeschooling as a continuation of the preschool years, as a life seamlessly flowing from one season into the next without the abrupt stops and starts that traditional schooling imposes. It really was a life of endless summers.

I guess it’s deep in my bones to keep learning natural and fun, like exploring the beach on a summer evening.

How would you describe the climate of your homeschool?

When home is school

the great balancing act
Written by contributor Jena of Yarns of the Heart

We all know the feeling, right? School schedules versus family time. Housework versus textbooks. Who wins? Who should win? After homeschooling three kids to high school graduation, here are my thoughts on the subject.

#1 Life is learning.

Try to look at daily life as full of learning opportunities. Going to the grocery store is vocabulary instruction (what is a pomegranate?) and a math lesson (how much is this item per ounce?). It’s also economics (let’s stay within our budget). Here’s a link to free resources dealing with a trip to the grocery store.

Any routine family activity involves learning. Just let your kids in on your thinking processes. Why are we doing this? How can we do it more efficiently, more economically? You’ll be amazed at what they discover.
[Read more…]