About Kara Anderson

Kara is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom, driven by an unknown force to write everything down. She takes too many pictures, and never leaves home without a notebook. Read about her adventures with her two amazing kiddos at Quill and Camera.

When you just really want to start homeschooling

When you just really want to start homeschooling
Written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera

The first time I tried to read Robin Hood to my kids, they were 1 and 4.

A relative had given us a set of beautiful, bound classics from the 50s – books her own children read, and I was determined to share them all with my kids.

Of course, I thought, I should definitely start as soon as possible. And so we began with Robin Hood one early September.

We (well, I) were very into Waldorf Education then, and so I decided to incorporate Robin Hood right after Circle Time – right after we blew out our Circle Time Candle, which I always placed on the floor, because I saw someone do that once.

So to recap, I was preparing to read a one-pound, 1950s-era version of Robin Hood to my two children – one a baby, still fitfully nursing in my lap, and the other a precocious boy who just really wanted to climb the furniture.

And I had a lit candle, on my rug.

Just to recap.

I put my candles on non-flammable surfaces now.

I put my candles on non-flammable surfaces now.

Looking back, I had fallen into a familiar trap, that of wanting to Make Homeschool Real with my tiny people.

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Are you a weird (enough) homeschooler?

karamainpicmoWritten by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera

People ask me every once in a while.

They lean in close, touch the top of my hand and say it in a way that I think is supposed to mean,

“Of course I’m not referring to you … ”

“But aren’t some homeschoolers a little, you know … weird?” they ask wrinkling their noses or raising their eyebrows.

Yes. Probably.

BUT.

I often think that many of us are not weird enough.

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When your homeschool gets way off track

off track
Written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera.

Oh February.

I am not the first, nor will I be the last homeschooler with a few years of experience to say that February can be a really hard month.

A lot of us tend to get off track. As parents we doubt ourselves. Our kids seem extra stir-crazy.

But this February, my family got waaaay off track.

Like miles and miles off track.

Like if it were on an actual train that had been headed to say, Alaska, we instead rode it to Maine and then crashed into the ocean.

Surrounded by ice and confused lobsters, I wanted to give up.

That’s just silliness, but here’s what really happened:

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Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with an 8- & 11-year-old)

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dayinlife2015mainpicmo
Written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera

A few months ago, someone asked me if my kids ever don’t want to do school.

I smiled, because that was the type of question I wondered about early on, when I didn’t really know any homeschoolers.

I kind of knew one, and she was sort of mean. I was scared to ask her anything, because one time another mom asked her if her son could have the blue cup and she snapped: “We don’t do that here.” I knew then that the best course of action was just to run for my life.

So instead of asking her my homeschooling questions I took to the Internet, which was a huge mistake. Because the Internet has everything on it and that can be a bit overwhelming.

A homeschool day in the life 2016

You read the blogs – doesn’t it feel sometimes like everyone else has it figured out?

I want to tell you that I don’t. There are definitely days when my kids just don’t want to do school.

There are resources we have tried that people swear by, and one or all of us hates it.

There are things other mamas do that frankly look like a lot of work, so I pin those things and never look at them again.

But every morning, I get up, I make my tea, and I start anyway. Here’s what that looks like on an average, imperfect day:

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How much should your push your sensitive homeschooler?

push3picmo
Written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera

I used to do this thing when my kids were small.

When we would enter a busy place, I would sort of situate them in front of me, and waddle behind them, steering their shoulders as we navigated the room or store or farmer’s market.

I thought this made sense because if they were in front of me, I could see them. There was less chance of losing them in the crowd.

The problem, of course, was that I was sending a toddler or pre-schooler into the fray ahead of me, with no idea what sorts of sights, sounds and smells they would encounter.

More than once a little one turned around, threw their arms around my kneecaps and started wailing.

How did it possibly take me so long to figure out my mistake – that I was literally pushing my kids into all sorts of unknown situations?

This sort of push-waddle-steer might not be a big issue for a lot of kids.

Eager kids.

Excited kids.

Kids who would view Disney World as a dream come true instead of a scary, loud, sensory disaster, for instance.

Somebody else’s kids.

But for my kids, doing this was overwhelming and scary.

When I finally realized my mistake I did things differently, and the results were very different. They could enter situations feeling safe and confident.

They knew I was there. That’s a big deal.
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