About Kara Anderson

Kara is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom, with a goal of encouraging fellow mamas in real-life homeschooling. She also's the happy co-host of The Homeschool Sisters podcast.

How lifelong learning has changed our homeschool

How lie-long learning has changed our homeschool
Written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera

Every summer, I take a class.

It’s usually just a few nights, and over time, it’s become easier and easier to make room in my life for this quirky tradition.

I’ve taken knitting and yoga, photography and felting, and every year when the course catalog comes, I set it aside for a while and then peruse it late one night, deciding if it will be a year for Greek or Graphic Design.

My favorite classes are held at my old college campus, where my love for learning was reinvigorated after a long hiatus.

I didn’t like school in middle school and hated it in high school, but in college I came alive again.

I took Philosophy and foreign languages and Logic and eventually Feature Writing, which led me to join the student newspaper and find my place.

I took “The Poetry of Love” and Criminal Psychology and I dabbled and explored.

I took what interested me, and learning became wonderful again.

I had forgotten it could be like that.

And so I still love, all these years later, packing a bag and trying to find my class – sitting in a desk and taking notes …

I still love to learn.

I want my kids to have that, or rather, I want them to keep it – I don’t want them to lose it in middle school, especially since middle school starts for my son in the fall.

And so I’ve spent a lot of time the past several months trying to figure out how to keep a love of lifelong learning alive for my kids.

I’ve decided that it comes down to a few things:

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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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