About Melissa Camara Wilkins

Melissa Camara Wilkins is a homeschooling mom of six in Southern California. She writes about being who you were made to be and letting go of the rest.

One simple trick for dealing with homeschool doubts

Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

You know how we homeschool mamas are full of wisdom and confidence at all times? How we always know the best path, and always have a plan, and always know where this thing is headed? You know?

Hold on, I’m sorry, I have to get back up. I just fell off my chair laughing.

Right. So… I am just like that confident mama except not like that at all.

I am pretty sure that we are doing the best we can, most of the time. But then one of my kids will ask, “What are times tables again?” or “I’ll never have to get a grown-up job and buy my own groceries, right?”

At those times, the critic in my head has some things to say, things like: “You’re not doing this right. You’re not doing enough.”

Here’s how to get back on track when your inner critic starts chatting:

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What do unschooled teens do all day?

What do unschooled teens DO all day? Ideas and resources for interest-led learning for teenagers.Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

Teenagers are awesome.

The teenagers I know have interesting ideas, share perspectives I haven’t thought of, and are still open to learning even as they’re showing me new ways of looking at things.

At the same time, being the parent of homeschooled teens has opened up a whole new list of fears and expectations and things to worry about (hooray?):

Does interest-led learning work for teens? What will they do all day? What SHOULD they do all day? Are they doing enough? What IS enough, anyway?

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Melissa’s Homeschool Day in the Life (with a 3-, 6-,9-,10-,13-, and 16-year-old)

Melissa's Homeschool Day in the Life (with a 3-, 6-,9-,10-,13-, and 16-year-old)Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

I always feel a little nervous sitting down to write these day-in-the-life posts. I’m never sure which parts of our day you’ll want to hear about! And will you wonder why my three-year-old is changing into her fourth outfit since breakfast? Because I do not have an answer to that question.

My sixteen-year-old daughter was asked to describe her days recently. She wrote this:

I make breakfast for myself and one of my younger brothers, then do half an hour of yoga. After that, I do my schoolwork—I’m a lifelong unschooler, I manage my own workload and have a lot of say in what I study—and spend an hour outdoors. When I’ve finished, I’m free for the day.

Three sentences, friends. My run-through is going to be somewhat longer and will include far more parentheses.
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How to homeschool through the holidays (without going crazy)

homeschooling-holidaysWritten by Melissa Camara Wilkins

There’s a question that comes up for me every holiday season. It’s one of those important philosophical questions, right up there with, “What is the meaning of life?” and “Who moved my cheese?”

It’s this: How, when you are already a busy homeschooling parent, do you add in all kinds of holiday fun without going a little crazy in the process?

I can’t claim to steer completely clear of “a little bit crazy” territory, but I do have a few practices that help.

I really believe the secret to doing it all is that you don’t. You don’t even try. I’m pretty sure that’s how to keep things merry-and-not-miserable, too: you don’t do it all. You do less.

That’s how you and I can enjoy homeschooling and holidaying, both at the same time. We’re not going to do all the things. We’re not even going to pretend to do all the things. We’re going to do the things that are best for our own families, and we’re going to let go of the rest.

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How we change with the seasons—without a school calendar

Changing with the seasons

Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins.

For a long time, we didn’t really mark the changing seasons in our family. Without a traditional school calendar to follow, or any obvious signs in nature (we live in Southern California—it’s pretty much all sun, all the time), our days looked more or less the same all year round.

I always wanted to note the turn of the seasons somehow. I liked the idea of having rituals that our kids would remember and look forward to—but it seemed like one more (impossible) thing to add into our days.

Between reading aloud and making sandwiches and playing board games and riding scooters and investigating the migratory patterns of monarchs and resolving conflicts and walking to the park and tidying up before bed, there didn’t seem to be a lot of time for a maypole to celebrate spring or a candle walk on the winter solstice.

But it’s really hard to reflect on where you’ve been and how much you’ve grown when one week bleeds into the next, on and on forever. I didn’t want our days to be lost in the swirling vortex of time, and I didn’t want to create a family culture of always-on, without regular markers to guide us. At the same time, I still had small children.

Yes, I wanted the maypole, but I needed something simpler.
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