The ABCs of homeschooling older kids (and ourselves)

Written by Hannah Vanderpool of Praying with One Eye Open

I’ve homeschooled my three kids from the beginning of their little lives, and I treasure the memories we share from our years at home together.

It wasn’t all delight-led learning, of course. I look back with regret on impatient words I’ve spoken; times when my expectations for my kids weren’t reasonable.

Overall, though, homeschooling is one of the best decisions we ever made.

But my kids are teenagers now, and, if I’m honest, I’m not having a lot of fun these days. Oh, we still enjoy one another (most of the time), and we don’t fantasize about going to brick and mortar school (usually).

We eat dinner together and take walks in the park. But the things that made homeschooling enjoyable for me in earlier days have largely fallen by the wayside.

For instance, my teens don’t want me to read to them anymore. They’ll sit patiently if I insist on doing it, but while they used to delight in read-alouds, now they forbear them.

Also? They don’t want me to sit beside them and help solve problems except once-in-a-while. They don’t ask my opinion as often as they used to, and when they do, they sometimes ignore it.

Increasingly, they need me in the same way I need a plumber or firefighter–in case of emergency.

And I don’t like it.

What’s a mom like me to do when my current role looks more like a springboard and less like a teacher? And what if I loved being a teacher? What if it feels like everyone in the house is moving up and moving on except me?

I’ve decided what I need most, right now, is to homeschool myself. I need to remember my ABCs.

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4 sure-fire ways to squash your child’s love of learning

Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

We’ve all heard that children have an innate sense of curiosity and a love of learning. I don’t think any of us intentionally set out to squash either.

Sometimes we do it, though. We often don’t recognize the role we play in putting out that fire of curiosity.

Are you guilty of any of these?

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In celebration of the slow learner

Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things

I remember exactly when I first heard the term “slow learner.”

I was in the third grade, and my desk was next to a sweet boy with freckles and blue eyes.

In class, I diligently filled out all the worksheets, and raised my hand to answer all the questions (my husband and I went to school together and he distinctly remembers me being “very Hermione”).

I was careful to listen to the teacher, to write my name in the upper right-hand corner, and painstakingly bubble in A, B, C or D, with my Number 2 pencil.

The little boy next to me could not have been more my opposite. He struggled in the classroom. I often read things to him under my breath when he was unable to decode them. He seemed to have a motor inside him that kept parts of his body moving at all times. One time, he drew me a perfect, frame-able picture of a cat, instead of writing a summary of the story we had just read aloud (which incidentally, was about a cat.)

A teacher’s aide often came to assist him. When another student asked why she was always at our table, she answered, very plainly, “Because he is a slow learner.”

When she said this, the boy blushed so red I could barely make out his freckles. I looked away, not wanting to make it more embarrassing for him.

My stomach ached every time that aide came in for the rest of the year.

I was eight years old and it was clear – being a ‘slow learner’ was a shameful thing.

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10 homeschool podcasts you might not know about yet

10 homeschool podcasts you might not know about, but should definitely check out
Written by Kara S. Anderson

The kids and I were heading out to run errands a few days ago when I went to turn on our audiobook.

“Mom, can we listen to a Stuff You Should Know instead?” they asked.

These are homeschoolers for you – my kids crave information like they crave carbs at the pool.

They might get their podcast love from me too, though – I’m also a huge podcast fan. I am currently becoming a genius via podcast, I learn history via podcast and I listen to true crime stuff that would scare my pants off if I had to see it, but just listening? I’m totally hooked.

Now, a lot of us homeschoolers know about Read-Aloud Revival, and all 82 of Pam Barnhill’s awesome podcasts, right? (Just kidding, Pam.)

But today I wanted to share some homeschooling podcasts that you might not know about – a bit of podcast matchmaking, if you will.

Try one or two of these out this week – it’s so nice to have a little bit of encouragement in your ears along the homeschool journey!

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Coffee and Books: An unexpected homeschool game-changer

Coffee & Books: A unexpected homeschool game-changer

Written by Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley of My Little Poppies

September is here.

Armed with fresh notebooks and colorful pens, we feel renewed and inspired. We are determined to make this homeschool year a memorable one.

We have a plan for how we want the year to go, a vision.

And yet, sometimes, the best homeschool ideas are unplanned.

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Take, for example, last winter.

A lifelong morning person, I suddenly found myself unable to wake up before my children. I can see now, in retrospect, that it was the result of saying yes to far too many people plus a case of the winter doldrums.

My motivation was at an all-time low.

By not waking before my children, I lost my planning time. Rather than enjoying an hour to myself, drinking my coffee in silence and setting us up for a peaceful morning, I woke up to rambunctious, hungry children.

When my feet hit the floor on those cold wintry mornings, I already felt behind. I was overwhelmed by a sense of urgency, a need to accomplish all the things … and fast!

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I’d rush through breakfast so that we could tackle math. (Because don’t we all worry a little bit about math in our weakest moments?)

This resulted in colossal power struggles. And tears. And general chaos.

Needless to say, we didn’t accomplish much.

One morning, as I was laying in my warm bed, silently berating myself for not getting up and accomplishing all the things, I had a revelation:

What if I start our mornings with what we love? What if I tackle the one area I never worry about?

And so I got out of bed, poured a cup of coffee, and grabbed a book.

[Read more…]

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