10 things every new homeschooler should know

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10 things every new homeschooler should know
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

I never know exactly how to answer when someone asks me how long we’ve been homeschooling.

“Since the beginning,” goes over pretty well.
“We always have,” gets a fair response.
My holistic view of learning used to lead me to say “since birth,” but that one raised some eyebrows here and there.

But if someone, wanting a more technical response, counts the time since my oldest would have started Kindergarten, that makes this our eighth year of learning at home! No matter how you slice it, I guess I’m not a newbie anymore.

I still remember those days well, though. The insecurity, the worries, the thoughts of inadequacy. (Oh wait, that was just last night!!)

I’m crazy far from being an expert on the matter, but the past several years have taught me a few things I’d like to pass on to every new homeschooler.

I hope they bring comfort to those of you getting started.
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The biggest problem in our homeschool is me

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Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.

When we first started homeschooling five years ago, I thought I had it all figured out.

I had a school room with a lovely, perfectly organized set of books, curriculum, and manipulatives. I had a bell, all set and ready to ring for start time, break time, and lunch time.

It was going to be amazing.

And it was.

For exactly one day.

Then reality hit. My children did not do well in a school environment. It was one of the reasons they were no longer going to school. So why was I trying to recreate that exact environment in our home?

The answer?

I am consistently the biggest problem in our homeschool journey.

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10 things I’ve learned in 10 years of homeschooling

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Written by Hannah Vanderpool of Praying with One Eye Open

I’ve noticed something about my fellow homeschoolers. As a family’s kids get older, the parents tend to get quieter online, at least where homeschooling is concerned.

It’s probably not because they’ve run out of ideas for how to incorporate science into their teenagers’ days, or because there aren’t plenty of funny one-liners they could report.

It’s probably because those of us with older kids sense that our teens need increased privacy, and that, before long, their educational journeys in our homes will come to an end.

And, anyway, if we think about it, we’re just glad blogs didn’t exist when we were their age.

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I’m one of those moms who felt like there was plenty to discuss when I was homeschooling 5-, 6-, and 7- year-olds. But now that my husband and I have a teenager, I suddenly feel at a loss for what to add to the online conversation.

There are stories I can’t tell these days — struggles that will stay between our own four walls out of respect for my kids.

The truth is that when I talk about homeschooling now, I end up talking about me, not math. I write about how I hope all the years at home have served my kids well, hoping I’ve done enough of this or that, or that I’ve said enough “I’m sorrys.”

Will the future be kind to me, I wonder, as I see this strange and sweet chapter nearing its last few pages?

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How to teach your kids to cook (with a cooking course printable)

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Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

When I graduated from high school in 1994, I had a 4.0 GPA, was a member of the National Honor Society, and shortly afterwards received a complete scholarship to a local university.

I had never made a full meal for myself or anyone else.

I hope to give my children a more holistic education, one that’s relevant both in the classroom and in real life.

That’s why a few years ago I invited my kids to begin a formal baking class as part of their homeschool.

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I wrote about our experience on the blog, and it became one of the most popular posts at that time. The following year I also documented Jonathan’s graduation from his baking class, and how the entire experience had been a positive one.

Since that time, my daughter Trishna also graduated from her baking class. Some of her closest friends  came to celebrate her hard work and sample all the goodies she had learned to make:
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5 ways to strip away labels and encourage a love of learning

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Written by Laura Thomas of This Eternal Moment

A friend of mine who is also a public school teacher visited our home and had my five-year-old daughter read her a few books. She immediately concluded, “She’s reading at least on a first or second grade level.”

While in some ways, these types of comments can serve as an encouragement and/or relief to me (“Whew! Glad she’s not behind in her reading…”), they can provide a false standard of measurement for what success in learning looks like.

They could also cause my daughter to become prideful about where she ranks in comparison to other children her age, something I want to diligently fight against.

Another friend of mine, a lawyer as well as a fellow homeschooling mom, made the following observation to me:

When I was in school, I always made As, but didn’t have to work hard for them. Rather than motivating me, it made me lazy. When I got to college I realized that I had never been challenged to push myself to keep learning. I merely knew what I had to do to make As and I did it. College was a big wake-up call for me.”

The more thought I have put into it, the more certain I have become that for our family, we won’t be labeling our academic achievement primarily by grade levels or other more external measurements.

Instead, I’ve created a few primary values and principles to guide me as a homeschooling mom and teacher:
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