Creating a lifestyle of learning

Wilkins_Melissa2picmo

The following is a guest post written by Melissa Camara Wilkins of melissacamarawilkins.com.

When our first daughter was born, we knew we were not going to homeschool.

We knew some homeschooled kids. Those kids were weird.

Two things that didn’t occur to us back then:

1. There are a lot of homeschooled kids out there. We knew two who were weird. That might not have been a representative sample.

2. We are also weird. It’s not such a bad thing.

It didn’t take us long to realize that choosing an educational philosophy based on trying to avoid making weird kids was not actually the best plan.

[Read more...]

How to foster independence in your homeschool student

krismainpicmo

The following post is written by contributing writer Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

I‘ll go out on a limb here and say that the majority of parents who’ve homeschooled more than a year or two start thinking about creating independent learners.

Once our kids have mastered the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, we’re ready to start preparing them for learning on their own.

It’s not, I don’t think, that we are eager to get away from our kids. It’s just that, by that point, we’ve spent a lot of time pouring in to them and we’re ready for them to start working on their own a bit.

You know, long enough for us to do a load of laundry, put away the dirty dishes, or make a quick phone call.

Or go to the bathroom alone.

I don’t really expect a lot of independence from my kids until they’re about middle school age, but there are little things that we can start doing to prepare them before then. [Read more...]

Emphasizing beauty in your homeschool

hannahmainThe following is a guest post written by Hannah Vanderpool of Praying with One Eye Open.

Let’s face it: Life is hard regardless of where one lives, and humans have a tendency to focus on what is wrong in the world.

When my family and I moved to a rural area in north India, we expected to encounter tough times. We knew that there would be poverty and sorrows along with deep friendships and joy. We homeschooled our three kids in India, and there were times when the needs of our national friends overwhelmed us as we lived out our lives alongside them.

I knew that if we weren’t careful, we might be tempted to approach the world mostly as a place of sorrow and futility. This was not what I wanted to teach my children.

Before long I began looking for ways to brighten our tiny apartment (rusty pipes and rat-friends notwithstanding) because I began to understand that a powerful way to encourage my young ones — and myself — was to concentrate on the beautiful.

[Read more...]

What to consider when you’re considering a homeschool co-op

co-op

The following is a post by contributor Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera.

Before my son was born, I’m not sure I had ever heard the word “co-op.”

It speaks to the weird loner-joiner vibe that can hit new mothers, I think, that by the time my son was 2, I was co-op-ing like nobody’s business.

At one point my husband actually asked me: “Is everything we’re doing a co-op?”

Gently, patiently, with the sage wisdom that comes with being a part of something for two whole weeks, I explained that no – everything was not a co-op. Just our two separate buying clubs, and the place I had started doing a lot of our grocery shopping, and a parenting group I had joined that was taking a very democratic approach to its governing system.

Co-op is short for “cooperative,” and essentially means people working together toward a like goal. In the homeschooling sense, co-op means homeschooling families that come together to offer classes or programs, or sometimes just support one another.

It took us a bit of time and a few wrong turns before we found our homeschooling co-op.  But once we did, we knew it was the perfect fit for our family.

[Read more...]

Uncovering my own pride and prejudice

Uncovering my own pride and prejudice ~SimpleHomeschool.net
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

“There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil, a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.”
“And your defect is a propensity to hate everybody.”
“And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is willfully to misunderstand them.”
(Mr. Darcy with Elizabeth Bennett; Ch. 11)

This year I’m joining in with hundreds of other mamas in an online book club hosted by my friend Nicole Bennett (and it’s not too late to join!). Our goal?

To reread all of Jane Austen’s novels in 2014–not just for the fun of it (though it is fun), but to study these works through the lens of motherhood, asking ourselves a few questions along the way:

  • What does Austen have to say about family relationships?
  • What do the mothers in her novels teach us about how to engage with our kids (either by what they do well…or more often, the opposite!)
  • What personal themes, messages, and inspiration can I take away for this busy season in my own life?

[Read more...]