Keeping the spark alive in middle and high school

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Written by Heather Woodie of Blog She Wrote.

If you’ve been homeschooling a while, then you know that the early days of homeschooling are among the sweetest. What could be better than gathering young children around to work together on reading and simple projects?

But as our homeschooled children mature, so does our homeschooling. Pattern blocks and letter tiles are traded for long division and book reports.

Eventually research papers, calculus, and college entrance exams are on the horizon.

Mothers of young homeschooled children hear such truths, but we seldom take them to heart until it’s our turn. Perhaps many of you are reading this and thinking how far away calculus is – or wonder if your students will ever get there. I understand.

My children (we have four with a six and a half year span between them) were all little once. It wasn’t all that long ago that we were teaching reading and running to change a baby’s diaper.

But now, it sometimes seems like it’s all “nose to the grindstone” around here.

So this post is to encourage you to remember why you began homeschooling and to keep the flame ignited — even during the middle and high school years.

Perhaps it is the highly charged academic community we live in (homeschoolers included), but we are often tempted to leave behind some of the most sacred of our homeschool ideals the older our children get and the higher we believe the stakes are.

Resist the urge to chase the conventional and consider ways to keep the spark in your homeschool.

Here are four of our tried and true methods:

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How to homeschool through illness

alecia2picmo

Written by Alecia Baptiste.

There is nothing like illness to put a huge monkey wrench in your homeschooling plans. Or any kind of plans!

Many years ago, when my children were much younger, I spent two years battling severe fatigue and just feeling bad all of the time, and being scared because no one in conventional medicine could give me a clear diagnosis of what it was.

I was eventually diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, and I later learned that I had a chronic dental infection.  After that tooth was extracted, my world changed!

But during the two years of my illness, I continued to homeschool. There were literally days when it was a battle just to get myself out of bed, much less care for, AND teach my children.

Though it may have seemed foolish to others to continue homeschooling, I was actually very blessed to have had my children at home. My oldest son was able to help with the younger kids. I didn’t have to juggle two little ones at home along with school schedules.

We were able to have a very relaxed pace.

Since that time, I’ve encountered many homeschool moms who have some type of health challenge. Often along with illness, comes the guilt that they aren’t the “good” mom that they could be— if they were well.

They compare themselves not only to other moms, but they compare themselves to their “healthier self.”

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6 lessons I learned from traveling the world

charitypicmo

Written by Charity Hawkins, author of The Homeschool Experiment: A Novel.

This past spring our family embarked upon a trip that had always been a dream of mine. We spent a week in the Washington D.C. area, four weeks in the United Kingdom, and ten days in France. It was a huge challenge and adventure.

The scariest part for me was that for three weeks in the U.K. I was with our three children, ages 10, 8, and 5, on my own. Driving on the left side of the road. With the car making weird sounds at me.

“Mommy screamed a lot,” is how my kids describe my driving. My husband met us in Bath for the rest of the trip.

Here are my life-changing takeaways:

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On mysteries of history and friendship

On mysteries of history and friendship

Growing up on the coast of North Carolina as a young girl, you can bet I spent a lot of school time studying the details of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. I remember being eerily fascinated by the story–I even imagined myself heading to the Outer Banks and being the one to ultimately solve the mystery!

Little did I know back then that one day this story would reappear in my life–through one of my closest friends, author Caroline Starr Rose.

Her newly released novel-in-verse, Blue Birds (for ages 10 and up), takes a story of forbidden friendship and places it right in the middle of one of the greatest mysteries in history:
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How to get your interest-led learners back on track

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Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins.

Some seasons, our interest-led learners are interested in everything. They read, they ask questions, they conduct experiments and plan projects.

But what do you during those other times, the times when inspiration has left the building? What do you do when no one seems interested in much of anything? What if it turns into all pajamas, all Legos, all day? You know what I’m talking about.

Well, first, you don’t panic. You remember that just like a field needs seasons to grow and seasons to rest, so do our kids. So do we all.

Maybe they’re just in a healthy resting period, or maybe they’re learning something through the pajama-and-Lego routine.

Or maybe our days need adjusting. In that case, I try to step back and spend some time in observation mode. I don’t try to change things right away, I just take note of what is actually happening throughout the day.

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