5 things I’ve learned in kindergarten

Written by Amida of Journey into Unschooling

When I started homeschooling, some 15 years ago, my focus was very much on academic achievement. Like many before me, I had a long list of subjects to plow through and an even longer list of concepts for my kid to master.

Not only did we closely follow the school curriculum and state standards, we added in Great Books, Classic Literature, Memorization, Art Study and Latin for good measure.

We accomplished many amazing projects (like Monet-inspired paintings), as well as shed many, many tears.

Looking back, I’m surprised we survived the grade school years, let alone continued the journey with three more kids!

Luckily, homeschooling turned out to be my calling. Despite the constant stress, the never ending housework, and the 24/7 with kids, I rather liked it.

I loved hearing my children read aloud. I relished seeing them read to themselves. I delighted in the doodles that came with every sheet of paperwork they completed and even the incomplete weather logs.

It was all good and brought purpose to my life. I was the one who taught them how to write their first letter, read their first sentence, and add their first group of plastic bear manipulatives.

This will be my fifth year repeating kindergarten, and I must say, practice does make it easier. I now know exactly how much to push and when to back off.

In fact, here are five things I’ve learned through (teaching) kindergarten to my kids:

[Read more…]

8 elements that come together in a healthy homeschool

8 elements that come together in a healthy homeschool
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Over the summer I read Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, as part of the Mentoring in the Classics e-course led by Oliver DeMille of Thomas Jefferson Education.

It wasn’t my first time reading Alcott, or even my first time writing about her work. But it was my first time reading this book from a homeschooling mama’s perspective.

And all I can say is WOW. In vibrant story form, this book absolutely nails the elements that create a thriving educational atmosphere.

If you haven’t read it, you absolutely must. (FYI: You can get all of Alcott’s work in Kindle format here for a steal of a deal!

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the story, let me quickly recap: At the end of Little Women, Jo March marries Professor Bhaer. Her stern Aunt Josephine passes away, leaving her luxurious, large home (AKA Plumfield) to Jo.

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 6.30.29 PM

Jo and the Professor decide to turn the home into a school for boys. Eventually two girls end up living among the dozen boys as well, and Little Men is the account of their “home/school.”

The Bhaers’ thoughts on education and parenting don’t follow the norm. They concern themselves not only with their boys’ minds, but their hearts and souls as well. 

In this post I’ve outlined eight elements Professor Bhaer and Mrs. Jo blended together in their home/school to create a place where children could live, learn, and heal.

For a modern-day snapshot, I’ve also included how my own family attempts (very imperfectly, mind you) to incorporate these same elements into our homeschool life.
[Read more…]

5 ways to grow your confidence as a homeschooler

confidence main picmo
Written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera

Recently, someone referred to me as a “homeschool veteran.”

I told my hair stylist about it and she responded with open-mouthed shock:

“Girrrrl!” she said. “They were basically calling you old.”

And then she tried some different things with my part and started talking about doing something fun with color. I think my hair stylist’s answer to any perceived insult about aging is “more layers.”

Now the thing is, this person wasn’t calling me old. She wasn’t insulting me at all, actually – just the opposite. She was lending me a bit of credibility, telling people that I have experience.

We just started our seventh year of learning at home.

So I totally know what I’m doing.


Because the thing is, I just don’t always feel like a veteran.

Homeschooling still feels overwhelming for me sometimes. We change paths periodically. Just when we find a plan that works, something shifts, and I’m on the hunt for ideas again.

Maybe that’s how you feel too?

Or maybe you’re just starting out – this is your first year, and you’re wondering if your mother-in-law, your judgy neighbor or the random lady at the park is right – maybe you aren’t competent enough to do this.

Maybe you made a huge mistake. (Hint: You probably didn’t.)

Today I want to share some tips for growing your confidence when you feel a little shaky.

[Read more…]

The one word to remove from your vocabulary this school year

The one word to remove from your vocabulary this school year
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

Recently I chatted with another homeschooling mom at a friend’s baby shower.

Talking about our kids, our lives, our homeschool days, she then lowered her voice in a confession:

“I really need to be more disciplined, though. I should get up early before the kids, and I really should exercise more.”

Ah, yes. I know the sentiment well.

It’s the word that sucks the bliss right out of living, that makes us–and our kids–feel like “less than.”

[Read more…]

7 tips for teaching active kids


Written by Alecia Baptiste.

My children are now ages 11 through 19, and homeschooling has greatly changed for us over the years.

I don’t have babies or toddlers running around the house. Everyone is reading fluently and independently.

Sometimes I forget how challenging homeschooling was in the early years.

One particular memory I have is of teaching my youngest son to read.

He was about 5 years old and a very active little boy. He loved running, jumping, and  playing. (He’s now a competitive athlete at age 13.)

Every day we would sit down to do his reading lesson, and it was like medieval torture for both of us! He dreaded the time.  I would threaten and push my way through.

Reading wasn’t hard for him. There were no reading issues. He just didn’t like sitting down for this “boring” lesson.

So I decided to try an experiment with him.

[Read more…]