Haunted by the Ghost of Public School Past?

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Written by Caitlin Curley of My Little Poppies

One of the most challenging parts of homeschooling, at least for me, is remembering to keep school and education separate.

I know this, but I also spent many years in school both as a student and an educator.

It can be tough to shake that public school mindset.

When we first started homeschooling, we attempted to recreate a school at home. That didn’t last long.

When things are going well, when I’m trusting my gut and my children, our homeschooling looks nothing like school.

It is only when the doubt creeps in that we struggle and start to second-guess… well… everything.

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

smaller 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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In celebration of the slow learner

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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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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

In case you haven’t heard yet, Give Your Child the World is ONLY $2.99 right now on Kindle!

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.

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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.
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It’s not fair: Learning to love the life you didn’t choose

img_2870Written by Melanie Dale of Unexpected.org

A note from Jamie: Sometimes life just isn’t fair, a fact my friend Melanie knows all too well. She’s walked the hard road of infertility as well as dealing with special needs and mental illness in her beautiful family of five (which includes both biological and adoptive kiddos like my own!). If you find yourself in the midst of tough times, you NEED Melanie’s book: It’s Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose. A book on suffering that makes you snort with laughter? Yes, really!

When Alex and I were in the thick of our struggle with infertility, our favorite coping mechanism was humor—a very oddball, totally inappropriate brand of infertility humor. Humor is how we survived and found fun and found ourselves, our us-ness, in the midst of the hopelessness of our situation.

Over time I’ve learned the value in making light of heavy things. They don’t become less important, but Big Scary Monsters lose their power over you when you laugh at them. Laughter makes you stronger.

And sometimes when you’re experiencing Big Feels, it’s hard to let out one without letting out all of them. When you take the top off the crammed-up bottle your emotions are in, everything sprays out. The anger, the pain, and the humor. And it feels so good to let it all out in one frothy stream.

It’s okay to grieve, to feel a loss. And it’s okay to be happy and sing at the top of your lungs. And those two things can happen within five minutes of each other. That’s what I love about feelings. We get to have whichever ones we feel when we feel them and they can make no sense back-to-back and that’s okay.

So let yourself laugh even when you worry you aren’t supposed to. Not at someone else’s expense, but at your own stuff. You own that, and you can laugh at it if you want to.
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