Homeschooling: Where to start and how to keep going

Homeschooling: Where to start and how to keep going
Written by contributor Jena of Yarns of the Heart

Have you ever felt like this? A reader shared her heart with me recently:

“I am in a desperate search for homeschooling counseling. I grew up in NYC and attended public school all the way through high school. My parents and friends aren’t very acquainted with the day to day concept of homeschooling.

So I find myself lonely and questioning whether I’m doing homeschool the “proper” way and truly second guessing the whole thing.

I’m a mom to an only child and am wondering if there is a certain approach I should consider. My daughter will turn seven in a little over a week and I find she gets bored very easily with her homeschool activities which makes me wonder whether I’m meeting her needs.

However, if I add a more challenging activity, she cries because it’s too hard. I really don’t want her to have a bitter experience with school. I’m afraid she’s building resistance and/or manipulating.

Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with this? I am currently not following any curriculum simply because I’ve no clue where to start. Because of this I feel a bit overwhelmed with the lack of structure and as to what to do, where to start and how to go about the whole matter.”

Here’s what I told her…
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How to homeschool with empathy

hswithempathy

The following is a guest post written by Kassandra Brown of Parentcoaching.org

“Time for reading” I say cheerfully while bracing myself for resistance.

Silence responds.

“What do you want to read today? You pick,” I say as I touch my daughter’s shoulder to get her attention.

Grudgingly she gets up and chooses the simplest book we have in the house. After making sounds like “why, I don’t want to, and can’t we do it later?” she begins reading.

She starts to wiggle and fidget, playing with her feet and getting stumped by words she read yesterday.

I help her sound out the words all the while feeling my frustration rise, hearing the irritation creep into my voice, and – on one particularly awful day – getting up from our studies to yell and stomp out the door to the backyard.

What happened? Can anything good come from this sort of communication breakdown and painful parenting moment?

Yes.

But how?

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Slow and steady :: On learning at your own pace

Slow and steady
Written by contributor Amida of Journey into Unschooling.

You know those high achieving homeschoolers who read by age three and recite the times tables backwards and forwards by 3rd grade? The ones with the perfect penmanship, excellent spelling, and an uncanny ability to build complex mechanical structures out of LEGO and K’nex without an instruction manual?

Most of us know someone with at least one or two of these characteristics, the super homeschoolers that are our community’s pride and joy and the ones who also privately put us to shame, especially during those moments of doubt when we compare them to our own, and wonder, are we doing something wrong?

My daughter was a perfectionist, easily frustrated by the slightest setback. At an early age, she showed proficiency in writing and drawing, filling our walls with copywork and colorful, detailed pictures.

By first grade, she could complete a perfect cartwheel, but could barely read with any fluency or know the place value of any given number.

What she was good at she repeated often and well. She loved stories and we read to her every single day. Whenever she wanted to write a word, we spelled it out for her, a letter at a time. Fascinated with science, we read her Ranger Rick magazines from cover to cover and watched Bill Nye often.

Occasionally, I’d ask her to add or subtract a few numbers and work through online reading programs, but never felt she completely understood the concepts.

Truth be told, I had more than my share of insecure moments when I worried about her academic level in comparison to other kids her age.

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When your children’s dreams are different than your own

When our children's dreams are different than our ownWritten by contributor Cheryl Pitt of CherylPitt.com

When I began homeschooling 13 years ago, I did it for many reasons. First and foremost, because it was a desire laid on my heart.

However, as I researched homeschooling, I found I liked the philosophy behind it, the lifestyle and that many homeschoolers did so well in comparison with their public school counterparts.

But also in my heart, I wanted more than the average for my child.

Don’t we all?
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Allowing your child to think (& learn) outside the box

Pic for 8 Smarts
The following is a guest post written by Cara Thompson of Write Season.

My heart was torn in two when my firstborn cried out in defeat that she couldn’t do her copy work, even saying she was stupid and writing “No” all over the page.

I was stunned. I felt to blame and confused.

We had had a wonderful time learning around the table until that point so I just stayed positive and wrapped up so that she could have relief from this obvious burden.

I had boxed her in and didn’t even know it.
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