How a certified teacher chose unschooling for her kids

How a certified teacher chose unschooling for her kids
Written by Marla Taviano

“Remember, girls,” I say to my daughters, looking them each in the eye (I actually have to look up at two of the three now—when did this happen??), “we do not say THAT WORD here in Cambodia. Got it?”

They nod.

Got it, Mom.

The next day, we’re out and about, and yet another stranger asks, “Wait, so … do they go to school …?”

The girls smile sweetly, turn their angelic faces to me as one, and let me answer.

“I used to be a teacher, so I teach them at home.”

marla3

This new line of mine seems to be working. Awkward situation averted. Moving on.

“Is it fine that you’re not really telling the truth?” my youngest (10) wants to know.

“Which part of that statement isn’t true?” I say, eyebrows raised.

“Mom, we’re unschooled. You don’t really teach us.”

“Excuse me. I teach you a lot of things. They just aren’t normal school things. Am I right?”

She shrugs her shoulders, presumably thinking of all the things she’s taught me today about Harry Potter and French (learning one new language at a time wasn’t enough, I guess) and peeling/cutting mangos just so.

“The Cambodians just don’t get the whole unschooling thing,” I say. “It’s way too complicated to try to explain.”

“Mom,” my 15-year-old says, “Americans don’t get it either. Nobody really gets it.”

“Nobody gets our family anyway,” says my 13-year-old, with a wave of her hand, “so it’s all good.”

[Read more…]

Teaching kids to take initiative

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.

When he showed up with our dinner, I could barely believe my eyes — this was a kid! What kind of kid does this??

Let me explain. My husband frequents a local coffee shop, and gets to know the baristas. He had often chatted with one in particular, a guy named Christian. Turns out one day Jeff had shared with him about a difficult season we were in. In response, (after asking Jeff’s permission), Christian took the initiative to coordinate—and personally deliver—dinners out to our house the following week.

Now, I was already floored that someone I had never met was willing to bring us meals (we live a long way out of town).

I was further floored that this person was a guy (sorry, but usually it’s the moms who think of things like meal-delivery!).

But I was completely floored when this guy showed up and looked barely old enough to drive.

He was 21. With a wide, bright smile, he was respectful and kind, talking at length with our kids, admiring our home, and hand-delivering a nutritious meal made by his mom. He was clearly a go-getter, working part-time while also going to school and pursuing his passion in a creative career while also serving in his church.

I soon discovered he was one of 7 brothers … all homeschooled.

Ah. As soon as he left, I looked at Jeff and said, That’s why we homeschool. I want to raise kids like that.

[Read more…]

Note-taking tips for homeschoolers

Note-taking tips for homeschoolersWritten by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Homeschooling has many undeniable benefits. It offers one-on-one personalized instruction, flexibility, and an unparalleled opportunity to tailor courses to each student’s needs. However, there are some areas in which it can fall short if we’re not intentional about creating opportunities.

Public speaking isn’t the most effective when the audience is your mom, your siblings, and the dog. Backyard versions of playground games like Red Rover leave a lot to be desired.

Note-taking is another skill most of us need to be intentional about teaching. After all, it’s not like most homeschool moms stand in the middle of the living room or dining room and lecture the kids all day.

Unless they “forgot” to do their chores. Again.

When they go off to college, attend meetings at their future jobs, or even while doing their independent work while still homeschooling, kids need to learn to take good notes as part of developing good study habits. [Read more…]

Practice, explore, play! Helping kids enjoy the writing process


Written by children’s author Caroline Starr Rose

As a former teacher, I’m well aware that writing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Can I let you in on a little secret? It’s not always my thing, either.

This is a strange confession coming from a children’s author, but an important one, I think.

If writing is sometimes “unfun” for a person who does it for a living, how much more challenging is it for the kid who doesn’t enjoy it in the first place?

Here are some things I’ve learned about the writing life — both as a teacher and as a student of the discipline — that I hope might encourage you and your young writers:
[Read more…]

The top educational goal for my 8- to 12-year-olds

The top educational goal for my 8- to 12-year-olds Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool

Jonathan and I sat at our local Panera Bread, enjoying a mother-son afternoon date. We ordered hot chocolate and played a favorite game to get started. But then he wanted to get down to the real fun he’d been anticipating.

I opened my laptop and we began his online weather course: watching multimedia clips and taking the quizzes involved.

After 45 minutes, guess who was bored? (Me.)

“Jonathan, we’ll stop at 4 o’clock, but we can come back to it another day.”

“Why? Please, can I finish the whole thing?”

What homeschooling mama could say no? Not this one!

And the whole experience got me thinking: “How many 11-year-olds beg to study and take quizzes on their Saturday afternoons?”
[Read more…]