Homeschooling, but not at home


Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.

This has been a crazy season for my family. Well, even more crazy than usual I guess.

My oldest son, who has High Functioning Autism, was also recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that causes chronic pain and fatigue.

My youngest son, is getting older. He is profoundly dyslexic, and I am finding that as he matures, he is also profoundly incapable of learning unless it involves moving, jumping, spinning and/or hanging upside down.

The more we move through this wonderfully messy life, the more I am realizing that our homeschool is not going to look like anyone else’s that I know, or the ones in many of the blogs I read.

For example, last week we had a series of doctors’ appointments that not only meant we were at the hospital for the entire day, but we had a two hour drive to get there and back.

And in a fit of desperation, we ended up at the local fish store (again), because my oldest is completely obsessed with aquariums right now.

And my youngest wants nothing to do with books, but thinks the skate park and his friend’s backyard might be his second homes.

I find that as I try and meet the needs of my ever changing family, we have  been homeschooling at home less and less. [Read more…]

Simple ways to create a content-rich environment this summer (and why it matters)


Written by contributor Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy

At my house, we’ve decided to take a “summer break” this year—or at least that’s what we’re telling our kids. When they’re off their regular school schedule (you know, the one where they start their school days with math at 9:00 a.m.), it feels like summer vacation.

Here’s what they don’t know: my husband and I are very intentional about providing great content so they are learning all the time—even while they’re on “break.”

We stock our home with what they need to keep learning all summer long. School may technically be out of session, but that’s no reason to put their education on hold.

Here are our favorite tips and tricks for building a content-rich environment. [Read more…]

Core Phase: Creating a solid foundation for ages 0-8

Core Phase- Creating a solid foundation for ages 0-8
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

This post is part of an ongoing series about the educational philosophy Leadership Education (also known as A Thomas Jefferson Education.)

“Core Phase is the basis of a life. A good Core Phase naturally provides the foundation for a good life, a great Core Phase for a great life, and so on.”
~ Oliver and Rachel DeMille, Leadership Education, page 40

I stared at the desktop screen late one night, engrossed in a popular homeschooling forum where members could ask for help and receive advice. Someone had asked a question–I don’t even remember what it was–and one of the responses said something like this:

“I recommend you check out A Thomas Jefferson Education.”

It included a link to an overview of the method, which I clicked. Then, as sometimes happens in the midst of epiphanies, I sat up straighter as I began to read. In a flash of insight, I absolutely knew that this was part of what I was looking for in our homeschool.

The method combined the freedom of unschooling with a balance of structure, responsibility, and academic focus–especially in the teen years–that resonated with me.

Though my kids were all young at the time, I ordered every book I could find about it and began to internalize its principles. And it turns out I had plenty of time to focus on my own education–because all my kids were in Core Phase.

[Read more…]

Understanding the basics of Waldorf education


Written by Donna Ashton of The Waldorf Connection

Waldorf is a living, breathing form of education that Rudolph Steiner, its founder, wanted to provide as an antidote to modern times.

Waldorf honors the whole child – body, mind and spirit – through music, arts, handwork, sculpture, stories and movement. It educates the child’s mind, nourishes their soul and meets their spirit at developmentally appropriate stages.

Through these arts, a child first experiences information physically and soulfully. The morning lesson incorporates many different subjects all based around the same theme. Children learn their letters through movement, first by walking the shape of the letter before writing or painting the letter strokes.

The letter is then reinforced through rhymes with actions, stories, and music. By first doing, children come to a concrete, tangible understanding of a concept before they are expected to apply it intellectually.

It isn’t that your child copies only your outer movements, but that they also experience your inner attitude of devotion, care, focus, sense of purpose, and creative spirit.

[Read more…]

Learning to read without books: Supporting your dyslexic homeschooler

shawnapicmo2Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.

My youngest son is nine years old. He is technically in the third grade. He loves animals, building structures in the woods, and jumping on our trampoline as often as possible.

He can do complex math in his head, and knows more about Ancient Greece than I do.

He is also unable to read even the most basic book.

He shies away from any activity that he thinks might possibly have anything to do with reading, including Sunday School, homeschool co-op classes, and has even asked me not to read aloud to him anymore at night.

My son has repeatedly said, over and over again, that he wants to learn to read, but not with books.

I believe my response has always been something like, “No way Jose. We love books in this family. You have to learn to read with books.”

My son is profoundly dyslexic. He wants to read – desperately. He has been asking for years to learn. This is not about reluctance. It is about his brain’s ability to decipher and comprehend the code we call the English language.

And the more he has tried and failed, the more I have researched and read books about dyslexia, and the more I have freaked out and pushed harder.

[Read more…]