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

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

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?”
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4 ways to encourage delight-directed learning

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

A stack of Sport Fishing from 1992?

When my mother-in-law handed over a pile of 23-year-old fishing magazines, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. We don’t fish. Have no interest in fishing. My house is already cluttered.

Did I mention the magazines were from 1992? Not exactly a cutting-edge homeschool curriculum.

But I’ve come to learn that anything can be the next spark for delight-directed learning, and wouldn’t you know: We now have a roaring fire of passionate learning blazing through our boy. 

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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.

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