Celebrating high school independence (Back to School Week)

Contributor Amida writes for Journey Into Unschooling

This summer, my oldest child went off to college for the first time at thirteen.

Wearing a backpack filled with a simple folder, a couple of pencils, and enough food to survive the night if need be (two sandwiches, two fruits, two thermoses full of hot soup, snacks, a water bottle, and a dark chocolate bar), I saw him board the bus alone — his first time in one since he was three-years-old — and watched as he disappeared down the road for the next eight hours.

It was a scary moment.

For many, thirteen is no big deal. Heck, I was walking to and from school on my own years before that, as do many public school children. But most of the homeschoolers I know are somewhat sheltered in that respect.

Call us strange but we like to hang out together and do family things. I know all my children’s friends and peers and their parents (and brothers, sisters, and sometimes cousins and next door neighbor). For the most part, we learn together, and being such a close knit bunch, my children have had little opportunity or desire to be away for too long.

Granted, this isn’t the first time my son has been out of my sight. He does take and has taken outside classes on his own. Somehow though, the act of boarding the bus in the morning and not returning until evening feels like a rite of passage.
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Physical education for homeschooled teens

Written by contributor Sarah Small of SmallWorld at Home

P E, phys ed, gym: whatever you called it, all of us public schoolers did it. Some of us dreaded it; some of us considered it the best part of the day. If you had to wear one-piece gym suits that zipped up the front, well, I’m laughing (and blushing) right along with you.

So how do homeschoolers handle PE? I am surprised at the number of people who ask me “Does [swimming, hiking, gymnastics, dancing] count as PE?” Of course! If your child is getting exercise, he is engaged in PE.

For most younger children, the need to move is innate.

What kid doesn’t want to climb the perfect tree or beg to go to the park? How many times have you heard yourself admonish your little kids to be still for a few minutes—to stop rolling around on the ground?

But as these same wiggly children enter the teen years, they would likely rather be on Facebook than running around outside.

While the inclination for physical activity is built into us, we have to be deliberate about providing opportunities for PE, especially as our kids get older.

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Of America and war (2012 curriculum fair)

Ages of my kids at home: 15 and 11 1/2
Educational Philosophy Influences: Literature-based, Eclectic, College-Bound

I am so excited about this upcoming year! I have always maintained that educational flexibility is the highlight of home education, and 2012-13 will be one of those years that embraces flexibility.

Shouldn’t education be crafted by creativity, rather than squished into a box labeled “scope and sequence”?

For me, part of the joy in homeschooling my kids comes with the designing, the knowing that my kids get an individualized education plan that suits them perfectly.

So here is what I have planned for my two at-home kids:
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Homeschool Through High School? You Really Can!

Written by contributor Sarah of SmallWorld at Home

Homeschooling high school. Those three little words can alarm the calmest parents. I have seen the stress cross their faces and watched their hands clench tightly. “I know my daughter is only 8, but I am already getting nervous about high school!”

Oh, please don’t get nervous. Don’t throw away those precious years pondering how in the world you will teach algebra and chemistry and essay writing. Enjoy them while they still like climbing trees and making baking soda-and-vinegar volcanoes.

But one of these days, yes: you will have to think about high school.

It used to be common in our homeschooling support group for kids to go to public school for high school for various reasons. Some parents felt that they could no longer meet their kids’ academic needs at home, that their reasons for homeschooling no longer applied, or that adequate social opportunities just weren’t available.

Times have changed in the 12 years since I started this journey. Our co-op classes offer an extensive variety of subjects, easily covering the basics (math, sciences, English, and history) as well as electives (art, drama, computer skills, personal finance, study skills, etc.). Rather than a mass exodus after 8th grade, we now see only a few students opting for public school. [Read more...]

Sarah’s Homeschool Day in the Life (with an 11-year-old and 14-year-old)

Written by contributor Sarah Small of SmallWorld at Home

The first thing I had to do when asked to take part in this year’s “Day in the Life” series was to look back at my post from last January.  I wondered how much our daily life had changed in a year.

Well, a lot.

Long gone are the exhausting, bustling days of going from child to child with a little one playing all around us. Gone are the sticky crafts and, blessedly, the endless games of Candyland. Gone are those evenings spent “doing bedtime,” with baths, books, snacks, and one-more-drink-of-water. And in the not-so-distant past, my days were filled with hustling about, trying to figure out schedules for an elementary, a middle-school, and a high-school student.
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