Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

Cyber Monday Sale: All 3 A Gracious Space volumes!

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Cyber Monday Sale 2015 - All 3 A Grracious Space volumes!

For one day only, grab all three digital editions of A Gracious Space: Daily Reflections to sustain your homeschool commitment for a steal! Only $14.99 for all three (half off!).

Each edition features 50 essays to read, one per day. These are non-sectarian (not religious) readings designed for anyone who takes on the brave challenge to provide their children’s education at home. The essays are also meant to encourage and support parenting as much as educating, for it’s the family culture that shapes and facilitates a robust, satisfying education.


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What to do when your philosophy of education is challenged

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Husbands and Homeschool (creating shared values with anyone who challenges your education philosophy)

Whether it’s a spouse or mother-in-law, we all have people in our lives who want to direct our homeschools for us. One way to create space for a meaningful conversation about home education is to provide the meddling (I mean, curious) person with an article to read. Ask the loved one to read the article and then to get back to you with a time to go out for coffee to talk about it!

The goal is to create a shared vocabulary around the topic of homeschool so that the family member doesn’t use “school” ideas as a yard stick for your homeschool efforts.

Examples of homeschool articles to share:

A Call For Homeschool 2.0 by Terry Heick

A Conversation with John Holt by Marlene Bumgarner

Infusing Child-Led Opportunities into a Traditional Approach by Angie Kauffman

Project-Based Homeschooling by Lori Pickert

Tidal Homeschooling by Melissa Wiley

Please don’t call my child a reluctant learner by Julie Kirkwood

And Brave Writer’s How Writing is Like Sewing

For more on how this works, check out this Part Two of the scope, Doubting Your Homeschool (Part One is here):

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61 Things I Did Right in My Homeschool

Monday, November 16th, 2015

61 Things I Did Right in My Homeschool

The balance to all I didn’t get to or all I didn’t do in our homeschool are the very real choices I made that made all the difference in my homeschool journey with my kids. It was incredibly satisfying to sit down with paper and pen and record all the stuff I’m proud of—the lessons I learned, the choices I made that I see having been valuable to my kids and their eventual success as persons.

I hope once you’ve listened to this scope and the 55 Things I Didn’t Do, you will make your own list—a Work in Progress (WIP) list that you can edit as you go. Just know that there is NO WAY to do it all—all the amazing ideas, all the terrific programs, all the varieties of good Pinterest worthy ideas. Some mix of what you find enticing and available will pop through the forest of good ideas and that unique constellation of subjects and projects and experiences will create the people your children need to become. YOUR family culture will be unique and the people you are will contribute to our global community in powerful ways.

Thanks for embarking on this journey and trusting the process. I am so glad you’ve chosen to homeschool… at least for now, for this season.


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55 Things I Didn’t Do as a Homeschooler

Monday, November 16th, 2015

55 Things I Didn't Do as a Homeschooler

I listened one day to a Periscope (a live streaming video) of a business owner who explained that there were 45 things she had neglected to do despite having a successful million dollar business. It got me thinking. My kids are adults. They are thriving and living the kinds of lives I’d hoped they’d choose when I was in the trenches of home educating them. As I looked back, I knew there were at least 45 things I didn’t finish, do, get to. And I had this hunch that hearing about those neglected areas would be liberating for homeschoolers today.

So I pulled out a pen and paper and began a long list down a page. I blew by number 45, realizing I was not at all finished. My pace only slowed as I hit the golden number 55.

55 things I didn’t do as a homeschooler that in no way prevented my kids from having the lives they want! 55 things that didn’t prevent my kids from going to the colleges of their choice, or getting coveted scholarships. 55 things I didn’t do, yet one of the five is on a full ride at Columbia Law. 55 things I didn’t do and yet three of my adult kids are on the editorial boards of literary magazines. One of them runs the most popular student organization at his college (a poetry slam!).

Despite not completing those 55 things, two of my kids were president of Amnesty International at Ohio State. The one who didn’t read until she was ten is studying three languages simultaneously including Hindi. My oldest is teaching himself computer programming and bartending, and my oldest daughter is spending this year in South America just to learn Spanish before graduate school in social work.

Somehow, despite not getting through the four year history cycle, or reading all the classics, one of my kids is in Great Books Program at St. John’s College—this from the kid with dysgraphia who didn’t write for 3 years.

Whenever I look at who my adult kids are, I’m again reminded that so much went right that I couldn’t always appreciate while I home educated them. Some days I thought I was failing to give them what they deserved—what other homeschoolers told me were essentials.

Today, I know differently. Please enjoy this sometimes cringe-inducing look at what I didn’t do while I homeschooled. And then, please!! go to my scope about the 61 Things I Did Right. I feel naked and exposed when all you watch are the things I did wrong. :)


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Prepare thyself

Monday, November 9th, 2015

10 ways to prepare for the new holiday homeschool rhythm

The holidays are on their way. Halloween has barely returned to its grave when Christmas future haunted my in-box! Black Friday sales are already in promotion, pictures of gift items have snow flakes and garlands around them.

The tendency is to brace oneself for the coming onslaught of spending, relatives, too much food, and the pressure to make “perfect memories for the children.”


Appreciate the good you’ve already got going.

Traditions matter, but they also snowball if you let them! Pick the 3-5 that are especially important. Do those. Other “experiences” from previous years can be rotated out this season or delegated to another family member.

Homeschool can include some of these practices:

1. It’s great to bake and learn to write recipes.

2. It’s lovely to spend a day raking leaves and hanging lights.

3. Gift lists are ideal for handwriting practice.

4. Poetry Teatimes can include holiday songs.

5. Take advantage of shopping and sales to make math more practical and applicable to daily life.

6. A little world (aka geography, history!) tour for holiday traditions from other parts of the globe can add new interest to tired local customs too.

7. Calculations about the possible speeds and distances Santa must travel are great exercises in logic for the un-believing.

8. Create a family tree so that your kids know who is sending what cards and gifts and how they are related.

9. Build in family movie night so you can watch a time-honored holiday film together.

10. Hike! Tis the season! Get out in nature while it is still crisp, clear, and colorful.

The rhythm of homeschool changes around the holidays—use that to your advantage. January, with all its academic promise, is right around the corner. Give in to the holiday enthusiasm and bend it to your homeschool will. Prepare thyself for a lovely season of learning and joy.

The rhythm of homeschool changes around the holidays—use that to your advantage.

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