Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

Raising World Citizens

Raising World CitizensJacob and Johannah in Thailand

The world needs to be known, not ignored! We discuss giving our kids a global perspective in the video below.

Book Suggestions for Raising Globally Aware Kids

[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases,
Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

Would you like a PRINTABLE COPY of the book list above?

Great to take with you to the library!

Raising World Citizens Book List

Sometimes it’s not easy to be a world citizen when you’re homeschooling full time and trying to pay for math and science books. You can create an environment, though, that gives children a window of insight and also an appetite for pursuing global experiences when they’re adults.

Watch the video below to learn more!

Combine global awareness and language arts:
The titles above are available as Arrows and Boomerangs!

The Natural Stages of Growth as a Home Educator

The Natural Stages of a Home Educator

What does it mean to be a home educator? In the recorded broadcast below we discuss the natural stages of the homeschooling parent. In a nutshell they are:

  1. Jumping In
  2. Playing School
  3. Following the “Method”
  4. Swapping Curriculum
  5. Trusting Yourself
  6. The “Re-Upping” Moment
  7. Us-Schooling

Remember, this is all fluid. These are just my observations of working with thousands of families. You may or may not comport with all of them.

But the takeaway: It’s totally worth it!

Learn more about the “Re-Upping Moment”

What to say when asked about “socialization”

Homeschooling and Socialization

Ways you might respond to questions about homeschooling and socialization:

Homeschooling really is different than traditional school. I totally get why you have those questions. I had to do a lot of research before I felt comfortable with it myself. And I’m still learning.


Yeah, that’s a great question. I get it a lot. I’m still figuring it out. But I take heart that homeschooling has been around now for 50 years and lots of those kids are grown. Seems like they’re doing all right as adults.


You can share what you do too. I used to give a day in the life to questions like “What do you use for…?” I had a bunch of public school moms as running partners and they asked lots of questions. So one run I just told them a typical day in our lives. By the end, they were all saying, “That’s so cool. I don’t know if I could ever do that. Sounds really fun.”

Like that.

Need more encouragement? Check out these posts:

Is it confusing? Is it difficult? Are you worried?

The cumulative effects are good (aka: it all works out in the end)

What are they doing now: The Bogart Kids 2013

The Homeschool Alliance

Your Crazy Quilt Homeschool

Why homeschool is like a crazy quilt

You’re creating a crazy quilt, not a patchwork quilt.

There is sometimes a temptation to find a pattern for your homeschool—putting each piece into its right slot, clipping them into the predictable shapes, ensuring they fit together in a congruent predictable way. You set the pattern and then you cut each piece to fit, paring the excess, wedging them together so that some kind of design emerges—one you can affirm and recognize.

A patchwork quilt is more like school—with its ship-shape structure, its obvious pattern, its regularity of margins and pieces that fit together the way you expect them to.

Homeschool is not like that. It’s a crazy quilt—scraps of time stitched together, subjects in unique shapes—outside at the park, at bedtime, squeezed in between dental appointments in a waiting area. The pattern is not always clear and the lines don’t mesh as obviously as a designed quilt.

Often there’s that one corner that needs a piece of fabric to bring it all together—and you wait for it to appear. No planning accounts for how to fill that hole. Inspiration comes, a source materializes, and suddenly the corner is filled with a bright satisfying color.

The charm of a crazy quilt is its unpredictability within the confines of the borders. Your homeschool is not without borders—the crazy quilt fabric scraps of various programs, inspiration, creativity, and routine all live within the big sturdy boundaries of your home and your arms. The outline of this tapestry is the faith you have in your family and the border is in the shared community of learning you build together, one crazy shaped piece of fabric at a time.

What’s so wonderful? One day you will see the finished homeschool-quilt as one whole, not all these fragmented pieces that worry you now. Instead, you’ll be amazed at the way they come together when you least expected it, at the unique constellation of colors, textures, and designs that form the wonderful blanket of love and learning that is uniquely yours: Your crazy quilt homeschool.

Keep gathering the scraps. Cherish them. Stitch them into your memories, one to another. One day, this tenderly crafted quilt will appear as a whole, and it will cover you with warmth as you fondly recall the years of its making.

Pressure and Motivation

The Difference Between Pressure and Motivation

Evaluate these two comments:

“This paragraph has so much potential!”

“I can’t wait to find out what happens next!”

In an attempt to give compliments, sometimes a parent exerts pressure when what she wants to create is motivation. Take the above example. If when you read a paragraph your child has written and you see its flaws, but want to convey that you appreciate the content, you may be tempted to say:

“This could be a great paragraph if…” or “I see a lot of potential here” or “Except for the mistakes, your paragraph is really getting there.”

Each of these statements focuses on the paragraph as something to evaluate, not as something to be read and understood.

I’ve said versions of these at times to my kids. Because they feel safe with me, they immediately fire back, “Wait, don’t you like it? Why are you focused on what I didn’t do?”

Which made me defensive: “Hey I gave you a compliment! I think it’s a great paragraph! It’s just that it will be even better when you fix x, y, and z.”

What my kids heard, however, was pressure. They weren’t worthy of my full admiration until they had presented me with error-free copy. They were deflated! It was as if I was only interested in the paragraph to demonstrate a mastery of the mechanics or expanded detail. My focus was on the potential of the piece, not the actual.

The second example showed my true interest in the purpose of the paragraph: to engage me, the reader (not for my evaluation as teacher).

The communication:

“I read your paragraph, and now I want to know where you are going with the story or information because it was compelling.”

No evaluation of its potential—rather, a focus on the actual:
the impact of what is already on the page.

This kind of response to a person’s writing is often experienced as “motivating.” It validates what has been offered while inviting more. It gives the writer permission to add to the existing piece rather than requiring the mess to be cleaned up before deserving a compliment.

When we look at writing, pressure is the key reason so many kids lose heart. They feel pressure to write more than they offered, they feel pressure to not misspell any word they’ve ever once spelled correctly for fear they will be reminded that they KNOW how to spell it so why the mistake?

They feel pressure to move the story along in a clear linear pattern, to never ramble, to use proper punctuation, to write legibly. They worry that unless they coordinate all these skills, the meaning and thought they have put into their writing will not be “heard.” Until all the pieces are lined up, they don’t get to hear: “That story is so good, I want to find out what happens next.” Motivation comes from the desire to get a positive reaction again.

If your child puts out two or three sentences that are misspelled and poorly punctuated, sincere parents will believe they are providing motivation by extolling the child’s capabilities like this:

“You have such good stories to tell! I know you could make them even better if you just checked your spelling first. You have the best handwriting when you take your time. I see great potential here for you!”

This “back-handed compliment” feels like pressure to the child—to do better.

Yet even poorly spelled and punctuated writing can be read for its entertainment value.

If you notice the thoughts, ideas or story, you might find that
the desire for mechanical accuracy has space to grow.

You might say:

“I was reading along and I became amazed at what you know about trebuchets! I didn’t quite catch this word (pointing to it)—can you tell me what it was in your head? Oh! ‘Launcher.’ I get it now! So you are saying that the trebuchet is a kind of launcher. What great language! What would you launch if you had one?”

If your child experiences your curiosity about a misspelled word as your desire to really understand the meaning of the piece (not as a correction for not living up to his potential), he is more likely to take your comments as motivation to care about his spelling.

This is true in every arena! The goal of teaching isn’t to remind our kids of how much they could do well if they only just… (fill in the blank).

The goal is to be a mirror to a child who is taking learning risks—to show them all the ways those risks are showing up in the world and that you value them.

Motivation is internal—it’s a felt need to produce/risk for personal satisfaction. We create a context for motivation when we are amazed by who our kids are today, not who they could be tomorrow.

The Homeschool Alliance

Header image by Brave Writer parent Sheetal