Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

The Homeschool of My Dreams Is…

Dream Homeschool

You get to have the homeschool you choose. In fact, you already DO have the homeschool you choose.

A little zen thinking for you on this Monday morning. You’re welcome.

Make a list of what you wish your homeschool would be like. What might it include? Get as clear and detailed as you can.

The Homeschool of My Dreams Is…

Ask yourself:

  • how close is the homeschool you have to that vision?
  • how much of that vision is dependent on my children?

To have a wonderful homeschool requires one key ingredient: YOUR passion for learning. That’s it! If you have that, and you go after it, you will have a homeschool that is both satisfying and effective for everyone.

For instance, if you want to teach your child to read, you can either implement a program regardless of how your child feels about it, OR you can get really interested in learning how to read. You can invest the heart and energy to learn about reading, to learn about how kids learn to read, you can test theories and explore practices with your kids looking for their feedback. Reading can be an adventure of learning for *all* of you.

When parents complain about their children’s lack of motivation or willingness to cooperate, I know the parent has lost interest in learning. They are putting attention on getting kids to perform. Then they lament that their homeschool is not magical or natural.

But if you turn your fascination to whatever the topic (motivating kids, learning to spell, mastering math facts, becoming a goal setter), you will have a home that is all about learning all the time.

Give yourself to the things you care about, identify the issues you face, and LEARN about them. Before you know it, your homeschool may look a lot more like the vision you described to yourself.


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


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Developing Critical Thinking Skills

Developing Critical Thinking Skills

It’s not personal. It’s brain development.

The first way your kids will start to differentiate themselves from you is by sharing a conflicting opinion. Whether that’s on a book, movie, or current event—they want to show you that they are thinking for themselves. 

Remember, that’s what we want! 

Let children develop their critical thinking skills. They’ll do it on their own if we let them. Truly!

Provide environments where they can be CURIOUS about their own thoughts!

For example, Brave Writer’s book clubs spur thinking that will lay the foundation for well-supported arguments in essay writing.

The writer:

  • makes an assertion,
  • looks at the facts,
  • and offers a reasonable explanation (interpretation) of the facts that supports the assertion.

This doesn’t need to be combative! 

Discussion gently invites students to turn their sweeping statement into a supported one, by sharing their reasoning. 

Their reasoning might be emotional or surface-level at this stage, and that’s okay! The casualness keeps one opinion as one of several possible interpretations of the facts. 

It’ll pay off when they get to essay writing!


Brave Writer Book Clubs

Clarify Your Bias

Brave Writer

It’s easy to identify bias in everyone else: that news show anchor, the brash radio host, your annoying neighbor, the uncle who won’t shut up at the holiday dinner…

Bias lives in all of us, however—even those of us who pride ourselves on being “objective.” What’s harder to detect is the invisible, silent influence bias has on how we think. The method for detecting bias isn’t more studying (you can always find books and articles to confirm your biases). Rather, bias is merely how your mind sorts information to affirm what you *hope will be true.*

A good example. When you read about homeschooling, don’t you begin hoping that whatever you read will validate that homeschooling is a trustworthy method of education? That “hope” is where your mind starts when it goes to read the article. If you read an article that’s against homeschooling, don’t you find yourself wanting to discredit what you read? You want homeschooling to be seen as effective so you hope that this negative article isn’t accurate or true.

Try this.

  • Go to any news site. Pick an article to read. Read the headline.
  • Now before you start reading, ask yourself, “What do I hope will be true?”

You aren’t asking what IS true. You aren’t asking if the writers are biased. You aren’t even trying to see if you agree or disagree with the writer.

Your task is to detect the little internal voice that is already telling you whether or not to trust this article, and what you hope to find (you may even hope to find that the writer is a loudmouth or that the information is wrong or that the research is flawed). If it’s a headline you like, you may hope to find more data to confirm what you want to be true!

Bias is the unconscious posture you take toward any information. It’s not possible to eliminate it. The best we can do is notice it—bring it to the surface so it can ride sidecar while you read an article, tweet, or Instagram caption. It’s also helpful to notice your bias when in conversation.

Ask: what do I hope she’ll say? What do I wish he wouldn’t say? 

The crux of bias is: What do I hope will be true?


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Plan Time to Do Nothing

Plan Time to Do Nothing

In all your planning, plan space without plans; plan time without agenda.

Sometimes the temptation to wash away last year’s regrets is strong. We overcome the feeling of not living up to our own ideals by planning a slew of new ideals for the next year. Somehow the act of imagining a better future eases any feeling of lack from the past one.

Yet what if this past year was fine?

  • What if you accomplished exactly what you could and it was exactly enough?
  • What if you looked back and took it in: we survived a pandemic AND we learned and grew?

Maybe last year is a blueprint for the future, not a memory of what not to do again.

What if you looked at last year and decided to do even less in the coming year?

What if you gave yourself permission to go at the pace of human beings, not schools?

In ALL your planning, plan time to do nothing.

Plan time for wondering and wandering.

Include space to be.

We’re driven by performance metrics. We measure ourselves against a spreadsheet of productivity and completed tasks. We forget that the deeper work of caring to learn can’t be quantified. Caring gets you all the way there.

Instead of planning tasks on calendars, ask this question:

What kind of plan promotes caring to learn?

This year, even as you plan, take human beings at a human pace into account. Get to know each of your kids as people, not students. Uncover lessons learned, rather than teaching objectives.

In all your planning, promote caring.


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


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Tailor-Made Education

Tailor-Made Education

Allow your homeschool to evolve, morph, grow (or shrink!). Be strong and courageous to stick up for your choices. Remember: individuals over systems.

You can’t get it right.

That’s the good news! Each time you notice that you want to tweak your homeschool, high five yourself for doing the real work of home education—

  • adapting,
  • morphing,
  • changing,
  • and growing.

There’s no arrival point.

Homeschooling is not a destination.

You’re creating a routine and set of practices that necessarily evolve because so do the people in your family. As your kids get older, they:

  • develop preferences,
  • get bored,
  • master one topic and need more support in another one,
  • and learn at different rates during different years.

Not only that, you get bored, you have other commitments that require attention, you learn more about homeschooling each year, and some subjects and levels are harder for you than others.

If anyone gives you guff, you can let it go. You’ve chosen tailor-made education, not institutional schooling. This is exactly how it’s supposed to work.


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


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