Homeschooling Looks Like . . .

A2Z Homeschooling: Where Do I Start

According to a recent USA Today/Ipsos poll, 60 percent of parents surveyed said they will likely choose at-home learning this fall rather than send their children to school even if the schools reopen for in-person learning. Thirty percent of parents surveyed said they were “very likely” to keep their children home.

Kerry McDonald: Back to School? No Thanks

What If . . .

“What if I told you that slow pace of life you crave is achievable?

What if I told you you don’t need to be a teacher, or have all the answers?

What if I told you that your children could follow their own interests instead of a standardised curriculum?

What if I told you that you could spend your days in whatever way YOU wanted? You could travel whenever you liked, and take holidays any time.

What if I told you you could do ALL of this while still giving your child a fabulous education. Could you justify sending them to school? For me, the answer was no.”

When I was trying to decide if we should homeschool, I read everything I could. I wanted to know how hard it would be, how much time it would take, what I needed to teach them, what the reporting requirements … Continue reading →   Source:I Can’t Justify School | Happiness is here

School Holiday Survival Guide | Happiness is here

How to ‘survive’ the holidays.

img_christmas 2016Hint: ditch the rules/punishments/bribes/and behaviour charts.

Source: School Holiday Survival Guide | Happiness is here

What Causes More Anxiety in Children: School or a Smartphone? — John Holt GWS

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photo credit: Canva

Our children attend school at earlier ages and graduate at older ages than they did in previous generations; we make going to college a modern, tribal ritual that socially shames those who can’t afford it or who don’t thrive there; we focus on degrees awarded but not on competencies earned outside of degree programs; we increase standardized testing and the pressure on teachers and students to produce better grades; we reduce play and private time for children outside of school; we eliminate recess and after-school programs inside school and turn them into instruction and homework time.

This is considered to be the norm we want to make children adjust to.

Is it any wonder they are anxious?

Read more: What Causes More Anxiety in Children: School or a Smartphone? — John Holt GWS

Turning the tables: questions for school parents | Racheous

Imagine if when you told people you had chosen to send your kids to school, you were met with the kind of assumptions, judgement and questioning that is typical of families who have chosen to homeschool.

  • “I knew someone who was schooled and they were freaks”

  • “Oh I don’t know if she would suit school, she’s a bit too spirited for school”

  • “Are you going to miss them? I would just miss mine too much”

  • Are you concerned about negative socialisation? Bullying? Peer pressure?”

  • “Is that legal?”

Read the whole thing and enjoy!  Source: Turning the tables: questions for school parents | Racheous

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Trust Children to Learn

“Nothing could be more simple – or more difficult. Difficult, because to trust children we must trust ourselves – and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.” Deborah Meier

On Being A Mom by Anna Quindlen

“If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the black button eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin.

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach, T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories.What those books taught me, finally and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations — what they taught me was that they couldn’t really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple-choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow.

I remember 15 years ago pouring over one of Dr. Brazelton’s wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the, “Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame.” The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleep over. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you get wrong? (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald’s drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up at the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I’m not sure what worked and what didn’t, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I’d done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demand in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be.The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That’s what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.” By  Anna Quindlen Newsweek Columnist and Author

Thank you, Anna Quindlen, for this eloquent essay.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Gross Motor Math Games

The Counting-Action Dice game is a big hit  at our house: grandparent-parent tested, child approved and low tech (easy for this grandma to make).

The Counting-Action Dice game is a gross motor math game perfect for preschoolers.  Kids can practice counting and one-to-one correspondence while doing fun body movements like clapping, jumping and spinning.

This math game is so simple to make and loads of fun for the kids! And because it gets them moving, it’s perfect if you’re stuck inside on a rainy or snowy day.

Source: Gross Motor Math Game: Counting Action Dice – Buggy and Buddy

Our new favorite game: Counting-Action Dice

Using her books, brought math alive for our kids.

Also, check out Peggy Kaye‘s time-tested book Games For Math. The book addresses some basic math concepts for kindergartners through third grade.  I found her book to be easily incorporated into our home school.  The games are tangible ways to enjoy math.  (Yes, the word “math” and “enjoy” in one sentence!)

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Why Kids Need Real Play

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” ~ Mr. Rogers

Play is such an integral and natural part of childhood. It is how all children learn. Play was one of the main reasons we decided to home school our children.

Sara wrote an excellent blog post on why kids need messy, free, unstructured, REAL play time. And some tips for making it more manageable.   Check it out at Happiness Is Here: Why Kids Need Real Play 

Real play making a big splash!

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In Their Own Way

Our daughter just graduated Salutatorian from a major university!

We home schooled all the way through high school.

I remember fearing our children would never learn to read and write. It seemed as if everyone’s children where reading novels and writing novels while our children where busy with self directed imaginative play and artistic activities.

Our children were what some would call late bloomers.  But were they really late bloomers or did they simply learn to read and write when they were ready physically, cognitively and emotionally in their own way?  In my experience, the later is most certainly more accurate in the nature of how children learn.

Being a parent, you worry; compare your children to those of others.  Seemingly, there is a cultural push to prepare children academically to excel in school at a very young age.  David Elkind wrote extensively about the pitfalls of “The Hurried Child” and the importance of play.

By David Elkind: The Hurried Child, The Power of Play, All Grown Up and No Place to Go, Miseducation, and The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally

As I look back through our home schooling years, I now marvel at the ease our children learned to read and write despite how much I worried. We read to them starting at a very young age and continued to read to them well into their teens.  Books, magazines, newspapers and maps filled  the house and were always accessible to our children.  Because we surrounded our children with the printed and spoken word, they understood the value of  words ~ that words mean things and convey thoughts and ideas. 

If you are considering homeschooling or currently homeschooling and worry about how to teach your children to read write and do math, trust your children. They will learn to read, write and do math in their own way given the freedom to do so.  Who knows, they may graduate as Salutatorian one day! 😉

Articles of interest on the subject of “The Hurried Child”:

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