Are you discouraged, disappointed, or depressed as you reflect upon your homeschooling so far this school year? Let’s take a few minutes to evaluate the symptoms of your dissatisfaction and consider possible solutions:
“It’s Too Hard!”
Is your student prepared and ready for this level of academics? Just because a text has a certain grade level printed on its cover that seems to match the chronological age of your student does not mean that your student can handle all of the work within its pages.
If your student is struggling to write a sentence or a paragraph, this may not be the right time to teach an essay. If your student hasn’t really mastered subtraction, that “hole” will impact long division as well. Backtrack! Review! Re-teach! Be sure your student demonstrates proficiency in the basics of a particular skill or subject before expecting him or her to advance.
Assess developmental readiness. We don’t expect babies to walk until they are pulling themselves up to a standing position. Likewise, is your student demonstrating readiness for the particular concept or skill you are trying to teach? For example, there are important developmental integrations that need to happen before your student is ready to learn to read and hormonal changes in puberty that add key aspects to student’s abstract reasoning abilities. Sometimes delay is the best teaching strategy.
“I Don’t Like It!”
If you spent hours researching different curriculum options and were really excited when you found this one particular resource, it is exasperating to hear this comment from your student. Continue reading
“Go to a Park Day! Make some new homeschool friends and ask your questions!” I see this advice over and over again on Facebook groups in response to someone’s first post or initial question or two about homeschooling.
Park Days have been the traditional gathering place of homeschool families. Children are free to play and run off their excess energy while moms befriend and support each other. The encouragement shared among themselves ranges from parenting advice to curriculum ideas to easy dinner recipes. Many a life-long friendship has been forged in these early days of homeschool community.
But now in 2018, I am seeing Park Days fade and fold. Some of this is due to the aging of those original Park Day families. They are graduating their last children and while some continue to attend Park Days to support the newer moms, others have become too busy in their new season of life. Continue reading
It’s that time of year when scanning Instagram posts, Facebook newsfeeds, or Pinterest boards reveal beautifully decorated homeschool rooms, cute curriculum closets, and unique organizational cubicles. You can video tour homeschool spaces on YouTube and Facebook Live too. Who knew how creative one could get with maps, chalkboards, IKEA bookshelves, and dollar store organizers?
It reminds me of the photos you see of picture-perfect nurseries awaiting the birth of a first child. Yet do you remember seeing a photo posted of that same room several weeks after the birth of that child? Probably not! The sleep-deprived new parents may be madly trying to capture a picture of baby’s first smile, but they wouldn’t dare show you the piles of laundry and other paraphernalia now cluttering the formerly pristine nursery.
And, similarly, you aren’t likely to find many proud displays of homeschool rooms in November or February. Continue reading
I’m honored and pleased to be featured in Voyage LA, an online magazine featuring LA’s most inspiring stories. If you’d like to learn more about me, my experience, and my reasons for opening a homeschool curriculum and consulting business, take a moment to read this interview.
Meet Penny Ross of Tools for the Home Educator in Torrance
One of the challenges about starting Tools for the Home Educator has been the tension between not wanting to draw too much attention to myself and yet, understanding that the business is based on me and my knowledge of the homeschooling market. I hope that this article will help to build my reputation while avoiding braggadocio.
Can I help you as you educate your children at home?
Have you ever considered translating your holiday preparations into education-speak and counting them as “school”? We need to remember that learning happens in many different ways and can easily be accomplished outside the curriculum box. December lends itself well to holiday-themed project -based learning, especially for our younger students:
- Baking translates to Home Economics, Nutrition, or Math
- Making gifts and crafts becomes Art, Home Economics, or Community Outreach
- Addressing Christmas Cards can count for Penmanship or Spelling
- Looking up places on a map where you are sending cards or receiving them from is Geography
- Holiday shopping teaches Math, Finance, and Budgeting
- Singing, listening to, or playing Christmas Carols on a musical instrument is Music
- Walking around the mall or out to your car on the outskirts of the parking lot is P.E.
- Investigating holiday traditions and Christmas customs can become Social Studies or History
- Learning more about Christmas, Hanukah, and other faith-based holidays translates to Bible or Comparative Religions or Social Studies
Sadly, the worst part of this election is not the choice between Trump and Clinton (even though this is the most disagreeable choice in all the years I’ve been voting for president).
Unfortunately, we cannot blame this horrible choice on the Republican and Democrat parties or on the current government. The choice between Trump and Clinton is not a bad decision foisted upon us by someone else.
In America, anyone who meets the constitutional qualifications for president can declare his or her intention to run. In fact, 17 Republicans and 5 Democrats did just that. Through a lengthy process of primary elections and caucuses, the field was narrowed to 1 Republican, Donald Trump, and 1 Democrat, Hillary Clinton. And just who did the winnowing? The voters, that’s who! Yes, it was the majority vote of our peers that has given us this horrible choice. Continue reading
Jet lag is that crazy disorder experienced by travelers when the mind knows it is in one time zone while the body is certain that it is in a different one.
A similar condition affects families at the end of the Christmas break. Known as post-holiday lag, it results when a student’s body is returned to school while its brain continues on holiday vacation. Homeschoolers are as susceptible to this disorder as any other type of student. But with a few simple steps of preparation, wise homeschool moms can lessen the impact of post- holiday lag upon their students.
A day or two before the family’s planned return to the school routine, all should begin easing off the sugar and junk food that has likely dominated holiday eating habits. This is also the perfect time for some brisk exercise – plan a family hike, bicycle ride, or other fresh-air workout together. And, finally, get everyone to bed at a reasonable hour.
On the first day back to your school, you can signal the change in routine with a wonderful read-aloud. Find a book you can all enjoy and read two or three chapters that first day. You want to get far enough into the story so that your students eagerly anticipate reading more tomorrow. Continue reading