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
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
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
Please note that this article intentionally does not address the pros or cons of vaccinations. My objective, as a homeschool consultant, is to help families prepare for the requirements of the new law; it is not to offer advice regarding medical decisions for their children.
Beginning July 1, 2016, all children attending a campus-based school in California will need to be vaccinated against 10 specific diseases. SB 277, recently signed into law by Governor Brown, eliminates the Personal Belief and Religious Exemptions which had been utilized by parents who selectively vaccinate or who do not vaccinate their children.
Listed below are three common school scenarios with details of how each will be impacted by this new law:
#1 – My Children Attend a Campus-Based School.
These children must be vaccinated by the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year unless granted a medical exemption by their doctor. Their schools will be checking for the mandated shots at time of initial school entry, transfer to a new school, and at 7th grade.
If vaccinations are an issue for your family, then parents can request a Personal Beliefs Exemption (PBE) from their medical professional prior to December 31, 2015. The form, CDPH 8262, should be turned into the school office as soon as possible. Continue reading
It seems that the number of homeschooling programs is growing faster than the number of homeschooling families! Here in California, types of programs include PSPs (private school satellite programs), home-based charter schools, online charters, learning centers, co-ops, hybrids – and innumerable variations of each. The sheer number of choices can quickly overwhelm you! Just how are you supposed to choose, anyway?
Before you succumb to glitzy brochures or persuasive recruiters, here are some questions you can ask to help you determine the best program for your particular family in this specific season of life: Continue reading