Q & A With the Author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Kids Outside the Conventional Classroom

homeschool in Florida
If you’ve been homeschooling long enough, you’ve likely come across the term “unschooling.” Unschooling is one of those terms that often has the homeschooling community at odds with one another, as if there are only black and white approaches to educating our children. Many homeschooling families, chose to educate their kids at home so that they can educate kids outside the box: unschooling is just one way of (as the title reads), raising curious, well-educated kids outside the conventional classroom.

As a homeschool consultant and evaluator, I have had the pleasure of working with many unschooling families over the years. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am a huge proponent of child-led learning. I have a deep respect for successful unschooling families.

When I came across the book, Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom by Kerry McDonald, I knew I had to have it. (more…)

Earning Around Homeschooling: How Can it Be Done?

homeschool in florida working while homeschooling
Image: https://www.pexels.com/search/desk%20space/

Living on a tight budget can be tough when you have a family. For many, it involves living on a single partner’s income while the other takes care of the kids. And if you’re a reader of this blog then you’re more than likely a homeschool parent meaning that you can probably relate to this. Since your days are filled with teaching your children, you don’t exactly have the time nor the energy to be going out to work a traditional job too- however that doesn’t mean you can’t earn at all. These days, there are fantastic ways to earn right from your own home, in a flexible way which can be totally worked around your family and commitments like homeschooling. Here are some examples!

Work From Home

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4 Important Things To Remember When Creating A Homeschooling Area

When you’re homeschooling your children, you may want to set up a designated study area. Sometimes it’s helpful for kids to be able to separate schooling from the rest of their home life, while other kids can focus just fine from the couch or the kitchen table. I recommend having some are that is quiet and separated as a study area. A lot of parents don’t really know where to start with this and that means they make a lot of simple mistakes with their homeschool area which can have a big impact on their child’s ability to learn. When creating a quiet study space for your homeschool, here are 4 important things to consider when creating a homeschool area.

Noise

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Top Five Things We Love About Digital Homeschool Curriculum

top five things we love about digital curriculum

I’ll be honest, it took me some time to warm up to digital curriculum. When my girls were younger, we leaned toward a more holistic approach to learning, although my eldest daughter did use the online EPGY program for a while, and loved it. I am a book-junkie, and if anyone could say that I hoarded anything, it’d be books. It pains me to get rid of books, no matter what type they are. If I could have kept every single book I’ve ever owned, I totally would.

But, it is 2019, and not all of us can have gigantic antique book rooms like this one, <sniff sniff>. So now, I’m a bit of a digital curriculum hoarder. I love digital curriculum for so many reasons. Here are just a few.

Saves Space

I don’t need to box up all my digital curriculum when we’re finished with it, and I don’t have to search through endless boxes in the garage for the material the next time we want to use it, or when it’s time to pass it down to my youngest daughter. I can keep our downloaded curriculum organized on my external hard drive, and the girls can keep theirs organized on their flash drives. Any digital courses we use are even better, because there is no need for us to provide space on our devices for those.

Access From Anywhere

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Tips for Healthy Meal Planning Around Your Busy Homeschool Life


Meal planning around my busy life, or just being in the kitchen in general, isn’t one of my favorite things, unless I’m preserving the bounty of my garden, or making a new batch of sauerkraut. It’s just not my passion. It’s not my “blue flame” as Jennifer Fulweiler might put it. I get that people enjoy cooking and that it’s a creative outlet for them. I get that people enjoy showcasing this skill for their friends and family. I even have friends who do this and who say, Cooking for my family is how I show my love for them. I don’t get that. If that applied to our home, my meals would say, Dear family, eh, you’re okay, and here are some chicken nuggets to prove my lukewarm feelings for you. Luckily, I stumbled upon some pretty good tips for healthy meal planning around our busy homeschool life, and they will help you, too. I’m kidding, of course. I do love to feed my family healthy meals, it’s just that I have to follow these tips and more in order to bring my family healthy food, instead of chicken nuggets.

Good Planning = Extra Time

We eat gluten-free, mostly dairy-free, and a lot of other-things-free, too. We are  mindful of eating healthy foods, but the hard part is that it’s just so time consuming making sure that we have these healthy meals and snacks ready for when we need them. And it makes me want to cry if we don’t. The key is to follow a few tips in order to provide you and your family with healthy meals.

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Do-Over Day!

 


This blog post was taken from our original site and was published in 2009. Even though it’s an old post, and many of my life circumstances have changed, the content is still relevant.

Please comment and let me know if you can relate to this first-day-of-school scenario!

​Today was the first day of public school. Even though I have been gone from the classroom for long enough not to feel the usual excitement and anticipation of new beginnings, and even though my daughters did not go off to school today, and even though we’ve been into our homeschool rhythm and routine for months now and did not take the summer months off, I still can’t help but perceive this day as somehow new and different.

 

Many of my friends’ children and my daughters’ friends went off to school today and I could not help but think of them all day.  I wondered how the kids were doing, what activities they engaged in, whether they were having fun, how they enjoyed the bus ride.I wondered how the moms were doing, did they take a lot of pictures, did anyone shed tears, what cute things did they pack in the lunch boxes, and mostly, how does it feel to experience the <em>freedom</em> that comes from having someone else care for you children for a large part of the day?

Don’t get me wrong.  I love homeschooling.  For thousands of reasons.  But some days I wonder what it would be like to have a quiet house for the day.  I like to fantasize about what I would  do.  Would I relax and read?  Would I write?  Would I go back to teaching and actually make a real salary again?  Would I go get a different job?  Would I take riding lessons again, get another horse?  Would I finish this Ph.D. in half or a quarter of the time it’s been taking me now?  Would my house be cleaner?  Would I be more organized? Would I just rest?

A friend once told me that she felt that one needed to “be called” to homeschool and I believe this is true.  I have received that calling but sometimes wish I hadn’t.

Today we began our Monday morning like we always do with snuggles, breakfast, a short play time then our circle time, story and learning time.  By 9:45 this morning it was already clear that we were not having a smooth flowing morning.  My eldest was already lying on the floor tantruming, her sister close behind, and I was ready to quit.  I threw up my hands, walked out of the room to regroup and suddenly it hit me: we can have a Do-Over Day!

So I returned to our learning area and explained the concept of a do-over.  This was met with enthusiasm and smiles and we continued on.  What else could we do?

I can’t say that the rest of the morning went smoothly right away.  It didn’t.  We actually needed three do-overs today; but that’s okay because we homeschool and we CAN have do-overs!  We can regroup as many times as we need to during the day.

Oh, and I burned the dinner just now as I was absorbed in my writing.  Some days are just like that.  Time for yet another do-over I guess.

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