Archive for ‘Homeschooling’

April 20, 2014

The Non-Garden

Note: This column was published in the Barrow Journal on April 16, 2014.

Like everyone, I am so happy that spring is here. And Easter is coming here. And summer is coming. And summer camps. And, oh my. Time has a way of just slipping by, especially when the breezes carry the sweet smells of flowering trees, phlox and tulips.

Usually this is the time of year I like to get my boys outside into our garden. We would clean it up, rake the winter leaves away and find some seeds to plant. I’m not saying that won’t happen, but right now as I write this, I’m too tired to think about gardening.

But I do love gardening, and if I had the time, I would putter in my yard and make it look pretty. Right now it doesn’t look very pretty at all, but at least spring sends up a few blooms that give it promise.

Today my seven-year-old spent half the day making a big robot out of cardboard, red construction paper, paper towel tubes, coat hangers, some little wheels for feet, and a big cooking pot for its head. (We had to discuss which pot could be used for its head. The original request was for something I use almost every day in the kitchen. He settled for a pot I rarely use.)

He said he got the idea from Curious George. (Don’t you love Curious George?) When he gets busy working on a project like this, I’m only too happy to postpone our lessons. I think he gets a lot more out of these projects than he would get out of anything I would do with him.

Meanwhile, my four-year-old was busy drawing on a piece of paper. His drawings are piling up as well as all the blocks and toys scattered over the living room floor. It may look like a mess, but no, many times he is carefully placing his toys and blocks in a pattern or making a “city.” Once he piled a bunch of things together and called it his “artwork.” That cracked me up.

Most days I wrangle my kids together to do our lessons. My seven-year-old reads from early readers now, and recently we started working in the Life of Fred books for our math lessons again. We watch Salsa on GPB.org to learn a little Spanish, and we have started reading Story of the World for history lessons. (My husband, a history professor, was impressed with this elementary age book that aims to tell world history as an engaging story for kids.)

In the late afternoons between dinner and bath time, my seven-year-old usually asks me to read to him from the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We are on the third book, and he loves them. He loves to hear how Pa Ingalls built the log house, and once after we read that, he dug out our Lincoln Logs and made one of his own.

Both my sons are taking classes at the nature center, and my seven-year-old started a pottery class too. He loves it. Although he still says he wants to be a scientist when he grows up, I keep seeing this love of building and constructing things – out of any material, from cardboard to clay. I wonder where that will lead us?

Now the weather is good enough to meet our friends at the park. We particularly love Harris Shoals Park in Watkinsville, and wow the boys slept well after hiking with their friends along the trail and playing by the shoals all afternoon!

Besides this, I’ve been working more, which I’m grateful for, but that means the garden may have to wait this year. In some ways, I’m tending another kind of garden, and it’s giving me just as much pleasure as digging my hands into the earth and smelling those spring blossoms.

Happy Easter!

April 18, 2014

Homeschool Art Lesson: Exploring Line

So far I have had the most fun doing the suggested activities from Amy Hood’s fantastic e-zine, Art Together. Her second issue discusses line.

As I wrote in my main post about art, 1st Grade Art Explorations, I have wanted to introduce some artists and their techniques to my son. We do a lot of art and building around here, and my son is developing his creativity tremendously from the way we homeschool. I hope these occasional formal lessons will give him more to think about as he continues on with his own creative work.

I’m not usually very good about planning lessons more than five minutes before we’re going to sit down to do them, but when I read Amy’s e-zine focusing on line, it inspired a trip to the craft store. There are lots of activities, information about art materials, and an artist “spotlight” (in this case, Piet Mondrian), but for my young boys, I picked two activities that I thought they would enjoy: 1) drawing with tape, and 2) wire as line. I also knew I wanted to read the short introduction, “Types of Line,” to my seven-year-old so that he would understand why we were doing these activities.

I didn’t tell my children what we were going to do before we went to the craft store. They just enjoyed piling up the new art supplies in the cart, including two fancy rolls of tape that I let them pick out, and some wire that I got in the jewelry making section. (I always keep clay on hand, so we already had that.)

Of course, my seven-year-old wanted to know what we were going to do with all this stuff, so on the way home in the car, I started to explain to him that we were going to explore “line.” And this is where not having time to blog very much doesn’t serve me well because I can’t remember our conversation. But I do remember that it was terrific. We were looking out the windows on the way home and noticing all the lines – the lines of the buildings, store signs, painted lines on the streets, and the light poles. My son was making so many discoveries and connections all on his own – I wish I had a recording of his awesome observations. We discovered that the whole world is made up of lines!!

After that he also enjoyed listening to the introduction in Amy’s magazine, and both boys loved these activities. Below are our creations. To learn more details about these activities, be sure to check out Amy’s e-zine.

Exploring line with tape! My seven-year-old made a leopard with this leopard-print tape.

I think my four-year-old was inspired by his brother. I helped him put on the ears, nose, mouth and feet. Notice he drew spots on it too!

Exploring line with clay and wire was so much fun! I love this butterfly that my seven-year-old did! It was all his idea!

These are my abstract creations. Exploring line with wire and clay.

My four-year-old asked me to shape the clay, and he wanted to do the same thing I did. These are his wire creations. I love them!

Well, that concludes this long series about formal art lessons in our homeschool with the bonus column about our field trip to the art museum, at least until we do our next art project! If you missed any of the earlier ones, they are all listed with links in my introduction: 1st Grade Art Explorations.

April 14, 2014

Homeschool Art Lesson: Making a Color Wheel

So far I have had more fun doing the suggested activities from Amy Hood’s fantastic e-zine, Art Together. Her first issue discusses color. Who doesn’t love color?

As I wrote in my main post about art, 1st Grade Art Explorations, I have wanted to introduce some artists and their techniques to my son. We do a lot of art and building around here, and my son is developing his creativity tremendously from the way we homeschool. I hope these occasional formal lessons will give him more to think about as he continues on with his own creative work.

As Amy points out in her magazine, you can spend a lot of time studying color and the rules that go along with them. For my young children, I wanted to start simple. Before this exercise, we had already done a lot of fun color mixing over the years. My children are familiar with how you can mix colors to make new colors. But I had not introduced them to the color wheel.

Amy has a great tutorial on her website for this exercise, so I’m not going into great detail here. Click here for her instructions.

We made a simple color wheel with only the primary and secondary colors. The primary colors are red, blue and yellow. You can’t get these colors from mixing other colors together. The secondary colors are orange, green and purple. You get these colors from mixing the primary colors together. (You can figure out which ones to mix together by looking at the color wheel – each secondary color has its two primary colors that you need to mix to get it next to it.)

This was my very first “formal art lesson.” I wondered if my boys would have the patience to complete the exercise, especially since they are used to painting whatever they want. But when I told them to wait for my instructions, they were very good, and I love their color wheels! I think they make great art for our activity room wall!

My goal here was to simply point out how we can use a color wheel to find complementary colors. Colors that are opposite each other are complementary colors, and when we’re drawing or painting with colors (or even photographing), we can use these colors together to create more contrast. That is, the colors will seem to pop when used together. (I highly recommend reading Amy’s magazine because she goes into more detail about this and offers examples to look at.)

Have you made a color wheel with your children?

April 7, 2014

home / school / life magazine has launched!

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I’m very excited to announce that subscribers to home / school / life magazine received the very first issue in their inboxes today! So if you subscribed, be sure to check your e-mail!

If you haven’t subscribed, you can view sample pages by clicking here.

Did you subscribe? Please tell me what you think about the magazine!

April 5, 2014

Homeschool Art Lesson: Tommasso Masaccio

Above: After he had his profile traced, my four-year-old painted it. I love it.

This is the third art lesson we did using the book Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children.  I’m not going into great detail about the artist or details on how to do the activity because you can get those details from the book, but rather I want to show you what my children did and what we learned from it. For each lesson I read the brief introduction about the artist to my son, and we looked up images of the artist’s work online.

As I wrote in my main post about art, 1st Grade Art Explorations, I have wanted to introduce some artists and their techniques to my son. We do a lot of art and building around here, and my son is developing his creativity tremendously from the way we homeschool. I hope these occasional formal lessons will give him more to think about as he continues on with his own creative work.

As the book tells us, Tommasso Massacio was famous for his portraits during the Renaissance. He also liked to add details such as hats and jewelry.  This was a fun activity in which we all took turns sitting sideways in front of a wall, and I set up a flashlight so that a shadow of our profiles appeared on the wall.  We taped a piece of paper to the wall and then we traced our shadows.

I traced my seven-year-old’s profile, and he traced my four-year-old’s and my profile. However, that is as far as he wanted to go with this activity. He was not into painting the profiles at all.

But my four-year-old painted his own profile, and I think it has become one of my favorite pieces of art in our house! Look at that color! I love it! I think Massacio would approve, don’t you?

He inspired me to paint my seven-year-old’s profile with lots of color too, which you can see below on the right, although I don’t like mine as well as his. I told my seven-year-old I was painting his brain – indeed, I think that his brain is full of wonderful color and imaginative things!

Above: My four-year-old inspired me to make a colorful profile of my eldest son. (on the right)

Meanwhile, my seven-year-old busied himself with his own art. He’s very much into dragons right now, and he’s been very interested in learning about (and building) the Mayflower too. So he decided he wanted to paint a sea dragon attacking the Mayflower!

My seven-year-old was not so interested in this exercise, so he painted this picture of a dragon attaching the Mayflower.

Please share a link with some of the art you’ve made lately.

April 1, 2014

Project-based Homeschooling Preschool: My four-year-old’s projects

Note: This column was published in the Barrow Journal on March 26, 2014.

Sometimes I worry that I don’t give my four-year-old enough attention, but then again, sometimes I worry that I don’t give my seven-year-old enough attention. In truth, it’s probably about even.

For three years, my oldest son had all my attention, but his younger brother has had to compete ever since he was born. I have to remind myself that my four-year-old got a lot of things his older brother didn’t get. Since he was a baby, he’s been carried along to play dates whereas I didn’t know many mothers with infants and toddlers when I first had children. He’s also been taken to his older brother’s classes and been around big groups of children of all ages from day one.

He was also born into a home with lots of toys and art supplies, and when he was a baby, we converted our dining room into a school room, so he is very comfortable going in there and pulling down books or puzzles or blocks and other building toys. Now, he sits at the table and listens while his older brother works on his lessons. Sometimes he wants to draw or do something else, but I’m surprised how much he’ll just watch. (Not exactly quietly, but not too distracting either.)

Even though he’s not getting the direct one-on-one attention my oldest son got from age one to three, he is absorbing so much information from his brother and me. (I can’t forget to mention daddy either. He’s always been around for both of them.)

Right now I’m very focused on my “first grader.” Reading lessons, math lessons, book time, computer time, conversations about history and cultural events, and most of all, his projects. We are project-based homeschoolers, which means that I set aside time for my son’s interests and use some “tricks of the trade” to get him to study deeper than the surface of those subjects.

My four-year-old has interests too, and lately I’ve been considering how I can make more time for his projects and lessons. I don’t think that at four-years-old, academics should be a priority, but by letting him explore his interests, he is learning everything a four-year-old would typically learn in preschool anyway.

Right now he loves letters and numbers. He hasn’t mastered the ability to identify all the letters like my oldest son did at an early age, but he’s taking a different approach. He loves to sing the ABC song, and by singing it with him every night, he has mastered it.

He loves to count everything, and we often overhear him counting when he’s playing by himself. He loves to play our math games even though they are too hard for him, and sometimes he’ll play by himself when no one else is available. He uses some tiny little, rubber vehicles (manipulatives) to help him add and subtract.

His favorite subject is dinosaurs, and whenever we go to the library, he asks for dinosaur books. (I’m really tired of reading about dinosaurs!) He watches dinosaur shows on T.V. with his brother, and we’ve taken him to museums to see dinosaur bones. He has asked me to draw him dinosaurs, make a dinosaur out of clay, and his father tells him a story about “Dig Dig the T-Rex” every night before bed. I have never thought about it before, but I guess you could say that he has an ongoing “dinosaur project.”

Whenever he tells me to draw or make him something, I encourage him to try to do it himself first. He never wants to. I guess he knows his own limits. I started to get frustrated about this, but then I remembered all the “art” he makes on his own. You might call it “abstract” art, but it takes some time and thought. He is very calculating about applying different colors of paint all over one piece of paper, drawing line art, or cutting and taping paper together to make interesting shapes. I’m glad he’s felt free to “create” whenever he wants to, and I have a nice collection of his work to save in a memory box.

When you have more than one child, it’s easy to worry about whether or not you’re giving them their fair share of your time, but in many ways, both boys have benefitted from not having my full attention. They occupy themselves. And when I stop to chronicle everything they do, I’m pleasantly surprised that quite a bit gets accomplished without me even trying.

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By having all our materials accessible to both of my children, I’m very happy to see how my youngest son has picked up on the “creating” “building” “art” vibe of his house. I will often find him in the activity room, scribbling away on a piece of paper. Sometimes, he pretends he’s writing. Other times, he wants to paint, and I love how he carefully applies different colors to his work. What I love most is when he’ll gather a bunch of supplies, such as paper, pen, markers, scissors, glue, string, beads, goggly eyes or what not, and then he says, “I’m gonna make somethin!” Here’s a slideshow of some of my four-year-old’s art and “writing.”

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March 29, 2014

Homeschool Art Lesson: Fra Giovanni Angelico

This is the second art lesson we did using the book Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children.  I’m not going to go into great detail about the artist or details on how to do the activity because you can get those details from the book, but rather I want to show you what my children did and what we learned from it. For each lesson I read the brief introduction about the artist to my son, and we looked up images of the artist’s work online.

As I wrote in my main post about art, 1st Grade Art Explorations, I have wanted to introduce some artists and their techniques to my son. We do a lot of art and building around here, and my son is developing his creativity tremendously from the way we homeschool. I hope these occasional formal lessons will give him more to think about as he continues on with his own creative work.

Fra Giovanni Angelico, according to Discovering Great Artists, was an Italian monk who was one of the greatest painters of the early Renaissance. The book also tells us, “Artists of this era often gave halos to the angels and people in their paintings…. Halos were often made with real gold, not with gold paint. Gold metal was pounded into a very thin sheet called ‘gold leaf’, then glued onto the wall or canvas or varnish. Young artists paint beautiful pictures with “silver leaf” decoration using everyday aluminum foil.

My four-year-old wasn’t interested in this exercise, but from this photo, you can see what my seven-year-old and I did. He did the dragon on the right. (He’s really into dragons right now.) I did the sun.

He made the dragon’s wing out of aluminum foil and then tried painting over it. We discovered that this didn’t work so well. The paint dried and began to flake off. He also messed up something around the feet of the dragon, and I filled in that area with white paint, trying to show him how he can blend his mistakes in, making shadows or light. I think his painting turned out quite nice.

March 25, 2014

Homeschool Art Lesson: Giotto di Bondone

“Motorcycle” by the seven-year-old using egg tempura paint

This is the first art lesson we did using the book Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children.  I’m not going into great detail about the artist or how to do the activity because you can get that from the book, but rather I want to show you what my children did and what we learned from it.

As I wrote in my main post about art, 1st Grade Art Explorations, I have wanted to introduce some artists and their techniques to my son. We do a lot of art and building around here, and my son is developing his creativity tremendously from the way we homeschool. I hope these occasional formal lessons will give him more to think about as he continues on with his own creative work.

Giotto di Bondone lived from 1266-1337. He was an artist of the Italian Renaissance.  As the book tells us, “Many paintings of Giotto’s time were made with egg tempera paint on special panels of wood. There were no art stores, so each artist had to make paint by grinding minerals, clay, berries, or even insects into fine powder and mixing this pigment with egg yolk and water.”

Painting by the four-year-old using egg tempura paint

I like Discovering Great Artists because it tells just a little information about each artist, which is all my seven-year-old and four-year-old care to know! (So for older kids who want to delve further into an artist’s life – this is not the book for them.) My seven-year-old does seem to enjoy looking at art by each of the artists on the Internet. (The book does not provide examples of the artists’ work, but there are plenty to be found online.)

We didn’t mix egg yolk and insects, which would have been quite interesting! We followed the book’s instructions and used egg and colored chalk.  I thought the colors turned out quite nice, and we were all pleased with our artwork.

My seven-year-old is prone to outbursts when his art doesn’t look exactly like what he sees in his head. While he was painting his motorcycle, he messed up the back wheel.  I have been trying to encourage him to turn mistakes into something else and also realize that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Someday I may tackle this issue in a post of its own, but for now I’ll say that I think perfectionist kids need a lot of encouragement, and they need to be shown how other people have made mistakes and work through them, but they also just need time to mature too.

Painting by an adult using egg tempura paint

March 22, 2014

Homeschooling: 1st Grade Art Explorations

When it comes to art, I’m extremely grateful that we’re homeschooling. This may not make me popular, but I have to admit that “crafts” make me cringe.  I rarely look at Pinterest because it makes my head swirl in a bad way.

Don’t take me wrong – I don’t think crafts are bad.  In fact, my kids love them just like most children love them.  My son loves them so much that he likes to look up crafts when he has something in mind he wants to make – I don’t mind that at all. It’s his idea after all, and he’s choosing which craft idea to follow.

I have on occasion (maybe twice?) looked up a specific craft, usually for a holiday like Native American Day. I wanted to teach my son a little bit about Native Americans, and I thought he would enjoy making a “totem pole,” which he did. I have also used crafts and specific art lessons for other reasons, which I’ll explain below.

In general, I don’t like the “Here kids…let’s all make this.” I would much rather give my kids a bunch of paint and paper and let them have fun with it. Let them explore. Experiment. Be creative and come up with their own ideas…not someone else’s idea. If they make a mess, that’s fine with me. (This is one of the reasons that Project-based Homeschooling appealed to me so much. It’s an important tenet in this educational philosophy.)

We are not just bound to paint and paper either. I’ve written about all the supplies I keep on hand, and you can find that here. Also, The Power of Time and Materials is one of my popular posts on this subject.

I realize that most art teachers and facilitators of craft projects would also want exactly what I want… to let these projects lead to the child’s own exploration of art. Get the children excited about creating and making things…. Yes! Exactly. If crafts are used in that way, I think it’s a great idea. But I think they can be over-used, and if the facilitator tries to prevent the child from veering off in another direction (maybe making the craft into something entirely different), that’s bad.

Try putting some art supplies in front of a bunch of children and telling them to have fun. Can they get started on their own? Or do they look at you, helpless because they need instructions? It all depends on how much freedom, time, and materials the children have been given!

I’ve created a room in my house where all our art and craft supplies are accessible to my kids, and at any time, they can say, “I want to paint,” and they can do it. I’ve taught them how to be careful – I usually help them get the paints out, and I have laid down some ground rules such as “the paint stays on the table.” Likewise, I have taught (and I’m still teaching) my kids how to hold the scissors and how to clean up after they are finished.

I’m really happy that by doing this, I’ve fostered some very creative kids. They don’t “create” everyday or even every week, but when I look over all the photographs I’ve taken of their artwork and building projects, I know we’re off to a good start. (And I have a bunch of little child-led projects that I need to blog about. In good time!)

This year my oldest son is in “1st grade,” and I want him to learn more about art. By that I mean formal art – about artists and their techniques. We don’t have time for formal art lessons on a regular basis, but this is a subject that we’ll be building on during his entire education, so that’s okay. And if it becomes an interest of one of my children, we’ll definitely make more time for it.

It’s also important in project-based homeschooling to teach your student how to use tools, different mediums and introduce them to different experiences, so that’s exactly what I’m doing here too. And yes, sometimes it includes a ‘craft.’ See? I don’t think they are all that bad.

I’m going to write about our art lessons in separate posts, but below I’m listing the resources I’ve used and plan to use as we continue our life-long exploration of Art.

  • Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters by Mary Ann F. Kohl and Kim Solga – I use the Kindle version of this book, and I like it.  There are lessons and activities about artists starting from the Renaissance and until present time. We have skipped some of them, finding activities that I think my boys would enjoy. (And finding the ones with easy on-hand materials too.) The lessons are simple and short, which is a good fit for my very young children. (This book also has an excellent list of art resources; it’s worth the price just for that!)
    • My main goal with these art lessons is exposing my son to great art. I don’t think he’ll remember the artist’s names (I don’t) or the tidbits about their lives, but it’s a good starting-off place. This book does not contain photographs of the artwork by these artists. I have to look them up online, but I think my seven-year-old and I like that the best: just skimming through some images and seeing something new and interesting. (My four-year-old usually likes doing the art projects, but he doesn’t give a hoot about looking at the art yet.) So far we have studied:
  • Right now my favorite resource for art instruction is Amy Hood’s e-zine {Art Together}. So far Amy has written three magazines, and I’ve purchased them all. They are full of information, activities and encouragement for making art with your children! I have picked activities out of the magazine that I knew my boys would enjoy now, but there’s information in there for deeper study, so I know I’ll be able to return to them in the future. My seven-year-old has enjoyed reading parts of the magazine with me too. My four-year-old just likes to try his hand at the art making. I have not yet had the chance to read her latest e-zine on printmaking (I just purchased it!), but I have read and done these activities from the first two:
    • Making a Color Wheel inspired by {Art Together} Issue One: Color (and I also referred to her very good blog post on the same subject, Make A Simple Color Wheel)
    • Line Art inspired by {Art Together} Issue Two: Line (and I have a great story to go along with this one.)

(I will follow-up with posts about these art lessons and add links as they go up on my blog.)

Future Art Studies

Here are some things I have in mind for future art studies.

  • Oxford First Book of Art – I found this great little introductory book used on Amazon for under $7. Perhaps I need to lay it on the kitchen table and just let the kids discover it! It has some beautiful images of famous artist’s work. It also has some activities and commentary.
  • Museums – My boys are going to have to get a little older (UPDATE: We did take them to a museum!), but I look forward to taking them to some nearby art museums such as the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens. I know the High Museum has Homeschool Days, and the Georgia Museum of Art has some great kid’s programs too. I just haven’t looked at them closely enough yet.
  • And I can’t help but give a plug for home / school / life magazine. (Disclaimer: I’m the senior editor!) We will be offering art resources in this magazine, particularly Amy Hood’s regular Art Start column.
February 17, 2014

What Is Homeschooling?

Note: This column was published in the Barrow Journal on February 12, 2014.

The other day I was eating with my family at a restaurant in Winder, and we started chatting with our waitress. Like many people do, she asked my boys if they were in school, so we told her we were homeschooling. She was interested. She said she had a two-year-old, and she had considered doing something like that because she is concerned about everything “that is happening at schools.”

What she meant by that, I’m not sure, but I do know many parents have concerns about the state of our public schools whether it be too much pressure to teach to the test, peer pressure, violence or other reasons.

Then she asked, “So what happens when you homeschool? Does a teacher come to your home?”  The waitress seemed like a bright, young woman, but she did not understand what homeschooling is about, and there are probably many people like her.

Once I spoke to a representative at the Georgia Department of Education, and he told me a woman had just called him to say she was fed up with her kids’ school and wanted to homeschool. “So where do I send them?” she asked.

Let me make it clear: If you want to homeschool, you will be completely responsible for your children’s education.  You will be their teacher. You may decide to hire a tutor for a particular subject, or you may find some community classes or a co-op to enroll your child in, but you are completely responsible for making sure your child gets what he or she needs to make it in our society as an adult. Not only that, your child will be at home most of the time. That’s why it’s called “home” school.

There are many different philosophies and approaches to homeschooling. Some parents are strict “school at home” homeschoolers, and they make their children do everything exactly as they would at public school, but they do it at home. There are also online courses that provide a public school education in the comfort of one’s home, and you and your child would be in contact with a public school teacher from time to time.

The opposite extreme is “radical unschooling.” These parents believe that their children will learn everything they will need to know through life experience, and they follow their child’s lead when it comes to what they will teach. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about unschoolers because people think the children aren’t learning anything. This is not true, and I know that to unschool a child, a parent has to be willing to work hard and learn alongside their child.

Most homeschoolers fall somewhere between those two extremes, and most homeschoolers love their lifestyle because it gives them the opportunity to tailor the education to their child’s interests and needs. If their child has a learning disability or needs more time in a particular subject, they can go at the child’s pace. Likewise, gifted children do not have to be held back because a teacher has to make her class accessible to a wide range of children’s abilities.

There are homeschoolers who call themselves “Waldorf-inspired” or “Montessori-inspired,” or a mix of any number of educational philosophies. Most homeschoolers start out doing one thing, and then realize that they can relax because children are amazing, and when given the freedom and offered a range of experiences, they want to learn.

I’m not one to push aside the fact that you can find cases where children have been abused in homeschooling families. But as a friend of mine told me, school children are abused too, as she was. Going to school didn’t stop it.

Without fail, uninformed people always maintain that “socialization” is the big problem with homeschooling. I don’t really understand this when I remember the “misfits” in my high school who were ostracized by their peers.

Education is supposed to prepare our children to be productive, stable adults, and public school just doesn’t work for every child. Homeschooling may not work for everyone either, but at least it’s a viable option.

When considering homeschooling, parents should remember that no one, homeschooling family is a good representative of the homeschooling culture at large. Start doing some research.  Join local, online homeschooling e-mail lists such as those on Yahoo Groups or Facebook, and start asking questions.

It takes time to find a community when you homeschool, so start early. Now that we’ve been homeschooling for a few years, I’m happy that we’ve met some great families who are homeschooling not for extreme reasons but just because it seems like the right choice for their children.

Sometimes we get crazy looks when we tell people we are homeschooling, but I have noticed that more people are interested and supportive. Not long ago we met a woman who is a grandmother, and when we told her that we were homeschooling, she smiled and said emphatically, “Your kids will get to see the world with you.”

Yes, exactly. Homeschooling offers a lot of possibilities. It’s worth thinking about.

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