• homeschooling

    Choosing to homeschool, again.

    I wrote back in July about the decision to send my previously homeschooled children to school. They started school at the beginning of September, and I’m writing now with our one-month update. Two out of three children will continue in school. The third is going to be homeschooling again. Going from homeschooling, to sending them to school, to homeschooling one of them took me on a very weird rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions. I had mixed feelings about them going to school. I have mixed feelings about the one coming home. To some extent I expected that. However there were things I didn’t expect. I want to write about those things…

  • homeschooling

    sometimes staying home is better than the extracurriculars

    As a homeschooler, I’ve felt at times like I’m a bit of a failure as far as extracurricular activities go. I hear people talk about how they provide socialization and the chance to follow one’s passions. We’ve had varying degrees of success at different activities, but most of the various activities we’ve signed the kids up for have involved us herding them into the car against their wills. I’ve tried to look at the extracurriculars from my kids points of view. They end up being dragged away from things they like doing. I’ve tried to encourage them to make friends, but an hour a week with someone telling them they should…

  • I feel like I'm looking ahead too, at an unknown path.
    homeschooling

    into the unknown: preparing myself to send my children to school

    I sighed in the grocery store the other day. The store clerk, seeing I was watching my children, made a comment expressing sympathy about how it was only the beginning of summer holidays. I smiled, paid, and thanked him. He doesn’t need to know how much he misunderstood. To me this isn’t the beginning of a summer of having the kids around all the time. My kids have been around me almost constantly since they were born and this particular summer I am in mourning for the fact that my time homeschooling is coming to an end. This isn’t the beginning of a two-month time with the kids home, it…

  • education,  games,  homeschooling,  mathematics

    my experience and plans teaching with Minecraft

    My kids and I are eagerly working on our minecraft server these days. We build scenes and then add non-player-characters (NPCs) the scripts of which we write using a plugin called Betonquest. The boys built a fairy kingdom full of mushroom houses. With their help, I wrote up conversations for the fairies based on Shakespeare’s fairies in A Mid Summer’s Night Dream. We added a nine men’s morris board built of a grass path, like the “the quaint mazes in the wanton green” that the Shakespeare’s Titania had said was “for lack of tread are undistinguishable.” For each snippet of Shakespeare I had the characters quote, I added the option for…

  • homeschooling

    using an incomplete knowledge of Shakespeare for meaningful discussion

    I have written before about reading Shakespeare with kids so they gain some familiarity with the stories and another time I wrote about reading it with kids as part of discussion on language and exploring complex ideas. Today I write about yet another reason to read Shakespeare with children. Today my argument is that Shakespeare gives us a chance to look at the incompleteness of our own knowledge and what scholarship means. We get to do that, all while enjoying the works of a master who filled his works with such amazing jokes and clever ideas. A few years ago my husband gave me a couple of copies of The…

  • homeschooling,  politics

    I homeschool with a village to help me.

    There is a meme I’ve seen going around on facebook and twitter that says “I homeschool because I’ve seen the village and I don’t want it raising my child.” The meme is sad on so many levels. It is incredibly sad to think of people feeling so isolated and at odds with their “villages.” Whenever I see that post, I have this urge to assure people that not all homeschoolers feel that way. I homeschool but I am grateful to the village that is helping me raise my children. I am grateful to the librarians who help us check in and out the huge stacks of books. I’m grateful for their…

  • homeschooling

    The not “on-the-to-do-list” list

    I wrote a to do list the other morning. I felt pleased about that. I felt ambitious about everything I was going to get done. By two in the afternoon I sat down to mark off what I had got done. There were only two of the seven things done. For a moment I felt dumbfounded, confused by why when I was trying so hard to do things I would fail at getting anything done. Then I started writing a second list. This is my list of things that were not on the to-do-list, but got done anyway. Mop up another puddle of cat pee. Re-install a graphics driver on…

  • homeschooling

    physical education for homeschooling

    I used to think my family wasn’t very into sports. Sure, the kids do curling and swimming, but we’ve never signed them up for a summer baseball or soccer league. For the most part I figured that the kids were always outside running about so I didn’t really worry about physical education. I didn’t worry – until I signed them up for an eight week kids sports program. It was a great community program where the kids could do a different sport every week and what startled me was how clumsy my kids were with the balls. Even the basic stretches at the beginning seemed challenging for them. Suddenly it was apparent…

  • homeschooling

    Advice for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

    Homeschooling friends, are you starting to think about what curriculum you will be using next year? The Canadian Homeschooling Blogging Team’s blog hop for this month is about Choosing Curriculum, so I have decided to share my tips and commentary on choosing and using curriculum. I use good quality curriculum materials because I want my children to learn more than I know. I want them to learn math strategies that I’ve long since forgotten, and spelling rules I was never taught. At the same time the curriculum I purchase tends to be expensive. Someone put a lot of effort into making it and on top of that I have to pay…

  • bullying,  homeschooling,  how do we know what we know is true

    a big muddle of things that come together, sort of, at the end

    Lots of things have crossed my facebook feed the last few days that feed somehow into questions I tend to dwell on. These are questions about how we know what we know, whether we can trust our own ideas, and whether telling someone they are wrong is inherently being mean. Thing one: a math fail My confidence in homeschoolers and homeschooling took a strange shake the other day when I saw a woman online offering some pizza pictures for parents to use to teach fractions. The problem was her pizzas were all cut into eighths in thin lines and then she tried to keep the fractions divided according to the…