More than ever before, millions of parents are now in the position of managing their children’s virtual and home-based education. Despite the many benefits, there’s no doubt this can be a very challenging experience for both parents and students. Homeschooling could be an intense, unsettling process, but if you make an effort, it could grow into an enriching and memorable time with your child or children as you work together to learn new things and form a lifelong bond.

Creating a dedicated space for homeschooling at home can help students stay focused and organized during their learning sessions. Here are some steps you can follow to create a space for homeschooling:

  1. Find a quiet and comfortable space: Look for a quiet and comfortable area in your home where your child can focus and learn without distractions. It could be a spare room, a corner of the living room, or even a nook in their bedroom.
  2. Remove any distractions: Make sure the area is free of distractions, such as TV, video games, or other electronics that can take away from their learning.
  3. Set up a desk and chair: Set up a desk and chair to create a workspace for your child. Make sure the chair is comfortable and the desk is at the right height for your child.
  4. Add storage: Add storage options such as shelves, drawers, or cubbies to keep your child’s supplies and materials organized and easily accessible.
  5. Create a bulletin board or whiteboard: Hang a bulletin board or whiteboard on the wall to display important information, reminders, or schedules.
  6. Make it welcoming: Add some personal touches to make the space feel welcoming and inviting, such as a rug, plants, or artwork.
  7. Ensure good lighting: Ensure the area has good lighting, either natural or artificial, to reduce eye strain and make it easier to see and read.

Remember that the key is to create a comfortable, organized, and distraction-free space that your child can use to focus on their studies; look for a handyman near you to help you.

We reached out to expert homeschoolers for some tips and advice to learn and create the best techniques and styles to help you get through this. With a few deep breaths and preparation, you can turn this into a fun and productive adventure.

Top 5 tips for new homeschooler parents to get started and not lose their minds in the process?

  • Find a homeschooling community. Whether in person or online, you need the support of other moms who know what it’s like to educate their kids at home. You can search for homeschool groups on Facebook (try to narrow your search by your town/city or province/state, homeschooling method, or faith background) or look for local groups at your library, community center, church, and other places.
  • Be a student of your children. Each child learns differently, and their needs may change from year to year. We frequently talk about children’s learning styles, and it is important to figure out how your child learns best. That goes beyond just auditory, visual, etc., to whether your child learns better with complete silence or some music playing in the background; sitting at the table or sprawled across the floor; doing all his work at once, or doing one subject at a time with breaks in between.
  • School at home is not school at school. Resist the urge to think that learning must happen at a desk or that your child needs books to learn. I’ve appreciated homeschooling because I can tie my children’s book learning to all the other learning that happens throughout their day. Whether we’re baking together, talking about a craft they are doing, or driving through the city. Learning happens everywhere.
  • Have fun. Homeschooling is an excellent way for you to spend time with your child and foster a love of learning. If you hate it, your child will too. Try to be positive and upbeat and look for ways to make learning exciting and fun. My mom was always more excited to learn than my brothers and me, and even if we rolled our eyes at how much she enjoyed doing science experiments with us, it made those science experiments better.
  • Be flexible. Sometimes you realize halfway through the year that something isn’t working. Sometimes what works one year isn’t the right fit the following year. I try to assess what’s working and what’s not working every year and pay attention to our schooling throughout the year. This year, that meant changing one daughter’s reading curriculum only a month into the year. I recognized that one curriculum wasn’t working and switched, making a huge difference in our learning.

-Bonnie Way from The Koala Mom


Deschooling: Benefits and how to get started

Children new to homeschooling may have a challenging time trying to process what exactly learning at home will look like. Taking your child through a period of deschooling can make or break your transition.

Invented by Ivan Illich, the term deschooling is a time of transition from a traditional schooling method (usually public school) to a less restricted style of learning, typically homeschooling.

This transition can be seen as the adjustment period that a child (and their teacher) will experience when leaving school and beginning homeschooling. Because of the big adjustment most children encounter during this switch; they will likely benefit from having time to disconnect from the structure of a public school’s way of doing things.

The rule of thumb is for every year a child has spent in public school, they should spend one-month deschooling. For example, if your child had 6 years of public schooling, then it’s safe to take about 6 months to transition from public school rigors to learning what homeschooling looks like.

During your period of deschooling, invite your child to be hands-on as you explore what homeschooling will look like for your family. There are no hard and fast rules; every homeschool looks a little different. Use this time to get to know how your child learns, discuss which subjects they like or dislike, and take note of any special learning needs they may have.

The information you are collecting about your child can be used for planning your daily schedule, curriculum choices, and other resources. It is important to listen to your child and consider their past learning experiences, whether positive or negative. If needed, take time to help them fall in love with learning because that is the ultimate goal in the end—a child who loves learning.

-Marcy Crabtree from Ben and Me


Homeschool success: Flexible routine works best

The kids were stressed.  I was stressed. Our first semester of homeschool was tough. I could see the positives, but those positives were getting drowned, lacking flexibility, and little depth of learning. To achieve homeschool success, a flexible routine works best.

What I have learned in 5 years of homeschooling

As a former classroom teacher, I tried to recreate a classroom-based school in my home at first. In the homeschool environment, only a flexible schedule can genuinely allow you to mold the teaching to the students. This is how to help children thrive.

Flexible Routine Benefits

  • When I slowed down, I could take stock of my children’s strengths and weaknesses. I saw how routine and variety would help us create homeschool success versus having a rigid schedule.
  • We could learn in-depth. We could study all subjects within themed units. Our school days started to really become enriching!
  • To create this flexible routine, I stopped teaching all subjects every day. It was too rigorous to really allow my children to learn in-depth.
  •  The beauty of homeschool is going slow and deep through subjects. This allows for a greater depth of learning.

Working in Scheduled Activities

There were certain activities we did on a scheduled basis too. Playground meet-ups with friends, an art class the kids went to at our local art center, and a homeschool co-op meeting once a week were all on set days and times. We had to make it to these scheduled events on time.

Most days, we could flex everything we did to fit around our course of study and pace of learning. Further study of some topics or a field trip could be worked in easily. That flexibility allowed for variety. A flexible routine is the key to homeschool success.

-Jaimi Erickson from The Stay-at-Home Mom Survival Guide


How do I grade my child’s work? How do I create transcripts?

You are in charge of your homeschool, so you decide how you will evaluate your children’s learning. You can assign grades, or you can decide not to use grades at all and instead use other ways to prove learning is happening, as some schools do. It can be as uncomplicated as a daily written narrative about your child’s day (even just a sentence) and keeping portfolios of work samples that show how their writing, calculation, and other skills develop over time.

Keeping a list of the books you read to them and the ones they read alone and the websites and materials your children use is helpful. At evaluation time, you can organize these to create your annual or quarterly school report if your state or district requires one (most, but not all, states require them). A free resource from World Book is the typical K–12 public school curriculum. You can use it to compare what your children are learning and what is expected in the following grades.

Record-keeping through high school is not much different from what you did for the elementary years, but it needs to be tailored to the colleges’ admission requirements or jobs you want to apply to. Some colleges require two years of a foreign language, or specific advanced courses, for admission, so it’s best to know that in advance.

For high school transcripts, you also need to account for time in more detail: Will you use Carnegie Units (1 unit = 120 hours of seat time) as many schools do, or would you prefer that your child demonstrate mastery of subject matter by creating a portfolio of their work, including work samples, videos, awards, and so on?

To get more details about creating transcripts:

Homeschooler’s Guide to Portfolios and Transcripts by Loretta Heuer

Self-Directed Learning: Documentation and Life Stories by Wes Beach

-Patrick Farenga from John Holt GWS


Top 3 tips on time management for working parents

Being a working mom and homeschooling can be stressful, but there are ways to make it easier. Here are my top three tips:

  • Start early by teaching your kids how to learn independently. This is a valuable skill, and they can accomplish much of their school without your help once you get this established. Once a child knows how to read, there is much they can learn for themselves, such as reading books about science, completing math workbook pages, enjoying good fiction books, etc. Mom then becomes the supervisor rather than the person doing the actual instruction, which is much less time-consuming. By high school, teens can be working almost entirely on their own, even grading their daily work and researching to find solutions to their questions.
  • Take advantage of all the homeschooling resources available now, including online courses and curriculum. This is another way for kids to learn independently of mom, with the added benefit that online courses are usually graded by the instructor (or the computer) rather than mom having to keep up with the paperwork. Using online curricula can assure that nothing is being missed along the way, and it’s a valid method for getting all subjects taken care of.
  • Set reasonable expectations for yourself and your homeschool lifestyle. It is unnecessary to compare your homeschool to anyone else’s or follow what others are doing. Do what works best for YOUR family in YOUR situation with YOUR kids. Remember why you have chosen to homeschool, and let that be your guide for decision-making, rather than the “shoulds” that others may list. Give yourself grace. You don’t have to be the “perfect” homeschool mom. Homeschooling comes in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Let yours be unique and perfect for YOU.


Homeschooling is not always easy, but it doesn’t have to be that hard. Working adds some extra challenges, but hopefully, with these tips, you can persevere. You will be glad you did!

Get Ann’s free Homeschool Transcript Cheat Sheet.

-Ann Karako from Annie and Everything


Tips to homeschool a child with dyslexia

Homeschooling a child with dyslexia can be intimidating. Many parents feel overwhelmed with the various information out there on how to help students with dyslexia. However, you just need to teach YOUR child with dyslexia, and homeschooling allows for individualized education to help meet your child’s specific needs. To get started homeschooling a child with dyslexia, focus on these tips.

Know your child’s strengths and weaknesses.

The best way to reach your child is to focus on how they learn the best and go from there. If your child does best listening to audiobooks, use that! Do they prefer hands-on lessons? Make that your go-to for learning! Homeschooling is about being flexible, so let the methods and materials grow with your child.

Find resources and curriculum to support your child. 

Don’t feel like you need to fit your child into a curriculum that doesn’t work. There are many curriculum and resources available that are specifically designed to help children with dyslexia. Use your knowledge of your child’s strengths and find a program that will work best for your child.

Don’t go it alone.

Find homeschool groups that can help you learn about new techniques and ideas to try when you are stumped. Current families homeschooling their children with dyslexia can help you to not reinvent the wheel. They can also provide support when you feel like things aren’t going well.

Remember that all children develop differently and on different timetables.

Don’t feel discouraged if your child needs a little extra time to grasp concepts and skills. Use the benefit of flexible homeschooling to work at your child’s pace and to make adjustments where needed as they progress.

Don’t forget you can ask for help when needed. 

As homeschoolers, we tend to feel like we need to do it all on our own, but that doesn’t have to happen. If you need extra help, there are many different tutors and consulting services to help.

While it might not feel possible at first, you can homeschool your child with dyslexia. Use these tips and your child’s lead to find homeschool success.

-Andrea Dillon from A2Z Homeschooling


Tips to create the best homeschooling planning system

The best homeschool planning system is the one that you’ll actually use. In order to create a homeschool planning system that will work for you, you need to answer a few questions about your family and yourself.

  • Do you prefer your day to be precisely laid out with hours marked off, having specific subjects and activities lined up to the minute?
  • Or do you prefer (or need) freedom to explore interests, jump down rabbit trails, and revisit concepts to ensure mastery?
  • Will you be going with a traditional school calendar year? Or will you follow a more year-round approach?
  • What are your state’s homeschool requirements? Do you need to document a certain number of days or hours of homeschooling per year?
  • What is your current life status? Are you working (inside or outside the home)? Do you have a baby or toddler in tow? Are you managing multiple ages and stages, with different course levels to prep for and teach?

All of these questions are NOT meant to overwhelm or frighten! These questions are here to HELP you take a realistic look at what you have going on in your life right now, as well as weaving how you’d like (or need) your homeschool life to be.

Before you buy any (homeschool) planner or system, I highly encourage you to answer all of these questions. In fact, you may find that you don’t need to buy a homeschool planner at all! A simple spiral notebook may be all that you need to block out your time and plan for an enjoyable and successful homeschool experience! Don’t overthink your homeschool planning. Keep it simple and you’ll find success.

-Amy Milcic from Rock Your HomeSchool


How can I know I’m succeeding as a homeschool parent?

How do I know I’m not failing my kids? It’s simple. Because I’m their mom, I care more about their success than any public school teacher ever will. It doesn’t matter if my kids grow up to be doctors or work at a gas station; I’ve done my best with them, filled their love tanks, and made memories that will last a lifetime. How could you ever consider that a failure?

Sure, SAT scores are important, but they’re not THE most important thing I can help my child achieve. Happiness, self-worth, a good work ethic, and a love for learning are all more important than any test score. School is just a tiny sliver of their lives, and when I remember that, I am able to sleep better at night.

Many moms worry that they won’t do enough for their kids, but if you look at the dropout rate of public schools, it’s easy to know I’m doing enough. If I can teach my kids to love learning, love people, and love themselves, I’ve done my job.

When life gets busy, I like to learn through other avenues, like movies, board games, and podcasts. Learning doesn’t have to come from boring ol’ textbooks! Think of all the things your kiddos are learning while not in school, and you’ll realize they aren’t behind at all! They learn what they need to learn when they need it.

-Tiffany Jordon from Homeschool Hideout


Tips to make math easy and fun for early elementary schoolers

One of the things I learned early on as a mother is that not all of my kids love math as much as I do! However, over the years, I finally figured out that the best way to make math lessons less painful for all of us was to make them fun and applicable to my children’s daily lives and interests.

Consider your child’s favorite hobby. Whether that’s sports, online gaming, or even Legos, think about ways to incorporate math lessons into their “fun” times. And yes, that means that you as a parent must get down there and play right alongside your child! Here’s an example from my own family:

Two of my kids (we have seven) love to cook and bake. And it is much more fun for them to learn about fractions, measurement, temperature, and arithmetic when the calculations will impact their next meal or dessert.

Here’s another example: As our family homesteads off the grid, we must calculate our firewood supply each autumn to make sure we have enough to heat our house through the winter. This involves quite a lot of calculations for our older kids – who certainly don’t want to start shivering in February because they miscalculated!

I’ve also found that some of my children learn much better through hands-on, tactile experiences. Stacking lego or estimating distances in yards for football can easily become fun math lessons that also teach valuable calculation skills – even without working through page after page of math problems.

One of the enormous benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility to incorporate learning into all areas of life. You no longer need to think of “school time” as a strict nine-to-three day. Be flexible, relax, and look for opportunities to teach math skills as part of your everyday activities.

-Sarita Harbour from An Off Grid Life


My kid gets distracted easily; what can I do to keep him focused and interested in the topics I’m trying to teach?

It could be as simple as changing the medium. Any given concept can be taught in various ways, so if you find your child’s attention is wandering, try switching from pen and paper to a markerboard, or from an online lesson to a face-to-face discussion. Instead of having your child read the textbook, read aloud to him instead, stopping every once in a while to ask a few questions. Consider alternative teaching tools like audio CDs that you can listen to in the car while running errands. And don’t forget that manipulatives really come in handy when math and grammar and science get too abstract.

The problem also might be due to exterior distractions, so make sure your cell phone is off or on “do not disturb.” Let your landline ring and let voice mail do its magic! Keep the radio and TV off during school time, and have a designated family member answer the doorbell so everyone isn’t tempted to jump up and see who it is. Choose the right place for learning that suits your child’s temperament; for those who are easily distracted, a common area like the kitchen, dining room, or family room will be too high traffic. Carve out a quiet place for these types of learners.

And finally, when it comes to avoiding distraction, you can get very proactive and do things to BOOST concentration. Try classical music or chant in the background. Offer a snack or drink to quiet a growling stomach. Take breaks every once in a while and let them stretch their legs. Keep goals small and manageable so your child can tackle them and achieve them, one at a time. And make sure the work you are assigning is age-appropriate. What parents often mistake for an inability to concentrate could be an inability to understand! A child who’s struggling too hard is going to pull away and lose interest consistently.

With these tips under your belt, teaching and maintaining interest in lessons should go a lot more smoothly from now on!

-Anne Marie from Zephyr Hill


3 Tips to keep a teen motivated in homeschooling

Motivating teens to do school at home feels like an exercise in frustration. Motivating students can feel impossible when you lack the ability to control the curriculum, environment, or process. Homeschooling independently gives parents the advantage. Parents who homeschool can assess the problem, brainstorm real solutions, and manage the necessary changes.

Assess the problem

Why does your student lack motivation? It might be a crime of opportunity, where coddling and over-protection have allowed or encouraged laziness. Sometimes there is a health issue or a period of adjusting to new hormones. Perhaps ironically, the overuse of technology will cause a lack of motivation.

Embrace freedom

Homeschoolers don’t need to teach an entire school district and are only responsible for one child at a time. Use your student’s learning style to adapt education that fits your child. Incorporate learning games and quality literature that interests your child. Keep each subject difficult enough to be challenging, but not so hard that it’s overwhelming. Only use tests or quizzes if you aren’t able to evaluate learning in other ways. Create a cozy learning environment, providing yummy snacks during the most challenging subjects. Alternate seatwork with more active school work to provide variety.

Encourage specialization 

Adults are more motivated on the job when they think their work has value, and teens are the same.  Help your student take ownership of their education by including delight-directed learning. Specialization and learning for fun support learning across all subject areas. There will probably be some subjects that need extra encouragement, but other topics should be delightful for the teen to pursue each day.

Learn more tips in Lee’s free Ebook How to Be a Better Home Educator

-Lee Binz from The HomeScholar


How strict should you be if your kid is not finishing up his assignments?

One of the joys of homeschooling is that there is a time and space to finish assignments when the child can absorb and understand the information required in the projects. When switching from a traditional school-time schedule, it’s easy to think we need to cram it all in and do the work in pre-allotted chunks with a slight deviation. However, this can become numb to learning and result in either the work not being finished or the child simply regurgitating back information without actually understanding. So, when your children are not finishing their assignments, try to understand why.

Are they tired, hungry, or thirsty? Are their surroundings too busy, or is your or your partner’s stress rubbing off on them? Maybe they’ve been overeating sugar or watching/playing something overly stimulating before trying to settle into finishing an assignment? Sometimes they might simply be bored.

Even adults become numb when spending too long on one task, which is why the Pomodoro work/study method has gained so much popularity. So, before getting too stressed over incomplete assignments, address these potential issues.

Finally, when we homeschool, we have the opportunity to address our children’s needs and challenges and formulate an environment in which they can thrive, something which traditional classes can’t always cater to. Also, we can look at learning as a marathon. If you have a bad week or even a bad month, reassess and look for other clues that your child is learning besides the finished assignments. Are they engaging you in conversation over something they are excited about or have discovered on their own? Are they exploring books or projects based on the information? These are signs that even while assignments may be going through a slump, the child’s mind is active and learning.

– Emelie Pepito from The Peaceful Press 


What are the differences between the traditional or Montessori homeschooling styles?

The main difference between these two styles is the amount of trust teachers give students. The Montessori system tries to teach children to teach themselves and believes children are able to learn things themselves without being instructed every step of the way.

The other big difference between Traditional and Montessori homeschooling styles is that children can move around the classroom freely, as they do their own thing, or play in a calm and self-controlled way with their peers.

Children have a ‘closed choice’ of activities in the Montessori style. That is, the bookshelf has a set of (for example) 10 activities. They get an activity out and neatly set it up. They do the exercise and then pack up their mess, cleaning the area and rolling up the mat they’ve used so another child can use it after them.

A Montessori classroom is also on the level of a child, meaning art is at their eye-level as well as other things like their own mini kitchen area, cleanup station, bookshelf, and cupboard. Children can get their snacks and have much more responsibility than schoolchildren would in a traditional classroom.

The ultimate aim of the Montessori style is to promote order, coordination, concentration, and independence. Traditional schools don’t promote these things in the same way or value them as much. That’s why we can learn a lot from Montessori education, even if we like the Traditional method.

– Rebecca Devitt from How Do I Homeschool?


How can you determine which style or method of homeschooling is best for your child?

This is one of the first and most intimidating questions that new homeschooling parents struggle with!  And it’s really a two-question-question!

First of all, ask yourself why you are homeschooling. Do you want to spend more time with your children? Are you concerned that your local public school will not reflect your values? Are academics the most important to you? Do you want to give your kids a well-rounded education that includes art, music, and drama? Look for a style of curriculum that reflects your educational and family values.

The next question is, what kind of curriculum are you most comfortable teaching? Would you like a program on a specific schedule that tells you exactly what to say and do?  Or does one that gives you the flexibility to work at your own pace and travel down rabbit trails as you come across them appeal to you? A textbook-style is the most structured. A Unit Study one is the most flexible.

If you and your family are booklovers, go with a Charlotte Mason, Unit Study, or Classical Approach that relies on reading excellent literature instead of textbooks.  If you tend to be a little hesitant about homeschooling and want a curriculum to hold your hand, use one with Daily Lesson Plans so you can feel confident you are covering your bases. Recent brain research shows that a teaching style that integrates subjects will be the most effective.

My advice would be to choose something and go with it for your first year. Use that time to be a student of your students. How do they learn best? How do you like to teach? You’ll know so much more after you have a year under your belt!

-Dana Wilson from Train Up a Child


How can I know I’m prepared to homeschool a high schooler?

In many ways, homeschooling high school is easier than homeschooling emergent readers who need constant supervision and assistance. High school students should be proficiently independent. Many curriculum programs are written so that the learner can work through it on their own.

You can hire tutors or outsource classes that you don’t feel confident to teach yourself. There are many ala carte classes available. Also, there are complete curriculum programs available for each grade level. Students can work their way through designated courses at their own pace, even completing the credit at an accelerated pace.

Real-life learning also counts. You don’t necessarily need a curriculum to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge. Physical Education is an excellent example of a course you cannot complete by reading through a certain amount of materials. You have to participate in physical activity repeatedly. Credits can also be earned by logging a certain amount of time involved in the skill development activity.

The part that makes high school seem difficult is the record-keeping so that you can format a transcript. The transcript is a forever document that opens the doors of opportunity beyond high school. So, it’s important to prepare a professional-looking transcript. You can create your own or pay for a transcript preparation service.

The point is to provide an accurate reflection of your student’s abilities and accomplishments. We don’t need to inflate anything arbitrarily. Think of it like writing a resume. Only this is an educational resume of high school. Use course titles and the grading scale that are the established “language” of transcripts. Check the college admissions requirements where your student wants to go. You can do this!

-Kim from The South Carolina Homeschooling Connection


How much technology/internet should I use to teach a teenager?

Teenagers use technology and the internet for a large part of their day, during class time as well as in their spare time. From educational apps and games to podcasts and video tutorials, the possibilities are virtually limitless regarding the ways in which technology can make learning accessible to all. In particular, when teens are enrolled in online courses, you can’t really put a limit on their internet use.

However, technology should not replace real-life pursuits or face-to-face interactions. As parents, it’s important to help teenagers balance their use of technology with physical exercise, hands-on learning, and in-person relationships. Show an interest in what they like to do online, and seek opportunities for them to pursue these interests offline through such activities as book clubs, cosplay, robotics, or martial arts.

Field trips aren’t just for kids; they are a great way for teenagers to blend online and offline learning. For example, watching historical documentaries and studying about colonial times in an American History e-course provides a good foundation of knowledge – but actually taking a field trip to a place like Colonial Williamsburg brings their lessons to life and reinforces what they learned from their internet studies.

While quality over quantity is a common saying, maintaining balance in life is the real key. The prevalence of social media on top of online coursework can lead to the overuse of technology at the expense of one’s interpersonal communication and teamwork skills. These important competencies include the ability to carry on a conversation, interact with people of different ages and diverse backgrounds, negotiate with others and resolve conflicts – all of which are necessary for getting along in the workplace and in adult life.

Technology can facilitate and enhance classroom instruction, making it easier for teachers to reach their students in the most effective way. But in order for teenagers to become well-rounded adults, there needs to be a balance between technology use and other ways in which they spend their time. Supplement their online schooling with offline activities that provide real-world experiences and make learning fun.

-Teri Olsen from


Three outdoor learning techniques

Nature study

One of my favorite methods of teaching kids natural science is nature study. If you aren’t familiar with nature study, it is the intentional observation, experimentation, and research of plants and animals in their environment. This way of learning about nature helps children develop critical thinking skills and teach them about flora and fauna. And, it doesn’t involve any fancy textbooks, just appropriate learning tools. These tools include: a notebook and colored pencils, magnifying glass or handheld microscope, bug houses, plant press, and some field guides.

Pond/River study

Another one of my favorites is water study. It is similar to nature study in that children learn about aquatic plants and animals from observing them in their habitat. This can be more challenging to do, though. It’s helpful to have an aqua scope, pond nets, large pail, and magnifying glass to successfully do this type of study.


My all-time favorite way to learn outdoors is by planting a garden. Children learn all sorts of things by planning the garden space and what type of garden they will grow. They also learn a lot through the critters that gardens attract. In addition, kids gain essential nutrition information and even cultural knowledge as they harvest and eat the vegetables they plant. Even if they choose to grow herbs, flowers, or native plants, they learn about botany and ecology.

I encourage families to explore these immersive ways of learning that delight children and get them outdoors.

-Julie Polanco at Julie Naturally


Tips for homeschooling to your child’s cognitive function

Cognitive functions are the different ways we naturally assimilate and process information. They influence the way we learn, teach and experience the world.
Understanding your child’s cognitive function allows you to teach your child’s natural strengths and learning processes in a way that engages their attention and sets them up for future success.
If you are teaching multiple children, there’s a good chance that they have different cognitive functions. While creating a different curriculum for each child may require more work, it can avoid a lot of conflict and frustration over the long run and make your classroom and family life more enjoyable.
Here are the four main cognitive function groups:
Sensing Judging
SJ’s absolutely love routine and stability. They tend to do best with traditional schooling and rely heavily on structure and systems that are dependable. They tend to love history and memorizing information.
Intuitive Judging
NJ’s are realist idealists and are full of ideas and thoughts. They are extremely future-focused and purpose-driven and dislike any menial tasks such as memorization. These types love it when their ideas are heard.
Sensing Prospecting
SP’s love exploration and need a flexible, creative space for hands-on learning. They tend to be very independent, individualistic, curious, adventurous, and sometimes even thrill-seekers. Providing them a safe environment to take things apart and put them back together is ideal for them.
Intuitive Prospecting
NP’s are the dreamers and may even be considered the “wild child” or labeled ADHD when really they are just highly passionate and creative. They can be the most challenging to homeschool and need an alternative curriculum to fuel their creativity. They don’t have the best follow through so providing some reasonable structure is very helpful as long they also get plenty of opportunities for unstructured learning.
-Robyn Robledo from Nomads with a Purpose


Practical tips for teaching science to your kid? What items do I need?

Science is about exploring, observing, and understanding the world around you. While sometimes we worry about which facts and concepts your child will need to learn in each grade level, content can be learned easily if kids understand how to observe and record. Teaching science at home can be a great time to help your child fall in love with the subject. There are several great ways you can approach science at home. To make things go more smoothly and have fun while learning, ask your child what they would like to learn about. It can be anything from a specific animal to a broad topic like astronomy. Diving deeply into one subject helps kids understand the depth of all there is to learn, and they may never get that chance in a classroom. Once you have your topic, there are many ways you can proceed.

  • Check out exciting books around the library and scour Pinterest & the internet for activities and experiments to supplement the books. Some books will have ideas and instructions for hands-on activities. You can also find videos of experiments on YouTube; this can be especially helpful if the experiment is involved, requires special equipment, or you just don’t have time.
  • But a fun activity or experiments kit. You can find lots of great science kits on Amazon, Home Science Tools, Rainbow Resource, or Mindware. Many kits come with a booklet that covers science concepts taught. Using the kit as a starting place, you can supplement some additional books and videos on those concepts.
  • If you want to ramp up your child’s scientific skills, you can purchase a curriculum or online course. Outschool has many online courses on every topic imaginable; this can be a great choice if you don’t have time to teach your child directly. Home Science Tools has several curriculum options and prepackaged kits of the supplies needed to complete the activities.
  • Focus on the skill of observation. This is often an overlooked skill but very important to the formation of a good scientist. It’s also helpful in a lot of other areas of life. This is an excellent option for younger kids. What they need is to get out into nature and explore. Bring their attention to differences in trees, flowers, or even how the outside air smells on different days. You may not feel like there are learning science, but the skill of observation is laying the foundation for the future. If they are old enough, have them record their observations, either in words, pictures, or both. This is called nature journaling. Print out some nature scavenger hunts and enjoy the benefits of being outside and taking science at a slower pace. This is something younger students honestly enjoy, and they won’t feel like it is more school work.

Just pick one of these ideas, purchase supplies, or hunt down your freebies, depending on your budget (ideas 1 &4 can both be done without buying anything) and have fun observing and exploring the world with your child. You may even find there are things about that tree in your backyard that you never noticed before.

– Marla Szwast from Jump Into Genius


Tips for dealing with homeschool behavior issues

When dealing with behavior issues, ask yourself whether it’s a homeschooling issue or is it a parenting issue? Do the meltdowns happen exclusively during math, or are you also dealing with tantrums at the grocery store and bedtime? If there are more significant parenting issues to deal with, I’d recommend learning more about child development and discipline techniques in general.

If the behavior issues truly only manifest during homeschooling time, you may need to rethink your expectations. Just because the public school system expects children to learn to read at age five doesn’t mean that it is ideal for all children. One of my children learned to walk at ten months, and another didn’t walk until eighteen months, and both were considered healthy and right on target by their pediatrician. It’s more about a child choosing to learn a thing than about his ability to learn something.

Learning is a continuum, just like child development, but with even wider timeframes. Maybe your older children always read for your five-year-old, so he sees no need for reading. Perhaps he’s so busy learning how to operate his little body he can’t be bothered with memorizing colors and ABCs right now. Try to see things from your child’s perspective.

You can also take sly steps to convince your children they need to know something. One thing I do with my reluctant readers is to start a book I know will blow their socks off as a read-aloud, and then, at a fascinating part of the book, I’ll tell that child it’s time for me to start dinner. Amidst protests, I’ll leave the book sitting on the table and arrange to be “too busy” to read aloud for a long enough time that my child will develop an immense need to become an independent reader and will begin to pester me to that end.

Another great trick is to take my children on field trips that I know will blow up their little minds with questions. After visiting Yellowstone, I knew my littles would have a burning need to know how geysers worked and what was inside the hot pots, and why the water was such a kaleidoscope of colors. You’ll have lots of tricks like that up your sleeve after a few years of homeschooling.

Realize that your child’s actions (especially misbehaviors) are his method of communication and really listen. When your child is giving you a hard time, it is usually because he is having a hard time. As a homeschooling parent, you are in the enviable position of choosing whether your child will associate learning with punishment or with joy and the satisfying of curiosity.

Above all, remember that homeschooling your child is not about you. It’s not about the age at which you learned things or the grade at which things are taught in the public school system (and keep in mind that public schools everywhere graduate illiterate 18-year-olds) or the kids’ age your homeschool group learn things. It’s not about your desire for your child to do his school work. It’s not about whether you can punish effectively or which privileges you remove. It’s all about what your child is ready to do and what he wants to do.

You can lead your child to a desire to learn and a love of learning, but it’s up to him to actually put forth the effort.

-Amy Saunders from Orison Orchards


Parent or teacher? How do you separate when homeschooling?

As a mother, you wear so many hats. You’re a carer, provider, chef, therapist, supporter, doctor; the list goes on. So, what happens when you throw homeschooling into the mix?

Homeschooling requires lots of time and energy, but ultimately, it is the most rewarding job of all. Start and end your day knowing that you’re the one responsible for your child’s education and have fun with it. It is the best experience you’ll have with your children.

Regardless of if you’re homeschooling or not, as parents, we are their teachers. It doesn’t matter if the lines blur a bit, so don’t stress trying to separate the two roles. Be flexible and combine being a mother and homeschooler and make this an opportunity of a lifetime- working together and having fun as a family, all while learning at the same time.

Take a look at some of these top tips to help you do that:

  • Flexible working space: Forget about trying to make your home look like a classroom. Work with a method your child best learns; it could be sitting on a floor pillow or outside in the garden. Learn how your children work best and run with it!
  • Everything is a learning experience: You’ll be surprised how much kids learn doing everyday things around the house. Allow them to help measure ingredients as you cook, play board games together, watch movies. Tune into the most effective ways to present educational information and do it.
  • Focused learning opportunities: Being able to base your child’s interest on their learning opportunities is something that is quite often overlooked. So, use this to your advantage and have them complete a research project on their interests.
  • Bedtime routine: Use this time to brush on their literacy skills. Before bed, get together and read a story. Have them read aloud or sneak in some comprehension questions and inferencing activities. Make it fun!
  • Make connections: Join some homeschooling groups and get together once a week. Use this time to connect as a parent while your children are working together on a project.

Being a mom and homeschooler are both priceless jobs. Remember, it’s not about separating the two roles but ensuring you create a positive and fun learning environment for your children. You’ve got this!

– Yuri Kitin from Kids Academy


Stress relief tips for the stressed-out homeschool parent!

If you are a mom and you homeschool your children, congratulations, you are a homeschool mom! Homeschooling is growing in leaps and bounds these days. It’s exciting and rewarding at the same time. There are days when you feel a sense of deep pride, and then other days, you may label it as a huge challenge. Homeschooling is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, it can also be all-out stressful. There may be days you feel like you could just quit! Trust me, I’ve been there. But through 10 years of homeschooling my three girls (one headed to college on a scholarship this fall), I had to learn to take care of myself, including relieving days of stress that would rear its ugly head. Here are a few tips that help me make through even the toughest of days:

  1. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. Take a few deep breaths and realize that these days are fleeting, and your children will grow up very quickly. Cherish every moment you have with them.
  2. Don’t try to cram a bunch of subjects into one day. This was my first mistake when I started homeschooling in 2011. Taking breaks from online learning and even physical textbooks makes it all worth it on those stressful days. The work will always be there, just break it up and focus on just a few things at a time.
  3. Have a structure but be flexible. Some moms thrive on schedules, and others thrive on flexibility. If you combine the best of both worlds, you would be surprised what can be achieved. And your kids will be happier and stress-free too.
  4. Drink a calming chamomile tea and take time out for yourself to do something enjoyable!

– Lindsey Clair from Michigan Mama News


Tips to make gameschooling part of your homeschooling plan

Who’s up for some serious learning? No, I’m not talking about textbooks or a library visit. I’m talking about gameschooling. Integrating play and education is the foundational way humans learn. Have you ever watched a toddler? They learn through play all day, every day. Research has shown that learning a new concept takes much less time to understand when play is involved! So, why aren’t we “playing to learn” more?

For many, game schooling often feels like a break from “real” education. However, in our modern culture, alternative forms of learning and education should be embraced! Gameschooling has many benefits for homeschoolers as well as traditionally schooled children alike. For starters, gaming requires strategy. There is usually a desired outcome, and the player must make choices to arrive at their goal. Students must make connections, use strategy, and apply what they have learned. Studies show that when students can make these connections, they are more likely to understand the subject they are learning. In addition, gameschooling is often a group learning activity. This is perfect for acquiring social skills, understanding and anticipating your opponent, and participating in healthy competition.

Gameschooling is easy to implement in your homeschool or after-school studies and can be a motivating factor for students of any age. To get started, here are a few practical tips:

  • Plan your gameschooling around your homeschool studies.
  • Use a variety of games (online, board, strategic).
  • Learn the game first. Have a clear understanding of the rules and objectives.
  • Discover games that practice and support student’s passion subjects.
  • Use highly motivating games to practice weak areas
  • Apply! Make sure you point out what you’ve been learning as you play!

– Jamie Gaddy from


How to handle questions you don’t really know the answer to?

I don’t know everything. I know, it’s surprising! And as a homeschooling parent of five children, I’m required to demonstrate my ignorance regularly, as I often don’t know the answer to questions my children ask. Do I feel that I’m failing? Not at all. I believe that not knowing the answer is a fantastic learning opportunity – if you know how to deal with it.

Here are three things I say to my children when they ask me a tricky question.

  1. I don’t know.

The all-knowing teacher’s idea is a little ridiculous and something that we shouldn’t pretend to be. Our kids need authentic humans they can relate to, not intimidating know-it-alls. More importantly, they need to know that it’s normal not to know everything and that admitting ignorance is perfectly OK.

None of us know the answer to every question. Even if we do, it’s unlikely to be the complete answer. Being able to admit that and being open and curious is a key feature of a lifelong learner.

  1. What do you think?

Play with ideas. Give your child time to think about what they already know and to come up with possible answers. Help them expand on those ideas. Creativity and brainstorming are wonderful skills and make connections between our existing knowledge and new knowledge.

  1. Let’s find out.

Now it’s time for research skills. Let’s look through a book, or on the internet, or ask someone. Help your child learn how to find the answers and how to evaluate the solutions they find.

In summary, celebrate ignorance! Knowing how to find the answer and being curious enough to look for it is much more important than knowing everything. And far more achievable.

-Kelly George from Fearless Homeschool


How to add socialization to your homeschooling?

It sounds more challenging than it is. Unfortunately, many parents stress over the thought of socialization when it comes to deciding to homeschool. Let me put your mind at ease with these two key factors.

  1. Socialization comes in many forms. Most parents, including myself, attended public school, which is the only educational model they may be familiar with. We are conditioned to believe that it has to be with children of the same age for our kids to socialize successfully. That is simply not true. Our children can grow and progress even more by being exposed to children of all ages.
  2. Socialization naturally occurs everywhere. Every time you and your children go somewhere or interact with others, that is socialization. Your children socialize at church, in your neighborhood, serving others, taking field trips, and even at your local grocery store. Homeschool children have so many options available to them these days; there are co-ops, sports teams, art classes, music lessons, and so much more that are all designed specifically for homeschoolers.

Finding local places and groups for your children to participate in is as easy as a Google search or finding a Facebook group to ask for suggestions. It may take a little time and research to find the right fit for your family, but there are options if you are willing to look for them.

-Courtney from Grace Grow Edify


How can parents align their homeschooling curriculum with the academic expectations of the school they are applying to?

To align their homeschooling curriculum with the academic expectations of the school they are applying to, parents can employ a strategic and thoughtful approach.

  • Begin by researching the targeted school’s curriculum and academic standards. Identify key subjects and learning outcomes emphasized by the school. Then, ensure that your homeschooling curriculum covers these areas comprehensively. Adjust your teaching materials to match the school’s preferred methodologies and educational philosophies.
  • Consider integrating any specific academic requirements or extracurricular activities highlighted in the school admission criteria into your homeschooling plan.
  • Communicate regularly with the school’s admissions office. Seek guidance on their academic expectations and inquire about any specific areas they value in applicants. This demonstrates commitment but also allows for adjustments in your homeschooling strategy to better align with the school’s standards.

By adopting this strategy in the application process, parents can assure admissions officers that their homeschooled child is well-prepared and meets the academic benchmarks required for successful integration into any chosen institution.

-Alice from AdmissionSight


For this new venture, you’ll need some extra flexibility, patience, creativity, and humor, along with access to online resources and some good friends to lean on. Remember, you’re learning, too. Make lessons fun when you can, and try to keep mistakes and frustrations in perspective.