04 September 2019

Homeschool Recommendations and Advice

Homeschool has always been a part of my life, ever since I was a wee preschooler in the 90s reciting the Declaration of Independence in front of my parents' gigantic box of a VHS video recorder.

In adult life, my involvement with homeschooling has been assisting with the teaching of my youngest sisters ever since moving back to live near my parents four years ago, along with looking forward to the more-structured school days to come with my Cyrus (and geeking out over our daily storytimes and sticker/paste/playdoh/coloring activities).

(The sum total of Cyrus's 'school' collection thus far [plus two shelves of storybooks below these--about half of which are in Spanish]--some of the books and games won't be used till some future date when he's old enough. The one shelf on the left is the Sonlight Preschool curriculum, which I received in exchange for contributing articles to their blog.)

We're a funny fit as a family into the "homeschool" world. I and my family have a lot of appreciation for all modes of education--Angel and I taught in a public high school in China, he currently teaches at a large private school, and I have three younger sisters either teaching or en route to getting their degrees in education and teaching licenses. But we also see a great deal of value in the homeschool lifestyle, in siblings and parents spending their days together, and in one-on-one parent-to-child education for kids who struggle to learn in a classroom setting. Most of our homeschool experience has been abroad, which has certainly colored our view as we've primarily known homeschool only outside of the American 'bubble' where it is more widespread. The homeschool system I grew up in focused strongly on academic challenge and mathematics and science, and college-preparatory programs. We used a variety of curricula for various subjects over the years, but Sonlight curriculum remained a constant throughout my own education--I appreciated the attention paid to the history of the wider world rather than that of the West alone, and the inclusion of books with non-Christian worldviews and the encouragement to think critically about how to respond to and engage with the material we learned. I know my homeschool education set me up well to thrive at the college I attended, and it's been a joy to return 'home' and help with educating my youngest sisters.

This year, I was granted the opportunity to begin writing articles for the Sonlight blog, certainly a dream come true for this girl! I wanted to collect the links to my articles thus far in one spot on my blog, and will continue to add to this list as more articles are released on their website.

Articles on the Sonlight blog:

When You Are Disappointed By Homeschool - Let's just begin with the dark side of homeschooling, shall we? It's been my life for 20+ years, and I've seen plenty of days that look nothing like instagram homeschool accounts. The best part of this article, in my opinion, is that every example I included of the homeschool day going wrong is nothing more nor less than a precise retelling of true events from my homeschool career. Either I or one of my siblings were the culprit in each case. They shall remain nameless, but you already know me, so it's too late for me.

5 Ways to Make Your Family Vacation More Educational - It may be an old cliche, but it's true, homeschool families are always looking for ways to make non-school days educational (you should have seen the kinds of presents we used to get for Christmas or our birthdays!). The habit is so ingrained I've even implemented educational strategies into a few of mine and Angel's getaways...because you're never too much on your honeymoon to learn, am I right?

4 Ways to get Dad Involved in the Homeschool Day - My own dad wasn't much able to be involved in my homeschooling career, due to his work and his education, but has had a little more flexibility to get involved with his youngest daughters' education and has learned to love reading with them. I've already figured out exactly what subject Angel will be in charge of: Spanish.

The Quandary of Second Generation Homeschoolers - We experimental children of the 80s and 90s who grew up homeschooled are now beginning to make educational decisions for our own children. This article talks about challenges specific to 2nd gen homeschoolers--torn between loyalty to our own upbringing and wanting to turn homeschooling upside down and backwards.

4 Ways to Coax Your Reluctant Writer out of Blank Page Paralysis - This may come as a shock to you, but I was never a reluctant writer. In fact, my first "book" was written around the age of 6 or 7 and was entitled "Cowboy" and was dedicated to my cowboy-obsessed little brother. For better or worse, I haven't stopped. I have discovered, though, as I homeschool others, that not all kids desire to write all the time. Who knew? These are some of the strategies I've been using to encourage writing over the past few years.

Bible Time: The Most Important Part of the Homeschool Day - Where I confess that as an arrogant teenager, I once thought that my own impressive list of schoolwork responsibilities (calculus, AP Physics, and the like) ought to take precedent over Mom's lengthy Bible class. I have since learned that I didn't know as much as I thought I once did...

3 Reasons Homeschool Works for Families Living Overseas - Most of my own family's homeschool experience has been overseas, here are a few of the motivating factors behind our lifestyle choice.

5 Tips for Homeschool Organization in Small Spaces - Ideas for how to make homeschool work when you're living in an urban apartment and don't have a whole lot of square footage to make use of!

Keys to Foreign Language Proficiency for the Homeschool Family - How can you ensure that the foreign language you are teaching in your homeschool is really going to "stick" in years to come?

And one article featured on Life of a Homeschool Mom:

Is Lapbooking Right for Your Homeschool? - Lapbooking is a new addition to our homeschool in the past year, this is a look at some of the pros and cons and who this activity might suit the best.

This article is found on Homeschool Giveaways:

When Your Child Refuses to Learn - Discussing the options and tools we have at our disposal when a child is fiercely resisting learning a specific skill.


Let me know if you have any questions about our homeschool methods or any topics you'd suggest that I write about. Such ideas are most heartily welcomed!
AnneMarie said...

I love geeking out about homeschooling, and I am so excited to check out these articles later! I am curious, what are the homeschooling laws like in Malaysia? I know that homeschooling is illegal in some European countries (which was mindblowing for this sheltered American to learn about when I was in college and spent a semester in Europe), but I haven't really heard about how the climate is in your part of the world.

Callie said...

I really appreciate your article on Second generation homeschoolers! I have struggled in a lot of the same ways that you mentioned in that article.

Elizabeth said...

It was fun stumbling upon your article on the Sonlight blog, not knowing you were writing there! We purchased the same book stack for our 3 year old this year. I will admit that a lot of it is still over her head, and she hasn't gotten the hang of Mighty Mind yet either. We'll spread it out over a year or two. It's nice that your two will be close in age and can maybe share materials some of the time. I'll go check out the rest of your articles!

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