Serving families since 1986

Sign Up Below For Our
Free Newsletters
Click here to join HomeschoolSupport

Home Educator's Family Times Newsletter

March 2015

The Project Method 
by Mary Hood, Ph.D.

 The project method is a companion methodology to unit studies, but it is much lesser known among the homeschooling community. Although many homeschoolers naturally gravitate to doing projects, they often tend to view such projects as “non-academic.” Many mothers have asked me over the years if it was really acceptable to count the hours spent gardening or working on bird feeders as academic work. My answer, of course, is an overwhelming, “Definitely!” Read article...

A New Suit of Clothes With Room to Grow 
by Karen Andreola

 During the same week, a few days apart from each other, I enjoyed two very nice long-distance letters and one face-to-face conversation from homeschooling mothers who are following The Gentle Art of Learning. Something common to each took my notice. These mothers mentioned how in earlier years, home learning had a more “together feel.” Now that the children are maturing, they are off at their separate desks doing lessons on their own. The family may still gather daily around the dining room table for Bible, poetry, a song, or art appreciation, but much of the children’s skills and acquiring of knowledge are being achieved by independent effort or by taking turns one-on-one with Mother. Read article...

Homeschooling: Dealing With Our Doubts
by Alison McKee

Years ago a friend said to me, "We don't know how to homeschool." In response, I remember being dumbfounded. Her children, like mine, had never been to school and both of us had teens. Needless to say I asked her to clarify what she meant. "We have all been educated in school. We unconsciously work from the school model. Our children have never been to school and therefore know more about what it means to be homeschooled than we do." To this she added, "We need to follow their lead. When they want to learn something we should listen to them and follow that advice."
Read article...

Want a Healthier Family? 12 Health Benefits of Homeschooling
by Linda Dobson

A family’s homeschooling decision almost always begins with academic considerations. For myriad reasons, each family comes to the conclusion that the children will learn better and happier when the family is in charge of decisions, resources, and schedule.

There’s another aspect of homeschooling, though, that doesn’t receive anywhere near the attention it deserves when mainstream media covers the topic. Once they get started, many families realize terrific health benefits emerge from the homeschooling lifestyle, too. Read article...

Parts Is Parts - Intelligence Revisited
by David H. Albert

Cassie and Neal, eight-year-old twins, were driving home with mom from the homeschool camp-out weekend. (Actually, mom was driving the van.) They were both tired out, and perhaps overly quiet and thoughtful, if there ever could be said to be such a thing.

“Mom,” said Cassie, in what appeared to be an outgrowth of a longer, silent thought process, “Kyle is really a whiz at math, and he has never done any workbook pages.”

“Are you unhappy with your workbook?” asked Mom, ever-ready to consider changing their homeschooling routine.

“Oh, no, it’s not that,” replied Cassie, “I was just thinking it’s amazing how quickly he can multiply and divide all those numbers in his head.”
“Yeah,” said Neal, piping up from the transformer he was transforming with, “and Suzie, why, she could talk with horses and they really listened and she could tell us what they said back!”

“Oh,” said Mom, having no idea where this banter was going. Read article...


Bill would close parental rights loophole affecting Texas Homeschoolers

by Merril Hope/ March 17 2015
It seems like such an anomaly that Texas homeschoolers are still fighting for their rights in a state that ranks among the best in the nation to homeschool. Yet, last week, more than 250 homeschooled students and their parents convened in Austin for the Texas Home School Coalition’s (THSC) Capitol Days to lobby for legislation that will strengthen parental rights, if passed, during the 84th Legislative session. Read...

Previous Issues

February 2015


Homeschooling: Setting the Record Straight
by Chris Sosa

During the late 1980s, my mother heard a radio report about an educational method called "homeschooling." At the time, it was framed as a predominantly religious response in the U.S. to the secularization of schooling. But what mom saw was an opportunity to spend more time raising her children in the way she believed to be best, rather than trusting the sub-par local schools to oversee our academic career.
Our family quickly discovered that others, oftentimes strangers, had strong opinions about this choice.

My sister and I routinely endured confused, occasionally disapproving, glances when we'd be out running errands during traditional school hours. Many folks thought we were cutting class. They didn't seem happier to find out that, no, we were actually just homeschoolers on lunch break.

Over two decades later, my sister and I lead successful lives. We both started community college in our mid-teens and went on to attend degree programs at top-ranked universities. I work in news media and she teaches English internationally. When we do choose to tell others about being homeschooled, it feels like coming out, with all the confusion, questions and judgment that can entail.
Read entire article:

Climb, Swing & Snuggle
reading readiness has to do with the whole body
by Laura Grace Weldon

Today’s children sit more than ever. Babies spend countless hours confined in car seats and carriers rather than crawling, toddling or being carried. As they get older their days are often heavily scheduled between educational activities and organized events. Children have 25% less time for free play than they did a generation ago, and that’s before factoring in distractions like TV or video games. Read more...

Molly’s Frugal Homeschooling
by Molly Green

. . . I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

I can’t imagine a verse that speaks better to the heart of frugality than Philippians 4:11; can you? Learning to be content with whatever I’ve been given has been a lifelong endeavor. I can be willful in my determination to be a wise and thrifty steward, but if I’m not practicing contentment, I’m likely to give into the temptation to spend more than we have or buy more than we need. And if there’s something that tempts the heart of a homeschooling mama like me, it’s a stack of glossy homeschooling catalogs or the aisles at a curriculum fair. Read more...

Unschooling: Dabbling, Digging Deep, and Quitting
Lyla Wolfenstein

At the heart of unschooling, and really at the heart of growing up, is the process of determining what it is a person loves to do - where and with what to spend one's time. Children come into this world with no preconceived notions of what is or isn't valuable, or what is or isn't "supposed" to be enjoyable. Read more...

Trusting God with the Present
By Mary Hood a.k.a. The Relaxed Homeschooler
“This is the day that the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Many people fail to live abundantly in the present, despite God’s clear promise, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).  These people are too hung up thinking about their past or worrying about their future to enjoy the time they have now to spend with their friends and loved ones. Read more...

Spring/Summer 2014 - Newsletter

We Will Not Conform: Portrait of a Home School Family - See more at:

We will not conform. We will not conform. We will not conform. No, it isn't a chant or a mantra. It's a statement of fact. Something that we as grassroots activists should be used to by now. How about another group of folks who could be considered full-time protesters? Another group of people who might be used to not conforming for even longer than the tea party groups have been around. How about a group of dedicated home schoolers? This is the portrait of a home school mom and dad.

The home school moms and dads are those parents who decided to throw off the yolk of traditional education and have already chosen not to conform. They decided to keep their children at home, for whatever reason; but no matter if you publicly educate your children or privately educate them, we all ultimately want a well-educated child.

A home school family consists of parents who decided to go against the grain and took their child's education in their own hands, quite literally. I should know, I'm one of them.

I am fortunate enough to live in the great state of Texas, where home schooling is still legal. Home schools are considered a private school, and we aren't regulated by the state or required to take standardized testing. We are free to purchase our own curriculum or to design our own. Then, we are free to choose our own path to graduation. In other words, home schoolers have freedom in Texas! Cool, right?

So, what am I getting at? I'm saying that all of that could change. Not through state standards, but through the introduction of Common Core. Since its introduction into mainstream schools, the move has begun to change ACT and SAT tests to meet the Common Core standards. This means that home schools may be forced to teach according to those same standards. Here is proof from one of my previous blog posts that this can and will happen:

The Common Core will impact home schools and private schools in at least three ways. First, designers of the expanded statewide longitudinal databases fully intend to collect data about home school and private school students. Second, college admissions standards will be affected: Common Core standards for college readiness will be used by institutions of higher learning to determine whether a student is ready to enroll in a postsecondary course. Third, curriculum and standardized tests are being rewritten to conform to the Common Core.

Unless we act. Home schoolers, like grassroots activists are usually at the ready when called to action. I was fortunate enough to be one of five bloggers that were invited to attend the Glenn Beck event called We Will Not Conform: LIVE Making Common Core History that was held last night in theaters across America.

We Will Not Conform was put together by the Glenn Beck team and hosted with other big names in politics and national grassroots leaders, who are no strangers to not conforming. Names such as Michelle Malkin, Dana Loesch, David Barton and Matt Kibbe of Freedomworks. The event was held in an effort to taking one of many 'first steps' to raise awareness and ultimately defeat Common Core.

So what now? The Glenn Beck folks put together a plan for any activist to initiate and employ in their respective communities. For the link, click here. We need to start a discussion with your neighbors and friends and your families for that matter so we can stop the march towards common kids and Common Core. We need to recognize the strength of our own voices and our own actions. Listen to Matt Kibbe's words of encouragement for us all when he said, "Parents represent a voting block that is unstoppable." To be unstoppable, though, we have to get started. As one of the grassroots leaders said last night, "How to defeat Common Core, get the facts, get organized, show up."

- See more at:

Homeschoolers Take on Common Core

Long before eight states began rejecting Common Core school reforms, the sweeping new academic standards were considered enemy combatants in Lesley Hodge's Loveland home.

A former attorney and mother of a home-schooled teenager, Hodge is hard pressed to limit her criticism of the educational changes hitting Ohio public schools with full force in the coming school year.

But she is laser focused on the single largest impact Common Core will have on her daughter and the 1.8 million students – 3.5 percent of all American K-12 students – whose parents eschew public and private schools for home instruction.

Initially, Common Core will have little impact on home-schooled students.

But in a few years, when home-schooled teens walk side-by-side with public high school students into ACT and SAT college examination rooms, they may be at a distinct disadvantage for not having studied a Common Core curricula.

"Common Core standards drive curriculum, curriculum drives testing … Children will be taught to the test and it affects us home-schoolers because our children have to take those same college entrance exams as everybody else," said Hodge as she joined thousands of area families at a recent home schooling convention in downtown Cincinnati.

"Everything will boil down to what (home-schoolers) provide on a test and then that will determine where they go to college and I believe that ... (at) some point, some committee will say, 'Well, your child shouldn't have this career because your child is not qualified.' "

Hodge and many of the other 25,000 attendees at the Midwest Homeschool Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center see themselves on the front lines in a battle of parental and child rights vs. a near-nationwide mandate of learning standards.

"This is also a battle for control of who gets her (daughter's) mind and her heart. I'm still her parent. She is still a minor and she is under my authority but the state is encroaching on that more and more," said Hodge.

"This is the hill that I will die on. This is my child's right to privacy and my right as a parent to have authority over my child until she leaves my home."

Although the far-reaching school reforms aren't directly aimed at home schooling, Common Core holds a last-stand status among many such parents.

"It is a hot topic," said Dennis Dean, spokesman for the convention's sponsor, Great Homeschool Conventions.

Homeschoolers, What Does Success Mean To You? by Judy Aron

David Brooks, senior editor of The Weekly Standard, once posed this question: "If your kid was accepted at Harvard, but you secretly thought he or she would be happier at Bennington, would you have the guts to turn Harvard down?" This to me is a really intriguing question, as it highlights the very reasons why we homeschool.

As homeschoolers we have said no to the pressure-filled meritocratic system that organized schooling has come to represent. A meritocratic system rewards achievement for achievement's sake. It is an environment that fosters kids not to take risks because success is so important, and failure is so detrimental in many ways. Kids learn that if they stick to the things they are good at, rather than the thing they have a passion for or an interest in, then it is easier for them to succeed.

Is Homeschooling The Right Thing To Do? by Shirley M.R. Minster

Is homeschooling still the right thing to do? Were we right in bringing our child home from school? Questions that focus on a child’s education can be the most difficult to answer. Parents worry that what they do today will have an effect on their child’s future. Self-doubt creeps in and whispers, “Did we do the right thing? What happens if we were wrong?”

Let’s start by looking at the reasons why you began homeschooling your child. First of all, you were concerned about the change in his behavior. If he believed that his schoolmates did not like him, his self-esteem took a big hit emotionally, physically, and mentally. The emotions began to overshadow everything and depression became the norm because of his sadness and utter loneliness. Read more...

The Parent's Essential Active Role in Unschooling by John O. Andersen

I strongly believe in unschooling; the "curriculum" of freely following one's interests.

Yet, when it comes to unschooling children, parental involvement is a must. This is because children often won't know they have an interest in something until after their parents give them a glimpse of the many fascinating ideas and pursuits the world offers.

Wise unschooling parents expose their children to the community, to complex issues, to a broad spectrum of people, to the greatest minds, and so forth. There is a variety of ways they might do this. Here are a few concrete examples: Read more...

The Myth of Under (and Over) Achievement by David H. Albert

“Each one of you is perfect as you are. And you all could use a little bit of improvement.”
-- Zen Koan

We are all underachievers.

Or so it seems to me. That most of the time we could do better as individuals seems obvious. Psychometricians often claim we are smarter than ever. I don’t know – I tend to think that while as individuals we may be getting smarter (better nutrition and all, though make sure to supplement those Omega-3s), our collective intelligence, in our neighborhoods and in the world community, is increasingly impoverished, and, as a society, we get dumber all the time. Read more...

Teaching Children Financial Responsibility

(from Busy Moms Central)

Are you wondering when you should teach your children about managing money? You should start as soon as they learn to count and understand the concept of more and less. Think your six-year-old is too young to learn about simple money management concepts? Think again. Teaching children about managing money early will lead to adults who are financially responsible. Young adults are bombarded with offers for credit and quickie loans that are easy to get and hard to pay off. Without a good understanding of how to handle their money, they are often caught up in a financial nightmare. As a parent, you can help your child avoid this situation. Read more...

Strolling: A Skill Every Teen Should Have by John O. Andersen

Power walking is so corporate. Fitness walking is so selfish.

Strolling is the wiser choice. Strolling is exercise, but infinitely more than that.

When you're good at strolling, it can not only be exercise, but more importantly, one of the finest forms of educational entertainment imaginable.

Strolling is a window to the wonders of botany, birdwatching, architecture, horticulture, geology, local history, meteorology, art, even sociology--to name a few.

A window?

Yes, because when you manage to slow down long enough to pause, listen, and focus, the wonders of the outdoor world can come to you in ways you may have never thought possible. Strolling is a deliciously subversive undertaking in a culture overwhelmingly biased in favor of speed. Read more...

Homeschool High School’s Most Essential Subject by Barbara Frank

What subjects should you include when homeschooling your teen through high school? Answering this question can and does fill entire books. Personally, I think at least some of the subjects should be related to your teen’s interests as much as anything else. But there’s one subject that should be mandatory: personal finance. Read more...

From Our Previous Issue

March 2014 - Newsletter

A Good Education PRESERVES Your Child

All too often, when parents think about their children “being educated,” their thoughts travel toward, “Who can best do this thing (education) to my children?” If said parents are thorough and wise, they consider all of the many alternatives available to families today, from homeschooling to boarding school, from public to private schools, tutors, and more.

True Education Preserves the Essence of Your Child

But here’s something this homeschooling parent discovered about thirty years ago. A good education, an education that honors the very meaning of the word – “to bring out that which is within” – has very little, if anything, in common with doing something to or for children, no matter how noble the goal or how much money one chooses to throw at the endeavor. You see, true education starts with and absolutely requires an approach and an environment in which we preserve that which already exists, that which is your child’s essence. Read more...

"This dreary version of early-childhood education isn’t just disrespectful of children; decades of research show it simply doesn’t work well — and may even be damaging." ~ Alfie Kohn

A very scary headline about kindergartners

Washington Post

By Valerie Strauss, Updated: February 6 at 8:00 am

Rob Saxton is Oregon’s deputy superintendent of public instruction. Jada Rupley is the early learning system director within the state Department of Education. Together they wrote an op-ed in The Oregonian that was published online with this headline:

Kindergarten test results a ‘sobering snapshot’

What could possibly be sobering about test results from kindergartners? What kind of tests are they giving to kindergartners anyway?

It turns out that every public school kindergartner in Oregon was given a kindergarten readiness test last September to see how many numbers, letters and sounds they knew. The Oregonian reported that kids on average entered kindergarten knowing 19 capital and lower-case letters and seven letter sounds of at least 100 possible correct answers. Read more...

THE SOCIALIZATION ISSUE - from a Homeschooled Student's Perspective

by Krista Noble

As a 24-year-old university graduate, I’ve experienced many changes since my days as a homeschooled child and teenager. But I remember those days vividly. I chuckle when I think of a conversation that replayed itself again and again throughout my homeschooling career.

The conversation usually went like this. My sister and I would be tagging along with my mom as she shopped at the grocery store. Due to our flexible, homeschooled schedule, this sometimes occurred on a weekday. Frequently, a concerned adult would inquire as to why my sister and I weren’t in school. Read more...

Living With Interruption

by Barbara Frank

Boy, do I know about interruptions. Thirty years of raising and homeschooling kids has meant that I’m often interrupted. And while it doesn’t happen nearly as much now that we only have one offspring still living at home, the fact is that the others sometimes call just as I’m in the middle of something I had hoped to finish.

As moms, we learn early on that our kids will often interrupt us at the worst times. And if they don’t interrupt us for a while, we also learn that something’s up and we need to check and see why things are so quiet, right? Read more...

How Teens Can Buy Their Own Cars
Can your teen buy a car while only working a part-time job?

by Dave Ramsey

So you’ve got a teenager, and your teenager wants a car. What are your options?
You could do one of three things:
1. Buy a car for them.
2. Let them pay for the car on their own.
3. Do a combination of both.

Let's go through each option.

First, it may seem tempting to just go out and buy a car for your teenager, especially if you have the money. But Dave doesn’t recommend this. Buying a $30,000 car for a 16-year-old just doesn’t make sense. That $30,000 ride will be trashed in no time. Read more...



by Debbie Harbeson

Many thoughtful books on the subject of homeschooling have been published in recent years.  Some are full of ideas about learning and take the reader into the depths of philosophical thought.  Some are full of specific resources and advice about how to homeschool.  This isn’t one of them.

Highly intelligent people wrote those books.  I’m not one of them.

Let me give you some background. My husband John and I have two children, Melissa and Keith.  I was a full-time mom from the time my first child was born.  I didn’t want to miss a thing motherhood had to offer. Read more...

Itty Bitty Blessings
By Dawnelle Breum

Some days I feel like packing my kids off to school. I love baking cookies with my two boys, and listening to my daughter practice piano. Reading stacks of picture books from the library is a treat for everyone. And I enjoy the flexibility. But some days just don't go as planned.

For example, the other day I envisioned myself getting up and fixing a hot breakfast, then cleaning up while the kids played companionably together in the playroom. The house would be fresh and clean, and I would be eager to face the day. But this is what really happened. Read more...

The Truth about boys (and girls) and what to do about it
by Barbara Curtis

Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails? Sugar and spice and everything nice?

What are little boys and girls made of, after all? Before the sixties, this question sparked little controversy. You had a daughter, you raised a girl. You had a son, you raised a boy. But then along came the feminist movement, poking holes in all our preconceived notions of “girlness” and “boyness.” “We need to raise boys like we raise girls,” said Gloria Steinem—thus blessing “girl” behavior as the norm, and boy behavior as aberrant. Read more...

Be Realistic About Your Child's Attention Span

by Helen F. Neville, BS, RN

Convinced your toddler's attention span is no more than a few seconds? Guess what: you're probably right.

Although your face might keep a baby interested for a couple of minutes, a toy or book may hold your toddler's attention for as little as 30 seconds. If you're playing with the toy together or helping your child "read" the book, expect two or three minutes before it's time for something new.

That's the advice from Helen Fowler Neville, a pediatric nurse and author of "Is This a Phase? Child Development & Parent Strategies, Birth to 6 Years", who explains three components to attention span: Read more...

Single Parenting: Discovering Joy & Contentment
by Michele Howe

As single moms living in a high-tech society, it is so easy to become automatons. Self-dependent, self-sufficient, self-protective; to the nth degree we women have mastered the art of solo ways that are the most costly. Sure, we live in families, we may share an office, attend neighborhood gatherings, yet simultaneously we remain apart. Only as people venture forth with prudent self-story telling for the purpose enriching someone else's life will others offer simil Read more...

Knowing When To Back Off

by Barbara Frank

Sometimes new homeschooling moms ask me when they should teach their kids to read, or when to sign their children up for music lessons. New homeschooling moms naturally have a lot of questions, and some of them are “when” questions.

I think one of the most important questions a homeschooling mom can ask is when to back off, because sometimes we moms are so eager to do everything right that we overdo it.

For example, let’s say your child is learning how to subtract fractions, and it’s not going well. You can see that he’s coming close to the point of losing it. You try to explain the concept in a different way but he’s still not getting it. Instead, he’s getting teary-eyed. Read more...

Parents Must Decide

by Shirley M.R. Minster

When a child is born, he joins a small, loving community consisting of parents and perhaps siblings. Security grows as the dependent infant learns to rely on his parents. When he is cuddled, love grows between the cuddler and him because the distance from one to the other is very short so the bond grows strong. When he is a toddler, the distance gets longer, but the bonding process continues. The tyke knows that Mommy and Daddy are watching over him, providing limits that keep him safe as he explores his ever-increasing world. This security translates to love between parent and child. Read more...

Children Need Grandparents (and Grandparents Need Grandchildren)

by Linda Schrock Taylor

There must be thousands of families that would remove their children from public schools in order to homeschool them, if the parents had a better support system within their extended family unit, and especially if that support came from the grandparents of the children.

I hear from grandparents who fervently hope that their children decide to homeschool the grandchildren; who would love to be invited to be a part of the process.

I hear from young parents who wish that they could homeschool but feel that they cannot live on one paycheck. Many fear that they lack the skills to school their children, growing up as they have - themselves undereducated victims of the State school system. Read more...

In the News

Christian Couple Fights Texas Officials After Homeschooled Children Forcibly Removed From Home

DALLAS – Four of seven children who were forcibly removed from their home in Texas have now been returned to their parents after the Christian couple spent two months battling the government in court over their right to homeschool.
Trevor and Christina Tutt of Dallas have several years of experience helping at-risk children through both CPS foster care and the ministry Safe Families. In addition to five biological children (three of whom are now grown and living outside their home), the Tutts have three adopted children and are in the process of adopting another child.

“We very much want God to bring our new children, the children that He wants to be in our family, so we are open to whatever children He sends,” Mrs. Tutt told in late 2011. “Because of our experience with our children, we are specially equipped to handle children with special needs. In fact, we look for children with those special needs because there are so many children out there languishing in foster care because people don’t want to adopt a child who has extra challenges. It isn’t for everyone, but it is definitely for us!”
Read entire article...

Military Families Who Want to Home-School Their Children Find Support

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. — More military parents are embracing home schooling, rejecting the age-old tradition of switching schools for their children when they are redeployed.

They are finding support on bases, which are providing resources for families and opening their doors to home-schooling cooperatives. Read more...

From Previous Issues

The First Year of Homeschooling
Book Excerpt - Chapter 1
by Linda Dobson

Homeschooling Reactively

Reasons to homeschool hit a high in the reactive category. School’s dumbed-down academics were mentioned frequently, as was the opposite end of this spectrum; the inability of a classroom situation to address children’s different learning styles, creating problems for those who don’t learn in “the school way.” Many raised concerns about overt lessons or covert insinuations about values brought home more families, whether or not they were homeschooling for religious reasons. Parents made note of school bullying by both students and teachers, personality-altering peer dependence, disenchantment with learning, stress and resulting irritability, scheduling and transportation issues and, of course, safety concerns.

“I was reacting to the overwhelming pressures on children these days – both morally and otherwise,” Amy Cooper explains from Wilmore, Kentucky. “We could probably be called ‘reverse snobs’ in that we avoid – at all costs – the ‘latest and greatest’ in clothing, entertainment and everything else.”

Let’s Think About It
by Shirley M.R. Minster, M.S.Ed.

think: ‘to picture in one’s mind, to consider, to contemplate, plan’ (The World Book Dictionary)

Whether educating oneself or others, the process should always include thinking. That should be as obvious as the nose on one’s face, but adults do not seem to consider it often enough. Then frustration enters the picture. Adults perceive that actions are proof of what children believe, but this is not a good indicator. Actions may speak louder than words, but words are the better basis for good communication.

How a child processes what he hears plays a part in how he responds. For instance, I have coined a phrase called fishtank thinking. I call it this because it reminds me of how fish get their food. First fish flakes are poured onto the water and then they sink. A child hears the words someone says, needs time to process the words (flakes floating on the water), and then responds to the words. If a child is in a classroom or other situation where he must always respond immediately, he will exhibit signs of frustration, anger, or anxiety. Read more...

Socialization: Our Biggest Gripe With Homeschooling

by John O. Anderson

Yes, it has been a huge problem for our children. But with experience, we’ve learned to bring it largely under control.

You see, we live in Portland, Oregon. Before we moved here, we suspected it was a good place to homeschool. Talk about understatement! After a few years in this area, we’ve got lots of hard evidence that if there ever were a contest for America’s homeschooling mecca, Portland would easily make the short list. Read full article...

Play Pays: The Rich Benefits of Tree-Climbing, Firefly-Chasing,
Unstructured Play (and Why Your Kids Need More of It)

Madeline Levine, Ph.D.

“It’s too bad that the old-fashioned notion of summer as endless free time—to climb trees, chase fireflies, build a fort in the woods, maybe set up a lemonade stand—has fallen by the wayside,” says Levine, author of the New York Times bestseller, Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success. “This is what kids need—they need it far more than they need a high-priced summer camp or some other program aimed at cramming a little bit more learning into their exhausted brains.”

Play is serious business, insists Levine. We tend to see it as wasted time, but it’s actually anything but. Play is the work of childhood. It’s a classroom in which children develop a whole set of skills that really matter in life. Indeed, research shows that children who attend play-based preschools, as opposed to academic preschools, do significantly better in school down the line.

Read full article...

One Busy Guy
 by Barbara Frank
When I write about homeschooling and mention that all my children have pursued their own interests, I do mean ALL of them, even my youngest, who has Down syndrome.
I remember the social worker who told me, shortly after his birth, that he would watch his older siblings do things, but because of his innate lack of curiosity he wouldn’t do much himself. In fact, she actually said he would “watch the world go by.” As an involved parent with several years of childrearing under her belt, I found that very depressing.
Read full article...

Leaving Home by Jon Remmerde

One of our goals as parents was to help our daughters, Juniper and Amanda, achieve maturity and independence. We worked toward that goal through all the years we enjoyed living together as a close family, with most of our education guided by our family, by all of us working toward knowledge and wisdom together.

When Juniper and Amanda did go into the world on their own, Laura and I were ready, because that was the fulfillment of what we’d been working toward. Well, in truth, I was more ready than Laura was. Maybe that was partly because of some differences in the emotions of a mother and a father. Maybe it was partly because I knew deep in the area where all knowledge resides in me that the need for adventures on their own stirred early in our daughters. Read full article...


by Melanie Antonacci

I know I am not the only homeschool mother out there with this affliction!  I am sure every single one of you has suffered or is currently suffering from what I call Brick Wall Syndrome!  My case is chronic, although it does go into remission from time to time.  It is painful, and sometimes ugly.  Symptoms vary from one person to the next.  It is brought on by a glazy eyed child with a faraway look possibly in tears, saying, “I don’t get it!” after you have explained ”it” for the ump-teenth time!
Brick wall syndrome has driven many homeschooled children right into public school.  This is an option for treatment much like surgery, or pulling the plug.  A last resort, if you will.  However there are no guarantees it will not return in the form of “homework.”  Yes, it is a serious affliction for which there is no cure, but there are some excellent treatment options available.

Read article...

Royal Academy now offers more personalized services and a virtual classroom experience

Press Release
Gray, Maine, May 1, 2013

Royal Academy Education, Inc. a Maine Recognized School and Homeschooling service provider, is opening a second office in New England in order to service the needs of its growing operations worldwide.

 Penny Cote, MA and Shirley Minster M.Ed, Administrators of Royal Academy Education & Home Education & Family Services, have partnered to enhance educational services to current home educators and build upon technologically advanced opportunities in the digital world.  According to Penny, “a world of knowledge is at our finger tips; with the right tools we are able to guide an exceptional educational process for a student anywhere in the world, real time; we are doing that today through our Virtual Online Personal Presence classes and tutoring.” Read more...

In the News

Homeschool In the News and Headlines

White House Responds to Petition for Asylum for Christian Homeschooling Family:
No Comment
by Heather Clark

August 14, 2013

WASHINGTON — The White House responded to a petition on Monday that called for the granting of asylum to a Christian family who fled their homeland of Germany to homeschool their children, choosing not to comment on the matter.

As previously reported, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike fled to the United States in 2008 after German authorities demanded that they stop homeschooling their six children. Homeschooling was made illegal in the country in 1938 under the dictatorship of Adolph Hitler, and the law has never been repealed, but rather strengthened. In 2007, the German Supreme Court ruled that the country’s mandate that children be sent to public school is necessary to “counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.”

German officials have been cracking down on families that keep their sons and daughters at home, and have threatened them with fines, imprisonment and even the removal of the children from the household. The Romeike children were taken from their parents for a time before fleeing to the United States for refuge.

In 2010, Memphis immigration judge Lawrence Burman granted the family asylum, stating that he believed the Romeike’s would face persecution for their faith if they returned to Germany.

“[The law is] utterly repellent to everything we believe as Americans,” Burman ruled. “Homeschoolers are a particular social group that the German government is trying to suppress. This family has a well-founded fear of persecution … therefore, they are eligible for asylum … and the court will grant asylum.”

However,  the United States Department of Justice soon appealed the hearing, and every court has denied the family asylum ever since, asserting that the family is not facing persecution for homeschooling as the requirement applies to all German citizens–not just Christians.

“The Romeikes [have] not shown that Germany’s enforcement of its general school-attendance law amounts to persecution against them, whether on grounds of religion or membership in a recognized social group,” the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this past May. “There is a difference between the persecution of a discrete group and the prosecution of those who violate a generally applicable law.”

In addition to fighting the matter in the courts, the Virginia-based Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) filed an online petition this spring with the White House, urging the U.S. government to grant asylum to the family.

“Every state in the United States of America recognizes the right to homeschool, and the U.S. has the world’s largest and most vibrant homeschool community. Regrettably, this family faces deportation in spite of the persecution they will suffer in Germany,” it stated. “The Romeikes hope for the same freedom our forefathers sought. Please grant the privilege of liberty to the Romeike family.”

The White House responds to petitions that generate a minimum of 100,000 signatures within a 30-day period. The Romeike petition exceeded the needed amount of signatures, ending with 127,258 signees by the deadline.

On Monday–four months after submission, the White House responded to the petition, but said it could not comment on the case.
“To the extent that these petitions request a particular law enforcement or adjudicatory action, or address a matter before the courts, we cannot issue a comment,” it wrote.

“But while we can’t comment on this particular issue, we know that homeschooling is a popular option for many parents pursuing high academic standards for their children,” the White House continued. “Homeschooling can provide young people with the resources and attention they need to succeed academically, and we understand why their parents value this freedom.”
Michael Ferris, president of HSLDA, said that he is disappointed with the response from the Obama administration.

“No one can understand why the White House is showing so much leniency to millions of immigrants who have come here illegally in hopes of securing better jobs, but is so determined to deport this one family who has come to America in search of freedom for themselves and their children,” he stated. “This petition was the perfect opportunity for the White House to explain why this administration appealed the original grant of asylum. This was a perfect opportunity for the White House to explain the blatantly unequal treatment being received by the Romeike family. But the White House stalled for four months and said absolutely nothing.”

“When the White House simply notes that parents value their own freedom, it stops dangerously short in its statement,” Ferris said. “Where is the ringing endorsement that parental freedom is a fundamental human right? The White House silence on this point says a great deal.”


Local home-school families pleased with new law

Va. home-school law under attack from former student

Foundation offering homeschool dual enrollment scholarships Foundation_offering_homeschool_dual_enrollment_sch.html

From Our Previous Issues

Homeschooling for Safety
 By Barbara Frank
This morning, my jaw dropped when I heard radio host Dennis Miller repeatedly tell a caller who was upset about the horrendous school shootings in Connecticut that he should consider pulling his young daughter out of school and homeschooling her. Miller was clearly serious.

I’m not used to hearing homeschooling being recommended by people like Dennis Miller, but in the wake of the awful event at Sandy Hook, I can see where shaken parents all over the country are looking at their children and thinking, “How can I protect them?” when dropping them off at school each day no longer looks like a safe thing to do.
Read Full Article...

The Tenth Intelligence by David H. Albert

That best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love. William Wordsworth,
~from "Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey"

I have on occasion wondered what it might have been like to go through life as a Robin.

I never had the opportunity to find out. In the second month of the first grade at P.S. 131, my public elementary school in New York City, we were separated into “Bluebirds and Robins”. (I have since discovered that in other schools there were also “Sparrows”, who were “Special Ed” children before Special Ed was invented, those destined to ride “the short bus.”*) I don’t remember any test being involved; we were just told we were either Robins or Bluebirds and that was that. Read Full Article...

Americans Warned: Homeschoolers Stripped of Rights

BERLIN -- Recently, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said that homeschooling is not a parent's right. It is a statement some are saying should frighten American parents.

Nations like Germany and Sweden show that when governments take away homeschooling rights, it's a slippery slope to no parental rights. 

America the Refuge or Not

The Romeike family came to the United States from Germany five years ago hoping to find refuge. They wanted to homeschool their children in freedom and a federal judge granted them asylum.
But now the Obama administration has been trying to deport them, arguing that homeschooling is not a right. The case is currently before a federal appeals court.
Read Full Article ...

Addicted to Experts by Linda Dobson

Book Excerpt from The Art of Education

"We have a right," our forefathers cried once upon a time, “to think for ourselves." We have surrendered that right, not to a dictatorial, hostile monarchy overseas, but to our own government's institutions. And oh, the tangled web these institutions have woven.

A web, because their "experts" pervade every area of our lives today. Tangled, because they work hand-in-hand. Woven, because they get closer to marriage every day we remain asleep.

It all begins in school, folks. By law, it is required that you attend. (That you learn is not required, that school be the best place for you to learn is not required, just that you attend.) Read Full Article...

A Child’s Place is in the Kitchen; How Cooking Advances Learning

by Laura Grace Weldon

It’s easier to cook when our kids aren’t in the way. Besides, bubbling pots and sharp knives are hardly child friendly. But there are many reasons why our children belong in the kitchen. One is the way their learning advances as they stir, chop and converse with us. What may seem like average culinary tasks are actually rich educational projects for them.

Yes, it takes longer when Mason snips cilantro, Sophie reads the recipe aloud and Mia mixes. A lot longer. And you’ve got places to go, probably places to take your darling children like T-ball practice or that great science program at the museum. That’s how we parent our kids these days — we eat and run to keep up with our busy child-centered lives. But research shows that exactly the sort of learning that happens during hands-on,purposeful experiences (like cooking together) is highly valuable. There’s a lot less research showing that our beloved children benefit from rushing to adult run programs.
Read Full Article...

More From Previous Issues

Stretch Like Elastigirl!
(The marvel of the homeschool mother!)

By Barbara Frank

In the movie “The Incredibles,” a pair of retired superheroes marry, have a
family and settle down…or so they think, because before long they’re yanked out
of retirement to save the world from an evil genius.
How astute of the movie’s creator to make the character of the mother
someone who can change shape in order to help her children! Being “elastic” is a
necessity for all moms; adapting ourselves to the needs of our families is a
regular event for us. And never is this truer than in the case of homeschooling
moms, because we’re faced with so many changing situations as we work with our
families. For instance: [10]Read Article

What Kids Learn From Chores
(or More Proof That Suffering Builds Character)
By: Dr. James G. Wellborn

Like so many parental expectations and requirements, getting your kid in the
habit of doing chores will help prepare them for the real world (if you can ever
get them to move out).

Here are some of the benefits kids derive from assigned chores.
• Responsibility (or “I’m not your maid.”)  When you make a mess YOU are
obligated to clean it up.  The most straightforward reason your kid needs to do
chores is to drive the point home that he is responsible for his actions in the
world (and the messes he makes).
• Personal Obligation (or “You helped create this mess now get up and help clean
it up!”)  When you live with other people, you’re obliged to contribute to the
general upkeep of common living areas.  Chores help your kid learn to pull her
own weight when it comes to keeping shared spaces clean (so she doesn’t end up
moving back home because even her friends consider her a slob). [11]Read

Much Too Early by David Elkind

(Editor's Note: Children must be protected from early institutionalization - and
also from very formal early educational methods. They DO NOT need to be herded
into classrooms - Jane Boswell)

Children must master the language of things before they master the language of
words.”—Friedrich Froebel, Pedagogics of the Kindergarten, 1895

In one sentence, Froebel, father of the kindergarten, expressed the essence
of early-childhood education. Children are not born knowing the difference
between red and green, sweet and sour, rough and smooth, cold and hot, or any
number of physical sensations. The natural world is the infant’s and young
child’s first curriculum, and it can only be learned by direct interaction with
things. There is no way a young child can learn the difference between sweet and
sour, rough and smooth, hot and cold without tasting, touching, or feeling
something. Learning about the world of things, and their various properties, is
a time-consuming and intense process that cannot be hurried.
Read Article...

Early Childhood Education: The Case Against Direct Instruction of Academic Skills By Alfie Kohn

"The earlier [that schools try] to inculcate so-called 'academic' skills, the
deeper the damage and the more permanent the 'achievement' gap."
-- Deborah Meier

Some of the most ambitious and expensive educational evaluations conducted in
this country have looked at programs growing out of Head Start – that is,
programs begun in the 1960s to help disadvantaged young children.  One of those
efforts, known as Follow Through, was originally intended to provide support for
children after they left preschool.  Threatened by the Nixon Administration with
a loss of funding, Follow Through was hastily reinvented as an experiment
involving more than a dozen different models of instruction at more than a
hundred sites around the country.  Among the results of that comparison was the
finding that some programs emphasizing basic skills – in particular, a model
known as Direct Instruction, in which teachers read from a prepared script in
the classroom, drilling young children on basic skills in a highly controlled,
even militaristic fashion, and offering reinforcement when children produce the
correct responses – appeared to produce the best results.  Proponents of this
kind of teaching have trumpeted this finding ever since as a vindication of
their model. Read Article ...


Awesome prizes and life changing experiences await those who enter the College + Missions Scholarship Contest. Find out how you can win $5,000 towards your degree and an amazing life experience by clicking below. Click here for Details...

Taking Care of the Homeschooling Mother (or Father)
by Amanda Bennett

We hug them, love them, teach them, and share with them - wiping away tears, assuring them that monsters are not in the closet or under the bed, even helping them through algebra. We are our children's caretakers and we care for them so deeply and completely that we sometimes forget to care for ourselves. If we get too stretched out and burned out, we aren't as effective at taking care of others very well.

One of the things that I learned through my early years of homeschooling and being a full time mom was that I had to take care of MOM first. One of the best analogies for this is the statement that is made when you are going through the safety talk before takeoff on an airplane - when the oxygen masks drop in an emergency, the adult should put their mask on first, then assist the child with theirs. We can't help them if we are incapacitated - that's my interpretation. And this holds true in all that we do, particularly when it comes to parental well-being and the individual feeling of fulfillment. Read article...

Teens: Who They Really Are by Alison McKee

It seems to me that the overall opinion about teenagers is that they are to be dreaded and endured. I've come across this attitude more than once. As a parent, I have to admit that I have had my share of moments of dread. To be fair, though, I also have to admit that bad moments are not all there is to parenting teens.

Most of the time our teens are simply normal everyday kids. They have their sore spots and they have their moments of stardom, but the rest of the time they are quite unremarkable. When we lose sight of this fact, we tend to focus our attention on the extremes, thus leaving teens feeling as though they are only worthy of our recognition when they are either shining or having a rough time. I've lived with teens long enough to know that this is a trap that is easy to fall into. Read article...

Shedding the Adult Agenda by Barbara Frank

I’ve always admired unschoolers for their relaxed approach to learning. Yet while my own style of homeschooling has become much more relaxed over the years, I will never be called an unschooler because I am incapable of being one. It is simply not in my personality.

Do the math: I’m a first-born (yes, there are Kevin Leman books on my shelves), public-schooled, Missouri Synod Lutheran (Lutherans live for and by their routines), child of a career military man. Let’s face it, I was never meant to be an unschooler. Read article...

Let's Write! Writing Prose With Flow

National Writing Institute (by Dave Marks)

The following exercise is designed to teach in about five days, students who are in grades six through ninth, that: 1) ideas in sentences can be connected; 2) ideas can flow from one sentence to the next; and 3) they can make ideas in their writing flow from one bit of information to the next one.

This exercise speaks directly to the student and you shouldn’t have to read it or interpret it to your children. Give it to them and tell them that everything that they might need to do it is contained within it. Don’t help them with it until they get stuck. Read article...

Homeschooling and the All Important Family
by Rachel Gathercole

The homeschooling movement is absolutely exploding with growth. Since 2000, the homeschooling population has been growing at the astounding rate of at least 10 to 20 percent per year. Literally millions of families are homeschooling in the United States alone. What is it that draws so many people to this trend? Through all the talking and listening I have done with hundreds of diverse homeschoolers across the country, one common theme has emerged as the most important advantage to homeschoolers: family unity. This element of homeschooling is of the utmost importance to homeschoolers, who consider it the cornerstone of (and the greatest boon to) their children’s social development. Read article...

"Homeschool Split-Personality Disorder" ... A Recovery Program by Diane Flynn Keith

Do you vacillate between child-led, developmentally appropriate, interest-initiated unschooling on one hand, and traditional, structured, academic-based education on the other? These mood-altering swings in methodology creep up unexpectedly on homeschooling parents and are often exacerbated by events beyond their control. I know. I am recovering from homeschool split-personality disorder.
Read article...

visit us on FACEBOOK

Home Educator's Family Times - P.O. Box 107 - Abingdon, MD 21009
Contact Us
Advertising Information

©2013 All Rights Reserved