Category Archives: Education Resources

Summertime school work: yay or nay?

Summer is almost here, or rather it IS here! Time to see what everyone has said about doing schoolwork during summer time.

Personally, our family does it all year round, but not every day. Often our activities require a deep commitment for long periods of time, and sometimes there is not much time left. During those times we stick to the basics: math, reading, a bit of science and history, foreign language and either music or art, but not during the days that we either need to be out, or studying for something specific. That’s why I have always felt that summer is essential to keep up. We use the down time to catch up to work that was missed due to other commitments.

Lets see the results!

Here is the original question:

Summertime school work: yay or nay?

With the summer coming up, what do you choose to do. Do you continue to do school-work throughout the summer (what ever 'school-work' means to you and your family)? Or do you take the summer 'off' and just take it easy.

The options were as follows:

  • Yes, we do schoolwork all year long.
  • We will do some educational activities, but not a ‘full on’ school day.
  • Nope, we just prefer to have the summer off for good fun.
  • We are happy unschoolers, we learn all the time.

So far we have had 49 responses, and here is how they broke down:

Summertime school work: yay or nay?

Amazingly, 52% of people that responded do some form of schoolwork throughout the summer! I am glad to know that I am not alone.

It is not to late to weigh in here. Here is a link to this question. 

We also got some pretty interesting comments. Many people feel like they fall in between to doing some educational activities and being happy unschoolers. After all, happy unschoolers do a lot of different educational activities all the time.

Here is an interesting one, especially to those of us with pre-teens: “When my kids were young, we “schooled” year-round. Summer didn’t look much different from the rest of year. However, once my kids reached high school age, things naturally started to shift to more of a school-year schedule with Summer’s off, simply because they started taking online courses and county college classes that already had that type of schedule built in.” 

Here is our next survey question:

Using an Out of a Box Curriculum:

Is the choosing a set curriculum important to you, or do you prefer to piece it together. Do you have an out of a box curriculum you love, and would like to recommend (leave a comment). Or do you prefer to have your kids lead you into a direction of their choosing and explore that way.

Have a question? Ask it below:

Which question would you like to be answered by homeschoolers everywhere? Please know, all the questions will remain anonymous, and your personal information will never be shared with anyone.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Homeschooling

I was asked by a reader to write about the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling.  I made my best to have as honest a view as I can, with as little bias as I can muster.  Each statement is generalized, obviously there are families, schools, teachers, situations, and circumstances that are outside of the generalization.

First, let me clarify my personal opinion (please keep in mind that this is an opinion, and nothing else). Obviously, I homeschool, so I feel like the advantages of homeschooling overweight the disadvantages, for our family. I do not think that homeschooling is for every family. It works for some, and doesn’t for others. Each family has to do what works best for them and their family. Also, public schools are not to be discounted. Most of them have caring and passionate teachers, amazing programs, and a lot of fantastic resources. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Homeschooling

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Homeschooling

Advantages of Homeschooling

1.  Personalized education for the kids: You and your family get to choose and plan the path you want to follow: from knowledge to education style. From traditional school at home, to road schooling, to unschooling, you can find the right fit for your family!

2. Rich Family Life: You will most definitely have more time together with yours kids and as a family, especially when they are younger.  Which could be a huge plus in their beginning years.

3.  Travel: When you homeschool you have the ability to travel not on a traditional school schedule. That means you go places when they are less expensive, and much less crowded.  Be warned though, you become completely spoiled. When you chance upon a place during a weekend, or spring break, you will totally have a “What is this?!” sort of thing.

4. Friendships and Relationships: The kids get to choose friendships more carefully because they aren’t in the classroom. With bullying on the rise in schools it is becoming a serious concern for parents and educators alike. Homeschooling offers a wider ability to choose which relationships are healthy and which are not. You get more wiggle room, so to speak.

5. Less Pressure: While homeschooling there is less pressure to keep up with what is popular, and the peer pressure is certainly less for a homeschooled child.

6. Versatility: Your children will be able to interact with people of all ages.  They are comfortable talking as equals to adults, and play well with kids well below their age.

7. Bad Habits: while less susceptible to peer pressure, kids are also less likely to pick up bad habits from their environment when they homeschool vs. in school.

8. Diving Deep: When you homeschool, you can focus more on things that interest the kids: exploring their talents, diving deep into subject areas that they find fascinating, and directing their focus. Also, as I found out with my own family, our school doesn’t offer many of the things my kids want to learn: archery, fencing, Russian, how to play an accordion, astronomy.  We get to explore the subjects in depth, find people that are passionate about it, talk to them, learn from them. It takes effort and time, but it’s worth it.

9. The Choices: Remember #1: you can choose the right path for your family. Well, you certainly have a lot to choose from. From curriculum, books, activities.  There is a lot out there.  There are so many ways to go about homeschooling. You can choose from a pretty much limitless amount of resources.

10. Ability to Jump Start College Education: kids that homeschool through high school often have the ability to take college courses while they are in high school, giving them an opportunity to acquire credits and sometimes even a degree before they technically finish high-school.

Disadvantages of Homeschooling

1. Access To School Resources: You will not have access to some of the wonderful programs that schools have to offer: from speech therapy to sports and music programs. Of course there are schools that open their doors to homeschoolers on a part time basis, but that does not happen often. Not only that, but whichever resources you need or want, you are going to pay for them out of pocket as a homeschooler.

2. Access To Testing: All the testing (if you are so inclined) has to be done by the parent, as opposed to be offered by the school.  If you are not a proponent of testing, that actually might be considered an advantage.

3. Lack of Second Income: Although in some cases you will see families that homeschool have both parents go to work, more often one of the parents winds up staying home. Therefore, lack of second income is a disadvantage.

4. Career Growth For The Parent: staying home comes with an opportunity cost in terms of career growth. The parent that stays home does not get to have much of a career growth. Again not always, but often. Another thing is finding the time to yourself do pursue your own interests.

5. Missing on the Structure: While homeschooling, the schedule can be more unstructured and free (which could be a big plus), however school provides a structure which is also very useful in life.

6. More Pressure: When the weight of your children’s education is on your shoulders it can feel like a ton of weight.  It can be overwhelming. Homeschooling can be overwhelming on many different levels, especially if the parent/family doesn’t have  good support (emotional, logistical and otherwise) in place.

7. Finding a Tribe Is Hard: When you are a homeschooler sometimes it can be hard to find your tribe: a group of people your kids get along with, and you are good friends with the parents.  It takes time (often a long time) and effort. Though I suppose same can be said about many school situations as well.

8. Driving: Driving is most definitely a disadvantage. I know that most homeschoolers (myself included) do a lot of driving. I should sign up for Uber, that’s how much driving I do.  A lot!!

9. The Questions: I think every homeschooler will tell you: they get a lot of questions! “How about socialization?” “What about college?” “Are you sure you are qualified?” It can be quite a lot, but usually the questions come from a good heart,  approach with humor. Or you could just wear a funny homeschooling T-shirt.

10.  Homeschooling is Time Consuming: homeschooling takes up a lot of time, both from the parents and the kids. From finding the right activities to the right curriculum, the choices are endless and need time to research.

HOMESCHOOL IN NJ HAPPENINGS FOR DECEMBER 2015 AND JANUARY 2016

I would love to hear what you think about about it. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of Homeschooling?

Create your own user feedback survey

You might also like to read this:

Five Things I Wish I Knew Before I Began Homeschooling

 

Interviews

My goal for this website is to provide a wide spectrum of knowledge, certainly wider then my own personal one.  I am eager to learn from them and be inspired by the possibilities out there, and hope that other people will be too.  I love the idea of interviewing other parents that pursue alternative routes of education, homemakers that go far beyond the home, educators that are innovative and exciting, and so much more. As a community, we have so much to offer to each other, and seeing world from another person’s perspective can be eye opening. The possibilities are endless! My hope is that these interviews will encourage and inspire everyone that reads them.

Many thanks to the lovely people that have taken the time to answer my questions! I cannot thank you enough!The Happy Homeschooler Interviews

Let’s Explore Together Interviews Series

Interview With JoJo

Interview With JoJo The Happy Homeschooler

Our interview today is with Jojo Tabares: a wonderful mom that has homeschooled for many years, all while dealing with chronic illness, running a business (Art of Eloquence, and Jojisms.com) and more. She has kindly agreed to share her perspective, her experience, and her sense of humor with us in this interview. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Interview With Gypsy Road Homeschoolers

Interview With Gypsy Road Homeschoolers
Photo from gypsyroadschool.blogspot.com, used with permission, all rights reserved by gypsyroadschool.blogspot.com

Today’s interview is with an awesome road schooling family from over on Gypsy Road. Their family is a road schooling family, and education includes a lot of travel and hands on learning while on the road. I think it is just fantastic! They certainly know how to have adventures together as a family, and have a lot of good knowledge to share with others.  Join them on their journey as they homeschool across the USA.

Interview With The Kaponay Family

Meet an amazing family of world travelers! Read a wonderfully illuminating interview with the Kaponay family.  You can also, meet them in person next week in Farmingdale, NJ.

If you would like to do an interview, drop us a note (you can use the ‘contact us’ option).

Foreign Language Resources for Homeschoolers

A second or even a third language can be an amazing asset to anyone. However, learning a whole other language can be a tricky thing. The easiest way would be to move to a community that speaks mostly in that language and learn there, but as we all know, that is not always an option. So what do we do? We find other resources and use them consistently. Here are some of our foreign language resources for homeschoolers (or anyone that wants to learn another language) that we have tried and liked.

Actually, there are quite a few different programs and books to look at and try. My family has tried the ones I talk about here. The kids are learning Russian, and at some point they were learning Spanish as well. I am working on my Spanish at the moment.

Foreign Language Resources for Homeschoolers

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History Resources For Homeschoolers

History doesn’t have to be boring, in fact it can be a lot of fun.  Our favorite way to learn history around here is by reading fascinating books, and watching fantastic documentaries, but that’s not all! It’s not just about learning names, dates and events, but about understanding life from a perspective of another culture, another time frame, a different mind set. Broadening our perspective with every book, every documentary and every field trip. Talking to people.  Listening to stories, and loving every minute of it.

Here is a list of our favorite history resources for homeschoolers.

Historical Places To Visit Around NJ History Resources For Homeschoolers

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Books:

Continue reading History Resources For Homeschoolers

What Do You Do To Relax

It is time. Time to see what everyone has said about the way they choose to relax after a hard day of homeschooling.

Here is the original question:

You know when you have one of those days when you homeschool. When your kid suddenly forgets what 3+3, and when it's time for piano practice, his finger suddenly gets a cramp, and the paper doesn't look right, and the illustration in a book is just too scary to read on. Yes, one of those days. When you just want to throw your hands up and just give up. Don't give up! Instead, see what everyone does to relax on a day like that. Share your way to relax on a day like that below!

Here is what you have answered:

What Do You Do To RelaxWhat Do You Do To RelaxIn the last chart I have organized the responses from highest to lowest.  It seems that relaxing with your favorite TV show or with your favorite book while having a cup of tea takes the cake! I personally prefer a walk, or art.  Every person gave a different response, of course there is no mold that fits everyone.  We even got someone who enjoys folding and sorting laundry (I have to say, I find it a bit satisfying too. 😉 ). I have also taken the verbal responses, grouping them together the best I could think of how and created answers based on them.

So grab a book and a cup of tea, and spend a few minutes resting, because it is so important to remember to take care of ourselves.

In the meantime I have another fun survey question.

With the summer coming up, what do you choose to do. Do you continue to do school-work throughout the summer (what ever 'school-work' means to you and your family)? Or do you take the summer 'off' and just take it easy.

Create your own user feedback survey

If you would still like to weigh in on the relaxation question, you can do so below:

Create your own user feedback survey

FIVE THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I BEGAN HOMESCHOOLING What do you do to relax

Would you like to ask a question for the next survey? Do it here.

Survey Fun For Homeschoolers

Now, who doesn’t have fun with surveys?

I thought it would be fun to ask some awesome questions of our fellow homeschoolers.  Positive and encouraging questions.  Questions that the answers to might be helpful to others homeschooling.

Just so you know all the answers will always remain anonymous.  We will post the generalized results of each question in a post below.  Currently we are planning on using SurveyMonkey to collect our answers.

I truly hope you enjoy this feature, because I think it will be a lot of fun!

Survey Fun For Homeschoolers

Using an Out of a Box Curriculum:

Is the choosing a set curriculum important to you, or do you prefer to piece it together. Do you have an out of a box curriculum you love, and would like to recommend (leave a comment). Or do you prefer to have your kids lead you into a direction of their choosing and explore that way.

Previous Questions:

Summertime school work: yay or nay?

What do you do to relax?

Survey Fun For Homeschoolers: get your questions answered by everyone!

Have a question? Ask it below:

Which question would you like to be answered by homeschoolers everywhere? Please know, all the questions will remain anonymous, and your personal information will never be shared with anyone.

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Free Online Resources For Homeschoolers

Homeschooling is not free, in fact it can get very expensive, and very quickly.  It can be a lot less expensive as long as you visit the local library and utilize some of these free resources listed below.  Some of these are amazing, and I can’t believe I haven’t heard of them until I started researching more.

When I started out, it was going to be a list of 25 resources, but it quickly went up to 50, and that was just from memory.  I decided to dig deeper.  As I read more and more about, the list kept growing.  It has surpassed 100 resources at this point! I will add more as more of these wonderful resources come to my attention!

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Free Online Resources For Homeschoolers

Free Online Resources For Homeschoolers Continue reading Free Online Resources For Homeschoolers

Six Flags Read To Succeed For Homeschoolers

If you live next to a Six Flags theme park then this is for you! 

Six Flags has a wonderful program for kids in grades K to 6, where they can earn a free Six Flags ticket for accumulating reading for six hours. It has to be six hours of recreational reading, but it can be from any source: newspaper, comic book, magazine, novel.  What ever it is that sparks your kids’ interested can be read.  The only reading that counts toward the hours is the reading done FOR FUN! The program is open to schools, so if your child is in school, his or her teacher would need to make the registration and keep track of the hours.  At the end, all the students and the teacher receive a ticket to Six Flags. Continue reading Six Flags Read To Succeed For Homeschoolers