Homeschooling the Child Who Won’t Listen: Deschooling

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Homeschooling the Child Who Won’t Listen: Deschooling and Trust-Building

There is hardly a more frustrating parenting experience than asking my child to do something for the seventh time, in vain. Not only does it feel like a parenting failure, but it simply hurts my feelings. Seeing as we all want to move away from the antagonistic teacher-pupil dynamic, let’s plan how to create a more cooperative homeschool environment.

From compulsory tests that make a child feel thoroughly stupid, to the savage, demeaning humor of his peers, school puts all but the most self-assured children into defensive positions. They are so occupied with maintaining a sense of self, that initiating creative learning projects is the last thing on their mind. 

Educating at home can erase many of these defensive behaviors. But it often takes a period of deschooling for the parent-child relationship to fully flower.

Reset Your Relationship

It’s a small wonder then that listening to a parent’s theory of column multiplication is a low priority. We must give time for the relationship to reset. If my children see me as a teacher who is employed to make sure they pass tests, I will be negotiated with more than listened to

But I am not an employee, I am their parent, who would adore them even if they refused to learn a thing. Give enough time for trust in this to grow. 

Allow a few months when you expect no formal work and they stop seeing everything as a test of their progress. A listening child can grow in these months.

Judgement-Free Learning

As your relationship stops stinking to them of their previously antagonistic teacher-to-child and peer-to-peer relationships, this is the perfect opportunity to allow certain skills to flourish. Don’t take it personally if they initially don’t seem to care. Just being exposed to these skills is doing more than it seems at this stage 

  • Print out your household budget and talk about it.
  • Play strategy board games together.
  • Volunteer at church or other community projects together.
  • Read aloud while she/he works on a puzzle.

Don’t think of this as a new set of knowledge-tests but as a series of invitations into meaningful work. Once they sense your genuine respect for their competence as workers and learners, they will start considering you more as a research assistant than an exam invigilator.

Do Less

In the periods when my children are more belligerent, I notice myself compensating with more and stricter rules. This spiral of my grasping for more and more control results in their going to greater and greater measures to reject it. 

Very seldom does the answer lie in more severe punishment.

When I was teaching math to my seven-year-old daughter daily, I started panicking when she was retaining almost nothing. Initially I thought she needed more time studying math, but it wasn’t working. I gave her the choice, and she decided to have no math at all

I was very disappointed, but I focused on my younger son, who is naturally more interested. After a few months, my daughter wanted to get involved again. This time she was the researcher, and I was the assistant. 

Don’t be afraid to take a break from the problem subjects.

Respectable Rules

Removing all boundaries will not work, but enforce few enough that when a rule is encountered, it is taken seriously. A command is more likely to be listened to when it is rare and well-reasoned. 

This means they will often do things I am not comfortable with, but it is not appropriate for me to put my foot down. I can advise that they use a piece of cardboard under the page so that the markers don’t seep into the page below, but if they insist on it, we have to agree to disagree. Guilt-tripping is useless in this case. Children must feel accepted by me even when they are stubborn or irrational.

Healthy Belligerence

Belligerence is basically self-direction. It’s not something to be killed off; it’s something to be trained like a vine, growing in the right direction. 

We want children who are belligerent about justice and truth. Belligerence doesn’t mean disobedience, but be assured that a dictatorship will grow a dissident. 

The Listener Grows at Home

Know that the home is the best vine-trainer. The parent loves with a depth that no teacher can. Deep roots grow in this deep soil, regardless of the season. We can only open up the spaces in which the sun shines and give the vine time enough to grow there.

Just as the sun shines regardless of the stature of the plant, some things are worth saying even when our children never seem to listen to them.Eventually, a child who listens will bloom, even when it comes to formal work. But all we can do is provide the soil and sun. Usually that means doing less—taking away that which blocks the light. 

Be slow to angry enforcement and quick to encourage the skills they love. They will trust you to direct them, and they will open to the sun above.

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Can Parents Who Have ADHD Homeschool Their Children?

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Can Parents Who Have ADHD Homeschool Their Children?

When I visit homeschool blogs, I see parents who have it all together. 

  • Some have great tips for how to fill out a planner. Those parents have confidence that once the planner is filled, it’s going to be fairly accurate all year and not need to be erased and revamped at least weekly. That’s not what my planner looks like.
  • Other blogs have beautifully coordinated activities they planned weeks in advance. While I do add a lot of extras and activities, I tend to always be playing catch-up and always plan more than I manage to accomplish. When it comes to extra projects, we tend to either not have the supplies on hand because I forgot to plan ahead, or I will forget about them until we are three weeks past the book they coordinate with. 
  • There are parents who have a consistent weekly routine, where they tend to get the same things done at the same time every week. I, on the other hand, face dozens of hurdles that derail my plans on an almost minute-by-minute basis.

I have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). And homeschooling seemed insurmountable for me at first. 

I had only one student my first year, and even then getting organized and staying on track seemed to be beyond what I could manage. There were always hundreds of things to do that seemed equally important. I always wanted to try every new thing and sample every new program, but I had very little motivation to finish any of them. I had to teach myself how to do things that come instinctively to others, such as being consistent, establishing a routine, and prioritizing. 

Why Is Teaching with ADHD So Much Harder?

Teaching with ADHD is far more difficult than teaching without ADHD. This list of ways is long, but if it describes you, don’t lose hope. There are methods that can help you overcome. 

The symptoms of ADHD seem to contradict best practices when it comes to teaching. Instead of being organized, disciplined, and a good master of time, people with ADHD tend to exhibit all the opposites. 

  • Hyperactivity: Reading aloud and helping children with math problems is hard for a parent who always wants to be on the move since these tasks require staying in one place for an extended period of time.
  • Impulsivity: I have a hard time resisting buying more programs than we have time for, and then trying to do them all anyway. I also am constantly wanting to interrupt what we are doing to try something else or add something I forgot about. 
  • Disorganization: As hard as I try to keep things organized, something always seems to be missing just about the time I am ready to start homeschooling. At the grocery store, I always seem to forget the one thing we need for our science projects. We’ve neglected entire subjects for weeks at a time due to my lack of organization. 
  • Problems Prioritizing: Deciding what to do next (or even what to do first) is very difficult when everything seems important. Deciding what to leave out is even harder. What makes it more difficult is when the priorities change from day to day or minute to minute. 
  • Difficulty Making Decisions: There are times I feel like every decision is a big decision. Whether to break now for a meal when my children are getting restless or keep on reading to the end of the chapter because I know it will be hard to come back to it later... Whether to do math first or reading first...I see hundreds of details to factor into making every decision. And each option seems almost equally important. 
  • Poor Time-Management Skills: Planning can be an issue if I don’t allow adequate time for our activities. We are constantly going over and under our allotted times, with the majority taking longer than I planned for, meaning we run out of time to do it all. I also struggle with getting places on time, so I don’t sign us up for a lot of activities. 
  • Difficulty Focusing: With six children constantly interrupting and asking questions, focusing becomes harder and harder as our day goes on. As the pressure to make decisions and stay on tasks builds, so do my headaches. 
  • Struggle with Follow Through: For me, trying new things is exciting. Finishing them, however, does not often provide me with a sense of satisfaction. This means I am far more likely to try something new than to ever finish it. 
  • Frequent Mood Swings: My brain is very busy, all day long. It is constantly going through hundreds of thoughts, all of which seem important because of the problems with prioritizing, and most thoughts lead to more thoughts.
  • Racing Thoughts: It wasn’t until I was almost 30 that I realized most people don’t think the way I do. Have you ever read the joke about getting older, where the person starts a task, such as going out to wash their car, but get sidetracked by the mail, the fridge, and watering the plants, and by the end of the day, they are worn out but have accomplished almost nothing? That’s a good description of how my brain thinks almost every minute of every day. I’m constantly bombarded by hundreds of thoughts at once, and each thought leads to another, until another homeschooling day has passed, and I’m barely halfway down the list. This constant barrage of thoughts interrupts the thoughts I’m currently having, and so I get easily distracted and forget to stay on task. 

How Can I Make Teaching with ADHD Manageable (And Even Successful)

Because of my daily struggles with symptoms of ADHD, many might think I can’t enjoy homeschooling or I have a hard time teaching. That couldn’t be further from the truth. 

While I do have my share of problems to overcome, I have, with the help of my husband, children, and friends, managed to develop some awesome coping techniques. In addition, homeschooling is actually one of my most peaceful times of day. When I use a well-laid out schedule like the one Sonlight provides, and have a great routine built up, I have fewer concerns, fewer racing thoughts, and am able to relax and enjoy my children (and myself) more.

Sonlight’s Instructor’s Guides have helped me so much, because much of what I needed is built right in. The schedule is laid out, so I don't have to decide what to do first. Each assignment is broken into small, manageable assignments to fit into a certain time frame. It is beautifully organized and has a variety of activities which balance my impulsivity. Because Bible and prayer are part of Sonlight’s plan, I can easily start off our sessions in the right mindset and keep going longer.

Here are tips to make counteract the symptoms of ADHD in your homeschool.

  • Hyperactivity: Build activity into your day. Schedule breaks as often as you need them. Incorporate high-activity exercises, such as vigorous cleaning, going for a walk, or playing with your children to break up longer periods of inactivity. 
  • Impulsivity: Use your impulsivity to your advantage. Instead of interrupting your plan to do something impulsive, use finishing your day as a reward to do whatever impulsive project or activity you would like to try.
  • Disorganization: Instead of allowing my disorganization to run amok, I have taken to being overstocked whenever possible. I try to buy crayons and tape in bulk during the summer school supply sales and keep a healthy stock of printer paper and pipe cleaners on hand. If we do suddenly find ourselves needing a random supply, I quickly order it online so I don’t have to try to remember it on our next trip to the store. Also, when I am feeling behind and overwhelmed (and can’t seem to remember that I’m not really behind anyone except the imaginary picture of where I think I ought to be that’s in my head), I take a few days or a week off, and catch up so I can start fresh and feel more on-track.
  • Problems Prioritizing: Color-coding with markers and sticky notes helps me prioritize: very important things in red, fairly important things in purple, and so on.
    I also like to use a master list to help me keep track of everything. It’s just one big list, and it’s a mess. There are things scribbled everywhere: bills to pay, stops to make, things I don’t want to forget six months from now, and more. Often, my list runs over several pages and can get very detailed. At the beginning of a day when I know I have a lot of time to get things done, I’ll highlight all the things I want to get done, and cross them off as I go.Every few days, I use an app on my phone (Due) and transfer over everything I want my phone to remind me about, or things I need to do more than once, so I don’t forget. When my list gets too messy to read, I make a new one with everything that isn’t crossed off yet. 
  • Difficulty Making Decisions: I often have my children take turns making less important decisions for me. “What’s for lunch today, Child A?” “Should we take a break now, or keep going, Child B?”
    If I have to make the decision myself, I might make a quick list and let and online random number generator pick for me. If I don’t like what it chose, then I know that’s not a decision I want to make, and try again with my shorter list. This reduces the number of actual decisions I have to make. 
  • Poor Time-Management Skills: I would rather have more time left over than I thought I would than to constantly run out of time, so I tend to budget about twice as much time as I think I’ll need. I keep a small list of extra activities (typing, games, etc.), so if we do have extra time, I can just have someone choose something from the list.
  • Difficulty Focusing: I have worked hard with my children to reduce the number of distractions they provide. For example, if they have a question while I am reading, even if I am not reading to them, they know they simply have to raise their hand. I will point to them, and they can put their hand down. Then when I'm ready, I will let them ask their questions. I also frequently remind them that their question needs to be related to what I’m reading. If not, then it can wait. Many times I’ll see a hand up and ask, “Is this important?” and watch them slowly lower their hand and smile. They can write down questions if they don’t want to forget about it.
    When working on long projects, I also like to use an app called Focus Keeper, which basically is just a ticking sound with breaks every 25 minutes. The sound helps me concentrate, and when my mind starts to wander, the ticking sound reminds me I am supposed to be working. 
  • Struggles to Complete Tasks or Follow Through: I have found that a routine makes it easier to finish things. For example, I tend to dislike doing workbooks, so we lump all the workbooks for a single child together, and I’ll give them a set amount of time to work on them. When time is up, we are done for the day, and move on to other things. When we finish a workbook, I simply wait a few weeks, then add in the next level. We also don’t stick to the year-round schedule, so I never feel like I am on a deadline to finish things. We finish it when we are ready, and move on when we are ready. If I really don’t like a book or workbook, I drop it and pick up something else instead. 
  • Frequent Mood Swings: I ask my children to tell me when I seem to be getting upset, and then go to my room. My room is a peaceful place, with purple blankets and walls, blackout curtains, low light, and a weighted blanket. I can just relax or pray and reset, and my children know not to bother me for at least 15 minutes. When I feel like my mood is restored, I come out and we start again. Not only is this good for my mood, but it also teaches my children healthy habits, and they like to give themselves time-outs in my room as well. 
  • Racing Thoughts: Along with giving myself a time-out as I mentioned above, I have found that time for reflection and prayer really help. Also, keeping my master list available, so I can write down random thoughts I need to do later, helps keep me on track. My thoughts decrease in speed and intensity when I’m reading to my children, so Sonlight is a real blessing. 

There are still areas of weakness I need to work on, but I feel I have overcome the greatest ones with these techniques. None of these practices came easily. Each were built up over time, through much trial and error.

But by using some of these techniques, you, too, can find homeschooling your children to be a peaceful and rewarding aspect of your lifestyle despite having adult ADHD.

See how Sonlight can keep you organized with Instructor's Guides. They make homeschooling open-and-go!

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10 Novels to Make Your Kids Laugh Out Loud

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10 Novels to Make Your Kids Laugh Out Loud

All kids love to read funny books, but kids who have a bad attitude towards reading especially need stories with humor. If reading has become tedious, a chore, or an argument, lighten the mood with these hilarious novels from Sonlight curriculum.

1. By the Great Horn Spoon

by Sid Fleischman

from Sonlight History / Bible / Literature E

To save his aunt's home, young Jack and his butler rush off to California to join the '49ers in their hunt for gold.

Your children will laugh their way through this novel while they absorb American history. Fun!

2. Henry Reed, Inc.

by Keith Robertson

from Sonlight History / Bible / Literature E

Your children will be totally tickled over this story about an entrepreneurial thirteen-year-old Henry who spends the summer with his aunt and uncle in New Jersey.

His pal Midge helps him with his humorous escapades to make money including building a hot air balloon!

3. Year Down Yonder

by Richard Peck

from Sonlight History / Bible / Literature 100

Mary Alice, a middle-class high school girl from Chicago, leaves the big city to spend 1937 in rural Illinois with her rough-around-the-edges and unconventional grandmother.

The zany, adventure-filled book by Richard Peck is not only eye-opening for Mary Alice, but heart-warming and hilarious for readers as well.

4. Bud, Not Buddy

by Christopher Paul Curtis

from Sonlight History / Bible / Literature 100

It's 1936 in Flint, Michigan. Times may be hard, and ten-year-old Bud may be a motherless boy who never knew his father, but Bud's got a few things going for him.

One is a collection of flyers for Herman E. Callowy and his famous band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression. Bud's got an idea those flyers will lead him to his father, and once he hits the road to find this mystery man, nothing can stop him.

Bud, Not Buddy is an educational novel full of laugh-out-loud humor and wonderful characters, hitting the high notes of jazz and sounding the deeper tones of the Great Depression.

5. Best Short Stories of O. Henry

by O. Henry

from Sonlight American Literature

This collection offers for readers' delight the thirty-eight . Henry stories honored almost unanimously by anthologists and that represent, in variety and balance, the best work of America's favorite storyteller.

They give the full range and flavor of the man born William Sydney Porter but known throughout the world as . Henry, one of the great masters of the short story. As with several other major texts we will be studying this year, we will sample the author's work, but leave much of the fun for students to discover on their own at a later date.

6. Henry Huggins

by Beverly Cleary

from Sonlight History / Bible / Literature B

The good news is that this book is first in a classic series. So after you fall in love with Henry, there are more books to read!

In this hilarious story, you follow the days of a kind-hearted boy, his lovable friends, and his dog Ribsy. It's set in late 1950s middle America on Klickitat Street.

7. Homer Price

by Robert McCloskey

from Sonlight History / Bible / Literature B

An award-winning author illustrator recounts the hilarious adventures of a small town boy in middle America during the early 1950s.

Lots of families pair this Read-Aloud with a trip to a doughnut shop or an at-home doughnut making day. You'll have to read the book to find out why.

8. The Complete Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids

by Rob Elliott

  • What do you get if you mix a rabbit and a snake? A jump rope!
  • What happens to race car drivers when they eat too much? They get indy-gestion.

Children of a certain age can hardly get enough jokes. But if you've heard the same knock-knock jokes, or the tried-and-true banana and orange jokes a few too many times, this is the book for you.

Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids provides clean, funny jokes to make your family laugh out loud.

Young readers will have a blast sharing this collection of hundreds of one-liners, knock knock jokes, tongue twisters, and more with their friends and family! This mega-bestselling book will have children rolling on the floor with laughter and is sure to be a great gift idea for any child.

9. Emily's Runaway Imagination

by Beverly Cleary

from Sonlight History / Bible / Literature C

A charming story about a lovable girl in small-town Oregon in the mid-1920s whose creative ideas place her in humorous and sometimes mildly embarrassing situations.

A good book on which to base discussions about social changes and cultural developments over the past 70 years.

10. The Great Turkey Walk

by Kathleen Karr

from Sonlight History / Bible / Literature E

"Git along, little . . . turkeys"? Yep! In 1860, a fifteen-year-old boy attempts to herd one thousand turkeys from Missouri to Denver, Colorado, in hopes of selling them at a profit.

In this sure-fire funny-bone tickler, part tall-tale but mostly solid historical yarn, Simon Green proves he's a man and worthy of respect. What fun!

Request a Catalog

Get hundreds of book suggestions in the Sonlight curriculum catalog.

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The Simplest Way to Add US Elections to Your Homeschool Day

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The Simplest Way to Add US Elections to Your Homeschool Day

As a homeschool mom, the idea of sticking one more item on the to-do list is daunting. While the upcoming election is worth a top spot in your homeschool, there is so much information to be covered. Elections, campaigns, political parties — it’s a lot to comprehend even before you add on things like the Electoral College. 

Fortunately, Sonlight’s US Election Lap Book Kit is perfect for hands-on kids who are interested in learning more about the American process of electing a president (and elections in general). This lap book gets the job done without lost sleep or never-ending Pinterest searches! Everything you need comes in a box and most of the 21 included projects can be completed within 20-30 minute increments. 

Why Use a Lap Book to Learn about Elections?

Lap books break large, nebulous topics into digestible pieces. The small projects keep the information fresh and fun to learn. Here are a few more great reasons to use a lap book: 

  • Keep kids' hands busy and minds focused.
  • Encourage reflection on the many aspects of presidential elections.
  • Provide opportunity for creative expression while learning.
  • Prompt review of covered material through assembly of the lap book.
  • Create a reference for continued future study.    

How Do You Use the US Election Lap Book from Sonlight? 

Each activity is paired with a short reading that explains the history or laws behind some aspect of elections.

Lap Book Kit Supplies

Initial Assembly

  • The lap book file folder base has already been assembled!
  • You and/or your child create a pocket for the booklet containing the daily readings.
  • The templates are all pre-printed, labeled, in consecutive order, and ready to go.
  • Everything can be stored in the box; including projects that are in process.

Daily Projects 

Each day or time you start a project you and/or your child will complete the same steps.

  • Read the selection for the day.
  • Cut out any moving parts or templates.
  • Color, design, or create as directed.
  • Attach the completed activity to the lap book base.

Final Day

After completing all the activities, there is a velcro closure provided to secure and close the lap book for future reference. The completed lap book fits on a bookshelf or back in the box. 

What Are the Projects?

The 21 projects start simply with definitions before moving onto history critical to understanding the elections. The bulk of the activities review the process through which a candidate is chosen for United States president.

The final project offers a vocabulary review, which my kids turned into games. One used it to make a matching game and the other created a trivia game similar to Jeopardy.

3 Ways to Win with the Sonlight US Election Lap Book

This US Election Lap Book is fun! This is a perfect choice for families with hands-on learners and those looking to find a comprehensive but low-prep way to gear up for Election Day 2020. 

1. Cool Movable & Interactive Parts 

Every project results in a movable and interactive reminder about the reading for the day. Tabs, slides, brads, wheels, and flip cards make for a fun and engaging experience!

2. Room for Creativity

Space is provided for location-specific information such as your state seal and your state's number of electoral votes. 

Students are given the opportunity to create. For instance, they can construct presidential campaigns and design I Voted buttons. Templates are provided for those feeling less creative.

3. Novel Hands-On Approach

We found that this hands-on crafting technique spiced up our typical homeschool routines and methods. Each project was different enough to inspire continued interest and generate enthusiasm. 

Election Day Headquarters

Add novelty to your homeschool and get your family excited about November’s presidential election! Visit Sonlight's Election Headquarters for this Lap Book Kit and more.

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Teaching History from Multiple Perspectives for 30 Years

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Teaching History from Multiple Perspectives for 30 Years

Since our founding 30 years ago, Sonlight has affirmed that children need to learn from multiple perspectives to truly understand history. 

That’s why our homeschool curriculum is based on great books, sometimes called living books—not textbooks. With a Sonlight History / Bible / Literature program, you and your children will read books by multiple authors from multiple perspectives so they can appreciate the complexities of history.

FAMILY DISCUSSIONS

But Sonlight’s great books are just the beginning of the beauty! After reading your daily selections, you discuss the material with your children. Your Instructor's Guides provide talking points, historical background, geography notes and vocabulary words to help you. Most parents agree that it’s in these discussion times that the deeper understanding of history happens.

Children start to recognize common themes woven through the centuries. They begin to identify cause and effect and make connections. Best of all, you are right there, guiding them, sharing your perspective and gently imparting your personal values. 

A phrase we use a lot at Sonlight is “education, not indoctrination.” We created a curriculum that gives your children the ability to hear more than one side and to be respectful of others’ opinions while not losing their own beliefs.

TOUGH TOPICS

Sonlight doesn’t shy away from the painful realities of history: slavery, war, racism, genocide, and oppression. You will find tragic themes in our curriculum, but always in age-appropriate books which gently introduce tough topics in kid-friendly ways. (If your kids are especially sensitive, the notes in your Instructor’s Guide will help you handle or skip troublesome parts that may be too much for your children.) After the books broach the topic, you are there as the parent to guide the discussion and point out the glimmers of redemption hiding among the tragedy. 

EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Bonus! The Sonlight way of learning enriches EQ (emotional quotient).

When you read biographies of heroes who overcame adversity, children adopt a growth mindset that says, “I can do hard things by working hard.” Historical fiction lets children put themselves in the shoes of others and see things from a character’s perspective. This ability to see from another point of view fosters empathy

SOCIAL STUDIES VS. HISTORY

Sonlight teaches history but not social studies. What’s the difference? Social studies teaches unrelated snippets from different times and cultures. But learning history shouldn’t be a bunch of discrete facts. 

History is a series of interwoven stories, and stories are interesting to listen to. We all want to know what happens next! When you are engaged, you remember more. With the context, you understand more of what is happening.

A history-based curriculum (like Sonlight) gives your children a more systematic and chronological framework of knowledge they will build on their entire lives.

To get started with Sonlight, visit SmoothCourse™. It will walk you through the steps to choosing a perfect Sonlight program for your family.

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5 Ways Homeschooling Is Not Like Quarantine-schooling

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5 Ways Homeschooling Is Not Like Quarantine-schooling

If you struggled for three months this spring with what you thought was homeschooling because your children were doing schoolwork at home, consider this: Quarantine-schooling is not the same thing as homeschooling.

Here are five key ways that they are different. And as you'll see, homeschooling is so much better!

1. THE SCHEDULE

With quarantine-schooling, you're still on someone else's schedule. With Sonlight homeschooling, you have complete time freedom. 

Imagine...

  • doing school for three hours in the afternoon after all of your client work is done
  • doing experiment after experiment in the kitchen on one Saturday a month

Homeschooling offers you the opportunity to adjust your children’s schoolwork to the needs of your schedule. 

2. THE CURRICULUM

With quarantine-schooling, you're reliant on somebody else's curriculum choices. With Sonlight homeschooling, you have complete educational freedom. 

With homeschooling, you get to tailor your children’s studies to each child. 

3. THE LESSON PLANS

With quarantine-schooling, you're using the teacher's syllabus. With Sonlight homeschooling, you get to use your own syllabus. 

Now, this might not seem at first glance like a positive because you have probably never written teacher or school lesson plans before. But the beautiful thing with Sonlight is that we've done all of the lesson plans for you. 

So you literally just have to open your Instructor's Guide to the proper day and then do the assignments that you find there. 

It's so easy. 

No need to try to juggle the teacher's expectations. You have the schedule, and can easily adjust according to your own needs ahead of time or on the fly. 

4. MOTION AND FLEXIBILITY

With quarantine-schooling, you have to keep your child in place, in front of a screen, for a set time. With Sonlight homeschooling, we want you to be screen-free as much as possible, to allow your children the maximum amount of time to build small muscles, to allow them to enjoy creative pursuits, and to give them the wider world rather than just a flat screen. 

Obviously, families get to choose for themselves exactly how much screen time they want their children to have. But with Sonlight, the school portion itself is primarily done in the real world, using real books, real science supplies, real paper and pencil. 

The rest of your day is up to you! 

5. A SHORTER SCHOOL DAY

With quarantine-schooling, your children's school time takes much of the day. With Sonlight homeschooling, most programs only take between one and four hours. (In the preschool years, it's less than an hour.) 

For the rest of your day, you can offer your children a wide variety of tools for them to pursue on their own: art supplies, audiobooks, and creative toys like LEGO and blocks. If you have older students, you can invest in whatever interests they have: chess, learning Japanese, or basketball. 

Your children have ample time to pursue creative endeavors on their own time. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child. 

In short, homeschooling puts you in the driver's seat instead of having to flex to the whims of an outside authority. With a solid curriculum like Sonlight, you can easily teach your kids at home and even enjoy it.

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You Have What it Takes to Homeschool

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You Have What it Takes to Homeschool

Parenting can be overwhelming. Here you are, expected to raise these little people to adulthood. You must feed, clothe, shelter, love, protect, guide, and nurture them. Sometimes I marvel that any of us are up for the task.

One mom recently shared about second-guessing her parenting choices – especially the ones that aren't mainstream. She said that second-guessing "sometimes leaves me wondering if I'm doing right by my children."

I don't think she's alone in that. It can be hard to be the family who chooses a different path for their children. If you're second-guessing your choice to homeschool, or if you just want some reassurance, I would love to encourage you with three ideas:

1. Find Peace through Prayer

First, take this to the Lord in prayer. Pray earnestly with your spouse for God to help you raise your children well. Trust that God will answer that prayer and guide you. Then trust the path where it seems God is leading you.

2. Know Homeschooling Works

Second, remember that homeschooling is a fabulous way for children to learn. Consider that elite private schools boast of a low student to teacher ratio. When students struggle in any school, parents often pay for expensive private tutoring. We know that children thrive on personalized attention. This is a huge strength of homeschooling.

3. Remember the Student to Teacher Ratio

Homeschooling gives your children their own private tutor. The heart of homeschooling is personalized attention and customized learning. Though your student to teacher ratio may not be one to one, it is still lower than any public school. (It was four to one in my case ... or four to two, if you include my husband, who helped with some of the homeschooling.)

And who is this tutor giving personalized attention to your children's education? It's you—someone who knows your children intimately and loves them deeply. I've never seen a homeschool mom who just let her children fail. Some may have had to redefine what success means for their children's situations, and some find themselves in the tough place of letting older children be responsible for their own decisions. But homeschool moms and dads will beat the bushes and find ways to help their children succeed.

So even if you don't have a degree in education, even if you shake at the thought of teaching chemistry someday, remember that you CAN teach your children!

Sonlight can help you get started! 

For additional encouragement join our online community.

Sonlight is designed to equip you and give you confidence. With all your materials and plans laid out for you to just open and teach, you do have what it takes to homeschool! We are so happy to be part of your homeschool and walk alongside you in this journey!

If you ever have doubts about your homeschool and want personalized reassurance, please contact our trained Sonlight advisors, free of charge. You'll get one-on-one help, new ideas, and renewed confidence.


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You'll be encouraged by the words of founder Sarita Holzmann, inspired by real-life stories from other homeschoolers, pick up practical tips for the journey and more.


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