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  1. Kim,this article was so helpful. You are very knowledgeable about schooling. I love everything you post.

  2. This was helpful! I want to have an environment that promotes a love of learning. I struggle with knowing how to do that while getting four different children to get their basics done. Any ideas of what this looks like on a daily and regular basis?

  3. Kim, this was very encouraging. We have used two different “boxed” curricula as backbones for our school over the last five years, and I am finding myself NOT enjoying school at this late stage of the school year. Some of what we encounter seems like a lot of busy work, not necessarily geared to the kids’ interests at all, and it becomes a duty to tolerate rather than a joy to explore.

    To add to this, my husband has been out of work for months (and months), and though I think we could probably sell things to pay for next year’s materials, I’m not sure I really want to go with the whole set curriculum thing again. (So you can see how your post was comforting to me!)

    Outside of math, my main concern is this: If we major on mostly what they are interested in now, we might utterly miss other things that they might love and be gifted in but know nothing about at present. How do you deal with this? I feel a tremendous responsibility to expose them to new things (in a sane way) for this reason, but also to help them become well-rounded people.

    As I look toward next year (and a fresh start with our youngest entering kindergarten), I am doing a lot of soul searching. Thank you for a very timely post. I know I’m going to be re-reading it and pondering some more!

    1. Definitely expose them to new things. Just let them dig deeper on what the enjoy of those new things. It doesn’t have to be either/or!

  4. Kim, thank you for this timely post. I have tried to keep the mentality of a lifestyle of learning for the entirety of my daughter’s going on 7 years of homeschooling. I struggle with the mindset of needing to look like she’s learning on paper. She is now 14 and I have yet to fully utilize the lifestyle of learning mentality. She loves to read (or should I say used to until she has been allowed a little too much free time on her tech, which will be changing shortly). She is fairly strong in her math but is working on it daily to get stronger. We have practiced a CM style mindset with narrations and lots of reading. I guess at 14 I envisioned her to be more regularly going deeper and following more interests. But her interests seem to consist of Star Wars and Dr. Who. I struggle to see the legitimacy of such an interest for a 14 yo. Currrently her life revolves around the idea to build a certain kind of armor and what she will need for that and building things like light sabers. (we talked about her maybe enjoying prop building for movie sets or something) She had a passion for horses so we just refinanced our house this past year and put in nearly $20,000 into horse related fencing, housing and all required to care for horses. We adopted two horses. Unfortunately we were allowed to adopt one that we should have never been allowed to adopt, that coupled with other things led to my daughter determining that being a horse owner is not for her. We were happy to provide that learning experience for her but it was a costly one for us. I guess with her being 14 I struggle how to see her through high school and into her future with these random direction changes. What do you have in mind for a highschooler? (your post said up through 7th grade) Suggestions for how to cultivate a learning lifestyle in our home now?

    1. Oh my goodness, your daughter sounds SO much like mine! And I’m pondering the same thoughts and questions as you!
      I, too, would love to hear from Kim about the high school years!
      Is this where they need to start studying certain basics that they may or may not have an interest in (as she mentioned elementary should be mostly interest-led, besides focusing on making math and reading strong)?
      My son and daughter are just finishing 7th grade, and the elementary years behind us look somewhat like how Kim mentioned, but not as much as I would’ve liked. I’d like to make changes moving forward, based on Kim’s post, but since they’re no longer in elementary, and with high school fast approaching, what does that look like? I hope you could address this too in an upcoming post, Kim!! Thanks!

      1. Once you get into high school, you’ll have to meet particular subject guidelines for college prep credits. There aren’t many choices in that. Enjoy the few you do have and let your kids think outside the box there, but if college is in the plans, you’ll have to take the subjects required to get in.

        1. Kim it would be great if you could do a post on what your plans are for your 14 yo. My daughter will be entering 9th grade next year, technically, and currently has no interest in college and really is not sure what she wants to do with her future. Not quite sure how to combine stuff laid out in this article with encouraging her to start figuring her future goals out.

  5. Great article! I really feel we’ve done this in our home. Our oldest 2 have graduated from our homeschool, one to college and the other to the workforce. Our next 2 are in high school. They all love to learn! The difficult thing at our house is helping our 7th grade nephew love to learn. He came to live with us when he was 10 and been through many difficult circumstances. We really struggle with helping him get out of compartmentalizing “school” and “other stuff”.

  6. I’m so glad I took the time to read this tonight. God sent, for sure! Thank you! I’m constantly struggling with all of this. Even in the homeschool circles there are standards I feel I have to meet in order to not feel judged. I know I don’t want to live inside this “school at home” box I’ve created but I am fearful to break out. Thank you for taking the time to let me know, I can.. and I should.

  7. Thank you for this article!! I really needed it. It has been so helpful. One of my kids have dyslexia and reading how I just have to focus on the basics, really encouraged me. She is 7.

    I also enjoyed the point on capitalizing on the moment. I love field trips and they do too. Using these times to their fullest potential will now be my goal!!!

    Thanks for all of your tips!

  8. Kim, this post is quite timely as I know many are considering curriculum options for the coming year. We are on year two of homeschooling; I am a middle school gifted teacher of twenty years. Year one was a struggle with us as we found our way with curriculum and attitudes. This year has been much better as we have enjoyed many experiences and have allowed ourselves some much needed flexibility. I can see where moving toward unschooling and/or student-led interest-based learning is appealing but worry about meeting the state testing requirement. We’re moving toward trying to find a happy medium between the two 🙂 Thank you so much for your ideas, materials, and inspiration along the way!

  9. Kim, you mentioned sticking to the basics and it is a confirmation for us. Although it’s the end of the year, I decided to ditch a couple of subjects and concentrate on math and writing. My son is 10, he’s a good mathematician, a good reader, has strong verbal communication skills, but hates to write. He has convinced himself he’s not good at it and I don’t know why. He has a good vocabulary but just can’t put it on paper. He has a very difficult time organizing his thougts. He detests narration. Any thoughts?

  10. I truly needed to read this, it opened my eyes to realize I need to change my ways of trying to get my child to love learning. Very encouraging!! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Wow! Thanks so much for this delightful, heartfelt post. I am so inspired to give my kids more choices and experiences.

  12. Love your post. When you say reading and math is the most important for younger kids, where does grammar fit in? I would love to really focus on the Bible as that is his priority and then math and reading. How necessary is it at this age to teach nouns, verbs, and punctuation?

    1. Kim doesn’t teach grammar at all until 6th grade. Elementary is the time to focus on growing those reading skills and exposing your child to lots of high quality literature!!


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