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Thursday, August 13, 2020

How Long Does Homeschool Take?

I love to remind moms that school at home does not take as long as school at school. If you can set aside 3 hour block of time in your day, you can do this. Young children have short attention spans and until about 3rd grade, they really shouldn't be working on any one lesson longer than 30 minutes. (20 is actually better!) Aim for 20 good minutes of math, 20 good minutes of reading together or working on handwriting, and then move along. If you string together three 20 minute blocks of teaching time in a day in the early years, that is enough for the day - you’re done!

More reminders for bringing peace to your homeschool day are over on the Birds on a Wire blog today!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Is There Really Such A Thing As "Behind"?

Kids Running a Race

Because I’ve been home educating my kids going on seven years now, I’ve been getting lots of questions lately from parents who have chosen homeschooling as their best option in the face of unique circumstances this year. 

One of the most common questions I’m asked is something along the lines of, “what do I need to do to ensure my kid doesn’t fall behind?” 

My standard response, “Help me understand what you mean by ‘behind’…” usually receives a puzzled look. 

What these parents are asking for is of course, a curriculum recommendation or a checklist they can follow to keep their kid on track academically. “Well she’s in first grade and I’d like to know what she needs to be reading. Also, she doesn’t know her times tables yet…”


These parents, like so many of us, have accepted the idea that education is a race and as parents, our duty is to give our kids every advantage so that one day they might win. We quietly hope our child will gain an early lead. At the very least, we do everything possible to ensure they stay in line with the pack. To fall behind…well, we don’t like imagining the consequences. What would that say about our child? If we were truly honest, what would that say about us?  


It’s no wonder we operate from this paradigm. Education initiatives named “No Child Left Behind” and “Head Start” surround us. We use standardized testing each spring to crown academic winners and losers. We test, analyze, compare, and adjust classrooms each year in a desperate attempt to push the fast kids faster and figure out what’s gone wrong with the slower ones.  Each year we hand this message off to our kids alongside their backpacks and school lunches: education is a race you must run better than (or at least on pace with) everyone else…or else.


From Kindergarten on our kids are caught in a cycle of constantly comparing themselves to their peers to check where they rank. Anxietyand depression are at an all time high among today’s generation of students, and experts believe a high-stakes academic environment is one factor responsible for this epidemic. We have confused attending school with getting an education.  We have confused good test scores with true achievement. We haven’t stopped to consider whether winning the race equates to real success. We haven’t known another way of thinking about education.


Our standard-centric system was built to reward students who run the race according the rules the adults have created for them, but these same high achievers often struggle to succeed when they step off the school track and into the working world.  


COVID-19 has given us an opportunity to step back and observe the system. Is it still serving our children well? Teachers, administrators. and parents are all at a loss for how to proceed in this new normal. No one knows what the best course of action is right now. My hope for parents is that we'll use this time-out, this forced re-evaluation, to think critically about how we choose to educate our children. While the rules are being thrown out the window, let’s collectively take a minute to consider if we still want to play by them. 

Is your kids’ education really a race? What if it was something more?


Friday, July 17, 2020

So, You Might Be Homeschooling This Fall

Hey friends! Long time no see. I'm dusting off the blog
because so many families are facing a school change for the fall and I thought I'd do what I can to encourage them.

If you're new here, Hello!

I'm Katie, homeschool mom to 4 kids; ages 6, 8, 9 and 11. I've been homeschooling for six years now,  and we're about to head into a new school year with a First grader, Third grader, Fourth grader and Sixth Grader. I have always homeschooled my kids and I. LOVE. IT.

If you've found your way here I assume that you're looking into options because virtual school wasn't a great fit, or sending your kids to school isn't a good option for you, and you've concluded that homeschooling might be your last resort. That's awesome!

Maybe homeschooling will be hard every single day and you'll send your kids right back where they came from when things "go back to normal" or maybe you won't ever want to go back to 'normal". Either way, I'd love to help assuage any fears, dial down the intimidation factor, and help you figure out how to survive.

Here's a list of all some homeschool posts from my archives for your viewing pleasure. I'll be on IG a lot this week responding to your DMs and posting about our daily routine, the tools we use and what our experience has been like, so follow me over there for videos and short posts. I'll keep longer content here on the blog.

If you've reached out or DMd me, know that I'm praying for you as you make the right choice for your family this fall!


Back to the Beginning (When Our Oldest Entered Kindergarten)

How Do I Read Aloud to a Mixed Age Group?

Homeschool Plans for a 1st Grader (with a 4 year old, 3 year old and baby tornado in the mix)

My First Day of Homeschooling Alone

What We Learned The First Month of Homeschool

Day in the Life of a Homeschooler (1st Grade, Pre-K, 3 year old, baby tornado)

A Good Reminder on Days When You Don't Even Open a Book

End of Year Wrap Post, Year Two

Homeschool Plans for a Kindergartner & 2nd grader (with a toddler and an infant thrown in for fun)

The Wheels Have Fallen Off The Bus, Friends

Hard is Okay Sometimes

When It's All Too Much to Handle

Reflections on the 3rd year of Homeschooling

(Psst: Read this one when you feel like you're really not cut out for this)

How We Get Started in the Morning

The Last Homeschool(ish) Update of 2019

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