Homeschooling in small spaces

Small-Space Homeschooling


Creativity, it has once been said, arises from limitation. Raise you hand if you look around from your chair and see what I mean. A house filled with children at least for our family, means envelopes, drawings, pencils, books, water glasses, iPod speakers, earbuds, socks, sneakers, hair doodles, squinkies —you name it. (When you raise your hand, watch out for the tower by your elbow.)

This is why hslda’s article was relatable to me. In a 19th century farmhouse with small rooms, every surface shared, is our fun reality for now- and being on the go a lot, often enough my “office” is a tote bag I toss in the van for the 40 minute wait during violin lessons.

Wherever your Zone of necessary development, I hope you gain fresh insight and a broader view of simpler spaces as you read. Cheerio!



We ask children,”What do you want to be when you grow up?” When we should ask “What problems would you like to solve when you grow up?: 10 Reasons Your Child May Not Want to Attend College

For years we’ve been planning this day. All the hard work has finally paid off, college applications are starting to pile up and we’ve narrowed down which grants our student should apply for. We sit down with our baby, excited to narrow down which colleges they’d like to focus on. Then, our child hits us […]

Parent Partnership Programs, a shot across the bow

Reacting to this piece linked below and ensuing discussion-a commenter posted about the writer’s objections to parent directed, privately funding families being isolated by fines from their homeschooling neighbors in a standard way:
“As Christians, I believe our freedom of religion is in far greater jeopardy via much stronger and more powerful constitutional changes. Biblically, we should be pulling together in love & unity for our common goal of glorifying God in a decaying nation, rather than disputing each other over what is comparatively small potatoes.”
How I agree with her statement in part and in principle! 
We should be united against unfairness and the picking of winners and losers within the community. We should rejoice when our brother rejoices and mourn when our brother mourns.
 The government schools have stepped in and divided what used to be unified, and for the purpose of ending religious freedoms in our homeschools. Dispute this claim after asking the sponsoring school district to grant you credit relaxing their requirements on you because you teach Bible in your home, or go door to door to revive the community in faith. They will not accept these activities as valid.
Conveniently, it’s now the people who stand alone and tell the truth about this who are then vilified as stirring dissension.
Take it from one mom who will get hit whatever I do. 
Either I pay the fine to be free from enrollment of my children to the government program, or I separate away from the fellowship and activities now folded in and tell the truth about the personal cost for independents. 
Because I will not go quietly into Michigan’s “new normal” for homeschoolers,

the cost for us is isolation. It hurts.
 Not small potatoes to those who act justly, love mercy and walk humbly.
Standing for broader awareness and fairness for all families,
Jenny.         *Please click on the link below, A Moment of Decision, to read a timely article for homeschoolers considering involvement in Parent Partnership Programs sponsored by local public schools:

A Moment of Decision

Shot Across

A Great Education in Music, Naturally!

Twelve years of public school plus four years of liberal arts studies at a college plus four years of practicing the art of teaching music in public and private schools= one homeschooling parent who still thought if she was not doing the dissemination of information the way the state schools were doing it, she would be wrong.

Enter the challenge of training up and walking alongside my children,yet doing this in our own unique way and you see it has taken me 15 years to peel back the institution-speak onion.

Oliver and Rachel DeMille have shared a process with the homeschooling community in their book called, “A Thomas Jefferson Education” in which DeMille proposes that education should be reconsidered in scope and sequence, and largely built upon principles of the individual striving for it, self study and pairing with effective mentors who use time tested resources to challenge and inspire. To the homeschooler, we parents are given the mentorship task.

“Teachers teach, and when they do it well, students educate. This is at the center of all learning and is the key to success in any and every educational endeavor.”

Students must educate. The idea needs to sink in that unless and until a young person is ready and enthused, what they are getting is mere rote work. They are not getting the process of education, rather receiving what they are told they have to do to get by. Pass the test. Please the admissions officer. So you can do more years of the same.

Answering the question of a great music education experience for our seven students has brought this idea to light through the concept of “Music Naturally”.

Needing a violin teacher, another mom approached me, since I had a daughter who began the violin. I had been investing in quality used string instruments, so we did what many homeschooling moms of single income do..we bartered.

She taught 3 of my children piano, while three of her children experienced lap harp, piano and a group violin class which took over our basement. Using methods which teach independence and peer led tooling, we are seeing some pretty amazing things. I give my young people the choice each trimester of what role they would like to play during our weekly music sessions.

At present, I am thrilled to say that our teens are skilled in brass instruments, also, guitar, digital music creation, and classical piano…with no tense fighting about practice sessions. The younger children are working on violin and piano…Out of the 4 who are studying music right now, I can say without a doubt I hear 3 of them practicing diligently, intent on preparing for performances or to play with their friends, with no prompting from me, the Mom. None. I love it.

The other child who elected to serve the younger siblings this trimester has found herself sitting down to the keyboard with her sisters piano book and self teaching her sisters pieces. She just played them for me tonight.

DeMille has hit one out of the park, land sakes, it works, and I am cheering. We find we have a musical family with no infighting cajoling or negativity.

Students really are to be the ones teaching, we parents are to practice and love the arts, then stay close enough to the child so that it rubs off. I hope my children always remember these years of following their muse, of laying aside for a season, then taking up again, of getting curious about sounds, duets, and symphonies and the brothers, sisters and friends who make it all ring out in vibrant strains of possibilities.

Sometimes home is just across the border: a few thoughts on homeschooling…

IMG_0069In response to an inquiry one Thursday  afternoon, the leader of a  Statewide Homeschooling Organization asked me the following, and I now ask you, dear Reader:

What do you believe solid support for homeschooling would look like where Statewide Homeschool Organizations are concerned? (SHOs)

My reply was threefold.

Number One: SHO Leadership and SHO materials would clearly demonstrate a personal mission (speaking engagements, website content and  support group leader outreach) which is clearly understood as a support of homeschooling as defined: discipleship strengthening, parent-directed, privately-funded education. 

Showing support of Public School At Home Programs (some call”Parent Partnerships”) would not demonstrate clear vision for advancement of homeschooling or Christian home discipleship. They set up divisiveness, unbiblical financing and discrimination against families of private oversight.

Number Two: SHOs would provide clear information and direction for new and seasoned home educators with respect to locating support groups which apply the stated priorities of SHOs (especially when they are Christian home discipleship) and sponsoring seminars and events to encourage all home educating families to that end.

Number Three: SHOs would provide a procedure of application for Support Group Leaders offering an endorsement from SHO of the group’s privately-funded status and a demonstrable commitment towards stated goal, being Christian home discipleship. This endorsement should be something SHO leaders can feel comfortable with and renewable at the frequency which they feel best but be something support group leaders can include in their printed materials and websites. This would serve as a courtesy to families searching for the healthiest support as they teach their children.

Interestingly, Indiana has spoken clearly on this matter in this article, we await to see if other areas of their website will show wisdom in this area, too. 
Definitions Matter, Debi Ketron
Sometimes home is a little to the south.

Peer Teaching: Turning Teens from Passivity to Passion

Teens are taking turns leading classes – Be encouraged by the endeavor of grappling with 2 Timothy Chapter 3 this week—memory verse due next time is 2 Timothy 4:1 “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead and in view of His appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge.”

Scripture Memory tip from Mr. Hackbarth—memorize the verse…backwards (last line, then back up a line and add…until you have it.)

Below we link the video teaching- view at home and discuss. Have a great week!

If your child or children were prevented from getting into college because they didn’t have the right credentials due to the fact that they were homeschooled…what then?…what now?

 Karen Braun poses the question: If your child or children were prevented from getting into college because they didn’t have the right credentials due to the fact that they were homeschooled would you still homeschool them through high school or would change what you are doing to meet those new requirements.
It seemed so unthinkable at the time that we would ever reach that point. But I believed that would be the way they would control our freedom to educate. Nine years later, we are facing that reality.”

Read the article below by Karen who spells out the tactic of those who quite simply want the kids. All of them, and how the manifestation of these realities is coming to a head right now.

(The article above was included in a recent discussion featuring many perspectives on the right of parents to choose educational options for their children. From the issue of a homeschooling parent going from reporting intent locally to reporting it to the state, to compliance with state laws or being willing to fight them in court to the frustration of seeing our own state of Michigan run by a statist Governor (Snyder) who want total control over parents. He said,“I want to emphasize a vision of P-20. A PRENATAL to life long learning. We have to get beyond the old models of saying there are silos for for K12, silos for community college, for higher ed, for preschool. They shouldn’t be separate. They can be separate institutions. not to threaten the institutions. But shouldn’t we make it a seamless system. Where a student in that system doesn’t have to figure out all these tough choices but can just focus on success…and understanding it starts even at the prenatal stage and looking at is the expectant mother getting the right diet, the right primary care…”) Are you in a place where you would like a conviction check? Click on the link above