Students At Home

For Everyone Who Learns at Home

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2017!

How are you celebrating? I’ll be watching movies with my family and enjoying traditional pork and saurkraut with homemade mashed potatoes and biscuits, a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.

It’s also a day often set aside for making resolutions. I doubt I’ll do that because I usually end up falling off the wagon by the third day, but I did think it would be fun to learn something new today.

So what will I learn? How about how to say “Happy New Year” in 165 languages. Want to join me? Check out the list compiled by my freelance colleague Daisy Mariposa at

Shana Tova!
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DIY Made Easy

One of the bloggers I follow wrote an interesting post today. She introduced Kathy Ceceri, a DIY professional. Check out the post and learn about some fun, creative projects you can do with your kids!

I Want You To Meet Kathy Ceceri

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Three Benefits of Barbie Dress-Up

My daughter loves to play dress up, and Barbies are one of her favorite toys.  Despite the controversy over her physical measurements, there are compelling reasons not to ban Barbie play.

Do you allow your children to play with Barbie?  What is their favorite thing to do with their dolls?

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What Do Housekeeping and Education Have in Common?

While cleaning up the kitchen today, I thought of my pastor’s sermon from yesterday.  He shared how evangelism is a process rather than an event.  As I pulled dishes out of the dishwasher only to immediately refill it, I realized that housekeeping and education are also processes rather than events. 

Just like doing dishes, sweeping floors and washing clothes must happen over and over and over again, our children need to be taught educational concepts, character traits and manners over and over again.

We can’t expect them to learn new concepts from a single lesson.  Like they can’t learn spiritual lessons or character traits with one Sunday School lesson, they need repeated instruction for school subjects.

The process grows wearying.  It’s hard to persevere, especially if a child struggles to “get it.”   Perhaps the mentality that it’s a process rather than an event will give us the strength we need to keep going, the motivation we need to keep teaching and the hope we need that one day they will learn.  May the process rather than the event help us as we educate our students at home.

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Wisdom from a Stroke Victim

The other week, I wrote an article about The Brain Extravaganza in Indiana.  Organized by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, the summer-long event is designed to draw attention to the brain’s functions and beauty.  Curious to know more about the neuroanatomist who felt herself suffer a stroke, I borrowed her book from the library.  A Stroke of Insight touched me intellectually, emotionally, professionally and personally.

Of particular interest to me as a teacher was her list at the end of the book.  She lists 40 things she needed the most as she relearned how to read, walk and talk.  As I read, I thought about my precious students at home and how many of the items on Dr. Bolte Taylor’s stroke recovery list apply to my children.  I will share my favorites here.  

4.  Be as patient with me the 20th time you each me something as you were the first.

6.  Be aware of what your body language and facial expressions are communicating to me. 

9.  Touch me appropriately and connect with me.

16.  Trust me that I am trying–just not with your skill level or on your schedule.

22.  Cheer me on.

28. Celebrate all my little successes.

37.  Love me for who I am today.

As I parent and teach my children today, I will remember these tips.  If my children could express their feelings and needs, I think these phrases are what they would request.   I’m sure Dr. Bolte Taylor did not write them with home schoolers in mind, but I am grateful for her stroke of insight.


What Makes a Student Successful?

Unschooling makes sense to me, but I worry too much about giving my children a well-rounded education.  If I let them spend their day only doing what they wanted to do, my daughter would write and draw all day while my son rides or fixes his bikes outside.

 Now there is nothing wrong with play.  That’s how kids learn!  But my children need more than limitless free time.  They need to learn how to read even though phonics is not easy.  They need to learn to write even though handwriting is challenging. 

 The definition of “student” is a person formally engaged in learning or a person who studies, investigates or examines thoughtfully.  When I started this blog, I named it “Students at Home”.  As a homeschooling family, we do more than focus on formal book learning.  We study, investigate and examine.  We explore, ask questions, hypothesize and engage in learning, whether we are at the grocery store, taking a walk or finishing math worksheets. 

 Even more than I want my children to learn math, reading, language arts, history, science, music and art, I want them to learn to wonder, question and THINK.  Instead of accepting, what they read, I want them to be free to question.  And I want them to have fun.  Learning is so much easier and productive when we are having fun!

 With their ability to question, reason and think, my children will find more than success in school.  They will find success in their personal lives.  They will be able to say no to bullies or to friends who pressure them to do something they do not want to do.  They will be innovative on the job and able to think on their feet as self-starters.  They will lead rather than follow in their families, church and civic groups.

 In my mind, these traits mean a lot more than straight A’s in school.

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My Baby’s Sick

What a day.  My little guy had a tummy ache yesterday, and he was still not feeling well today.  He cooperated with his hour of speech therapy and attended his online phonics class, but his tummy was rumbling and grumbling all day.  In the past, he has been so sick that even simply sitting up is impossible, let alone attending class.

I hate seeing him suffer.  We’ve been dealing with tummy issues for over three years, and I can’t find the solution.  Our primary care physician sent us to a gastroenterologist who couldn’t find anything conclusive.  It’s not an allergy to dairy or wheat.  It’s not necessarily a food sensitivity either, although we don’t know for sure.  It could be stress or lack of sleep or nearly any other cause.  So we’re back to questioning the cause and working on a solution.

Many families choose to homeschool because of health problems.  Food allergies, numerous doctor’s visits, compromised immune systems and other medical issues cause some students to miss days of school at a time.  Becoming students at home allows these students to receive a quality education and stay safe.  In cases, traditional brick and mortar schools can be death traps for ill or allergic children. 

I am an advocate for parents to educate their children as they see fit.  Whether they choose traditional options or unschooling, each family holds the responsibility to educate their children.  Because of our unique situation, I am grateful for our online school.  On days my son feels too ill to do school, we can relax and focus on getting him better.  That’s a good school day, in my opinion.


Marital tips

A strong marriage makes the foundation for a strong family and a successful educational experience for your students at home.  Here’s a link to two tips that help any marriage.  Feel free to comment with your own tips!

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I served as a guest on The Learning Curve internet radio show!

Last weekend, I accepted an invitation to speak with two online radio show hosts.  Roger Boswarva and Virginia Koenig share a passion for creating a successful learning environment for every student.  Our conversation about student-led education and other topics inspired me to start this blog to help other parents and students.  Below, I have posted the link to the show.  While you’re visiting the website, check out the archives.  Find great ideas, tips and techniques for creating a positive educational experience for your students at home and in any school environment.

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Thank you for joining me on the educational journey.  Like most parents, we want the best possible education for our children.  In my case, I choose to homeschool.  Other families choose public or private school.  All options contain pros and cons, and I don’t wish to promote one avenue over another.  My intent with this blog is to share educational tips and resources that make your child successful in school.   I intend to post tips and techniques that work for me, and I welcome feedback and questions.  Personally, I learn so much from browsing other sites, and I will share what I learn with you as we journey together in creating lifelong students at home!

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