A lot of people have preconceived notions about what a homeschooling family looks like. Some of the ideas people have about homeschoolers are based on stereotypes they’ve heard. Sometimes, someone remembers a homeschooling family they once met and assumes that’s just how it’s done. Sometimes people are just making assumptions based on their own lives. […]

16 Ways I’m not a Stereotypical Homeschooler

A lot of people have preconceived notions about what a homeschooling family looks like. Some of the ideas people have about homeschoolers are based on stereotypes they’ve heard. Sometimes, someone remembers a homeschooling family they once met and assumes that’s just how it’s done. Sometimes people are just making assumptions based on their own lives. Whatever your assumptions about homeschooling are, put them aside. Like any other group of people, no two homeschoolers are exactly alike.

Here are sixteen ways I break homeschool stereotypes. I’ve heard all of these from people in the past. Some of these assumptions are great qualities – just not ones I possess. Some of them are awful stereotypes and just need to end.

  1. I wear pants. The last time I wore a denim jumper, I was five years old.
  2. I don’t bake my own bread from grains I harvested myself.  I buy it at Aldi.
  3. We don’t live in an RV. (But that would be really cool!)
  4. My kids don’t speak Latin and I don’t have plans to change that.
  5. I’m not super organized.
  6. We’re not unschoolers, though I know and admire many unschoolers.
  7. I don’t homeschool my kids to keep them away from the world. I homeschool them so they can spend more time in it.
  8. My kids do not behave perfectly. In fact, when people imply that they do, I laugh.
  9. I don’t think everyone should homeschool or that schools are evil. We’re just doing what works for our family.
  10. We don’t homeschool because of super conservative religious beliefs.
  11. My kids socialize with other kids. A lot. I promise. Please quit asking about this. Homeschoolers have a million ways to get out in the world and interact with people. My kids go to baseball, dance, classes with other homeschoolers, co-ops, the park, the library, museums, the store, church, friends’ houses, doctor appointments and about a thousand other places. Seriously. We’re almost never home, so let’s put an end to this one.
  12. I do not have saint-like patience and I get frustrated just like other parents.
  13. I don’t sew all of our clothes nor am I great at crafting in general.
  14. I’m not a perfect parent.
  15. I am not a dead-beat parent who is too lazy to get her kids to school on time.
  16. My kids are not illiterate.

In the end, I am really not that different from any other mom. I want the best for my kids and I am trying my hardest to help guide them in this world. I think that most moms I know can agree that’s what we’re all aiming for.

 

Homeschoolers, what assumptions have others made about you because you educate your kids at home? If you don’t homeschool, maybe you learned something about families like mine. Let me know what you think! 

 

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How Do I Do It All?

 

I don’t know how often some well meaning friend or acquaintance will say to me, “I don’t know how you do it all!”

How do I write, homeschool three kids- two with special medical needs, one with autism, take care of my home, and cook from scratch for allergies, all while living with chronic illness?

The answer is simple.

I DON’T!! 

I don’t “do it all” every day.

Some days, my house is a mess.

Sometimes, I go a week without writing anything.

Sometimes, my kids don’t get the world’s healthiest dinner.

Sometimes I look at my 5 year old and wonder when he last had a bath.

I can’t do it all. 

I can’t do everything well all the time.

I pick what’s most important at the moment. Usually, my kids win. But sometimes, the house has to get cleaned and I know that they’ll learn plenty if I send them outside with a magnifying glass and a jar and tell them to look for bugs.

Sometimes, the pain from my autoimmune disorder is just too much and we lay in bed and watch Bill Nye the Science Guy together.

But, I think when I leave this world, my headstone will read, “Mama Tried.”

And that’s really all any of us can do.

I am not perfect.

I drink too much coffee.

Sometimes, I swear.

Sometimes, I yell at my sweet kids.

Sometimes, I forget to call a friend back for a month.

But I’m trying.

And I know that all my mama friends are trying just as hard.

I know that we live in a picture perfect Instagram/Facebook/Twitter world, but let’s be real. My life doesn’t look exactly like my Instagram feed. I don’t take pictures of the pile of dishes that needs to be washed and add a pretty filter and put it on the internet. I don’t blog about when my ten year old acts entitled or my five year old hits his siblings.

Maybe I should, though. Maybe we should all be more honest with one another.

So here I am, telling you honestly: I can’t do everything. I am not Wonder Woman or Super Mom. I have laundry that needs washing and boxes in my garage from when I moved. In March. I have so many projects I want to work on, but I can’t, because there isn’t enough time in a day. And that’s okay.

I’m trying.

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I am so excited to share a bit about my latest project with you! Fans of “Nellie Nova Takes Flight” have been patiently waiting for more adventures with Nellie and Niles. I am happy to say that the wait is almost over! I am currently working with an illustrator and editor to make my book […]

Coming Soon! Nellie Nova’s Summer on the Run

I am so excited to share a bit about my latest project with you!

Fans of “Nellie Nova Takes Flight” have been patiently waiting for more adventures with Nellie and Niles. I am happy to say that the wait is almost over! I am currently working with an illustrator and editor to make my book shine. It should be ready by the end of the summer!

I will share more about the book and the Nova kids’ wild summer tomorrow. For now. I’ll just say that they travel in time to meet Sacajawea and reporter Nellie Bly, and spend a lot of time trying escape pesky government agents who won’t give up their quest to steal the time machine.

Check out these illustrations by artist Jo Painter. Nellie and Niles have an amazing adventure ahead of them!

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Most kids want to spend their summer playing in the sunshine and having fun.  I can’t blame them! When the weather is beautiful, I want to play outside too! I know that many parents worry about too much TV and video game time over the summer and about trying keep kids’ brains active so that […]

10 Ways to Keep Little Brains Active All Summer


Most kids want to spend their summer playing in the sunshine and having fun.  I can’t blame them! When the weather is beautiful, I want to play outside too! I know that many parents worry about too much TV and video game time over the summer and about trying keep kids’ brains active so that when school or homeschool starts up again, their kids haven’t forgotten what they spent all school year learning.

I’ve assembled this list of fun activities to engage kids over the summer. I hope you are able to use it and that you and your little ones have fun learning together this summer.

1.Science Experiments

Oh, how I love science experiments. And my kids love them, too!  There are so many fun experiments available online.  I especially love Steve Spanger Science.  There’s enough on that site alone to keep you and your kids busy all summer! If you want to take it a step further, you can download these free lab sheets and have your kiddos document their findings.

 2. Art Projects

I know, I know. Art  is messy, but so is life. And your kids will learn so much while creating. There are so many wonderful resources online and at your local library for art.  I love The Artful Parent. I also love The Usborne Art Treasury. It’s a great resource to learn about some amazing artists while making a mess. I mean art.

3. Music

Whether you sign your kiddos up for piano lessons for the summer,  try free lessons online, pick up a recorder and a tambourine,  introduce them to Mozart and Beethoven, or let them dance around the house to They Might Be Giants, music is an amazing way to help promote brain development and happy kids.

 4. Libraries

Check out  your local library! Our local library system has so many amazing summer programs.  From magic shows to story time to animal presentations, there’s something exciting going on every week. A lot of libraries have great summer reading programs with incentives to keep your kiddos reading all summer.

5. Documentaries

My kids love documentaries. If they are going to watch TV, at least they can learn something. Netflix has a lot of great options for kids.  Here’s a great list of nature documentaries by Raising Lifelong Learners.

6. Museum Trips

This is a great way to learn and get your kids out of the house at the same time. I don’t know about your kids, but mine are great at turning a clean house into a giant disaster area in mere seconds, so sometimes it’s nice to kick them out of the house for the day and learn somewhere new.  I am blessed to live in an area with several free museums and we take advantage of them frequently.

 7. Day Trips

Maybe the  idea of getting the kids out of the house was really appealing to you. I don’t blame you. It’s good for moms and kids alike to get a change in scenery  from time to time.  Where can you drive within an hour or so from your house? The beach? The mountains? A state park? Maybe a battlefield or other historic site? Take advantage of  your surroundings. If you head into the wild, take nature journals and let your kids draw and write about their experiences. If you find something historic, do some research on it before you go and discuss it with your kids before, during, and after the trip. This is another great time for the kids to journal. Depending on the significance of the historic site, you may be able to find books or movies to expand upon what you learned. I’ve lived with kids in three states in three very different parts of the USA and I’ve never had trouble finding places like these nearby.

8. Math Games

You can make math fun and help your kids stay sharp. There are lots of games online for free. Depending on their age and ability, there are also some really fun board games out there. My kids love any kind of learning games.

9. Audiobooks

I love audiobooks. Your local library probably has a ton.  Best of all, they can keep your kids happy on long road trips! Driving six hours to see Grandma? Get an audiobook! Heading to the beach for a week away? Get an audiobook! I love audiobooks because it’s a wonderful way to introduce kids to literature they can appreciate but maybe not quite read on their own yet.

10 . Creative Writing

Check out these writing prompts I wrote. Or write a story together. Take turns and create a silly story. Another great idea is to get a blank book and let your child illustrate it as he or she writes. Try buying your child a cool notebook and asking them to write a little every day. Just keep them writing because it will serve them well their whole lives.

I hope these ideas helped! Let me know what you do to keep your kiddos engaged in the summer in the comments.

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It doesn’t matter if your kiddos are homeschooled, in public school, or in private school, it’s important to keep them writing year round. But when it’s summer and their days are filled with swimming pools, trips to the beach, and lots of time with their friends and their nights are filled with lightning bugs, barbeques […]

12 Fun Summer Writing Prompts for Kids

It doesn’t matter if your kiddos are homeschooled, in public school, or in private school, it’s important to keep them writing year round. But when it’s summer and their days are filled with swimming pools, trips to the beach, and lots of time with their friends and their nights are filled with lightning bugs, barbeques and fireworks, it can be a bit difficult to get them to focus on writing.

Writing prompts can be a great way to motivate kids to get started. Just a few minutes of writing a day will help keep their skills sharp for when school or homeschool starts up again.

 

  1.  Your family is on a camping trip in the mountains. After everyone else falls asleep, you need to use the restroom. You unzip your tent to find that a strange light has filled your campsite. You head out to investigate and you find…
  2. You head to the swimming pool with your best friend one hot afternoon. When you get there, you find that it’s filled with Jell-O! What do you do? Do you dive in the sweet, sticky mess?
  3. You are swimming in the ocean when a giant shark swims up to you. Before you can scramble out of the water, the shark lifts his head out of the water and speaks to you! What does he say? What do you do?
  4. Describe the perfect ice cream sundae.
  5. It’s your first trip to sleep away camp. When you get to your cabin, the other kids tell you it’s haunted. That night, you hear a spooky sound. What happens next?
  6. You are roasting marshmallows with your family one evening when you see something scurry across your back yard. You get up to investigate and find a unicorn hiding behind your oak tree! Do you tell anyone? What do you do?
  7. Your mom signs you up for a science camp. On the first day, the instructor tells the group that he’s made an amazing discovery he wants to share with the class. You are shocked when you find out that he…
  8. One day, you are boating with your dad. A large storm comes out of no where and your boat is thrown off course. You find yourself on an island in the middle of the ocean. What do you do? What happens on the island?
  9. Your teacher sent home a long list of books for summer reading. The only problem is that they are all in Chinese! What do you do?
  10. Your best friend’s family invited you to join them at their lakeside cabin for the summer. Your parents agree and you’re off for a summer of fun! But you discover something strange when you get there…
  11. On a trip to an amusement park with your family, you find an empty section of the park. A sign on the unlocked gate reads “Closed to the Public.” The rides are all running! They look even better than the rides in the rest of the park. Do you enter the restricted area? What happens?
  12. On a hot July afternoon you are riding your bike to your friend’s house. You hit a pothole and your tire pops! As you are checking out your tire, a strange woman approaches. She’s wearing wizards robes. She tells you that she’s come from another land. What do you do? What happens next?
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If You Take a Homeschool Mom to the Library

pablo

 

If you take a homeschool mom to the library,

she’ll pick out an audiobook for her kids.

When she goes home, she’ll scour the internet for resources to go with the book.

When she finds a really fantastic unit study for only $5.00, she’ll have to get it.

As she looks over the unit study, she will realize how detailed it is.

She’ll wonder if the kids might just need a copy of the book so they can reread it.

You will find her on amazon.com before you know it, downloading a copy of the book she got for free at the library.

“But it’s only $6.99!”

After she downloads the audiobook, she realizes she is out of ink and can not print the unit study.

So she goes to Target, just for some ink, of course.

After she finds the ink, she remembers she needs paper.

She walks to the office supply section to get the paper.

She grabs it, but then she sees file folders.

And of course she needs file folders.

Near the file folders, she sees markers.

The markers are on sale. She can always use markers.

By the time she leaves Target, she’s spent $54.

Her kids LOVE the book and the unit study, so of course she has to plan a corresponding a field trip.

On the field trip, her kids notice the gift shop, filled with educational toys.

She just can’t resist.

Once, home, she realizes that she has to take the audiobook back to the library.

And chances are, if you take a homeschool mom to the library,

she’s going to want an audiobook for her kids.

 

*Inspired by If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff 

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Introducing Nellie’s Girls

introducing-nellies-girlsIn the months since “Nellie Nova Takes Flight” was released, I have had the privilege of traveling to schools, museums, camps and homeschool groups to do readings of my book. I have met some truly amazing kids. These kids have inspired me to start a new feature on the blog: Nellie’s Girls. 

Once a month, I will feature a girl who reminds me of Nellie Nova. A girl who is smart. A girl who is strong. A girl who won’t give up. A girl who won’t let archaic ideas about what little girls are supposed to do get in her way.  The girl will get to be interviewed by me, be featured on the blog and will get a signed copy of my book as well as a commemorative certificate.

Do you know a girl who loves science? A girl who raises money for a charity she loves? Maybe a girl who plays football? Is there a girl in  your life who has inspired you? If so, tell me about her!

introducing-nellies-girls-1

How to nominate a girl you love:

Send me an email at stephie.peterson@live.com and tell me all about her. Please include 1-5 pictures of your nominee. If possible, please include pictures of her participating in the activity you find inspirational. If she is chosen, I will conduct an interview via email or phone and post it here on the blog.

*parental permission required. 

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