Educate Yourself

Did you know that you can get so busy homeschooling your kids that you completely forget about one more person you need to educate…yourself?

Children change so quickly! That’s why it’s important to stay one step ahead of them on the homeschool journey. It’s hard to do that during the “school year,” but summertime is the ideal time for educating yourself. It’s so important to keep learning about the lifestyle your family has chosen, and particularly about the next stage in your family’s homeschooling life.

Hence our Summer Sale! We’ve just put several homeschooling eBooks on sale at great prices:

Thriving in the 21st Century (eBook only) $9.99 $7.99

Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings $4.99 $2.99

Stages of Homeschooling: Enjoying the Journey $4.99 $2.99

Stages of Homeschooling: Letting Go $4.99 $2.99

And for your summer reading pleasure (of special interest to Christians and those who love someone with special needs), The 40 Days $5.99 $3.99

These eBooks are offered for Amazon Kindle, but you don’t need to buy a Kindle to read them; just download a free Kindle app for your pc or phone! (Step-by-step instructions HERE.)

Don’t Be Intimidated by Homeschooling for High School (Part 2)

One question I’m often asked is how involved you should be with your teen in their daily work; my answer is that it depends on the teen, but that your goal should be to work towards independent study by the end of high school. This is good for your teen, but it’s also good for you, especially if you’re homeschooling younger children at the same time. If your child is college-bound, you’ll cripple her if you don’t send her off to school accustomed to independent study. And even if she’s not going to college, being able to work independently is a valued skill in any employee.

When I homeschooled my teens, I gave them increased independence each year, so that by senior year, I was giving them assignments on Monday morning and not working with them again until Friday afternoon, when we went over everything. This didn’t mean I was unavailable to them during the week. But I encouraged them to research things for themselves before coming to me with questions. This worked well for us.

On the other hand, my third child is an auditory/kinesthetic learner, so some of the advanced reading assignments I gave her during 11th and 12th grades were too hard for her to learn from based only on her reading of them. But we found that if I read the hardest books aloud to her while she knitted, she absorbed much more of the material, so that’s what we did. I had the time to do this because I was only homeschooling one other child besides her. Interestingly, once she went to college, she no longer needed my help in this way.

In addition to your teens’ daily assignments at home, you may find it desirable or even necessary to enroll them in outside classes. My son took a homeschool chemistry class at a local Christian college, primarily because I didn’t have the time or the inclination to teach him chemistry at home. He also took Spanish at a community college because Spanish is best learned in a group environment where conversation is emphasized. Several years later, after we had moved to another state, his younger sister took graphic design classes at a tech college near our town. We found that having our teens take a few community college classes during high school gave them classroom experience as well as college credits, and I recommend this to other homeschooling parents of teens.

As your teens get older, you’ll find that they won’t need help filling their days. When given the freedom to pursue opportunities that interest them, they do so. Our eldest daughter started a weekly Christian coffeehouse/concert series in our town after writing dozens of pastors asking for a place to hold Christian concerts. Our son joined the youth board at our church and participated in several mission trips. Our younger daughter started a small business selling her stuffed animal creations online and at the farmer’s market of the tourist town we lived in during her teen years. None of these activities had anything to do with my husband and me, other than the use of our car. Our teens pursued these things on their own, with our approval. These activities gave them self-confidence and showed them that they’re capable of following their interests and dreams. For homeschooled teens, living in the real world offers far more challenges and joys than the unreal world of football games and proms that public school teens live in.

Part of that real world living is having responsibilities. Homeschooled teens (especially younger ones who don’t have part-time jobs yet) can help with cooking, cleaning and childcare of younger siblings. Those years are also prime time for learning homemaking and mechanical skills that they’ll need when they’re on their own. It’s important to raise young people who can fix things, cook things and make things. Believe me, such people are a joy to have around the house!

(Excerpted from Stages of Homeschooling: Letting Go (Book 3), now just $2.99. Learn more HERE.)

Don’t Be Intimidated by Homeschooling for High School (Part 1)

First off, remember that homeschool high school is nothing like public high school, and it doesn’t need to take nearly as long each day. There are no passing periods, no assemblies, no waiting for buses. So there’s no need to stick to the same time schedule that they do. Many people have asked me how long our high school day was. I usually required my teens to work on their studies in the morning, and as far into the afternoon as it took them to finish. I encouraged them to get an early start so that they’d have time to pursue their own interests the rest of the day. (Later on, their various part-time jobs, which we strongly encouraged, also came into play.)

Next, keep in mind that the curriculum you choose will determine how long it takes to study each subject. A very demanding math curriculum will require more time than a basic arithmetic review. Which one you choose will be based on your teen’s future aspirations and goals. If he wants to be a chemistry major in college, you’ll need a solid math curriculum. If he wants to go into the dramatic arts, you’re better off finding a basic math course and spending the time saved on the study of classic plays. And if he wants to be a car mechanic, use that same basic math course so he can spend the time he saves apprenticing with a self-employed car mechanic in your town.

Never forget that the goal of homeschooling a teen is to customize upper level studies to your teen’s needs. Those needs may not be as obvious at age 14 as they will be at 17 or 18; to make matters more complicated, teens change dramatically during those years and so do their needs. But you’ll recognize general areas of interest that really won’t change much. For instance, my son went from wanting to be a computer engineer at 15 to a business major at 18, then felt called into the ministry at 20. As it worked out, he’s now in his late 20s and is a manager for a Christian publishing company with plans to eventually enter seminary as a second career pastor. But during his teen years the common threads we could see were a desire to study beyond the high school level and a love of management and business principles. So we (he and I) designed his high school studies with an eye toward college prep and an emphasis on management.

A friend of mine who homeschooled several teen sons aimed the studies of the first three toward vocational prep because they were clearly “gear heads” who loved doing anything mechanical. But her fourth son was more studious, so she designed his studies to be college preparatory.

Each child is different; one big advantage of homeschooling is that you have the time and opportunity to plan a course of study with your teen (note that I said with) to capitalize on his or her interests and plans. That’s why you need to take all information that you get from books or friends with a grain of salt, tailoring the things you learn to your specific child.

(Excerpted from Stages of Homeschooling: Letting Go (Book 3), now just $2.99. Learn more HERE.)

Hot Off the Press: Letting Go

The third book in the “Stages of Homeschooling” series, Letting Go, is now available for $4.99 at

Like the previous books in the series, this book is a combination of new material and a variety of articles I wrote while homeschooling my four children. Stages of Homeschooling: Letting Go (Book 3) focuses on:

  • “Making the Choice to Homeschool Older Children and Teens” (Motivations for homeschooling through high school)
  • “Which Subjects Should Homeschooled Teens Study?” (Includes those your local high school probably doesn’t offer, but should)
  • “The College Decision” (Not which college to attend, but whether your teen should even go to college)
  • “Preparing Our Teens for the World of Work” (The 21st century world of work, not the 20th)
  • “Tips for Homeschooling Parents” (Hints and hope for parents of homeschooled teens)
  • “Books and Resources” (A few of the best)
  • “Personal Memories of Homeschooling Teens” (Glimpses into the life of a longtime homeschooling family)

Learn more about the entire “Stages of Homeschooling” series HERE.

Stages of Homeschooling: Enjoying the Journey (Book 2)

I’m delighted to announce that the second eBook in our Stages of Homeschooling series has just been published at Stages of Homeschooling: Enjoying the Journey has over 200 pages of encouragement and  information for the homeschooling parent with a few years of experience under her (or his) belt. And it’s a bargain at just $4.99! (I think eBooks should cost less than print books, don’t you?)

Here’s what you’ll find in Stages of Homeschooling: Enjoying the Journey:

Have you got a few years of homeschooling under your belt, and you’re looking for practical information and encouragement from someone who’s lived the homeschooling life?

If your answer is “yes,” then this is the book for you.

Barbara Frank just wrapped up 25 years of homeschooling four children, including one with special needs, and wants to share her experiences with those currently on the homeschool journey.  So she’s combined new material with some of her articles and blog posts into a series of four books called Stages of Homeschooling. Enjoying the Journey is the second book of the series.

Stages of Homeschooling: Enjoying the Journey is divided into eight sections:

“Working with Your Children” (Curriculum and its place in your homeschool, specific ideas for working with your children, and tactics for avoiding homeschool burnout)

“Raising Children You Can Live With 24/7” (An especially important consideration for homeschooling parents)

“Self-Care for the Homeschooling Parent” (How to keep yourself strong for the important job of homeschooling)

“Homeschool Challenges and Issues” (Handling difficulties that might crop up for you personally or for the homeschool community at large)

“Books and Resources I Have Known and Loved (and How to Find Them)”

“Homeschooling and Holidays” (A look at holidays from the vantage point of a homeschooling parent)

“For Girls Only” (A few thoughts for those of you raising daughters)

“Teaching Practical Skills” (Ideas for including this increasingly important topic in your homeschooling plans)

This book will encourage and enlighten you as you homeschool your children. It’s the second book in the Stages of Homeschooling series:

Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings (Book 1)

Stages of Homeschooling: Enjoying the Journey (Book 2)

Stages of Homeschooling: Letting Go (Book 3)–COMING SOON!

Stages of Homeschooling: The Empty Nest (Book 4)–DUE LATER IN 2012

Learn more about this new title HERE. Don’t have an Amazon Kindle? No worries; just download one of their free apps, found HERE.