Tag: Homeschooling

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. On Quitting


Lazy author’s note: One of the effects of membership in this site is that I have written down a lot of things that I otherwise would not have. Many of these thoughts remain in editing limbo. The intent is to post my great wisdom and reap the internet points, but a side effect is that I have accidentally created a bit of journal that I have never before managed to convince myself to write. I wrote this back in the spring of 2018. I decided not to change much. There are no conclusions here, just thoughts. I’ve added a few notes in bold italics for updates and clarity. And because I like bold italics.

I joined Ricochet after I had been visiting the site for several years. The reason I had not joined earlier was that I had nothing to say. If I had a question or comment on a post, somebody else had already voiced it. All I had to do was scroll through the comments and wait and somebody did the work for me.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are happy to be joined by Kerry McDonald, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom. Drawing on her experiences as a homeschooling parent and researcher, Kerry shares thoughts on the major lessons we all should be learning from this educational moment, now that COVID has turned most of America’s 50 million schoolchildren and their families into “homeschoolers.” Kerry reviews which education choice mechanisms, such as education savings accounts, would most effectively support homeschooling, and which states have policies that encourage entrepreneurship and innovative K-12 models, such as microschools and virtual charter schools. They also explore the increasing diversity of the two million children in the U.S. who were homeschooled before the pandemic, changing public perceptions, and a Harvard Law School professor’s controversial call for a presumptive ban.

Stories of the Week: Over 100 Catholic schools across the country are permanently closing as a result of the financial losses associated with COVID, impacting an estimated 50,000 mostly low-income and working-class students. How will the closures affect cash-strapped district schools facing an influx of these new students? Kudos to Kelley Brown, a history teacher from Easthampton, Massachusetts, who led her high school history students to win the national “We the People” civics competition. The achievement – a first for the Bay State – was all the more impressive considering the contest was held in the midst of a global pandemic and conducted entirely via Zoom, requiring extraordinary coordination.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Bob Bowdon & guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Susan Wise Bauer – writer, historian, homeschool parent, and author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, as well as numerous other books. They explore the impact of technological innovation, online tools and social media, and the plethora of resources now available to the increasingly diverse and growing population of American homeschool families. They also discuss Susan’s approach to writing and teaching about major world historical figures and eras, and why classical education’s developmentally appropriate approach to instruction in grammar, logic, and rhetoric is a model worth preserving.

Stories of the Week: Despite widely covered teacher strikes this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ newly released data on union membership shows a decline – but will this reduce organized labor’s power? In Maryland, a school desegregation proposal that would redistrict over 5,000 children to address educational inequity is meeting parent resistance. A tweet-up timed to counter National School Choice Week, using the hashtag #ILovePublicSchools, backfired when 8,000 public school students posted overwhelmingly negative comments about their experiences.

Homeschool moms and homeschoolers get asked A LOT of questions about home education—what curriculum is best, what resources do parents need, will kids get a good education? You slid into our DMs with your BEST questions and homeschool mom Bethany Mandel joined homeschooler Lyndsey Fifield to tackle the biggest questions. Hopefully this episode can serve as a resource for any parents considering their options—or anyone who just needs to learn more about this growing form of education.

This is a follow-up to our episode on homeschooling with Elisha Krauss and Lyndsey from January 2019.

Member Post


So, being in Germany means Homeschooling is illegal. At least, only homeschooling is illegal. If you send your child to the Staatschule and homeschool on the side… well, the law doesn’t say a darn thing about that. So we do. And we are constantly on the look-out for new A/V materials in history and science, […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. What Could Schools Learn from Homeschools?


shutterstock_283575290Why does homeschooling work? Specifically, what could traditional schools — public and private — learn from homeschoolers?

This is a neglected debate. Many traditional educators, of course, feel threatened by homeschooling or reject my premise that it works; certainly they aren’t looking to learn from uncredentialed parents. And once homeschoolers find what works for them, they tend not to look back in the opposite direction.

Even education reformers favorable to homeschooling — who should be interested in this topic — never seem to ask this question (if they have, they’ve sure been quiet about it). They would probably give you some broad answers why homeschooling works: homeschooling parents tend to be well-educated, stable, and involved; they can give plenty of one-on-one attention; they’ve freedom to customize freely, without having to overcome bureaucratic inertia; they aren’t as subject to behavioral distractions; etc.

Member Post


Like Claire, I also noticed yesterday on the Silent Members thread that we seem to have a large number of homeschoolers on Ricochet. I am always on the lookout for new curriculum and ideas to incorporate into our homeschooling routine. Anyway, this is our second year of our second round of homeschooling (taught the older […]

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There use to be a post on great resources for homeschooling, but I can’t find it. So here’s a bunch of the resources I’d recommend; I hope others will add theirs, since not everyone is doing elementary education. All the internet ones have good things that are free, although some sell additional material. Mine are […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Importance of Learning at Home


Rewards BookNearly all children are “home schooled” during their first four or five years before being enrolled in a formal school. Growing numbers of students – approximately 1.7 million to 2.1 million – continue to be schooled at home after they are old enough to attend conventional schools, but in some capacity all students continue to be, or should be, substantially “home schooled” for their entire K-12 careers. This is because in their first 18 years, only about 12 percent of children’s time (when they’re not sleeping) is spent in school.

Some parents do all they can to ensure their children rank first in all their academic classes in school. Best-selling author Amy Chua, for example, described herself as a “Tiger Mother” and was much ridiculed for her impressive and successful efforts to gain her daughters’ entrance to Ivy League universities and for one to even make a solo performance at Carnegie Hall. Her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, noted that rigorous family emphasis on achievement is common in Asian cultures. It sparked a national debate about parents’ roles in educating and pushing children to achieve.

Research shows children with devoted parents are likely to learn far more than others. Parents can create a learning environment at home by having on hand age-appropriate personal or library-borrowed books and if they can afford it, art supplies, musical instruments, and electronic devices such as personal computers and tablets, which continue to fall in price. Many of these items can be purchased inexpensively at second-hand stores, such as Goodwill. Since children quickly outgrow many of these learning aids, it is a good idea to get in the habit of buying them used and then donating them when finished.