Defining Success in Your Home School

What does it mean to succeed? What does it mean to be successful and how do you measure success in your home school?

Do you measure success by how much your children accomplished today, this week, this month? It’s still early in the traditional school year. Do you feel ahead of the game, right on track, behind?

Do you issue grades as a benchmark of success? Maybe grades help you assess a child’s progress in a particular area, or you’re required by your state to keep them.

Defining Success in Your #Homeschool @hsbapost

Here’s a big one for those of us with older children with college in sight. Is acceptance to a college, especially a well-regarded one, a mark of success (or failure) on your child’s homeschool career, or do you feel it’s more of a commentary on your success (or failure) as a homeschool parent? After all, I’ve been asked this question more than once: “Why did you decide to homeschool? What about college?”

I’m posing these questions to our readers, because I have been asking them lately of myself. The institutionalized learning that we’ve rejected by opting out of the school system also applies to higher learning. A college education is no longer a guarantee of financial success, in fact, a case could be made that traditional, Industrial Age education is dead in all its forms, including college.

What ramifications does this have for our way of thinking, steeped in the belief that a college education defines whether or not our children have made it safely to adulthood and have the tools they need to become financially independent? If our homeschooled kids don’t make it to college, have we failed them academically and socially? How will they otherwise learn to function in the world and become self-sustaining and self-supporting?

The answer lies in our personal definition of success. In our culture, success usually means keeping up with the Joneses Facebook Page (just remember, Facebook shows faces not lives!). Homes, cars, vacations, elaborate parties–it’s a lot to measure up to.

While there’s nothing wrong with financial success (in fact I advocate it), success as a human being is far more complex than an individual’s net worth. Many homeschool graduates end up starting their own businesses because they don’t find traditional paths to be appealing. And why should we expect anything less? We’ve helped them take a non-traditional path in the early years, it should come as no surprise if they choose to stay on that path. Success also encompasses feelings of satisfaction, personal accomplishment, attaining and setting new goals, relationships with others, giving back to the community, being a good friend, son, daughter, neighbor. We can value and model all of these things within our families and in our home schools.

To quote Charlotte Mason:

“The question is not—how much does the youth know when he has finished his education—but how much does he care? And about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? And, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”

Having said all this, it’s likely my children will choose college (more and more colleges accept homeschoolers with open arms), but we still have a few years until those decisions are made. However, I need to be ever mindful that if one of my children does not choose college, I hope it will be a reflection of their ability to make wise choices for themselves and not follow a prescribed path simply because others have done it. I can hear the voices in my head now–of family and friends who don’t homeschool, “See, homeschool doesn’t prepare a child for college!” Those voices are my problem, and I can’t make them my kids’.

Do your kids, especially your high school age children, see college in their futures? Are you worried if they will be prepared? What do you do to alleviate those fears? If they don’t choose college, will you be ok with it?

Leave us a comment; we’d love to know what you think!

Angela (28 Posts)

Angela is co-founder of Mosaic Freeschool and a homeschooling mom to two never-been-to school kids. Born in Southern California and raised on the East Coast, Angela had a bit of an unconventional education, but did not consider homeschooling seriously until her first child was born. Believing that young children learn best from those that love them most, Angela and her husband John chose homeschooling for their two boys. She is dedicated to the advancement of alternative education choices, creating the web-site Raising Autodidacts in 2011 to further explore the idea of fostering the self-taught individual. In June of 2013, she started an instructional writing service called Gathering Ink .

A Word From Our Sponsors

Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***ART PROJECTS curriculum –ages 10+ -fulfills high school fine arts credit 10% off + FREE SHIPPING in U.S. Code: STL Offer expires September 30th***

Switched-on Schoolhouse from Alpha Omega {review}

When I first began homeschooling officially in 2006, I quickly learned that there were a few legendary names when it comes to homeschool curriculum.  Tried and true, trusted, longstanding pioneers in the homeschool community.  Alpha Omega is one of those names.

Several years ago (when I was still in the mindset of more formal lessons as compared to our relaxed approach now), we used some Horizons and Lifepac curriculum from Alpha Omega.  I was happy with the material, but it just didn’t fit our eclectic style at the time.  Now that my oldest is in 7th grade and we’re headed toward high school sooner than I’d like, I’m looking at some more structure in our days.  Enter the opportunity to review Switched-on Schoolhouse computer-based curriculum and I was glad to give it a try.

Alpha Omega Switched-on Schoolhouse 7th Grade Bible #hsreview

What We Received:

Alpha Omega Switched-on Schoolhouse (SOS) Bible, grade 7.

What It Covers
  • The life of Christ and God’s plan of salvation.
  • Available in King James or New American Standard versions.
  • Memory verses
  • Vocabulary words
  • Historical context
Installation and Set Up

The initial installation is involved and takes about 30 minutes.  You’ll want to check the system requirements to be sure it’s compatible with your computer.

We installed SOS on a laptop running Windows XP.  {There is a note that 2014 is the last edition to have updates and support for XP.}  The 2 cd-rom installation set comes with a step-by-step booklet, though the steps didn’t always match up with the screen we were seeing.  It is pretty self-explanatory as you move through the setup wizard.


Switched on Schoolhouse installation and set up #hsreview @hsbapost

Once the main SOS interface is installed, it prompts you for the subject cd-rom installation.  In our case, this was the Bible cd-rom.  SOS offers 5 main subjects that can be purchased as a set or individually: math, science, language arts, history & geography, and Bible.

Installation includes both student and teacher log in information.  These can be accessed separately through icons on the desktop.  This keeps the student log in separate from the answer key and assignments.

After the complete installation process, it’s time for customizing and setting up the course assignments.  Navigation is simple and I had no trouble quickly figuring out how to make assignments and due dates if I chose.  There are built in tutorials in the form of slideshows to demonstrate each feature and how to use them.

What I Thought

I like the ease of use once everything is installed.  It is really a time saver for busy homeschool moms.  I don’t have to plan or read ahead.  I can just follow the lesson plans and make assignments.  They are even graded for me.  When I need my daughter to do some independent work while I do lessons with her younger sisters, this is a good option.

However, for our personal homeschooling style, we enjoy more hands-on interaction and discussion.  I think SOS would be a good choice for us for some of the elective courses rather than our main subjects.  Some of the electives they offer include web design and information technology subjects, which I think would be excellent ways to get more specified training in future career choices.  Those are things that we wouldn’t necessarily have the time or the means to teach without a resource like SOS.

This course is what I might call a digital text and workbook style.  There aren’t really any fancy bells and whistles as far as graphics or animations.  The information is presented as black and white text followed by quizzes at the end of each section.  There is nothing to distract or detract from the lessons.

As far as the Bible course material itself, I think it is thorough and accurate.  My daughter definitely learned from the course and it was good experience for her to try a more traditional school approach just to see what it’s like.  She will continue this course past our review time because she wants to complete it and has been doing well with it.

My Daughter’s Thoughts

I like it overall.  I like that I can work on it at my own pace.  I can go back into the lessons and keep reading if I don’t finish it all at once.  I like the place where I can take notes or make a journal, too.  I write down memory verses there.  One of my favorite parts is customizing the colors and design.  Learning new vocabulary words was my favorite part of the lessons.

The Fine Print

The 7th Grade Bible course for Switched-on Schoolhouse is available for $99.95.



Disclaimer: I received Switched-on Schoolhouse 7th Grade Bible course free of charge in exchange for my review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.  I received no other compensation for this review.


Sara (30 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.

A Word From Our Sponsors

Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***ART PROJECTS curriculum –ages 10+ -fulfills high school fine arts credit 10% off + FREE SHIPPING in U.S. Code: STL Offer expires September 30th***

My Favorite Things for Homeschooling with ADHD

We’re homeschooling several children with ADHD in our family, so we’ve had to make some major adjustments to our homeschooling approach over the years. One of the biggest adjustments has involved adapting my teaching style.

I tend to be a sit-down, book-learnin’ type of educator. I have ADD, so I’m not hyper and I’m capable of long periods of concentration. My hyper kids, though, are not, which means I had to adjust to them in order to help them learn. We’ve found a few items to be especially useful for helping our kids stay on task and pay attention. So today I’m sharing five of my favorite things for homeschooling with ADHD!

My Favorite Things for Homeschooling with ADHD - Look! We're Learning!

Tools for Homeschooling Children with ADHD

  1. Digital Timer – I don’t use a timer that often, but when I do, it’s usually to keep me on schedule. I can get interested in a subject and talk for a bit too long, especially for my kids’ short attention spans. In general, I try to keep each subject to 25 minutes so that we can get up for a “brain break” a couple of times per hour.
  2. Squeeze Balls – Squeeze balls, or stress balls, are great for fidgety kids. They’re quiet, they’re small, and they don’t distract the other kids during lessons. Plus, they’re handy for moms who need a little stress reliever. ;)
  3. Nickelodeon FIT for the Wii – We make physical education a regular part of our school lessons. Sometimes we have P.E. outside and sometimes we use the video game Nickelodeon FIT on our Nintendo Wii. It’s packed with simple fitness activities for young kids, featuring Dora the Explorer, Diego, and other Nickelodeon characters. It’s really fun. I’ve even been known to get in on the game on occasion. :)
  4. Individual White Boards – Most of our kids are visual/kinesthetic learners, so any time I can take a lesson and make it interactive, the kids learn their concepts better. When we cover math, I use a chalkboard but I try to let the kids copy my work on their own white boards. They get to draw, write, and “see” each concept – all of which helps them grasp it better.
  5. The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks – This affordable ebook features simple activities that kids can perform during short “brain breaks” each hour. We had the opportunity to try the program last year and it gave the kids a simple way to move around and get themselves refocused for the rest of the school day.

And those are some of my favorite things for homeschooling with ADHD! We’ve found them all to be useful, especially when we’re covering complex subjects or topics that require concentration.

Do you have any tips for homeschooling active learners? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

Selena (2 Posts)

Selena is a homeschooling graduate, a former tax accountant, and a homeschooling mom to four super special kids. She and her husband, Jay, practice eclectic homeschooling to keep their ADHD learners engaged! You can keep up with Selena by following her blog Look! We're Learning! on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google Plus.

A Word From Our Sponsors

Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***ART PROJECTS curriculum –ages 10+ -fulfills high school fine arts credit 10% off + FREE SHIPPING in U.S. Code: STL Offer expires September 30th***