How to Tackle a Rebellious Child in Homeschool

online homeschool While many homeschooling children are angels when they are younger, as they grow older they can sometimes test the limits of their parents’ patience. They may throw tantrums in the homeschool class, not complete the work that you have given them, and in general make you question your decision to homeschool. Now it may be tempting to vent your angst by yelling at them to do what you ask them to, but its not going to make them behave any better. Here are some ways that you can tackle this rebellion.

Don’t Fret About The Homeschooling Student’s Behavior

It is never easy to have your authority challenged and your instructions ignored. However shouting at your homeschool student is not going to solve the problem. It will only make it worse. Instead, go calmly about the regular homeschool business of giving them work to do. Then withdraw your attention to teach the siblings their lessons. At the end of the assigned period evaluate the progress made by each child and give them stars on their behavior chart for how well they performed. Treating all of your students equally is important, as is not rewarding negative behavior with more attention.

Don’t Take It as a Personal Reflection of Your Teaching

Since you are the only teacher and the student is not interested in learning, you may take it personally. Remember that this is a huge mistake to make and does not do justice to all the hard work that you have put in to teaching your child everything he knows. It is a phase that the child is going to pass through. The minute he learns the valuable life lesson that he can’t always buck authority, he will go back to being the well behaved member of your homeschool that he used to be.

Check for Medical Reasons and Eliminate Them

Sometimes the child doesn’t want to study because the activity is causing him a problem. One child began hating homework simply because reading without glasses was giving him a headache. Another one had trouble paying attention for long periods of time because of ADHD. So make sure that you get thorough check ups regularly for your children in order to eliminate any medical problems that may be troubling them.

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A Day’s Break From Homeschool is Important for the Teacher

homeschool program When you are stuck in the homeschool classroom day after day with your homeschool students, there will eventually come a time when you need a break. Being the responsible parent who is diligently helping children in their learning can take a toll on your patience and sweet nature. In order to ensure that you never quite reach the end of your tether, it is important to occasionally take a day’s break from homeschooling.

What Should You Do On Your Day Off?

Many homeschooling parents take their day off by handing over the children to another trusted care giver and getting out of the house on their own. It could involve a trip to the salon to get pampered, or a run through of a number of chores that need doing. The idea is to step out of the daily routine and do ideally something that brings a sense of calm. There is no endless explaining of mathematics rules, or repetitions of poetry recitation to take care of. Its just you and whatever you choose to do for the day.

What to do When You Can’t Leave the House?

Getting out of the house may not always be a possibility, so think up of things that you can do indoors. Take the day off to bake cakes, cookies or bread. Baking usually takes up a fair chunk of your time and if you can’t get it done while homeschooling, take a day off to do just that. Get your children to help and teach them a set of life skills in an atmosphere away from formal learning. All kids love to help decorate cookies and cakes with frosting and sprinkles. Plus it’s a ready snack when they finish.

Be Socially Responsible and Teach Your Kids

Taking on some voluntary work is also a great way to break up the routine of homeschooling. Look out for volunteering opportunities in your neighborhood in which you and your children can be involved. It’s always a good idea to introduce your children to people who are not as fortunate as themselves to develop a sense of compassion. This will also help them have better adjusted personalities as grown ups since they will learn to be able to do things for others without expecting something in return.


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More Musical Lessons for Homeschoolers on YouTube

homeschool resources Besides the drums, guitar and the piano, your musically inclined homeschool students can pick up other instruments on YouTube. Here are some more YouTube channels dedicated to teaching musical instruments.

Flirting with the Flute

It is believed that the flute is the easiest instrument to master. It is also great to build up lung power and upper respiratory system control. Rebecca Fuller has a whole lot of videos starting from the basics of how to hold a flute and working up to playing entire songs. There are more than 400 videos on this channel and can cater to many hours of learning for your homeschool student.

Don’t Harp on it

The Celestial Harp may not be your first choice of musical instrument for a homeschooling youngster, but Chirs Caswell’s Celtic Harp YouTube channel may convince you otherwise. This simple stringed instrument can be a joy to pluck when you know how to make it sing to your tune. Chris teaches you in step by step lessons just how you can give  the strings a work out with your fingers.

Fiddle with

Johns Fiddle Lessons at may sound like a really long name for a YouTube channel, but the videos here can guide you through a free step by step program that takes you from choosing your fiddle to actually playing it. There are a number of violin tutorials available on the channel and can be easily followed by your homeschooling musical prodigy in the making.

Play the Blues on the Sax

Hello Saxophone is a fast-paced YouTube channel which will give you the all practical information you need to pick up the sax in the straightforward way you want! Learning to distinguish and play the major scales from the minor scales, improvising with your own contribution to a piece of music in true jazz style and more can be picked up in these helpful instructional videos.

No matter what instrument your homeschooling student picks for musical proficiency, there are bound to be a couple of YouTube channels dedicated to it. So take a virtual tour of your musical school before you decide on the final instrument.

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Learning Musical Instruments on YouTube

homeschool resources When you are homeschooling on a budget, it leaves you very little room to negotiate for extra classes that you can’t teach. One such field is music. Learning a musical instrument is one such extra class that you may not be able to afford financially. While you can buy the musical instrument, it’s the repeat classes that can add up to a major recurring cost. However there are amazing learning resources on YouTube, most of them free, that you can utilize to help your child pick up the instrument of his choice.

Learn How to Play The Drums at Drumeo

YouTube channel Drumeo is a great place to start learning drumming. There is a five video course for beginners designed by one of the members of Drumeo. As your child’s proficiency increases and interest grows, he could move on to the section of “Play Along” videos. Here they get to play a specific beat that they have been practicing along with an experienced drummer. There are also advanced, paid courses that you may like to consider in the future.

Get on Board With Your Guitar

If your child wishes to begin playing the guitar the YouTube channel of is a quick place to start. He will learn the basics like how to hold the guitar, how to tune a guitar, and what all the parts of the guitar are called. Then the videos move on to learning essential guitar chords, strumming and finally playing songs. Using the videos on this channel you child will eventually be able to learn songs, write music, and even play lead guitar.

Piano is Classic, but Keyboards are Good Too

In case you would like your child to learn how to play the piano, but don’t have access to one, don’t worry. Most piano basics can be easily picked up on a good keyboard. At the YouTube channel your child can get a good grasp of the basic keys, music symbols, reading sheet music and techniques of how to start playing a tune.  Stating with nursery rhymes, your child will build up his song repertoire to more popular classics.

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Start a Book and Movie Club for Homeschoolers

Reading books is a great way to learn more about our big wide world. It can be an interesting experience for homeschool students to read a book first and then watch it all come to life in a movie. Perhaps discussing what all was different in the movie compared to what they had read in the book would make an interesting writing assignment. You would be able to combine learning with fun if you started a Book and Movie Club for the homeschoolers in your town. It would be easy enough to organize. Here’s how you could go about it.

Find Out Whose Interested

Get in touch with all the homeschooling families that you can reach in your town. It doesn’t matter if they live close by or right across town. You never know who will be interested in a free activity like this. Once you have enough people on board to make it a decent sized club (5-6 kids is a good number to start with) get to the next step.

Pick Out an Interesting and Educational Book

Remember that before you pick a book you must consider two important points. First it should be a book that’s been made into a movie, and second it should be age appropriate reading for your Book and Movie Club members. The fact that it deals with some period of time, or an interesting incident from history will only enhance the learning experience.

Plan the Movie Screening

Give the children and their homeschooling teachers adequate time to read the book before you decide to watch the movie together. Remember some books may take longer to read so cater for the time factor. It will become easier to gauge just how long you need to wait after you do the first couple of books.

Have Fun at The Show

Now that you have read the book with your homeschool students and discussed the key issues therein, you are ready for the movie. Get all the Book and Movie Club members under one roof for the show. The end of the movie can be followed up with a discussion on how different the book was from the movie. Ask each member to share his opinion and impressions.

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Homeschooling Physical Education in the Cold

homeschool resources Keeping your homeschool students healthy with regular physical exercise can prove to be a daunting challenge when there’s a blizzard blazing outdoors. With the winter months ensuring that you can say goodbye to a number of usual outdoor activities, you will have to come up with PE ideas that work well inside the home. Here are some activities that you may consider.

1. Create an Indoor Obstacle Course

Empty out a sizable area in the middle of the room, then assemble obstacles such as cushions to jump on, water bottles to avoid and strings to pass under. Let everyone have a couple of practice runs before you decide to have a timed run. The person who takes the shortest time to successfully complete the obstacle course wins. Putting the room back to normal will add more exercise to the day.

2. Simple Aerobic Dancing

All you need is to play some dance music that everyone enjoys. Then come up with simple exercise moves to have an aerobics class. You can actually follow aerobics videos on You Tube with instructors. There are some great Zumba moves that you can bust on You Tube as well. Just ensure that you watch the videos before hand to see that they are moves that your homeschool students will be able to follow.

3. No Special Equipment Exercises

If you are on a budget investing in specialized exercise equipment for the home is out of the question. That does not mean that you can not perform specific types of exercises such as yoga and calisthenics which use the weight of your own body to help you do strength and stamina training. Again there are videos and websites online which will give you a good idea of what to do with your homeschool students. Map out a set of exercises before you begin

4. Treadmill, Cross Trainer or Exercise Bicycle

If you can get this health equipment you should coordinate the children and yourself into getting a certain number of minutes on the trainers each day. Have a schedule for who uses which equipment and when to avoid clashes and deciding turns every day. It is really not so difficult to get everyone to do a bit of physical exercise each day when you have the PE class scheduled right into the homeschool classroom time table.

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Homeschool Students& Science Fairs – Plus a Fun 3D Fossil Activity!

Guest Post by

Barnas Monteith

As a recent former Chair of one of the oldest state science fairs in the country, I can tell you that the topic of homeschool student participation in science fairs has been a major discussion point at many board meetings over the years. In the past, many fairs found it difficult to involve students who didn’t have school mentors to assist in the process, or insurance from their local school districts, to cover any accidents while conducting a project. Or, other various complicated legal or practical obstacles. But, things have changed, and fairs have found ways to work around many of these issues. In recent years, more and more fairs have begun to do more specifically to reach out to the homeschooling community.

Often homeschooling parents will be frustrated both with the lack of information and support, and the sometimes overwhelming bureaucracy of science fairs . And fairs at different levels don’t necessarily talk to each other or work with each other (i.e. districts, regions, state and national/international fairs). There are pre-approval forms, science review committees, and various safety checks and other things to do, before even starting your project. Often, fairs discourage parents from “too much” participation in a student’s project. It’s viewed as a way of making things fair for all students; the same policy applies to all parents to ensure that students are doing their own work. It’s understandable why some homeschooling families don’t want to bother with whole science fair process. Well, the climate seems to be changing rapidly, as traditional fairs, math competitions, robotics/maker fairs, virtual science fairs (Google has a great one) and other types of STEM-related informal educational activities have been competing to get more student participation. At the same time, fairs and other competitions have been offering ever-increasing prizes, to attract and reward top science talent. At the MA State Fair, we offer around a half million dollars in prizes, including some full patent awards each year (which can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars) to the most patentable ideas. Science fairs are no longer just about demonstrating the understanding of scientific method, as they were in the recent past. Now, science fairs have become a place where real-world science and engineering gets done, where students get their work published or patented, and even as Freshmen, are sought out by the very top research institutions and companies in the world. It’s a very rewarding experience in many ways, andit is wonderful that homeschooling families are participating in ever-increasing numbers each year.

Yet, one of the other major concerns I’ve heard over the years, especially from homeschool parents, is that access to lab resources is sometimes geographically challenging and also, often, costly. It’s hard to find projects where you can do something meaningful without spending lots of time and money obtaining data. This too is changing!

As a student, my own project looked at the evolution of dinosaurs into birds, using both microscopy and biochemical data, with real fossilized and modern eggshells. I would then crunch the data using algorithms I set up in mini-databases. It was very cross disciplinary, and that is where things seem to be heading more and more. The more disciplines you can include in your project, the more your judges believe that you are not just a deep scientific thinker, but a broad scientific thinker, who can link and bridge common ideas from otherwise very disparate subjects. While I did use some resources and materials that had a cost to them, nearly all of these were donated. Getting the data was indeed difficult, but the most innovative portion of my work was really done on computers. Admittedly, obtaining rare fossils and getting access to fancy equipment is certainly a barrier to entry and an impressive feat. But, I do think judges focus on innovation rather than the work done to obtain the raw data.   Now, both as a science fair judge, and an administrator/policy maker, I can tell you data doesn’t win fairs.

Since that time, I’ve gone on to do research and business in various scientific and technical fields. Whether it’s been working on diamond-based solar cells to new types of electrosurgery tools to planarization techniques for semiconductors, one of the key things that I’ve noticed over time is that things have gotten much easier to connect research data to the people who need that data. From simply sharing scientific experiment results / engineering tweaks more freely, to sharing rich data that demands large storage space, to crowd-sourced data, to publicly funded data, the DATA itself is becoming simpler to access. Maybe not entirely trivial to the research community, but for science fairs and the world of inquiry based education in general, it’s becoming less and less important as time goes on. And that’s a really great thing for science fair parents who don’t have funds readily available to contract out lab work, or to set up their own labs at home. There are now very compelling, top award winning science projects (including this year’s very top ISEF winner, who also happens to be from Boston, MA), that require nothing more than an Internet connection. So, if you’re reading this, then you’re all set to go win lots of science fairs.


While I’ve worked in a variety of different high tech and low tech fields, my true passion has always remained fossils. During my years working in field paleontology, we’d dig out bones and bring them back to universities and museums, only to have most of the bones sit there for years, unstudied. Aside from a research paper and a talk at a conference or two, the data about those finds would be limited (perhaps a handful of photos, diagrams and measurements) and would reach a fairly limited group of people. But nowadays you can shareentire fossils as high resolution3D files (in addition to chemical or other data), and 3D print them yourself (or just look at them on your screen), to study them in your own lab, museum or home in greater detail anytime you want.


Here’s a super fun activity you can do at home with your young student to demonstrate the idea of how easy it is to share, manipulate or use complex data – specifically 3D/spatial data – with (almost) no costs involved.  Whether or not you like fossils, there are lots of different types of science projects that you can do with this technologies – the possibilities are endless!


Get a digital camera or camera-capable phone, and an account with Autodesk 123D Catch ( Following their instructions, take a series of pictures of an object and upload it to their server. In a short while, sometimes ranging from minutes to hours, they compile the pictures into a 3D image, which you can look at on your screen, share with your friends, or if you have a 3D printer (which not a lot of people have), you can print one out yourself. Or you can just use their online repository of objects and their special 3D-slicer program to make paper stencils so you can create your own real-world physical specimens or engineering related objects. Imagine using that tool to share data about an objectwith your friends, without having to actually to bring that object over their house.   Makes it a lot easier, especially if your friends live on the other side of the world!


If you prefer to skip that step, and simply want to try and make your own cool life-sized 3D printed object, without photo- “scanning” an object into their system (or searching for an object and using their “slicer” tool), here’s a much easier way to start. Relating to my own interests, which are ancient fossils, you can go to and click around their virtual museum, find an ancient hominid skull of your choice which already has PDF 3D stencils, and print them out. These stencils have already been pre-sliced for you! Just get some scrap cardboard, scissors (or maybe an exact-knife if that is allowed in your home or appropriate for your child’s age), and glue.  Either cut and trace the stencils, or just glue the stencils right onto the cardboard. They’re numbered, so just put them together in the proper order, using their alignment guides. In anywhere from an hour to several hours (depending on the model you choose), you can have your very own sort-of-3D-printed human skull fossil right there on your table.


barnas Barnas serves on the Board of Directors of the not-for-profit MA State Science & Engineering Fair, and most recently served as its Chairman for a number of years. He was also one of the most successful science fair participants in MA history – and beyond. He had 4 1st place regional science fair wins, 4 1st place state wins, and 2 1st place International ISEF wins, in addition to a number of 1st place special awards and scholarships. His projects were predominantly on dinosaur and bird eggshells structures and biochemistry, but he also studied computer science and technology too. Later in life, Barnas, along with friends he met at science fairs, started several successful companies in software, semiconductors, energy and healthcare. He truly enjoys working in different STEM disciplines and teaching others. In addition to his work at MSSEF, he has also served as a Co-Chair on the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and the Department of Education’s Math & Science Advisory Council. He is the author of several children’s books onSTEM topics, including an upcoming book about science fairs and dinosaur/bird evolution called “Dinosaur Eggs & Blue Ribbons”.

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Planning a Homeschoolers Party

homeschool science A party is a good way for your homeschool students to meet up and have fun with other homeschooled children in your area. If you do not already have a list of people whom you can invite to the party, get involved with an online forum or support group to see who all in your city would be interested in the event. Based on the response you get you can set up the other details.

The Venue

Since there could be a fair number of children and adults attending the party it may not make sense to have it at your home. The idea is for it to be an enjoyable experience not an exercise in clean up. You can use a community meeting hall, a rec room, or even the conference room at your local library as a possible venue. Check ahead of time with the associated authorities and get permission for the date you are planning the party.

The Food

You can go with two hassle free options. The first is to simply hire a caterer to handle all the food and drink requirements. While this is easy to do, it can also be a tad expensive. If you feel that way you can exercise the second option of having a potluck. Divide up the meal into different segments that the attending parents can bring in. The snacks, drinks, and main meal can all be sectioned out amongst the attendees. A little organizing can save big bucks.

The Games

What’s a party without some music, fun and games?! Set up a list of games that you can play with children of different age groups before hand. That way you will waste less time at the party settling people down. Also have a few gifts for the winners. You can ask the parents to contribute books, candy or any other handy gift that the children will enjoy receiving. Have a game for the adults as well to keep things interesting. Prizes for the games can be given at the end of the party in a small ceremony.

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Is Year-Round Homeschooling Better?

homeschool schedule A mistake that many first time homeschooling families make is to consider regular school months for homeschooling as well. This can be a mistake for two main reasons. The first is that you are not following a regular school pattern and can be more flexible about when you teach and how you teach. The second is that a single long summer break really doesn’t cut it when you are homeschooling your children. That’s why year-round homeschooling has a number of advantages.

Does that mean you get no break?

Not at all, it means that you get to schedule your breaks when you need them. For example, you can do a month of homeschool classes (4-5 weeks) and then take the next week off to do anything fun. This could be a road trip to a new destination, a visit to grandparents, or simply a week of sitting at home and doing nothing but watching movies and eating popcorn all day. You can take the kind of break you like, when you like. It really is much better to recharge your batteries all through the year, rather than taking a single long break.

Added advantage of no “Summer Brain Drain”

Most regular school teacher bemoan the arrival of students in the classroom after a long summer break because it invariably has caused “Summer Brain Drain.” This term basically refers to the students forgetting a part of what all they have been taught before the summer holidays. It can be quite frustrating for a teacher to have to go through everything that has already been taught a second time. If you continue year-round homeschool classes, you ensure that your homeschooled students never suffer summer brain drain.

Find your ideal schoolwork – break schedule

Homeschooling families differ in what they consider to be the exact number of weeks on and off. Some work for six weeks and then take the seventh week off, while others just go through three weeks of homeschooling before they take a week off. Your schedule will have to be adjusted after you work out what works best in your homeschooling classroom. Try out the different patterns and see how many weeks you need to get certain topics covered and how soon you feel the need for the break!

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Driving Away the Winter Blues

homeschool science The cold wind, the snow, the dampness, the cloudy skies and the lack of sun can cause anyone to begin to crack up after a couple of months. While the cold is not quite as bad as it was, its not really on its way out as yet either. Things can get really dreary in the homeschool classroom in this season. Here are some things that you can consider to drive away those winter blues trying to drown you.

Break the gloom and monotony of your days

Add something new to your daily routine in the home school classroom. It could be something like an art project that adds more color to your classroom, or a set of new dance exercises in Zumba or Jiving which gets everyone moving. It could be just about any activity that your homeschool students enjoy. The idea is to break the monotony of a regular winter homeschool day.

Combat cabin fever by taking a field trip

Being inside the warm house can be a severe deterrent to taking field trips during the winter months. Who really wants to go through the entire process of bundling up all the children and taking them out of the house in the freezing cold? It is much easier to sit toasty inside the house, but that really doesn’t deal with the cabin fever developing in your homeschool classroom. So get out of the house at least once a week to ensure that there is something for the children to look forward to outside the house.

Plan ahead for better weather

Spring may seem a long way away, but make it seem closer by planning out what all you hope to do in the season. Figure out what your homeschool students will be planting in their garden patches, what physical activities they want to undertake, and even what fairs they will be attending. Have them watch movies set in the warmer climes of deserts, prepare costumes that their dolls will wear in spring, or even do some art work that depicts the approach of the season. Focus on the warmer season and the coming better weather.

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