CLA Blog Chronological Index

My New Blog and Family Update

Reading aloud to your children

Pay Attention! Are You Listening to Me?

The Dark Side of Certificates and Awards

“My Daughter Homeschools”

4 Ways to Get Your Child to Listen

Famous Homeschooler List – Because Sometimes it’s Nice to Know About Others

What Does Your Child Want to Learn?

Ready for College?

Homeschool Dads

Looking Beyond Toys

Understanding Your Child

What You Need to Know if You are Struggling with Teaching

Distractible, Messy, Disorganized, and Fill-In-the-Blank Kids Often Thrive at Home Without Drugs!

Changing Public Opinion About Homeschooling

Making a Costume is a Learning Experience!

Homeschooling (and identifying!) the Gifted Child

What Will Your Teen Do After Graduation?

Thanksgiving Survival Tips for Homeschoolers

Homeschooling and Parenting Books

Welcoming Dirt Into the Curriculum

It’s NOT Helicopter Parenting!

Yes, There’s a Reason Why You Think You Need Preschool Curriculum!

Loving Learning?

Unschooling: The Gold Standard for Young Children

Everyone Deserves a Childhood: Unschooling gifted kids

From Homeschooler to College Student: Successfully Transitioning Your Teen to College

Getting Lost and Other Games!

“Play Anywhere” Games

Unschooling and the Unspoken Worry

My Experience with Stealth Schooling

Feed Me a Story!

The Early Walking Curriculum

Help! My Child Wants to Go to School!

The Importance of Homeschooling Support

My Homeschool Lesson

It’s Never Wasted Time

Does the Thought of Homeschooling Scare You?

“We’re Homeschooling” – breaking the news to your family!

Taking it One Day at a Time: Why you may not need to know what you’ll do tomorrow.

Homeschool Advice from “Experts” and Others!

The Best Homeschooling Advice Ever!

How to Begin Homeschooling When You Don’t Know What to Do!

Working on Physical Skills Helps with Reading, Writing, and Learning!

A lightbulb moment from a homeschooler

No Regrets, It Was Worth It!

Homeschool Field Trips

Homeschooling Through a Crisis

Finding a California Park Day

What Year-Round Homeschooling Looks Like

A Step-by-Step Plan for Teaching Civics Now!

Unpreschooling Experiences

Unpreschooling Experiences

It’s back to school time. If you are not taking your child to preschool, what are you doing? There are probably some people asking you that and wondering how your child will ever be ready for school in the future!

A successful home unpreschool doesn’t need to look like the local drop-off preschool. It can be based around experiences instead of lessons and workbooks. Just lots of experiences, and the good news is that you can’t do it wrong because young children are ready and willing for anything!

One of my favorite things to do with young children is to stop and watch workmen build or repair something. If a new building is going up, watch it often, so you can see the changes. Guess what is going to happen next. And of course, go in the building once it’s open to see if the guesses were correct! You can’t do it wrong, and your child will take what he needs from the experience on that day, and then learn something new tomorrow. He’s connecting the dots from many different experiences and building a strong learning foundation.

You may know this is best, but there are some who will continue to think that your child should be in a “real” preschool. You probably won’t convince them otherwise, so avoid the subject when you can, and when you can’t, just reassure these well-meaning friends and relatives that your child is being exposed to everything they’d learn in a preschool plus a lot more – like watching things happen in the world. You might even call them field trips!

An update: This was originally published on September 2, 2012 at, before Transitional Kindergarten (TK) became popular with those enrolling in charter schools. Today’s TK kids were once considered preschoolers. Requiring them to sit and do workbooks will not get them into college early or make them eager to learn. It’s not developmentally appropriate. And while they are being subjected to the requirements of TK (which cuts into their play time), what are they not learning about the world?


Karen Taylor’s always homeschooled son is now a grad student studying neuroscience at UCSF.  She shares homeschooling comments and links on Facebook, Pinterest, and this blog.

A Step-by-Step Plan for Teaching Civics Now!

When should you teach civics?  For public school teens, it’s often a semester course in their senior year. They’re almost voting age, so that makes sense. But what about homeschoolers?

It often happens when there is interest in learning more, and with two legislative bills currently threatening homeschooling in California, this is an excellent learning opportunity for the entire family. It probably wasn’t in your plans for this year, but it’s always easier to learn when there is a reason. You can teach your teen how to be a knowledgeable citizen by using real life instead of a textbook and you can learn with your child! Here are some suggestions (for younger children, adjust to the ages and interests of the child and perhaps skip to the educational activities and game links).

High Schoolers and parents should start by finding AB2756 and AB2926 online. Both of these bills are targeting California homeschoolers this year. Read them line-by-line, and discuss them together. You’ll see the current code as well as new wording in blue. The blue parts are the suggested changes. The red parts indicate wording that has been removed by the bill’s author.

While you are on the legislative page, you can sign up to receive emailed updates for any changes. See “track bill” at the top of the page. There’s a new “comments to author” box so your family can write a comment together!

Learn who your State Assemblyperson is. You can contact the authors of bills as well as your Assemblyperson to let them know you are opposed to these bills. It can be by letter, email, phone call or in person. It’s a very powerful experience to learn that you have a voice and a right to be heard. Encourage teens to write their own letters. If you write, let your children proofread. You will be modeling activism that they’ll remember as adults.

Let your children watch you sign the online “Preserve Homeschooling in California” petition and watch your name scroll on the list of recent signers. Check back every day or so and watch the number of signers grow!


If you decide to attend the Education Committee hearings on April 25th, join the Sacramento Meet Up Facebook group to learn what others are doing and to share tips on how to get there. Children are welcome to attend and many parents will use it as an educational Sacramento field trip!

Learn More about California Government at These Sites:

Start with the California State Capitol Museum. You’ll learn about legislation, how to locate your representatives, and learn about legislation. There’s also an educational section for kids! In the Golden State, this is a gold mine of information! Then look at these links for more information:

Citizens’ Guide



Current California Legislative Information

Registering to Vote

If you’re registered to vote, let your children know.  If you’re not, consider registering online with your children watching.  AND, if you have a teen who is 16 or older, they can now pre-register to vote thanks to the new “pre-register at sixteen. vote at eighteen” early registration!

Learn About the US Government

After you’ve explored California government, it’s a good time to move on to US Government. Here are some free resources:

Khan Academy “Foundations of American Democracy” Videos

Center for Civic Education Lesson Plans

Civics Games

With so many resources and an important reason to learn, suddenly a subject that is dreaded by some  becomes very important and fascinating! 

Karen Taylor shares homeschooling comments and links on Facebook, Pinterest, and this blog. Click on the buttons at the top of this page to subscribe so that you don’t miss them!


What Year-Round Homeschooling Looks Like!

Are you considering homeschooling year-round but worried that it would be too exhausting to never have a break? Years ago someone asked how it was different from following the public school schedule with time off from “school”.  My response was:

I don’t teach year-round, I respond year-round, and that’s a big difference! So yes, it’s 24/7, since you never know what time of day or year a learning moment might happen. I think you’ll find a lot of homeschoolers do that. We respond and facilitate, and help our kids learn. It’s so natural, it’s not drudgery at all.

Summer is a good time to give it a try since it fits well with vacation time. Be there when needed. Respond. And watch the learning continue! It will fit in easily with your other summer plans!

Karen Taylor shares homeschooling comments and links on Facebook, Pinterest, and this blog. Click on the buttons at the top of this page to subscribe so that you don’t miss them!


Finding a California Park Day!

Have you found a local homeschool park day in your community?  If you are a new homeschooler, please consider putting it at the top of your list of things to do.

Park day groups come in all forms, and most are free.  Some have formal activities and rules, and others are based on an informal agreement that anyone who wants to will show up at a particular park at an agreed upon time so that parents can talk and kids can play.

Some offer field trips and holiday party days or potlucks if there are members willing to organize them.  Some may even organize group campouts, although camping with one of the State groups, CHN or HSC, is probably more common.

Not all groups advertise. The statement of faith groups often get new members through their church or by private invitation. But, there are hundreds of other groups that happily welcome new homeschoolers and parents with preschoolers who are interested in learning more about homeschooling. They’ll often state that they are inclusive so that you’ll know that everyone is welcome.

Websites That Maintain Lists of Groups

  1. Homeschool Association of California (HSC)
  2. A2Z Homeschool (Ann Zeise)
  3. Homefires (Diane Flynn Keith)
  4. California Homeschool Network (CHN)
  5. Meetup (type “homeschool” and your city for a list of  groups)

Groups come and go, change contact people (our kids grow up!), and even change how they communicate. Years ago, Yahoo was the most popular, and some groups also had websites. With the popularity of Facebook, some have moved there. That means you might find a broken link, an old email, or what appears to be an inactive group.  Search online to see if you can find the group’s name and newest information.

Tips for Success!

Go next week if you can.  The first time is the hardest, but do it anyway!  If you are sitting next to someone who isn’t talking to you, introduce yourself.  It might be her first day too!

Bring typical going-to-the-park things:

  • A folding chair or blanket
  • Water
  • Snacks or lunch
  • Sunscreen
  • Jacket or sweatshirt, hat
  • A toy to share – a game or a ball, perhaps, if you think it will help your child meet others.
  • If you knit or crochet, feel free to bring a project to work on while you talk to your new friends.

If you have teens, you might have to go several times. Teens tend to go when they know other teens will, so you may need to talk to some of the moms and try to arrange for all of the teens to show up on the same day!

If you have a great first day, that’s wonderful! If it wasn’t so great, please try a few more times. I’ve seen enough shy or introverted homeschoolers at park days over the years to know that the old timers might be just as nervous as the new visitor.  Keep trying, and you’ll soon be friends!



Karen Taylor shares homeschooling comments and links on Facebook, Pinterest, and this blog. Click on the buttons at the top of this page to subscribe so that you don’t miss them!


Homeschooling Through a Crisis

The unexpected in your life can be messy, terrifying, tragic, distracting, time consuming, or joyous. It doesn’t matter the reason, it throws you off your plan. If your child is in school, life is expected to go on without even an acknowledgement of the stress your family is enduring (and remember even good news can be stressful!). The no excuses, zero tolerance, don’t mess with the school’s plan has led many a family to homeschooling.

If you are currently homeschooling, your kids will find other ways to learn if you can’t be there to guide a lesson because of your illness or need to be elsewhere. They’ll read, create, and imagine. They will be watching and learning how to prioritize the important things in life. They may even surprise you by what they are capable of doing when they see that you need help! And if your child is the one who needs care, what a comfort to know that his/her immediate needs are more important than a schoolish assignment.

Is a crisis a good time to enroll a child in school? That’s a common question from parents who are overwhelmed or feel guilty that they can’t do enough for their child. In most instances, it can be best for all to keep the family home together rather than add the additional stress of school. Your child won’t get behind and might even advance in unexpected ways when left to learn on his own!

Please remember not to feel guilty for what you can’t control. You’ll get through it as a family whether it’s a one week unexpected blip or many months.







Karen Taylor shares homeschooling comments and links on Facebook, Pinterest, and this blog. Click on the buttons at the top of this page to subscribe so that you don’t miss them!