Online Learning - How to Teach Independent Studies
February 14, 2018
Mercy Every Minute  
Is there a subject you are not sure how to handle? Maybe one that is bringing frustration, or you just need something different? I suggest looking into online learning options—it might just be the fresh start everyone needs. For more information, read this article: Online Education: A Viable Alternative by Crystal Marcum and Tammie Bairen

You can do this! God gifted you with these children, and He will equip you to get the job done. He wants them discipled more than you do. He’s got all the wisdom and knowledge you need for your child—lean on Him! 

You are not a failure—that would mean it was all about you. You have a Faithful God writing your story. He will complete the story, too, and will use you for His glory. Do you know Him?

I would love to share with you Who He is. Join me in our new Schoolhouse Devotions where I share live on our Facebook page regularly, and then we put the devotions up on The Old Schoolhouse Magazine YouTube channel. You can watch the first four in the series now on YouTube. 

Tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 15 th, at 2 p.m. Mountain Time, I will be on the TOS Facebook page live talking about Valentine’s Day and The Death of Love. I would love to have you join me there! 

Speaking of love, we were not put here to be satisfied by the love of man but to be loved by God and let His love flow through us to others. His love for us is more than any man can offer. We were made to be satisfied in Him alone. You are highly loved!

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9

See you tomorrow!


Michelle Beazer
Learning to take responsibility for themselves and their choices is one of the most important lessons children can learn. After all, we want them to grow up and be able to make good choices, don't we? With that goal in mind as parents, we must teach them how to make good choices.

“To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you're going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.” -Stephen R. Covey

When they are little, we make all the choices for our children. As they grow and learn, we gradually give them the opportunities to make their own choices starting with small choices: 
Would you like apples or cheese? Blue shirt or red shirt?
Then bigger choices: 
Basketball or soccer? Dance or gymnastics?

By the time they hit the pre-teen years, they should be mature enough to be involved in at least the elective choices for their education.

In our home, as the kids reach this age, they are simply asked, “What would you like to learn about?” Generally my kids were (and still are) inspired by things in their lives that affect them personally. 

For example:
Giant panda project—Grandma let it slip they were her favorite animal.
Midwifery project—Our married daughter was carrying her first child.
Woodworking—Working with Dad on Cub Cars for the yearly rallies.
Camping and survival skills—Scouting and a watercraft and camping summer activity called Brownsea Base.

In the teen years, online study is usually the next step on the road to independence for a child. Here in Ontario, we have a few options families can access to give their children an opportunity to earn credit toward their Ontario Secondary School Graduation Diploma, if you choose, in the comfort of your own home, without being registered with your local school board or the social environment of your local brick and mortar high school. 

In our home, our kids have used the Virtual Learning Center (run by Trillium Lakelands). The kids and I both learned some very important lessons from the experience. The kids learned how to use the online platform and gained confidence in their abilities. When anxiety over testing or assignments arose, they learned to trust themselves, to know the answers. I learned to back off on other homeschool curriculum while they adjusted to the routine and schedule of regular classes several times per week.

Michelle is a Canadian homeschooling mom to four great kids including two on the autism spectrum, one of whom is the owner of She also has two adorable granddaughters. They have been homeschooling for 20 years. Michelle is the Marketing Assistant, Canadian Division, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Greetings from Forest Springs Family Winter Camp in Wisconsin where I'm speaking this week. Just got back from some world class tubing. I’m cold, sore, and tired . . . but feeling full. 

There’s just something satisfying when you know you’ve spent your day well . . . on stuff that really matters. That’s the beauty of family camp and why I’m a big advocate for family or homeschool camps. 

We’ve spoken at our share of them, and it has been such a memory making experience for all our kids. To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of the idea when my wife told me all of her fond, childhood memories at family retreats. They always sounded like taking a vacation to church. My experience is that nothing could be further from the truth. 

What I observe is that families get to step away from normal, busy homeschooling and life and get to spend time doing what matters like playing, laughing, and tubing together. 

One of the dads told me today, "Today was the first time in a long time that we all did something fun together.”

So I don’t know what you’ve got planned for the summer, but you should spend a few minutes researching some of the local family camps near you. You might just start your new favorite family tradition.

Well, that wasn’t what I thought I was going to write . . . but there you go. 

Be real,
Tracy Klicka
Home School Foundation,
Tracy Klicka , the widow of former HSLDA attorney Christopher Klicka, is a homeschooling mom of seven, now adult children. As a seasoned homeschooler and gifted writer and speaker for over 20 years, Tracy has addressed thousands of parents at homeschooling conventions and women’s events, has contributed to  Christianity Today , regularly writes for national homeschool publications, and has contributed to her late husband’s books on homeschooling. She currently serves as Director of Development for the  Home School Foundation ,the charitable arm of HSLDA, which helps families homeschooling through hard times. She also blogs at  and for HSLDA’s  Everyday Homeschooling   blog column.

She can be reached at .
Kerry Tittle 
Independent Study

Realistically, you can’t be all things to all people. This is where independent study can prove to be a benefit. However, independent study has proven to be far more beneficial to the student in leadership, life skills, and college preparation than just making life easier for mom! 

Independent study is basically your students taking responsibility for their learning. This approach has been a principal part of character building in my children. 

Independent study has different options. Online study is probably the most popular, but sometimes there are a handful of reasons why we can’t. We went through a season of insane internet issues. I know there are several technological solutions, but you need to understand the person writing here! However, there is another option that can help guide your student in independent learning if online isn’t for you.

Honestly, I don’t use independent study for all subjects. There are some subjects I really want to be a part of and want to be right in the middle with them learning. There are other subjects where they really don’t need me hovering over them. I do want to stress that I don’t have children use this approach in weak areas. I find they start bad learning habits that take longer to correct.

I usually start when my children have become adept readers. We would start with the easiest subject for them and gradually work our way to other subjects. For the first few weeks encourage them to look at the schedule and do it without you. Let them do the work by themselves but be available for questions and help. This is a guided approach. If they have done well, allow them to grade their work (trustworthiness will be obvious when the tests come around). Keep increasing the responsibility level while keeping a close eye on the progress.

What if your child isn’t being honest (because it will come out)? GREAT! (seriously!) Keep in mind your job isn’t only teaching academics. This is a safe place to fail and learn consequences about life. Struggles, failure, and consequences are essential to learning. They will learn there are natural consequences to sin. It’s a chance to share  Proverbs 10:9.

He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.

And  Luke 16:10.

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

Home is the perfect place to nurture your children to learn independently and become dependable adults.

Kerry Tittle is a mother of nine children and a 20-year homeschool veteran. She was the owner of ReformationKidz with her husband Rob until a tornado destroyed their home and business in 2014, taking the lives of Rob and two of their daughters, Tori and Rebekah. Kerry is the founder of Refined Family , which is created to encourage others to find hope in the gospel in the midst of trials.

Share this newsletter with a friend, and be sure to let those 
CONSIDERING  homeschooling know about the enormous  FREE  info-pack which awaits them here: .
Did you know? Every class is INCLUDED for members! 
No limits.

One of the best ways to encourage independent learning is to let your students practice it. offers hundreds of options, from fun electives like Keyboarding and Wildlife Adventures to courses such as Drive Thru History, Fashions in History, Bug Science, and more. One membership gives your entire family access to every course, so you can choose the ones that fit each child the best and change directions as many times as you need to. 

If you haven’t yet joined, come give us a try. You can try the entire site for 30 days for $5! If you or someone you know would be interested in teaching or writing for us, let us know. You can email me at We look forward to serving you and your family! 

in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Contest Corner  
For the month of February

Morty the Meerkat Has Autism

I will admit I had never heard of autism before until I watched a character on a popular show act the same exact way my little kiddo was acting at the time. We had been struggling in silence for nearly four years, thinking it was just us. I remember thinking in my head as I sat out in the pediatrician’s waiting room that I must be crazy to make an appointment based off a tv show. But, I did, and I was right, my boy had a diagnosis and my eyes were opened to a whole new world--a crowded, yet lonely world. autism is so prevalent, yet the average person knows nothing about it, not to mention young children who may encounter a child on the spectrum at school or the park, only to be scared or confused by their behavior. I will admit my son can be found on a playground making "bark angels" and never look or speak to a soul out at the park, if I can even get him out to the park. 

You know I often wish that I could educate everyone we meet but given the circumstance that’s not always possible. Also, how do you break autism down to a level that even a young child could get some sense of what it’s all about? Luckily, several weeks ago I was able to review a children’s book written by J.L. Avis, called Morty the Meerkat has Autism . I was surprised, hopeful, and could not wait to read it with my 10-year-old son. 

After reading this book a handful of times, I have to say the overall thoughts are all positive. The story begins kind of like most ASD discoveries. Morty’s parents noticed some differences in him compared to his siblings. Differences like he didn’t want to be hugged, touched, or wouldn’t look at others when they talked to him. Morty’s siblings and friends noticed his behavior and had questions regarding the reason behind his actions. You can easily see how frustrating it can be when you are trying to communicate with an autistic person who does not know how to communicate back to you. ( . . .

I thought this was a terrific way to put some positive light on autism, and share what it’s like to be on the spectrum. To show others, especially children, that it’s ok to be different; if you have autism hold your head up and be proud of your strengths and instead of focusing on your weaknesses. ( Read the rest of the review.

Elle the Little Lost Wombat

I am always looking for ways to really make the kids “visit” places we are studying in geography. Recently, we had the opportunity to review the book Elle the Little Lost Wombat , by Sharon Bracken. It opened up a whole new discussion between the girls and me about international adoption and the feelings of children that are being adopted.

Elle is a little Wombat who loses her parents very suddenly. She is forced to leave her home and move into an orphanage. Of course, this is a very frightening experience for Elle. She not only is very sad because of losing her parents, but now she must live in a strange place that is not as nice as the home she was living in. Life in the orphanage is very different. She has to live in a large room with other wombats, and no privacy. Her clothes do not fit, and she has no toys to play with. Her sadness turns to anger as she goes through the grieving process. It’s very stressful for Elle.

Elle saw so many other wombats be adopted, but she remains at the orphanage. Would she ever find a new home? Did she want to find a new home? Finally, one day, Elle meets a family that has traveled to take her home. But they do not speak the same language. Elle becomes scared again. While they are at the orphanage, there is someone to translate. She loves the visits of this new family. But after Elle travels to her new country and home to live, there are new challenges to face. ( . . . )

Life is different in her new home. But she finally has her own room and new clothes that fit! She has plenty to eat. Elle is very scared though. But she soon realizes that her new family is scared also. They just want her to be happy because they love her. ( . . . )

Elle the Little Lost Wombat is a great addition for families that are going through the process of international adoption or even if you just want to help your child to understand how adopted children can feel. ( Read the rest of the review. )

YOU can WIN these two books for your homeschool! 

TO ENTER: Click on over to our entry page and follow the instructions! Contest ends at midnight, the last day of the month.
The WINTER issue of  The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
is now available for FREE online!
Click the graphic to read it cover to cover! 
Read the Winter 2018 issue free
or download the free mobile apps
OR - buy the issue in PRINT here:

Current subscribers go  here   to access all back issues.

We Want Your Feedback!
If you liked today's  Canadian Homeschool Minute , please email the editors and tell us what part you liked most. It's a huge blessing to receive feedback!