Please Help Get the Film ‘Class Dismissed’ Made!

I was interviewed for a documentary on homeschooling called “Class Dismissed.”  The film will be the first full-length documentary devoted to exploring homeschooling as a viable alternative to traditional schooling.

Class DismissedYou know that public misperceptions of homeschooling are far removed from reality. This documentary promises to both educate the general public as well as inspire the existing homeschool community.

But the filmmakers can’t do it alone and need your support! Their immediate goal is to raise $15,000 through an IndieGoGo campaign that will help to pay for expenses needed to guarantee continued production.

To help achieve the fundraising target, the National Home Education Network (NHEN) has announced a generous $5,000 challenge donation. NHEN will match dollar-for-dollar all donations to the IndieGoGo campaign up to $5,000. That means that every dollar you contribute will count as TWO.

This gift and your support will help get Class Dismissed and the message about homeschooling out in the world! Class Dismissed is supported by the San Francisco Film Society so your donation is tax deductible.

Please meet this challenge and click on this link to the IndieGoGo campaign and contribute what you can.

Even $10 will be an enormous help in making the film a reality.  And remember, your donation is tax-deductible!

If this is the first you’ve heard of Class Dismissed, you can get more information at the website  You might even see my interview in the trailer!  🙂

And Please Spread the Word! Invite other homeschoolers to this campaign via your blog, on Facebook, on Twitter or wherever else you might have a voice.

Thank you!

Diane Flynn Keith

Rites of Passage

Fun and Meaningful Family Celebrations!

Graduation and Rites of Passage

It’s June! In the school world, it’s time for commencement exercises, graduation gowns, tasseled mortarboards, diplomas and speeches.

It’s hard to escape the school calendar and its associated events. I am always surprised when homeschoolers follow the traditional school year, and even more miffed when they engage in the ritual of graduation (for each and every grade level) in June. We have shunned school, so why do we embrace this very schoolish tradition?

The idea that kids are automatically ready to advance to the next grade (or head out into the big, wide world) because the calendar says “June” is bizarre. Not once in my homeschool experience did the Graduation Fairy thump me or my kids over the head with her wand and proclaim they were ready to move on to the next “grade.” The kids simply moved on to a new or more challenging area of interest when they were ready. It didn’t matter if it was June, December, or March.

School graduation ceremonies are relatively meaningless. They reward students with a piece of paper for enduring a year or more of standardized curriculum.

Homeschooling provides the opportunity to celebrate your children’s real and meaningful achievements whenever they occur. Rather than march to the dim-witted strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” at the end of every academic school year, your family can custom-tailor rites of passage and celebrations that suit each unique occasion all year long. You don’t have to award your child a plastic trophy or a diploma once-a-year as a form of obligatory recognition, you can create something more heartfelt and memorable.

Get creative with gifts and parties meant to commemorate special events in your family’s homeschool life! Personalize the events to really acknowledge and appreciate the individual. Here are some ideas:

  • Create a keepsake album or scrapbook that contains pictures highlighting the endeavors of the individual being honored.
  • Our family created personalized bookmarks with a laminated mini-collage of pictures and mementos that represented what the person had achieved.
  • Create a “throne” for the honoree to sit on at the dinner table in recognition of an important day or event. Drape a chair in colorful fabric (a tablecloth or sheet will work). Set their place with special dishes, silverware, and a fancy crystal goblet.
  • One family I know made a special cape of dark blue velvet studded with silver sequined stars, that was placed upon the shoulders of any family member who deserved special recognition as they were gathered at the dinner table. The honoree shared their success, and each family member in turn noted one thing that the person did to achieve their goal.

You can make one-of-a-kind celebrations that will provide a lifetime of cherished memories. If you need some helpful ideas, get “The Book of New Family Traditions” by Meg Cox. It not only provides all kinds of inventive ways to commemorate traditional holidays, but it offers really unique, practical, fun and profound ways to make everything special from birthdays to bedtime. There are ideas for rituals surrounding sporting events, pets, vacations, family meetings and more to create memories that will last for years to come.

Keep the homefires burning,
~Diane Flynn Keith
Editor of Homefires & Author of Carschooling

10 Books Every Homeschool Parent Should Read

by Diane Flynn Keith

Have you read a good book lately?  Whether you’re hanging out at Park Day, or waiting for the kids while they take a science class or music lesson, or if you’re just taking some well-deserved “me” time, there are a number of “great reads” that will inspire and revitalize your homeschooling. Below, you’ll find my list of recommended reads that will improve the quality of your homeschooling adventure.

By the way, if your hubby is a reluctant reader of homeschool books, consider giving him a whole new way to read them! has discounted the Kindle for Father’s Day and several of the books listed below are available in a Kindle edition!

College Without High School: A Teenager's Guide to Skipping High School and Going to CollegeCollege Without High School by Blake Boles, Kindle Edition

A practical guide to liberating your teen from standardized high school curriculum and collaborating with him/her on extraordinary learning adventures that will impress college admission boards and future employers.

The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge ContentThe Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, Kindle Edition

Time management is critical in the homeschool environment. While this book presents out-of-the-box ways to manage time in the business world, many of the suggestions can be tweaked for the homeschool environment. A great read for teens who are career-oriented too.

Discover Your Child’s Learning Style by Mariaemma Willis, M.S., and Victoria Kindle Hodson, M.A.,

This book is a homeschool favorite for good reason – it helps you determine how your child learns best and then recommends what kind of materials and resources are best suited to your child’s learning style. Can you imagine the time and money you can save with that information?

Product DetailsZenSchooling by Tammy Takahashi, Kindle Edition

This book addresses the fears and anxiety that homeschool parents typically face and provides keen insight into fathers’ concerns. You’ll learn that homeschooling happiness has nothing to do with curriculum or teaching. It’s about process, not outcome.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will TalkHow To Talk So Kids Will Listen And How To Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

Parenting and homeschooling are inextricably entwined. When I coach homeschool parents who tell me their kids won’t cooperate, I often recommend this book. It offers easy, practical ways to improve communication and cooperation between parent and child.

Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling Weapons of Mass Instruction: A School Teacher’s Journey Through The Dark World of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto Kindle Edition

If you ever waver on your decision to homeschool your children, read this book! It will quickly remind you why homeschooling is far superior to what passes for education in public schools.

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live TooSiblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

In homeschooling our kids benefit from the joy of many shared memories with their siblings, but sometimes constant togetherness can be too much of a good thing. This book offers great strategies for putting an end to sibling rivalry and improving family dynamics.

The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Everydays The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox, Kindle Edition

Need some creative ideas for celebrating your child’s accomplishments? This book presents all kinds of ingenious ways to create traditions, rituals, holidays, and rites of passage that have heartfelt meaning.

Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities to Turn Travel Time into Learning Time - For Kids Ages 4 to 17 Carschooling by Diane Flynn Keith

You didn’t think I’d forget to recommend my own book, did you? It’s loaded with over 350 fun and effective learning activities that families can enjoy while in the car, on the road. You’ll find new and creative ways to learn the basics and beyond when you’ve reached your destination too!

Outliers: The Story of SuccessOutliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell, Kindle Edition

What do our children need to achieve success? This book offers real examples of people in all walks of life who have achieved great success. It suggests that beyond talent and ambition, having 10,000 hours of time to cultivate a skill can help one achieve their full potential.