• There are two kinds of new homeschoolers. First, there are those who are fired up to get going on this adventure and ready to stock their homes with all of the tools for success. And I mean all. If you have been googling the best in-home laminating system, you are this mom. In contrast, there are those who have been backed into this gig by a failing public school system and just need to know where the online supply list has been uploaded, if they can buy used, and if there's a coupon. If you have gone into the attic to retrieve your Speak-and- Spell, and you don’t mind that the computerized voice sounds like a drunk airline passenger after a 12 hour layover, you might be this second type of mom.Read More

  • After parents have been homeschooling for several years, the routine of lesson plans, read-alouds, and record keeping can start to feel monotonous. Even parents who embarked upon homeschooling with loads of enthusiasm may start to view their family’s learning lifestyle as commonplace. While settling into a homeschooling routine can be a good thing, losing joy in teaching children at home is not. When parents begin to see homeschooling as ho-hum, children, too, can start to lose their love for learning, which may show up in their interest level and consequently in their performance.Read More

  • After he put off taking a vacation for several months, my husband decided that we would finally set off on that seven-day vacation—the next morning. There was no time to organize and label seven zip-top bags filled with infant clothing; there was no time to do laundry and match up my outfits. We were simply going to buy new underwear and clothes along the way. I had never lived so wild, adventure-packed, and stressed at the same time. Through the years, little has changed in how my husband puts off adventures and then suddenly springs them on me. But I’ve changed. Instead of having a judgmental eye toward procrastinators, I’ve learned that there are many valid reasons to delay action. For instance, on our buying new clothes along the way vacation, I learned that when my husband postpones trips, it’s because he doesn’t want to waste time ironing out the details beforehand.Read More

  • If you do a quick search for early literacy, you’ll find study after study confirming the link between early literacy and future academic success. Educational organizations and schools have taken this to heart, encouraging direct literacy education at home and providing it in schools. But as homeschool families, we know that play, not targeted instruction, matters most in a young child’s social, emotional, and academic development. The skills so integral to early literacy—observation, critical thinking, questioning, and evaluation—don’t need to be taught through flash cards or lessons. Hands-on, family-based learning is key to developing a culture of literacy at home, and fortunately, the process is fun and easy.

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  • Choosing to homeschool will change the way you think about a lot of things. The longer I homeschool, the more the lines between school and life blur, and that makes it hard for me to answer the question of whether or not we are year-round homeschoolers. Maybe you have this problem, too?

    Why We Probably Aren’t Year-round Homeschoolers

    I don’t assign math in the summer months. June through August, I don’t ask my sons to save their work or projects in a three ring binder in our homeschool closet. We have a last day of school celebration in May and a back to school celebration in September.

    My boys do appreciate the school’s out for summer mode of thinking that settles over our house during the months of June, July, and August. But when I look at the hands-on reality of it, there’s not a huge difference in our lives when summer comes around.

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  • One of the allures of BookShark is rather than teaching history to your children from a dry, boring history book, your children learn about history through literature. Instead of merely learning the facts about Ancient Greek culture and events, your children learn through characters (both fictional and historical) in an engaging narrative.

    You can bring that knowledge to life even further by supplementing BookShark’s curriculum with hands-on learning experiences and culinary delights. Whether your child is using BookShark Level 1 for ages 6-8 or Level 6 for ages 11-13, they’ll enjoy these extra world history activities. For older kids using Level 6, let them take more ownership in the planning (and clean up) of the projects. For younger kids in Level 1, you'll need to take the lead.

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  • Has a home ever really been lived in if no one has homeschooled within its walls?

    Homeschoolers know how to live in a house. Every single square inch is commandeered for a purpose, or four or five. The kitchen is, at different times or all at once, the cafeteria, science lab, art room, nurse’s office, dinner theatre, and debate stage. We have even staged an epic fire drill in ours. (It was actually less of a drill and more of the real thing than I care to admit, but you get where I am going with this multi-purposing of rooms.)

    Every space is prime real estate for sibling rivalry, and at times, the walls may feel as if they are heaving, cartoon-like as nooks and crannies become reading corners and LEGO stop animation studios.

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  • I often wish we were wealthy enough to travel the world. I’d love to expose my children to all the wonders of the world and have them learn firsthand about what makes each culture unique. Unfortunately, we do not have the means to travel extensively, and so we have taken to travelling the globe from our home using these twelve winning methods.

    1. Cooking Traditional Foods With the internet, it is so easy to find authentic recipes from all around the world. A few times we’ve had to make small substitutions to recipes when ingredients aren’t found locally, but cooking up cuisine from each country we have studied has helped us feel like we’re there. Cooking and eating are also a great way to get Dad involved in our homeschool lessons in the evenings.

    Don’t be afraid to move a small table outside and pretend you’re at a Parisian cafe or eat in the living room gathered around the coffee table when studying Japan.

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  • Calling me in a near panic from his class, my recent homeschool graduate was preparing for his last test in a college business course. Regardless of previous grades, the test was an immediate pass or fail for the entire course. The instructor told the students they would be required to close their laptops, take brief notes, and listen the old-fashioned way. I reminded my son that he had been learning and listening the old-fashioned way since I first taught him how to read. After a few more reassuring words, he was ready for the review and test. Hours went by until I heard back from him.

    Being a wall for your homeschooled teen doesn’t stop when he formally finishes high school, but it begins well before he is a teenager. However, the teen years are the most crucial because they are when a teen is learning independence. Resenting limits while at the same time needing them can make for explosive situations in your home.

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  • Parents have been trying to bribe their kids to read more often for ages. Reading is often seen as a sign of intelligence, but more so, reading expands our horizons. In addition, we are told as parents that our kids should be reading a certain amount every day. And so the pressure is on to entice our kids to read or force them to read. But we don’t merely want our kids to read, we want them to love reading. We want them to love reading like we love reading. So how do we share our passion for reading with them? Well, not with prizes. Sadly, studies show that prizes actually decrease kids' reading time. As counterintuitive as it is, we shouldn't offer stickers or ice cream for every 10th book read.Read More

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