• As a homeschooling parent, you’re in charge of teaching everything to your kids, right? Not necessarily. Here are five situations where it might be best for you to back off from teaching a certain subject to one of your children.

    1. It is a subject you struggle to understand.

    As a homeschooling parent, you may discover that a subject you found difficult in school is suddenly easier to understand as you’re teaching it to your own kids. Sometimes a different explanation and a few years of experience can help you to see the subject with new eyes. It’s great when this happens, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes your second go round with a subject solidifies that the subject isn’t a strength of yours.

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  • “B isn’t like the other kids. I mean, they all have separation anxiety to some degree, but with B, it doesn’t stop.”

    “Faster, mom! Faster!” The girls were a blur of grins and color. I gave the tire swing another twirl, then gripped my cell phone tighter.

    Doesn’t stop?

    “No. Most kids will be upset for 10 or 15 minutes, then get on with the day. B doesn’t do that. The crying stops, but the worrying…”

    B tipped her head back, cackling. Her curly mane flew out behind her.

    “We’ll be in the middle of an activity, and I can tell she’s having fun. But she’ll stop, grow quiet, and ask me what will happen if you don’t come back.”

    A pause.

    “It’s—troubling. And not normal.”

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  • BookShark’s Reading with History Level 5 offers kids ages 10-13 a chance to study a part of the world that is often overlooked—the Eastern Hemisphere. While BookShark’s curriculum is meaty enough on its own, you can easily supplement the curriculum with plenty of great shows and documentaries to dig even deeper or to stretch the curriculum over a longer period of time. Pick and choose from among these resources. They’ll help you and your child learn even more about this fascinating part of the world.

    Eastern Hemisphere Supplements on Amazon Prime

    1. Families of the World

    This series follows children in different countries to understand their way of life. Each episode focuses on two children—one who lives in the country and one who lives in the city.

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  • It wasn't all that long ago when I was desperately memorizing another spelling test and another set of words just to forget them over the weekend. When I was in school, we were given an assortment of 15 or 20 random words that we were expected to simply know. The problem with spelling lists and weekly spelling tests is that the information is not assimilated into other subjects. We do not learn the correct spelling to use in our writing. Instead, we learn the spelling for the test and then immediately forget it. While learning the intricacies of spelling in any language is challenging, we do have patterns in English (along with plenty of exceptions). But most words we can learn to spell with a rule. So throwing together a list of words with no rhyme or reason does not suit the person learning the words. And testing on the list of random words will not help anyone learn the words on a long-term basis.Read More

  • If our teens' thinking isn't challenged as they grow up, they will start to believe that they know everything. It happens all the time. When you've done a great job layering in the lessons over the years, the familiarity of what you're teaching can desensitize your student to further research. Black and white versions of historical events, scientific breakthroughs, or technological advancements can blind a teen. They don't look for the author's bias or compare multiple accounts. It's just simply how things work. When they eventually leave home, their thinking will be challenged by peers and professors. If they haven't stretched their minds to think about the possibilities of a scenario, their world could be rocked when someone offers a different perspective. There are some fascinating films on Netflix that can start challenging your student's thinking and spark some wonderful conversations while they are still in the safe cocoon of your influence. Enjoy these ten documentaries with your teen.Read More

  • Although figuring the appropriate tip amount for my waiter still gives me a tinge of stress, I fortunately didn’t pass my math anxiety to my sons. Today, two of my homeschool graduates find math stimulating and even rewarding. Understanding how to crush homeschool math fears in the early years made all the difference in not passing on my math phobia and ensuring my sons are proficient with the subject. A Foundation for Homeschooling Math Digging deep to understand the foundation of math helped me teach it in a creative way. I wanted my sons to explore the world of numbers and patterns in a fun, non-intimidating way.

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  • I often joke that the library is our second home. It is not unusual to find us there three days or more in any given week. Here are ten benefits our library offers our homeschool and enriches our experience. Make sure you aren't missing out on any of these resources your library offers you as a home educating family.

    1. Books! Audio Books! Movies! Magazines!

    If I had to buy all the books, audio books, movies and magazines that we read, listened to, or watched in a single year I’d go broke. Our library has a huge selection of materials and so many more available through interlibrary loan that I could not imagine homeschooling without it. We’ve even found curriculum through our library!

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  • Teaching reading was my greatest fear as I contemplated homeschooling. Could I do it? What if I messed it up? What if I turned my kids off of reading forever?

    Of course, teaching a child to read is not nearly as difficult as you may expect. And all of my children are proficient readers! What I've found over my years of interacting with my readers is that there is really only one element that is key to helping someone find success in reading — quality time with a mentor.

    I grew up in the DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) era. We dropped everything and read all the way through my middle school days. This practice seemed effective for me, but I was already an avid reader. DEAR time merely fed that existing passion.

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  • If empowering kids to take charge of their learning were an easy to follow formula, then we all would be able to effortlessly raise successful and happy kids. But it’s not. The first time my oldest son marched out of the school room, refusing to complete my meticulously planned art lesson, I overreacted. An all-out battle of wills ensued.

    As homeschooling parents, it’s hard for us to give up control. But not only do we want our kids motivated to learn, we also want them to be able to get along without us. We have to slowly relinquish control to raise self-sufficient adults.

    How to Kill a Student’s Motivation

    Now that two of my sons have graduated, I can look back on my homeschool experience and offer this list of DON'Ts: Don’t plan the whole day without getting your child’s input.

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  • How much freedom do you give your middle school child when it comes to homeschooling? Does your tween get to choose when to wake up, what to wear, and what order to study different subjects? Does he create his own research projects and find extra books to read or documentaries to watch? It's during these middle grades that most parents begin to foster greater and independence by offering more decision making power to their tweens and teens. When it comes to shopping for homeschool curriculum, do you make the decision all by yourself? Or do you look for input from your child, discuss the options, and let your tween or teen help make the final choice?Read More

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