3 Silly Things I Cared About Before I Was a Homeschooler

foreground shows a yellow plastic cup filled with colored pencils; in the background, a boy writes

I’m the goat that has tried the grass on both sides of the fence, so to speak. A very attractive goat, of course, with a very hard head, naturally. But, nevertheless, we were once public schoolers. And now we are not.

I have tasted life on both sides of the schooling fence and therefore get to claim some bit of expertise when I tell you that some of what seems important enough to worry about on one side is absolutely laughable from the other.

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Build a Constellation Reading Fort: Make Reading an Adventure

a girl lays on her back inside a reading fort; two girls look at books inside a reading fort

There’s no getting around it, reading is a skill we all need to in order to be active, knowledgeable, and educated citizens of the world. We can try any number of strategies for teaching reading, but none of those beats curling up with our children and reading, reading, and reading—showing them firsthand how enjoyable it can be to read a book.

Read to them when they are babies and can’t understand a word you are saying. Read with them as they grow up. Continue to read with them and in their presence throughout their entire lives.

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25 Ways to Use a Markable Map for Homeschool Geography

two Vis-a-Vis pens sit on a Markable Map

We all suffer from information overload at times. When there is too much detail or too much to digest, we tend to shut down and not assimilate any of it in a meaningful way.

The same is true for students. Some learning tools are overwhelming. For example, traditional maps and atlases that have hundreds of labels can be hard to digest. There’s just so much information, students may not know what to zero in on and consequently remember little of what they see.

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5 Things To Try When Your Homeschool Reading Program Bombs

a woman holds a massive pencil and huge eraser

When your homeschool reading program isn’t working, it is easy to get into a rut. Soon you are convinced that you need to switch reading programs. Instead of making that drastic switch, sometimes you just need to make a few changes. Look at these five things to try when your homeschool reading program is bombing.

It can happen to any of us. We think we have to do everything suggested in our reading program because more means better. Step back, look over your program, and decide which part you truly don’t need to cover now.

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The Scoop on Negative Self-Talk in Your Homeschool

a girl looks downward, seemingly frustrated or unsure

Six kids sat down at the table, excited to follow along with the easy drawing lesson on YouTube. By the end, four were upset with themselves and two were in tears. Disappointment is normal, but we needed to have a discussion about negative self-talk.

Nothing can derail a homeschool lesson faster than a child who's frustrated that he's not able to perform at the level he had hoped. This is especially true with skills like handwriting, playing music, and creative expression. Learning how to correct negative self-talk is a habit with life-long value.

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10 YouTube Videos for Exploring Central America

a stone ruin from central america

This year in our homeschool we will be studying Central America. Although we have a great collection of books to read about the topic, I also wanted to find age appropriate videos that show us more about the different countries we’ll be visiting. As much as we adore a literature-based homeschool curriculum, we still love adding on the visual component with online streaming.

I turned to YouTube and found many good picks that I know will enhance our learning.

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Five Writing Activities for Reluctant, Anxious Writers

Getting started is the hardest part of writing. What if I don’t know what to say? What if no one likes what I’m saying? What if I’m saying it wrong? These fears can paralyze reluctant writers.

That’s pretty much the case in my homeschool: while my daughter loves to read and tell stories, writing anything down tends to throw her into panic mode.

What’s a homeschool parent to do, then, when a child struggles to write?

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Five Ways to Approach the Homeschool Socialization Question

two boys grasp hands

It’s one of the most common questions asked of people who plan to—or already do—homeschool their kids: What about socialization?

Next time you find yourself on the business end of the infamous socialization question, try countering with a question of your own—asked with kindness and grace, of course! Here are five ideas to get you started. To the person concerned about socialization, reply with one of these rejoinders.

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Explore Africa Through Streaming Video

an african scene of people biking and carrying goods

Exploring countries and cultures has been one of my favorite ways to learn with my kids about the world we live in. While we take trips as often as we can to experience first-hand the wonders of the world, there are other places that are out of reach for an educational adventure—Africa, for example.This massive continent has a profound diversity of culture and depth of history that come to life when we combine our history and geography curriculum with online video resources.

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Experience Ancient Greece with These Hands-on Homeschool Activities

ancient Greek ruins

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.

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