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  • Day by Day Homeschooling: A Doable Approach to Fight Overwhelm"Just have one good day. Then repeat." —James Clear

    In the writing classes I teach to adults, we often use Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. This hysterical handbook has an illustration I have applied many times to my role of a writer, a mother, and a homeschooler.

    Lamott recounts a memory from her childhood where her younger brother put off a research paper on birds until the last minute. Her father, seeing her brother frustrated and overwhelmed, sat down with him and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

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  • Help! Our Science Experiment FailedToday is science experiment day. You’ve collected all of the necessary supplies, you have instructions, and your kids are excited! This experiment is going to be so much fun, you think, patting yourself on the back.

    Hands-on science for the win!

    Or not, because something goes wrong: The seeds don’t sprout. The seeds mold or die before your kids take measurements. The water clock doesn’t tell time. The explosion is a dud. The tricky thing about science experiments is they can flop or not work as expected.

    What do homeschoolers do when an experiment doesn’t go our way? We turn it into a new lesson, maybe one not related to science, and try, try again.

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  • Yes, It's Okay to Take a BreakDo you ever find yourself questioning if it’s okay to take a break from homeschooling? We can feel a longing for a break and rationally see the need for a break, but for whatever reason taking a break can feel wrong.

    In our eight years of homeschooling, my kids and I have taken a number of unplanned breaks. Whether the pause from lessons lasted a day or a week, I’ve never once regretted taking a rest from our homeschool routine. I have, however, regretted not taking a break sooner.

    Taking a break is not a sign of failure or weakness. More often than not, it's exactly what our kids or we need in order to let our brains process, refuel, and learn. Below are some of the times it is absolutely okay and necessary to take a homeschool break.

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  • Homeschool Learning Spaces: The Reading NookNo matter what style of homeschooling you follow, reading is probably a very strong part of your homeschooling journey because reading is one of the best ways to learn about the world, all from the comfort of your own home.

    Unschoolers read. Relaxed homeschoolers read. Charlotte Mason homeschoolers read. Montessori followers read. Classical homeschoolers read.

    All homeschoolers read!

    Since reading is a natural part of homeschooling, it’s only natural that you want your learning space to include a comfortable reading nook. But what do you do when you don’t have the space or the money to set up the reading nook of your homeschool mom dreams?

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  • Five Reasons I Said Yes to Homeschooling First GradeOne of the most difficult decisions as a parent is figuring out your child’s education. It’s definitely been the biggest stressor so far for me. Starting when our daughter was young as 18 months, we stressed over whether it was better to have her attend an in-home preschool, a public preschool, or (what we finally decided upon) a Montessori school.

    We thought having a great base education for our child before she started elementary school would give her the confidence to enjoy school and be a lifelong learner.

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  • Homeschool Learning Spaces: Displaying Children's WorkNo matter what stage of your homeschool adventure you are in, an area for displaying student work is something your whole family will benefit from in multiple ways: student encouragement, personalized praise, motivation, nurturing a growth mindset, simple and cost-effective decorations.

    When you include a space in your classroom for displaying students' work, you are saying to the world, "Look at this wonderful thing my child did! I am so proud." Your child can bask in the unspoken affirmations you are providing when you hang up something they created with their own two hands.

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  • How to Find Audiobooks for BookShark Curriculum Many BookShark parents love to outsource some of the scheduled reading aloud to audiobooks. This hack gives them a bit more time, saves their voice, and even allows the entire family to enjoy the listening experience together while traveling or doing chores.

    Another big use of audiobooks in homeschooling is by children who struggle with reading independently. Whether it’s due to dyslexia or just learning at a slower pace, these students benefit from hearing their Readers delivered in audiobook form.

    Due to licensing challenges, BookShark itself does not provide audiobooks alongside its literature-based curriculum. But with a touch of resourcefulness, you can piece together what you need. Here are our recommendations to get you started with your search of audiobooks for BookShark.

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  • The BookShark binder is huge.

    It has to be to fit all of the information, lessons, and activity sheets included in the 36 weeks of curriculum. We need the Instructor's Guide that goes in the binder, but thankfully we don’t need to lug it around.

    There are several ways we can keep our BookShark materials organized and accessible without wrangling a 4-inch notebook. If you’re like me and prefer to keep the big binder on the shelf, all you have to do is choose one of these five solutions.

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  • Top 10 Reasons to Love BookShark Reading with HistoryAs I was writing down my reasons for loving BookShark Reading with History, I kept thinking, “That’s my favorite” and then “No, this is my number one.” And while I wanted to rank them from top to bottom, I just couldn’t narrow down what was my tenth choice versus my number one choice.

    I love BookShark for so many reasons!

    So these ten features are a mixed list, in no particular order, of why our family of six children loves BookShark.

    Number one, I love that BookShark is an open and go program. There is not a lot, if any, prep work that I have to do as the homeschool teacher. We can literally just open it up and start our history. I’m a huge fan of how easy BookShark makes teaching! BookShark is really simple for the first time homeschooler. And of course even experienced homeschoolers appreciate the detailed lessons. Anybody can open it up and easily understand exactly what to do and how to do it. It's amazing.

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  • Bilingual Homeschooling: How I Got StartedThe thought of bilingual homeschooling first entered my mind twelve years ago when my daughter was in kindergarten. We started homeschooling because at that time we lived in a failed school district where the state had come in and closed one school then taken over the other.

    As I learned more about homeschooling in general, I realized that I could personalize our learning experience as so many families educating their children at home often do. That’s when I realized that I wanted to pass on my own heritage to my children and make it a part of our lessons.

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