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  • In our family, we are straight up traditionalists about the calendar year. No Bing Crosby tunes until December 1, white only after Memorial Day, and god-forbid we crack a math book in June, July, or August! The thought sends shivers up my children’s spines.

    In all seriousness though, I need the summer break as much as they do. After a long year of school, we’re ready for laid-back days, sleeping later, and sun — lots of sun.

    Even though these three summer months are reserved for more relaxing types of activities, there are still plenty of ways to sneak other types of learning that a math lesson doesn’t provide. Here are a few ways we mamas can give our kids the break they need this summer while giving their brains a gentle work out.

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  • The lazy days of summer combined with a more relaxed homeschool schedule is the ideal atmosphere to motivate your boys to read. However, just because a boy can read doesn’t mean he will read. In addition, my research has shown that boys read for pleasure less often than girls do. Reading for pleasure is paramount to learning how to read. My boys are lifetime readers now because I used summertime to motivate them to read for the sheer delight of it. Grab some of these clever and creative ways to motivate your active, homeschooled boys to read.Read More

  • Not all children are born loving to read. Some kids adore it while others merely tolerate it. Some truly hate it. However, reading is a vital skills every child needs to master.

    After all, vocabulary is tightly linked to the number of books a child reads through his school career. Kids flounder in high school and college without strong reading skills.

    So what do we do about children who loathe reading? How do we encourage them to develop a love of reading? Here are five ways to make reading fun.

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  • As parents, we encourage our children to read high quality literature at home, but another great way to boost interest in reading is through peer experiences such as a homeschool co-op. Through my own experiences in numerous local co-ops, I've discovered some helpful steps for forming a group and making it run smoothly. Choose a Focus Group

    Who do you want to include in your homeschool literature co-op? Just boys? Teens? Girls Only? All ages? Think about what you want out of the group and what age ranges you are going to include. Some factors to consider are the size of your meeting area and whether or not you have enough teachers to teach a wide variety of ages.

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  • Reading during the summer months can feel like more school work to our older kids. That makes encouraging our tweens to read a more difficult task than it is with our younger readers. Despite this possible road block, summer reading is an important key to help avoid summer slide (loss of knowledge over the summer months). By reading throughout the summer, they can learn new things, reinforce old material, and travel to far away places from the comfort of a bedroom or a backyard swing! Sometimes it can be difficult to choose books or suggest books that might spark your tween’s interest. Here are some middle school suggestions to help get your tween reading this summer. Please note that every child’s reading level varies, so some selections will be harder or easier and all books should be screened by a parent.Read More

  • Homeschooled children have huge advantages in many areas of their education, but a lot of children find themselves in shock when they are studying in a traditional setting (such as a co-op or higher education). For example, they may find tests, pop-quizzes,and research tasks intimidating because they have little experience with these academic requirements. Luckily, with a few simple tips and opportunities to practice, any child can be taught to study effectively. These skills will benefit the child not only in a traditional school environment, but also throughout life.Read More

  • In our homeschool, my children constantly encounter new vocabulary words during their individual reading time or during lessons. My naturally curious kids are great about asking, “What does this word mean, Mom?” Typically I ask them to look it up using an online dictionary. But sometimes we use them our new words in one of these five fantastic vocabulary games.

    1. Vocabulary Cube

    This game requires a small bit of prep work. Make a large cube out of cardstock, the bottom of a milk carton, or the side of a cereal box.

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  • Once you are homeschooling, you realize how easy it can be to adopt a fluid sense of time. In fact, you might sometimes lose track of what day of the week or hour of the day it is when you remove yourself from a traditional school schedule! However, with that flexible perspective on time comes a need for being more particular about the ins and outs of our day. Otherwise, we become so fluid that we end up wasting our precious hours. Are you super careful to protect your time or are you extremely casual with the hours in your day? Whether you veer to one end of the spectrum or the other, the following tips can help you gain some balance with protecting your most precious commodity— time.Read More

  • As home educators, we struggle with self-doubt, wondering if we are teaching our children the right things at the right time. There are plenty of models to pull from: public school, private schools, curriculum publishers, etc. But if we are not careful, we can become burdened by feeling we must fit it all into our schedule. Realizing that I can focus on only a few things well as a teacher, I chose to narrow my yearly homeschool focus to one or two overarching goals each year. Focusing our homeschool this way has freed me to concentrate on what I know my children need to learn academically and personally to move onto the next phase in their education. It also helps me relax into the curriculum I've chosen and not worry about gaps in learning or keeping up with state standards.Read More

  • Reading during the summer months can be an opportunity for high school aged children to read for fun. I know when I was in high school, I was always frustrated by having so much to read academically that there wasn’t time for what I wanted to read. Reading in the summer months can also afford those teens that need to build their college prep reading lists some extra time to do that without feeling the burden of other tasks.

    It can be difficult to choose books or suggest books that might spark your teen’s interest. Here are some suggestions (both resume building and for fun) to help get your teen get set on a path of reading this summer. Please note that every child’s reading level varies, so some selections will be harder or easier. Of course, all books should be screened by a parent.

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