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  • I walk into a new book store, and take a whiff. I find a seat, pull out a book, and read. Taking in the sights and smells that surround me, I revel in the smell and feel of a new book.

    We are a family of readers, and most of the time we have a book in our hands. However, I rarely buy new books. One reason is of course to save money, but the other is that, quite frankly, we don’t have the space.

    Now, even though I rarely buy a book from a bookstore, that does not mean we don’t have book shelves overflowing with books in a home library. We just have strict rules about when to buy a book and when to borrow one!

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  • Everyone organizes differently for a new homeschool year, but we all want creative learning spaces that are both functional and fun.

    Creative Homeschool Space Possibilities

    Discover unconventional ways of organizing by arranging furniture differently. Take two open backed book cases and lay them sidewise. Butt them back to back. Place a large finished out piece of wood on top of the bookcases. Use a few nails to keep the top in place, and you have a beautiful work table with open storage below. Add some bright colored baskets to the open space underneath and you have a one-of-a-kind learning area.

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  • As I type, I am currently about 1800 miles away from my home in Minneapolis. Because my husband had to work and I needed to experience some adventure this summer, I decided to be brave (or maybe crazy), and hit the road with my four kids—all the way from Minnesota to Glacier Park, Montana. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I’m sure the ride home will be just as great. But without looking too far into the distance, I thought I should let you in on a little secret: reading is the key to a successful long car ride.

    It seems simple, or too good to be true, but it isn’t. Reading is the best way to a successful road trip with kids.

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  • 7 Awesome Tips for Homeschooling a Large Family

    Keeping a large family focused and moving forward while homeschooling is a difficult task. One child wants to play with LEGOs, another child needs to potty train, and yet a third wants you to explain algebra. There are so many needs and so many opinions. How do you juggle it all?

    1. Schedule

    Work from a detailed schedule which begins when you wake up and ends when you go to bed. Time is allotted for chores, meals, playtime, and homeschooling. You’ll never be able to follow the schedule exactly, but the schedule will form the framework of your daily routine. Everything that needs to be done will get done.

    2. Get the day started off right

    I know getting the day started right is important for everyone, but it’s even more so for a large family. On a day that begins smoothly, the children move through the daily routine in rhythm. When the day gets off to a bad start, breakfast is late. Kids get distracted with games, toys, and fun. School and chores never get done. Life is chaotic.

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  • Looking to have a more enjoyable homeschooling experience than you had last year when you ended disorganized and burned out? Good planning and organization are essential. Even if you are an eclectic homeschooler, having an organized routine and materials can prevent stress and reduce aggravation in your day.

    An important part of getting organized is making sure you are in compliance with your state’s homeschooling laws. Laws vary from state to state, so know your state’s laws – don’t rely on the information you get from others. Depending on your state’s rigidity, you may need to keep stricter records, or get away without writing anything down at all.

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  • Many times parents and children alike view the study of poetry as they might think of taking cough syrup: “I don’t like it, but I know I need it.” However, this negative perspective does not have to be the case. Poetry can be fun, engaging, and educational, but it all depends on where you begin. A better analogy for poetry might be that it is like trying a new food. You are hesitant, unsure, and a little afraid at first, but the results are delicious, and the food can become a new favorite. If we present poetry to our children in a way that is fun and engaging, it will help lay the basis for more serious poetry study in the future. When they are tweens and teens, they will not shy away from poetry because this genre is already an old friend.Read More

  • In homeschooling circles, boxed curriculum is also known as an all-in-one educational program. One company provides the materials you need for all core subjects for an entire school year, often in one large box. When you purchase a package like this, you receive the necessary student books, an in-depth teacher’s guide and schedule and, frequently, any additional readers and supplies you’ll need to complete all of the lessons throughout the year. Many parents find that the teacher’s manual included in this type of curriculum is worth its weight in gold. Typically an instructor's guide includes detailed lesson plans, sample schedules, support materials, suggested student responses, tips for grading assignments, extension ideas, and more.

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  • Are you trying to find more hours in the day, unable to find just a few minutes to spend chatting about life with your teenage daughter, play games with your middle school son, or bake cookies with your preschool kids because you’re spending every free moment lesson planning? Lesson planning can eats up hours a day. There’s the time to research what should be included, find appropriate books, read the books to ensure everything is included. Then you still need to write the lesson plans. You spend your evenings locked in your bedroom frantically trying to plan tomorrow’s homeschool, while your family is curled up downstairs munching popcorn and watching movies together.Read More

  • Walking through the aisles of my first homeschool convention vendor hall, I could feel the anxiety building. Booth after booth of amazing curriculum that I’d only seen in homeschool catalogs was now before me in real life. I wanted to run through the aisles with a bank card in each hand to swipe, swipe, swipe and fill my bags with all the books I could carry. The anxiety set in when I realized neither my arm muscles nor my bank account could handle the weight of my greedy curriculum dreams and I would have to make some hard decisions—what do I buy? The struggle was real. If you’ve gone underprepared to a homeschool conference, I’m sure you can relate. Moral of the story: go with a list. Better yet, go with a list with headings because I have been known to be the queen of lists: Books to Buy and Books to Preview.Read More

  • Now that most of us have been back to school for a while, the fun of homeschooling has worn off. We have settled into a routine and are past the introductory review and on to the meaty stuff. This is when sometimes homeschooling loses its luster and stops being fun. Sure, we can throw in some hands-on projects, do unit studies, or read fun books, but the day-to-day grind can become monotonous. You may even find that the curriculum you chose isn’t working for your family, which can be hugely demoralizing If this is you today, what can you do about it? What is the best strategy when homeschooling is hard?Read More

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