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  • When our kids groan and complain about reading time, we know we’ve hit a rough patch that needs to be addressed. It’s important to keep kids excited about family read alouds. If your read-aloud times have hit a rut or become dull, here are a few ideas to keep read-aloud times upbeat.

    Build Their Interest

    Use anticipation to pique interest for reading time. Drop clues around the house pertaining to the story you plan to read. Then have a scavenger hunt to find the answer. When it’s time for the big reveal, the kids will be ready to settle down and listen.

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  • Each year my goal is to read more with my kids. If you are like me, you write an extensive book list, order or reserve the books, scope them out, and get excited.

    Then I sit down to read, and my book-loving bubble bursts within minutes.

    I hear my voice rising decibel by decibel, minute by minute, trying to be heard over the Hot Wheels cars zooming over my feet, the tickle-fest that just broke out, the phone ringing in the kitchen, and the whining because somebody didn’t want to read that particular book.  

    Sound familiar?

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  • Are you dealing with a reluctant writer? A child who will sit at the table for hours, pencil in hand, staring at a blank piece of paper rather than write a single paragraph? As difficult as it may seem, it is possible to teach these children to write.

    Start Small

    Children who don’t like to write are easily intimidated by writing assignments. You may think you’re assigning a manageable and short assignment of only a paragraph. Your kid believes you’ve just assigned the next American novel. 

    Tears will emerge. Your child will wail, “I can’t do it!” You may want to tear out your hair in frustration. Don’t do that.

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  • Managing A Homeschool Schedule in Two Simple Steps

    Throughout my years of homeschooling, I’ve come to realize the importance of managing my time. The following tips have helped me to streamline my schedule and put systems into place that keep my family running more smoothly than we would otherwise.

    Set Priorities

    Homeschooling is a hodgepodge of ideas, theories, practices, tools, and resources. How you go about using resources and putting those theories into place is dependent upon your family priorities. That’s why it’s so important to know in the beginning what your homeschooling priorities are.

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  • I remember my very first year homeschooling; I ordered one of those big boxes of curriculum from one publisher. Everything came in one box, and my shopping was done in one swoop. I was thrilled!

    Fast forward a few years later. I'm still homeschooling, and we still order a boxed curriculum each year despite my new-found expertise in educating at home.

    We have strayed on a few things and may purchase more than one box a year's time; however, overall we are a boxed curriculum family. And I am still thrilled about that decision! Why? Because, I am a work at home mom.

    As a work at home, homeschool mom, I have found that a boxed curriculum fits my family’s needs in ways that cobbling together materials from multiple publishers couldn’t do. How?

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  • Why do many homeschool families feel overwhelmed at the beginning of a new school year? The main reason, in my experience, is choosing curriculum. Curriculum choices abound and choosing what to teach your children each year can be overwhelming. Couple that with countless homeschool curriculum publishers each with catalogs and websites, homeschool friends’ advice and opinions, and myriads of workshops and conventions geared toward homeschoolers who may not even be sure which homeschool method will work best for them, and you surely have a recipe for confusion. But have no fear: choosing curriculum doesn’t have to be a chore. First off, there’s the little known fact among many experienced homeschoolers that the curriculum you start off using at the beginning of the year may not last you a full semester before you realize it doesn’t work well for your kids or for you, for that matter.Read More

  • When people who are considering homeschooling contact me to ask how to begin, the first words out of my mouth are, “Whatever you do, don’t do an internet search for homeschool curriculum!”

    A couple of decades ago during the early years of homeschooling, the choices for curriculum were few and usually were the same curriculums that private Christian schools were using. Now that homeschooling has exploded into nearly two million children being educated at home across the United States for multiple reasons and with varied religious or non-religious backgrounds, homeschool curriculum publishers are almost as numerous! While having a plethora of choices at your fingertips is a great way to give your child a customized education, it’s also a great way to send a homeschool parent into analysis paralysis.

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  • 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.

    1. Take Something Out

    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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  • Homeschooling has come a long way in the last fifteen years. It used to be that most homeschoolers were educating at home because of religious reasons and mostly kept their children hidden at home —afraid that too much exposure to the world around them would hurt them in some way. These days, people are homeschooling for an array of reasons. Even some who are religious are choosing to homeschool for non-religious reasons.

    You might be new to homeschooling and you think that everyone in the homeschool world is highly reserved, secluded, or unaccessible because of their religious beliefs.You might be looking for other folks who have chosen to homeschool not because of their beliefs, but because of other benefits of the homeschool lifestyle. If so, you can probably relate to my story.

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  • Reading books to our children isn’t merely an ideal way to cement family relationships or enjoy a pleasant afternoon. It’s an excellent method to introduce new vocabulary words to our children and help them master those words.

    Here are 7 easy tips for teaching and reviewing new vocabulary learned during read alouds with your children. Pick and choose from these different options. You don't want to use every tip for every single new word. Choose the words that you think are most integral to the story or words that your children are most likely to encounter in their daily lives or academic reading.

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