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  • What if your kids could learn to write from real-life, published authors? Sounds pretty amazing…and maybe even a little expensive, right?

    The good news is they can do just that when they learn language arts naturally using copywork and dictation to develop their writing skills. BookShark Language Arts uses this approach.

    When we incorporate copywork and dictation into language arts, our kids learn to write from those who do it best. Copywork and dictation are similar in many ways. In copywork, students write from the written word, while in dictation, students write from the spoken word. 

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  • Do you remember what it was like when your sweet little babies began to utter their first sounds? Did you run to get a textbook so you could teach them how to speak? Of course not! You certainly didn’t freak out thinking there was no way you would be able to teach them how to talk.

    Instead you began to say simple words to them like mama and dada. And each time they attempted to make the same sound, you excitedly cheered them on.

    But for some reason, the thought of teaching language arts seems to strike fear into the hearts of many homeschool parents. There's no need for fear.

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  • I’m currently homeschooling a middle schooler, an upper elementary student, an emergent reader, and a preschooler. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my seven years of homeschooling, it’s that they all love hands-on activities, especially experiments.

    While I appreciate their zeal, it can be daunting to juggle their enthusiasm and mixed abilities. Figuring out how to keep everyone on track and participating has taken some practice. Here are five ways we’ve managed to keep the peace and learning flowing when doing BookShark science activities.

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  • How much technology should be part of a child’s elementary homeschool curriculum? New homeschoolers wrestle with this question quite a bit. Even experienced homeschoolers weigh the pros and cons year by year as they choose new curriculum. Should you opt for online classes and digital learning programs? Or should you stick with physical books? Should you turn the teaching over to a sophisticated software, or should you sit with your kids and direct their learning yourself? Sometimes an online approach seems more modern, more measurable, and far more convenient since the parent doesn’t have to invest as much time. Kids love playing with smartphones and tablets, so it seems natural to make the most of that fascination when it comes to homeschool, right? Apps and games claim to teach preschoolers a wide variety of necessary skills: the alphabet, phonics, colors, numeracy, etc.Read More

  • Teach Children to Change the World with BiographiesSometimes the news is scary. There are things happening in our world right now that are near to impossible to discuss with children without leaving them fearful. As parents, we want to protect our kids from hatred and hurt. We want them to remain children and enjoy every drop of childhood magic for as long as possible. And yet, we want our children to grow into adults who will make a difference in this world. We want to raise compassionate, thoughtful men and women who will put an end to the hatred and hurt. So, how can we start the process? How can we talk about difficult topics without making it too scary? How can we protect our children and yet show them how to be upstanders?Read More

  • Winter Field Trip Ideas for HomeschoolersFieldtrips are great way for homeschooling families to add excitement and some real life learning to their days. Do you get out of the house with your kids?

    It’s easy to take the time to get out during the spring and fall but a bit harder to get motivated during the colder winter months. It’s important, though.

    It can become tedious to stay at home most of the day – for both you and the kids. Fieldtrips give you all a chance to get out of the house, get some fresh air, learn new things, and interact with new people. Here are some ideas for fieldtrips that are educational and fun.

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  • You’re probably using or considering using BookShark because you want to bring history to life for your children by immersing them in wonderful historical fiction. You want to cuddle on the couch during read aloud time. And you want your children to learn to love books and reading if they don’t already.

    But sometimes the books you read in a BookShark level reflect the darkness of history. Parents worry about how their children will react to these books or if they should even read them at all.

    I had the same concerns when I was using Level K with two of my children, who were five and six at the time. While I loved all of the books in Level K, I must admit that when I got to Twenty and Ten, I paused.

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  • How to Schedule Your Homeschool DayI have been homeschooling for so long that most of my friends and family are homeschoolers or at least homeschool-friendly. Honestly, I haven’t heard the question about socialization in so long that I forgot it was an issue. Today, I saw a Facebook acquaintance post a question to her friends, asking what kind of school they would choose for their kids. Every single one who said they would consider homeschooling mentioned joining a co-op for socialization as some sort of disclaimer. When I began homeschooling my sons at the ages of three and five, we joined a homeschool co-op for this exact reason. In a world of homeschool haters, joining a co-op gives you a way to say, “Look! My kids socialize! My kids sit in a classroom at least once a week!”

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  • Are you too busy? Would you characterize your homeschool as too busy? Here’s the real question — are you too busy or are you simply not prioritizing your time? We can’t do everything. We must say no to some things while we make other things a priority. Being busy is a direct reflection of the choices we have made. How do you choose to spend your homeschool day? Do you squander time on things that are not essential? Do you get off topic instead of sticking to your instructor's guides? What gets prioritized will look different in each homeschool. Some moms might leave lots of free time to pursue learning tangents of interest to their children. Others might find getting the nuts and bolts of math and science accomplished is important to them.Read More

  • In our family, the struggle to read has not been the only challenge our literature-based homeschool has faced. A very close second is difficulty with writing.

    Dyslexia and dysgraphia have some overlapping challenges; both make language-based learning an uphill battle. But while dyslexia’s struggles are mostly reading-related, dysgraphia’s learning struggles are mostly writing-related: difficulty with spelling trouble organizing thoughts into written sentences and paragraphs challenges with the physical act of writing

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