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  • Have you ever had a conversation like this in your home?

    Parent: How’s your book?

    Child: It’s good.

    Parent: Why is it good?

    Child: I don’t know. I just like it.

    Talking with our kids about a book they are reading can peter out before the conversation even starts. Why? Just like we help our kids learn to read, we have to help our children learn how to discuss what they read.

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  • Are you trying to figure out how to assess your child’s learning with Bookshark’s Reading with History? When using this wonderful curriculum, you may feel a little unsure when you reach the end of a topic or when you try to document your child’s learning. But don’t despair. There are many creative ways you can document and assess your child’s learning. And the best part? No tests required.

    Assessments of learning need not include tests and book reports, yet this is often the default for measuring history knowledge.

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  • I used to wake up hours before my kids. Yes, I'm serious. It was amazing!

    I had time to plan our day, to write, to read, and to exercise. 

    All that time made me a better homeschool mom.

    Most days, I was on top of my game. We got stuff done. And then winter hit — it got cold and gray. Winter makes me tired. It makes me want to curl up, in my bed, with a good book. It does not make me want to put my feet to the freezing floor and do all the things.

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  • I hear this objection a lot: “I could never homeschool, I’m too bad at (insert any subject here)!” And I admit that in the beginning, I had this concern, too.

    Accepting the sole responsibility for your child’s education is a heavy weight, yet there is a misunderstanding that we homeschool parents have to have it all figured out before we sit down with our first math manipulatives. We feel underqualified and insecure about the limitations of our own knowledge. We may feel sheepish about how often we zoned out during our own education or crammed for tests instead of truly absorbing the material. We think we can’t homeschool—or at least can’t do it well—because we don’t know everything.

    But that seeming lack is precisely what makes us ideal as homeschoolers.

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  • What if an opportunity to travel as a family doesn’t align with the studies you are doing at the moment? No problem! As homeschoolers you have the gift of flexibility. And with the right resources, you can go ahead and dig into an area of study so your kids can get the maximum educational benefits of your trip.

    That’s exactly what our friends, DeeDee and Ximena of Chips & Salsa Homeschooling did.

    When they had the chance to go on an epic Washington D.C. field trip, they decided it was time to take a break from their Estern Hemisphere studies and do a short, but deep, dive into American History using BookShark’s American History 1 Lap Book Kit. They called it their American History Cram Camp.

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  • “Why aren’t you in school?” asks the cashier, the person at the museum, or any adult who sees my nine-year-old with me out of the house on a school day.

    My daughter’s answer, “I homeschool,” is always followed by questions, some directed to her, others to me. People want to know why we homeschool, what we like about it, and almost always end the conversation with, “I could never do that; I’m not patient enough.”

    It’s true, patience is a good skill to have when you homeschool or parent, but I certainly don’t always have it. And while my answers about homeschooling are often the same—upbeat and encouraging, the truth is some days I don’t love homeschooling. Some days I doubt myself. Some days I, too, wonder why we homeschool.

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  • Outdoor time is scientifically proven to reduce stress and actually improve learning. Unfortunately, many children aren’t getting enough time outside. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can get outdoors any time we want to. It's yet another great reason to homeschool!

    Below are four ways to create outdoor play areas for your homeschool experience. When you have a dedicated spot, you're more likely to spend that valuable time playing outside.

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  • Does your homeschool learning space have an art center? If not, I encourage you to consider it. An art center does not have to cost a lot. Nor does it have to be Pinterest-worthy.

    This tour of my homeschool space demonstrates that an art center need not be fancy, beautiful, or cost a lot of money. But it's functional for our needs, and my kids love it. Hopefully it will inspire you to devise your own homeschool art center so your kids can unleash their crafty side.

    Some moms are great at arts and crafts. And that’s wonderful. Me? Not so much. But I still believe including arts in the homeschool is important. Plus my kids absolutely love working on artsy projects.

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  • I pressed the button again, attempting to capture just the perfect image of my daughter working on her science experiment.

    Then it dawned on me. I was more concerned with getting an Insta-worthy photograph than in what she was doing. Even my daughter seemed frustrated by it as she rolled her eyes in my direction with the last shot.

    “I’m sorry, honey,” I sighed.

    I was sorry—sorry that I’d lost the point of why I decided to homeschool in the first place. It certainly wasn’t to parade my daughter's learning adventures to others all over the Internet.

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  • Studying nature is a beloved aspect of homeschooling and a delightful supplement to a science curriculum. Kids love nature. And let’s be real: most parents love nature too. However, for a lot of homeschooling families, it is not realistic to go outside and spend hours upon hours in nature, day in and day out. Would that be fun? Definitely.

    But these kinds of expectations are not the norm for most homeschooling families. So how are we solving this conundrum?

    With an indoor nature center as part of our homeschool space!

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