• It’s fun to spend bright summer days outside exploring nature or running around the park. What do you do on gloomy, rainy days though? Those gray days when you’re trapped inside? You create a cozy reading atmosphere and turn gloomy afternoons into beautiful memories of a cozy reading atmosphere.

    Light a Fire

    Gloomy rainy days tend to be cold due to the damp chill in the air. So light a fire in the fireplace to help create a cozy reading atmosphere. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can turn up the heat.

    Just remember to keep the room warm. Your kids will adore staying warm on cozy reading days when the weather outside is abysmal.

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  • This might sound crazy, but one of my biggest fears as a new mom was that my children wouldn't like to read.

    You see, I'm a bookworm of the highest order. I'm always reading something, actually several somethings. I have my upstairs book, my downstairs book, and my car book. I am a bibliophile.

    I'm also an educator. Before homeschooling, I was a school psychologist. In that role I saw so many children who loathed reading. Some of those children had underlying disabilities that made reading challenging, others were pushed to read too soon and balked while others lacked exposure.

    I wished that I could go back and change reading for every reluctant reader I met to help them fall in love with reading.

    And that was one of my biggest wishes for my own children. Thankfully, they did fall in love with reading with the help of these ten methods I used to help them fall in love with reading.

    Learning to read is a skill, and like all skills, it requires hard work and heaps of practice in order to become proficient.

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  • My kids were all well-fed and dressed, my backpack was bulging with baby supplies, and my stroller was overflowing with toddler toys.

    Having prepared for every possible scenario that might have occurred at my first homeschool convention, I was ready to soak up everything I would learn.

    After waiting for thirty minutes to enter the vendor hall, my toddler was grouchy and already needing a nap. All my formerly must-have baby paraphernalia turned into excess baggage I was condemned to cart around with me the rest of the day. If you want to successfully pull off a visit to a homeschool convention, here are 6 tips from someone who has learned her lessons the hard way.

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  • One of my favorite reasons for homeschooling is the ability to flex and change to meet the needs of my kids. By doing so, I can give them a truly customized education that scaffolds their weaknesses and sharpens their strengths.

    But the pressure of meeting academic standards is not easily escaped, even in homeschooling. Sometimes, that pressure to perform comes from within when we place a burden on ourselves to prove that homeschooling works. So when a curriculum tells us to cover certain topics, read certain pages, and accomplish certain projects in a particular day, it’s easy to feel like we are failing when those boxes don’t get checked.

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  • Young children are filled with questions about how things wor,k and science provides many opportunities for them to explore these questions. This natural curiosity easily leads to a love of science and hands-on activities.

    Some parents, however, don’t look forward to the very activities that draw kids into this subject. The hassle of gathering supplies and cleaning up the mess are common reasons for skipping science experiments. It sometimes seems easier to just open a book and read about the topic. But how many of us actually preferred books to experiments when we were kids? Not many. Your kids are the same.

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  • Exploring nature is a wonderful addition to your homeschool routine. However, it can get a bit overwhelming if this in new territory for you. There are so many wonderful resources available that it’s often difficult to know where to start. I love to follow a child-led approach to exploring nature. It’s easy to make nature study look like school, but it’s more important to just get out there to observe and explore without an agenda. (On the upside, that means you have very little preparation to do!) Here are some tips to help you start down the path of sharing regular nature adventures with your kids.Read More

  • Homeschoolers come in lots of different flavors; there is no cookie cutter diagram that fits every single one of us. But there do seem to be some common trends among homeschool moms, dads, and kids! Here's my humorous (yet mostly spot-on) take on the composition of a homeschooler. 

    19% Overdue Library Books

    Libraries love homeschoolers for two reasons. 1. We check out stacks an stacks of books—which we actually read. 2. We support their programs with our overdue fines.

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  • I love the idea of a textbook-free homeschool in a house full of living books. I have book shelf after book shelf of proof. That's why BookShark is such a good fit for me. BookShark is an amazing curriculum, full of fantastic books—a lot of books!

    Sometimes organizing all those amazing books feels overwhelming though.

    My high schooler is using BookShark’s American History 100 course this year. Getting it in order is top priority because I don’t want to waste time during school, looking for the materials. And since she is an independent learner, she, too, needs to know where everything is. Here's how I took my teen from Box Day to a back-to-school attitude in five steps.

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  • Communication, observation, critical thinking, problem solving, hand-eye coordination, knowledge of spelling, grammar, and punctuation—what do all of these things have in common? These are the skills we apply when we write.

    It’s no wonder that writing can be such a challenging subject to teach and learn.

    There’s a common misconception that a writer is born. While some children are naturally drawn to writing, people who write well do so because they write; constant practice is the key. Does that mean everyone should be writing short stories and poetry, or we should insist our children journal everyday? Not necessarily. To give kids the writing practice they need, writing tasks should be relevant to their lives.

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  • “Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.” The marvelous Miss Charlotte Mason said this, quite famously now, in regards to education and life.

    This quote has inspired an entire belief system, a lifestyle, a veritable standard when it comes to homeschooling. Mention homeschooling in today’s times and you’ll drum up images of hours-long nature walks in ancient forests, children smiling freely with hands full of butterflies and worms, mushroom studies, lichen watercolors, and babbling brooks filled with wonder and learning. 

    This is not my homeschool. 

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