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  • Visual aids work. It’s the reason companies spend thousands of dollars on an icon to represent their brand. The same principle works for us homeschool moms. When we can connect homeschool lessons to an interactive, visual learning aid, children will understand and remember more readily. If your children are crafty and enjoy cutting, coloring, writing, and assembling papercrafts, lap books are a fabulous way to add a visual and hands-on component to whatever curriculum you use. A lap book is an interactive notebook with smaller mini books affixed onto a file folder. It's a fun way for craft-loving kids to organize what they learn. The creation of the lap book is part of the learning. And then the reviewing of the lap book cements the learning for long-term retention.Read More

  • When you homeschool, you have extreme freedom: freedom to choose the curriculum you want to follow, freedom to do schoolwork in the morning, afternoon, or evening, and freedom to shelve schoolwork for a day and take a fieldtrip. You, as the teacher, are the one shaping your child’s education. Yet most of us homeschooling parents, especially those of us who ourselves attended traditional school, have trouble letting go of the brick-and-mortar school mentality. It’s deeply rooted within us, and we may not even realize how much it is influencing us and our decisions when it comes to our children’s education. These hidden assumptions are demonstrated clearly in the many misconceptions people have about BookShark.Read More

  • Is a Homeschool Co-op Right for You?Have you ever wondered what a homeschool co-op is and whether you should be a part of one? Co-op means co-operative. At its most simple function, a co-op is a partnership between families, working together to educate their children. While all co-ops share this same basic goal, no two co-ops are exactly alike. These three examples of specific homeschool co-ops, give you a sense for how broadly the term can be applied.

    1. For 31 weeks, dozens of families meet together at a local church each Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Kids choose from a variety of classes that are offered during 6 class periods.

    2. Once a month, three families get together a local park to complete an art project.

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  • 4 Ways to Outsource Your Homeschool for the Best EducationWhen my children were born, I knew I wanted to homeschool them. To me, homeschooling meant me, at home, teaching them with books and hands-on projects. Of course, time changes things, and our perspectives grow. Six years later, a lot of the education my children receive does not come directly from me, and it doesn’t happen in our home. My definition of homeschooling has transitioned into something broader than I originally envisioned.

    I spend a lot of time chatting with fellow homeschoolers, and one thing that often comes up, especially as children get older and subjects become more intense, is feeling overwhelmed. We want the best education possible for our children, and often we simply cannot do that on our own.

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  • 3 Key Areas of Time Management for Kids of All AgesTime management is an area we all want to our kids to master. For that matter, most of us moms need improvement in this area as well! I have a high schooler this year. More than ever, I’m seeing how important time management is for him. I’ve been gradually stepping back so he can develop his own tactics and learn to take responsibility for his use of time. But because he’s under my roof, I feel I have a responsibility to guide him where I can —making suggestions, dropping hints, and subtly reminding.

    On the other end of the spectrum, there are two elementary kids in the mix as well. They are obviously not as responsible as my teenager and definitely need more prompting. The bottom line is, with four kids, a blogging business, homeschooling, and everything else that mom-life entails, I don’t have time to micromanage. I need all of my children to carry their own weight not only so they learn time management but also so that I don’t lose my mind.

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  • 13 Ways to Spend Your Fifth Day with No Homeschool LessonsMany homeschoolers prefer a four-day school week to the traditional Monday through Friday routine. In years past, I have followed this shorter school schedule that BookShark uses, having four full days of school from about 9 a.m.to 1 p.m. and taking Fridays off from normal lesson plans. I found that the fifth day offered a treasure trove of time and space for fun with my kids. It’s still a weekday, so everyone else is at work or school — everyone except you! Not sure if this schedule is for you? Here are thirteen different ways you could be spending your fifth day without BookShark lessons.Read More

  • Managing Your Time as a Homeschool Mom Who Works from HomeOnce you have decided to work at home, you are faced with a huge challenge —managing your time. Homeschool moms are busy, and you may be wondering how in the world you are going to find time to work while you educate your children at home. Don’t worry! You can find time to work at home while homeschooling. It simply takes a little creativity and learning how to manage well the time that you do have. Finding Time to Work The first step in managing your time is ferreting out the time to work. This part can be tricky because it requires you to look at your day with a critical and ruthless eye. I recommend you begin by writing down how your days normally look.

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  • How to Encourage Your Teen Towards an Active LifestyleWe all know that it’s important to lead an active lifestyle, regardless of your age. There are dozens of known benefits to regular exercise: better sleep, muscle strength, lower anxiety levels, positive self-esteem, clearer complexion, enhanced mood, improved focus, and a stronger immune system, just to name a few. Not only do adults benefit from exercise; our children and teens do too.

    There’s actually another essential reason to get your kids started on a habit of regular exercise now, while they’re young. Regular physical activity is crucial to your child’s brain.

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  • Reading is an important part of any child’s education. It opens doors into the past, the future, and even the other side of the world. Children who love reading have a huge advantage. They’ve absorbed advanced vocabulary and grammar without even realizing it. As a homeschool parent, you have great leverage to turn your children into bookworms. Here are three simple tricks to impart the book loving gene.

    Make Reading Pleasurable

    Reading shouldn’t be a miserable affair; it should be pleasant. Kids should have comfortable chairs with soft pillows and cozy blankets to curl up on. The chairs should beckon kids to them, draw them in like the Pied Piper, and call them to spend an afternoon reading a good book.

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  • No one can question the position of the zoo in the canon of homeschool field trip destinations. Who can resist the enchantment of watching monkeys swinging from ropes, observing penguins eating fresh fish, and walking through a butterfly pavilion? The zoo is a go-to choice for getting out of the house on a day with pleasant weather when public school is in session. However, instead of visiting the zoo, you may want to bring the zoo to your homeschool group! Many homeschoolers in my particular group couldn’t visit the zoo because of lengthy illnesses, a long driving distance to the zoo, limited funds, or transportation problems. Our solution was to contact our local zoo about their community outreach program.Read More

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