• Ah, the winter homeschool rut. You come down from the merriment and flurry of December and find everything waiting for you back on solid ground. Everything. The math books, the phonics lessons, the list of activities that were pushed to the side in mid-November, and the half-finished Read-Aloud anxiously perched atop the pile.

    Sometimes we embrace the familiar rhythm and purpose that waits in that pile. Many times though, we find ourselves dragging along by the end of January, completely uninspired and in need of something fresh. This can be a dangerous time for our bank account, as we begin researching shiny, new curricula in a desperate attempt to pivot mid-year.

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  • A large part of the reason we choose to homeschool our kids is our desire to travel. We want our children to see the world with us! The flexibility of homeschooling means we can travel during off-peak times while everyone else is in school. That timing brings perks like fewer crowds and cheaper hotel accommodations. And instead of learning only from books, we get the benefit of learning firsthand through our travel experiences!

    Whenever we go on an adventure, we make an effort to fit in as much education as we can while maintaining the core reason for our excursion—the family fun and memories. Here are three ways that travel enhances our homeschool experience. These benefits happen for any trip we take, but I'll use a recent beach trip as my example.

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  • Hands-on activities are a great way to add variety to your homeschool, reinforce learning, and incorporate creativity. When your children are coloring, cutting, and building, there is opportunity to both review and organize what they’ve learned or even explore rabbit trails of curiosity. One great type of hands-on learning I've recently rediscovered is lap books. These fun papercrafts offer an alternative to boring worksheets while offering a fun opportunity to talk about what your child has learned! To be honest though, sometimes lap books can be a bit of a chore for moms. There is a ton of printing, organizing the projects, and gathering supplies. Thus, I was at first a bit skeptical about lap books and hadn't even given them a fair try.Read More

  • Public School vs. Homeschooling: The Apples and Oranges of ChildhoodA psychological assessment I recently filled out for one of my children showed a clear bias towards public schooling with these kinds of queries:

    “Do they stay seated when asked to remain in their seat?”

    “Are assignments turned in on time and complete?”

    “Do they follow directions without additional prompting?”

    As both the parent and teacher, I had a lot of questions to answer. Some were almost impossible because I had no knowledge of my child in a traditional school environment. We’ve always homeschooled, so I was making a guess. Would they remain seated if told not to get up? Doubtful. Do I see that as a problem? No, not really.

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  • How to Learn to Trust Your Homeschool Mom InstinctsMy 9-year-old daughter loves to write stories. Every day for months, without any prompting from me, she would pull out her computer and type away. The stories flowed freely, and she often chattered excitedly about her latest book.

    But then one day, for no apparent reason, the typing stopped.

    She joined in her younger brothers’ boisterous play more and more frequently. She chose listening to audiobooks or drawing, instead of writing. The computer collected dust under her bed.

    And I worried. I debated and fretted for weeks, wondering how to address the situation. Before, she wrote from a pure joy of writing. If I pushed her, would writing become a chore she dreaded? Would she put away her stories forever if I coerced her to write?

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  • When I started homeschooling many years ago, one of my main goals was to raise readers. As an avid reader myself, I’ve always understood the value of reading. It expands our vocabulary, teaches us, ignites our imagination, challenges us, transports us to amazing worlds, and so much more. I knew I wouldn’t be able to teach my girls everything, but if they could read well and enjoyed the process, they would be able to learn anything they wanted to. So I did whatever I could to make reading exciting and accessible. Here are ways to nudge your child toward becoming a lifelong reader.Read More

  • I never imagined that I’d read and enjoy business and productivity books. I imagined that they’d be all about how to squeeze maximum efficiency out of every last second of the day.

    To me, that sounds like slow death by strangulation. No thanks.

    But after various friends (including homeschool moms) repeatedly recommended a couple of titles, I decided to give them a try. Here are three lessons I’ve learned that actually adapt quite well to the homeschool dynamic.

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  • Tips for Getting Started with HomeschoolingAre you thinking about homeschooling? New to the idea? Not sure where to start? Homeschooling is growing in popularity for so many reasons – schools are cutting services, special needs aren’t able to be met, the ever-increasing focus on testing… these scenarios and others are driving more and more parents to pull their kids out of traditional school settings and keep them home for their education.

    The important thing to remember, as you jump into homeschooling your kids, is that you CAN do it. Nobody knows and loves your kids like you do. There is simply nobody better equipped to teach your kids than you.

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  • Maybe it’s just me, but homeschooling in the winter can be a challenge. My children don’t play outside as much, playgroups don’t meet as often, and we spend a lot more time at home. In some ways, this is a gift. We love homeschooling because we love home, but we also love and need our community and friends. When the forecast looks cold and gray, all I want to do is stay in my pajamas and read. My kids seek screens more, and if we’re not careful, we can start to feel blue. Seasonal shifts naturally happen in our homeschool days when winter arrives, but if I want our days to continue to go smoothly and for my family to feel our best, a little extra energy and planning is needed on my part. We welcome more time to read and snuggle, but movement, projects, and getting out of the house—even when it’s cold—are a must, too.Read More

  • Admit it. You’ve seen the pictures of happy, snuggling children listening to a book being read or heard about the deep discussions and family bonding that happens when parents read to their children and thought, “I want that too. I’m going to make time in our home school schedule for read aloud time. I can do this.” So you give family reading time a try. But it doesn’t look like the pictures or work like the stories. Instead, your youngest is running around chasing the dog. Your middle child looks bored, and when you ask your oldest a question about the paragraph you’ve just read, he just grunts and says, “I don’t know.”Read More

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