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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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  • Our homes are full of distractions, and before we know it, if we’re not intentional with our time, the hours tick away and our homeschool lessons remain undone. Every time we find ourselves in this situation, short of an emergency happening, it is because we have said yes to multitasking, yes to being interrupted, yes to being distracted.

    How do homeschoolers minimize interruptions? Instead of saying yes, we say no, nope, no way! Easier said than done, right? Here are a few ways I’ve found to keep my homeschool hours on track.

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  • Are you in a season of on-the-go-schooling? Are you out exploring the world more than you’re at home? I know I am! Museum visits, sports practices, dentist appointments, weekend trips, co-op classes, piano lessons and countless hours in the car blanket our week.

    This constant motion means that our homeschooling has to be flexible. Sometimes reading assignments are tucked into the twenty-minutes hanging out in the waiting room or the forty-five minutes at the library between activities.

    At first, I didn’t think we could fit anything meaningful into these short shifts of learning, but I knew I had to find a way!

    My solution? Tote bag homeschooling!

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  • I admit it. I was disappointed. Read-aloud time didn’t look like I expected it to.

    My vision: Quiet children, hanging on my every word while sipping hot cups of cocoa and wholly engaged in the story.

    Instead, our read-aloud time was filled with interruptions and fights over who was sitting where and whose blankets were touching. Children poked siblings, hung upside down on furniture, or climbed shelves for no good reason. Finally, I’d end the chapter in a huff, and we’d all go our separate ways.

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  • Although some homeschoolers do recreate public school at home, most embrace the freedoms that come with educating our own kids. One of those freedoms is being able to customize our children’s education in a way encourages self-directed, independent learning.

    We want our kids to be able and willing to continue their learning experiences far beyond high school. In fact, our goal is to raise life-long learners. Allowing them to pursue topics of interest during their homeschool days puts them on this path to an ongoing culture of learning through adulthood. Here's how to nurture independent, self-directed learning in your homeschool.

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  • Let me get this out of the way first: I do not hate teachers. I do not think that one bad apple ruins the whole teacher’s lounge. I have teachers in my family, teachers on my friends list, and teachers in my past who have made a tremendous impact on me. I love many, many teachers. But I’ve also found it difficult to publicly discuss problems with teachers without every teacher I know becoming offended. That knee-jerk reaction makes it hard to get to the meat of the problems. Let’s agree right here that not all teachers are the same. Whatever motivation and dedication everyone may enter the profession with, not all remain so dutiful after many hard years of serving in the school system. In fact, some teachers are downright bullies.Read More

  • Homeschooling is a Socialization Benefit Not a Drawback“I sure hope my friend is here,” mydaughter said from the backseat of the car, as we pulled up to one of our favorite breakfast places. One might assume she hoped to see another little girl, but the person she eagerly awaited talking to was not a child, but our favorite waitress, Tanya.

    Tanya is in her late thirties and has a son who is twelve. She works most days at the family restaurant and we always look forward to her bright smile and her energetic nature. She and Tanya talk as we order our meal, as we eat, and then, just before we leave, Tanya hands over a handful of lollipops to my smiling daughter.

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