10 Sanity-saving Activities with Stuff You Already Have on Hand

10 Sanity-saving Activities with Stuff You Already Have on HandOne of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned as a teacher and a homeschooler is to have spur-of-the-moment activities in my mental back pocket when plans change, co-op classes get canceled, we're having a bad day, or a sunny day activity is ruined by rain.

When our best-laid plans are derailed, these sanity-savers come to the rescue! We all need a handful of fun, engaging activities that don’t require a trip to the store or a lot of prep. Here are some of my favorites of save-the-day (and your sanity) activities using stuff you probably already have on hand!

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How BookShark Science Makes My Daughter a Stronger Reader

How BookShark Science Makes My Daughter a Stronger Reader  My daughter grabs her BookShark binder and the Science book she’s currently reading. I grab my Instructor’s Guide and tell her which pages and questions we’ll be doing. She flips to the pages we’ll be reading today; immediately her questions and comments begin flowing.

Beautifully illustrated or photographed, all of the books capture her attention. “Let’s read and find out more,” I say. She doesn’t hesitate and either hands the book my way or begins to read herself. We take turns reading to each other.

When we started our BookShark Science curriculum several months ago, she was not eager to read. But now, it's different! Now she is often so interested in the text, she forgets to hand the book back to me and simply keeps reading.

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Why Homeschooling Is the Best: Passion in Learning

My kids are huge LEGO fans. Although a LEGO obsession is not unique, it’s important to my family for a number of reasons. Time after time we were told by public school teachers and administrators that our kids could not focus. We were told that they would need to be held back a year because they couldn’t accomplish simple tasks.

But the colourful little blocks proved to us that this was not the case. Our kids can focus. They can build complicated models and create new ones because they are passionate about LEGO.

The chance to learn with passion and interest can and should extend to all children. There needs to be a fundamental shift in the way kids are educated. We need to move away from one-size-fits-all education, and this is where homeschooling comes in.

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Why Homeschooling Is the Best: Spontaneous Adventures

I used to think that having children was the end of adventure, or at least the end of spontaneous adventure. I was convinced that all trips would have to happen during school vacations and that the trips would be crowded, expensive, stressful, and pressurized. I based this assumption on my own experiences of family vacations as a child. And I had resigned myself to having similar experiences with my kids. If my kids went to school, then we would have to go on vacation with everyone else.

But then we started homeschooling, and everything changed!

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Literature-based Homeschooling 101

Once upon a time…

It’s one of the first phrases little ones learn as parents introduce them to the world of books.

Throughout history, story has been an integral part of cultures worldwide. Myths, legends, and history are passed down from generation to generation through storytelling.

Just think about the impact stories have on our day-to-day lives. Consider how they are woven into the fabric of who we are as individuals and citizens.

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5 Things to Love About BookShark Reading with History

hated history during school. I was terrible at remembering dates and names. But I'm determined not to pass along this distaste for history to my own children.

I’ve always thought that literature was the best way to help my children understand the past. Over the years I’ve checked out lots of historical fiction and nonfiction historical picture books, but as we’ve added children to our homeschool mix, I don’t have time to curate long lists of holds at the library anymore. Enter BookShark Reading with History.

This is our first year using BookShark materials for history. We chose Level G: World History Year 1 of 2, and I’ve already found lots to love with this program.

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25 Ways to Use a Markable Map for Homeschool Geography

We all suffer from information overload at times. When there is too much detail or too much to digest, we tend to shut down and not assimilate any of it in a meaningful way.

The same is true for students. Some learning tools are overwhelming. For example, traditional maps and atlases that have hundreds of labels can be hard to digest. There’s just so much information, students may not know what to zero in on and consequently remember little of what they see.

That's why the Markable Map sold in the Required Resources of every BookShark Reading with History program (or All-Subjects Package) is such an amazing—yet simple—tool.

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Why Read Aloud Time is Still Valuable for Teens

Most homeschooling parents can agree that spending time reading aloud as a family is a worthwhile endeavor. Who doesn't love snuggling with little ones while reading stories that open up imaginations and fill minds with wonderful tales? For many, it's a peaceful, almost magical time, one that ends too quickly as kids get older, outgrowing family reading time.

But does family reading time have to end? No. In fact, reading aloud together is just as important for teens as it is for elementary aged children.

Bonding Time

Sure, your kids probably won't be sitting on your lap as you read, but that doesn't mean you're not connecting with each other. When you are together reading, there's a sense of closeness. It continues the warm, pleasant feelings related to both family and reading that they had when they were younger.

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How to Homeschool While Your Partner Works from Home

Whether he’s just taking a vacation day to catch up on a house project or has a random day off from work, I love having my husband home. Don’t even get me started on that wonderful family cocoon we cuddle up in during the slow and confusing time between Christmas and New Year’s. Having my husband home in the middle of the day is a treat equivalent to when I’d be on a field trip and realize that I’d normally be in math class, but was watching a show or taking in zoo animals. It’s out of the norm and always a surprise.

Well, it was.

Like millions of others, my husband has been working from home for the last few months as a result of the coronavirus. I was excited at first. Why wouldn’t I be? All of my favorite people under one roof, all day, with nowhere to go and all of our plans cancelled? Sounds like heaven to me! 

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How to Teach Language Arts to a Reluctant Learner

How to Teach Language Arts to a Reluctant LearnerIf your son tends to dawdle instead of completing a page of grammar exercises…

If your daughter draws pictures instead of working on writing assignments...

If you’ve seen your child’s shoulders slump when asked to read...

Then you might have a reluctant learner when it comes to language arts. From making excuses to complaining to avoiding the work, these behaviors point to a problem. But there’s good news! Your children can learn the skills they need and even enjoy the process, too!

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