A photo of Erin Brown

Erin Brown

Erin blogs at Royal Baloo where she inspires people to make learning fun!  Through printables, games, activities, and unit studies, learning becomes an adventure worth having.

Does This Count As School? How Homeschooling Blurs the Lines

two girls with jump with hands raised

I didn’t realize until I was an adult that learning never ends. Now I see that I am constantly devouring new information whether it’s from a documentary, a podcast, a book, or (most often) my children. They ask questions I've never considered, and we find the answers together. Or sometimes they learn a new fact from a book, TV show, or friend and share it with me.

Growing up in public schools, learning was an 8-3 job. Despite being a voracious reader and a curious child, I didn’t consider my hobbies to be educational.

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How to Find Secular Homeschool Curriculum

silhouette of a lone figure against a starry sky

Choosing the right curriculum can be difficult because there are so many ways to meet the needs of our kids: online subscriptions, co-ops, boxed curriculum, workbooks, interest-led discovery, etc. If you know you want a secular curriculum, however, you can pare down the possibilities by filtering all of your options through that lens.

You probably already know that finding secular curriculum is challenging. Here's why.

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How to Homeschool (Well) as a Disorganized Mess

a very messy table with computer and dozens of notes

How to Homeschool (Well) as a Disorganized MessHave you ever heard the myth that homeschool parents need to be extremely organized to successfully homeschool? Maybe you tell someone you homeschool and their reaction is, "Oh! You must be so organized!" Or you attend a homeschool convention and hear speaker after speaker talking about planners, schedules, calendars, and organizational systems as if those are more important that reading aloud and doing science experiments.

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Read This, Watch That: Book & Netflix Combos for Kids

a mom and two daughters sit on a couch; the mom holds a remote

Read This, Watch That: Book & Netflix Combos for KidsKids seem to have a natural draw towards movies and TV shows. I say there is nothing wrong with using that natural attraction to motivate them to read! After all, some kids need extra motivation to read a book. Even though my kids enjoy reading, they have trouble starting new books or a new series. During those times, I look for extra motivation to get them to dig into new titles. The best motivation I’ve found so far is promising to watch the movie when we finish the book.

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A No Bullying Toolkit for Homeschoolers

a TEEN WRITES while behind her, three other teens point and laugh

A No Bullying Toolkit for HomeschoolersMost of us would agree that while homeschoolers encounter bullying to a lesser degree than children in public (or private) schools, no one can totally escape bullying and its effects. Although homeschooling is a valid way to help a child escape a bullying situation, it's not a "get out of jail free card." Homeschoolers do socialize (contrary to some ridiculous stereotypes), and can still encounter personal conflicts at co-op, during sports, or at other community activities.

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Why You Should Skip the Friday Spelling Test and What to Do Instead

a girl works on spelling work

It wasn't all that long ago when I was desperately memorizing another spelling test and another set of words just to forget them over the weekend. When I was in school, we were given an assortment of 15 or 20 random words that we were expected to simply know.

The problem with spelling lists and weekly spelling tests is that the information is not assimilated into other subjects. We do not learn the correct spelling to use in our writing. Instead, we learn the spelling for the test and then immediately forget it.

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5 Minutes to a More Organized Homeschool (Really!)

colorful school supplies: spiral bound notebooks, eraser, glue stick, and pens

Organization is that dirty little word that constantly seeps into our everyday vocabulary. Have you ever heard someone say they've finished organizing anything? Probably not because organization is a process and not a goal. The good news is that organization is a simple process that doesn’t have to take much time. The bad news is that you have to do it often.

But with a few simple steps, you can be more organized in five minutes or less.

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