Tips & Inspiration

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Using Board Games to Teach Critical Thinking Skills

Using-Board-Games-to-Teach-Critical-Thinking-Skills-Featured

New and used board games can become wonderful learning tools in a homeschool environment through reinforcing many areas of curriculum while children are having fun. Board games can be divided into many categories depending on their objectives and methods of play. For older students games that offer scenarios are often the most entertaining, while younger children enjoy games that are fast paced and interactive.

Board Games as a Relationship Development Tool In Families

There are many board games that help youngsters work on skills in areas such as fine motor, critical thinking, math and reading as well as peer relations. Children often enjoy playing board games because to them it seems as though they are simply having fun and not learning. Playing board games can foster relationships between parents and children during their formative years hence a push for the reintroduction of “Family Game Night” by Hasbro.

How to Start A Family Games Night

There are many easy ways to start a family games night, or for homeschoolers, a family or homeschool games day. Here are some easy tips.

  • Set aside a block of time which remains the same from week to week.
  • If the children are many different ages, split the group by age or play one simpler game for the youngsters and then one more advanced game which pairs younger children with older ones or parents on a team.
  • There should be an understood list of game day/night rules including rules on good sportsmanship and helping others.
  • Families should also plan to start game day/night early enough to avoid cranky kids or the need to stop before games are finished. Try setting a time limit for longer games such as Monopoly.

Games For Young Students Ages Three to Six Years

There are many recommendations when it comes to board games for a young skill set. In particular these games are bright, fast paced and often take no more than a few minutes to play a single round. Some games recommended by Hasbro are:

Games Recommended For Students Ages Six to Eight Years

Children in the six to eight year-old range are capable of understanding more complex rules and are often interested in games which are more challenging than those for the three to six year old category, according to Hasbro. This age group enjoys physically active games as well as games with simple scenarios. Some games recommended for this age group are:

Games For Students 8 Years of Age And Over

Though children at the young end of this age group may need some help or coaching from mom or dad or an older child most of them are capable and willing to play games rated 8-adult. Children in this category are beginning to feel comfortable with their knowledge and their abilities and they are eager to show off their many talents. The competitive nature most children naturally posses is becoming evident in this age range and therefore games often incorporate a sense of competition. Some games recommended for this age group are:

Overall the most important part of any family game night or homeschool game day is to have fun and remember children do not have to be sitting at the kitchen table eight hours a day working in workbooks and studying lectures in order to learn. Learning can be fun!

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Audiobooks as Teaching Tools {Giveaway}

Audio-Book-Giveaway-Featured

Technology and education have formed a rather unique relationship and as technology continues to develop so will it impact learning. Take for example audiobooks, they are becoming widely available at different price points so as to provide affordable options for people.

These portable devices are also making education a unique and individual experience; individual in that audiobooks have become a student’s own personal, interactive educational tool that they can control and over time, with technology advancing so rapidly they may become an ever increasing supplemental educational tool with teachers.

Let’s face it, people have different learning styles and not all students grasp concepts as easily by just sitting at a desk and reading chapters from a book. According to researchers audiobooks will become a vital tool in alternate educational resources. What that means is that students have access to pages and pages of information and it is only a click away.

Audiobooks open up a world of possibilities for kids who are not able to sit still for hours on end engaged in reading a textbook. Reading is merely the mechanical means to an end and what is that end? Listening is just another way to get to the desired end and it does not necessarily have to compromise the growth and advancement of other skills.

Also, it is very important to add that the use of audiobooks can help a child who is more adept at learning through listening. This type of learner is called an auditory learner and they learn best through hearing. They simply grasp knowledge better when they listen to them and audiobooks could be an excellent tool for driving home various concepts. Research even suggests that auditory learners can benefit from watching videos, recording notes after writing them, and using audiotapes. So it stands to reason that audiobooks would be an excellent supplemental educational tool if you have a student or are the parent of a child who leans more toward this learning style.

Audiobooks can be a fun alternative to reading. The process of learning can sometimes be tedious and monotonous because sometimes a child’s faculties are only engaged in one way but when a student’s senses are engaged in such a way that learning becomes fun, well then that benefit alone is worth its weight in gold.

Times have truly changed. Reading isn’t just sitting down and having a printed book right in front of you. Now, you can “read” while on road trips, during commutes to work, while homeschooling, doing different activities, and even while running errands.

Lights out? No problem!

How? With audio books!

Like the good ol’ print books, audio books can be comfort reads and favorites that you can listen to over and over and over again. Here are some of my favorites:

A History of Football (retail value: $22.95)

a history of football

Listen as Greg Proops uses archive, actuality and music as he travels from coast-to-coast exploring the fascinating sport of football. From the early origins of the game from Native Americans to the Washington Redskins to the super stadiums and the game’s growing popularity abroad, you’ll be amazed at how this sports have come so far.

The Looking Glass Wars (retail value: $74.95)

the looking glass wars

Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass”, Frank Beddor’s “The Looking Glass Wars” shows how the two books written by Lewis Carroll are a distortion of the ‘true story’ portrayed in those novels. Twists and turns featured on the original story include the white rabbit as really being Alyss’s (Alice’s) tutor, Bibwit Harte, and the Mad Hatter as a very agile, somber bodyguard called Hatter Madigan.

Dear America: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce (retail value: $29.99)

400

Eleven-year-old Lydia Pierce and her fourteen-year-old brother, Daniel, of Portland, Maine found themselves orphaned in 1918 because of the Spanish flu epidemic. They are taken by their uncle to be raised in the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake. Lydia must grapple with a new world and she must adjust to many changes. With her courageous spirit, joy fills her life again.

Win them all!

Simply enter to win by completing the form below.  And of course, you’ll get extra entries for sharing on your favorite social networks too!:)

Audiobooks as Teaching Tools {Giveaway}

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How to Help Your Child Deal with Math Anxiety

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Math anxiety is a negative emotional response that prevents people from being able to comprehend math or to do math problems. Essentially, it is an emotional problem. However, since it hampers a person’s ability to learn math and to solve math problems, it becomes a mental issue because people with it think they are incapable of doing math. Here are 12 tips to help conquer the fear of math in children and adults.

How to Help your Child with Math Anxiety

To Help Younger Children

  1. Do not communicate your anxiety about math. Even if math tests terrified you as a child, do not let your children know that. Emphasize to your children that math skills are important in life. When they begin working, some math may be required on the job. Even if math was difficult for you, it does not have to be difficult for your children. Many resources to help children learn math and to help them with math problems are available online.
  1. Ask children to rate themselves.  Ask children to tell you on a scale from one to 5, with 5 being the highest, how good they think they are at math. This guides you in assessing their abilities and anxiety levels about math. Even if they are not 100 percent on the mark, at least you know what they want you to think.
  1. Set Goals. Determine which math concepts hyour child knows and which ones he or she needs and wants to learn. Once your child has learned a concept, chalk that up to a mission accomplished.
  1. Apply math practically whenever possible. For instance, if you are putting a tablecloth on a table, discuss how the length and width determine the total area of it. Or, if you are at a baseball game, discuss how batting averages and ERAs are calculated.
  1. 5. Let children show their mastery to others. Once your child has learned a math skill, let him demonstrate and explain it to you, a relative or to a younger brother or sister.
  1. Let your child know that often there are no quick fixes in math. It is not uncommon for solving a math problem to take time. Also, there is usually more than one way to solve a math problem, and the solution requires multiple steps. Let your child know that there is nothing wrong with being slow and deliberate.
  1. Reward your child for math accomplishments. The reward can be something small like stickers or a slice of pizza. Acknowledgement of a job well done is what’s important.

To Help Older Children

  1. Assess the knowledge of math fundamentals. Some people stress over math because they do not have a good foundation in math basics such as multiplication, fractions, decimals and percents. The more advanced concepts in math build on math’s foundations. If your older child feels he has weak fundamentals, let him try some basic math drills online.
  1. Speak positively. Don’t let your children limit themselves by saying they are bad at math. Keep in mind that some experts who have studied math and how people learn it say that many people underestimate their ability to solve math problems. Don’t let your older children sell themselves short and fall into the trap of thinking they are bad at math.
  1. Know the psychology of learning math. Carrying negative thoughts about math hinders your ability to learn it because fear interferes with concentration, attention and memory. Know what situations trigger your math anxiety and work on replacing those negative thoughts when they first appear with positive ones. Learn to give yourself pep talks and learn techniques that will control your negative, counterproductive thoughts.

Experts who have studied how people learn math and other subjects say that people with math anxiety allow themselves to be upset by a math problem when they would never allow themselves to be upset by a problem in history, philosophy or English, for example.  Refuse to allow yourself to be upset by a math problem. If it is getting to you, just put it aside and come back to it later.

  1. Teach them math terms. Sometimes people confuse their lack of understanding math terms with not being able to solve math problems. Help your older children learn the meaning of math terms and learn to recognize math symbols.
  1. Show them how to use a variety of tools to solve a problem. This is not the nineteenth century. In addition to doing calculations on paper, in many situations, students are allowed to use calculators. So what if your child needs count on her fingers to solve a problem?!? The bottom line is that it never hurts to know more than one way to solve a problem.

Math anxiety is a tricky situation to be in. The best thing is to achieve success in math but anxiety keeps our children from doing that. Try to think positively and assess the situation to make sure your child has all the emotional and educational tools he or she needs.

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why the homeschool movement is growing

Why The Homeschool Movement Is Growing

why the homeschool movement is growing

No Longer on the Fringe: The Homeschooling Population Continues to Grow

To some, homeschooling may seem like a relatively new trend, something that only just started over the last 10 years or so. The reality, however, is far different. Home education has taken place since as far back as 350 BC, with Alexander the Great. In fact, homeschooling was commonplace in North America from colonial times until the 1900s, which marked the movement toward compulsory school attendance. The list of famous homeschoolers from way back when is quite long, with such names as Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, and Booker T. Washington figured prominently. Eventually, however, compulsory attendance laws rendered widespread homeschooling a thing of the past, and it wasn’t until the mid-1960s that we began to see a significant resurgence.

Fast forward to today, and homeschooling, in some form or fashion, is legal in every state (and has been since 1993). Not only is it legal, but the number of families homeschooling their children is growing by leaps and bounds. Since 1999, the homeschool population has grown approximately 75 percent, and all signs point to continued growth going forward.

According to the Why Homeschooling Is Growing infographic:

  • The number of home-educated children ages 5 to 17 grew over 61 percent from 2003 to 2012.
  • The number of parents choosing alternative educational options for primary school is increasing at a rate seven times faster than the number of parents who choose to enroll their kids in traditional school.
  • Since 1993, the homeschooling population has seen increases of about 15 to 20 percent each

The big question is why. What is making homeschooling such a popular choice for today’s families? Of course, like many things, there are no simple answers. The fact of the matter is there are many different types of families homeschooling their children, and those families have many different reasons for making this choice. However, there are some reasons that seem to come up over and over again.

The following are among the top reasons families home educate:

Safety is a top reason parents give for choosing to homeschool.

At home, children are free to concentrate on their studies rather than dealing with such issues as school violence, bullies, access to drugs, exposure to gangs, or negative peer pressure. Some opponents of homeschooling counter this benefit by claiming that homeschooled children are not well socialized.

However, the vast majority of homeschoolers socialize with other children in their neighborhoods and through co-ops, homeschooling groups, outside-the-home classes, and extracurricular activities. In fact, one might argue that some home-educated children develop a high level of social skills because they typically learn to communicate and get along with people of all ages rather than just a very narrow peer group.

Quality of education is another top reason many families choose to homeschool.

Many families choose to homeschool because it allows them to deliver a personalized, quality education. At home, parents can not only teach the basics but also tailor learning to their child’s unique interests. Likewise, home educating allows children to learn at their own pace rather than rushing through certain topics to keep up with an entire class or slowing down when a classroom of students needs more time but they don’t. Parents also mention the availability of quality curriculum materials and resources as reasons to homeschool. Home educators can choose the learning materials and resources that work best for their children rather than using whatever happens to be school district approved. Though many homeschoolers don’t view test scores as the ultimate proof of knowledge and achievement, studies show that homeschoolers score well on standardized testing, often outscoring traditionally educated students, and most have no difficulty getting accepted to college.

Ability to travel is also a draw for many families who opt to home educate.

Flexibility is one of the great things about homeschooling, and for families who travel, it’s a particular draw. With homeschooling, families have the ability to alter learning schedules to account for travel, taking learning on the road with them or even incorporating visits to museums, landmarks and historical sites into their travel plans. Homeschooling is also a viable option for families living abroad. Some families even embrace carschooling as a way to learn on the go.

Reasons for homeschooling run the gamut from safety and religious/moral convictions to educational quality and the ability to delve deeply into certain subjects. There’s one thing all homeschool parents share, however, and that’s an appreciation of the right to choose when and how their children learn.

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What It Costs to Homeschool

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Are you wondering what it costs to homeschool your children? Are you spending too little? Maybe, even, too much? The answer to this, like many things in life is, “It depends”.

The cost of homeschooling can vary greatly with each family. I’ve known some families that spend thousands of dollars each year and I’ve known some that spend less than $500. It all depends on what method you choose to use, what grade level your child is at, how much you feel comfortable doing on your own when it comes to the lesson plans and how resourceful you feel like being.

Naturally, there are the standard school supplies you’ll need. Paper, pencils, glue, tape and all those fun things. You’d have to buy those whether or not you would homeschool, so I’m not considering this a “homeschool expense.”

What you will need, at some point, are teaching materials like textbooks, workbooks, and during the science years, lab materials (not to mention project materials, too).

If you don’t feel confident developing your own curriculum, then you’ll want to invest in one that includes a teacher’s lesson plan, preferably a daily one to make the educational process more convenient for you.

Purchasing lesson plans can be quite expensive.  To help cut costs, find out exactly what you need for your child’s curriculum and check with the local public school to see if they will lend you some of their textbooks.

If not, check your local library for resources to use to teach your child’s lessons.  You can purchase new books for your child to use, but you might also be able to get by with buying used texts from a family whose kids are past that stage of learning.

The Internet is an area with a vast amount of free resources.  Don’t be afraid to search for some daily lesson plans that you can print out – as well as project ideas you can assign to your child to make learning fun and interactive. Don’t forget to check out the free lesson plans and printables right here on Modern Homeschool Family!

Network with other homeschooling parents.  Many have book trades, where they either sell or give curriculums to other families who need them.  You may have to change a few things to make it more personalized for your child, or supplement it with something you find at Barnes and Noble, but used materials can shave hundreds of dollars off of your expenses.

Maximize your field trips. Sometimes lessons can be taught at a museum or zoo by asking the guide questions. If you’re learning about monkeys in your lesson plan, then why not learn about them at the zoo instead of looking at pictures in a book?

Learn through nature. Nature hikes at your local parks can teach a lot about our environment and can make learning more fun for your child. It’s more interesting to get outdoors and walk, run (and even play) while you learn something, and it helps the child retain the information better, too!

Join a homeschooling community or start one of your own. Sometimes a community of like-minded people can get donations for some of the equipment needed, like chalkboards, textbooks and more from the local schools or other organizations.

One of my favorite things to do is to check garage sales, local thrift stores and flea markets for books equipment to use. You may be able to find chalkboards or notebooks for cheap. You may want to look for a sturdy bookcase to hold all of your treasures too!

Don’t be afraid of the cost of homeschooling! Getting creative & resourceful can be fun. Bring the kids into this too. When shopping, or after you’ve bought something, turn it into a consumer math lesson by comparison shopping. If you’ve purchased something used, look up the original price and do the math to calculate the savings. For older kids, you can show them your homeschool budget and let them help you make the purchase decisions to stay in budget.

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What You Need to Homeschool

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What do you need to homeschool? Well, you already know you need books, curriculum, and basics like pens, paper, art supplies, etc. That part is pretty easy to figure out. (for the most part, anyway) The real question isn’t “What do you need to homeschool?” It’s actually, “What else do I need to homeschool?”

What You Need to Homeschool When Using a Formal Curriculum

If you plan to utilize a formal curriculum, then there will be suggested resources and you can customize it from there.Although textbooks will probably form the basis of what you’ll need, I prefer to think of these as a launching pad or starting point.

Some ways you could customize your pre-packaged curriculum might be using additional videos, incorporating an art project, taking a field trip or finding literature that ties together nicely with whatever you are studying.

What You Need to Homeschool When Planning Your Own Curriculum

It becomes trickier when you use a more open-ended approach. Here you may want to get materials as they are needed. I mean, there’s really no point in stocking up on materials about eagles if your child would rather study penguins.

I also liked to keep plenty of textbooks on hand when I planned my own curriculum. We utilized them as a point of reference, though and didn’t just follow the textbook. If we were studying penguins, we’d take a look in one of our text books to see if they had any information about penguins.

Other Homeschool Supply Considerations

Whether you are going the formal curriculum route or creating your own, it’s important to take your child’s learning style into consideration when deciding what else you need to round out your child’s learning experience. For example, for the visual learner watching a video on a topic can be an effective tool, while the auditory learner might get more out of listening to a podcast. Tactile kinesthetic learners may be more interested in making a clay model.

One thing I consider a “must-Have” is a computer or better yet a laptop computer as it’s portable. You can download lots of materials, from unit studies, to worksheets, to software.  The internet can be your very best friend if you’re planning your own curriculum!

Where to Get What You Need to Homeschool

Although you can find a wealth of materials available to be purchased online through educational websites or home schooling sites, don’t feel you need to buy everything.

You may want to make it a rule of thumb to only buy materials that will be used over and over, like reference books and computers. Try to borrow, or get for free, those resources that you may only need for a specific unit or for a short time.

Don’t forget to use your local library as a resource. More and more, libraries are becoming multi-media resource centers. Besides regular books, they often have videos, audio books for use on e-readers, books on tape, and even software programs to lend out.

If there is a homeschooling group in your area, get involved. Often resources can be shared among the group, so the cost can be split. I’ve found that most people are completely willing to lend you something to use. A lot of homeschool groups also hold used book sales, which can save you a TON of money.

The great thing about homeschooling is that you can do things your way–the way that works best for your children. Don’t let check lists get in your way or overwhelm you when it comes to supplies and resources. The longer you homeschooling, the more you’ll get a better feel for what your children will and will not to respond to and identifying the “extras” will get easier as you go along.

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The Benefits of Keeping a Homeschool Portfolio

Benefits-of-Keeping-a-Homeschool-Portfolio-Featured

The phrase “keeping homeschool portfolio” can sound really scary to homeschoolers that follow a traditional curriculum and sound absolutely absurd to someone that leans more towards child-lead learning. I’ve been on both sides of the homeschooling spectrum and found that keeping a homeschool portfolio had a lot of benefits.

A homeschool portfolio is a great way to keep track of how well your child does throughout their homeschooling years. I think it’s fun to look back at everything we’ve accomplished. It’s especially great when you’re feeling frustrated or burnout to take a little walk through previous portfolios.

My kids loved to look at them too. They looked at them like a scrapbook of everything they did. We’d often pull out portfolios from years passed and they would say “Oh, I remember when we did that! That was so much fun!.” Or, “Wow! My handwriting has really gotten better, hasn’t it?” To them, it was something fun (for me too, obviously), but they were also reinforcing what they learned previously!

A homeschool portfolio can also be helpful during the college admissions process. Most colleges ask for transcripts. There are plenty of services to help with that, or you can make your own, but you have to remember what to put on it! Believe me, if you are sitting down to get your child’s transcript together during your senior year, it can be hard to remember everything he or she did during their freshmen year. We were also in the situation when we applied to one college where they wanted to see a sample of the work we did. BAM! Drop 4 huge 3-ring binders down in front of them and they had no more questions.

Keeping a portfolio isn’t too difficult. You need a BIG 3-ring binder for each year (one per child) and all you need to do is keep the important projects in there along with a running list of books read, textbooks or curriculum used and anything else that could be counted for credit later on. If you keep grades, add that to your portfolio too.

My system for keeping the portfolio was to collecting all of the school work, project etc, in an “inbox” for each child and one week, I would sit down, hole punch and file. I was fairly selective in what we kept in the binder.

Another super easy way to keep a homeschool portfolio is to have your child keep his or her own daily planner and journal, adding in the completed assignments to the binder. (You can read more about this system and grab your free homeschool planner worksheet for kids right here.)

The benefits of keeping a homeschool portfolio far outweigh the time investment (and, in reality, it doesn’t take that long).

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resolutions for homeschoolers

Easy Resolutions for Homeschoolers

Without fail, every new year, I found myself making the most admirable of resolutions about my homeschool. I had BIG plans. I was going to be SUPER organized, REALLY creative and my kids were going to start a parade chanting “Mom is the best mom! Mom is the best mom!”

Unfortunately, my resolutions were either a little too ambitious, didn’t fit our lifestyle, my children’s personalities or were just plain unrealistic. Over the years I learned that small changes were just as good as small changes. I learned to relax more, stress less and enjoy the time with my kids.

Remember, homeschooling is a journey! I’m still hoping for the parade but it might have to wait until I have grandkids. Then I can bribe them with candy.

Here are some resolutions for you to consider brought to you by Educents*.

Disclosure: I am an Educents affiliate and this post contains affiliate links.

Easy Resolutions for Homeschoolers

Easy Resolutions for your child's education

Wouldn’t it be great for your kids to learn to play a musical instrument, speak a new language, or pick up some computer skills? Educents has the tools to help your kiddos achieve GREATNESS in 2016!

Resolution #1: Learn a new language

Children learning a new language

Children learning a new language will spark interest in geography and culture!

Maybe you don’t speak a second language, but your kids still can using this online language program. With this award-winning package, there’s no need to memorize lists of words or listen to boring adult conversations. Kids learn by watching kids like them in real-life, humorous situations!

Spanish Course – Buy 1 Get 1 Free


 

Resolution #2: Create healthy habits

Yoga promotes healthy habits in a fun and active way. Pop in this Yoga DVD and reap benefits like balance, focus, flexibility, self-control, improved posture, and so many more healthy habits.

Practice yoga with your child inside or outside!

Practice yoga with your child inside or outside!

Yoga DVD is Fun for Kids and Parents

The Family Fitness program includes hundreds of physical education lessons for ages 5 to 18. The 1-year program includes warm ups, cool downs, outdoor exercises, and nutritional lessons. The lessons will guide you and your family through a 20-40 minute physical education session. You can do as much or little as you like depending on how much time you have.

Ready-to-go Fitness Lessons for your Entire Family


 

Resolution #3: Keep the house clean

Enough said.

Educents Blog

“I cannot imagine a more well spent $20! I am not even kidding–my house looks stellar and my kids have that feeling of accomplishment, knowing they’ve worked hard and done an amazing job. I’ve tried chore charts and reward systems but this is by far the easiest and the most all-encompassing.” – Celena, The Traveling Sisterhood

$20 Cleaning System That Actually Works


Resolution #4: Be more creative

Kids gotta have time to be creative. With all the social stresses and studying, leave room for FUN. Whether it be learn a new skill, journaling, or start playing an instrument – encourage creativity!

Help your kiddo learn the basic skills of photography this year!

Help your kiddo learn the basic skills of photography this year!

Downloadble Photography Lessons for Kids

This has probably been included in ONE of your New Year’s Resolution lists: Learn to play piano. Well, time to live vicariously through your children! Maybe your child will learn, and then turn around and teach you piano! This kit has everything you need to get started tickling those ivories.

The Piano Starter Pack can teach your child how to play!

Does your little one want to learn how to play a musical instrument this year?

Does your little one want to learn how to play a musical instrument this year?

Playing the violin is not only a way for children to be creative, but it also develops motor skills, sharpens memory, teaches perseverance and increases focus.

Violin Starter Kit has everything you need to get started.


Resolution #5: Get hands-on

Lessons are more fun when you get your hands a little dirty. Take reading lessons outside, do a weekly science experiment, or try these STEM kits that arrive to you once a month (totally ready to go!!).

STEM Project Boxes 3 Month Subscription

Add science fun to your weekend projects! These science experiments are delivered to your door and ready to go. Kids will learn about magnets, fungus, space, volcanos, and more!

take science lessons outside

Take lessons outside with science experiments!

Save 50% on Magic School Bus Science Kits

 


Resolution #6: Learn new tech skills

Your kids might already spend a lot of time in front of a screen, but is that screen time educational? Use those hours to learn new tech skills! If your kiddo is already a Minecrafter, consider using this program to build skills and add layers to the game!

Educents Blog (1)

Kids Ages 8+ Can Learn to Code Using Minecraft

 

What are your resolutions this year? Have your children set resolutions for themselves? Share in the comments!!

how to start homeschooling(1)

How to Start Homeschooling in the Middle of the School Year

how to start homeschooling(1)

As many traditional schools are approaching the end of the first semester, there are countless parents considering whether or not public or private school is working for their children. Maybe they are struggling with the curriculum or maybe it’s bullying or maybe you just want to spend more time with your children and want a more joyful learning experience.

Regardless of your reasons for considering homeschooling in the middle of the year, know that you are not alone and that, yes, you can do this!

You may think that you can’t start homeschooling in the middle of the school year but here’s the beautiful truth – you can choose to homeschool anytime!

Here’s all you need to do:

How to Starting Homeschooling In the Middle of the School Year

1. Pull your child out of school.

This is the first step. Before you actually do this though, talk to your child about what will be happening. Don’t just “never return” without notice to your children. Give them a chance to have some closure and say goodbye. Pick your child up from school knowing that they will not return the next day. Some people do this on a Friday, some do it after a long school holiday and some people do it after a negative event.

After you pull your child from school you need to know what to do next to avoid truancy charges and legally homeschool. Nearly every state requires you to file a letter of intent to homeschool. Some states require a detailed curriculum be submitted. Some states require nothing. The laws are not hard to find and carry out. Ideally you would have been planning this for months, you would have talked to other parents to see how they carry out the laws and you would be ready to go. Since this isn’t an ideal situation you will have to backtrack a little bit.

Read your state laws and the practical application of those laws. A reliable place to find up-to-date laws is online at A to Z Home’s Cool website (http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/directory/Legalities.htm). If you search for your state Department of Education online you can find the laws in their entirety.

If your state requires a curriculum or scope & sequence to be filed, you can find that online too. Worldbook Online (http://www.worldbook.com) features a Typical Course of Study which has been adopted by school systems nationwide. Start there and fill in the holes as you see necessary, changing the list to meet your needs. If necessary you can pick up books or workbooks for each subject very inexpensively at any bookstore, department store, office supply store or teaching store.

2. Decompress

Your child will need time to adjust to not going to school and you will need time to adjust to having your child home all day (or find alternate care & devise a schedule if you are working). A general rule of thumb is to allow your child 1 month of “off” time for every year they spent in school. If you are worried about required testing or evaluations, don’t worry. Most states require these annually and you have a whole year to squeeze in any lessons needed. You have 365 days to do what the school has 180 days to do, remember that and relax.

3. Read up and ask questions

Read everything practical. Try to stay away from any “this is how we do it”, “this is how we spend our days” or “this is how my child got into Harvard at 14” themed books. Yes, these people do exist but most likely it’s not your family. These stories will only create a fantasy of impossible standards. No, your child will not joyfully do his or her lessons every day. Sometimes your child will not want to wake up early for a field trip. Sometimes the lesson you think sounds so fun will bore your child to tears. You will have plenty of time to read (and maybe even write!) the “day in the life of a perfect family” books later.

4. Remember your child.

Learn from your child. Learn what makes them tick, discover their passions and determine their learning style. The only way to do this is to quietly observe and engage in real conversations that have nothing to do with school. Remember that your child has been trained by the school to undervalue family life, so engaging in conversation may take some effort on your part, but keep trying and it will happen.

5. Curriculum.

Now is the time to decide if you want to use pre-packaged curriculum, design your own from many sources or unschool. These are not cut and dry options, merely a few of the many stops on the homeschool continuum. Do an internet search for “types of homeschooling” or “homeschool curriculum” and you will find more information than any person can possibly digest, so take it slow and with a grain of salt.

6. Have fun.

Be willing to change. Be ok with trashing what doesn’t work, even if it was expensive. Be confident. Do not live by another’s standards.

In the end it doesn’t matter why you decided to homeschool, only that you did. Your children won’t be perfect, sibling rivalry won’t stop and admission into the Ivy League is iffy. You can relax, however, in knowing that the sacrifices you all have made were worth the outcome, a loved and well-educated child.

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