The Case for Memorization

As a young girl I was a devoted fan of Anne of Green Gables. I found Anne’s imagination enchanting, of course, but I also admired how she could recite poetry and quote stories at her whim. It seemed that whatever she played at – fairies in the woods or the Lady of Shallot upon the river – she could recall the perfect, enduring words to make her play all the sweeter.

I wanted to be like Anne – to hold within me delicious, impassioned words.

Unfortunately, by the time I reached school age it had fallen out of fashion to require, or even encourage, children to memorize anything beyond letter sounds, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the multiplication tables.

I think this is a shame really, and a glaring hole in my education. Sure, I could have taken it upon myself to commit great works to memory, but without someone to guide and inspire such a pursuit, memorizing can seem a daunting task to a child.

I hope to be that guide for my boys – that when they step out into the world they will have a host of powerful, meaningful words at their disposal.

If you have not yet made memorization a part of your homeschool experience, here are six good reasons to consider joining us. [Read more...]

How to Homeschool with a Baby or Toddler (& Enjoy It!)

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

A note from Jamie: I’m on vacation for a few weeks. Picture me, chasing three children through beach waves as we happily go away while others are heading back to school. The advantages of homeschooling, yes?! With the school year starting up again, it seems like a perfect time to replay this post. It was first published on March 8, 2010. Enjoy!

When I was first considering homeschooling, it overwhelmed me to think of teaching multiple children. How do you orchestrate the day so that everyone gets enough attention?

And what if you find yourself blurry eyed from lack of sleep because of a sweet newborn? Or in the races as you daily chase a never-stay-put toddler?

Is it possible to successfully homeschool with little ones underfoot?
[Read more...]

How to Take Your Own School Photos

Written by contributor Heidi Scovel of Mt. Hope Chronicles

The yearly, right-of-passage school photos were something I couldn’t decide whether to love or hate as a child. I remember the anticipation of being handed the envelope with my pictures, praying they had turned out well. And the dread of the teacher showing everyone (yes, that happened) when they hadn’t.

Haven’t we all looked back at some of our own school photos and cringed, whether it was the outrageous perm, the out-of-style glasses, or the braces? Or maybe it was the one shot we had at a decent facial expression.

But now that I am (much, much) older, I look at those pictures with a certain fondness. The regularity with which they occurred made it easy to see how much I changed and grew from year to year.

It can be easy as homeschooling families to set aside some of the institutional school traditions, or reject the cookie-cutter, conveyor-belt photography. We don’t need to throw out the baby with the bath water, however. Our children grow and change so quickly, that if we don’t take the time to capture them in a picture (quirks and all), those moments will be gone forever.

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. ~Dorothy Lange

Making a tradition of back to school photos is a great way to ensure that you and your children will possess consistent reminders of who they were and who they became.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

[Read more...]

Homeschooling and Socialization: How to Answer the Socialization Question

We’ve all been there.

A well-meaning friend, relative or neighbor nods, smiles–then here it comes: “Homeschooling sounds great, but what about socialization?”

In my article, The Socialization Question, I dive deeply into the subject, but for now, I want to give you some  practical advice on how I’ve learned to answer the inevitable questions.

1. Find the common ground.

“I’m concerned about it too because socialization is teaching kids how to function well in society.”

2. List the characteristics of a well-socialized person.

[Read more...]

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