Homeschool mid-year: reflecting on what’s working

Written by contributor Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

We just finished up school for the year. No, not the school year. We finished for the calendar year. We’re taking the whole month of December off. We did that once before and it didn’t go so well – the kids got very restless.

We’re trying it again this year, though, as part of our year ’round school schedule – six weeks on, one week off with a longer break during the summer and at Christmas. I do plan to make some changes this time, versus the last time we took a long Christmas break.

For one thing, there are several homemade Christmas projects I’d like to try this year and all of the kids are old enough to help. They may not all want to {*cough* the boy *cough*}, but I think that two of them will. I’d also like to make time for some service projects – cooking some meals for others or maybe serving at the soup kitchen.

As we plan for a more productive Christmas break, I can’t help reflecting on how the first half of the school year has gone. Honestly, it’s been one of our best years in a long time. I really think a big part of the reason is the new curriculum that we started using this time last year, but there’s more to it than that.
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Homeschooling podcast on Bloomberg Radio

Recently I had the privilege to join in with two other homeschooling mothers on a call with Bloomberg radio host Jane Williams.

I’d love to invite you to download and take a listen!

Here’s a description:

Education Week reporter Sarah D. Sparks discusses the current state and impact of homeschooling two million students in the United States.

Homeschooling mothers, former teacher Holly Longino, author Jamie Martin, and “babble” blogger and designer Rachel Faucett, discuss why and how they homeschool their children. They talk with Jane Williams on Bloomberg Radio’s “Bloomberg EDU.”

Head here to download. (Look for the call from November 30th, called Education Week’s Sparks, Roundtable on Homeschooling). You’ll also see the link to download via iTunes.

I hope you enjoy it!

The 10 Best Educational Games to Add to Your Christmas List

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

Have you finished your holiday shopping? When looking for gifts for my three little ones, I always try to ensure that what we buy is not only a gift, but is also something that fits with our family culture and educational goals.

Games are therefore a perfect choice–they’re fun, kids love them, and they make for around-the-clock learning as well. I’m always on the lookout for new game recommendations for my 8-, 7-, and 6-year-olds.

Our family has had an Amazon prime membership for years, which means we get free two day shipping year-round (on top of other benefits like instant videos). We use it often for books, grocery items in bulk, and more.

There’s still plenty of time to order before Christmas, and if you need some ideas–here are my top picks this holiday season for games your children will love.
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Weekend links: Home for the holidays winners & coupon codes

Our annual Home for the Holidays week is always a busy one for me as an editor, but the online bustle is fun, too.

I have two favorite parts: introducing you to quality companies you may want to support during your holiday shopping, and of course, choosing the winners!

If you see your name on the winner list below, look for an email from me later today. Reply quickly and our vendors will get your prize to you before the holidays! Congratulations!

Read on to see if you’re one of the three winners from this channel.
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