About Anne Bogel

Anne is a certified bookworm and homeschooling mom to 4 crazy kids. She loves Jane Austen, strong coffee, the social graces and social media. You can find her blogging at Modern Mrs Darcy.

Let your kids tackle some meaningful work

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Written by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy.

Kids love to do real, meaningful work. The kind with actual value, risks, and consequences. Too often, they don’t get to — because as parents, we don’t let them.

Obviously not every kid is begging to make dinner, nor is every parent saying no. But both are happening, frequently, and it’s really too bad, because both kids and parents have so much to gain by letting the kids take control of a few “serious” tasks.

Giving up that control comes easier for some parents than others.

For example, I’m an INFP (that’s a Myers-Briggs personality type, for those of you who aren’t total personality geeks like me). That causes me plenty of problems (I tend to be permissive, I’m terrible at creating routines for my kids, etc.) but it also means it’s easy for me to let my kids take the reins.

If you have a hard time giving up control, recognize there’s a good reason why it doesn’t come naturally—then take a deep breath and do it anyway.

Kids have so much to gain from taking on real, meaningful tasks. They want to be able to admire their efforts, they want to feel the pride of accomplishment, and they want to experience the feeling of a job well done.

As a bonus: kids love learning when they’re working on their own self-directed projects.

All those skills that are abstract in the classroom—handwriting, fractions, biology—spring to life when a child needs that information to address a party invitation, calculate the cost of goods for a strawberry tart, or decide how often to water the garden. It’s the best kind of education.

Here are four ideas for practical, useful, and fun projects that kids can handle. Intervene as necessary—but not until your kids ask you to, or until it’s clear they need a grown-up’s help.  [Read more…]

Simple ways to create a content-rich environment this summer (and why it matters)

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Written by contributor Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy

At my house, we’ve decided to take a “summer break” this year—or at least that’s what we’re telling our kids. When they’re off their regular school schedule (you know, the one where they start their school days with math at 9:00 a.m.), it feels like summer vacation.

Here’s what they don’t know: my husband and I are very intentional about providing great content so they are learning all the time—even while they’re on “break.”

We stock our home with what they need to keep learning all summer long. School may technically be out of session, but that’s no reason to put their education on hold.

Here are our favorite tips and tricks for building a content-rich environment. [Read more…]

The important influence of the not-parents.

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Written by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy.

Last week, our 10-year-old surprised us at dinner when she said, “I memorized something. Want to hear it?”

And then she recited The Charge of the Light Brigade, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in its entirety, without missing a word.

I was floored.

Now I know many of you study poetry in depth with your young students, and rely heavily on memorization for your homeschool curricula. At 6 stanzas, 260 words, it’s not completely daunting. But it’s not something we do in our homeschool. At least not right now.

So of course I wanted to know: how, and why, Sarah had memorized that poem. [Read more…]

7 ways audiobooks enrich our homeschool experience (while preserving my voice & sanity)

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Written by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy.

I love to read, and so far (knock on wood) we seem to be raising kids who love to read as well. Despite my love of reading actual paper books for myself, to my kids, and with my kids, over the past few years I’ve come to rely heavily on audiobooks in our homeschool.

We have four kids at four different grade levels, and using audiobooks helps preserve my voice (especially during spring allergy season) and my sanity (all the year round) when this introvert needs a break from the noise noise noise noise.

Aside from the obvious convenience factor of audiobooks, they bring a richness and depth to our literary experience that we couldn’t get any other way. [Read more…]

Anne’s homeschool day in the life (with a 4-, 7-, 9- and 11-year-old)

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Written by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy.

None of our days look the same, but they all share a similar rhythm.

At 6:00 a.m., I’m usually the only one awake. (I’m thankful to finally be in a season where I’m up before my kids: it wasn’t always like that!) The first thing I do is head to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee.

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I enjoy the quiet time and get an hour of writing in, then head out the door for a quick run.

The kids are just waking up when I get back. I hit the shower while Will gets breakfast started.

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After we say goodbye to Will, we finish getting ready, and then dive in to our schoolwork.

We call our brand of home education classical unschooling. Our curriculum is classical, but we’re pretty free-wheeling in our implementation. We also leave lots of room for self-directed learning and independent projects.

[Read more…]