About Kara

Kara is a mother of four and has been the editor of the parenting blog Simple Kids since 2010. She writes about everything else, including knitting, creative writing, and her favorite worthwhile reads and lovely things at her personal blog K. Elizabeth Fleck.

Our homeschool summer session: a bridge to next year

simplekidsnetEasterpicmo
Written by Kara Fleck

We are year-round homeschoolers, but when it’s summertime I like to move at a slower pace, keeping things light compared to the rest of the year.

In May and August we take the entire month off and I honestly don’t care if they never crack open a book.

Well, okay, I do care, but I’m not going to push it. This is their time off as much as mine and they can fill those days, or not, as they wish.

However, June and July are our summer session and we’ll fall back into our homeschool rhythm, although admittedly at a slower, more “the living is easy” kind of pace.

What does this look like? And what are our summer learning plans for this year?

[Read more…]

My 3 step process for homeschool planning

KaraFleckPlanningSHpicmo
Written by Kara Fleck

If the past ten years of homeschooling have taught me anything, it’s that our years go much smoother when I have a plan.

Whether it is a rough outline or a detailed map, I value having a guide to our year – something more meaningful to me as the kids are growing up, the lessons become more advanced, and this mama (and her brain) are getting older.

I’m not a naturally organized person, but I feel planning is a good complement to the rather relaxed and flexible way we approach most of the living and learning in our home. Coffee and my wits will only get me so far, but a plan can help to clarify our daily goals and keep this homeschool machine running smoothly.

So, what does my process look like? It might not be pretty, but here is my real, tried, and true method for homeschool planning:
[Read more…]

Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with a 4-, 7-, 9- & 14-year-old )

KaraFleckDITL2016_table picmo
Written by Kara Fleck

got a kick recently out of looking back at our day in the life post from a few years ago. Some things are the same, but so much is different. For one, my kids are all older and for another my husband’s sister, a special needs adult, lives with us now.

I almost don’t recognize those days from three years ago.

[Read more…]

Kara’s day in the life (with an 18 month, 4, 6, and 11 year old)

DayLifeKara

Hi there! My name is Kara Fleck and I’m the editor of Simple Kids. Jamie invited me to share with you our day – what homeschooling looks like for the fifth grader, first grader, preschooler, and a toddler and for me, their work-from-home mom.

There are quite a few different “fruits” in our homeschool smoothie blend, but our main influences are Waldorf and Charlotte Mason, though we make room for some technology and other learning styles, too.

5:30 am – a peaceful beginning

I’m a morning person and I’m awake at 5:30. I get dressed and then come downstairs and shuffle around the house. I let the dog out, make myself a mug of coffee, and start getting the house ready for the day. I sit down to my desk and answer emails, edit blog posts, and do a bit of writing.  I enjoy this quiet time.

Kara_morning

Around 6:30 my oldest, Jillian, wakes up and comes downstairs where she grabs a blanket and curls up on the sofa. She plays Words with Friends to give her some spelling and vocabulary practice.  She currently has games going with me, her dad, and her Grandma.  We chat a bit but mostly she is quiet and lets me work undisturbed.

My husband brings the toddler, Amelia, down to me around 7:20. Max and Lucy, my first grader and preschooler, come downstairs soon after. Max has woken up in a sour mood and chooses to sit by himself in the living room for a while and Lucy is still very, very tired.  But, otherwise, the day has gotten off to a smooth start.
[Read more…]

Weather Activities for Kids: Rain or Shine

Written by Simple Kids editor Kara Fleck

At this time of year, the weather seems to change almost daily. This fluctuation makes weather watching especially fun. Every day there is something new to discover!

Observing the Weather

As long as the conditions are safe to be outside, the kids and I try to be outdoors at least once a day. Sun, rain, or snow, our main method of weather observation is getting out there and experiencing it!

While we’re outside, I encourage the kids to think about what we are experiencing with our senses.  We make a note of the temperature and I like to give them some gentle prompting to make observations on their own.  This year my third grader is learning to read a barometer as well.

Some Thoughtful Questions to Ask:

  • What does it LOOK like outside?
  • What does the air FEEL like on your skin?
  • What do we HEAR?
  • What does it SMELL like outside?
  • What should we WEAR on a day like today?

Keeping Track of Your Observations

There are many different options for a homeschooling family wanting to record their weather observations. Today I’m sharing with you two fun methods that our family has used.

[Read more…]