When you just really want to start homeschooling

When you just really want to start homeschooling
Written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera

The first time I tried to read Robin Hood to my kids, they were 1 and 4.

A relative had given us a set of beautiful, bound classics from the 50s – books her own children read, and I was determined to share them all with my kids.

Of course, I thought, I should definitely start as soon as possible. And so we began with Robin Hood one early September.

We (well, I) were very into Waldorf Education then, and so I decided to incorporate Robin Hood right after Circle Time – right after we blew out our Circle Time Candle, which I always placed on the floor, because I saw someone do that once.

So to recap, I was preparing to read a one-pound, 1950s-era version of Robin Hood to my two children – one a baby, still fitfully nursing in my lap, and the other a precocious boy who just really wanted to climb the furniture.

And I had a lit candle, on my rug.

Just to recap.

I put my candles on non-flammable surfaces now.

I put my candles on non-flammable surfaces now.

Looking back, I had fallen into a familiar trap, that of wanting to Make Homeschool Real with my tiny people.

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3 tips for finding good books fast

3 Tips For Finding Good Books
Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

A few months ago I met with some friends for a Let’s All Talk About Parenting Night.

A “parenting mastermind group,” if you will. Or “an excuse to troubleshoot over tall glasses of lemonade.” Either way.

We met in the evening, so we had to figure out what to do about food. Should we assign dishes? Sign up to bring stuff? This was actually more effort than anyone wanted to spend, so we decided to all just bring something. Anything.

We ended up with the aforementioned lemonade, but also wine and cheese and fruit and crackers, veggies and hummus, a couple of salads, a pasta dish, and something chocolate.

Everyone brought their own best thing. We put all our offerings together, and we had a feast.

I think life is like that, too. I have something to offer, you have something to offer.

Our gifts may be wholly unrelated to salad and chocolate, but we’re each holding something we can share with our families and with our world.
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Homeschooling to my child’s strengths

Homeschooling to my child's strengths
Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.

Too often, I spend a ton of time, energy and effort focused on what my children can’t do.

I am ashamed to admit it, but it’s true.

Will he ever really learn to read fluently?

Why is it so hard to memorize the times tables when he can complete complex math problems in his head?

When do I need to employ yet another tutor or educational therapist to help “fix” all the things my children cannot yet do?

Before I had my boys, I worked in corporate training and development. As part of my work, I was invited to attend a session at Gallup, as they introduced the concept of “Strengths Based Training.” It was based on the book, StrengthFinders, and the basic premise was this:

Managing and teaching to an individual’s strengths, exponentially increases productivity and learner satisfaction.

Moreover, the research showed that a learner, when allowed to progress in a ‘strengths based’ fashion, increased their overall capabilities, even in the areas that are weaknesses.

The weak areas actually improve significantly, when a strengths-based approach is taken, than when remediation and focus is centered on poor performing topics.

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How my 6-year-old taught me to love cooking

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Written by Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley of My Little Poppies.

I used to hate cooking.

I made sure my family had access to healthy foods and tried my best to prepare balanced meals..but I didn’t enjoy it.

wanted to, but I didn’t.

Over the years, I’ve tried to force it and I’ve tried to fake it, but it just never clicked. There was always something else I’d rather be doing.

My quest to love cooking reached an all-time high when we first stumbled into homeschooling, because it was then that I discovered the homesteaders.

You know the ones. Somehow, these amazing women are able to educate a passel of children and bake fresh bread and hang laundry on the line and care for chickens and prepare from-scratch meals that make your belly rumble… not to mention the quilts, jams, candles, and soaps.

And their children get to watch and learn from it all.

There is a huge part of me that wants to be able to do that, to live out my girlhood Laura Ingalls dreams.

But the reality is, I can’t figure out the balance piece of it.

So maybe, if we’re being honest here, I just want an amazing homesteader to adopt me.

(Because you can’t be a homesteader if you don’t enjoy cooking.) 

This realization caused me to, once again, hang up my wannabe-homesteader apron and stick with what I know. Instead of acting like the Ingalls family, we read about the Ingalls family.

And then something amazing happened.

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3 reasons your read-aloud book is taking too long

3 Reasons Your Read-Aloud Book is Taking Too LongWritten by Sarah Mackenzie of Read-Aloud Revival

Sometimes I’m discouraged at how few books our family can enjoy reading aloud over a school year. I pretty much always wish I could read more with my kids. I know it’s good for them. I know it’s good for me. I know it’s one of the most powerful ways to connect with my children and to bond them to one another.

I know that hearing accurate, beautiful, and sophisticated language patterns is the best way to help my children learn to read, to think, and to write.

But still. I struggle.

Can you relate? Maybe it’s taking you forever to get through your current read-aloud. Maybe you’re struggling to drum up the oomph to make reading aloud a habit. Or maybe you’re just having a hard time getting back into the groove of reading aloud after a bit of a hiatus.

I’ve been in all of those situations, and trust me- I can relate. I want to read aloud, I even LIKE reading aloud, so why the heck do I ever struggle with reading aloud?

And why do you?
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