Plans for “summer school” at home

plans for summer school at homeWritten by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

This week our family completed our eleventh year of homeschooling. Really? How did that happen?! The time has passed so quickly. It seems like just yesterday my son was doing beginning reading and now this week he turns sixteen and reads his Latin book for fun!

Going into our twelfth year, I will have all six of my children in formal schooling as my baby enters kindergarten and her eldest brother eleventh grade. It’s pretty stunning to reflect over that time. Through the years I’ve encountered different learning styles, different temperaments, and different school schedules.

For many years we did school year-round because that worked best for us. My students were all young, and most of their friends did the same thing.

In this current season of life, it’s worked out that we prefer a true summer break. My kids love the more relaxed schedule and the opportunity to play with the neighbor kids. I love having fewer items on my to do list and the chance to focus on projects.
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Resources for interest-led learning

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

A note from Jamie: Though I chose not to do a full curriculum fair this year, there are plenty of curriculum posts in the archives for those interested in scrolling through them as you make plans for the upcoming year. You can find them here–enjoy!

Educational Philosophies I pull from: Leadership Education, Waldorf, Unschooling

The first time I looked at the instructor’s guide of a popular curriculum, it made my head spin.

You mean we have to do all this? And in this order? And what if we need to miss a day or if the kids want to read more than the required number of pages? What if those comprehension questions are just downright boring?

Thankfully, I’ve come a long way since then. Now I understand that I can use resources in a way that fits our family, without feeling like a resource is using me.

Here are a few of the main resources we use often in our home and how I make them work for us.
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The transformative power of historical fiction

historical fiction recommendations for ages 9-18 simplehomeschool
The following is a guest post written by Caroline Starr Rose of Caroline by line and the verse novel May B.

What’s the point of historical fiction? Publisher’s Weekly recently ran an interview with Newbery and Newbery-Honor medalist Karen Cushman, one of children’s literature’s most celebrated authors. Here’s what she had to say:

“I think for readers historical fiction is important because it helps them to see beyond the boundaries of their own experience. It helps them to stretch and to see what life is like for others. This helps illustrate both how we are the same and how we are different, and can give readers more empathy.”

As a social studies teacher turned children’s author, nothing fires me up as a much as a well-crafted historical novel. Nothing has made history more personal than the books I’ve treasured in childhood and beyond.

Here are some historical titles worth celebrating, worth sharing, worth reading with the young people in your lives.
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Free educational resources you might not have heard of

free educational resources ~SimpleHomeschool.net

Once upon a time I believed that homeschooling, done well, required a significant financial investment. Private schools and the amount spent by the government on each public school student certainly suggest that education comes at a high price.

After a couple of years, however, I began to notice that my kids needed less and less in order to learn. A library card, favorite book titles purchased for our home collection, a stack of blank paper, and a few well-chosen resources here and there have done the job quite nicely thus far.

Have you made the same discovery? If you’re interested in saving your pennies while still helping those little minds grow, here are a few free and inexpensive educational resources you might not have heard of.
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Becoming brave writers: A review of The Writer’s Jungle

Becoming brave writers: A review of The Writer's Jungle
Written by contributor Lora Lynn Fanning of Vitafamiliae

Last semester, I determined my third grade twins should do a writing project. I requested a paragraph from each about their history studies. Simple, right?

A week later, we were all in tears and only after much angst did they eke out their boring four sentence paragraphs. I was baffled. I’m a writer. I love to edit. They like to write. Why was this so painful???

I spent my Christmas vacation evaluating our writing program. Or lack thereof. Apparently, my kids weren’t going to learn to write or to love writing just by living with their blogging mama. I needed something else.

I stumbled across the Brave Writer website and the correlating book The Writer’s Jungle by Julie Bogart. By the time I finished it, my copy of the book looked like this:

junglenotes

In The Writer’s Jungle, I found the tools to make writing pain-free:
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