Our homeschool summer session: a bridge to next year

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?

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Helping your kids fall in love with Shakespeare…even if you’ve never read him yourself

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Written by Sarah Mackenzie of Read-Aloud Revival

Do you do this too?

Do you overcomplicate your homeschooling life? I’m not really sure why I do it. Maybe it’s because I feel like I have so much on the line- I don’t want to mess up my children’s education!

Or maybe it’s because in the heat of the moment- when a child is melting down over a math lesson, the toddlers are all whining for a snack, and the dishwasher starts to overflow, it all does feel rather … complicated.

So I make color-coded homeschooling plans (that never actually pan out in real life) …

… I spend way too much time organizing and rearranging our schoolroom (when most of our day could be happily tackled from the couch or dining room table) …

… and I develop a huge list of books and ideas, because my son mentioned to me (in passing) that he’d like to learn more about the Civil War.

Next thing you know, I’ve got fourteen internet browser tabs open and I’m filling up my library hold queue like a madwoman with Civil War books from every library branch in town.

Slow the train, sister.

In general, homeschooling doesn’t need to be as complicated as I make it out to be.

In large portion, homeschooling well is about showing up each day, showering my kids with love and attention, and helping them take the next step as they learn and encounter new skills and ideas.

One of those areas a lot of us overcomplicate is introducing our kids to Shakespeare.

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Raising our kids one book at a time

Raising our kids one book at a time
Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool

Twenty years from now when my kids are grown, married, perhaps with children of their own…nothing would thrill me more than if they looked back on their childhood through the lens of the books we read together.

Wouldn’t that be cool?

They might remember these distinct “book stages” of their lives:

But why? What’s the point of all this reading that fills our days?

It’s true that creating a story-centered family culture offers plenty of benefits to children: time to bond as a family and huge academic advantages among them. But those aren’t the most important reasons to me.

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The real reason I’m attempting to raise my kids one book at a time is this:

I hope these titles root deep in my children’s souls, building their characters page by page, strengthening them for when hard times inevitably come, and leading them to grow up looking not just for a career but a calling.

You see, I believe my kids, and yours, are meant to impact, change, and heal this hurting world of ours. That’s why I’ve made it a priority to not just read, but to read our way around the world.

This travel plan fits every budget. 😉 And now you can come along!

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Reading about other cultures, countries, and those who live in them kindles our kids’ sense of adventure, grows their compassion, and gently conveys this important lesson:

This world isn’t all about me, but I can be all about helping this world.”

And that knowledge and awareness will serve our children whether they become truck drivers or surgeons, missionaries or homeschooling moms. Each and every one of them world-changers in their unique spheres of influence, whatever it might turn out to be.

It’s in honor of all your amazing kiddos (& mine) that I’ve spent the past five years researching and writing Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time.

I am all excitement and nervous butterflies, pinching myself in disbelief after ALL.THIS.TIME, to give you a taste of it today!
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Get your kids hooked on Shakespeare with 5 easy steps

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Get your kids hooked on Shakespeare with 5 easy steps
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

This semester the kids and I have been diving deep into this popular history series, and recently I read aloud to them the Greek myth of the Minotaur.

Hearing the description of this half human/half beast, my Elijah (age 10) piped up with an eager hand raised and an observation:

“That reminds me of Caliban.”

Caliban, as in another beastly/human character from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which we studied last spring. And I loved that this literary allusion came from my 10-year-old son, who has developmental delays and hasn’t yet crossed the threshold to independent reading.

Every child can have a positive relationship with Shakespeare, if the master playwright is introduced well.
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How to get your kids started with electronics

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Little Bits and contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

How to get your kids started with electronics
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Playing with electronics has been a popular pastime in our family for about three years now.

It all started when my in-laws gave Jonathan a snap circuit set for his 8th birthday. He subsequently spent many happy hours consumed in thought, tongue sticking slightly out in concentration, as he experimented with different circuit combinations.

His enthusiasm spread to my daughter Trishna, who began to ask for a circuit set of her own the following year. At age twelve, she still plays with these on an almost-daily basis. She even took them on our trip to England earlier this summer, used them to build an AM radio and began listening to the BBC.

All of the above explains why I jumped at the chance for our family to review a new style of electronics set created by littleBits Electronics.

The main difference between these and snap circuits is that they are much more versatile, allowing more in-depth–and even practical–inventions to come from a child’s (or adult’s!) imagination.

I read a quote from a parent who referred to littleBits as “the electronics equivalent of Lego,” and that’s a brilliant way to describe these magnetic building blocks. 
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