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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Curricula bliss: 12 products we couldn’t live (or learn) without

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Curricula bliss 12 products we couldn't live (or learn) without
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

Our family spent the first part of September on vacation–something we’ve made a tradition of the past few years. When most people head back to the grind of school and work routines, I love that we can celebrate our homeschooling freedom on an empty beach together!

Now that we’ve settled in back at home, the leaves are changing color around their fringes. Something about autumn calls us to new beginnings, to crack open dusty books, clear off shelves, and get to work once more.

Instead of sharing with you a curriculum plan for our year, I thought I’d share our curricula bliss. In all honesty, I don’t do much traditional homeschool planning–I refuse to map out a game plan for a whole year because I always reserve the right to change my mind along the way.

But I have come up with some overarching guidelines and goals–and right now these twelve products/programs have us pointed in the right direction.

We inspire, not require when it comes to academics–so the resources below are not essential elements in my kids’ education, but ones available for them to choose from.

I’ve marked the resources that we do together as a group with an (*) symbol. Those without an asterisk the kids can choose (or not)–many of these I gathered as a result of their homeschool compasses.

I call them curricula bliss because, well, for the most part, they make us happy!
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10 inspiring book titles that model love of learning

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10 inspiring book titles that model love of learning
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

We all want our kids to fall in love with learning, don’t we?

And we can always use a little help as we press toward that goal. Instead of constantly telling our kids how important learning is, let’s show them–through our own example, of course, but also through the books we bring into our home.

After curling up with Abe Lincoln, Booker T. Washington, Ben Carson, and the other protagonists featured here, we just may find our kids appreciating their education–and eager to learn more–than they were before.

The following ten titles feature main characters who discover just how important learning is, and who grow to love the doors it opens for them.
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Building your own curriculum under strict guidelines

davemainpicmo

Written by Dave Pommier of Bloke School.

There are quite stringent guidelines about how to build a homeschool curriculum where I live.

In New South Wales, Australia, everyone needs to be registered and assessed through BOSTES (Board Of Studies, Training and Educational Standards). They provide the framework a curriculum has to fit within. They follow this up with an annual meeting by an assessor to check the work being done.

This is our second year of homeschooling. A large part of the reasons behind why we chose to homeschool was that it allowed for individualised teaching.

Even working within the guidelines, there is still a good deal more flexibility to work around the rules than it initially seems.

If you too are homeschooling or planning to homeschool within strict guidelines, perhaps this look inside how we make things work will help:

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Create your own math playground

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Create your own math playground Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Since late-February I’ve been writing a series about math in our homeschools–trying to investigate this subject from a different angle. (Get it, angle?!! Math humor, gotta love it.)

Up until now we’ve talked about looking at math differently, what that practically looks like for other families, children, and experts, and how to use books to increase our young children’s love of and exposure to math.

A different way to look at math

Much of the research we’ve peeked at suggests waiting until around age 10, give or take, to introduce formal math. (I’m not saying this is the only way to approach it, by the way! It’s one of many intentional possibilities.)

If you decide to follow this advice, however, what should you do up until that age? Well, why not create your own math playground?
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