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How to have a homeschooling non-vacation

rozanne1picmo

Written by Rozanne Dioso-Lopez of Tomfoolery & Shenanigans.

“Mom, when are we going to do schoolwork???”

Asked in frustration, my darling 11-year-old daughter looked at me imploringly as she ran up the beach with boogie board in hand. We had been in Costa Rica for four days and she had had enough of vacation mode.

Looking up from my book I reassured her, “Monday.  Tomorrow we start.”

She pumped her fist, waved goodbye, and as she turned to catch more waves, she flung her sandy saltwater hair to the side in triumphant glee.

For the first time we are traveling abroad to one location for an entire month. We decided to try an experiment.

Although one month isn’t long enough to really live in a place, it’s long enough to settle in and try to imagine if living abroad is feasible for our family.

Prior to the trip, my husband and I discussed our goals.  What did we want to accomplish? Was this a sight-seeing trip?  One of those busy “doing” vacations?

We agreed that we didn’t see this trip as a “vacation” in terms of our previous family travels. It was just going to be a break from the ordinary.

It was a reprieve from winter’s bite.  It was an opportunity to introduce the children to another culture: eating and living local.

Can we transport our life at home to another place for an entire month? More specifically, what does homeschooling look like during this month?

Some tips on how to homeschool abroad in non-vacation mode:

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How to read aloud every day

read aloud every day

Written by Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things.

I‘m convinced that the minutes and hours I spend reading to my children are the best invested moments of my entire life.

With six kids underfoot to love on and teach, I fight a constant feeling that I’m not meeting everyone’s needs- not taking time for the things that matter most- that someone is growing up with the underlying feeling of being overlooked or forgotten.

When I’m reading with my kids, I never feel that way. No one has to convince me that reading to my children will strengthen our relationship, form happy family memories, improve their ability to communicate, and make a lasting difference in all of our lives.

I am convinced that the story formed childhood my parents gave me was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.”

– Sarah Clarkson, Caught Up in a Story (p. 6)

I have seen the fruit of that already, and I believe in it with all my heart.

But just knowing doesn’t make the doing any easier.
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8 ways to raise art-smart kids

artsmart

Written by Laura Grace Weldon of Free Range Learning

My seven-year-old daughter and I dressed up for a special evening out together. After years of attending Cleveland Orchestra children’s programs and listening to stories of composers at home, she wanted to attend a “real” concert.

We settled in velvety seats, excited to see a college symphony perform.

When the music started she was silently enraptured. The man sitting behind my daughter leaned forward. I assumed he’d whisper his delight at seeing a music-loving child in attendance. Instead he informed me I was an idiot for bringing her. He was sure she’d wreck his evening, although he stomped away from his seat too soon to find out.

It’s assumed kids and fine arts don’t go together, or not till assignment-laden Shakespeare is imposed on high school students. Wrong!

The arts can be joyfully woven into children’s lives from babyhood on.

These days my kids (now teens and young adults) eagerly engage with the arts. They go to plays, enjoy new classical music scored for video games, and keep up with literature.

During a recent discussion I overheard my kids relate the theme of a current movie to Homer’s Odyssey, tied together with quotes from a Terry Pratchett book plus a cartoon meme.

Lightning fast, funny, and sharp. No curricula could possibly keep up.

Here’s the enjoyment-based way my family has gotten comfy with fine arts:

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The power of poetry

hannah2picmo

Written by Hannah Vanderpool of Praying with One Eye Open.

We’re in the living room. Two of the kids are stretched on the couch and they’re tugging a blanket between them, though they know better than to wear it out further.

The middle boy sits on the loveseat. He smiles and flops himself flat, legs off the side.

He knows he has the better seat, the one across from me.

I pick up the poetry book. It’s a thick, yellow anthology, one we’ve been working through for almost a year.

Every day we sit in our places and I read from it — words about love, and trees and ordinary people.  Today is no different.

This morning I read my best, paying attention to the rhythm and flow of the lines. I finish the last line of a Langston Hughes poem and then I don’t say anything because there is meaning in the air and I want them to feel it.

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Those little things I miss

kris1
Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

You know how everyone is always talking about the things you’re going to miss when your kids are older? When you’re knee-deep in diapers and toddler tantrums, sometimes you don’t believe those older moms.

I’m not going to lie to you – I don’t miss diapers or tantrums. I have been known to whisper to my kids that I’m glad they’re grown when witnessing one of those tantrums.

As I – and my kids – have gotten older, I’d started to think that maybe I wasn’t as sentimental as most because I wasn’t exactly pining for those younger days. However, in recent weeks, those nostalgic feelings have hit with a vengeance – particularly in the face of teen trials.

I’m not sure which is worse, dealing with a toddler tantrum or worrying about your 19-year-old who is out on a date – because, you know what? When I look at her, I still see that cherub-faced toddler. Cherub-faced toddlers should not be dating!

If you’re in the trenches with little ones, I thought you might like to know what I’m missing, lest you think that being a mom to older kids is all rainbows and unicorns.

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