Begin: Meet Growly Bear

growlyfirst

If there’s one thing homeschoolers know well, it’s books. We take pride in our growing, cluttered shelves–our stacks here, there and everywhere. And when we find a new one that our kids take to heart, when we see them happily sprawled across their bed with a book in hand, we feel like perhaps we’re doing at least one thing right.

book buttonBest of all is when we stumble upon a character that becomes part of the family and journeys along with us, and today I’d like to introduce you to one: Growly Bear.

Growly, his family, and his neighborhood are the brainchildren of Phil and Erin Ulrich–work-at-home, homeschooling parents. Erin designs and produces websites and ebooks, and I’ve worked with her personally on several projects.

Now she and Phil have ventured into the world of fiction with their first book in a series all about Growly, called Begin.
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Learning through community service

flowerWritten by contributor Amida of Journey Into Unschooling

About five years ago, I signed my family up for a community service event. It was one of those random, spur of the moment deals. I saw a posting somewhere to participate on some restoration work at a local park and decided to give it a shot. With a two-year-old on my back and seven- and ten-year-old in tow, we set off.

I am a total introvert and don’t exactly shine in the meet-and-greet department, so I was cautious and nervous, to say the least. Worse, they started off by making a big circle and doing “fun” introductions — you know, give your name and dance move, that kind of thing.

Luckily, I survived and we spent an awesome day learning about the native plants and visiting a tide pool afterwards. And as it often happens in our close knit homeschool community, someone knew me through a mutual friend, and we got to meet and became great friends. Small world, right?

It is in this small world, though, that I have discovered a whole new lifestyle.

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5 educational board games you probably already own

Educational Board Games

Written by contributor Kris Bales, of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

My family and I enjoy playing lots of board and card games.

Usually when we’re playing, it’s just for fun and I’m not even considering the educational value. However, a lot of games that we play actually put many practical learning skills to use.

What hidden learning is lurking in your game closet? [Read more...]

Cozy up with a good book.

Books and ZhuZhu PetWritten by Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

Over the last two weeks, my kids and I have been engrossed in a family read aloud. I checked out the digital edition of The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. Since it was only a two-week check-out, it was a race to complete the book before it magically disappeared from my iPad.

Books, and specifically family read-alouds, have been a unifying thread in the fabric of our family since my eldest was about three years old. He’s always been a good listener and back then while I nursed his baby brother we read through The Little House books and Narnia. Ever since then I have always felt more “at one” with my children when we have a chapter book going.

My youngest child, a four-year old child of the technology age is not quite “into” our read alouds yet. But the others, ages 6, 8, 10, and 12, all enjoy them. Even today at fifteen, my eldest son lurks in the shadows or mutes the hockey game so that he can hear me read to his siblings.
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5 new (school) resolutions to consider

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

I intended to finish the calendar year with a strong academic month. Of course, illness and a number of unforeseeable circumstances got in my way. In some ways, we limped to the finish line.

But, in other ways, we ran a good race. We spent more down time as a family, endeavored to be more patient with one another, had a chance just to rest, and focused on priorities rather than a completed lesson plan.

It got me thinking of how lovely it is to get a second fresh start when January 1 rolls around. And how I want to prioritize in the new year.

Here are five ways I hope to “put off the old man” and put on the new one in 2013:
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