The top educational goal for my 8- to 12-year-olds

The top educational goal for my 8- to 12-year-olds Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool

Jonathan and I sat at our local Panera Bread, enjoying a mother-son afternoon date. We ordered hot chocolate and played a favorite game to get started. But then he wanted to get down to the real fun he’d been anticipating.

I opened my laptop and we began his online weather course: watching multimedia clips and taking the quizzes involved.

After 45 minutes, guess who was bored? (Me.)

“Jonathan, we’ll stop at 4 o’clock, but we can come back to it another day.”

“Why? Please, can I finish the whole thing?”

What homeschooling mama could say no? Not this one!

And the whole experience got me thinking: “How many 11-year-olds beg to study and take quizzes on their Saturday afternoons?”
[Read more…]

How to host a Nature Day


Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

“Now I don’t have to die to go to heaven,” my son grinned. “It’s right here.”

We were walking along the trails zig-zagging through the wild countryside of the property we would soon call home. Towering trees, low-hanging limbs laden with moss, a pond and trickling creek, old-growth stumps — it was all so lush and green and vast — as far as the eye could see.

But even as spectacular as the scenery was, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Seeing his wonder–rapture really–as he explored and discovered, head tilted back, gazing straight up, pointing here and there, “Mom, red-tailed hawks!”

I couldn’t believe this was where, Lord willing, our kids would grow up. 

I grew up out in the country, and took for granted the gold-mine that was my backyard. I grew up hiking through the woods, forging the river to a friends’ house, building forts from limbs and twigs, climbing trees, planting gardens, holding still and silent watching the deer creep by.

These days, though, it seemed you had to choose between a roof over your children’s heads OR a piece of land, so I had long ago given up the idea of raising my own kids out in the woods.

So, when we fell into this gift of a place, that had a roof and land, I knew it was meant for more than just our own personal pleasure — I wanted the gift of nature to bless others as well.

[Read more…]

How habits can help homeschooling this season

How habits can help homeschooling during the holidays
Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

There’s a one-word banner I’m waving these days: Habits

The word probably doesn’t kindle a fire of passion or enthusiasm in your soul.

Yet.

Though you may not come alive when you hear the word habits, I will tell you this one-word anthem is revolutionizing our homeschool like nothing else has in a long time. [Read more…]

What can you do with a basket of sight words?

rightwards
Written by Kara Fleck

It all began with a list of sight words and an art class basket. A few months ago I was perusing our second grade curriculum and came across a list of sight words for second graders.

Most of them I knew that my daughter recognized, but there were some that were not a consistent part of her lexicon yet. So I thought it would be a good idea to use the list for some sight word practice.

But how to make it interesting and fun?

After watching her playing with leaves, I got an idea: why not print her sight words on leaves and give her a basket full of them to play with?

A quick Pinterest search led me to a printable leaf template, which I printed on red, orange, and yellow cardstock. Then we were off!

[Read more…]

How a certified teacher chose unschooling for her kids

How a certified teacher chose unschooling for her kids
Written by Marla Taviano

“Remember, girls,” I say to my daughters, looking them each in the eye (I actually have to look up at two of the three now—when did this happen??), “we do not say THAT WORD here in Cambodia. Got it?”

They nod.

Got it, Mom.

The next day, we’re out and about, and yet another stranger asks, “Wait, so … do they go to school …?”

The girls smile sweetly, turn their angelic faces to me as one, and let me answer.

“I used to be a teacher, so I teach them at home.”

marla3

This new line of mine seems to be working. Awkward situation averted. Moving on.

“Is it fine that you’re not really telling the truth?” my youngest (10) wants to know.

“Which part of that statement isn’t true?” I say, eyebrows raised.

“Mom, we’re unschooled. You don’t really teach us.”

“Excuse me. I teach you a lot of things. They just aren’t normal school things. Am I right?”

She shrugs her shoulders, presumably thinking of all the things she’s taught me today about Harry Potter and French (learning one new language at a time wasn’t enough, I guess) and peeling/cutting mangos just so.

“The Cambodians just don’t get the whole unschooling thing,” I say. “It’s way too complicated to try to explain.”

“Mom,” my 15-year-old says, “Americans don’t get it either. Nobody really gets it.”

“Nobody gets our family anyway,” says my 13-year-old, with a wave of her hand, “so it’s all good.”

[Read more…]