Simple ways to create a content-rich environment this summer (and why it matters)

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Written by contributor Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy

At my house, we’ve decided to take a “summer break” this year—or at least that’s what we’re telling our kids. When they’re off their regular school schedule (you know, the one where they start their school days with math at 9:00 a.m.), it feels like summer vacation.

Here’s what they don’t know: my husband and I are very intentional about providing great content so they are learning all the time—even while they’re on “break.”

We stock our home with what they need to keep learning all summer long. School may technically be out of session, but that’s no reason to put their education on hold.

Here are our favorite tips and tricks for building a content-rich environment. [Read more...]

Simple ways to get kids started with art

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The following is a guest post written by Faigie Kobre of Eduart 4 Kids.

Before I was married, I was an early childhood teacher.

I used to dream about all the wonderful art projects that I was going to do with my own children.

Then I got married and had kids. Six of them.

And I wasn’t like all of you super homeschool moms, who manage to do everything with your children that all moms do, PLUS teach them at the same time.

So I never really ended up doing half of the art stuff I wanted to do with them.

At one point, however, I did decide that I wanted to teach them to draw. I bought the book Drawing with Children by Mona Brooks and got really excited about teaching them.

I think I gave them one lesson.

[Read more...]

How I discovered Waldorf (and how you can, too)

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How I discovered Waldorf (and how you can, too)
The following is a guest post by Donna Ashton of The Waldorf Connection.

When my twin girls were three and a half my husband and I decided we would homeschool them.

I had no idea what curriculum I would use and had never heard of Waldorf Education.

I attended a homeschool fair in my state and purchased a book called 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. The book contained a short quiz, designed to help determine what educational style would be best for me and my family.

As a Type-A over-achiever, I was shocked when my results ended up in a tie between unschooling and Charlotte Mason.

I discovered I wanted something that didn’t look or feel like traditional school. Something that would give my girls real life knowledge and a love for learning.
[Read more...]

What kids learn from simply reading together

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The following is a guest post by Joy Cherrick of Scottsdale Moms Blog.

Reading time in our home started off as a bit of a chore for me. Though I love cuddling up with my little ones on the couch, I’d rather be cleaning up a mess or fixing a meal or attending to the baby or otherwise checking something off of my list.

However, when I first looked into a preschool curriculum for our homeschool, I found that every educational philosophy took me back to the basics: reading to my children with a heavy helping of play.

I looked hard for a curriculum with worksheets or some other measurable task to check off; but reading a book was always at the basis of every list and every educational philosophy that I encountered.

And so, I submitted myself to what the research says works best. I grabbed my glass of water and rounded up my wiggly preschoolers for some good old-fashioned read-aloud fun with mom.

As I mentioned, it didn’t start off as an easy thing for me to do. My mouth would get dry and my voice would tire. But I’ve found books that I enjoy and have developed a stamina for reading for as long as an hour! And I’ve been surprised and thrilled by what Reagan (4-and-a-half) and Elliot (2-and-a-half) have learned about the world just through reading!

[Read more...]

How to homeschool a kid who hates to write

The following is a guest post written by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy

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For whatever reason, some kids hate to write.

I don’t mean they dislike it, or they’d rather not today, thank you. No, I’m talking about those kids for whom writing “The cat sat on the mat,” requires the physical effort and mental stamina of climbing Pike’s Peak (but probably with a lot more fussing, whining, crying and arguing).

These kids aren’t faking: writing is genuinely difficult for them. (Especially when they’re young, and especially for boys.)

Your challenge as a teacher, a parent, and an academic coach is to keep their disdain for handwriting from turning into a hatred of school, which happens all too often because the thing they hate most (handwriting) permeates every subject.

[Read more...]