Curriculum We Loved and Curriculum We Hated This Year

And curriculum that’s just okay…

Over the summer, I shared our curriculum choices for our 2016/2017 homeschool year. Since we’re over halfway through our school year, I thought that now would be a good time to give you an update on how those choices fared.

The truth is, there are some resources we’ve loved this year, some that did the trick without too much excitement, and some that we…well…hated. I know that “hate” is a strong word, but anything that is going to make learning feel like a dreaded chore has earned that position, in my book.   Continue reading “Curriculum We Loved and Curriculum We Hated This Year”

5 More Reasons to Homeschool Your Kids

With just a few keystrokes and the simple click of a mouse, you can find hundreds, maybe thousands, of posts listing reasons to homeschool your kids.  In fact, just a few short months ago, I wrote an entire series about that very subject.

Although there are some variations, for the most part, many of the reasons are the same. Some people bring up values, while others write about the freedom that homeschooling brings, and these are definitely great justifications for homeschooling. But there are a few I’ve thought of that you don’t hear mentioned often, although they seem rather obvious to me.  Continue reading “5 More Reasons to Homeschool Your Kids”

10 Toys That Make Fantastic Math Manipulatives

If you ever decided to poll a large group of homeschoolers to ask what the most difficult subject to teach is, math would undoubtedly be at the top of the list. The most crucial time to get kids on board with this harrowing subject is in the primary years while hands-on learning activities can still be incorporated to learn basic computing skills. Homeschooling parents seem to realize this and search the internet for (often expensive) math manipulatives to use in their lessons.  Continue reading “10 Toys That Make Fantastic Math Manipulatives”

3 No-Nonsense Ways to Work with Life of Fred Math

Of the eight years we’ve been homeschooling, our favorite math curriculum hands-down is Life of FredNot being a family that particularly loves the drill-and-kill method of learning, Life of Fred has provided a fun alternative to the otherwise dreaded math programs we’ve used in the past.

As our homeschool has changed over the years, so has our approach to these books. What I’ve discovered through it all is that no matter which of these options you choose, your children will not only learn math as it is used in real life, but they’ll enjoy themselves while they’re doing it, too.  Continue reading “3 No-Nonsense Ways to Work with Life of Fred Math”

How to Homeschool Simply (The Teen Years)

Ages 14-18

I’ve now reached the final week in this series- homeschooling during the teen years. In case you missed the previous posts, over the past few weeks I’ve written about how to simply homeschool:

Today I’ll be finishing up with how to accomplish a relaxed homeschooling atmosphere while homeschooling teenagers.  Continue reading “How to Homeschool Simply (The Teen Years)”

How to Find a Happy Medium with Rote Memorization

DEFINITION:
Rote memorization- a memorization technique based on repetition

Rote memorization is one of those things that you either love or you hate. Some people swear by it and have their children memorize everything from their basic addition to verb conjugations in three different languages. Others despise the thought of it and tend to use technology as a crutch in order to avoid forcing it on their kids.

As a former unschooling mom, I used to fall in the latter camp. After being up to my eyeballs in books on natural learning for months, I came to the conclusion that rote memorization was the enemy. As someone who firmly believed that children learn best when they initiate the learning, which I still find to be true, I avoided it like the plague. I kept myself content with the thought that Google can help with anything and everything, and internet access would be even more prevalent when my kids became adults.  Continue reading “How to Find a Happy Medium with Rote Memorization”

How to Homeschool Simply (The Middle Years)

Ages 9-13

Over the past two weeks, I’ve spent some time sharing how to homeschool preschool and the early years in a relaxed, yet effective manner. This laid back approach to learning at home doesn’t stop being beneficial once children begin to achieve more advanced skills. The core foundation of simplicity remains the same, although some additional activities will make their way into the routine as your children’s interests grow.   Continue reading “How to Homeschool Simply (The Middle Years)”

How to Homeschool Simply (The Early Years)

Ages 5-8

After eight years of homeschooling and trying just about every major method there is, I’ve settled on, and become quite an advocate for, simple homeschooling. From our experience with school-at-home all the way to unschooling, one thing I’ve discovered is that children learn best when they are not pressured, rushed, or forced to do things they’re not developmentally ready for. Additionally, the luxury of a substantial amount of time to play is not really as much of a luxury as it is a necessity. Children- especially early elementary-aged children- need unstructured play time in order to explore and understand the world around them.  Continue reading “How to Homeschool Simply (The Early Years)”

5 Exciting Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress in Your Homeschool

To a great many homeschool moms, using the word exciting in the same sentence as holiday and homeschool may be a bit of a stretch. Christmas time can be a bit frantic and stressful without adding homeschooling to the mix, so it’s no great wonder that the combination causes some anxiety.

After eight years of homeschooling, however, I’ve finally reached a point where I am genuinely excited about this time of year. After years of “trying to do it all” over the holiday season, experience has taught me that it just isn’t happening- and if it does, it isn’t happening without a fight. Since I don’t want to be miserable at this “most wonderful time of the year,” and I’m sure my kids don’t want to be, either, I’ve tweaked and experimented with our holiday homeschool routine and have come up with five excellent alternatives to continuing on with the same old, same old.  Continue reading “5 Exciting Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress in Your Homeschool”

5 Days of Christmas Lists- Day 2- 25 Fun and Engaging Christmas Activities

I had so much fun yesterday writing about our favorite Christmas books, that I’m practically bursting at the seams with excitement for today’s post. As anyone familiar with me knows, I absolutely love all things homeschooling, so anytime I can find a way to integrate my favorite holiday in with some hands-on activities for my kids, you can bet I’m going to find a way to share it with you!

Since we homeschool year round, we are not technically homeschooling this month, as this is our 6 week break. However, I do count this month as “school” because we are so busy learning and creating through everything we do.  Continue reading “5 Days of Christmas Lists- Day 2- 25 Fun and Engaging Christmas Activities”