Thursday, March 26, 2015

Online Art Curriculum

We are embarking on the tail end of our 9th year of homeschooling. Does that make me an expert? Not even remotely. I am still learning something new all the time. I’m constantly learning what my boys like and don’t like, as far as materials and resources go. And believe it or not, I’m still learning how to pick programs that work well with their learning styles.

Recently I knew that I wanted to incorporate a little art into our homeschool. So I set about finding an art curriculum that would engage and interest my visual-spatial learners. Did I succeed? You betcha! Time4Art (conveniently offered by their core program, Time4Learning) ended up being the perfect addition to our school day. He loved it. The animated characters and interactive lessons were a great fit for him. Not only did enjoy the course, he came away from it feeling like he really learned something. He even took the course a second time! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Science Education

We are an eclectic but primarily online homeschooling family. What’s an online homeschooling family? Well. I don’t know that that’s an actual term, lol, but my explanation would be that we are a homeschooling family that prefers online curricula and materials over textbooks and workbooks.

Science education is one of those subjects where people like to say “but wait, don't you need to get off the computer and get more hands on to really learn science?” Sure! But that doesn’t mean we can’t turn to the computer for guidance and direction.

My boys have found great websites teaching science for kids, and they LOVE watching science experiment videos. Once they watch them, they try and recreate them. Taking notes to what goes wrong or right, and recording their observations and results.

So it’s the best of both worlds…computers AND hands on experience!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Do Your Homeschoolers Like Reading?

Do your homeschoolers enjoy reading? Reading can really cover a lot of “subject areas” can’t it? As a homeschooling mom, I like incorporating/combining subjects, and reading pretty much fits into any area.

I incorporate reading into spelling, by letting my boys make spelling lists from words in the books they are reading. Since strong spelling skills can help to improve reading fluency and reading comprehension, I feel good about pairing these two subjects up. Not to mention, they enjoy creating their own word lists. This not only helps them to feel like they have more control over their education (even if only in a small way), but it’s a huge time saver for me too!

Outside of spelling, other subjects obviously are improved with strong reading skills. Science, history…even math. What are some of the ways that you incorporate reading into other areas?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Homeschooling Through the Holidays

Ideas for homeschooling through the holidays.

Just as there are many different styles of homeschooling methods, there are just as many varied ways that homeschooling families take on the holidays. Some families follow their school calendar, taking a break when the school system breaks. Some families don’t really take a break, opting instead to work through so they can take time off at another time.

Then you have families like mine. We technically school year round, breaking when we need/want. Usually, we break from Thanksgiving until after the New Year. Since we have family spread out, and enjoy doing things in the community, this works out well.

Having said that, we don’t do nothing over the holidays. We love learning about the holiday we celebrate, Christmas, but we also really enjoy learning about other holidays! Some ways that we do that are:

Make printable flashcards with words from different holiday word lists.

Discover holiday specific recipes that you can all make together. Cooking could really count as math, science and life skills. ;)

For your older kids, you could even have them do a short high school writing project on what their holiday means to them, and what they think is an important aspect of the celebrations.

What about you? How do you guys handle the holidays in your homeschool?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Learning More About Thanksgiving

If you’re a homeschooler, then you know that there is always a way to make anything a learning experience. Holidays that are steeped in history, like Thanksgiving, are certainly no exception! There are so many ways you can bring Thanksgiving into your homeschool.

For your younger kiddos, you can come up with some preschool games or kindergarten games. Maybe a Thanksgiving match game, where they have to match photos together, or a vocabulary word with its definition.

For your older ones, you could have them practice essay writing or creative writing exercises. For essay writing, they could write what Thanksgiving means to them and their heritage. For creative writing, maybe they could come up with a fictional story that takes place during the time when Thanksgiving was first celebrated.

There are so many resources out there, for holiday learning fun. You just have to look a little for them. And never be afraid to ask other homeschooling families about some of their Thanksgiving/holiday education traditions.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Incorporating Sports into your Homeschool

Are you a sports fan? If so, then fall is probably one of your favorite times of year! Whether it’s professional sports, or your kids’ little league association, fall usually means it’s time to “play ball!”

What are some ways that you can learn about, and use the different sports in your homeschool?

The first obvious answer is physical education. Learning how to play a game of football or soccer, then playing, would definitely qualify. Log those phys. ed. hours! ;)

Take your child’s favorite sport and make some unique science activities for them to work on. Science? Well, yeah. How about the baseball-bat collision. Physics!

Make special themed list for spelling and/or vocabulary words. They can use these lists to take spelling tests, play online games, practice handwriting and more.

These are just a few of the ways you toss sports into your school day. What ideas can you share with us?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What do you do for Spelling?

When you think about core subjects in education, whether your child learns in a traditional school setting or at home, do you ever include spelling as a subject on it’s own? Many schools and homeschooling families don’t actually teach spelling as a separate subject. Instead, they incorporate it into other subject areas. Reading, language arts, even math (see, those math word problems don’t have to be pointless, lol!).

If you are looking for a way for your kids to practice spelling (either as homeschool subject, or for homework help), have you thought about letting them play some spelling games? Traditional board games, like Scrabble and Boggle are always fun! If your family prefers online games, there are sites out there that offer online activities and resources, like spelling games and spelling flashcards (and some of these sites are even FREE!).

Share time! How is spelling handled in your home and/or classroom?