Easy homeschooling on the road

    Our family just got back from a week out of state. We didn’t bring piles of textbooks or worksheets, but all five kids packed lots of learning into that week. The kids managed to learn geography, presidents, American history, genealogy, civil rights, drivers’ education, physics, phonics, nutrition, genetic testing, ghosts, high school exams, […]

Sensory Integration tricks to help kids focus -- from pre-K through high school

Sensory Integration tricks to help kids focus — from pre-K through high school

It can be very hard for some children to sit still and pay attention, even into the teen years. While it’s a common misunderstanding that this is always a sign of an issue like ADHD or that the child is not trying hard enough, there are actually many reasons kids can have trouble concentrating. Among […]

Better homeschool resolutions

Better homeschool resolutions

We homeschoolers tend to set high standards for ourselves, and never more so than at the start of a new year, whether it’s a new school year or a new calendar year. This year, we’ll stay on track in every subject. This year, we’ll read all 250 books on that list of what kids should […]

Should you homeschool through the summer?

Should you homeschool through the summer?

One of the great things about homeschooling is that you can do it in the ways that fit your family’s needs. You can choose how to homeschool, what to use and when to do it. That said, what’s the best way to approach the summer months? There are many good reasons to continue homeschooling through […]

What is lapbooking and why is it so great for homeschooling?

What is lapbooking and why is it so great for homeschooling?

Have you tried lapbooking in your homeschool yet? This delightful, hands-on activity is a wonderful way to combine crafts with science, history, literature, handwriting, math and more. Lapbooks use file folders as the basis for homemade project books that are laid out in a creative manner and fit in a child’s lap. You can think […]

50 fun household materials to use for poetry, spelling and more

50 fun household materials to use for poetry, spelling and more

Looking for some fun ways to play with spelling, poetry and writing in your homeschool? Make some language arts manipulatives! You can find wonderful materials all around the house, absolutely free, and pick up others at dollar stores or thrift stores for next to nothing. Here are some of our favorites. (Instructions follow for those […]

Homeschool 101: What is The Iowa Test of Basic Skills?

Homeschool 101: What is The Iowa Test of Basic Skills?

Homeschoolers in some states such as Minnesota are legally required to administer a standardized, norm-referenced achievement test every school year for their children of compulsory school age. Other homeschoolers choose to periodically administer standardized tests in order to gauge how their children are doing. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills is one option for standardized […]

Homeschool 101: What is the California Achievement Test?

Homeschool 101: What is the California Achievement Test?

The most commonly used standardized test among homeschoolers is probably the California Achievement Test (CAT). The fifth edition, or CAT-5 is most commonly used. Other editions are not as long or as comprehensive. Why would homeschoolers use standardized tests? Homeschoolers in some states such as Minnesota are legally required to administer a standardized, norm-referenced achievement […]

Homeschoolers can learn from Swedish preschools

What homeschoolers can learn from Swedish preschools

There’s a big push in the United States to introduce formal academics earlier and earlier for young children, and that has been spilling into the homeschooling community. While many homeschoolers of the 90’s chose to homeschool because of issues like schools transitioning to full-day kindergarten and the “too much, too soon” academic pressures that were […]

What homeschoolers can learn from Finland's math success

What homeschoolers can learn from Finland’s math success

Many Americans are intrigued by Finland’s high international math scores and want to replicate their success here, with more and more people asking how to institute Finland’s curriculum in their own schools and even in their homeschools. The surprising news is that Finland doesn’t teach math in a novel way or have a trick that […]

Free curricula in every subject for your 3rd grader

Homeschool 101: What about socialization?

Socialization is one of those issues that only people who don’t homeschool and don’t know any homeschoolers worries about.  It’s also the most common and most annoying concern that homeschoolers hear from friends, relatives, and random store clerks. What is socialization? wordIQ says: In psychology, socialization is the process by which children and others adopt […]

Lapbooking 101

Designing your own lapbooks

We design our own lapbooks about 90% of the time.  While it can take more time in terms of research and planning, there are many advantages.  The kids learn more doing the research themselves, they feel a greater sense of ownership, it allows for more creativity, it can be tailored to the child’s age and […]

Homeschooling as a working parent

Homeschooling as a working parent

Homeschooling can be successful for all kinds of families, even if parents have to work full time. As homeschooling has grown, more and more single parents and working parents are joining the homeschooling movement. While there are more factors to consider, there are all kinds of ways to make it work. Some two parent households […]

Ten incredibly fun ways to teach history in your homeschool

Ten incredibly fun ways to teach history in your homeschool

Looking for some ways to make history really come alive in your homeschool? There are oodles of fun ways to teach history besides dry textbooks or boring curricula. Here are ten fabulous ways to bring history to life for your kids. Do a weekly “meet and greet” with historic characters. This can be a fun […]

20 ways joy

20 Ways to put more joy in your homeschooling day

It can be hard being a homeschooling parent. Kids bicker, messes seem never-ending, and the combination of isolation and the pressure to nearly single-handedly educate our children can make the days seem even longer. Here in Minnesota, that can be compounded by long winters and cabin fever. This is one of those times when it’s […]

photos

50 Fabulous electives for homeschooled high schoolers

Is your homeschooled high schooler looking for great electives that count towards graduation, look good on a transcript and are also interesting? There are hundreds of great ones to choose from. Here are 50 great electives for homeschooled teens to consider. psychology photography PE art agriculture/botany astronomy creative writing sociology women’s studies art history music/band/orchestra […]

The internet is filled with fabulous educational videos, but finding them can be tricky. Enter WatchKnowLearn, which gathers these videos from the internet and puts them in one organized, searchable place. The site currently offers about 50,000 videos on everything from osmosis to table manners to sign language to the philosophy of numbers. The website, which was launched by Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sangler, is designed to offer free access to thousands of education-related videos for students ages 3-18. Sanger describes it as "YouTube meets Wikipedia." What can you find on WatchKnowLearn? Nearly anything! For instance, some of the videos currently available include: A short video about Minnesota from the History Channel Singing the alphabet with Elmo and India Aria A short geography video how Pangea split and the plates moved to form the world we now know. An animation of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" A half hour video teaching about the history and culture of the religious Shaker movement. A vast assortment of math songs Schoolhouse Rock's "How a bill becomes a law" Doing a unit on clouds? A search produces hits in categories like meteorology, earth sciences and clouds, with options such as: Weather & Meteorology : How Do Clouds Form? Cool Clouds Mykie's Lesson Plan 3: Clouds Different Types of Clouds (Time-Lapsed Photography) Cloud Rap New Cloud Type Name Proposed-Asperatus How To Classify Clouds Wow! Amazing Images of Storm Clouds Lesson for Painting Clouds "Going Outside"- Learn Weather and Outside Sign Language Words These are just a few of the results just on page one of the results for clouds -- and there are 116 pages of results! Click here to visit the website and see all of the videos available. You can also set up your own classroom on the site to organize the videos you'd like to use in your homeschool. The search tool allows you to filter by age, and you can browse through subjects and many, many sub-categories to find great content. The site was launched in October of 2009. The contributions have come from National Geographic, NASA, you-tube, eHow, private users and Google Videos, among many other sources. This is a wonderful resource for putting together unit studies, accompanying curricula or just answering questions as they come up.

WatchKnowLearn offers thousands of free educational videos for kids

The internet is filled with fabulous educational videos, but finding them can be tricky. Enter WatchKnowLearn, which gathers these videos from the internet and puts them in one organized, searchable place. The site currently offers about 50,000 videos on everything from osmosis to table manners to sign language to the philosophy of numbers. The website, […]

How to help your child love to write

How to help your child love to write

There are many ways to show kids how fun writing can be. It doesn’t have to be a struggle, and it doesn’t have to involve standard curricula or dry writing assignments. Indeed, kids will become the best writers if they think of writing as fun and open-ended. One great way to help kids love writing […]

Five lessons to take from Charlotte Mason for your homeschool

Many homeschoolers around the world follow Charlotte Mason methods, and it’s easy to understand why.  This British educator approached education through nature and great works, creating an environment that appeals to many parents. Here are five Charlotte Mason philosophies that can enrich any homeschool. Let children learn through “living books.”  Mason advocated teaching with books […]

10 Reasons nature study should be a priority in your homeschool

10 Reasons nature study should be a priority in your homeschool

Nature study can be an invaluable part of a child’s homeschooling. Most parents know that kids enjoy nature study, but many don’t realize the many ways it’s vital for the best possible education. Here are ten reasons that nature study should be a major component of every homeschool. It’s an easy way to teach science. […]

Easy homeschooling on the road

Homeschool 101: What is deschooling?

If you are contemplating taking your children out of public school to homeschool them, you’ll probably hear a lot of advice about “deschooling.” What is deschooling? Simply put, it is a period of time after institutionalized schooling where parents let kids be free to do whatever they want and relearn their love of learning. Wikipedia […]

Five lessons to take from Montessori for your homeschool

Five lessons to take from Montessori for your homeschool

One of the joys of homeschooling is that you can adapt ideas from all different places and use them with your kids.  Montessori schools and theories are a great source of some of those ideas. I attended a Montessori preschool myself (back in the dark ages) and it was one of the best educational experiences […]

newto

New to homeschooling? What you need to buy right now

  School is starting up again soon, and some parents are starting up at home for the first time.  It can be overwhelming trying to choose books, curricula and programs. Here’s what you need to buy to start out… Nothing. Yes, that’s right.  Nothing. The single biggest mistake that new homeschoolers make is investing in […]