Summer Time Learning

Summer Time has arrived! For some that means plenty of sand,
sun, and fun! Others also like to include a bit of learning.
Whether you are a year- round homeschooling family or just want to add some
learning opportunities for your kids during the summer, you have a few options
to choose from.

  1. A boxed curriculum
  2. An online summer school program
  3. Buy workbooks and create your lessons yourself
  4. Unit study (These are educational and fun,
    especially if you let children choose the topic.)
  5. Field trips to educational places (Whether you
    are planning a one day, one weakened, or a whole summer road trip adventure,
    roadschooling is an awesome way for kids to learn. Seeing is always better than
    just hearing about it.)
  6. Reading (You can challenge your children to read
    as many books as possible. Kids love to rise to a challenge and reading is
    always a great educational option.)

Internet Safety For Kids

Even though, our kids are still young, kids today are on the internet more and more and younger and younger. The need for making sure our kids are safe while on the computer, is something that parents need to think about, even at this age. The good news is, internet safety for kids, is pretty easy to do.

  • First, talk with your kids. Make sure they understand, that they have to follow the rules, you set into place. While they are this age, I recommend making it a rule that they can not search the web freely. Maybe have some favorite websites in their online favorites folder or have shortcuts available.
  • I also advise you to monitor your children while on the internet. I am not saying you need to be a helicopter parent, but checking in every so often to see what they are doing, is never a bad idea.
  •  Checking their search history is also a good idea.
  •  Let them know that the rule about “stranger danger” also applies to the internet.
  •  Last, but not least, parental controls! There are programs you can buy and some that are free. Google has a safe search option for kids, for example.

By teaching your kids, proper internet safety now, will help keep them safe in the future!

How Crucial Is Handwriting?

Your child should “technically” be starting to focus on handwriting about second grade. But how crucial is handwriting these days? With the rise of computers, it’s gotten pretty scarce around our house. My husband and I are much more likely to type something out than write it. So, how important is it that your kids have neat handwriting? Actually, it’s still pretty important. There are lots of things that they’ll have to fill out by hand both now and in the future, and it will have to be legible. We don’t concentrate so much on cursive handwriting in our homeschooling, but we do on their printing and we do so usually with simple handwriting worksheets. So, even though typing seems to be the way of the future, old-school handwriting still plays a role in our school days.

New Year’s Resolutions

Everyone always has New Year’s resolutions…whether it’s to lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking, etc. Those are great personal resolutions, but what about homeschool resolutions? This is generally the “half way point” for many homeschooling school families and it seems that this is the time that many homeschoolers hit the point where they want to re-evaluate things.

It’s also the time when a lot of parents are looking for a way to rejuvenate their kids (and themselves!) after a nice winter/holiday break. It can be hard to get back into the swing of things and back on track.

So what little tricks have you picked up over the years to get your homeschooling family back on track after the holidays? Any resolutions for your new year? :)

Supplementing Online Science

There are many homeschooling families out there, like my own, that prefer computer work to book work. We have an online curriculum, Time4Learning, that has truly saved our homeschool. If the only option we had was a boxed curriculum, or textbooks, over the years…well I don’t think we would have made it, lol.

Having said that though, there are those subjects that really need hands-on supplementing; no matter how successfully they are completed online. Science is one of those subjects.

Where do you look for some good hands-on science projects/experiments? Well, you can do a google search for science experiments. You can get ideas from TV (my kids long to be the next “Mythbusters”). You can even find several good books out there, like “The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book” and “365 Simple Science Experiments.” You can also let your kiddos tell you what they want to do to get their hands dirty with science!

Christmas Shopping for Younger Kids

‘Tis the season! No matter what your religious affiliation might be, the end of the year is still about celebrating the spirit of the season. That can be hard for little ones to understand – your second grader, for instance. What we found worked best with our own little one was to let him shop for others himself. It really helped him get into the “giving” side of Christmas, but it was also helpful in introducing him to money concepts, which can be very hard for younger ones to grasp (and some of us older ones, too!). It went well, surprisingly, and we have plans to make it a regular tradition.

Annual Memberships – Are They Worth It?

It seems there are annual memberships for everywhere lately. The Zoo, local Museums, even state parks have annual park passes. Sure, these things are advertised as paying for themselves in so many visits, but are they beneficial if you don’t know how many times you will be able to go each year?

My experience has found there is no blanket answer for this, lol. We tried this for our zoo and unfortunately didn’t have a chance to go more than once before it expired. We enjoyed ourselves, don’t get me wrong, but the animals didn’t change and there was only so much we could see multiple times.

Now, on the other hand, we paid for our membership to a natural history museum about six times over! They had some traveling exhibits that came through for limited times, and they even switch out their long standing exhibits about once (sometimes twice) a year. They have an IMAX theater where we got a discount thanks to our membership. We were also able to get “reciprocal” benefits at other museums that are a part of this particular network.

What about you…have you found any annual memberships that are simply too good to pass up?

Homeschooling without Religion

In homeschooling circles, be it in real life or online, you will always find homeschool families trying to homeschool in a way that best fits in with their religious beliefs. There are tons of Christian based homeschool curricula choices out there. There  are Jewish homeschool programs, Muslim homeschoolers and even Pagan homeschooling options.

But what if you run an Atheist homeschool?

Chances are you have felt shunned and may have even kept the fact that you were an atheist quiet. So many people seem accepting of those with different spiritual beliefs than theirs, but become judgmental when they hear that there is NO religion at all.

My advice is keep your head up. Keep looking for those homeschool groups that truly are all-inclusive. And don’t forget about the online resources out there. Even if it’s only on the Internet; support, advice and comfort are valuable in all forms!

Reading – Enjoying it AND Comprehending it

My husband and I are both avid readers. Our idea of “quality time together” is both of us spending our evening immersed in a book…but doing so in the same room. Together. Lol. We just assumed, cause that’s what parents do, that when we had kids they would be avid readers too. How could they not, especially if they had us as examples?

We have two boys and while my seventh grader enjoys reading, my second grader is struggling. He wants to read, but just doesn’t have the reading comprehension thing down yet. That’s huge, and not something we really thought about. I mean, I don’t suppose I would want to spend a lot of time reading something, only to look up and go “I have no idea what I just read.”

He works on it daily, and thanks to getting interested in audio books and having an appreciation for storytelling, he just might make it to “avid reader” status before long!

Get Up and Get Out

It seems like every time I turn on the news someone else is shouting about the obesity epidemic in America. And you know what? They’re right. When I was a kid, we didn’t worry so much about it, but we were a lot more active then (and we didn’t have PS3s, the Internet or any of the other things that make kids stay inside day in and day out). The simplest way you can combat a weight problem in your child is to get him or her up and out. Outdoor activities, whether that’s climbing a tree, riding a bike or just hiking in a local park, can really do the trick for kids struggling with weight problems. Of course, a healthy diet and limited access to soda, sugar and unhealthy snacks will also help.