The season of Lent has begun! This Christian tradition begins on Ash Wednesday (March 9th, 2011) and ends on Holy Saturday (April 23, 2011) – the day before Easter Sunday. The 40 days of Lent (Sundays are not counted in the 40 days, because Sunday is the day of resurrection) reflect the 40 days that Christ was tempted in the desert, and are a time of preparation for Easter. Homeschoolers can capitalize on the season of Lent to impart the history of this Christian tradition, to inculcate faith values, and to prepare children emotionally and spiritually for the coming of Easter. Continue reading »
Fortunately, with a little bit of intentionality, homeschoolers can prepare their children to have healthy money habits from an early age. Part 1 detailed that money management training should include three major elements: giving, saving, and keeping, and that each of these areas not only prepares the child for financial well-being, but also develops character qualities which are even more fundamental than managing the money itself. One of the best ways to do build money management skills is to establish the principle that money is earned through work. Continue reading »
Math, English, History, Writing, Spelling, Science… few would disagree that these should be included in the homeschool curriculum. But one of the unique opportunities homeschooling affords is the ability to train children in areas that go far beyond simply the academic. The ability to manage money can impact a child’s future as much as or more than his or her academic knowledge, yet this subject is rarely (if ever) found in a typical public school academic plan. Continue reading »
The truth is that no matter how conscientious, intelligent, committed and disciplined you are, there will be times in your homeschooling when you just feel, well, uninspired. Where you’re tired of educating, discouraged by your children’s progress, certain you’re not doing a good enough job, completely out of creative ideas, bored, or just plain frustrated. Continue reading »
Many homeschoolers choose to do life differently from the norm. Interestingly, the choice to teach children in a way that goes against the status quo often belies an approach that permeates into many other areas of homeschoolers’ lives – the approach of “opting out” of the culturally accepted way of doing things. From choices about socialization to vaccination, it’s not a surprise that parents who so conscientiously (often at great personal and familial challenge) choose a non-conventional way of educating would also question the societally “given” path in many other areas. Continue reading »
February 14th – It seems like a day just for lovers. Chocolate hearts, flowers, “I love you” cards… most of us tend to think Valentine’s Day is more for us parents than for the children. And no doubt, homeschooling parents, probably more than anyone, need some time together away from the kids! So how can Valentine’s Day be a teaching opportunity within the homeschool? Continue reading »
Everybody knows Valentine’s Day is the holiday of love. But why not make it the holiday of learning, too? This special day has its roots in both Christian and ancient Roman traditions, based upon the legendary Saint Valentine. Continue reading »
Words, words, words! A variety of research, such as that by the University of Kansas, has demonstrated that the number of words children know dramatically impacts their success in other academic areas. While reading to children is one of the best ways to help them gain a strong vocabulary, at some point it is helpful to study vocabulary words in an intentional way. For older children this is often incorporated as part of English or Reading curricula, but for young children, such as those who have just learned to read, what options are there for learning vocabulary? Continue reading »
Many homeschoolers take a break from schooling at least some of the time in December, in order to enjoy the holidays. January can bring a new jumpstart to the educational process, as families “get back into the groove” following traveling, hosting, and Christmas events. The new year is the perfect time to take a look at your homeschool and do some reevaluation – what is going well? What needs to be changed? Continue reading »
Photo courtesy of John Manoogian III under Creative Commons licensing
New year, new opportunities, new resolutions! For most of the world, the New Year’s resolution list might include such optimistic intentions as losing weight or starting a new hobby. But what about homeschoolers? While many people make optimistic and grandiose plans for 2011, the New Year’s resolutions of homeschoolers might just look a wee bit different from those of the general public…
“What do you want for Christmas?” It’s probably the line most often quoted this time of year, following “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”. Santa asks it, parents ponder it, and even passersby on the street use it as a greeting line for children. But is it the question homeschoolers really want to ask? Just like home educators seek to teach their children academic subjects, many also seek to inculcate something even more important – character. And this time of year is the perfect time to focus on the character quality of giving to others. Continue reading »
“What do we get them this year?” It’s a question that goes through the minds of many a parent at Christmastime. The enigma of gift giving for children becomes even more challenging for homeschoolers who wish to bequeath presents that will be useful and worthwhile even once the Christmas glow has dimmed. And while that new English curriculum might be what a homeschooling mother would enjoy seeing under the tree, her children might not be quite so excited. So what’s a conscientious homeschooling parent to do? Where do homeschoolers go to find gifts that are educational in nature, but that children will also enjoy? Continue reading »
The ubiquitous Christmas symbols are out in force – holly wreaths, festive Christmas trees, eggnog, and of course good ol’ Santa himself. But many homeschoolers seek to move beyond the cultural harbingers of the season to focus on the birth of the Christ child; to celebrate God coming to earth. One of the most meaningful ways to help the family emphasize the true meaning of Christmas is through creating a Jesse Tree. This wonderful tradition not only centers the significance of the holiday around Christ, but it serves as an advent calendar as well, marking each passing day to count down until Christmas.
If there’s ever a time to put aside the books and break out the project supplies with the kids, it’s Christmas! With all of the emphasis on baking, making crafts, decorating, learning the history of Christ’s birth, and establishing family traditions, Christmas for homeschoolers is like sitting down to a buffet of children’s enrichment. Even if you homeschool with academics throughout the month of December, be sure to save some time in the day for some special family projects that will bring the family together and make the season meaningful for your children!
Visiting with family and friends is the highlight of the holidays for many homeschoolers. Unfortunately, before the festivities and merry-making can begin comes a part of the holidays that most families dread – the process of “getting there”! Although Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are some of the most wonderful, family-filled events of the year, they also usually mean plenty of time in the car.
Family, food, homes, health, friends – without a doubt these blessings are the core of many people’s reasons to be thankful during this Thanksgiving season. However, homeschoolers have some unique motivations for gratitude that are easy to overlook. Take some time this season to reflect on the things you appreciate about homeschooling, and the blessings that homeschooling brings to yourself, your children, and your family.
Turkey and stuffing, pumpkin pie, family gatherings, lists of that for which we are thankful…the warm and cozy harbingers of the Thanksgiving season are upon us. For homeschoolers, it is an excellent opportunity to teach children the history of those who first came to America, and to focus on the events and sacrifices the Pilgrims faced in coming to this new land. When making your Thanksgiving plans this season, check out these resources to make the history of the holiday meaningful.