Geography. It was not my favorite subject growing up in traditional schools, and I wanted to teach homeschool geography differently from the way I learned it in school. Sure, I knew my states, could identify other countries, large bodies of water, various cities, etc. But, the process was lots of memorizing, spitting out facts, and then promptly forgetting everything. I didn’t want that for my kids. When we began homeschooling, I knew I wanted my kids to have a natural curiosity about out our world. I wanted our homeschool geography study to be something that we naturally discussed in fun and hands-on ways, using a variety of resources. Continue reading »
In an earlier post, I described how hosting an international exchange student can be a benefit to a homeschooling family. Today I'd like to tell you a little more about the nuts and bolts of hosting a student in the United States. These details can help you to know what to expect when hosting an exchange student and can ease the transition for the whole family. Continue reading »
Hosting an international exchange student can be a great experience for homeschooling families. We hosted a student from Ecuador, and while the commitment can seem daunting, having Isaac José with us for a school year enriched our lives.
What are some of the benefits of hosting an international student? Continue reading »
When I was in high school and college, my mom clipped newspaper and news magazine articles for me. She left them for me on the steps to my bedroom or put them in an envelope and mailed them to me at with a handwritten note in the margin -- "Thought you'd be interested in this" or "What do you think about this news?" Today, I do something similar with my teen and twenty-something sons, only I do it electronically. Continue reading »
This year in my role as a homeschool evaluator, I met a number of tweens and teens who are interested in fashion. As we went through their portfolio of work and talked about their year, I was fascinated with the ways they had woven their interest in fashion with their academic studies. Two of the teens I met with had taken their interest in current fashion into the past -- studying the typical dress and accessorizing of women and men in earlier periods of history. They also took their fashion interest international -- studying the current typical dress of modern-day people in other parts of the world.
Both of these girls (who did not know each other -- they had arrived at this independently) had done extensive research to be able to portray the styles of other times and other places, and they could explain how the fashion reflected the culture, religious beliefs, gender roles, classes and roles in society, and daily life. They were articulate about the historical times and geography of the world as they discussed the observations they had made about fashion in these distant centuries and far-off places. Continue reading »
Among my favorite homeschooling resources are our audio recordings by storyteller Jim Weiss. These stories provided many important cultural touchstones for my children during their pre-reading and early reading years, introducing them to historical, scientific, literary, and mythological figures and tales. This is where my children first learned of Galileo, Tom Sawyer, Shakespeare, Robin Hood, and Sherlock Holmes. Continue reading »
Kids around the world are going back to school -- that means homework, new friends and... lunch. In the US, the typical school lunch is served on styrofoam trays and can range from salads to a full complement of carbs. As homeschoolers we have the benefit of lots of lunch choices that school children don't have, and a fun way to include geography in your homeschool is to fix fun lunches from around the world. Get started by learning about school lunches in these countries, then discover some of your own and choose a couple of lunches to fix from different countries. Continue reading »
Homeschooling parents can pique their kids' interests by incorporating educational information right into the decor. One of the easiest ways to do this is to make use of the large block of space that is your shower curtain. The easiest-to-find educational shower curtain is the world map. These are commonly available at discount department stores. Our current world map shower curtain came from Target, but you can frequently find a similar world map shower curtain at Walmart, JC Penney, or Amazon. Continue reading »
Hoping to spare my kids my own geography impairment, I hung a large world map in the kitchen a few years ago. But how to make that map a go-to place? I know the ho-hum status educational products achieve around here. I don't really believe anyone sits on the toilet studying the expensive shower curtain I bought featuring SAT vocabulary words on it. I know our stack of handy reference place mats haven't been out of the drawer in years. Yet that map is in use every day. Let me share the secret with you... Continue reading »
Let's face it... Geography is one of the most overlooked subjects in traditional public schooling and in homeschooling. Why? It is probably because it doesn’t seem very important to our everyday, busy lives. Do my students really need to know where Liberia is located? How about Chile? Is this relevant information or should we just spend a little more time with math, history and writing? Continue reading »
Have you ever been teaching a history lesson when one of your children pipes up with a question. “Mom, is Carthage a city in Oregon or some other country?” Oh dear, you think to yourself and then calmly explain, “Honey, first of all, Oregon is a state, not a country. And Carthage no longer exists, but I think it was located on the northern tip of Africa across the Mediterranean Sea from Italy.” After receiving two or more questions along this vein, you realize that you need some better resources. Continue reading »