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Fun Ways To Teach Parts of Speech

by Richele McFarlin

Learning does not have to be boring. Hands-on, active lessons are best for engaging the child and for memory retention. Below are five fun activities to teach the parts of speech. The 9 Parts of Speech: Before participating in any of the activities, review the following parts of speech with your student. Continue reading »

Can Your Child Rhyme? Understanding Phonological Awareness

by Richele McFarlin

What is Phonological Awareness? Phonological awareness is an important skill in learning how to read. Simply put it is the ability to distinguish sounds within words when heard in spoken language. For example, a child who has developed phonological awareness skills will be able to rhyme, distinguish individual sounds within a word, beginning sounds and Continue reading »

Ask Jeanne: Homeschooling the Child Behind in School

by Jeanne Faulconer

My son is 12 and in 6th grade. He is failing this year. Truthfully, I don’t know how he has passed in past years, and this year he seems to be regressing. He is currently reading at a 1.5 grade level. It is making it impossible for him to learn anything in school when he can’t read. He is in special ed, but they can not work with him one-on-one – not enough resources. We have spoken with the special ed dept and the staff and they agree that pulling him out of school and working with him at home would be best for him. I want to go back and teach him the basics of reading and math. My question is how do I legally do this? I mean I want to start over with him at 1st grade, so how do I do that and still have him enrolled in some homeschool program? He doesn’t have the ability to go to school and then me teach him the basics at home. It’s just too much for him. So how do I start over with him? Please help. Continue reading »

Ask Jeanne: Speech Delay and Reading Comprehension

by Jeanne Faulconer

My question is this: in your opinion would speech delay in a child directly affect the child’s ability to comprehend and read simultaneously – meaning, the ability to read words is good, however the understanding while reading seems to be disconnected. My little girl is turning 6 at the end of the month and although had a speech delay which was identified at 3, she is now within the “normal” spectrum … translated as: her speech and language therapist says she has caught up with her peers but still has some pronunciation issues. Continue reading »

The Alphabet Walk: Learning ABCs with Rocks and Trees

by Jeanne Faulconer

Winter is a wonderful time to take Alphabet Walks with your children. In my part of the U.S., this means bundling up for the cold weather, but hunting for the ABCs in nature may be just the thing to get you and the kids moving on darker winter days.

The main object of an Alphabet Walk is to find letters that have been unintentionally formed in the outdoors. Perhaps crossing tree branches form an X against the blue sky, or a cat curved on your deck forms a perfect C. A front door wreath on your neighbor’s house is an O. The brickwork above the windows in an old Main Street building creates a V. Continue reading »

Delayed Academics: It’s All About Learning

by Jeanne Faulconer

Many experienced homeschoolers have long valued the ability to delay formal academics to create a more holistic early childhood education for their young children, with the understanding that this creates a rich foundation for later academic and life success. Today, parents new to homeschooling are embarking on homeschooling at a time when public schools are emphasizing early formal academics and implementing standardized testing of very young children, despite lack of evidence that these practices enhance educational outcomes for the children.

As David Elkind (author of The Hurried Child and The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally) writes in “Much Too Early” for the website EducationNext, “Why, when we know what is good for young children, do we persist in miseducating them, in putting them at risk for no purpose?” Continue reading »

Delaying Academics: When Homeschoolers Defer Formal Lessons

by Jeanne Faulconer

Schools are pushing standardized testing and formal academics earlier than ever, with today’s kindergartners and preschoolers asked to master skills and content that used to be learned in first and second grades.

Stories like this one from New York and this one from Chicago are popping up all over the country — frequent standardized testing of five year olds (and the accompanying test prep) is becoming the norm in public education. Formal reading, writing, and arithmetic teaching are displacing the time honored traditions of kindergarten — play, story time, learning to share, and enrichment activities that lead to numeracy and literacy.

Some school reformers see the same thing that many homeschoolers do — that a loss of play puts academic success at risk. A complete report on this was issued by the Alliance for Childhood, “Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School”. Continue reading »

Instead of Curriculum: Storyteller Jim Weiss

by Jeanne Faulconer

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 »

Eight Ways for Later and Less-Fluent Readers to Build Knowledge

by Jeanne Faulconer

One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can continue to help our kids build content during skills lags, customizing what works for each child. Experienced homeschoolers often fall into these techniques over time, but I offer a few of my favorite ways you can help your child get “subject area learning” before his reading and writing skills are developed to an extent that they can be the primary routes to learning. Continue reading »