Winter is the perfect time for a bird unit study! Birds can provide you and your kids with a wild distraction from current events, a connection to the natural world, and a chance to be grounded in an off-screen reality. If you’re in a winter climate, the leafless trees, snow, and dormant vegetation provide a crisp backdrop for spotting birds. In moderate climates, your locale may be the recipient of migratory birds, providing an ideal opportunity to spot species that aren’t around during other times of the year. Continue reading »
Topical Learning Ideas
If you’ve got high-energy kids, you may find yourself humming those catchy lyrics when the weather won’t cooperate and outdoor playtime isn’t on the day’s agenda. Here are 10 screen-free activities to keep high-energy kids entertained indoors on bad weather days. Continue reading »
In many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, winter is downright chilling, and both the season and the change from Daylight Saving Time mean the sun sets early. An activity that works well for homeschoolers this time of year is amateur astronomy—and you don’t even have to stay up late to see the night sky! Continue reading »
If you’re looking for a unique way to inspire your children’s curiosity and interest in history, consider introducing them to genealogy. You can use your own family tree to make history more relevant and meaningful to children, strengthen their sense of identity, and help them to see where they fit in time and place in this world. Using your family tree to learn about the life and times of grandparents is a great example of “social history,” which studies the experiences of ordinary people. Notice the word experiences — if you portray history in terms of experiences rather than facts, it can help personalize the study of history. This helps children to make sense of the world around them. Continue reading »
Don’t depend on boring government textbooks; use an activities approach to learning how government works. If teens do these activities, talk about their experiences with you and others, and follow rabbit trails online, they will likely retain more knowledge about how government works than if they just read from a government textbook. Continue reading »
Are you homeschooling the presidency? No matter our political views, there are issues brought up by the current presidency that our children can learn from. As homeschoolers, we can help them learn about government through most of their homeschooling years, even without an official course. Continue reading »
I’m cautious about twisting every interesting thing into a “learning opportunity” that can turn off otherwise interested kids, but the Olympic Games are compelling, and your kids will probably want to know more.
Watching actual competitions on television or via internet is surely the hook. Competition is its own drama, and the personal stories of athletes who have trained for so many years are interesting.
But with the 2016 Olympics in Rio set for August 5 – 21, what are some good resources for additional learning? Continue reading »
This week I visited with a homeschooling family whose son was anxiously awaiting his shipments from New Egg and Tiger Direct — full of the components he would assemble into his own PC.
This brought back fond memories, since two of my three sons undertook this same project during their teen years, and my oldest actually did the same after he graduated. Continue reading »
Your dog, cat, bird, fish, ferret, hamster, or lizard may be a unit study waiting to happen. Many children are fascinated by domestic animals, and their strong interest will motivate them to read, write, solve problems, and create projects. Here are some ideas for developing a unit study around our pets. Continue reading »
Nutrition is an ideal homeschooling topic for the 10 – 14 year olds in your family or homeschool co-op. These middle years are an excellent time to go into more depth about what we eat and how it affects our health and growth. Tweens and early teens are especially interested in the changes brought by adolescence, and nutrition is a “safe” topic where kids can think about how their current choices affect their future. Continue reading »
Election day is tomorrow and it got me thinking about how many people don’t bother to vote either because they don’t like the choices, they don’t think they can make a difference, or they simply don’t care. As a woman, I ponder the impact that Alice Paul and the women’s suffrage movement had on women’s rights. Women were jailed and beaten just up the road from me at what used to be the Occoquan Workhouse (later to be Lorton Federal Prison) in their fight for women to have the vote.
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We appreciate spiders in our family. A large orb weaver lives just outside the front door. Every night when we take the dogs out before going to bed we pause to appreciate the intricate web she’s rewoven. It has a lot to teach us about strength, symmetry, impermanence and beauty. Continue reading »