Studying scientific current events—or science news—is a good way to help your kids understand that scientists are always learning and revising their understanding. Here are some ways you can follow science news with your kids as a way to help them understand the scientific process. Continue reading »
Topical Learning Ideas
What makes spring? The vernal equinox! Well, at least that’s the term for what’s happening as the Earth’s tilt and revolution around the sun change whether the Northern Hemisphere or the Southern Hemisphere gets the most sunlight. Learning about the vernal equinox is a great way to welcome spring. Continue reading »
Since we’re spending more time at home right now (and I’m a work-from-home mom), it’s vital that we have stuff to keep the kids busy and engaged — and one part of that, for our family, is TV that’s both educational AND entertaining. That is the beauty I’ve found in Disney+. Here are 6 science shows on Disney+ your kids (and you!) will love. Continue reading »
It’s too wet and muddy to go to the playground and as newbs to our state, we just don’t have the proper outdoor gear to enjoy extended periods out in the cold. When it’s gray and dreary and the weather just won’t let up, what’s a mom to do? Move the party indoors, of course! Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
Snowflakes are fascinating to children and adults. They are unique, beautiful, and tiny marvels of nature.
Introduce your children to the fun of cutting paper snowflakes. Instructables has step-by-step text instructions with photos and diagrams to show you how to make six-pointed snowflakes. Six-pointed flakes are the most authentic, since they generally occur in nature with six points.
This YouTube video by The Bookhouse is a great paper snowflake-cutting demonstration that is easy to follow: 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 »
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 »
Working with electronic circuit boards may sound ambitious or advanced, but my kids enjoyed playing with these as part of their science and technology learning when they were in their early elementary years. They learned many concepts about creating circuits from hands-on play, in particular by using a kid-friendly Snap Circuits® Kit from Elenco. 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 »
In my family, interest-based groups have been an important part of homeschooling life. We formed a number of these groups over the years. Some, like a history club made up of eager parents and not-so-eager young children, barely lasted long enough for a few meetings. Others have lasted ten years. The most successful has been our boy’s science club. It was started by five families with nine boys between the ages of seven and eleven. When we began it was highly structured. We met regularly at each other’s homes. Parents took turns planning a project or experiment, got the materials, explained the educational principles underlying the activity, and if things didn’t turn out as planned (actually quite frequently) it was usually a parent who searched for answers. 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 »