Homeschooling is boring, your child is resistant, the curriculum seems “complete” but moves on quickly and without depth. You can improve this kind of homeschool experience by opening yourself to following the rabbit trails. What are rabbit trails? They are the paths you make as you help your child follow an interest or a question from one resource to the next. Continue reading »
Do you use educational podcasts for homeschooling? If not, you should! Podcasts are a great way for homeschoolers to explore a variety of topics and current events. Podcasts can be easily integrated into nearly all subject areas. Depending on the podcast platform you're using, you can search for topics, people, events, etc. We've recently had some great conversations about the Loch Ness Monster, Amelia Earhart, and King Arthur. Continue reading »
What do you get when your child combines a unit study and notebooking with a blog?
You get the homeschool version of a Virtual Learning Environment (a fancy way of saying learning that is enhanced by the Internet).
Homeschooling parents can use what they already know about unit studies and notebooking to have their children create their own unit study blogs on specific topics -- their own VLE's. 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 »
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 »
Everyone has a comment on the increasing popularity of homeschooling. When I talk to people about homeschooling, they frequently mention the availability of "so much curriculum these days," as if that is the single most important factor in being able to homeschool. Non-homeschoolers, prospective homeschoolers, and new homeschoolers seem surprised that many homeschoolers use learning materials that are not, strictly speaking, part of a homeschool curriculum. There are many reasons why people use other learning resources instead of curriculum. Continue reading »
Our KONOS page has links to resource pages on THSM divided by character trait and unit. Continue reading »
Unit studies are a popular homeschooling method because they can be hands-on, literature-based, or even geared towards the Charlotte Mason method. Unit Studies typically encompass all of the scholastic subjects through the study of one topic (Weaver units or KONOS character units, for example), although they can be specific to a specific subject (like Evan-Moor science units or Teacher Created Materials units). Since it is easier to teach different ages the same topics with multi-level unit studies, they are popular among homeschoolers wanting to keep all of their children on similar topics at the same time. Continue reading »
Timelines offer students the ability to visually process overlapping and chronological events in history, relating them in a way that is more difficult to perceive through reading. Timelines in the homeschool are a valuable tool to relate subjects together and view historical events as interrelated. Continue reading »
Notebooking and lapbooking are closely related. Notebooking is a bit simpler, with the information inserted into simple 3-ring binders instead of put into the more elaborate lapbooks. Notebooks are put together using maps, lab reports, scrapbook pages, worksheet pages, drawings, essays, timelines, and any other relevant work that your child creates. Continue reading »
Lapbooks are paper manipulatives using file folders in which the student stores creative summaries of their work. The concept is similar to notebooking and some notebooking resources can be used in lapbooks, but the concepts do differ. Lapbooks are more than just notebooks with collections of worksheets, they are diagrams, minute books, and other paper manipulatives customized to emphasize the subject of the lapbook. Continue reading »
Unit studies, sometimes called thematic units or integrated studies, are very popular with homeschoolers. Unit studies usually use a hands-on approach for effective learning. The child learns by actually experiencing or discovering through different methods and activities, rather than just reading a chapter from a textbook. Studies show that children using unit-study methods retain 45% more than those using a traditional approach. Continue reading »