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September 2013

by Mary Ann Kelley
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Spelling, Literature, Back-to-School List, and More

From the Editor

Welcome to TheHomeSchoolMom newsletter. I’m so excited about our new look — you probably noticed the difference in the newsletter design, but the entire website has been made over as well. I’ve been working with Joy at Five J’s Design for the past several months to redesign and update TheHomeSchoolMom and we have finally launched the new site! With 1,500 pages to redesign and change over to WordPress it was an enormous undertaking, but the result is worth the effort it took. In addition to the new look, we are cleaning up the links, adding new content, and generally polishing and updating the site. I still have lots more content that I want to add, but I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out and I hope you will be too.

Enjoy the newsletter, and be sure to visit the new site!

Warm regards,

Mary Ann Kelley


Teaching Calendar

September 6, 2013 — Pilgrims set sail from Plymouth, England – 1620

September 8, 2013 — International Literacy Day

September 9, 2013 — California Admission Day – 1850

September 11, 2013 — Patriot Day

September 14, 2013 — Frances Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner – 1814

September 14, 2013 — Yom Kippur

View the entire calendar »


Our Sponsor

Homeschool Mom Bible

Don’t Settle for a “One-Box-Fits-All” Curriculum– Try Time4Learning!

Whether you’re a first time homeschooler getting started or a seasoned veteran trying something new, Time4Learning’s unique combination of interactive curriculum, teaching tools, parent resources and family-focused support sets it apart from the “one-box-fits-all” approach. And now that they offer preschool through high school, you’ve got more options than ever for your family! Read more here.

Educational Resources

The Basic Cozy Spelling Course

This free, thirty lesson spelling course has been made available courtesy of Marie Rackham, author and producer of The Basic Cozy Grammar Course and several other language arts courses. The curriculum for the free spelling course was personally used by Marie in the public school system at the grade 7, 8, and 9 levels.

Teachers Pay Teachers

At Teachers Pay Teachers educators to buy, sell, and share their original resources. This link goes to their free page which features regularly changing free downloads, so it’s worth visiting regularly.

How to Find Good Books for Your Kids to Read

This post from Five J’s offers ideas for finding books for your kids with a couple of links to book lists and 3 databases that kind help you find similar books and authors to ones your children like.

Google Lit Trips

Google Lit Trips are free downloadable files that mark the journeys of characters from famous literature on the surface of Google Earth. At each location along the journey there are placemarks with pop-up windows containing a variety of resources including relevant media, thought provoking discussion starters, and links to supplementary information about “real world” references made in that particular portion of the story. In order to use the Lit Trip files, you need to download Google Earth, which is a very cool (free) geography resources in and of itself. Once Google Earth is on your computer, you can open the Lit Trip files to explore the world from the featured book. To get an idea of what one looks like, you can view a video of a Lit Trip for Make Way for Ducklings (if your monitor will allow it, view it in HD at full screen for the be
st view).

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Recent Blog Posts

The Homeschool We Never Thought We’d Have… A Year Later

The Homeschool We Never Thought We'd HaveA year ago, we were thrust into a homeschool we never thought we would experience — learning how to deal with the loss of a child. It has been a tremendously painful education; one we would not have willingly chosen. But, like all education, it has also put us into a better position to be able to understand and navigate this thing called life — and has shaped who we are… for the better.And isn’t that what homeschooling is about? Read more »

My Back-to-Homeschool Campaign

My Back-to-Homeschool CampaignMaybe in your home school, children start school back up, after lots of summer breaks and trips and fun, with excitement and delight. Let’s just say that back-to-school doesn’t look anything like that for us. In our household, even though technically we “do school”throughout the summer to some degree, our August/Septemberish get-down-to-serious-business homeschool re-start is a bit bumpy, to say the least. There is always whining and complaining. Frequently a bunch of “I don’t KNOWs”, even over concepts we’ve gone over many times. Very little patience. Sometimes downright fits.It’s not a pretty sight. Read more »

What Homeschoolers Don’t Need

What Homeschoolers Don't NeedWith back-to-school gearing up everywhere, the lists of school supplies are long. But have no fear. I am here to bring you some much-needed consolation in all of the school-prep hoopla. Because even though there are plenty of things you can buy and do and have to make your homeschool a success, you don’t need to stress. Because the truth is that this homeschooling thing doesn’t have to be complex. This two-part series is here to help you focus on something revolutionary: What homeschoolers don’t need! Read more »

Featured Article

Homeschooling Multiple Children

by Lawrence Williams and DeeDee Hughes

(originally published in Oak Meadow’s educational journal, Living Education, Winter 2009-2010)

Families new to homeschooling often wonder if it is possible to successfully homeschool more than one child at a time. It can seem very daunting! There are always challenges to homeschooling, whether you have one child or several. The trick to homeschooling multiple children, ages or grades with some measure of success and grace can be summed up in one word: organization.

Plan ahead

Planning ahead is one of the best ways to feel ready for a new day guiding busy minds and bodies who are all moving in different directions at once. Many parents develop their daily plan the night before, after the household has settled down, or at some point late in the day when they have a few minutes. Start by thinking over what worked and didn’t work that day, what avenues are worth pursuing again, and which children need work in certain areas. Oak Meadow curriculum is very flexible so that you can guide a specific child to a project that emphasizes a particular skill or focuses on certain knowledge.

Take a look at the curriculum to see what is next and consider which activities are time-specific (weather observations at the same time each day, for example) or need to happen outside the home (community service or library research). Think about what supplies you’ll need, how long each activity will take, and which activities need concentrated attention on your part. Plan what the other children, particularly younger ones, will be doing during that time, and then have a backup plan, just in case!

After you’ve planned the next day’s school schedule — take a deep breath and relax. Trust that the day will unfold in its own way. Flexibility is vital in a family of lively, inquisitive, vibrant little human beings. It’s important to have a plan, both as a starting point and a fallback position, but it’s just as important to be able to let it go if something better comes along. That’s the whole point of homeschooling!

Schedule according to age and temperament

When you are planning your day, you will probably automatically take into account the needs of each child. The baby sleeps from 10:30am–noon, so you know that is a perfect time for the 6th grader to work on math while you sit down and work on reading with the 2nd grader. Or the young children have swim lessons on Tuesday afternoons, so that is your library research time for the older children. Logistics aside, you also know your children, and will quickly be able to see how and when they learn best. Some need to be right in the thick of things — front and center on the kitchen counter — and others need to curl up in a beanbag chair squeezed between the couch and the window. Some children are sharp and ready at 7:00am while others need to come awake slowly and aren’t really ready to think clearly until after lunch. Every child is different and you can use this to your advantage.

Read the rest on »

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