Thursday, July 24, 2008

How to Start Homeschooling

Many wonder how they can start homeschooling. What should they do first? Who should they contact? What should they buy?

A good place to start is with your local public library. They often help homeschoolers in a variety of ways. They usually keep a list of local homeschool groups or homeschool associations, too. Call or visit your library, and ask for a list of local homeschool groups or homeschool families.

Once you've spoken with some local homeschool families, you'll find out all you need to know about homeschooling in your area!

What should you buy? Really, you don't need to buy anything! You probably already have all you need right in your home and at your local library.

This summer, as you prepare for the upcoming homeschool year, spend some quality time talking with your children. Ask them what they'd like to learn this coming year -- whether they are 6 years old or 16 years old. Ask them for their ideas on how they might like to learn those things. They can come up with great, imaginative ideas, which we might've never considered.

The best "homeschool tools" are family discussions, imagination, creative thinking, brainstorming ideas, pursuing interesting topics and learning together, online access to educational information, and access to a world of information housed in your local library.

Those are the homeschool tools that make homeschooling successful, continuously interesting, and a joy to look forward to, year after year!

For more on "How to Start Homeschooling", click on our article here: Getting Started Homeschooling.

Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Homeschool Curriculum Activities

I've received many phone calls recently from parents searching for the "best homeschool curriculum."

One of the most important things to keep in mind, regarding a homeschool curriculum, is that homeschooling is NOT "school at home." Homeschooling is a wonderfully enjoyable lifestyle. When you view it as a natural part of everyday living and learning, it will provide highly successful results for your children and your family.

When parents try to turn homeschooling into "school at home" -- with textbook readings, quizzes, tests, endless worksheets -- the benefits of homeschooling quickly fizzle out, resulting in boredom and disinterested children. And, as we know, when children are bored and disinterested, they do not learn.

For the parents who call or e-mail me, seeking the "best homeschool curriculum," I suggest several ideas for them. One suggestion is: The best homeschool curriculum is right outside your door. Step outside and enjoy nature's own Homeschool Curriculum Activities.

Or try some of our Free Daily Homeschool Curriculum Activities here. Just look for the Free Daily Hands-On Activities (beside the red-and-blue hands) on the Home page of our Everything Homeschooling site!

You'll quickly be on your way to an enjoyable, educational homeschool experience that your children will enjoy and learn from!

Happy Homeschooling!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Nature Activities & Exploring Nature

A lot is being said about "nature-deficit disorder" as a result of Richard Louv's book, Last Child in the Woods. As with most books, there are pros and cons, but he does make some good points: "In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy, and privacy." And sadly, as he says, schools today assign more and more homework, which results in less time for exploring nature.

Fortunately, as homeschoolers, we have time on our side. We can spend all day outside, if we like! We can still study math, science, history, English, etc. -- all outside. Or save those subjects for "inside time" and simply get outside and enjoy the fresh air and Nature.

As naturalist John Muir said: "When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."

Here's some Nature Activities:


  • Discover something new in nature each day!
  • Identify trees, birds, insects, or constellations you see
  • Create and keep a Nature Sketchbook of what you see outdoors
  • Capture the colors of Nature with paints, colored pencils, or crayons
  • Make bark art or bark paintings
  • Create a collage with leaf rubbings or bark rubbings
  • Use objects from nature to create a 3D piece of art
  • Find, follow, and identify animal tracks
  • Determine when birds, animals, insects eat, sleep, migrate, hibernate
  • Write about the things you see, hear, smell, and experience in Nature each day!
For more, see our Summer Homeschool Activities and Homeschool Curriculum here.

Learn more about John Muir, here: www.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit

Learn more about the Richard Louv book, Last Child in the Woods, here: http://www.richardlouv.com/

Right now, I'm going outside to see what more I can learn about nature. It never ceases to amaze me!

Happy Homeschooling!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Homeschool Summer Reading

While browsing through some books for Homeschool Summer Reading, I became captivated by reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Indian Boyhood, The Secret Garden, White Fang, The Wind in the Willows -- all online and quickly available for reading in just seconds!

How I would have loved that as a child! Growing up in a rural farming community -- far from libraries and bookstores -- I hungered for literature to read, daily! Hence, I read and re-read cereal boxes intently, junk mail, front and back, and devoured the Reader's Digest when it finally arrived in the mail.

I would've never dreamed that it could be possible to click a button on a machine and have access to all the great literature in the world! Amazing!

You and your children can access all this, too! Here's one site to get you started. Some of the books include illustrations. But make Homeschool Summer Reading even more fun by encouraging your children to create their own illustrations for the books!

Books for Young Readers:

http://etext.virginia.edu/subjects/Young-Readers.html

For more on Homeschool Summer Reading, see our "Books to Read" page on our Everything Homeschooling site.

Books to Read for K-12:

http://www.everythinghomeschooling.com/Reading.aspx

Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Summer Homeschool Activities

Here's some Summer Homeschool Activities your children might enjoy:

  • Earn Free Books with the B&N Summer Reading Program
  • Go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt
  • Build a Playhouse, Treehouse, or Clubhouse
  • Create Fun, Summer Insect Crafts
  • Keep a Summer Scrapbook, Vacation Journal, or Garden Journal
  • Learn about Summer Constellations
  • Make a Summer Time Capsule
  • Do the Hands-On Projects & Science Experiments on our Site

These and dozens more are explained on our Online Homeschool site, under Summer Activities, at http://www.everythinghomeschooling.com/.

Happy Homeschooling!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summertime and the Learning Is Easy

"Summertime... and the livin' is easy...." -- such a nice, relaxing song for the easy-going days of summer.

From the famous musical, Porgy and Bess, it's sometimes called the "Gershwin Lullaby."

For homeschoolers, I like to revise the tune in my mind as:

"Summertime... and the LEARNING is easy!"

Every day provides something new to learn -- and it's so EASY! Just step outside your door, straight into the arms of Mother Nature! The learning naturally begins, simply by being there, soaking up the summertime.

Two more lines from the song "Summertime" are:

"One of these mornings, you're gonna rise up singing,
"You're gonna spread your wings and take the sky...."

Yes, your children are certainly going to spread their wings one day and soar to the sky. With loving parents as their teachers -- and with Summertime as a wonderful learning environment -- they'll soar far and wide when it's time to spread their wings!

Take a Summertime Exploration Hike today. Document all the new things you see and new things you learn with your camera and a Summertime Journal -- complete with notes and hand-drawn sketches!

You can also try some of the Summer Learning Activities on our online homeschooling site
at http://www.everythinghomeschooling.com/!

Happy homeschooling!