Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Avoid Homeschool Burnout

Your family can avoid homeschool burnout by discussing what is still enjoyable each day and what is not.

Try these tips to reduce the chance of burnout in your homeschool:
  • Discuss what is working and what is not. Ask for suggestions and ideas to inspire and motivate learning.
  • Determine the ways your children learn best and use those learning methods.
  • Add more flexibility to your homeschool days, and take advantage of spontaneous learning opportunities.
  • Avoid over-scheduling your days. You need a good balance of quiet activities with the busy activities.
  • Add more fun and laughter to your homeschool lessons and homeschool activities.
  • Set aside homeschool curriculum packages or programs that are not interesting to your children. (If your children aren't interested, they won't learn as well.)
  • Switch from "busy-work" -- such as worksheets, writing assignments, or dull reading assignments -- to fun, hands-on learning projects and science experiments.
  • Try unit studies or "unschooling" for a while, rather than traditional subjects. Remember that "homeschool" is not "school at home." Experiment with different learning methods.
  • Ask children what they would like to learn this week, this month, this year. Encourage them to find and share fun ways to learn those things.
  • Take field trips to the library and allow children to check out books that appeal to them. Also guide them in selecting informative books that look interesting. Use those books as the backbone of your daily learning, and discuss the books you read.
  • Use arts and crafts as an excellent way to reinforce learning and to complement the topics you read, study, or explore.
  • Find online homeschool activities that promote family learning projects. Many interesting projects and activities are available at www.EverythingHomeschooling.com.
  • Reduce stress by lowering your expectations. Try not to do so much each day. Get support and help from others.
  • Have children record their daily lessons in their homeschool logs, organize their homeschool books and supplies, and clean up after homeschool experiments or learning projects.
  • Ask family members to help with daily chores around the home and to be responsible for specific aspects of the homeschool day.
  • Take time for yourself to relax and unwind. Spend at least an hour each day on something you especially enjoy, such as reading, painting, knitting, or sitting in the sunshine.
When you are rested, refreshed, and recharged, homeschooling will be easier, and children will be happier and will learn more!

Happy homeschooling!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Start Homeschooling + Homeschool Activities + Unschooling Ideas

During the Christmas break, many families once again consider homeschooling. Here's a few things to keep in mind:

One of the first things you'll want to do is give your children some "down time" to decompress and to relax, after being in the school environment. There's no need to jump right into lessons today, or this week, or even next week. Just relax and enjoy being together.

Have lots of interesting discussions with your children, find out what their current interests are, and basically reconnect with who they are today. Ask for their ideas on things they'd like to learn, hobbies they'd like to try, things they'd like to build or create, etc.

Many children have lost the ability to think for themselves, after being in school. So allow them the freedom to relax for a while, to think for themselves, and to consider all the possibilities and opportunities now open to them, as a result of homeschooling.

Always keep in mind that homeschooling is not "school at home." Homeschooling is simply living and learning each day, in ways that are interesting for your child and fit your child's individual learning styles and goals. Yes, there will need to be some structure and organization to your days eventually, but focus on the above, first.

Other things, such as cursive writing and multiplication tables, can and will be learned in time. But, first, redeveloping a real interest and joy in learning is important for the child who has been in a school environment.

For lots of homeschool activities, homeschool lessons, unschooling ideas, and homeschool information, please visit us at www.EverythingHomeschooling.com.

Happy homeschooling!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Educational Christmas Gifts for Children

The holiday shopping frenzy is underway, and many are wondering: What are good gift ideas for children?

Toys or games that stimulate creative thinking, wonderment and discovery, artistic skills, and motor skills are always enjoyed by children.

- Creative Thinking Toys: These can include building and construction toys, such as LEGO's sets, Hexabits sets, Superstructs sets, ZOOB sets, Gears building sets, LaQ construction medium, Dado Squares, Quadrilla marble sets, Frigits marble sets, Kapla building sets, Zome building systems, Uberstix sets, Wedgits sets, GeoMag sets, PixelBlocks, K'Nex, Capsela, and the traditional Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets, TinkerToys, and Wooden Building Blocks.

- Wonderment & Discovery Toys: Chemistry sets, microscopes, telescopes, erupting volcanoes, tornado tubes, storybooks, adventure books, ant habitats, Sea-Monkeys, butterfly gardens, Magnetic Space Puzzle, Science Magnets, Solar Robots, Solar Cars, Terrariums, Plant-growing sets, Snap Circuits sets, Physics Workshop, and other science sets and activity books.

- Artistic Skills: Art & craft supplies, finger paints, watercolor sets, paint-by-numbers, Crayola sets, scrapbook kits, Fractiles, mosaic art kits, stained glass kits, pottery and sculpting sets, Nature-Sketching Journals, fashion-design kits, car-design kits, mask-making kits, Play-Doh, clay, Rock Painting, sidewalk chalk, Colorforms, model kits, EZ Build Projects, easels, chalkboards, yarn crafts, beading sets, paper doll collections, wire figure kits, I Can Play Guitar, drums, keyboards, hand bells, xylophone, rain sticks, recorders, and other musical instruments and art supplies suitable for your child's age.

- Motor Skills: Marble shooting games, Tiddlywinks, Jacks sets, Pick-Up Sticks, juggling sets, jump ropes, Hula Hoops, yo-yos, Sensory Balls, Cranium Hullabaloo, magnetic Dart boards, magnetic toys, puppets, Pogo stick, Hopscotch, Maze games, beading sets, jigsaw puzzles, pretend play sets and figures.

For more Educational Christmas Gift Ideas for Children, browse sites such as FatBrainToys.com and DiscoverThis.com.

For Daily and Weekly Educational Activities, visit www.EverythingHomeschooling.com.

Happy homeschooling!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekly Homeschool Lessons & Homeschool Activities

How do you find weekly homeschool lessons to keep your children actively involved in learning each day? New Weekly Homeschool Lessons are provided every week at www.EverythingHomeschooling.com.

It's simple, easy homeschooling, designed to make your homeschool run smoothly every day. It's a huge time-savings for you, too! The homeschool lessons and the homeschool activities are right there at your fingertips, any time, day or night! The research has been done for you, and your children can start learning and exploring right away, in a fun, interesting way.

At www.EverythingHomeschooling.com, just click on the appropriate grade level for your child, by selecting Grades K-2, or Grades 3-8, or Grades 8-12 Weekly Lessons, in the menu on the left of the page. You'll then have thousands of homeschool activities available to you and your children.

In addition, there are Hands-On Activities, Homeschool Unit Studies, Virtual Field Trips, Writing Activities, Creative Thinking Activities, Unschooling Activities, Book Lists for Homeschoolers, Weekly Challenges, Science Experiments for all ages, and much more.

The site is there to make your homeschool experiences enjoyable, educational, and successful! Don't miss it!

Happy homeschooling!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Online Curriculum for Homeschooling

An online homeschool curriculum should be easy-to-use, interesting and educational, very inexpensive, and not an off-shoot of a public school system.

Remember -- repeat often -- "Homeschool is not school-at-home!"

Homeschool is a "learning lifestyle" -- fun, enjoyable, stimulating, flexible, full of variety, full of new adventures and new learning experiences -- just like life itself.

When one tries to turn homeschool into "school at home," the homeschool experience and the benefits quickly disappoint and disintegrate. Those who deny this fact, will see it play out before their very eyes. And then say, "Homeschooling didn't work for us" or "Homeschool wasn't right for us."

Actually, homeschool can and will work for everyone, and it can be right for anyone. It just requires a little "opening up" of the mind, to understand that it is not school-at-home. It cannot be "run" like a "school-at-home."

Often, parents will try to seek the perfect homeschool curriculum, trying to emulate the schools. This can result in a failed homeschool experience, simply because -- Why? That's right! -- "homeschool is not school-at-home!"

In addition, it can be a very costly mistake! Before looking at a curriculum, look to your children. See how they learn best, see what they want to learn, see where their interests lie. Then you will begin on the path to a truly successful educational experience!

Yes, your children will want and need knowledge. And, yes, you and they will want some guidance. But that "guidance" should not be costly, nor boring!

We can easily help you with a successful, educational homeschool experience, through the online Curriculum Guidelines that we provide.

Plus, we include fun, interesting Daily Homeschool Activities and Weekly Homeschool Lessons that support homeschool curriculum guidelines. And we go even further, by providing Weekly Challenges, Hands-On Projects and Experiments, Artistic Endeavors, Life Skills, and much more -- in ways that children and teens enjoy and remember!

Never hesitate to ask us for assistance. Visit our Online Curriculum Guidelines, Daily Homeschool Activities, and Weekly Homeschool Lessons at www.EverythingHomeschooling.com.

We are always here to help homeschool families, and to ensure that online homeschooling is easy-to-use, interesting and educational, and very inexpensive!

Happy homeschooling!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Creating Homeschool Lessons & Homeschool Activities

It's not difficult to create Homeschool Lessons or Homeschool Activities. It starts with "wondering" and "thinking."

These are two critical abilities that some people "don't have time for" in their busy days. But it's imperative that people shift their priorities, so that they do, indeed, have plenty of time for wondering and thinking about a wide variety of topics each day. Especially homeschool families!

What is it that sets human beings apart from animals? "Wondering" and "thinking" are a couple of those elements that distinguish humans from animals.

Right there is a Homeschool Lesson, in itself. For your Homeschool Activities today, have children think of how many ways humans and animals differ from each other. Have them look at and compare pictures of both, research and consider instincts of both, wonder and think about the qualities of each species. Then write a descriptive paper on what they learned, along with drawings and illustrations, depicting some of the differences between humans and animals.

Wonder. Think. This is how Homeschool Lessons and Homeschool Activities are created, and enjoyed, and learned from.

Brainstorm with your children on more ideas that THEY would like to learn about. And, for more ideas and encouragement for your homeschool, be sure to visit www.EverythingHomeschooling.com!

Happy homeschooling!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Remove Child from School

About six weeks into the school year, I begin getting e-mails from parents who want to remove their child from school.

"My son is having problems in school. Can I take him out?"

"My daughter is being harassed in school. Can I withdraw her from school?"

Yes, and yes. No child HAS to go to a certain school. Every child CAN be educated at home.

So that you'll know your homeschool laws, check with your state's Department of Education. Don't rely upon information from your school or from the local school district. Call your state's Department of Education and request to speak with the Homeschool Department. (Every state Department of Education has a Homeschool Division.)

Armed with the information you receive from them, write a letter to your son's or daughter's school and explain that you are withdrawing them from school. There is no need to explain why, or to get into a lengthy discussion at your child's school, or try to "defend" your decision. At the same time, if you need to submit an "Intent to Homeschool" notice to your school's superintendent, you can do so. (The homeschool information you receive from the Dept. of Ed. will tell you if a Notice needs to be filed or not.)

Caution: If you start feeling overwhelmed by the legalese contained in the packet of homeschool information you receive from the State, don't let it bother you. Call your local homeschool support group, and they will explain what you need to do. It's truly much simpler than it sounds!

Once you have removed your child from the school system, the fun begins! And so does the learning! You'll be amazed at how much enthusiasm your child will begin showing for learning!

But FIRST, he or she will need to "decompress." This is a very important step that falls between the removal of your child from school and the beginning of the homeschool adventure.

Children are "conditioned" to function in a certain manner in school settings. When they are taken out of school, they need time to get used to NOT going to school. They need time to begin viewing their home as a place where their education will continue. They need to get a feel for how their days will play out in their home. They need a couple weeks -- sometimes more -- to get used to their new routine.

Don't worry. Your child won't "fall behind" during this decompression time. Many homeschoolers finish their homeschool year in half the time of a regular school year!

So go ahead, find out your state laws and withdraw your child from school. Then let the fun and learning begin!

If you need help or guidance, just visit us at www.EverythingHomeschooling.com.

Happy homeschooling!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Homeschool Lessons Online

We've found that our homeschool lessons online provide the homeschool activities and homeschool learning that's easy for parents, yet challenging, interesting, and always educational for children and teens!

In one convenient location, we provide everything you need to succeed in your homeschool, at: www.EverythingHomeschooling.com!

Here, you'll get Weekly Lessons for All Subjects for Grades K-12, plus Daily Homeschool Activities -- for All Year! In addition, you'll get over a year's worth of Science Experiments, Hands-On Projects, Arts, Crafts, & Music Activities, Weekly Challenges, Unit Studies, Virtual Field Trips, Homeschool Help, and much more.

And, if you have older or younger children, there's the Teens Place and the Preschool Place, just for them!

With the simple-to-use format that busy homeschool families love, our Everything Homeschooling site is a huge hit! The many testimonials, alone, explain why homeschool families thoroughly enjoy homeschooling with our weekly homeschool lessons online.

It's a New Homeschool Year! Don't get Left Behind! Visit us today at www.EverythingHomeschooling.com, and contact us with any questions you have!

Happy homeschooling!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Homeschool Experiences for New Homeschool Book

We are looking for YOUR homeschool stories and YOUR input for the new, 2nd Edition of "The Everything Homeschooling Book."

This book will be totally updated with fresh, new information on ALL aspects of homeschooling!

The following 3 areas are of particular interest, and we hope YOU and your families can contribute:

1. What homeschool information is most important to YOU, in regards to homeschooling? What do you most want to find in a book on homeschooling? Please e-mail me and let me know!

2. What are some of the "ah-ha!" moments you and your family have experienced in YOUR homeschool adventures? What surprised you? What delighted you? What inspired you? Share your homeschooling experiences!

3. What are YOUR adult homeschooled children doing today? This is one of the most fascinating chapters of "The Everything Homeschooling Book" -- descriptions of real home-educated young people and what they're doing in their lives today. Please share these experiences, too!

You may e-mail me at Sherri@EverythingHomeschooling.com to share your ideas, insight, and homeschool experiences. My publisher needs to have the book in their hands within the next couple months, so please send your stories and experiences within the next few weeks!

We hope to include as many personal experiences as possible in the newly updated version of our book. It's a wonderful way to help other homeschool families now and in the future! (Names can and will be kept private, depending upon your preference.)

We're looking forward to hearing from all of you! And looking forward to YOUR wants and needs regarding homeschooling, YOUR special "ah-ha!" moments, and the success stories or adventures of YOUR adult children who were homeschooled.

Remember: Visit us each day at www.EverythingHomeschooling.com for fresh, new homeschool activities and weekly homeschool lessons!

Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Daily Homeschool Activities

Homeschooling is most successful when it's kept interesting and challenging through daily homeschool activities.

Your children are your best source for learning ideas that interest them -- learning ideas that they want to pursue. When children (or adults) want to learn something, that's when the greatest learning takes place.

Remember to ask your children each day what they'd like to learn that day. Then, together, explore the resources that help them learn those things.

Our www.EverythingHomeschooling.com site provides a multitude of daily learning activities. On our Home page, simply click the "Daily Homeschool Activities" link at the top of the page, under the heading "Most Popular on Our Site."

You and your children will then be able to take a Virtual Field Trip along the Transcontinental Railroad and learn the history of the railroad and about the "boxcar children."

In addition, you can learn about a variety of other interesting topics, such as insects, owls, hummingbirds, squirrels, spider webs, and more.

You can also visit our Monthly Educational Activities Calendar for daily activities based on historic events of that day.

Or take off on more Virtual Field Trips, experiment with a variety of Hands-On Activities and science projects, try the Weekly Challenges and Unit Studies, select some of the Books to Read suggestions, and explore the newly updated Unschooling Activities.

Our Weekly Lessons for grades K-12 are added each week, plus over 1,000 activities from last year's 2007-2008 Weekly Lessons are still available!

With so many homeschool activities, homeschool lessons, and guidelines for homeschool curriculum, your children will always have interesting and challenging educational activities to keep them learning and loving it every day!

Remember to visit us each day at www.EverythingHomeschooling.com for fresh, new homeschool activities!

Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back to "HomeSchool"

August is "Back to School" month for some. For homeschoolers, it could be viewed as "Back to Homeschool" month.

However you think of it, one of the most important things to remember about homeschooling is that it's not "school at home."

Homeschool parents are scrambling right now to find the "perfect" homeschool supplies, the "most educational" curriculum, and some are even seeking teachers to teach their homeschooler and to grade assignments!

Please, parents, remember WHY you are homeschooling!

The reasons are varied, and each family has their own educational goals, objectives, and philosophies. Most reasons to homeschool have to do with family values, social issues, faith, flexibility, one-on-one learning, higher academic achievement, natural learning, unschooling as a way of life, and so on.

Whatever your reasons, avoid turning your homeschool adventures into a "school at home!"

For lots of fun and interesting homeschool activities, weekly learning ideas, reading suggestions, hands-on projects, thinking activities, and more, remember to visit us at www.EverythingHomeschooling.com.

Happy Homeschooling!

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:


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

Books to Read for K-12:


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!