When you’re homeschooling your children, you may want to set up a designated study area. Sometimes it’s helpful for kids to be able to separate schooling from the rest of their home life, while other kids can focus just fine from the couch or the kitchen table. I recommend having some are that is quiet and separated as a study area. A lot of parents don’t really know where to start with this and that means they make a lot of simple mistakes with their homeschool area which can have a big impact on their child’s ability to learn. When creating a quiet study space for your homeschool, here are 4 important things to consider when creating a homeschool area.
Meal planning around my busy life, or just being in the kitchen in general, isn’t one of my favorite things, unless I’m preserving the bounty of my garden, or making a new batch of sauerkraut. It’s just not my passion. It’s not my “blue flame” as Jennifer Fulweiler might put it. I get that people enjoy cooking and that it’s a creative outlet for them. I get that people enjoy showcasing this skill for their friends and family. I even have friends who do this and who say, Cooking for my family is how I show my love for them. I don’t get that. If that applied to our home, my meals would say, Dear family, eh, you’re okay, and here are some chicken nuggets to prove my lukewarm feelings for you.
Luckily, I stumbled upon some pretty good tips for healthy meal planning around our busy homeschool life, and I hope that they will help you, too. I’m kidding, of course. I do love to feed my family healthy meals, it’s just that I have to follow these tips and more in order to bring my family healthy food, instead of chicken nuggets.
Good Planning = Extra Time
We eat gluten-free, mostly dairy-free, and a lot of other-things-free, too. We are mindful of eating healthy foods, but the hard part is that it’s just so time consuming making sure that we have these healthy meals and snacks ready for when we need them. And it makes me want to cry if we don’t. The key is to follow a few tips in order to provide you and your family with healthy meals.
Looking for the perfect hands-on spelling (and reading) program? Who isn’t? Here’s my review of the spelling and phonics curriculum called All About Spelling. Before I begin I’d like to tell you a story:
When I was in graduate school there was an ongoing debate among educators regarding what was then called “whole language” which basically meant the teaching of literacy using sight words; immersing kids in print-rich environments; labeling common items around the room and/or home; reading lots of good, quality literature while pointing to the words as we read, and often using “big books”, etc. Sounds like all the things that common sense would warrant, right? But where does the teaching of phonics fit in to this poetic scenario?Ah. Thus the debate.
How Much Phonics Do You Need to Teach?
There were people on either side of this debate of course, and the pendulum would swing one way or another over the next 15+ years as I began my career and watched this debate continue.
Where do I stand? On the fence. Sort of.
Any good teacher knows that one size never fits all and that a combination of teaching methods is often best. That’s where I fell into this debate. If I had to join a rank, I’d join the “whole language” crowd, however, I knew that to efficaciously teach reading and spelling to my students I’d have to use some sort of phonics program.
What if My Children are Natural Spellers and Good Readers Already?
Enter the homeschool. My girls were natural readers. They’re the kind of kids that one might say learned to read on their own with no instruction from me. Is this true? No. This is never true. My children were immersed in a literate environment from the moment they were born. They were immersed in the print-rich environment I speak of, they watched me point to words as we read even when they were still considered babies. They learned to read early and they understood how print works because of the environment.
Since I know that reading and writing go so hand in hand, I did not dissuade my girls from “writing” whenever they wanted to. Because of all that, they were both competent writers early on, and pretty good spellers. My youngest published her first book just before her 16th birthday and studied at The Author Conservatory during her senior year. She’s working on her next book as I edit this post.
But I wanted more for my girls. I wanted them to know the “whys” of the English language. I wanted them to be able to decode words and spell words and understand the underlying workings of spelling.
Is Teaching Phonics Boring?
Simply, I wanted a good curriculum that would teach my girls the way letters, sounds, and phonemes work. I was not looking for a “teach your child to read” curriculum and I definitely did not want a spelling program which had my girls write over and over and over again a list of words in a notebook. All About Learning Press also has a wonderful reading program and I can assure you that neither one of these are boring for you, the teacher, or your students.
All About Spelling incorporates lots of hands-on activities, along with more focused, contracting experiences like writing, but also includes listening for the auditory learner. Any time a child can manipulate and play with words, the learning deepens.
This program is not only for early readers and writers. It begins at level 1, good for beginning writers or those new to the English language but also continues toward high school. This program has also received kudos for helping students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.
The Story Behind the Curriculum
Read about why Marie Ripple created this amazing program in the first place. I think you’ll love her story, and I know your kids will love using the program, and right now, they’re having a 10% off “buy early sale” and they’re doing a giveaway for a $100 gift certificate to be used on anything in their store.
You Probably Won’t Stick to “The Plan”
We homeschoolers have so many inspired ideas when we first begin! Who doesn’t love a new adventure, with a shiny new schedule to go along with it?I promise you, you will go “off course”. You will “follow a different path”. You will get “redirected”. It’s all okay. It’s necessary, and it leads to new adventures and new opportunities.
Consider This Fictitious Day
* 8:30 You and your children begin the day with stretching, exercise and/or prayer time. Everyone is smiling and well-rested. The bigger kids help make smoothie bowls for breakfast at 8:30 am while their younger siblings clean up their toys. Breakfast is followed by journal writing and free reading. Your group history lesson begins at 10:00 followed by a snack (which the kids prepare themselves) and a short free-play or free-time session for everyone until exactly 10:45, which leaves just enough time to fit in some handwriting practice before it’s time to involve the kids in preparing a healthy lunch. (more…)
One in Five Children in the US Has a Learning Difficulty
Did you know that one in five children in the United States has a learning difficulty such as dyslexia or ADHD. These challenges can make
children feel inadequate, misunderstood, and frustrated, yet – if harnessed correctly – they can also be viewed as beneficial and consequently empower the kids who live with them.
As an educator of over two decades and as a homeschool consultant for over a decade, I have worked with many students with learning difficulties. I am always looking for new information to learn new ways of helping my students and families, so when I had the opportunity to interview Don Winn, author, dyslexia advocate, and dyslexic himself, I jumped at the opportunity!
If you are not familiar with Don Winn, you are in for a treat. Winn is a multiple-award winning author of thirteen picture books and the Sir Kaye the Boy Knight series of novels for independent readers. As a dyslexic himself, he frequently addresses parents and educators on how to maximize the value of shared reading and how to help dyslexics and other struggling readers to learn to love to read.
In addition to his latest picture book, There’s a Monkey in My Backpack!, Winn’s first non-fiction book, Raising a Child With Dyslexia: What Every Parent Needs to Know is forthcoming this fall. Find out more on www.donwinn.com
Enter to Win Don Winn’s Newest Book
*This giveaway has ended
In the clever and truly helpful new book There’s a Monkey in My Backpack!, Winn explores how learning difficulties affect kids in a unique way that helps children and those who care for them to better understand their challenges. Winn writes from his personal experience as a lifelong dyslexic reader and writer.
There’s a Monkey in My Backpack! follows Anna, a third-grade student who has an unusual companion – a monkey in her backpack! Not everyone can see him, but he causes a whole lot of trouble for Anna by mixing up her spelling letters, distracting her in class, and making it hard for her to keep up with her schoolwork. He causes so many problems for Anna that she wonders if she will ever make it to the end of third grade with the other children. But she learns that her troublesome monkey can also be a big help to her if she learns to understand, accept, and appreciate her unique situation.
Enter to win this book below!
Winn Answers Our Questions About Dyslexia in this Q&A
Q. What are the early signs of dyslexia and what should parents do if they suspect their child has dyslexia? Also, What type of testing is done to confirm that a child has dyslexia, and can this be done at home by me, the parent? (more…)
The Homeschool Buyer Co-op is a free homeschooling organization for both new and veteran homeschoolers. Co-op membership is free and confidential, and entitles homeschooling families to GroupBuy discounts on high-quality curriculum. On the site you’ll find lots of free information, such as databases of free curriculum, field trips, and educational contests and scholarships. Highly recommended. Click here for more information and to sign up!There are tons of freebies for the summer. Many of them are 7-day trials, which is great for summer!