Whose Grade Level Is It Anyway?

Hang out with homeschoolers long enough and you’ll hear talk of grade levels. Your kid’s reading at a grade three level. Mine is doing things that are part of grade five science, and she’s only in kindergarten. As per usual with parents, we don’t tend to highlight when our kids are underachieving, so most of the conversation tends to focus on how divergent our kids are from the norm of the school system, how much farther ahead they are in certain areas. As a parent of a kid who is above average, below average, and distinctly average in different areas, … Continue reading

Discovering New Places: The Really Big Field Trip

This month, we went on a Really Big Field Trip to Costa Rica. It was wet, it was windy, it was…well, the weather was actually quite similar to our usual weather in the Pacific Northwest, except that it was a lot lighter and a fair bit warmer. Being in a new environment is another big part of going on a Really Big Field Trip. A lot of what I value about travel is the physical memory of being in a place. It’s not always about the culture. It’s also about the feeling of standing in a certain place and getting … Continue reading

Beginning Homeschooling Again

Many people are deciding to homeschool this year after taking a hiatus and having homeschooling in the past and then putting their kids in school. They may have homeschooled two years ago. They may have homeschooled six years ago. Regardless of past experience, they may have questions as to where to start. This uncertainty is for a good reason. Homeschooling is growing at such and incredible rate that a great many things change from year to year. Each year there are new curriculums, there are new approaches, and there is new technology that a homeschooler can use, so starting again … Continue reading

A Unit Study Starter on the Vikings

The Vikings are a very interesting people to study in part because so much of their history is related to them pillaging and thieving from other peoples. They were particularly fond of picking on monasteries–presumably because monks were not so feisty. However, if you read extensively on the Vikings, what you discover is that they were a deeply family oriented people. They were also fairly religious although it’s notable that they stopped raiding surrounding areas when they converted to Christianity. Here are a few ideas for studying the Vikings. Geography Vikings, as you probably are aware are from the Northern … Continue reading

Snowball Launchers, Giant-Pumpkin Growers, and Other Cool Contraptions – Tom Fox

Snowball Launchers, Giant-Pumpkin Growers and Other Cool Contraptions by Tom Fox really does have cool contraptions. Yet I hesitate to show the book to my children. Most of these are not instant projects. Most of them would require a trip to the hardware and maybe the electrical parts store. I do think they would they would be worth the effort. These projects are just the types of things to capture the imagination. There are directions for creating a secret drawer lock that can only be opened by passing a 9 volt battery in front of it! Another project is building … Continue reading

Curriculum Shopping Strategies: What Do You Teach Poorly?

Now is the time of year when conventions are just around the corner and many of us are looking around for the next thing to buy. For me, I’m looking for a science curriculum and have been comparing, pricing, considering and contemplating for at least a few weeks. I’ve narrowed it down to just five. (I started out with just six so I’m not getting very far.) I figured it was a good time to start thinking about how you’re going to tackle purchasing your curriculum this year because it can be one of the more major decisions that we … Continue reading

The Real Problem with Homeschooling

I’ve only been homeschooling for a few years. . .my oldest is in third grade. But like all homeschoolers, I’ve heard my fair share of objections. I’m either unqualified (because you know, colors, numbers and shapes are so hard to master) or my children will be behind socially. I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that we’re misfits and I’m okay with that on a personal level. However, it has always bothered me on a more philosophical level. I mean, we live in a society that is pretty much “live and let live.” No one wants to be told how to … Continue reading

A Response to the NEA’s 2007-2008 Homeschooling Resolution

The NEA, for those of you who don’t know, is the National Education Association. And every year, they pass a set of resolutions as the ’experts’ in education. To be fair, this is one itsy bitsy tiny piece of their entire resolution. In short, they are against home schooling and always have been. They are so against home schooling in fact, that they’re willing to tout an article, written by a janitor, as good reasons not to home educate their child. But I digress. Below is this year’s resolution, and my response. B-75. Home Schooling The National Education Association believes … Continue reading

Teaching Foreign Languages: What the Research Really Says

This series is a take off from one of Andrea’s blogs. In my intro I mentioned some reasons why homeschoolers tend to shy away from teaching their child a foreign language It is a difficult subject to tackle if you don’t have the background. However, I also mentioned that one problem is many of the myths that surround teaching your child a foreign language. I went to a home schooling conference where I saw several curriculums for sale all touting similar benefits. They were all supposedly backed by research. Truth be told, I’ve yet to find something that is actually … Continue reading

Baby Blog Week in Review: May 8 to May 27

Oops! The last few weekends have been filled with craziness and I have simply forgotten to do my week in review blogs! Between homeschooling conventions, a bout with croup, and year end activities–the time (and my brain) just escaped from me. So if you’ve missed anything recently. . .it’s here! Saturday, May 26 Babies Have Astounding Capabilities Scientists and researchers are learning more and more about how babies learn language. It’s changing the way we define intelligent and challenging our beliefs on the best ways to enhance development. Friday, May 25 Preemies Listening to Vivaldi? Check out this exciting research … Continue reading