How To Use Writing To Learn Thinking

I’ve always wanted my kids to be thinkers, not the sort of people who can be led around by the nose by advertisers, politicians, and people in authority. I have been homeschooling since 2003 and my two oldest boys are now 19 and 18 respectively.  They are thinkers.  So I’m going to tell you now how to use writing to learn thinking.  It’s not as hard as it sounds. You do this: Have the child summarize information he’s read into his own words. Write down the summary. Give his opinion of the reading. But the process takes years so here’s the progression in more detail. Start with Narration Narration is an effective technique to use with younger students, up to about 4th grade or until your child can write comfortably on her own. It’s also really simple and requires no preparation for the teacher. All you do is read aloud a … click to read more

Homeschooling an Extrovert

Public school is tailored quite well for extroverts, but homeschool can provide a unique challenge for an extroverted kid.  Extroverts get energy from people, so being home and quietly tending to the tasks of schoolwork can feel draining for an extrovert.  While your introverted child will sit quietly with a book, doing research, and writing thoughts out, your extrovert will likely struggle with the monotony of these quiet tasks.  They’ll likely long for the social life of public school. My husband is an extreme extrovert.  Me?  An ambivert – smack dab in the middle of the introvert/extrovert spectrum.  I have two extroverted kids and two ambiverts like me.  My particular flavor of ambivert is that I like having a changing, stimulating environment, thrive in discussions, and enjoy group gatherings, but I also crave calm, peaceful, alone time and have an intense need for things to be organized and in their … click to read more

Homeschooling An Introvert

homeschooling the introverted child

I am the parent of six introverts.  I am strongly introverted so it’s no surprise that my kids are too.   Homeschooling an introvert is, in general, easier than homeschooling extroverts.  This is because two of the hallmarks of introverts are quietness and a desire to be at home.  Your extroverted children may clamor to go to school for the social life, but your introverted children will probably be much more content with the homeschool lifestyle.  Still there are a few pitfalls of this personality type that the homeschooling parent should watch for. What is an Introvert? An introvert needs quiet, alone time to recharge and feel comfortable and content.  Too much stimulus from their environment and they are going stir-crazy.  It’s like the opposite of cabin fever. Introverts are not necessarily shy.  Shyness is a fear of what other people think and say about you (or what you think they … click to read more

Circuit Training With Kids

Circuit training with kids can be fun for them and you. The stations are short and the pace varies, keeping the interest of kids for the duration. I started doing circuit training with my kids this spring because three of them had Boy Scout merit badges or achievements they were working on for physical fitness.  The first day they whined a bit, but by the end of that first workout they were hooked. Here’s what we do First of all we have five stations each day because there are five of us, the four kids and me.  Then we rotate through the stations. Each rotation takes about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. We vary the stations each day. But every day includes the running portion, that’s a given. The time for each rotation depends on the runner.  When the runner gets done with his course, we move to the next … click to read more

Math Intervention Without A Curriculum

Last week CJ, who is thirteen, threw down his math book in frustration.  He just wasn’t getting it.  Even after I explained it.  Repeatedly.  In as many different ways as I could think of.  Even after watching Khan Academy videos.  Even after switching from Saxon to Life of Fred.  Algebra was just beating him up. Seeing the irreversible signs of frustration that would stop any learning for that day, I told him to put away the book and move to another subject.  I pondered the problem.  A few things occurred to me. Math Understanding Does Not Come Automatically For Most People Math is easy for me now, but it was by far my worst subject in school (except for that pottery class my sophomore year, but we don’t talk about that).  I made Bs in all my math classes from Jr. High pre-algebra to college calculus by doing all the … click to read more

Planning Your Homeschool Year

Before you even begin a homeschool year, the very best gift you can give yourself (and your kids) is a plan.  Whether you are hyper-organized or totally laid back, a basic homeschooling plan will make everything go more smoothly.  My plan gives me overall inspiration, enthusiasm, and an I-can-tackle-it mentality, and also keeps me on track when my inspiration and enthusiasm wane.  Read on to learn about how planning your homeschool year in advance will make all the difference. Set Goals Goals must come first or else planning your homeschool year won’t have any real substance. My plan is all based around the goals I start with at the beginning of each homeschool year.  My goals help direct everything we do.  They are big picture goals, but because I have taken the time to write them down and really think about them, they infiltrate every one of our school days. … click to read more

Lesson Planning With Pinterest

I love using Pinterest to get great homeschooling ideas (probably too much!), but all too often in the past I pinned something great and then forgot all about it until after our unit was over and we were on to other things.  Not anymore though. . . I’ve finally discovered a way for me to effectively do lesson planning with Pinterest, quickly and simply. Lesson Planning With Pinterest Perusing Pinterest is my favorite pastime, but when I’m teaching and learning with my kids I’m rarely online, so the two just didn’t mesh for me.  Here are the three ways I finally made it all click: 1.  I printed my pins. 2.  I began deleting pins and never looked back. 3.  I put the printed pins into our planners and unit books. Printing and deleting may seem counter intuitive to the entire idea of Pinterest, but it was like taking control … click to read more

Book of Years

We keep a Book of Years and add to it at the end of each history unit.  I love teaching history in the right order, and making a Book of Years has helped us to see the overall context of the world and make connections even more. I made our Book of Years using an oversized 11″ x 14″sketchbook.  We used rubber cement to adhere blue card stock to the cover, and then I printed out some cover art I designed to adhere to the card stock.  Here is our printable  Book of Years Cover if you’d like to use it. Next I used a ruler and measured 3 inches down from the top of each page and drew a light line, then cut along it, leaving it attached at the binding. This allows us to record our timeline along the top pages and our entries in the larger bottom section. … click to read more

Illustrated Fact Sheets

An illustrated fact sheet about Turkey. This method can be used to learn facts about anything, not just countries.

An illustrated fact sheet is a good way for kids to absorb and remember facts about a topic without the time commitment of writing an entire report.  Reports are good, but not every single thing you learn needs to be in one. To make an illustrated fact sheet the kids read books or look up information online about the topic and then draw pictures depicting the facts and write captions about each picture. The amount of writing will depend on the age of the students. This is an assignment that be completed in about an hour. Here is an illustrated fact sheet about the country of Turkey, which we’ve been learning about in geography. I made this one as an example so the kids would understand what I expected of their assignment.  After they made theirs we hole punched them and inserted the fact sheets into their notebooks right after the map … click to read more

Why Wikipedia Is the Best Encyclopedia Ever

I’m going to explain why Wikipedia is the best encyclopedia ever in the history of the world, hands down.  You should absolutely encourage your kids to use it for their homework and as a source when writing papers. Vast Author and Expert Resources First of all, Wikipedia articles can technically be edited/written by anybody.  However, when you register to be an author or translator for Wikipedia you actually do have to tell Wikipedia who you really are, they have to have reliable contact information for you, and everything you do on Wikipedia is tracked by them permanently.  Anyone violating their rules is banned for life.  Wikipedia makes great efforts to maintain the credibility of their site.  Not only can Wikipedia see everything you do as an author, but so can everybody else, author or not. More tools are becoming available to monitor Wikipedia authors, such as a Twitter feed that … click to read more