Category Archives: Early Learners

Make Summer Learning Happen!

Make Summer Learning Happen

It is summertime for most of us. The books are closed, and summer break is here! As homeschoolers, we have luxury of understanding that learning can happen anytime, even during the summer. But, what does summer learning look like? Whatever you want it too! There are many ways to let the learning continue throughout the summer.

Science

Let your children explore your backyard, or park if you don’t have a back yard. Let them find things in nature, like twigs, rocks, bugs, flowers or whatever else they find that is interesting. They can gather their items in a bucket or jar and take them home. Let them identify what they found, study it, and let it go back into nature.

Stay up late one night and watch the stars. See if you can find the big dipper or another constellation. Talk about the stars and why you can see them some nights and not others.

Art

There is a fantastic program I found recently called Easy Peasy Homeschool. It is a free comprehensive homeschool curriculum and it is all online. They offer a once a week art lesson that my kids have really enjoyed!

Another good art idea for summer is to have a smorgasbord day. Gather all the art materials you have in your home and let the kids have a free day! See what kind of amazing creations they make J

Take your kids for a walk and let them gather a large rock. Bring it home and paint it. They can make an animal, a person, or another item of their choosing. Just make sure they wash it first!

Reading

Summer reading programs are in full force. Check your local library to see what they offer. Bookstores like Barnes and Noble also tend to offer summer reading programs throughout the summer. If you’re looking for book recommendations check out my Pinterest board for some great books!

History

With 4th of July coming up it is a great time to learn about American History. Check out some books from the library about our founding fathers. Another great resource for American History is Liberty Kids. You can get the complete series for a reasonable price on Amazon.

Talk about your local state history, and visit an area near you that you have never been to before. There are probably untapped resources within an hour or two from your home.

There are many ways to keep learning happening throughout the summer. Learning does not have to happen just during the school year, or only with a textbook. Summer learning can happen any time you want! Just make sure the kiddos don’t realize they are learning while having fun :)

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

 

Over Twelve Great Family Read a Louds

Family Read a louds

Do you want to make sure your child gets the best education they can? Do you want to ensure that your child has a head start in academics? If so, then the most important thing you can do for your child is read to them!

A study completed years ago title, “Becoming a Nation of Readers” found that “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success is reading”. Research has also found that reading is an accrued skill. Meaning that the more you do it, the better you get at it.

Reading to a child at a young age encourages them to read later in life. It becomes a habit, it is engrained in them, and honestly it helps them to develop a love of literature.

So, what are the best read a louds for families? Here are a few of my favorites!

  1. The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  2. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  3. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
  4. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
  5. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  7. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  8. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
  9. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
  10. Stuart Little by A.A. Milne
  11. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  12. Paddington by Michael Bond

These are just a few of some of our families favorite read a louds!

 

 

Homeschooling and Grade Placement

Grade placement in homeschool

I recently shared a shocking homeschool confession post on my blog. In that post, I also shared that I don’t worry about what the grade number is on the front of my children’s books. One of the luxuries of homeschooling is that we don’t have to work on grade level. We can let our kids work at their own pace. This is a luxury for them, and us.

When you first begin homeschooling, you may assume that you can go with whatever grade they “should” be in. But, that is not always the case. I have found that some homeschool curriculums work about a ½-grade level above where our local public schools work. Some curriculum companies work below where our local schools are. You cannot trust the number on the front of a homeschool curriculum and assume it is “grade level appropriate”.

When thinking about where to place your child there are numerous things you can do to properly place them into a curriculum. Check the publishing company’s website and see if they offer grade placement tests. These tests are usually free and can be downloaded onto your computer and printed out. They will likely tell you about where your child should be placed in the publisher’s curriculum.

Another thing you may want to do is see the curriculum in person. This can be done at a convention, through a local homeschool friend who may use the curriculum, or at a curriculum swap and sell. This helps a lot because there may b some material in a curriculum your child has covered, and some they haven’t.

As homeschoolers, we can let our children work at their own pace. They don’t have to worry about what the number on the front of the book says as long as they are mastering the material along the way. Some people do consider grade levels important and where we live we do have to share what grade level our children are in when we turn in our notification. In this case I would consider what grade they WOULD be in if they attended public school. If someone asks my children, what grade they are in they will tell them. This helps in Sunday school classes, Jr church programs, scouts, and sports. Grade levels are not bad; they just aren’t always necessary or accurate when it comes to actual curriculum.

So, when thinking about grade placement for your homeschool child, for record keeping purposes, go with the grade they would be in if they attended public school. For curriculum purposes go with where they place academically and don’t worry about the number on the front of the book! Let them work at their own pace, regardless of what “grade” that may be!

Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

Homeschooling a Reluctant Learner

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Do you have a child who just doesn’t like school? Everything seems like a chore when it comes to learning. They don’t want to do math, reading is a bore, and getting them to sit and concentrate is a near impossible task…. If this is your child, you may have a reluctant learner. Most kids are reluctant in school at some point in their education career, but reluctant learners are different. They really don’t seem to like school. At all.  Here are some tips for homeschooling a reluctant learner.

Debunk the Myth

What is the myth? The myth is that your child doesn’t want to learn. That is not true. All children WANT to learn. Whether it be how to play the new minecraft game, or how to climb the tree they are gazing at out the window. The key is to find out what it is that they WANT to learn.

Slow Down

Don’t push. Really. Who says a child HAS to read at five? If reading is hard, slow down, and pick it up in a few months. Forcing a child to learn something they are not ready for can cause emotional stress on the child, and exasperation for you. Let them work at their own pace. That is the beauty of homeschooling.

Set Goals

What does your child like? Figure that out and set a goal. You can have X for 10 minutes AFTER we finish this page of math. The key is to get them to want to finish their work, in order to move on to the next thing.

You can set bigger goals for the weeks accomplishments. If you finish all your assignments this week, we will have pizza for dinner on Friday. Or something along those lines. Find out what excites them and use it to your advantage.

Get Them Involved

What do they want to learn about? Find out and tailor your lessons around that. Unit studies may be a great approach for the reluctant learner because all the lessons are focused on one topic. I had a friend whose child was fascinated with tornadoes. That is all he wanted to talk about or learn about. So, she did a study on tornadoes, for a MONTH! The science of them, the history of the worst tornadoes, math related to how long they travel, books and spelling lists related to tornadoes, it was a LOT about tornadoes. BUT, he learned, and not reluctantly. Because it was something he was interested in.

Having a reluctant learner can be a challenge, but you can homeschool your child! Find out what interests them, slow down, and get them involved. These tips will help make your days a little smoother.

Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a free Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

 

Finding a Homeschool Group

finding a homeschool group

Homeschool groups can offer homeschoolers numerous benefits. A homeschool group can offer friendships for parents and kids, field trips, co-op classes and even sports groups. Being a part of a homeschool group can also help answer the “What about Socialization?” question.

But, how do you find a homeschool group? I know of a few different ways. I hope that one of these will work for you!

  • Find another homeschooler. This is the easiest way to find a homeschool group. If you don’t know anyone who homeschools, start asking around at the library, family events and talking to your friends. Just about everyone knows someone who homeschools.
  • Check Yahoo or Facebook. Yahoo offers group pages where you can search your area and see what comes up. You can also do a search on Facebook.
  • Go through your statewide support group. Many states offer some sort of statewide support group for homeschoolers. This page has a variety of different groups listed across Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee. If you see a group listed that is not real close to you, but you know where the area is contact the support group leader. They may be able to put you in touch with homeschoolers in your area.
  • If all else fails start one yourself!   I have actually had to do this, and promise you that it can be done! When I first began homeschooling I knew only one other homeschooler. They introduced me to another one, I met another at the park, another at the library and before I knew it we had enough people to have our first field trip. In four years, our group has grown to include over 50 families. And, we live in a fairly rural area J.

What are some benefits to finding a homeschool group? If you are a new homeschooler, those in your group can help you navigate the process. They can help you by letting you “see” curriculum first hand, and telling you what works and hasn’t worked for them. Friendships are also very important to our children; they need to know they are not the only ones out there who are not getting on that big yellow bus.

I truly believe finding a homeschool group is essential to homeschool success. When you have bad homeschool days (which we all have!), it is so helpful to know there is another mom out there having one too. The friendships that you can make with other homeschoolers are priceless. No one else truly understands what it is like to homeschool except homeschoolers.

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.