Category Archives: Lesson Plans

Beyond the Lesson Book: Pets

Pets with Homeschooler

One of the best things about home education is that it opens opportunities for learning that simply can not fit more traditional schedules.  We will take a regular look at some irregular ways to maximize learning opportunities.   Pets are a great place to start.  Certainly I understand that children in public school have pets.  I also understand that time shortages exist.  Our lifestyle lends itself to getting the most out of every experience!

In a homeschool setting, the responsibility for caring for a pet covers a much broader spectrum than simply seeing him a few hours a day.  Housetraining a puppy is an all-day proposition and waiting is not an option for a puppy.  Both necessary tasks (I.e. English) and fun times (I.e. TV shows) alike bow to the needs of a puppy.  Managing interruptions, sacrificing time, putting another (even if it is a four-legged other) are critical character concerns a puppy can teach.  As a child ages, even night-time needs can become their challenge…a slow start in the morning will not upset the entire day!

The freedom to delve deeper into a topic offers great education possibilities.  Over the years, the additions of new pets to our home have initiated many school projects.  Researching breed characteristics (of dogs, horses, rabbits and even chickens) honed research and report skills.  Persuasive writing techniques blossomed with a disagreement on which breed of dog we should purchase.  Lessons on compromise presented themselves as well.  Biology understanding deepened with a look at horse genetics.  Catching a love of learning involves being interested in what you are learning.  Pets are a terrific tool for planting seeds of learning excitement.

Even physical fitness requirements can flow into and out of a pet.  Building dog agility or horse-back riding into the school day accomplishes much more than just meeting state mandates for physical education.  The homeschool lifestyle is a course study in flexibility, individual passion and creativity.  Enjoy the uniqueness of your children and your family as you accomplish the over-arching goal of education. 

-Billie Jo

Freedom of Structure

Parent Teaching Child Lesson Plan

Often freedom is mistakenly perceived as being without bounds of any type.  An absence of any bounds is anarchy and chaos which is neither productive nor realistic.  True freedom allows individual choice and the pursuit of goals set by the individual.  That sort of freedom is the aim of every home educator. 

One great tool that creates freedom within our home schools is a schedule. Like a budget, a schedule is simply a framework.  A budget guides money spending; a schedule guides time spending.  It allows the parent and student to visualize what needs to be accomplished each week–and make adjustments as life happens.  It is so freeing to make decisions based on rightly-determined priorities without stockpiling a to-do list that will drown you in the future.

Setting up a schedule is not terribly time-consuming.  Once the curriculums for the year have been chosen, simply calculate the page numbers of each text and divide by the days (or the weeks) in your school year.  A weekly review helps you evaluate progress and make adjustments as the year unrolls.  Some students prefer to do every subject, every day; others prefer to vary their school week.  Help your students assume responsibility for making the scheduling decisions as they get older–but help them be realistic and keep them accountable.  Great lessons in goal-setting, perseverance and the joy of success come with this simple aspect of the home school lifestyle.

 Home education is not freedom without constraint.  As home educators we desire to be free from the control of government-determined goals and curriculums.  We desire to be free to educate our children in the manner suited to them and in accordance with the demands they will face in the future.  A schedule or program of education is a tremendous asset in accomplishing home education goals. 

Guide To Attending a Homeschool Expo

Have you stayed away from the Homeschool Expo just because of the magnitude of it all?  Looking at the listing of workshops or a peak into the exhibit hall can give you a deer in the headlights look!  Where do you start?

  • Plan ahead by reading about the available workshops and making a note of when it will be held.  If there are two you want to attend at the same time, consider which would be best to attend and get the other on CD.  If you go with a friend or a spouse, you can each attend one and share notes afterwards.
  • Have a list of curriculum you want to look over.  Plan on taking the time you need and ask the exhibitors your questions.
  • Know your prices.  If you buy at the conference it will save on shipping, but you will want to have some kind of luggage or cart on wheels to save your strength.
  • Do you have a budget?  If you do, don’t spend it all at once!  The school year is long and you will probably need something else before the year is out.

Attending the Homeschool Expo is educational and exciting.  The workshops and exhibitors are there for you.  You might also want to consider Homeschooling for Excellence, a one day conference for beginning homeschoolers.

http://www.southeasthomeschoolexpo.com/homeschooling-101

Science Supersite for all Homeschoolers

This is one of the true supersites for education.  Take the time to learn how to use this site, you will be very impressed.

http://www.sciencenetlinks.com/ Providing a wealth of lessons, tools, and resources for K-12 science educators, Science NetLinks is your guide to meaningful standards-based Internet experiences for students.

Gigantic Website for Homeschool Math Language Arts etc.

This is such a large website, it would take a long, long time to go through all the great learning items.  Take a little time to learn your way around this important educational website.

http://thinkfinity.org/ Gigantic Website…Thousands of Free Lesson Plans in Math Social Studies Art Language Arts