Games as a unit study

I sent this letter to a game designer. As a homeschooling mother, I appreciate this guy's game and the work he does. I don't play the game anymore, but he has captured my son's long-term interest which makes shcooling so much easier.

Read more: Games as a unit study

Castles and Knights and Food

Last summer the kids and I did a unit study on Greece. This summer we're doing the middle ages. We spent one week on history, another on whittling, spinnging, and illuminations, another on feudalism, another on clothes, and one on knights. (One of my sisters asked why we're always making swords and I told her that the Greeks had shields, the Romans had shields, the knights had shields, and Captain America had a shield.) This week, we did food.

Read more: Castles and Knights and Food

Benefits of homeschooling

I frequently receive comments from strangers about how well-behaved my children are. Sometimes it's gratifying, but for the most part, I attribute it to homeschooling and not any super powers I have as a parent. Well behaved children is just one benefit of homeschooling your children. There are more.

Read more: Benefits of homeschooling

Elementary math lessons

Many people fear math. Maybe it was difficult for them or they don't remember their Algebra, and consequently, they might be a little trepidatious regarding math lessons. Here are some fun ways to teach elementary math that you and your children are sure to enjoy.

Read more: Elementary math lessons

Pros and cons of homeschooling

Traditional school and homeschooling are very different. Understand the differences and the pros and cons become more clear.

Read more: Pros and cons of homeschooling

How long should you homeschool?

The kids are homeschooled; they're learning and enjoying the process. How long can we keep doing this? When do we need to stop so the kids can be socialized? The simple answer is that you don't have to stop home schooling. You can, but you don't need to. Here are some things to consider before deciding to stop homeschooling or keep homeschooling your children as they get older.

Read more: How long should you homeschool?

We'll be homeschooling at home

The doc is going to remove the extra bone from my right foot on April 10. I'm told I get six weeks of no weight bearing. I had trouble driving with a boot on my right foot, so I'm just going with the assumption that I won't be able to drive for six weeks.

Read more: We'll be homeschooling at home

Report writing for beginners

Is it time to write your first report? Try not to get too daunted. Think of the report writing process as a fun project and break it into stages.

Read more: Report writing for beginners

The stock assignment

I stopped giving my kids "math" assignments a while back. Worksheets made my dyslexic son cry and don't seem to do anything to help my daughter's understanding of math.

Read more: The stock assignment

How to set up a curriculum

Setting up a curriculum for your homeschooled children is important and it can sound scary. It doesn't have to be difficult, however. There are plenty of complete and economical (and even free) resources available, and most of the work has been done for you already.

Read more: How to set up a curriculum

Great learning resources

A while back I posted about how I gave up on purchased curricula. That hasn't changed. Nevertheless, I'm always on the lookout for cool ways to learn. The Internet has exploded with wonderful, and free, educational opportunities in the last two years. An abundance of knowledge waits for our fingertips to find it.

Read more: Great learning resources

Book Review: Computer Investigation

What do forensic computer specialists do and how do they do it? This book is designed to help middle schoolers decide if computer investigation might be a potential career for them.

Read more: Book Review: Computer Investigation

Why I'm no longer buying curricula

When my daughter was 7, I enrolled her in COVA for the free curricula. COVA provides the K12 curricula to its students. A couple of years with COVA made me totally annoyed with the program, and I didn't want to fork over the dough for the various K12 curricula. So, I stopped using the online public school.

Read more: Why I'm no longer buying curricula

Essential skills my dad made me learn

Even though my siblings and I went to school, my dad had a large hand in our education. He had a list of skills and tasks we had to learn and do before we could leave the house for college. They seemed kind of eclectic growing up, but I have since learned the wisdom of those tasks.

Read more: Essential skills my dad made me learn

Math without worksheets

My kids need to learn math, and I homeschool them. So, it's up to me to teach them. Now, some parents go about this by getting a workbook and textbook and having their kids worth through them, helping them as necessary. I don't do this.

Read more: Math without worksheets

How to handle a subject you don't know that much about

So, I'm working with my kids and it turns out I need to teach them about the French Revolution. Wait a minute, the French had a revolution? Really? How in the world can I teach them about this, when I know nothing about this?

Read more: How to handle a subject you don't know that much about

What and how kids should learn

My dad married my mother right after leaving the Navy. He hadn't obtained his degree yet. He worked on that degree whilst also working a full time job and supporting a wife and three kids. It took him twelve years, and he was mighty proud of that accomplishment. My dad works in aircraft, DoD, and since he isn't an engineer, I'm not sure if that degree ever actually helped him.

Read more: What and how kids should learn

Book Review: Good family books (to read out loud or to listen to in the car)

I love my stories, and my kids do too. We listen to audio books whilst I chauffeur my kids from activity to activity, and the kids get 45 minutes of story-time from their father each night. (As I write this, they are 9 and 11 years old and they still demand story-time. I don't see this changing in the next few years.) Some books work better than others. We've developed a quasi-system to figure out good family books form not-so-good family books.

Read more: Book Review: Good family books (to read out loud or to listen to in the car)

Two homeschool programs my kids are in

While I homeschool my kids, I still want them to experience some classroom time. Mostly, I want this so they understand movies and literature, but it's also good for other reasons. Anyway, these are two homeschool programs that my kids and I are in.

Read more: Two homeschool programs my kids are in

When and how to use videos in your homeschooling

Study after study shows that TV is bad for our kids. We've heard that screen time puts kids in a trance, makes them fat, and even makes them depressed. So, there are educational videos that are great, but should the kids watch them? When do you use videos while educating your kids? Should you use videos at all?

Read more: When and how to use videos in your homeschooling

Disassembling homeschooling

How to give your kids a proper education

As a homeschooling parent, I want to give my kids the best education I can. But what constitutes a good education? Good is a subjective word, so I can tell you what I think constitutes a good education. I think in terms of results.

Read more: How to give your kids a proper education

A liberal math and reading lesson

Homeschooling takes place differently in different families' houses.


Some families duplicate school at home, complete with desks, worksheets, schedules, and chalkboards. (Everything but the chalkboard makes me cringe in that scenario.) 

Read more: A liberal math and reading lesson

Developing social skills

There are many ways to develop and maintain your child's social skills when homeschooled. Note that I said, "develop and maintain social skills." I did not say socialization, which is a different animal.

Read more: Developing social skills

Messes are part of learning

I clean. I mean, I must spent at least two hours a day doing chores. Most of these chores are "maintenance," but I try to throw in one new cleaning project each day. Nevertheless, my house is generally a mess.

Read more: Messes are part of learning

Good educational video games for young children

My homeschooling co-op recently had a discussion about educational video games for kids. Here is a summary of my contributions to that discussion.

Read more: Good educational video games for young children

Get your kids thinking critically with commercials

My family uses TiVo, so we don't come across commercials very often. We're all adept with the forward and play buttons. Even so, the kids occasionally get lazy and see a commercial.

When they first saw commercials these kids could have doubled as a marketer's dream. "Mommy, I want Bendaroos." "Mommy, I need this so I can do that."

Read more: Get your kids thinking critically with commercials

Child safety and the Internet

Twenty years ago I was 16 and starting college. One of the first things I did at college was to find the Internet, and it was great. Chat rooms were newsgroups and to Instant Message someone you had to know a modicum of Unix.

Read more: Child safety and the Internet