Faithful or Adventurous Curriculum User?

I often hear homeschoolers ask others which curriculum they use, and I’ve answered such questions, but I wonder if my answers are misleading. For example, I told someone today that we use Glencoe’s U.S. Government: Democracy in Action for teaching American Government, but that doesn’t mean that we started at page one and will work through a majority of the book. (We certainly won’t use all of the book. Even schools almost never use all of a textbook. Textbook publishers include more than any teacher could use in a year so they can easily adapt the curriculum to their students or their own interests or such as they can skip some chapters or sections that aren’t a good fit and spend time on others that others may not get to.) Nor does it mean that we sit down every day and work with the textbook as the major focus of our lessons on government.

So, no, I’m not a faithful textbook user; instead, Continue reading Faithful or Adventurous Curriculum User?

Shakespeare Videos

set for balcony scene

This week,my teens are working on making videos based on some pieces from Shakespeare. They’ll show the unfinished versions at our Shakespeare Club where I hope they’ll inspire other kids to make their own creations so we’ll have severalĀ  of our own movies to use in our planned Shakespeare festival this spring. I love that they can study literature this way, while using their creativity and some of what they’ve been learning about making videos in their Video/Film-making Club.

My daughter’s take was to begin building a portion of a castle (seen here under construction) from Lego bricks. Continue reading Shakespeare Videos

A Day of Homeschooling

What does a day of homeschooling in our house look like? Every day is different. So I’ll share now and then about a recent day.

Today’s learning was driven by two things: Our writing club and getting ready for the county fair. While we generally work on math (high school geometry for my teens) daily, we did no math at all today. Since we school year-round, I don’t worry about skipping days here and there. I’d rather them miss a few days here and there than take a two-month vacation and come back having forgotten all they learned.

Instead, we began the morning with writing. My teens began with editing some pieces written by others in the writing club. Continue reading A Day of Homeschooling

Teaching Toddlers Pre-Writing Skills

Nathaniel story

This year I started a writing club through our homeschool support group for kids old enough to write. Patterned after some writing groups for adult writers that I’ve attended, the students each bring a piece of writing and read it to the others and ask for critiques. The idea is to encourage the children to write something well enough that they won’t be embarrassed to read it to their peers. (Use that peer pressure for good, to encourage them to put forth their best effort.) In addition, they hopefully learn to listen to others and to give gentle, but helpful, advice and perhaps learn to improve their own writing in the process. Continue reading Teaching Toddlers Pre-Writing Skills

Field Trips

“What kind of field trips can you take as a homeschooler?” a woman asked.

Pretty much any kind you have the time, energy, interest, and finances to handle is likely the best answer. But I’m sure she wanted specifics.

This is an area where homeschooling can easily win hands down. I know when I was a classroom teacher, arranging field trips took a lot of paperwork and time. Often fund-raising was required to pay for a bus. Then we had to line up enough chaperones and any trip disrupted the school’s schedule. So it was difficult to organize many trips.

Now that I’m teaching my own at home (and running a homeschool support group), I love Continue reading Field Trips