First days back 2 school

Many moms around the world worry about the first days of school.  Homeschool moms worry about starting homeschool too.  And new homeschool moms worry even more.

May I offer some gentle advice?

  • Just start slowly.
  • Don’t try do the complete schedule.
  • Ease into your schooling.
  • Go gently.

Just remember that the professional teachers spend much of their first weeks of school doing orientation; they hand out new books, explain note-taking, give an overview.  They don’t jump straight in with the full program.

Here’s some tips that I still use after all these years ~

Set up your school area the night before (I like to do this as a surprise for the kids!)

  • Put tables, stationary and books/workboxes/or files in order.
  • Write a welcome note on the whiteboard or prayerfully write to each child and place a personal note on each child’s place.
  • Arrange the CD and music player ready with your song or praise and worship for circle time.
  • Get into a simple “Early to bed & early to rise” routine.  Chat and pray with each child before bedtime.

On your first day ~

  • Wake half an hour earlier than the family, make yourself a cup of tea, have your quiet time and pray.  Commit your plans to the Lord and surrender all to Him.
  • Gently wake the kids and get them into their morning routine and chores.  (I like to have a “test-run” a day before school and start the school morning routine a day earlier than the actual day.)
  • Have a simple but nutritious breakfast, or go ahead and make it something special!
  • At the agreed starting time, start school.
  • I like to start each year in a circle or on the couches.  Start with a chat about the year, the themes, some planned highlights and goals.  Let the kids talk about what they expect, what they are afraid of, what they look forward to.
  • Then pray about all these things.
  • Sing and learn a memory verse for the week.  Make it fun!  Chose something really simple and easy.
  • Now chose what you will do the first week.  Either just do some basics3Rs (Maths, Reading and Handwriting) or just do your Core (History, Literature study)for the first week.  Tell them that next week you’ll add the rest of the subjects, but this week they must just do their very best with the easy schedule.  (They may beg you to do it all!  If they seem relaxed and the work done was excellent, then, by all means, do your full plan.)  If things are really awful and stressed, just cuddle and read a story together.
  • Include a lovely tea break with some healthy snacks.
  • Plan some fast fun & games for in between lessons if children get fidgety.

Create precious memories from these moments ~

  • Take some “First Day” photos of each child.
  • Prepare a special breakfast.
  • Ask Dad to give a “Welcome To School” speech. (My hubby is our homeschool “Principal”!)
  • Give each child a small gift – some stationary/ stickers/ new hair accessories for their first day.

I trust this encourages you.

Blessings as you prepare and plunge back in, Nadene

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Painted School Room

Earlier this year I shared our fresh-look schoolroom.  I had pinned study decor ideas and hoped to paint my desk and all the bookshelves before the end of the year, and I did!

Here’s the before:Study1 Lara helped me move all the books and craft suitcases to the guest room.

During:StudyMy friend Mindy, an amazing artist and expert chalk-painter, helped me paint my desk.   She’s even making me customized glass drawer knobs to match my color-scheme!

I ran out of store-bought chalk paint and so I followed the DIY chalk paint recipes I found on the Internet and made my own using white grout.  It was rougher than the bought chalk paint, but worked just as well.  I painted the bookshelf backs in a lovely dusty blue.  Waxed and buffed, it was all done in 2 days.

And here’s the after:Study2While my kids were away, I sorted and repacked the books.  Despite my hubby’s initial comments that everything looked too white while I was still painting, the completed schoolroom looks delightfully fresh and light!

Painting with chalk paint is as easy as all the online tutorials say it is.  Quick and delightfully textured, the results were lovely!  I love it!

Blessings,

 

Fresh Schoolroom

Here’s a peep into our fresh-look schoolroom for 2015 ~

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We do most our homeschooling in our study-come-craft room. Squeezed into a small enclosed back stoep, we have all our bookshelves and our round table, my desk, the computer desk and sewing cabinet.

When the kids were young, we used a small plastic table and suitably sized plastic chairs. Once they were a little older, we all sat at our round table, the littlest one sitting high enough on booster cushions.

Now, teaching teens who are often busy  with individual creative artistic activities, we brought in one more table so that each person can spread out their things and work undisturbed.

I gave my youngest 12-year-old daughter her own more “mature” work space.

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  • She has all her school books, notebooks, ring binder, and personal stationary in a new storage box.  (Previously, we used chair bags or a space on a bookshelf next to the desk.)
  • The whiteboard is a good place for temporary displays, where our prestik doesn’t leave any residue.
  • Maps, our Theme of the Day and posters hang from hooks on the whiteboard.
  • Our display board clipboards were given a fresh coat of paint to match our new upholstery fabric.
  • The hook above her table is ideal to hang mobiles for our themes.

Every year I sort, rearrange and pack our books.  Colored stickers help us keep books in curriculum or age-appropriate order on our bookshelves. 3-20150123_065101

  • My high schooler chose to work at the round table.
  • She has a storage box on the shelf for all her school books and equipment.
  • I arranged our Science kits, reference books and nature study stuff together in storage boxes on an accessible part of the bookshelf.
  • All our maths games and kits, spelling games and other educational games or equipment are stored in labelled ice-cream boxes.
  • We store all our arts and crafts materials are stored in drawers and small plastic suitcases.
  • My 15-year-old has her own special art supplies and equipment in a plastic drawer system.

We have enjoyed the new layout and working arrangement! The kids love all the space and I love the organized freshness!

Blessings,

 

Tailor Made

Tailor-make your child’s education.

IMAGE-tailor-706x470-thumb-706x470

If I asked you if you ever had anything “tailor-made”,  you would probably say that you were not rich and famous enough, or that a mom or granny had made something just for you.  It would probably be really unique and make you feel really special!

Homeschooling allows for this kind of perfect fit and delight!

How?

1. Outline your basic subjects – I use a simple “House Model” picture and fill in subjects, books, ideas and activities I have in mind.  This gives me an easy overview.

When planning, include all the basic subjects required by state regulations, adding extra subjects where necessary. Some first-time homeschooling moms may find mastery lists that outline what your child should know and master for their age and grade as a good guide.

OverviewYear Planner with my notes

Overview Year Planner with my notes

2. Discover your child’s learning style and your teaching style Homeschoolhelper.com has clear definitions, explanations of the different learning styles with practical teaching suggestions.  Multiple Intelligences has an online quiz for kids and adults and generates a clear pie-chart of your test results.  You and your child can clearly see strengths and weaknesses. Multiple intelligences resultsNow, consider your own personal loves and hates in teaching styles and AVOID those curriculums and approaches!  These will burn you or your children out!  It’s no good preparing fiddly, artsy projects if your lack of space and patience or temperament will make you dread school!  Find those subjects, methods and activities that will ignite your child’s delight and interest and focus on those.

3. Discuss and look over options together.  This is more important as your child moves into middle school, and especially towards junior high.  High school choices require a lot of collaboration with your maturing child.   Once you have an idea of your child’s interests, discuss specific subjects, topics and options.  Check with your child each year as they mature.  They may have loved doing lapbooks previously, but may now find them frustrating and boring.

Here are some questions I asked my 12-year-old child this year:

“Do you want to continue with Bible Draw? Old Testament or New? Old Testament. 

Can we continue with Hymn singing?  Umm, er … (She objects to my CD recordings – so I need to look for more modern Hymn versions!)

Maths – Are you still okay with the workbooks?  Sure.  But I really love using my compass, protractor and set square set.  You enjoy Geometry?  Good, I’ll see what other fun stuff we can add once a week!

Spelling – Do you still want to work with our lists? What about this book? NO.  Okay.  And Spelling City games and tests?  Yes. Great!  I’ll upload this year’s lists.

Are Lapbooks still okay?  YES!  And do you still want to do hands-on activities? YES!  Good!  I’ll see what I can find …

What would you like to study for Science/ Geography/ Social Sciences?  I may suggest ideas I had initially jotted down and we delve a little deeper, browsing through books I have on hand so that she can better see the activities and ideas that could be fun.

4. Find, plan and prepare the actual subject material – Now I spend some time “shopping” from my own bookshelves and used curriculums.  Also, I spend time on  Pinterest browsing and I search the Internet for free downloads.  My homeschooling materials have seldom cost me anything more than my printer’s ink!  Some years, we may purchase one or two products, but I almost never ever buy full packages!

5. Follow the sparkle and delight!  Remain flexible and adaptable.  Add plenty of time to take scenic routes, detours and rabbit trails!  Follow your child’s interest and involvement.  You can always stretch a 12 month curriculum over 18 months!  Be humble about stuff that doesn’t work and gently lay aside the themes, topics, activities that don’t work. If you homeschool several children on the same core (which I highly recommend), allow for individual choices.  Give them options.  I may suggest 3 or 4 activities and they chose the one that they prefer.  I love to let my child take the lead!  It has empowered her and released me from my “teacher-knows-it-all” ways!

This last year, my daughter was utterly delighted with her tailor-made package!  After I laid out her books, projects and her school file and went through it with her, she jumped up and hugged me and said, “Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you,mom!  I’m so glad you are my teacher!”  It made my whole teaching career!  It has been a joy to teach and facilitate her in her own learning.

If you have a child with unique, special interests, or a child with learning challenges and difficulties, homeschooling is the perfect solution, only IF you tailor-make their schooling experiences.  A “slow” learner will thrive at his own pace.  A child who hates and struggles with writing can record, video-record or demonstrate his learning without tedious notes and workbooks.  Find ways to make your child’s education fit their style, interests and strengths.

Blessings

Make Memories with Hands-on Activities

Revisiting earlier posts ~

Way back in 2009, when I re-used our Sonlight Core 1&2 World History with my youngest 2 kids, I ignored the time-frame suggested in the Sonlight schedule and followed it as a mere guideline.  Adding hands-on activities to our themes made homeschool come alive and filled our school day with fun!  

But, more importantly, it really helped my kids learn.  In fact, when I asked them what they remember of their studies, they mostly only remember the hands-on activities!

I am re-using Core 1&2 with my younger 2 girls and decided to relax, stretch the schedule and do hand-on activities when we could this year.

Buiilding castles

building castles

The girls have made models and built castles.  They have created interesting project pages.  They have dressed up and acted out scenes from read alouds.  They have cooked and baked and then ate foods from the country or era.  We have visited places and museums.

Dressing the part

Dressing the part

During school they have played online educational games and they have created interesting notebook pages.  We have made lapbooks for as many themes as we could find or create.

Mapping World War II

Mapping World War II

These activities have been the highlights!  I highly recommend that you allow more time to ‘flesh out’ the schedule!  How can one spend only 1 day covering Japan?  Or take just 2 days to enjoy the Knights and Castles?

Sonlight has offered me a great framework and I have enjoyed this approach SO much more than my first year of homeschooling tick-the-box-stick-to-the-schedule approach!

Life is the learning journey!

Especially while you are teaching your young children, even up to junior high, add and include hands-on activities!  Make time for it!  It is an investment in your children’s learning experience that will last!

Blessings,

Child-led Science Experiments

When we tailor-made this year’s homeschooling for my youngest (she’s 12-years-old) she requested ~

Science Experiments

As I have learnt to “let go” and let her take the lead for her maximum learning enjoyment, I wanted her to be able to “do her own thing”.  We set up a Science Experiment center on our bookshelf.  I simply gathered whatever I had accumulated from our homeschooling curriculums.  Our Science kit and reference books are all from previously purchased Sonlight packages.

Science experiments3

We spent our first session looking through and discussing each item in the Science kit.  We browsed through our Science books and decided which topics she most wanted to study or which apparatus she most wanted to work with.

I have found that if I establish the correct procedures and a few basic safety rules, my children can work quite independently.  (This is true for all other activities such as art, cooking and baking, cleaning house, sewing, washing and ironing.)

Essentially ~ Be safe.  Work carefully.  Clean up after yourself.

Science experiments1

Although I wanted her to have fun, I explained the basic approach used in scientific methodology.  Worded informally, yet covering science concepts, I have found that these principles develop proper scientific thinking.  For example:

  1. What are you studying? = Title
  2. What are you trying to find out? = Question
  3. What is needed? = Materials
  4. What do you predict (or think) will happen? = Hypothesis
  5. Describe what you do step-by-step = Method
  6. Compare with something that does not change = Control
  7. What did you see? = Observation
  8. What did you learn from this? = Inference

Of course, many experiments require a very simplified version of these points above, and, depending on your child’s age and ability, these questions could be simply summed up ~

  1. Title
  2. What I did.
  3. What happened.
  4. What I learnt.

I created a variety of Science Experiment Notebook pages for her. I printed the notebook bundle and she selects a notebook page to suit her experiment and her approach.Science Experiments

She has spurts of Science lessons, some weeks doing almost 3 a day, and other weeks simply reading the books.  Recent unseasonably warm weather made water experiments fun outdoor activities!Science experiments2

My daughter is very visual and loves to draw very detailed diagrams of her experiments.  I have requested that she label items clearly in print and give every picture a caption or descriptive sentence.

I am often her lab assistant and scribe.  I jot down her dictated notes because I want her to focus on the actual activities and not get bogged down in the difficult job of writing her notebook pages, but I have gently encouraged her to note some of the simpler experiments.

In essence, she initiates and leads her Science lessons and activities.  I am there, but as support and encouragement, participating as one discovering alongside my child, and it is really exciting and awesome!

It works for us!  What works for you?

Here is your free download ~ Science Experiment Notebook bundle

Blessings,

Notice Board – Current Affairs

This year I created a new homeschool notice board for my middle schooler.

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I attached wooden clipboards and clips so that we can quickly change/ update or add new information.

There are 4 clipboards for ~

  1. Current Affairs 
  2. Famous Artist
  3. Nature Study
  4. Bible Memory Verse

I included 2 smaller clips for Common Latin Words and the Famous Composer.

In this and a few following posts I will discuss more about each section and share free downloads that I created for our notice board.

Today ~ Current Affairs

Current Affairs Natural Disasters & Major Events 2014

Your free download ~ Current Affairs Natural Disasters & Major Events 2014

Included in this download is ~

  1. A world map with key for the natural disasters
  2. Blank monthly calendar with color key to note down the dates and events

We fit in this ‘minor’ activity on our “Tuesday – Timeline” day or our “Wednesday – World” studies day according to our 1-More-Thing “Theme of the Day”

It is in doing these extras that your children will have a rich and rewarding education, and it doesn’t have to take long at all.  Moms can quickly write in the latest events for younger children and let them find the country or location on the world map and draw in the symbol.  It is quick and only takes a moment!

May you be blessed in your Geography and World Studies!

Update:

Several readers asked where they could find current affairs and news.  I use my smart phone’s world news updates and jot down any relevant current affairs.

Ann Voskamp of Holy Experience posted “How to Feed Brains Everyday” with links to some amazing sites for several subjects.  Here are her links for current affairs ~

“Everyday Current Events
Today’s Times Mag for Kids
Daily Student News

Everyday Geography/World Events
This Week’s Pictures from around the world… always riveting, memorable photographs, worthy of discussion

Today’s Pictures: The Last 24 hrs in Pictures … this was a (near) daily must read…. We would look at the picture and see if we could guess where in the world this was happening while we ate, slept, worked, read in the last 24 hours… then I’d read the caption, and we’d find the location on the globe. This was a phenomenal resource to give a global awareness of what is happening to real people in real places in real time — today. We’d often stop and pray for the people photographed. If we want to be ourselves aware, and raise children who care about people, the world, I know of no better, *daily, real-time* resource.”

Much Grace,

Fit in Extras

Last year I shared our Theme of the Day chart which we use to “Do 1 more thing” after lunch and fit in all our Charlotte Mason extras.

Our Theme of the Day chart is the most successful and simple method to ensure that we enjoy the rich and rewarding education Charlotte Mason suggests.

Here’s my newest Theme of the Day Chart which you are welcome to download or use ~ Theme of the Day 2014

Theme of the Day 2014

We start our day with Bible and follow with Disciplined Studies (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic), keeping lessons short and sweet.  Then we move on to our Core.  If things go smoothly, we finish before lunch, but most days we do 1 extra thing after lunch.  Our Theme of the Day chart is a handy reminder.

Here’s an example of my youngest daughter’s weekly timetable:

Lara's Week TimetableThe grey line indicates our lunch break.  I included an “extra” extra for my daughter to do on her own if I am busy helping my high schooler after lunch.  Also, this year I hope to include a new craft “paper Sloyd” which I read on Amy’s post “Sloyd: Warming the Intellect” at Fisher Academy International.

In case you are wondering if we really manage to “do it all”, here is a little peep into our reality:  We first do our farm chores and housekeeping before school starts and so most days we only begin at about 9:00am.  My farmer hubby and sons return for lunch at 12:30pm and we stop school at 12:00pm to prepare lunch.  This means that we usually try complete most our schooling in 3 hours.

Another reality of our life is that we live on a really remote mountain farm and we always take a day off to all go to town for shopping and appointments, so we almost NEVER have a 5-day week.  Despite this, we still usually squeeze 2 days into the “1 extra thing”!  For example, we will do our Timeline with Social Studies, or Science with Nature Study. Very often we combine Fine Arts with our tea and Poetry.

And if you still don’t think you can plan and organize and fit all your Charlotte Mason extras in your week, Patti of All things Bright and Beautiful has done all your Fine Arts for you.  She posts a weekly study of a famous artist, composer and poem with links to YouTube videos and other helpful sources.  I subscribed to her blog and her posts arrive every week per email. I simply right-click and save the famous artist’s images to an art folder on my computer to use later if we are not following her schedule.

I encourage you to plan the extras and keep them visible in your school room.  These are the fabulous and fun, rich and rewarding aspects of homeschool!

Much Grace,

Maths Matters – What Works!

Another “What Works!” post ~ 

After tutoring my eldest daughter through her high school maths course all the way to graduation, and now working with my junior high daughter in her maths course and doing middle school maths with my youngest, I know that maths matters … but it also can bring tears and the mutters!

Here’s 12 maths principles that I’ve seen work ~

  1. Maths needs daily exercise – much like having to walk the dog!  My kids do 2 pages of maths exercises every day except for Fridays. We mix it with maths drills, times tables practice or word problems.
  2. Use manipulatives. Maths comprises of abstract concepts. Young children especially need to work with real objects.  When teaching any new concept, start with real objects and teach with examples. Use blocks, Unifix cubes, real measuring jugs and scales, work with tape measures and rulers. Use number lines, pie pieces, apples and oranges.  Whatever works, use it.  Keep trying until you find the “one thing” that clicks with your child.  Let your child practice with these objects. (Pop over to my free Maths pages for these manipulatives.)
  3. Take your time here at the physical level.  Don’t rush.  Make sure the child understands the concept well and is confident before going back to the books.  If your child forgets, revise with manipulatives.  If they get stuck, go back to manipulatives.  This is vital.  Confidence is a huge factor in maths success.
  4. Encourage mental maths muscles.  Train your children to think maths problems. Exercises with number order (what comes before/ after a number), bonds (adding numbers to each other) and times tables are essential.  This follows the manipulative stage. Train them to get the answer quickly.  Speed and confidence here will make the rest of problem solving and other exercises a breeze! (Check through my mental maths pages here.)
  5. Do drills.  Even just 2 minutes of drills (oral, physical fun or mental maths pages) daily will help ‘cement’ the maths skills.  Do this before the maths book work.
  6. Make it physical and fun.  Do fun physical workouts when ordinary drills and manipulatives are not working to combat tears and tantrums. Recite the tables while jumping on a mini trampoline, while skipping with rope, when bouncing a ball, clapping hands, doing hopscotch … it is fun and it stimulates the brain!  Use playing cards and dominoes for fun maths drills and mental maths.
  7. Maintain the course ~ if it works.  Stay on the same curriculum if it works. Don’t switch around too much.  Each curriculum has been designed to follow concepts. Some conceptually spiral, each year developing the concepts to the next level.  Jumping from curriculum to curriculum may cause your child to stumble across ‘new’ concepts without having the introductory work.  Many moms I know have shelves of maths books and courses and still haven’t found a good ‘fit’.  May I suggest that you choose the best of the lot and supplement here and there with other exercises or examples.
  8. Tutor high school maths.  If you or dad can tutor, great. It worked for me and my daughter.  If not, find a friend, student, retired teacher or professional tutor to help your child.  This is especially important with high school maths.  Don’t let maths tantrums and upsets cause you to ditch homeschooling!  Often a 3rd party person makes a huge difference in a teenager’s attitude. The student must report regularly to the tutor and be accountable for the work they understand and the concepts that they struggle with.  Often tutors are great for pre-exam revision.  The tutor can prepare the student for the type of work to focus on and the questions to practice.
  9. Practise the skills.  Many maths books give an example, lay out brief explanations and then go on to the exercises.  Generally most students need to practice with the introductory examples several times to completely understand the new concepts.  When the child starts a maths problem, they have some doubts and questions.  When they manage the examples and the initial, easy problems, they gain confidence.  But they need to establish this process with a few more similar problems before moving on to more difficult sums.  Where maths books progress too quickly, or provide too few similar problems, children lose confidence.  If they haven’t “got it” with the easy work and then struggle with more complex problems, they become afraid.  Fear forms into frustration which then manifests into anger.  Supplement your child’s books with examples or go online to find similar work.
  10. Do maths early, when your child is most awake and fresh.  Maths requires mental fitness and this is most often early in the day. My teens often put off their maths lessons because they didn’t enjoy it much, but when they finally had to do their lessons, they were tired and they struggled more. I advised them to do it first and get it over with for the day.  For young children, maths and handwriting should be done at the table, early in the morning.  We do our seat work (or disciplinary subjects = those 3R’s) first and then go on to read alouds and narrations.
  11. Estimations are essential skills!  Along with mental maths and confidence, the most important maths life skill is to estimate within range.  I only discovered this as an adult, but I find that it is perhaps the most underrated skill at schools.  Teach your children to “guess” quickly and then “prove” their guess.  It is fun, quick and it builds enormous confidence in their maths ability.  This can be done as “living maths”; in the kitchen while cooking and baking, in the garden when laying out vegetable beds and planting seedlings in rows, while cutting material, making dresses or designing woodwork patterns, while packing away toys, doing hobbies and crafts, or travelling on road trips.
  12. Many children will always “hate” maths.  Their brains are just not wired to excel in maths.  However, maths literacy is vital and will greatly improve their independence and confidence in daily life.  Stick to the most reasonable maths program and assist your child to at least master the basics. My artistic, creative daughters have been unhappy about maths for years, but I have not negotiated with them that they drop maths until at least grade 10.  For matric, maths or maths literacy is a compulsory subject and your teen will still need the above skills. Our South African maths literacy course is excellent.  It is real, relevant and within the ability of a ‘non-maths’ student.

I share this all with this background ~ My early childhood years of insecurity with maths made me literally throw up with fear, especially in high school!  Then, when I was a student teacher, I was once assigned to a school’s maths teacher for all the grades 3, 4 and 5 maths classes.  I spent hours and hours on my lesson preparation because I was terrified that I couldn’t teach maths.  It quickly made me realize that the best method to preparation and understanding was lots of “scratching of pencil on paper” and using several different textbooks to see the different approaches to teach the concepts.

A brilliant mathematician does NOT necessarily make a great maths teacher!  In fact, the teacher who may have struggled with maths may make a more compassionate teacher and will know exactly how they learnt the maths skills through practice.

When I tutored my high schoolers, I did the maths work for them (with them sitting watching and listening), then with them, and finally I sat next to them as they worked.  If they were stuck, I would try another approach or break it down differently.  Even though I taught these lessons, I didn’t always have time to prepare before hand, and so the two of us figured it out together.  We battled, struggled, sympathized and encouraged each other as we went along.  It was the one place in their independent studies that we were vitally connected!

Mom, you can teach your child maths!  You just do not need to be a maths whizz!

Blessings,

Taking Time for Tangents

What Works! What Works logo

Another “What Works!” post ~ where I share and encourage moms with some of my tried and tested homeschool approaches that worked from pre-school and all the way through high school!  (If you missed the previous posts, please follow the links at the end of the post.) I found that using a literature-based curriculum is the most rich, rewarding and inspiring way to teach.

More importantly, living books open delightful “rabbit-trails” or tangents!  And following these delight-directed paths made all the most important connections and enriched the book in wonderful ways!

Here’s some tips of enriching your literature study ~

  • Follow the spark of interest!
  • Chat, discuss, talk at the dinner table about the new ideas, characters’ choices, moral issues, those “why” and “what if” questions.
  • Read-up or “Google” it!  (I love my smart phone’s wonderful reference apps loaded at my finger tips … but that is a post on its own!)
  • Explore it in other books.  Find supplementary books at the library.
  • Do it! Go and build a real raft, make a Khoi grass mat hut, make a mould of an animal track … bake the cake, make the butter, tie sailor knots, make the corn doll, make Lego models, make paper models.Some of these activities became the cornerstone memories of many of our read alouds!  My kids will never forget them!
  • Make interesting and diverse notebook pages
  • Create puppets and dramatize the story.
  • Add lapbooks, especially for younger and middle school children.
  • Travel to places in the story with your family.  Go on the journey with your story as a family.  We loved our real-life “Footprints on Our Land” journey when we travelled for 18 months looking for our farm.
  • Visit museums, art galleries, historical sites.Girls find garnets in the gravel at Kimberley Big Hole
  • Visit real artisans, craftsmen, professionals, hobby enthusiasts, the elderly or veterans and learn from them.  Let them show your family and make it real!
  • Don’t rush. Keep the pace your family needs.
  • Extend your schedule. You can safely extend any 12 month (1 year) schedule to 18 months without adding any more books.  Just look for those hands-on activities that will enrich your studies.  See your schedule as a guideline!  This is my most important homeschool tip!

In other words ~ make time for those tangents!

Links to previous “What Works!” posts:

Blessings,