Elementary

Choosing Curriculum

Are you making your final selections in regard to curriculum for the new school year? I know that many of the moms I'm talking to, are doing just that. As you're narrowing down your options, please keep in mind the following guidelines which originally appeared as an e-newsletter from the Struggling Learner website.

When choosing homeschool curriculum there are several factors that you want to take into consideration.

Welcome Summer

What comes to mind when you think of your own childhood summers? Swimming on hot days, camping in the backyard, chasing those elusive butterflies, or running through the cold sprinkler? Side-walk chalk and jump rope? Gardens and snow-cones? Walking barefoot in the grass? However you spent your summers growing up, I encourage you to savor the upcoming moments and days with your family throughout the season ahead...

Make It An Active Summer

It's easy to forget that kids need a lot of physical activity as they grow.  Fresh air, sunshine, and plenty of movement is  beneficial for all of us, but especially important for children's coordination, growing bones, and mental acuity. I encourage you to help lead the way in this area, and enjoy burning some calories in the process. After all, we're meant to move!  So, here are some helpful suggestions to get all of us moving this summer. And, don't worry -- you don't have to be super coordinated or athletic to take part in these fun ideas... 

Happy Independence Day

What are your plans for the 4th of July? A cook-out or picnic? Fireworks? No matter what you do, I encourage you to talk about America and our great American documents and all that they mean to us. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights --- introduce them to your kids and continue to emphasize their significance...

Last year, I wrote a blog called Treasuring Freedom. I shared a picture of my nephew at his Marine Officer commissioning in Delaware. I'm so thankful that we have men like him that are willing to stand on the front lines to defend our nation and serve in the military. 

7 Favorite Field Trips

One of the great things about homeschooling is the ability and opportunity to experience interesting field trips. An exciting excursion, an all-day outing, or family holiday -- no matter what you call it, you're sure to create some lasting memories when you venture out for a day of discovery and fun.

I absolutely loved coordinating field trips, and orchestrating a variety of unique learning experiences through day-time or over-night traveling. 

Good Old Map Reading

"Trust the GPS," Jay told me on the phone before I installed the new contraption on the dash board of my old white van a few years back.  It was a breeze finding my way to the Science Center in Baltimore, Maryland that afternoon. I loved having help on every turn, and eventually became quite dependent on my new navigator. Then, one evening several months later while the twins and I were on our way home from a music recital, I realized that I often allowed my brain to switch to autopilot, and had neglected many great opportunities to teach the boys how to read a real road map...

Summertime- Learning Time!

Whatever happened to the good old days of summer vacation? When I remember the "hazy and lazy days" of summer, I think of hide-and-seek until dark, bike riding, climbing trees, reading books, swimming, roller skating, going fishing, camping trips, and making mud pies! My summers also often consisted of helping my mom and grandparents in the garden by picking vegetables and strawberries, as well as watching and lending a hand in the process of canning. I did not know it, but I was learning!

Celebrate Father's Day

What characteristics stand out to you as you think of your father? What do you admire most about him? Perhaps it's his gentle manner or quick smile. Maybe it's his generous nature, or his wit and wisdom. Now matter what good things we remember about our dads, I'd like to encourage all of us not only to give tribute to our fathers, but to think of ways we can express appreciation to our husbands in their vital roles as dads.

The Yard Sale

 It was 2005 when hurricane Katrina hit the Atlantic. I remember because it was the end of August, and we had just kicked off a new year --- 6th grade.  Maryland wasn't hit badly, but we listened to the news to hear which states had been hit the hardest. In the days that followed, Samaritan's Purse ministry deployed personnel and equipment to help those who were the most devastated all along the coast.

Congratulations Graduates & Homeschoolers Of All Ages!

Temperatures climbed into the 80's that bright day last year. Graduation day. I remember how my heart skipped a beat or two when each of the guys put out their hands to receive their high school diplomas.

      "I'm so proud of you!" I said afterward as we basked in the wonderful feeling of having completed our homeschool journey.

     Big smiles. Everyone squinted as we snapped pictures. I stood on my tip-toes to give each son a kiss. Thoughts of all our official last days of school flooded my memory... 

3 Helpful Tips As Your Kids Study Music

 

I kept my eyes on the highway as our old white van whizzed past small towns in Maryland's rolling suburbs.  Monday night, 5:25, three years ago.  The twins had only recently gotten their driver's permits, so I decided to drive Austin to orchestra rehearsal that night.  His straight-forward comment broke the silence.  "Mom --- I have to tell you --- I'm quitting orchestra tonight..."

Resources For Assessment

Spring is a busy time of year—from spring cleaning, planting and gardening, to yard sales and more, there is an abundance of things on our to-do lists. Spring is also typically the time of year that many homeschool parent-teachers buy curricula and materials for the coming school year. Keep in mind this can be an ideal time of year to assess your children. By taking inventory of which skills children have mastered and which skills need to be strengthened or addressed, your planning for instruction in the summer or the coming school year will become clearer and strategic.

Music, Part II

I sat outside the violin lesson that afternoon while I graded math papers and wondered, "Is this worth it?" I taxied the twins to lessons once a week, encouraged them to practice every morning, and sat through many long recitals and rehearsals ... 

   Our family found that studying music is about so much more than simply learning songs. It takes a big commitment from the parents and the students!

Teacher Mode

My oldest child is becoming very interested in learning how to spell and write words. The other day, she wanted to write her little sister’s name which begins with the letter K. Like most children her age, that letter ‘K’ was a booga bear!  I made a mental note that we’d work on forming that letter correctly the next time we practiced handwriting. When that glorious teaching moment occurred (keep reading- it didn’t start off too gloriously), I found myself moving very quickly from mommy mode to teacher mode. In reflection, I realized that there were certain things I did that helped keep us from getting derailed. I thought I’d share these ideas and tips with you today.

Music, Part I

He positioned the guitar to the left side of his body and held its long neck like a hunter with his prized goose. He looked straight ahead, his new dress shoes creaking as he ascended the three steps to the vast stage which consisted of one lone chair. The audience was oddly silent except for one lady who coughed. I sat there in the second row and wondered if my nine-year-old son had practiced enough. This was his first recital.... 

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