Keep California on the Cutting Edge of Education by Withdrawing AB2926

Keep California on the Cutting Edge of Education by Withdrawing AB2926

Dear Assemblywoman Eggman and Assemblyman Medina,

Bill AB2926 was brought to my attention. If it were to pass, it would be a step backward for education because California homeschoolers are on the cutting edge of educational innovation and customized learning. The ecosystem of classes, programs and enrichment opportunities is enormous for California homeschoolers. With such a tremendous infrastructure in place, California homeschoolers have created a thriving and dynamic place to receive a 21st- century education and explore one’s passions.

Personalized learning, also referred to as individualized learning, is all the rage in education circles these days. Unfortunately, when we hear about this in a conventional school setting, this usually just refers to adaptive computer programs. On top of that, many of those adaptive computer programs are not very effective. Homeschoolers have truly been personalizing their children’s learning for years because we are free from bureaucracy and a one-size-fits-all curriculum. Parents know their children better and love them more than any other person who wants to get involved in their education. Homeschool parents spend tremendous time and energy in researching and finding the optimal education for our kids. We can be most successful with a hands-off approach, so we can effectively tailor our children’s education to best meet their needs. Homeschoolers shine because we aren’t required to follow a government standard that doesn’t meet the needs of most children on an individual level. 

In my opinion, homeschoolers are the most progressive in terms of reimagining what educating the whole child can be. Sir Ken Robinson so passionately makes the case for this in the #1 Ted Talk of all times called “How Schools Kill Creativity.”  

Please join me in supporting the California homeschool community and all we have accomplished. We respectfully ask you to withdraw AB2926 which would stifle homeschool families who are true educational entrepreneurs. We are nimble and adaptive to our children’s needs and learning opportunities because of our freedom to be educational entrepreneurs.

California prides itself on being progressive. Let us continue to be progressive with cutting edge, personalized education and a role model for other educators around the nation and world. Please withdraw AB2926 and let homeschoolers continue to innovate.

Sincerely,

The Contemporary Homeschooler

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Is it Time for you to Consider Homeschooling?

Is it Time for you to Consider Homeschooling?

The Parkland, Florida shooting has many families wondering if they should take a closer look at homeschooling. I want you to know there are so many amazing reasons to homeschool that have nothing to do with fear or safety.  In fact, Business Insider says that “homeschooling is the smartest way to teach kids in the 21st-century.”

In this post, I will discuss five benefits of homeschooling: 1) Academics; 2) Socialization; 3) Mental Health; 4) Family Relationships;  5) Love of Learning.

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Academics

Homeschooling offers you the opportunity to craft a 100% customized education for your child.  Multiple factors will go into how you decide to personalize your child’s education including her learning style, skills, and passions as well your family’s priorities and values. You can speed up or slow down depending on your child’s needs and interests.

Sixteen-year-old homeschooled student, Christian Williams, who has just been accepted by MIT,  summarized this well:

“I’m able to do so many academics, so many customized learning programs through my homeschooling, so I was able to take advantage of my love for math, my love for sciences, and was able to do math way above my grade level. I was able to do any science I wanted to. That’s how I discovered half of my passions.”–Christian Williams, 16-year-old admitted to MIT

Homeschooled students typically score above average on standardized tests and the SAT and ACT compared to their public school counterparts. Impressively, many homeschoolers complete 1-2 years of junior college before they turn 18 years old and are admitted to top universities across the nation without ever having to take the SAT or ACT. Additionally, you can choose to school year-round so you don’t lose ground with summer slide.

Homeschoolers don’t use a one-size-fits-all curriculum and don’t teach to the middle or a test. We aren’t bogged down by hierarchies and bureaucracies to make change. Quite the opposite, we are entrepreneurs of our children’s education and are nimble and adaptive to their needs and learning opportunities.

Many cities have homeschool learning centers and co-ops. If you don’t feel equipped to teach a subject to your children, you can seek out the best instructors. This semester, for instance, some classes my kids are taking from other teachers include physics, chemistry, debate, art, and theater. In California, we have the option to receive educational funds to pay for some of our educational expenses including classes.  Because of the customization we are able to do with these educational funds and the tremendous ecosystem that has emerged, I believe Southern California hoomeschoolers are on the cutting edge of education.

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The Well-Trained Mind is an excellent place to start if you are considering homeschooling. The book’s authors provide a how-to homeschool plan including multiple curriculum recommendations for each grade level.

Socialization

Many homeschool families chuckle at this question about socialization. Yes, there are some homeschooled kids with quirky behavior, but you find plenty of that in conventional schools.  I firmly believe my children’s socialization is superior to what you find with traditional schooling.

They are not confined to the same desks, playground and cafeteria day-after-day. Instead, they are often out in nature enjoying the freedom and purity of those landscapes together. Other times they are interacting in places as diverse as museums, nature centers, restaurants, galleries,  performing arts theaters, farms, and more. This stimulates tremendous creative interaction amongst the homeschoolers.

They are more actively engaged in conversation, thought, movement and play with friends. Their friendships are strengthened as they learn and play together in a wide variety of interactive environments. This is in stark contrast to the humdrum of being in the same classroom with the same teacher in the same desk each day.

Additionally, homeschooled kids build relationships with peers of a wide age range. Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy, wrote in The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined:

“There is nothing natural about segregating kids by age. That isn’t how families work; it isn’t what the world looks like and it runs counter to the way that kids have learned and socialized for most of human history…As anyone who’s every spent time around children can tell you, both younger and older benefit when different ages mis. The older ones take responsibility for the younger ones. The younger ones look up to and emulate the older ones. Everyone seems to act more mature. Both younger and older rise to the occasion. Take away the mixx of ages and everybody loses something.”–From The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined by Sal Khan

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Mental Health

The mental health of our nation’s youth is, sadly, declining rapidly. You don’t need to read statistics to know this is happening. You hear sad stories in the news all the time and probably hear many of them from your own child’s school. Depression, anxiety, anger, bullying, and suicide are all on the rise.

A teen suicide in my community last month prompted a Newport Harbor High School principal, Dr. Sean Boulton, to write a letter in which he stated:

“Our teachers and district have simply created and maintained a system that our community/country has demanded from us over the past 20 years since college admissions mania went into hyper drive, since vocational training programs were dismantled, and since earning “A’s” in AP classes became the norm.”

“Our teachers feel the pressure, administration and counseling feel the pressure, and now parents/students are really feeling the pressures.”

“When we grew up nobody asked us what our GPA was, and it was ‘cool’ to work on the roof of a house. This competitive culture has significantly impacted our young adults. We endlessly discuss test scores, National Merit Scholarships, reading scores, AP scholars, comparisons to other school Districts and this is when we start losing our collective souls–and our children.”–Newport Harbor High School Principal, Dr. Sean Boulton

When you homeschool, you can get out of that rat race. Instead of living in comparison and competition, homeschoolers are so generous in helping one another out to succeed with their homeschooling. Blazing a different trail than the masses is so empowering.

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Many factors that contribute to children’s mental health problems are lessened with homeschooling:

  • Bullying is greatly reduced.
  • Students are less likely to get on ADHD meds because they are not being confined to a desk in a classroom for hours each school day.
  • Parents spend more time with their kids building bonds, sense of love and security, and transmitting values.
  • Children usually eat healthier when they are with parents.
  • There is less rushing around because school can be done much more efficiently than in a large classroom of kids.
  •  Kids are happier because they are getting outdoors much more and have extra time to play with their friends. This also reduces the need for ADHD meds.
  • Homeschooled children, generally, are not dealing with developmentally inappropriate topics and situations.
  • Homeschooling does not have the hyper-competitive atmosphere you see in many schools today.
  • There is much less risk to personal safety for homeschooled kids.
  • The teach-to-the-test culture is absent.
  • Involvement in drugs, alcohol and sexual activity is much less.
  • Image consciousness, such as the clothes you wear and people you hang out with, is greatly reduced.
  • Homeschooled students don’t usually know who struggles with math and reading and who excels. Those are typically done at home at a customized pace. As a result, it is much less likely that less academically-inclined kids will feel dumb. That insecurity and damage can take years to get over–if ever.
  • Parents often play a greater role influencing with whom their kids socialize.  As peers play such a big role in our children’s lives, this can’t be underestimated.

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Family Relationships

Homeschool families are typically very close. I think part of it is because we have so many shared experiences together. I have been told many times by parents who left public school to homeschool that the whole family is so much more relaxed, and they are finally having time to enjoy one another.

 

Most of our homeschool family friends have siblings who get along well as do my own children. My hypothesis is because they do so much life together. They have so many meaningful experiences together out in the world. They know one another’s friends well because we are experiencing the world with them, too. We read aloud books as a family and discuss them which is, also, a powerful bonding experience.  I don’t know the precise reasons homeschool kids typically get along so nicely with their siblings, but it is wonderful and sweet.

Love of Learning

Earlier this week, The Harvard Gazette published a story featuring three of their homeschooled students. The writer pointed out the following: “The three profiled here share a spirit of curiosity and independence that continues to shape their education.”

This is one area that homeschoolers really shine. Because we aren’t caught up in competition and standardized tests, homeschoolers usually exemplify love of learning!

 

In fact, homeschool parents have tremendous fun learning with their kids. I have a master’s degree and have completed some executive education. However, none of my prior education comes close to what I am learning as a homeschool parent. It is nice to be surrounded by other parents who enjoy learning and discussing ideas. I find the lifestyle of a homeschool parent extremely rich and gratifying.

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There are quite a few other compelling reasons to homeschool. However, I covered some highlights for you.  I am so grateful to homeschool and feel it is one of the best and most important decisions we will ever make for our family. Additionally, I love it more and more each year. It is an incredible journey to go on with your children, and  I hope you will strongly consider it. As I remind my friends who are in public school and on the fence, there is no wait list to get back in school. If you try it and it doesn’t work, then you can always go back. However, most people I know who take that step only regret they didn’t start sooner.

Please share this post if you believe others should learn more about homeschooling. I believe with all my heart that with devoted, loving parents who can make the time for it, in most cases, it is the optimal choice for kids, families and our nation.

Finally, I highly recommend Richard Louv’s groundbreaking book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Children From Nature Deficit Disorder. “He links the absence of nature in156512605X the lives of today’s wired generation to some of the most disturbing childhood trends: the rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. This is the first book to bring together a body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions to heal the broken bond.”

You may also like:

Six Reasons We Homeschool Year-Round

The State of California Pays Me to Customize My Kids’ Education

Do Parents Need More Patience for Public School or Homeschool?

How We Homeschool 4th & 5th Grade

How We Homeschool First Grade

How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?

You can sign up to follow The Contemporary Homeschooler via email by clicking on the Follow button. Also, join our community on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/TheContemporaryHomeschooler/

Note: If you decide to make a purchase through my blog link, Amazon will pay me a commission for it.  This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. So, thank you!

How We Homeschool 4th & 5th Grade

How We Homeschool 4th & 5th Grade

Are you looking for homeschool curriculum ideas for your 9-11- year-old? We are eclectic homeschoolers and try to pull from the best of each homeschool philosophy as well as the best publishers.  Because homeschoolers often don’t fit into just one grade level at any given time, you may consider the curriculum below for your 4th/5th grader and even 6th grader.

Math

We use two math programs because they are completely different offering my daughter alternative ways to look at arithmetic. She does two pages of Math Mammoth and one page of Horizons Math each day.

Math Mammoth, by Dr. Maria Miller, is a mastery-based curriculum that focuses on conceptual understanding, number sense and mental math. While mastery- based is excellent so the students can explore a concept in-depth, I do not feel comfortable without the repetition of a spiral program.You may consider purchasing the color version for just a few dollars more.

Horizons Math is more traditional. I like that is a spiral curriculum so concepts continueB0021KTP2Q to be reinforced.  Each set of exercises are in short chunks, so it does not feel cumbersome like some other more tedious math programs. Additionally, the colorful pages and puzzles make it very visually appealing.

My daughter uses MobyMax as an online math supplement. About 3 times per year, she cycles through XtraMath to ensure she remains fluent in math facts. She sails through it faster and faster each cycle.

Language Arts

We use IEW’s U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons. While enjoying tea together, I sit down  with my 10 and 11-year-old children and do our IEW. You kill four birds with one stone using this program as it covers history, literature, grammar, and writing composition. IEW develops strong writers. I have spoken to multiple homeschool kids who have found writing in college a breeze, and they attribute that to their IEW training. It is scripted making it easy for parents to teach.

NaNoWriMo Junior Writer’s Program provides resources and B008GU1DD4encouragement for young authors to pen their own novels. I taught this class at co-op with the free curriculum during our fall semester. This spring, I am using the IEW Student Resources Notebook to help the writers edit their novels.

My kids love to read and spend a great deal of time engaged in pleasure reading. However, I do have a bookshelf from which they can choose for their 25 minutes of daily required reading. I load up on great books at the library, so they always have many choices. After completion, they email me a summary of what they read. It is only about 4-5 sentences. It also serves as a record of what they are reading. 

Daily Grams are an efficient and painless way to learn grammar. It is short and to the point. There is a corresponding text to which you may want to consider alongside your Daily Grams called Easy Grammar. However, my children do not enjoy it. I feel our time is better spent with me editing their writing as well as using IEW.

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is reading aloud to my children. It is a tremendous bonding activity for our family as we go on so many book adventures together. During snack and meal times, I read from a variety of great books. The morning includes most of our non-ficton.  Later in the day, we shift to novels.  map-pics-002

For spelling, we are using Spelling Workout D. However, my kids also love this well-done spelling website.

History

We are big fans of  living books,  field trips and travel for our history studies. We follow1933339179 the classical method of studying history chronologically. I highly recommend Story of the World audiobooks.  Additionally, I appreciate the many wonderful book lists from Charlotte Mason inspired groups.

Science

We explore science out in the world. We are in a nature group that gets together weekly and learns from experts such as park rangers, naturalists, marine scientists,  and farmers. Additionally, my daughter takes a physics/chemistry class at our co-op, and we all read the material together during the week. Co-ops are great because they can spend the entire class period doing experiments to reinforce what we learned during the week from our reading. My kids also took marine science at a facility on the Pacific Ocean for the fall semester.  Hands-on is best, in my opinion.

 

Extracurricular

We believe music and sports are important aspects of education. My kids race sailboats, and we play basketball together as a family every Saturday morning. They also play woodwinds and piano.  We do other extracurricular activities but believe at least one sport and one instrument are non-negotiable.action kate

I hope you found this post useful if you are homeschooling or considering homeschooling your 4th/5th grader. You can see that you can give your child a quality education spending very little money.

Note: My daughter is actually in 4th grade by her birthday. Due to homeschooling, she has been able to accelerate her learning and use 4th-7th grade curriculum.

You may also like:

Fun Ways to Teach Writing Without Buying a Curriculum

Six Reasons We Homeschool Year-Round

Is it Time to Shake Up Your Homeschool?

The State of California Pays Me to Customize My Kids’ EducationTop Read-Aloud Picks for Your Family

Top Read-Aloud Picks for Your Family

How to Build Your Homeschool Tribe

You can sign up to follow The Contemporary Homeschooler via email by clicking on the Follow button. Also, join our community on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/TheContemporaryHomeschooler/

Note: If you decide to make a purchase through my blog link, Amazon will pay me a commission for it.  This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. So, thank you!

 

How We Homeschool First Grade

How We Homeschool First Grade

Are you looking for curriculum ideas for your 6, 7 or 8-year-old? After homeschooling her two older siblings, I am now homeschooling my youngest with curriculum I think is well-done and a good fit for her. Additionally, it costs less than $100. We are eclectic homeschoolers and try to pull from the best of each homeschool philosophy as well as the best publishers.

  • Writing with Ease Workbook: Level 1 is a favorite of my daughter’s. It provides 1933339268copywork, dictation and narration assignments as well as reading passages from classic children’s literature. I like that it is also entirely scripted so that I do not need to prepare. The publisher states the workbook lessons “are the only materials you’ll need to provide your student with a complete first year of writing instruction. ” Tip: If your child doesn’t remember a detail from the passage you read when you question her, you may gently give her the information and allow her to answer the question back to you in a complete sentence. 
  • Spelling Workout A is a phonics-based program with a variety of activities including riddles and puzzles. I do not buy the teacher’s manual, and she is able to do most of this independently.
  • Reading for Comprehension: Level B is full of short, fun, non-fiction articles and questions to reinforce reading skills. My daughter enjoys this book a lot, and it builds her confidence. She works on this independently. 
  • Math Mammoth by Dr. Maria Miller is a mastery-based curriculum that focuses on conceptual understanding, number sense and mental math.  It is largely self-teaching and requires little involvement from me. I do not find it necessary to purchase a teacher’s manual for this age. I pay a couple dollars more for the more visually-appealing color version instead of just the black-and-white.
  •  Reading–We do not use a reading curriculum or sight words flashcards. Rather, we go the library often and pick out loads of fun books. We snuggle together and she reads to me. Learning to read and enjoy books organically is so beautiful!
  • Science–We explore science out in the world. We are in a nature group that gets together weekly. Additionally, my daughter takes a physics/chemistry class at our co-op as well as marine science at a facility on the Pacific Ocean.  Hands-on is best, in my opinion.1933339179
  • History–We are big fans of  living books,  field trips and travel for our history studies. We follow the classical method of studying history chronologically. I highly recommend Story of the World audiobooks.  Additionally, I appreciate the many wonderful book lists from Charlotte Mason inspired groups. nice kas sarworkmar sarapple hq mom and kidssweeney ridge sdadbehind
  • Literature and Read-Alouds–One of my favorite things about homeschooling is reading aloud to my children. It is a tremendous bonding activity for our family as we go on so many book adventures together. During snack and meal times, I read from a variety of great books. The morning includes most of our non-ficton.  Later in the day, we shift to novels. map-pics-002

I hope you found this post useful if you are homeschooling or considering homeschooling your first or second grader. You can see that you can give your child a quality education spending very little money.

An upcoming blog post will reveal the curriculum used in our home for our 10 and 11-year-old children.

You may also like:

Ten Ways to Teach Your Child to Read and Love Books

If You are New to Homeschooling or Thinking About It….

Six Reasons We Homeschool Year-Round

Give Your Kids a World-Class Math Education for Free

Do Parents Need More Patience for Public School or Homeschool?

You can sign up to follow The Contemporary Homeschooler via email by clicking on the Follow button. Also, join our community on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/TheContemporaryHomeschooler/

Note: If you decide to make a purchase through my blog link, Amazon will pay me a commission for it.  This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. So, thank you!

 

 

How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?

How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?

Did you know you can give your kids an exceptional and customized education for less than $400/year?

Homeschooling is the epitome of personalized education tailored to your individual child. You don’t have to be wealthy to provide a cutting-edge education for your kids. Many families of modest means around the country and even the world are part of this exciting movement!

As parents, we know our kids better than anyone and also have the greatest vested interest in seeking out the best curriculum and programs for them. In addition to individualized one-on-one teaching, we are fortunate to live in a time when some of the best teachers in the world are offering content online for free.

Homeschool families also recognize the value of libraries. The famous line from Good Will Hunting is not lost on homeschool families:

“You blew $150k on an education you could have gotten in $1.50 in late fees from the library.” — Good Will Hunting

Here is a typical homeschool curriculum for a 4th/5th grader. The cost is around $250/year and would be about the same for most elementary-aged children. Furthermore, many of the purchases can be used again for siblings. Even if you hire a private tutor or outsource a subject to a group instructor, the cost is still significantly less than paying for private school.

I try to buy used curriculum on Amazon when possible. Additionally, Rainbow Resource usually has the cheapest prices for new items.

Experiential learning is one of the most meaningful and memorable ways to learn. We go on a field trip just about every week as well as engage in extremely hands-on learning activities with our weekly co-op. Homeschoolers should make the most of their homeschooling freedom and deliberately seek out experiential learning opportunities. Spending $250 for the year, you could engage in so many wonderful types of experiential learning and could even do it for a lot less. Nature is free. Many organizations and companies offer free field trips, tours and programs.

A big component of homeschooling is customizing to your child’s passions and interests. Sports, music, technology, and music are a few examples of a program each family can uniquely design for their own children.  You will want to factor those costs into your child’s educational plan.

With some research and effort, you can provide your child a cutting-edge, customized education! The homeschool community is extremely generous in sharing information and support. Join our movement. We want you to succeed and are here to help you!

Would you like to share some tips about homeschooling on a budget? How much do you spend homeschooling your kids?

You may also like:

If You are New to Homeschooling or Thinking About It….

Give Your Kids a World-Class Math Education for Free

Ten Ways to Teach Your Child to Read and Love Books

Need Some K-6 Math Inspiration?

Top Read-Aloud Picks for Your Family

Open Letter to U.S. Education Secretary King Who Says Homeschoolers Would Be Better Off in Public Schools

Free and Fun Spelling Website

You can sign up to follow The Contemporary Homeschooler via email by clicking on the Follow button. Also, join our community on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/TheContemporaryHomeschooler/

Note: If you decide to make a purchase through my blog link, Amazon will pay me a commission for it.  This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. So, thank you!

Fun Ways to Teach Writing Without Buying a Curriculum

Fun Ways to Teach Writing Without Buying a Curriculum

There are many so many wonderful ways to teach and foster a love for writing without purchasing curriculum. I have taught writing classes at our homeschool co-op and created writing curriculum. Here are some ideas for your home or co-op: 

Many students feel it is more meaningful to write when they are writing for more than just their parents or teacher. You may consider a blog for your student or a shared, private site with a group of friends like MeWe.

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  • Blogging–Your kids can write their own blog. Each student is an expert on something. This is an excellent outlet for them to write about what they love and share about all their wonderful homeschool experiences.  Here are my son’s and daughter’s blogs. In The School Revolution, Dr. Ron Paul writes:

“If a student develops a blog with hundreds of pages of essays, plus links to videos, he will have a tremendous asset when it comes to looking for a job. How many job applicants have this kind of publicly available evidence of their competence?An employer will know that the student is capable in two crucial areas: written communication and verbal communication…The student will go to the top of the pile of job applicants.”–Dr. Ron Paul

  •  NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program–I am going to teach this at co-op in the fallImage result for image student writing public domain to 4th-8th graders. It can also easily be done at home with just your children. “National Novel Writing Month happens every November! It’s a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to draft an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!”  You are able to print out the teacher’s manual and student workbook for free! We will spend September and October using the curriculum to spark imagination with exercises to help create characters, build settings and hatch plots.
  • Wordsmithery–This is another free writing curriculum you can do with a co-op or at home with your kids. I taught a creative writing class several years ago to 2nd-6th graders and used much of this as the foundation. Image result for image student writing public domain
  • Writing Prompts–Writing prompts are an exciting way to motivate your kids. I have found they are even more eager to jump in when you tell them they only have 5 minutes to write.  Try setting a timer and see how much quicker they jump into the challenge.
    • We are fond of visual writing prompts. When using those, you may consider giving your kids 60 seconds to formulate a story in their head before the writing begins. I also suggest they write down 5 key words during their 60-second planning process.
    • Scholastic offers First Writing Prompts, a free online tool with over 200 days of starters. They correspond to the school year with prompts that reflect the holidays and seasons.
  • Reading Response Journals–After my kids complete their daily reading assignments, they write a paragraph about what they just read. It can be done in a notebook. However, my kids prefer to do it in Google Docs. They simply send me an electronic invitation, and I am able to view and comment. Every few days, I sit down with them to review what they wrote and help them to find any grammar errors in their writing. Over an extended period of time, this Google Docs file will showcase a vast array of books they have read. 1482532743
  • Books–I have found these books to be masterful with inspiring and fun writing activities: Games for Writing and Write Outside the Lines.
  • Here are some more fun ideas to get your child writing:
    • Movie reviews
    • Restuarant reviews
    • Field trips and vacation recaps
    • Wikipedia entries
    • Books reviews
    • Product reviews of their favorite toys/games
    • Create FAQs about something she is passionate about

I hope you feel inspired to create a writing program for your children that makes them love writing! Also, please share in the comments below some of your favorite ways to teach writing to your kids without purchasing a writing curriculum.

You may also be interested in:

My Favorite K-6 Math Curriculum and Supplements

Six Reasons We Homeschool Year-Round

Give Your Kids a World-Class Math Education for Free

Ten Ways to Teach Your Child to Read and Love Books

The State of California Pays Me to Customize My Kids’ Education

Free and Fun Spelling Website

Open Letter to U.S. Education Secretary King Who Says Homeschoolers Would Be Better Off in Public Schools

Join my Facebook page to receive every update and post from The Contemporary Homeschooler. I post many articles and thoughts to the Facebook page that are not on my blog.

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Six Reasons We Homeschool Year-Round

Six Reasons We Homeschool Year-Round

Let me just start with the fact that I don’t enjoy hot, crowded places or wasting time.  As a homeschooler, I am free to schedule our year in a way that is most desirable for our family without any concern for adhering to the traditional, nine-month school year.

Look at the beach images below. I have a strong preference for the experience on the left over the one on the right.  How about you?

 

 

 

All right, let’s move onto the reasons year-round schooling is a great way to make the most of your freedom and flexibility as a homeschooler.  Here are the top six reasons it works for our family.

  1. Experiential Learning–Instead of tying ourselves to workbooks and a curriculum every day, we like to be out in the world exploring. Knowing we have plenty of days throughout the year to complete our school work, it takes a lot of pressure off of me.  So many wonderful opportunities are open to homeschoolers from September through May that I don’t want to miss.
  2. Summer Slide–The “summer slide, which occurs when kids fall behind in reading and math over the summer, is well-documented” according to U.S. News and World Report.  Forbes asserts performance falls by approximately a month and is cumulative over successive summers. Additionally,  with respect to public school, they point out “reteaching forgotten material when students return to school after the summer costs more than $1,500 per student each year, or more than $18,000 over the course of a K-12 career.”  I don’t like to waste time or money.  By keeping skills fresh throughout the summer, we actually have more time for things we love to do. We don’t have to do buckets of work over the summer to retain skills. Just a little bit of academic work steadily spread throughout the summer can make a big difference.
  3. Summer HeatI don’t enjoy being out in the blazing heat. Rather, I have a strong preference for the more moderate temperatures when most kids are back in school. In fact, on days that are real scorchers, I’d much rather be inside our air-conditioned home doing academics.  I’m grateful I don’t have to cram in all our fun during the 3 months of summer.
    heitsler park with grands
    We take off when Grandma and Granddad come to visit from Louisiana!

     

  4. Crowds–As homeschoolers know, our favorite places are packed during the summer. It is quite a nuisance to many of us. Instead of fighting the parking and throngs of people, I prefer to make progress on our school work during the summer months so we can go back and enjoy those places when the crowds die down.
  5. Structure–My kids do great with a couple hours of structure in the morning.  I hear so many families talk about their kids fighting with one another or complaining they are bored.  This is something we have never really experienced much as a family. I think the combination of structured and unstructured time is helpful.
  6. Vacations--We often take our family vacations in early September. The masses are back in school and work. This means fewer crowds and much cheaper prices. I don’t need to stress out about taking off a week or two from academics since we were diligent over the summer. 

While we don’t do a full load over the summer, we continue to plow through on and off June through August. Sometimes we take off a full day to go have fun. Additionally, we’ll nix school for a week or two for camps, vacations, visitors, etc.

For the days we do school, math is non-negotiable. My kids love to read, so I don’t need to assign that. We alternate between other subjects like grammar, spelling, and writing. A natural and enjoyable part of our lives is the reading, discussing, and experiencing of science and history together. This is a year-round pleasure and does not feel like school work.

It takes discipline to school during the summer.

It takes discipline to school during the summer. Knowing that so many people are off relaxing and playing all day makes it tempting to slack to off.  However, I know well the reasons we make this choice. We push through, and it pays off.

Do you school year-round? How does it look in your family?

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