Decorating Your Homeschool Area

Whether you have an entire room devoted to homeschooling or your kitchen table doubles as school space, you can make learning more fun with a little decorating creativity!

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Mercy Ink- Heart and Home Print PDF

Homemade Chalkboard

This is such a fun and easy project! Your kids will love being able to color inside with chalk during the wet/snowy winter months. If you homeschool, this is a fabulous tool for children to use to practice their letters!

How cute is that?! I bought a wood wall plaque that is 11×14 inches, so it’s big enough to provide plenty of writing area, but it’s also small enough to stand on end in a bookshelf for easy storage!

What You’ll Need Wood Wall Plaque: Make sure there are no cracks. Fine Sandpaper Chalkboard Paint Acrylic Paint (for the edges- I used a glossy red one) Sponge Applicators What To Do Gently sand the surface of the wood to make sure there are no rough spots, then wipe of any dust with a rag. Paint a smooth coat of chalkboard pain on the face of […]

Homeschooling Without Textbooks

Today I am guest-posting over at Modern Alternative Mama!

“When most of the public school parents I know think about trying to home school, they say that they imagine their kids sitting at the kitchen table reading expensive textbooks and whining about how bored they are. They tell me that they would love to teach their kids at home, but they can’t afford the curriculum or don’t know how to make their kids learn. My answer? Try teaching without textbooks!”

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Learning With Beads

In Our Homeschooling Philosophy and Homeschooling Younger Children, I mentioned that we like for our girls to learn through real life activities, rather than dry textbooks or pointless drills. The last two years, beads have been a wonderful learning tool for our four-year-old! Here are some of the ways she has been learning with them…

Colors

Of course, you can use anything to teach little ones their colors (learning colors while folding laundry together was one of our favorites!), but there is just something extra fun about pretty beads!

Counting

Bright and uniquely shaped beads are tons of fun for little ones to count! Start by counting with them, showing them how to either line the beads up and point at each one as they count, or move the beads from one pile to another. As they progress, let them take over and get excited with them as they […]

Nurturing Your Child’s Passions

As our children get older, we need to continue to discover their interests, but we also need to take it further. We need to nurture their passions.

My parents were amazing in this area! I’ve always been very creative, so they made sure that I could test out my artistic interests and, if I discovered I loved something, they nurtured that passion. At our Air Force base’s arts and crafts center, I took drawing, ceramics, oil and water color painting and pottery classes. The drawing classes, I loved! We did pencil and, occasionally, pen & ink. For as long as Miss. Ivy taught, I took drawing classes.

Ceramics were another favorite. Millie wasn’t the most pleasant person, but I learned how to clean the pieces and then stain or glaze them and I learned to do it well! She was demanding, but I learned so much and I enjoyed it. […]

Discovering Your Child’s Interests

A few weeks ago, this thought hit me right between the eyes: “My four-year-old LOVES math!”

Missing the Obvious

That may not seem like a life-changing revelation, but for me it was quite a wake-up call. You see, I’ve never been crazy about math. For most of my life I have actually hated it (VERY bad math teachers). Although my mathphobia is in remission, it made me stop in my tracks when I realized that my daughter thinks math is FUN. Not only that, but she has quite the knack for it! Like most parents, we have taught her to count, which she loves. She counts everything! She counts stairs, beads, toys, books, nuts… basically whatever she is interested in at any given moment. Lots of kids like to count, so that really didn’t strike me as unusual. One of her favorite toys is a calculator. Sometimes it is […]

Homeschooling Methods and Resources: Part 2

Last week I talked about using Charlotte Mason resources and methods. This week I explain the Thomas Jefferson Education method and give lots of ideas for other homeschooling resources, some of them free or very cheap!

Thomas Jefferson Education

As our children get older, we will shift more toward the Thomas Jefferson Education style (or TJE). We love so much about this! The purpose is to create a “love affair” with learning. Since our main goal is to teach our children to love to learn, this is a wonderful resource! The main difference we will have from TJE is that we will “require” certain topics, whereas they don’t make any requirements. I’ll explain how we will mesh the two after I describe their method.

TJE is based on “Seven Keys” to educating:

Classics, Not Textbooks– They promote leaning from original sources (think Aesop’s Fables, The Federalist Papers and Treasure Island). […]

Homeschooling Methods and Resources: Part 1

Curriculum. This is where homeschooling parents seem to get into trouble. I’ve seen so many intelligent, rational, well-balanced parents become panicked and obsessive people who are suddenly unable to make a decision. Truly, it doesn’t need to be this hard. Children in one-room school houses without enough books for each child to have their own were able to produce children who were much better educated than most public schooled children today. Contrary to the assertions of some homeschoolers, God has not ordained one particular curriculum as THE one to use. That being said, we do have some amazing resources at our disposal. Just be calm and wise, and all will be well. 🙂

When I described my homeschooling philosophy to a friend, she said, “Oh, so you’re doing a combination of Charlotte Mason and TJE.” Huh? I had no idea what she was talking about, but she was right! What […]

Homeschooling Older Children

This post is the third in my series on homeschooling. The first post covered our homeschooling philosophy and the second covered what it looks like for young children. If you haven’t read those, I would encourage you to take the time before reading this post. Here is what we envision for when our children are older.

What we would like to do is teach everything in a way that it is all connected in the minds of our children. As I said in the first post, isolated facts are meaningless. We plan to connect everything through the history of the world.

This doesn’t mean that history is more important than any of the other subjects (especially not God!), just that it provides a logical organization for all subjects. We will start with a period of history and branch out to the other subjects. For example, Creation and ancient history […]

Homeschooling Younger Children

Last week, I explained our homeschooling philosophy. Now, I want to give you an idea of what that looks like for younger children. Philosophies are great, but what people want to know is how to apply it. Our oldest daughter isn’t even four years old, but we have already started applying our philosophy.The most important thing, especially with a young child, is to teach them to love to learn. No matter how much information you drill into their little heads, if they don’t love learning, you’ve wasted your time.

One of our key ideas is for our children to learn through real, everyday life. These are all things we do or have done with our three-year-old. As we do these things, we also explain them.

Math: count tomatoes from the garden, count ingredients for cooking, basically anything she is interested in! Science: gardening, cooking, cleaning (we explain how things work, […]