Technology in our Education

Educating our children is a great responsibility. Educating them so that they are prepared for the future is a great challenge. Of course there should be ways that we prepare them and incorporate technology into our homeschooling. Here are a few ways you might want to try.
1) Allow them to do some of their education, by using an online homeschool curriculum. Many colleges are going to this method for a lot of their courses. This will be the future!
2) Train them to use the computer efficiently, by using Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.
3) Teach them email skills as well as online forum skills. These are areas that they will need to use in college.
4) Encourage them to take a class in technology while still in high school.

Escaping burnout

Yes, homeschool parents suffer from burnout. We understand that yes, we did choose this of our own free will… yet, sometimes even in a good choice… the stress can get to be overwhelming. Here are a few ways to avoid getting burnout in your homeschool.

1) Find support – get connected with other homeschooling parents in your area and share your story. It will make you feel better to speak with someone who has probably felt the same way!

2) Make independent learners. This is a long term goal, but really pays off when you are having a bad day. If your kids are independent learners you should be able to let them get at it, and it should be done well.

3)Change your homeschool curriculum to an online program.

4)Delegate some of the responsibility to others within your home.

5) Take a break, or take a field trip – sometime a change of scenery is all you need!


Grammar Ghosts

My kids just love grammar so much… NOT! They really dislike the study of grammar because there really are so many grammar… ghosts. You know, all those “exceptions” or well that’s how we do it in this case, but then after this it’s done this other way… blah blah… Truthfully, it really can drive them crazy. There are so many exceptions to the rules in English grammar.

But, there is hope. If you can slow things down and get the kids to understand one principle at a time. Do fun things with each of those single concepts… they will comprehend it better… and then when the exceptions come… they will be more prepared to handle deviations from the rules! If all else fails, you can always use a writing tutor to help them.

Blog it… baby!

Essay writing for your fifth grader can actually feel like pulling teeth… all of them! Yet, writing is an essential part of learning, and should be incorporated into their daily learning. It is difficult for me to get them writing creatively…. I really find it hard. Yet, over the past several years I had the idea to have my older children start their own blogs. They could write whatever they wanted, the only catch was that they had to write on it at least twice a week… Wow… an electronic journal… It was amazing. They did a great job and still years later they are writing on their blogs.
This year, I have fifth graders again, and guess what?

Keeping Your Kids Safe… online

One of the fastest growing groups of onlines sites are the pornographic sites, making it quite unsafe for our children to use the web without protection. These websites are no longer just minding their own business – they are aggressively targeting ads and other click through links to entice innocents. It is increasingly important for parents to ensure that they have the necessary software in place to guard their children from this type of predator.

Here are a few simple tips to help you have some peace of mind.

1) Purchase or sign up for free web protection. There are many great and affordable options out there… a free one that seems to do quite well is the Blue Coat K9 web protection.

2) Make sure that go through each of the settings on whichever program you choose. Don’t just accept their standard settings… every parent has their own level of unnacceptable… make sure your protection is at your level.

3) Sign up for a free email account that no one else knows about, and keep that password private. Use this email to register for your online protection. All notifications will then come to this address, and no one will be able to override the protection. For example, if your teenager knows your email and password, when the notification to override goes to your email – they can simply adjust it themselves to be able to view what they please.

4) DO monitor the sites that are filtered. Check to see if there is a pattern of requests on certain blocked sites… you may find out that there have been attempts to view unsuitable material, but it will also give you an opportunity to talk with your child about why it is so important to stay away from these sites. There are a few more important tips in this article about internet safety for kids.

Brain Games for Fifth Grade

Fifth graders are still young, and enjoy having fun! You can’t expect a fifth grader to sit still all day and study. They are still bundles of energy… and need to be channeled in the right direction.

Enter educational games… the homeschoolers key to making each day great… use games! Fifth graders can make connections, review, drill, and even learn by using games. A great way to introduce critical thinking into your homeschool is through brain games. There are tons of great reproducible books out there that have brain puzzles that your kids will love.

Also, keeping multiplication tables fresh can be made fun by playing multiplication games that reinforce these concepts.

Every subject has a corresponding game you can play… take advantage of their curiosity and eagerness to have fun and play!

Puzzling math…

Math is one of those subjects that many people just avoid. Math usually brings out very strong emotions like math anxiety… either love or hate! Most of the time these perceptions come from the student’s parent’s perception of that subject. If the parents disliked the subject, many times the student will also dislike it!

Yet, I love the challenge of changing a math hater into a lover! You can often do this simply by showing them that there is always an answer, the answers in math are usually black and white, and math is very much like puzzles. Each one presents a little challenged, but is waiting for us solve it!

Making History Live

Some people think of history as a dead subject… because most of what we study are dead people and places… I am here to tell you it really doesn’t have to be that way. History can be a real and living study, a study that your kids will find meaningful and interesting.

We use several different types of methods in teaching history at our house in addition to our regular homeschool curriculum. We use a project – unit study based system, and then we also watch a lot of videos from the History Channel as well as the Time Travelers history DVD’s. These method in conjunction with each have been awesome for allowing them to feel and touch history through their own projects, and then to see it really live by watching cool presentation about it.

When you teach history, make sure that your children learn it through more than one method. It will make a huge difference in their comprehension and retention.

Homeschool Resources

At your wits end? There are tons of great homeschool resources that you can grab to make your adventure with homeschooling a lot easier to accomplish.

Struggling with math – check out math-u-see – or buy some really cool math games – or use online math games to help drill and practice.

Struggling with language? Use some homeschool specialty workbooks, rent schoolhouse rock videos, use an online program like Time4Writing.

Struggling with science? A homeschool specialized curriculum like Apologia science makes teaching several grades of children easy! Using science videos and even online science resources can also make it come alive.

Struggling with History? There are a lot of great history programs that make history really come alive. Things like The Mystery of History or Time Traveler’s History are great!

Is Homeschooling on Your Mind?

Have you been sitting on the fence awhile? I am sure you’re getting pretty tired by now… so let me give you a few facts that just might get you to jump off!

Homeschooling is the fastest growing method of education in America today!

Homeschooling gives you the freedom to teach your children in the best way you see fit for your family!

Homeschooling allows your children to learn according to their abilities. If they are advanced they can proceed without grade limits. If they need remedial work, you have the time!

Homeschooling brings families closer together. You spend all day together, so you know each other much better than families who are apart most of the time. The family unit becomes stronger!

Homeschooling allows you to customize your child’s education to their passions and strengths!

Well, as a veteran homeschooler… if you are still sitting on the fence… I hope you’re ready to jump of and become a new homeschooler!