Friday May 24, 2013
A fun project for nature studies is to find out what edible plants grow in your neighborhood. I love this project from homeschooling mom Rebecca Angel, who explains how to make delicious color-changing tea using violets from your yard -- complete with an explanation of the chemistry behind it.
You can also check out my articles about making a quick and easy windsock to study meteorology, and other simple science projects.
Image: Kathy Ceceri
Tuesday May 21, 2013
No matter where they fall on the homeschooling spectrum, over the years a wide range of families have found The Well-Trained Mind to be an inspiring resource. I suspect many of us picked it up and started dreaming of how impressed the in-laws would be when the six-year-old began to recite The Iliad.
The Classical Method as espoused by The Well-Trained Mind is particularly attractive to parents of gifted kids -- which, in keeping with the Lake Woebegone Effect, is most of us. Of course, most of us quickly realize that the ideal of WTM as described in the book and the way it plays out in real life is somewhat different.
This, I believe, is the secret of WTM's popularity. For when you go on the companion website's blog or forums, you discover that everyone's version of WTM is less than perfect. That includes the book's coauthor, Susan Wise Bauer. In fact, what convinced me to give it a try was Bauer's famous blog post chronicling a day of school at her house.
Bauer recently posted a video in which she updates fans on what happened in her family, more than 10 years after the book first appeared. She couches it in terms of what she's learned now that her oldest children are grown. It's very encouraging for those of us whose kids are less than perfect (and that's most of us), and very worth watching.
And if you're interested in learning more, check out my new review of The Well-Trained Mind and my list of supplemental WTM resources from Bauer and her coauthor and mom, Jesse Wise.
Image: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Monday May 20, 2013
Although in my state the school year doesn't end for another six weeks, in many parts of the country students are already on summer vacation.
That means a break for many homeschoolers, too. And looking for other activities to keep kids busy.
I'll be putting together some articles about what homeschoolers do over the summer. My family has run the gamut -- homeschooling year round, summer camp, enrichment programs, and just hanging around with friends.
I'm interested in hearing what you do over the summer. Does your family follow the traditional school schedule?
Image: Flickr user Labyrinth X-2/Creative Commons
Thursday May 16, 2013
The news that Denmark is about to get the world's first Lego school made me think about all the ways Lego is used by homeschooling parents. I know at one point they threatened to take over my sons' bedrooms, if not the whole house.
So I asked some homeschooling parents what educational projects their kids do with Lego. My favorite answer:
I always jokingly say that picking Lego out of a pile of swept-up crud is our spelling curriculum because research shows that good spellers are just people with extraordinary visual discrimination and visual memory skills. They know when a word looks wrong. That is certainly a skill put to practice when a kid can look at a pile of two hundred tiny colorful objects and pick out the three little Lego one-peg units.
My new article lists 6 Ways to Homeschool with Lego, including learning engineering with Technic sets (Compare Prices). What would you add to the list?