Wednesday December 4, 2013
What do you learn from messing around with toys? A lot.
MIT Professor Erik Demaine -- who was homeschooled on the road by his single father before starting college at age 12 -- is building an impressive career on studying the mathematical implications of diversions like paper folding and glass blowing. According to a profile of Demaine in Popular Science that ran earlier this year, "The coincidence of the brilliant and the playful mind has a long history in science."
Not every child will turn out to be a genius, but every child can benefit from being given more opportunities to play. My new article on Educational Toys for Homeschoolers collects suggestions I've made throughout my first year as Homeschooling Expert on About.com for fun learning tools (like the Lego Mindstorms EV3 Robotics kit -- Compare Prices) and supplies that help kids get creative. If you're looking for gift ideas for the holidays, it's a great place to start!
Friday November 29, 2013
When I was in public school, home economics -- "home ec" for short -- was a required course for every girl in my state. (No, really!) An article in the Boston Globe last month calls for a return to home ec for all, to help make students better prepared to deal with daily living.
I agree. In particular, knowing how to shop, store, and prepare food is one of the life skills every child should have. And using cookbooks as textbooks is a great way to add more depth to learning in other areas, too.
My new article gives you some ideas and resources for teaching your kids about Menu Planning, Nutrition, and Cooking Basics. I'll be adding more "home ec" topics soon. Feel free to suggest your favorite resources and ideas in the comments below!
Image: Kathy Ceceri
Wednesday November 27, 2013
With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, many of us will be spending the next couple days over a hot stove. Of course, being homeschoolers, we never pass up the chance to turn an activity into a teaching moment.
This year my teen will be adding to the Thanksgiving feast by making two of his specialties: Garlic Mashed Potatoes (from scratch!) and Whole Wheat Biscuits. A few years before my oldest left for college, I gathered cookbooks and resources to teach them the basics about food preparation, and my younger son has been a particularly good student in that area. But we started working with cookbooks much earlier -- and as I discovered, the lessons they learned applied way beyond the kitchen.
My new article Fit Cooking Into Your Curriculum includes a list of kids' cookbooks that teach more than just cooking. Enjoy your holiday!
Image: Kathy Ceceri
Monday November 25, 2013
Do your kids raise their hand when they want to speak? OK, maybe not at home. But when they go out. OK, not there either.
If you think about it, there are quite a few things schools spend a lot of times training kids to do that have little application in the outside world. In fact, some schools have found that the treasured routine of raising your hand actually makes it harder to learn.
My new article Mystery Meat, the Prom and Other American Traditions lists a few of the "universal" experiences homeschool kids just don't get.
Do you worry that your kids are missing out by not being in school?
Image: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images