My Blog

elementary education

Craving Freedom and Needing Structure

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Amidst all the color-coded hour-by-hour homeschool schedules flooding social media, I want to offer a different take on how to help your child organize their day if you have a child who paradoxically craves freedom and needs structure. I created for my eight-year-old twice-exceptional second-grader a pie graph showing the amount of time (out of a 24-hour day) he can spend exploring/reading/playing/learning what he's passionate about, vs. the amount of time I would like him to focus on...

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Worm Moon

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Tomorrow we'll have the first Supermoon of the year - the Worm Moon!  Do you know where the name comes from?  Here's a short story I wrote (meant to be told orally).  I hope you can share it with your children, or at least enjoy its message.

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Look up!  What do you notice?  Did you observe that the full moon is larger than usual?  We call it a Supermoon, and your eyes aren’t deceiving you… The moon IS larger than usual because it's closer than...

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The Art of Introducing a Lesson

Often, the most challenging part of giving a lesson is getting the children excited and ready to learn. Here are seven strategies to ensure your presentation gets off to a good start.

1. Check your attitude: You need to believe in the value of what you're going to present. The children will smell your fear or hesitation a mile away. If a particular topic scares you, spend more time with it. Read, listen to podcasts, watch videos, use your hands to explore the concept, and find new ways of...

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Cosmic Calendar

Connecting math, language, history and other academic subjects to your child's real-life experiences makes learning relevant, increases participation, and supports development. A hands-on home calendar is an ideal tool to learn and practice a variety of skills (whether you homeschool or not!). It also provides many opportunities for cultural explorations. Here's how we use it in our home...

MATH: The first day of each month, I take down the calendar numbers, divide them into three piles (1-10,...

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Long Live the Short Chains

The Montessori Short Chains and Arrows pack a big learning punch and are often under-utilized.IMG_4716 They're great for a homeschool environment because they don't take up any shelf space. Their initial purpose is to help the child first count linearly and then skip-count. But when your child is comfortable with these two concepts, you can use the chains for much more! Here are four ideas...

IMG_4657Find the number: Ask the child to set out the hundred chain with the corresponding arrows, while you cut up a...

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Unschooling: Soap Bubble Edition

My four-year-old found an old bubble wand and asked if we could make bubbles, so I googled this recipe and we set to work. She had a great time measuring, pouring and stirring, and she got to experience sugar disappearing in water to make a solution (yay, science and vocabulary!).

We were having so much fun blowing bubbles on our back patio that my seven-year-old decided to join the party. He wanted to see how far the bubbles could travel without popping, and noticed that there were several...

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The Un-Checklist

If you're a teacher or homeschooling parent who uses checklists to encourage a child's organization and accountability, then you already know just how quickly checklists can turn into a battle of wills between adult and child. You also probably sense that checklists hinder freedom of choice. And you've surely noticed that checklists shift the focus of the child's work away from self-development and flow, and towards task completion and industrial efficiency.

While checklists can work...

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Moon-tessori (haha, couldn't resist)

"You're great at this homeschooling thing because you're a teacher... I don't think I could do it because I don't know much about anything."

I can't tell you how many times I've heard this phrase since we started homeschooling two months ago, coming from the most capable and well-prepared mothers in my circle of friends. So here's a little secret... I don't know everything. Heck, I don't know most things! But I don't let that hold me back from learning and sharing with my children. Here's an...

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The "Annoying" Seven-Year-Old

Seven-year-old Zachary learned how to build a popscicle-stick catapult at a free library workshop last week. Over dinner that night, I "casually" asked my engineer husband if he knew the difference between a catapult and a trebuchet. A brief but interesting discussion ensued, and my son hung on to every word.

Sitting around the kitchen table after breakfast Monday morning, I asked Zachary: "What would you like to explore today?"

He pouted and crossed his arms. "Nothing."

I tried again. "Your pen...

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