My Blog

homeschooling

The Most Valuable Lesson

I would love to say that the first official day of our homeschool year started off peacefully, but that would be a big fat lie.  I did everything right; we discussed a routine, prepared our environment, and set expectations for the week.  And yet, when Monday rolled around and I reminded my son that it was time to practice writing (his biggest challenge), I was met with all kinds of resistance.

I expected his push-back. And he expected me to respond as I do most of the time: with...

Read more…

On Being "The Older Child"

Screen Shot 2020-06-22 at 8.29.36 PM.png

After 10 weeks of lockdown-schooling, when June 1st arrived and parts of our city reopened, I called for a homeschooling break. My kids agreed, and we spent three lazy weeks picnicking in the park, reading, and playing.

My children have always been creative, and they have plenty of LEGOs and art supplies to stay busy and engaged, but by the end of those three weeks I sensed a certain restless energy - a need for a project and a goal much bigger than what their emerging imaginations could...

Read more…

Montessori Essentials: Grammar Boxes

91709022_321043198855993_960886421516713984_n.jpg

When I began homeschooling my kids in a 1,000 sq. ft. condo, I spent a few days pondering which materials were truly essential and which we could live without. I narrowed down our math essentials, but was stumped by the language materials.  How was I going to fit a huge set of wooden Grammar Boxes into our very limited shelf space?  It was during this moment of panic that I discovered Jennifer Kilgore and Branch to Bloom.  Jennifer had the ingenious idea of converting the...

Read more…

Craving Freedom and Needing Structure

pie-chart.jpg

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...

Read more…

Why We Hike

"Why do we have to do this hike?", complained my almost-eight-year-old son, his arms drooping by his sides. We had been hiking for almost two hours, had just conquered a half-mile 500-foot elevation gain, and still faced another mile uphill before reaching the summit.

IMG_6298

My husband, unable to stomach my son's complaints, put our younger daughter in the carrier and charged up the hill. I took a deep breath and silently asked myself, "Why do we make them hike?"

Walking beside my son at his...

Read more…

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...

Read more…

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,...

Read more…

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...

Read more…

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...

Read more…

What Matters In The End

"If it's not my idea, I don't want to do it."

This seems to be my seven-year-old son's motto these days, which is kind of annoying because we're spending the summer in a city with a wealth of world-class museums that I want him to experience. I know he'll enjoy them once we're there, but transitions have never been his strong suit.

After some trial and error (and many arguments) trying to motivate him to leave the house, I've found a two-part formula that seems to work. It both gets him excited...

Read more…

Categories