Experience Before Explanation
Have you ever tried to teach a concept to your child, only to have them moan: “Why do I have to learn this?” Did you ever ask yourself that same question when you were in school?
The sad truth is that we often struggle to give our children an accurate answer because we don't really know why they have to learn what they do! Those of us who were educated in conventional schools were trained to believe that you study to get good grades, so you can get into a quality college, and eventually have a …
Montessori Essentials: Grammar Boxes
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 cumbersome Grammar Box…
Craving Freedom and Needing Structure
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 practicin…
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.
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 usual, and that's because the moon’s orbit aro…
Raising Creative Problem-Solvers
Do you constantly referee children's disagreements? Do you tend to side with one child, frustrating the other? Or do you offer solutions, only to be ignored? If you're nodding in response to any of these questions, then read on!
My 4.5-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son share a room. It's the only place in the house where they're allowed to play LEGOs, so the plastic pieces don't take over our living room/homeschool area. Both kids love LEGOs, but my older son likes to li…
Story of Chemistry: Part I
I wrote this story a while back for the Upper Elementary group I inherited that hadn't been exposed to chemistry. I never got around to writing Part II but if you take on that challenge, let me know!
Pretty much all that we see or touch in our seemingly solid existence is made from an unimaginable number of tiny atoms, each a different type of element or building block. When you combine these atoms in different ways, they make up everything that we can see in the Universe.
Montessori Red Flags
Some parents choose a private school based on location, ratio, or test results. But if your child is in a Montessori school specifically because you want them to reap the benefits of a Montessori education, I have some disconcerting news: The burden is on YOU to ensure the school is following authentic Montessori practices.
The name "Montessori" is not trademarked, so anyone can use it and steal the educational philosophy's reputation (and your hard-earned money). And many so-called "Montesso…
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. 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 maddeni…
Why You NEED to Take a Day Off (Hint: It's not about self-care)
I just spent the afternoon listening to the legendary author and feminist Gloria Steinem. Among the topics she addressed was the issue of democratic heterosexual households. She argued that society has convinced us there are "male" qualities and "female" qualities. However, when we realize that the "qualities necessary to raise children - patience, nurturing, attention to detail, empathy" - are HUMAN qualities, we'll have taken the first step towards a democratic household.
Why don't many me…
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 lo…
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