The Survival Mom » Homeschooling http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Fri, 03 Jul 2015 14:26:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 21 Homeschool Resources For All Ages http://thesurvivalmom.com/homeschool-resources-for-all-ages/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/homeschool-resources-for-all-ages/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 07:07:21 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22883 When my parents first pulled my brother and me out of private school to educate us at home in 1994, we were on the very fringe of an often misunderstood movement. We knew only two other families who homeschooled their kids. We heard rumors that there were others, but had no way to get in […]

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homeschool resources for all agesWhen my parents first pulled my brother and me out of private school to educate us at home in 1994, we were on the very fringe of an often misunderstood movement. We knew only two other families who homeschooled their kids. We heard rumors that there were others, but had no way to get in touch with them. It was nearly impossible to find resources, so my mother used a lot of the same curriculum that had been used by our last school. My mother often said that she wished she had pulled us out to homeschool earlier, but she had no way of knowing where to purchase materials or curricula. Obviously this was before the internet became widely used.

The homeschooling landscape has changed a lot in the last twenty years. Negative stereotypes that hounded us in 1994 have largely been proven ridiculous. When I started homeschooling my kindergartener last year, I was up to my eyeballs in resources, many of them free. My parents spent $1000 on curricula the first year they taught us at home. In 2014 I spent less than $100.

Here’s a selection of my favorite articles and homeschool resources for all ages, and they’re all free.

Homeschool Philosophy/ Homeschool Tips

1) Avoiding Homeschool Burnout

Burnout is the #1 problem homeschoolers face, which is why I listed it as the very first link. How many of us start the year with glorious expectations of our children’s academic success, only to find, six weeks in, that we are living an unsustainable model? Read Avoiding Homeschool Burnout for tips from experienced homeschooling parents.

2) Using Netflix in Homeschool Curriculum

I confess I do not have a Netflix account, but I use YouTube in a similar fashion in my own home school. Read Homeschooling with Netflix Documentaries and Using Netflix in Our Homeschooling.

3)  “The Baby IS the Lesson

Many families homeschool for moral or religious reasons. Moral instruction is an important part of a child’s upbringing but sometimes gets lost in the busy-ness that is homeschooling. Read The Baby IS The Lesson for inspiration.

Resources for Teaching Art

4) Harrington Harmonies

The author of this blog regularly posts fun and useful art projects around a theme, perfect for younger children who love to explore.

5) Drawspace

Simple, step-by-step instruction on the more technical side of drawing. Topics include line, value, shape, perspective, and color. Some lessons are free, others require a paid subscription. Browse here for all kinds of lessons in art.

6) Metropolitan Museum of Art – books with full text

You know those giant coffee-table books with all the pictures that they sell at museums? The Metropolitain Museum of Art has published a couple hundred of these over the years, and many of them are now available as free pdf downloads. Not only a good resource for art, but history as well.

7) Google Cultural Institute

Will the wonders of Google never cease? The cultural institute is a searchable image database of museum collections from all over the world, along with item descriptions.

Resources for Teaching Literacy

8) This Reading Mama

Lots and lots of free printable worksheets and emergent readers to inspire literacy in young children. The author of This Reading Mama blog also has products for sale.

9) The Amazing-Incredible Handwriting Worksheet Maker

My kindergartner is not inspired by his handwriting workbook, which encourages him to write, “Grey Goose,” and “The band can play,” dozens of times. He is very interested, however, in writing about things that interest him, so I regularly print up worksheets for things that say, “Space Shuttle,” and “Jupiter,” and “Kuiper Belt.” This site lets you choose from print manuscript, D’nealian, and cursive handwriting fonts.

Resources for Teaching Math and Science

10) Khan Academy

What started with a guy sharing simple videos on how to do a variety of math problems has evolved into a sophisticated online system of courses on a variety of subjects. Khan Academy math classes range from elementary-level mathematics to differential equations and linear algebra. Also offered are video lectures on history, art history, science, economics, and preparation for college entrance exams. The math section is Common Core Aligned.

11) Physics Animations

Sometimes you have to see a scientific principle in action before you understand it. These short animations of physics concepts are clear and concise.

Resources for Teaching History

12) BBC’s Primary History

This BBC website includes information on a wide cross-section of time periods – colorful illustrations and clear, easy-to-read text.

For Advanced Students: Open Courseware

Open courseware is a term that describes recordings and materials from actual university courses now available for free. Subjects vary from technical fields to history and social science.

13) Yale

14) Massachusetts Institute of Technology

For Special Needs Students

15) Homeschooling with Dyslexia

Dyslexia is often misunderstood, and can really throw a wrench in one’s educational plans. Some homeschool philosophies proclaim, “reading is easy, don’t sweat it.” Ha. (As a dyslexic, myself, I ought to know!) This site, Homeschooling with Dyslexia, probably would have been nice to have when I was growing up.

16) Homeschooling Autism.

This Homeschooling Autism blog has a lot of valuable information, though it hasn’t been updated in a few months.

Free! Homeschooling Resources for All Ages

17) Homeschool Giveaways

If you are looking for a site that does all the work for you in compiling lists of free worksheets and print-out activities on nearly every subject you can think of, here it is. This site primarily provides outside links to other sites, some of which require that you sign up for their email newsletter before you can access the material.

18) Homeschool Share.

This site has hundreds of free lapbooks, for a variety of age levels. Each download includes both the activities and the research required to complete it. If you have children in the younger elementary grades, they will love these cut-and-past activities.

Still lost?

If you need to begin homeschooling immediately either by desire or necessity but still don’t know quite where to start, there are several sites that include entire online curricula from kindergarten to high school.

19) Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool

A complete curriculum for all subjects that can be done by a student entirely on the computer.

20) Ambleside Online

Comes with the Survival Mom Stamp of Approval.

21) Discovery K12

Another complete online curriculum.

 

There are as many different approaches to homeschooling as there are children to be homeschooled. When I first began our homeschool year with my kindergartner, I had a very clear, structured idea of what we would be doing. Our reality became quite different as I decided to pull from a variety of different approaches instead of following one set curriculum, choosing to follow my child’s interests in lieu of a predetermined syllabus. Having the ability to access free homeschool resources for all ages has been a definite help.

Whether you are already homeschooling, or just thinking about it, I hope this short list (because this could have been much, much longer) will be of use.

homeschool resources for all ages

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The Homeschooling Starter’s Guide http://thesurvivalmom.com/how-to-start-homeschooling/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/how-to-start-homeschooling/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 07:20:34 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22214 There are many benefits for the home schooled child and newcomers often want to know how to start homeschooling and why. First, their class size is only as big as the number of siblings they have being home schooled with them. They get more one on one attention from their teacher. Second, their teacher is […]

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how to start homeschooling

There are many benefits for the home schooled child and newcomers often want to know how to start homeschooling and why.

First, their class size is only as big as the number of siblings they have being home schooled with them. They get more one on one attention from their teacher. Second, their teacher is someone who knows how they best learn and has their best interest in mind. Third, homeschooling has the potential to be more fun and engaging than a public school setting. One of the hardest parts of homeschooling, however, may be knowing how to get started.

The Legal Stuff

Home school laws vary from country to country and, in the United States, from state to state. To home school, you need to know what the local law requires of you and your child. Some states require a certain number of college credits from the parent(s) who will be teaching them. Others only require a high school diploma. Most will require that you go to your school district and declare your intent to home school, a curriculum and yearly testing of your child, and some states have virtually no requirements at all.

Time and cost involved

Home schooling is worth it for both you and your child. It does, however, take some effort from both of you. It’s important to know that there are no two families who homeschool in exactly the same way. Some parents set up an actual classroom in the home, many homeschooled kids work at the kitchen table or sprawled out on the couch. Parents who work late hours prefer that their kids do some schooling in the evening or into the night, so they will be there to help, and then there are the early bird homeschoolers who are up at dawn, working furiously on their schoolwork, so they can play all afternoon!

There is no single, best way to homeschool, but depending on your style, circumstances and the ages and abilities of your kids you may want to:

  • have some type of organized schedule for schoolwork, activities, playdates, etc.
  • set aside time to create and go over lesson plans or use ready-made plans that come with many types of curricula and on websites.
  • set measurable goals for your child’s progress.
  • set a school schedule. It can be flexible, but the time for education should be clearly marked out.

Homeschooling will also have a cost, but it doesn’t need to be expensive. You will need basic school supplies and materials for every day class, such as pencils and paper or a dry erase set. You will need art supplies if you plan to teach your children about art. If you plan to take your children on field trips or sign them up for extracurricular lessons, you’ll need to have money set aside for that.

There are plenty of free materials available online, though. Khan Academy offers online, video lessons beginning with kindergarten through high school. Note that Khan Academy is aligned with Common Core, which you may or may not want. Ambleside Online is an excellent free curriculum that only requires you to obtain the books used in reading assignments, and many of those are either free or extremely inexpensive.

Identify Your Child’s Learning Style

No one know how your child learns better than you. As a homeschooling parent/ teacher you will be able to cater to your child’s learning style. If your child has more of hands on learning style, you can teach geometry by digging a hole in your back yard to certain specifications. If they are having trouble with their fractions you can have a cooking class and let them work the measuring cups while explaining their size relation to each other. Keeping your child’s learning style in mind can help you plan a creative curriculum around them, one that suits them best and will provide real, successful learning.

Where To Find Curriculum

Home school curriculum used to very expensive, even when buying your books used. With the joy that is the internet that is no longer true. In fact many curriculum can be found online for free. Some are religious and others are not. Some even have a list of materials you will need to buy as well as downloadable material. Here are a few of my favorites.

All in One Homeschool

Ambleside Online — Used by The Survival Mom.

Guest Hollow

Old Fashioned Education

Free Homeschooling Stuff Online

In addition to the full curriculum you can find online, there are also plenty of extras that you can find and integrate into your lesson plans. For example, you may have chosen a curriculum with a great focus on core classes, but nothing on the subjects of art or music. You can go online and find plenty of craft ideas and coloring pages. YouTube is full of classical musical performances for virtually every composer. You can find many different types of songs to help your child’s memory recall of lessons they may be struggling with. If you want to supplement your homeschooling experience try some of these websites.

Free Homeschool Deals

Spelling City

Successful Homeschooling

Vocabulary games

Home Schooling Groups

There are groups available to help with homeschooling and offer support. Homeschool Legal Defense Association has a directory of the groups in your the United States by state and county. There are groups that offer extra classes, 4H groups, or sports teams. You could also start your own group should you feel so inclined. You could offer to teach a subject you are strong in, such as science or literature, while another parent may teach math.

Field trips and getting outside!

Home schooling doesn’t mean hunkering down at home with your children and a bunch of books (although if that’s what you want, I’m sure you could). It also means that there can be more field trips. Go to national parks for classes in biology. Visit a rock climbing studio for physical education. Visit museums, beaches, art galleries, aquariums and zoos. Many local attractions are either free or very inexpensive. It allows your classes to be creative and gives your child a chance to see the education given to them has real world application.

There is an astonishing number of activities geared to homeschoolers and some museums, science centers, and the like even offer daytime classes, specifically for them.

Online Schooling

You may want your child to have the experience of being home schooled but are uncertain about getting started. You may doubt if you have the time or the knowledge to make curriculum choices or doubt your teaching abilities. That’s okay. There is an option for those that fall into this category but would still like to have their child be educated in their own home. Consider an online public school. Your child will be able to connect to a teacher online and they will plan the curriculum. Your job will be to keep your child on track with their lesson plan and introduce supplement activities or outings as you see fit.

K12 online school — Lisa’s note: I DO NOT recommend this program. When I contacted them via online chat, I was steered toward the “tuition-free” option. I asked where the funding came from and the agent admitted that they are paid for each student enrolled in the public school option, which is Common Core aligned.  Other than the child being at home, there is virtually no advantage to this program.

The agent told me that their private programs are different because they don’t have to follow the curriculum of states. When I asked where I could find the funding information on the K12 site, my online chat was suddenly disconnected.

The downside to online public school is that all curriculum choices will be out of your hands, as will assignments and accountability. Most homeschoolers enjoy shorter school days but online public schools may require a minimum number of “seat” hours per day. As well, it will almost surely be aligned with Common Core — a controversial curriculum, at best.

Helpful resources

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Happy, Healthy, & Prepared — A FREE Ebook For You! http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-book/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-book/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:00:01 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22091 The Survival Mom Radio Network produced over 700 shows during its very successful run. We aren’t producing new episodes now, but together, the hosts contributed to a handy ebook with tips for homesteading, survival, family life, and more. That book is completely FREE! Here’s the link for the Kindle version of Happy, Healthy & Prepared, and […]

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Happy Healthy and Prepared ebook  www.TheSurvivalMom.com

Click to download from Kindle.

The Survival Mom Radio Network produced over 700 shows during its very successful run. We aren’t producing new episodes now, but together, the hosts contributed to a handy ebook with tips for homesteading, survival, family life, and more.

That book is completely FREE!

Here’s the link for the Kindle version of Happy, Healthy & Preparedand you don’t need to have a Kindle in order to read it. Here are complete instructions for reading Kindle books from your computer!

 

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Homeschooling: Where Academics & Survival Skills Meet http://thesurvivalmom.com/homeschooling-survival-skills/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/homeschooling-survival-skills/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 08:30:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20128 Homeschooling is quite an undertaking, but one of the great benefits of homeschooling is that you can teach your kids the real-world skills you think they will need to survive, not what some bureaucrat decreed. (For the life of me, I still can’t see why I needed that many years of math in high school!) While […]

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If you want your homeschooled child to become more self-reliant and learn more old-school skills, this post has some great ideas for homeschooling survival skills. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comHomeschooling is quite an undertaking, but one of the great benefits of homeschooling is that you can teach your kids the real-world skills you think they will need to survive, not what some bureaucrat decreed. (For the life of me, I still can’t see why I needed that many years of math in high school!) While different parents naturally have different focuses for their kids, you probably see the benefit of having your kids learn homesteading and outdoor skills. After all, you are on The Survival Mom website!

Happily, it’s easy for even busy and overwhelmed parents to work many of these into your homeschool curriculum! While some subjects (such as firearm instruction) may be best taught by a professional, some survival skills fit easily and naturally into a homeschooling curriculum. Many activities can be easily integrated into a homeschool curriculum as part of physical education, art, language arts, history, and science classes. (PE? A nature or history hike fits the bill, or time spent chopping and building with wood, learning frontier skills, etc.) Cooking and baking are so easy (fractions, chemistry, other cultures, history…), we aren’t covering them here.

Even if you don’t homeschool, these are still great family activities and if your kids are in 4H or Scouts, those are great places for these and similar activities.

Local Botany

Generalized knowledge about herbs and plants is good to have, but it’s more useful to know and teach your kids about plants that grow around where you live or spend a lot of time. Tracing leaf shapes and discussing identifying features such as color, berries and bark are fun and educational activities to do with even very young kid.

Discuss which blooms, berries, and types of bark are edible and which are used medicinally. Take a few minutes to talk about how each might be prepared to eat and/or used as medicine. Many times, it is one and the same, such as a tea made from dandelions for gastro-intestinal complaints, or chamomile to help fall asleep. Many edible plants have look-alikes and you can get into trouble fast if you don’t really know what you are doing, so make sure to cover thoroughly those as well.

Haven’t started homeschooling yet? Confused by all the curriculum choices? You may want to read 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by curriculum expert Cathy Duffy.

During a camping trip (preferably car-camping, but something where you can get to medical help quickly, if needed), have them try to cook a recipe using ingredients they foraged – and you carefully reviewed for safety. The last is critical so you don’t accidentally get ill from a look-alike; this is also the reason to do this somewhere you can get medical help quickly. If your kids object, just remind/show them what happened in The Hunger Games when someone ate the wrong berries.

As your kids grow older, you may also want to go into more detail about how plants are used as medicine, different types of preparations, and how they may interact with other herbs or newer medications.

Astronomy

Stars are our great calendar in the sky. They help us identify seasons for farming. They help us navigate on land and at sea. None of this can help us, however, if we can’t tell Polaris from the moon.

One of the best ways to learn about astronomy and constellations is with stories that have been passed down to help us remember the shape of star formations. The most accessible and common are the classical Greek and Roman mythologies, and Native American legends, but there are many others. Hina and the Sea of Stars is a picture book about the legend of the Hawaiian Goddess Hina and the moon.

You can integrate these stories into a reading program, make up your own star stories as part of a creative writing project, or simply use them in a history or cultural unit.

Kids can also create beautiful artwork using actual constellations, and a visit to a nearby planetarium could be the culminating activity of your study of astronomy.

The ultimate goal of this study is that kids will have a better idea of using the night sky to navigate.

Meteorology

Start out with a regular outside thermometer and a notebook. Don’t use a digital thermometer because you want your kids to be able to read a basic one. Track temperature and weather conditions (such as windy or cloudy) that affect the temperature they feel. For example, it may be 60* F, but with wind shear it may feel much colder.

Discuss how the weather affects us daily. Talk about what to wear if the weather is dangerous, and survival tactics to beat the cold or heat. Discuss historical examples of how people survived in dangerous weather and how other cultures (Eskimos, Bedouin) adapted to extreme climates. Also discuss how to know which way the weather is traveling.

Clouds are mostly classified by the way they look, using Latin root words. Cirrus, for example, means “curl of hair”. It is also important to note how high or low a cloud may be. What a cloud is made of can be determined by how high it is elevated. For example , a high level cloud is composed mostly of ice crystals due to the temperature of the altitude it is at. A low level cloud, however, will usually be mostly composed of water droplets.

By learning about basic weather features and patterns, kids can become more capable of outdoor survival.

Art

Art may seem like an odd addition to a survival curriculum, but it’s actually pretty important for any child learning survival to be able to create useful items with what’s around them. Art does not just apply to painting on a canvas or making a bust of a stranger’s face.

Art could apply to shelter building, creating star charts, or local maps. Sewing, knitting, or crochet can create useful items such as blankets or clothing. It is easy to plan an art curriculum that results in things that can be put to good use.

And so much more!

Wherever you look, there are things to teach our kids that relate to survival and preparedness. Whether it is how to safely start a fire (old school methods like using a flint lend themselves to studying geology), safe driving (physics, or how a safety belt or bike helmet keeps you safe), or any of a thousand other moments in daily life, we all make choices about what we are going to focus on and teach our kids.

It’s never as simple in real life as it sounds in our heads, but the choice to focus on teaching preparedness skills to your kids really is yours, and yours alone. Even when you are just having a fun relaxing time, you can choose to play Doom and Bloom SURVIVAL! or Life. Both are fun board games, but only one includes “Preppertown” as a location. No, you probably won’t learn new skills playing a board game, but wouldn’t you rather have your kids thinking about what resources they might need in an emergency instead of pretty much anything related to an animated character?

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Survival Lessons for Students from Sesame Street http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-lessons-for-students-from-sesame-street/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-lessons-for-students-from-sesame-street/#respond Sat, 13 Dec 2014 08:01:32 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19661 Prepare even the youngest kiddos for common emergencies with online tools and resources! Rather than mom-to-mom wisdom, I’m sharing a compiled list of online tools and resources you can use to help you prepare your little ones mentally and physically for emergencies they may encounter—even if you aren’t there to help. One great resources for […]

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sesame streetPrepare even the youngest kiddos for common emergencies with online tools and resources!

Rather than mom-to-mom wisdom, I’m sharing a compiled list of online tools and resources you can use to help you prepare your little ones mentally and physically for emergencies they may encounter—even if you aren’t there to help. One great resources for a wide variety of ages is the Red Cross’ “Masters of Disaster” program for grades K-8. Some of these are even great for homeschooling!

So choose an age group and get started on your survival lessons for students!

Ages 2-6

Sesame Street has a great episode including several quick videos about being prepared for emergencies. The videos are in the context of “Fairy Tale Emergencies” and can spark conversations without scaring little ones.

The tool kit contains even more videos explaining what “being prepared” means, what constitutes an emergency, and basic information for this age group.

Fire Safety activities, printables, and planning ideas from Sparky the Fire Dog are perfect!

Ages 7-10

New York City officials have put together some interesting “Choose your Own” stories for emergencies like power outages, heavy snow, hurricanes, and heat waves that are interactive and informative.  One word of caution: because it’s a New York City, government-produced resource, it advises kids to do things like go to the designated shelter or cooling center. Discuss whether this is something you really want your kids to before they visit the site, and discuss your preferred alternatives, as well as whether designated centers are even an option. These PDF files are printable.

Ready.gov has created some activities by school-age groups, as well.  There’s a lot of educational jargon and waaaay more political justification than you need to actually implement the activities, but you can access those lesson plans here.

Go Bag for Kids has some cute animated videos about surviving earthquakes and tsunamis.  Scroll all the way down to find the embedded videos.

Florida’s Division of Emergency has some great online games—including building a virtual emergency kit that you can later print out—at Kids Get a Plan.

I also liked the printable checklists your kids can print and either compare against their own kits and go-bags or build themselves from the CDC website.

A printable, interactive Disney workbook includes activities and ideas for kids. It was developed with the Red Cross for Disaster Preparedness Month and addresses major and minor weather events.

Ages 11-14

Have kids check out the map from Ready.gov to learn more about recent large-scale events or disasters in each state, and which ones are most likely to happen. Your older kids can click on their state and get recent emergency-related headlines with real pictures, explore the most common weather events in your state, and get tips for what to do before, during, and after these types of emergencies.  If your kids stay the night with friends or spend time away from home, this is a great way to empower them to be more self-reliant.

A fun, interactive game from PBS kids gives scenarios of things that might happen when parents aren’t home.  They score points by making responsible decisions and following mom’s written instructions. My kids loved this one.

Ages 15+

If your teens are not in Scouting, consider having them take a CPR training course at your local YMCA or Red Cross. I liked this video of teenagers practicing their CPR/lifeguard training.

Additionally, the CDC has put together a story about a pandemic that is in comic book or “graphic novel” form. Curiously, the virus makes people zombies, so it’s geared toward older kids. They have to hunker down until their food runs out, then they worry about how much gas is in the car to get help.

Florida’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has its full teen workbook online for PDF download and can be useful for disasters in many regions.

Survival Lessons for Kids – Remember to Follow Up

As with any lesson, talk with you kiddos about the activities and use them as a springboard for conversation and/or modifying your own emergency preparedness plans.  Feel free to add your favorite ideas and links in the comments below. And for a complete scope and sequence of kids’ preparedness, click this link. Happing prepping!

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What if You’re Forced to Homeschool? http://thesurvivalmom.com/youre-forced-homeschool/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/youre-forced-homeschool/#comments Sun, 17 Aug 2014 15:32:24 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16701 A new school year is almost here. If your children attend school outside your home, have you ever thought about what would happen if their school was closed for an extended period of time? The most likely to occur disastrous events don’t have a long duration before order begins to be restored. Natural disasters can be […]

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AVR Forced to Homeschool TitleA new school year is almost here. If your children attend school outside your home, have you ever thought about what would happen if their school was closed for an extended period of time?

The most likely to occur disastrous events don’t have a long duration before order begins to be restored. Natural disasters can be devastating, but most are relatively localized and the response and recovery time is a couple weeks to a month at the longest. Your children might miss some school, but the time is usually made up at the end of the year or possibly by extending the school day.

Think Katrina

But every now and then a major event happens, like Hurricane Katrina, that disrupts entire geographic areas and devastates schools.

Katrina completely destroyed 110 of 126 New Orleans public schools, displacing more than 60,000 students. A year later, the school system was only able to accommodate the return of half the students. It is estimated that more than 400,000 students in the Katrina ravaged regions had to move to other cities to attend school.

Another issue is pandemic. Experts believe that it could take at least 4 to 6 months to prepare a vaccine for distribution during a flu pandemic.

Schools have varying response plans for outbreaks. Some close as soon as an outbreak has been identified. Others will not close until the school itself has a certain percentage of confirmed illnesses. Either way, schools could be closed for months to help reduce transmission rates. Depending on the time of year and how long schools are closed, recommendations could be made to hold all students back until work is made up or promote them all as if they completed the current grade. Neither is a good option.

Homeschooling Your Public School Children

If you find yourself post-disaster with school aged children at home for an extended period of time, you will likely need a way  keep them occupied. You may also want to continue their education so they don’t fall behind.

If they have their school books with them, you can simply progress through each subject as if they were attending school. Have your children read the text, work in workbooks, and take chapter quizzes and tests. If there are no tests, create them by reading through the text yourself.

AVR Forced to HomeschoolMaintain good notes on what the student accomplishes each day and keep a copy of all finished work. This will provide proof that your child has successfully completed missed curriculum and could prevent him from being held back a year. If the students are promoted to the next grade automatically, you will be confident that there won’t be any learning gaps because they did the work.

Online Resources

There are other study options whether your children have their school textbooks or not. Assuming you have power and an internet connection (for example, in a pandemic scenario), there are no limits to the education that can be provided to your kids. You can enroll your children into full time online schools like Freedom Project Education, K12 Online Public Schools  or Connections Academy, Time4Learning, or Easy Peasy.

If you’re looking for specific courses, here are some of our family favorites:

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to teach your children at home using a computer, it will be easy to find the curriculum you need. (These are also great resources for your children to use ANY day!)

Let’s assume though that for whatever reason you won’t have your children’s textbooks at home, you don’t have internet access, and you are looking at weeks to months of educating your child yourself. What should you have in your home to prepare for such a time?

Books, Books, Books!

It’s ideal if every home has a large library anyway, but if you don’t, consider picking up a few books that you know your children will enjoy and keep them stashed away until needed.

Like clothes and food storage, these may need to be “rotated” as your children get older. Most books are fairly inexpensive and easy to pick up here and there as the budget allows. Others can be found at garage sales, library sales, and used book stores for pennies on the dollar.

Ebook readers, such as the Kindle, can store hundreds of books and all it takes to keep them charged is a small solar battery charger. Load up on the classics, of which nearly all are free. Go through reading lists for your child’s age and grade, and begin adding those books as well. One good source of book recommendations for both fiction and non-fiction is Ambleside Online.

Besides “pleasure reading” books, what kind of books should you buy?

A workbook that covers broad topics for the entire grade. You buy and use them throughout the year, save them for use during the summer before buying the next grade’s workbook, or not use them at all and save them for younger children or to sell or donate to others.

Textbooks that cover an entire year of information like the “What your Kindergartner Needs to Know” series. There’s a book for each grade up through sixth and covers math, literature, history, and science.

Encyclopedias have mostly gone by the wayside with the advent of the internet, but nothing beats a full set for concise information on so many topics. One could use nothing but encyclopedias to get a great education. Unfortunately, a new, updated set can cost over $1,000. If your budget can handle that, I would encourage purchasing a set.

For most, that’s too big of an expense. An alternative is buying a variety of “encyclopedic” books for a fraction of the cost. There are thousands of encyclopedic books like these that are available for pre-schoolers through adults (and are likely your best option for find relevant educational books for teens) and it would be impossible to list even a fraction of them here.  Just a few of our favorites include:

You can also find sets of encyclopedias for sale on eBay, Craigslist, in used bookstores and thrift stores.

Don’t Forget School Supplies!

Whether preparing to educate on- or offline, remember to have a stock of school supplies on hand. This would include pencils and sharpeners, erasers, crayons, lined and unlined paper, folders, a calculator, ruler and protractor, dictionary. We keep a large stock of the consumable items at home because we know we will always need them, in good times or bad. If you are able, double up one what you would normally buy for your children when you go school supply shopping this year. Send half to school and keep the other half at home.

You’ll find these supplies at their very lowest prices in the weeks leading up to the first days of school.

Worst Case Scenarios

While some people maintain moderate levels of preparedness to protect themselves during common or expected disasters, some also prepare for “The Big One,” whether that means EMP, zombies, total economic collapse, super-volcanoes or polar shifts.  Even if these events are extremely unlikely, there is always the potential that something catastrophic could happen which would keep kids out of school for years. For those that prepare for this possibility, there are two main schools of thought.

First, the idea is that if things got that bad, there would be little need to learn higher level math and science or to analyze literature. Everyone will be too busy trying to survive to have time for such things. If this is your philosophy, then you should consider stocking up on survival type books. Knot making, gardening, how to repairs, trapping and hunting, identifying edible plants, and so on. The “education” that your kids will receive will be geared directly toward their survival.

At the opposite end of that spectrum are those that believe it is imperative to maintain the higher level of learning even in survival situations. Eventually, the knowledge needs to be passed on in order to make a strong recovery. After a TEOTWAWKI event, the world will need individuals who understand electronics and power, who have a strong grasp of mathematical and scientific principles, and even a comprehensive understanding of history and literature. Filling your shelves with textbooks and specific topic manuals should be your goal if this is your belief.

Maybe you’re like me and you’ll fall somewhere in between and work on building a library that helps cover both ideas.

Head to your local book store or peruse Amazon for more ideas. The wider the variety of books you have available, the more options you will have when you find yourself forced into homeschooling.

Are there any subjects you specifically plan to teach your kids if you were forced to homeschool? Subjects you would set aside? Do you have resources you would like to share with others? Post your ideas in the comments. 

The post What if You’re Forced to Homeschool? by Amy VR appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

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The smartest and stupidest things I’ve done as a homeschooler http://thesurvivalmom.com/smartest-stupidest-things-ive-done-homeschooler/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/smartest-stupidest-things-ive-done-homeschooler/#comments Sun, 06 Apr 2014 12:19:17 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=13495 This article originally appeared on the blog of my dear friend, Patrice Lewis, Rural Revolution . As the school  year winds down and amid a lot of controversy about the Common Core curriculum, many parents are wondering if homeschooling is for them. Here in all its glory is a list of the smart and stupid […]

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This article originally appeared on the blog of my dear friend, Patrice Lewis, Rural Revolution . As the school  year winds down and amid a lot of controversy about the Common Core curriculum, many parents are wondering if homeschooling is for them. Here in all its glory is a list of the smart and stupid things we have done as a homeschooling family. Trust me. If we can homeschool, anyone can!

image by jimmiehomeschoolmom

image by jimmiehomeschoolmom

For the past ten years I have homeschooled our two kids.  My daughter is now finishing 9th grade, and my son is a 6th grader.  I’d like to say it’s been smooth sailing, but I have made some pretty stupid mistakes.  I’ve also made some smart decisions that have ultimately been responsible for ten wonderful years.  Here are a few of the smartest and stupidest things I’ve done.

SMART:  We decided to homeschool long before my kids were ready for school.  This gave me lots of time to research and time for our families to get used to the idea.  All the other grand kids were headed off to public schools.  Ours weren’t.  That took some getting used to.

STUPID:   It was futile to argue with family members about our decision.  With time, they saw that our kids were turning out just fine.  In fact, just two years into our homeschooling venture, I heard my mother-in-law comment about a particularly well-behaved kid, “I’ll bet he’s homeschooled!”  Bottom line: you make the decision to homeschool based on your own beliefs, research etc., and let family members think what they will.

SMART:   I introduced my kids to literature that I thought was too advanced for them.  We either read it aloud, listened to the unabridged recorded versions, or they read it on their own.  I was so proud of my daughter for reading Little Women, Robin Hood, Mary Poppins, and other unabridged classics that no longer appear on public school reading lists. As a former teacher, I’d been used to basal readers, aka dumbed down literature. It was refreshing to see my kids enjoying the real thing. Currently, my son and I are both engrossed in Treasure Island.

STUPID:  Initially, I thought we would always use the same curriculum.  We began with an activity based curriculum, KONOS.  It was fun building our own model of a medieval castle and turning a chicken into a preserved mummy, but after a while, it became burdensome to constantly have major projects to prepare for.  When I saw that our next unit included making leather moccasins by hand, I started looking for something different.

SMART:  We formed friendships with other homeschooling families.  We’ve vacationed with one particular family at different times of the school year, gone on numerous field trips together, and it’s turned into a whole-family friendship. We now belong to a very large homeschool group that offers clubs, sports, field trips, and numerous other activities. It’s a matter of picking and choosing what we want to do. I highly recommend connecting with other homeschooling families, if for no other reason than you can schedule playdates in the middle of the day and aren’t tied to a public school schedule.

STUPID:  I was naïve in not realizing that politics and personalities can cause problems within homeschooling groups.  The first group we joined was wonderful, or so I thought, until I learned that one of the moms had taken a singular dislike to my six year-old daughter.  The woman was deranged, but we ended up leaving the group when we realized she had influenced other families and we no longer felt welcome.  Yes, it was bizarre and maybe not the norm, but I was probably too trusting.

SMART:  I’ve been willing to stop using a particular curriculum or method when I found it wasn’t working.  Saxon Math was a terrific choice when my daughter was in kindergarten, but halfway through first grade, she started freaking out when faced with a page of dozens of math problems.  After a few weeks, I switched to Singapore Math, and it was a much better fit. As a freshman, she’s back in Saxon! Flexibility is key, as is giving yourself permission to say, “This just isn’t working. Let’s find something else.”

STUPID:  At times we really overdid it with field trips and extracurricular activities.  In our city, there are dozens of possible field trips.  We belong to an email loop that informs me of every ballet, play, and other cultural event, all with unbeatable ticket prices.  After two years of one, and sometimes two, field trips a month, I realized it was too much.  The field trips were great but between traveling to and from and then a good dose of socializing at the event, we ended up losing entire school days.

SMART: Choosing the best over the good.  Field trips and extracurricular activities are all well and good, but ultimately, you have to remember that you’re supposed to be doing school!  One year, we dropped everything: a Tuesday morning Bible study, AWANAS, ballet, and sports.  It wasn’t that those things weren’t important.  We had just started spending less time with school, and I needed to refocus.  Bit by bit we’ve added some of those activities back into our schedule, but I constantly have to maintain a balance and drop the good when it starts overtaking the best.

STUPID:  At first, I didn’t think I needed guidance.  I was maybe a little too cocky my first year of homeschooling.  After all, I had been a classroom teacher for several years and had trained teachers, so homeschooling would be a piece of cake, right?  Well, not quite.  I had some real difficulties with coming up with a schedule that worked for us.  I also hadn’t counted on trying to do school with a three year-old climbing all over me, the table, and the math manipulatives.  It was our third year when my daughter was in second grade, that we started using curriculum that came with a weekly schedule.  It was such a good feeling to check off each activity and lesson and a little humbling for this know-it-all.

SMART:  Not trying to duplicate school at home.  We’ve only used one or two books I suppose could be called textbooks, and my kids have never sat at desks.  Years ago, before we began homeschooling, I saw a poor little eight year-old boy sitting at his family’s kitchen table with a stack of textbooks and workbooks two feet high.  I felt sorry for him and knew instinctively that this wasn’t how I wanted to homeschool.  We’ve always been, what I call, casual homeschoolers.  Definitely not the textbook/desk type.

STUPID:  I tend to be pretty independent and I didn’t think I needed a boost of motivation every now and then.  I’ve missed several homechooling conventions, but when I go, I leave charged up and ready to take on a new year.

SMART:  Early on we realized that homeschooling is a lifestyle.  Learning becomes a whole-family activity.  Family vacations become long distance field trips.  Questions from the kids become research assignments.  Yeah, it doesn’t always make us popular with the kids, but life is all about learning, and we try to reinforce that concept every day.

STUPID:  Doing something just because other families are doing it.  It was cute watching my little five year-old doing ballet, but it took her taking me aside, as a nine year-old, and saying, “Mom, I just don’t want to do ballet anymore.  It isn’t me,” for me to realize we’d overstayed our welcome with ballet.  I had fun visiting with all the other ballet moms, but while I was busy chatting and sharing recipes, my little sweetie was feeling like a clumsy misfit.  We immediately dropped ballet and never looked back.

SMART:  Taking comfort that tomorrow is another day.  When we have a day when we’ve been busy with errands, chores, and other stuff and no “school” happens, I know that tomorrow we get to try again.  Besides, the kids are always learning something, even if it’s the fact that the dry cleaners will donate a bedspread to Goodwill if it isn’t picked up on time!

My takeaway lesson is that homeschooling doesn’t demand perfection.  It’s more a matter of enjoying the journey, learning from mistakes, and focusing on what is most important, fostering a love of learning in our children.

 

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Homeschooling challenges, grade by grade http://thesurvivalmom.com/homeschooling-challenges-age-by-age/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/homeschooling-challenges-age-by-age/#comments Wed, 05 Jun 2013 10:04:05 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=11857 Now that another school year has come and gone, I wanted to bring up the subject of homeschooling once again. Today’s episode of “The Survival Mom Radio Hour” discusses how to decide if homeschooling is right for you and what are some of the challenges you might face. You have all summer to think about […]

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image by jimmiehomeschoolmom

image by jimmiehomeschoolmom

Now that another school year has come and gone, I wanted to bring up the subject of homeschooling once again. Today’s episode of “The Survival Mom Radio Hour” discusses how to decide if homeschooling is right for you and what are some of the challenges you might face.

You have all summer to think about it!

As I’ve thought about our 9 years of homeschooling, I have to admit that some ages and grades were easier than others. Here is what was true for me:

Kindergarten – 2nd grade

On one hand these grades were super easy because the material was so simple. I taught my kids to read using How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and sure enough, it worked. Our school days were super short, and I read a LOT to my kids. In fact, for the first several years of my daughter’s life, her favorite “toys” were books.

What made these grades a little complicated at times wasn’t my student, it was her younger brother. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with her going over a math lesson (we started out using Saxon Math) while my son climbed onto my chair and tried to sit on my shoulders. He was old enough to know he was missing out on something but too young for those school lessons himself.

I tried many, many different diversions to hold his attention during “school hours” but it was a struggle. Life became easier when he was doing real live school work himself.

In most families with a kindergartener, there’s a high likelihood of younger siblings. There are lots of creative ways of juggling all these little ones at once but my very extroverted son just wanted to be in the middle of things. Literally.

One other complicating factor was that I still had to read almost everything to my daughter. We didn’t use traditional textbooks, but still we had lots of reading in subjects like nature and history.

However, during these years “school” can be finished in just a couple of hours, leaving time for field trips, park days, and play dates. We included all of these in our schedule.

3rd – 5th Grades

Gradually, as my kids became more proficient readers, they began doing more and more lessons on their own. However, since we were using Ambleside Online, and it’s still our curriculum of choice, the book selections were very advanced.

image by whgrad

image by whgrad

In 4th grade we had Robinson Cruesoe on our reading list. That is no easy book for a 10 year old! We read it together and there were many times I had to stop and explain some of the archaic words and terminology. Still, it was a great book.

What this has developed in both my kids is a no-fear attitude when it comes to books of any genre or copyright date. My daughter thought nothing of reading Peter Pan or Oliver Twist. She has read plenty of twaddle but is more than willing and able to read any classic that might show up on a “Must Read” book list.

She’s 13 and recently finished Animal Farm. “I hate pigs now more than ever. Except when they’re bacon.”

Math at this level is still very easy but requires plenty of ongoing practice. By this time we were using Math-U-See, which incorporates math worksheets, video lessons and some manipulatives. Usually I was able to assign a lesson and the kids did it on their own.

They learned about science and history from books such as This Country of Ours, Minn of the Mississippi, and The Handbook of Nature Study. Whenever I felt that a particular book was a little too advanced, I would read along with my kids.

6th grade – Jr. High

By this age, my daughter was a highly proficient reader and could tackle even the most advanced books on her own. However, when it came to reading Plutarch’s biographies, I opted to read them with her. In 7th grade she began reading full-length plays by Shakespeare, but I let her cheat a bit by having a version in modern English on hand as well.

You can take a look at her 8th grade reading list here. It’s not for the squeamish! Reading challenging material has given her the mental acuity to challenge what she reads! At one point during The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson, she asked, “Mom, what was wrong with this lady??” I loved that she could read something and process the author’s message through an intelligent filter, not just accept every word as the gospel truth.

In these grades, math becomes more complicated, and I had a choice. Do I re-learn algebra or hand the subject off to someone else who teaches it all day long? I’m only kinda, sorta ashamed that I opted for the latter! In our city there is a large homeschool co-op that offers classes ranging from ballet to graphic design to Latin, American Sign Language, and yes, algebra!

I decided to give her a little push into a world in which there were firm deadlines for assignments and tests were graded by someone other than Mom. Very, very often, homeschooled kids begin taking community college classes when they’re about 15 or 16. Since I knew this is the path we’ll be taking, I wanted her to have a taste of a demanding school schedule, and that’s exactly what she got!

At this point, selfishly, my life became much, much easier. I wasn’t reading any subjects with my daughter and only read aloud to my son in a couple of subject areas, partly because he still loves sitting close to his mom and listening to her read aloud and partly because some of his books were still pretty advanced. This opened my days up to writing articles for the blog and taking on other projects of my own.

I can see now how homeschooling has created two very independent learners. Most days my daughter just looks at her Ambleside schedule and decides what needs to be done. My son still needs some prodding but once he gets going, he’s fine with working on his own.

I’ve written before about the difficulties of homeschooling but now that we’re on the home stretch, I almost wish we could start over. I loved those crazy days of reading aloud to my son and daughter and even those moments when one or both would crawl all over me, knocking over the book, and fighting about who got to sit on Mom’s lap. The TV commercials tell us that the Army is the toughest job you’ll ever love, but I disagree. Being a homeschooling mom is tougher but having your kids close by and learning together is priceless.

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Sometimes, Homeschooling Ain’t All it’s Cracked Up To Be http://thesurvivalmom.com/sometimes-homeschooling-aint-all-its-cracked-up-to-be/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/sometimes-homeschooling-aint-all-its-cracked-up-to-be/#comments Thu, 31 May 2012 13:00:33 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=9500 My kids and I finished our 8th year of homeschooling two weeks ago.  It was the very best year we’ve ever had, in spite of being interrupted by endless sessions of editing my book and then launching the book in March, complete with lots of interviews and excitement. As I think about our 8 years […]

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image by whgrad

My kids and I finished our 8th year of homeschooling two weeks ago.  It was the very best year we’ve ever had, in spite of being interrupted by endless sessions of editing my book and then launching the book in March, complete with lots of interviews and excitement.

As I think about our 8 years as a homeschooling family, I have to be honest.  It hasn’t all been happy faces and gold stars.  There are some homeschooling downsides that not many of us like to talk about.

Homeschooling Downsides

1. At times, your children will be outsiders.  They won’t be hip to all the latest fashion trends, video games, music, and fads.  Many of these are fun and harmless, but it will be your kids who may seem like the odd man out because they won’t fit in.

2. Sometimes you will be the outsider as other moms talk about the teachers at their kids’ school and which sports their kids are into this year.

3. There will be times when school will be no fun at all.  For anyone.

4. You’ll have to listen to public school parents brag about their kids being accepted into gifted programs and how great their kid’s school is. You might detect a bit of defensiveness but it wouldn’t be polite to point that out.

5. Sometimes virtual strangers will confront your decision to homeschool.  “You can’t shelter them forever, you know.”  Yes, I was told that when I informed someone I would be homeschooling our 5 year-old.

6. You’ll spend a lot of time second guessing yourself:

  • Should we have chosen that other curriculum?
  • Am I doing enough?
  • Am I doing too little?
  • Are my kids well-adjusted?
  • I thought homeschooled kids weren’t shy but my daughter is.  What did I do WRONG???

7. It will be hard to gauge how “normal” your kids are because you will seldom see them in a large group of kids, all the same age.  I’m pretty sure my son is really big for his age, but it’s hard to tell because he hangs out with kids of all ages.

8. When it’s time for your “female annual exam,” you may have to bring the kids with you.  My doctor is used to it.  They sit in the hall and she gives them each a lollipop.

9. Ditto for bra fittings, but no lollipops.

10. There have been lots of time when I wanted privacy just to have a good cry.  Maybe I was discouraged, disappointed, sad, whatever, but it’s hard to cry when you have little people examining your face for any sign of tears.

11. Did I mention that a mom’s privacy is pretty much a thing of the past?

12. Friends and relatives look forward to sitting you down with the news that your child doesn’t know their math facts, or your son has terrible handwriting, or your kids don’t know how to play dodgeball, and you suspect they gossip about this behind your back.

13. When your kids are confronted with bullies, they will be completely unprepared for it.  Life with bullies is a way of life for public school kids. Not so much for the homeschooled.

So why are millions of us sticking with our commitment to homeschooling?

Our kids are worth it.  Our family is worth it.  At the end of my life I’ll never be able to say, “I missed out on some of their most important moments.”  Nope, I was there for every single one of them.  Our family bonds are tighter than ever, in spite of, or maybe because of, the squabbles and rubbing each other the wrong way because we are together so much.

Homeschooling may not be perfect, but it’s perfect for our family.  We wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Our journey to the “best” homeschool curriculum http://thesurvivalmom.com/our-journey-to-the-best-homeschool-curriculum/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/our-journey-to-the-best-homeschool-curriculum/#comments Mon, 05 Dec 2011 19:18:04 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=7890 When I first began homeschooling, I thought my chosen curriculum (KONOS) would be the one to see us through high school.  It was activity based with lots and lots of great ideas for every unit, as well as an emphasis on character building, which my 5 year-old daughter needed at the time!  (Our first unit […]

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image by jimmiehomeschoolmom

When I first began homeschooling, I thought my chosen curriculum (KONOS) would be the one to see us through high school.  It was activity based with lots and lots of great ideas for every unit, as well as an emphasis on character building, which my 5 year-old daughter needed at the time!  (Our first unit was ‘Obedience’!)

I think we were about halfway into our second year when I noticed that one of our next assigned activities was to make handmade deerskin moccasins and pemmican.  Now, I have nothing against either of these but at the time I was running a business and had to draw the line somewhere.  Moccasins and pemmican was that line.  I simply didn’t have the time for grandiose crafts and projects every week.   I also wasn’t convinced that we were covering the most important basics by building a “castle” out of the dining room table, chairs, and bedsheets.  So, I began searching for the next “best” curriculum.

It took a couple of false starts before we found Ambleside Online, a curriculum we all love.  First, the curriculum is free.  I didn’t have to pay money for a weekly schedule of assignments in addition to a collection of books and workbooks.  Rather, we use the schedule online and track down the books we need via eBay, Kindle, and Amazon.  Since my son is following in his sister’s footsteps, I only need to buy her set of books once and then sell the books once he’s finished with them.  That’s not all, though.  My kids help put together this list of reasons why we love Ambleside.

Daughter

  1. It’s a lot of reading and history, and I like both of these subjects.
  2. It’s easy to understand.
  3. If I work hard, I can get all my work done in four days.
  4. It’s a Christian curriculum.

Son

  1. It’s easy and fun.
  2. I get to read a lot of adventure stories.
  3. It doesn’t get boring.

Mom

  1. My kids are reading real literature, like the original Mary Poppins, Oliver Twist, King Arthur, and other top-notch books that are rarely used in the public school system anymore.  They aren’t intimidated by these titles or under the impression that anything more difficult than Captain Underpants is beyond their ability.
  2. Their written and verbal vocabularies are amazing.
  3. I use the weekly schedule online to create individual, daily schedules that I can adapt to whatever is going on in our lives at the moment.
  4. Four-day school weeks are entirely possible.
  5. The curriculum includes art history, drawing lessons, classical music, foreign languages, hymn/folk song studies, physical education, biographies, memory work, nature studies, Latin, Shakespeare, Plutarch, and poetry.  Got all that?  The variety of what my kids are learning is impressive, and there are no workbooks!
  6. Ambleside is based on the techniques, practices, and in some cases, the actual books used by educator Charlotte Mason in her schools.  The more I read of her philosophy, the more I found myself nodding in agreement.  For example, she believed it was important for kids to verbally summarize what they learn and have read long before they’re assigned written summaries.  Coming from the public school system, I was exceedingly familiar with the difficulty kids have with summarizing information in their own words, and Charlotte’s method makes so much more sense.
  7. My kids scarcely know what a textbook is.  They learn most things from “living books” written not by a committee of adults who haven’t taught real kids in a real classroom in more than a decade.  They do use textbooks for math (Math-U-See) and Latin.
  8. I’m learning right along with them.  I’ve been reading the original Marco Polo to my son, and I love learning something new!

If you’re considering homeschooling or are taking a second look at your own curriculum, spend some time learning about Ambleside Online.  I’ll be happy to answer questions via email or your comments.

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