Blog posts of '2023' 'July'

Teaching about September 11th

Do you stuggle with what and how to teach your children about one of the greatest attacks on the United States?  If so - this curriculum might be helpful to you.  It is meant for a wide age range - allowing you to modify based on the age and ability of your child.  This style of teaching also makes it easy to teach multiple age groups.  


This curriculum uses the very popolar chapter book "I Survived the Attacks on September 11th, 2001".  Additionally - for a limited time - you can find this and other amazing curriculum deeply discounted at the Homeschool Resources Sale.  This is a sale that is done once a year to help homeschooling families.  


Check it out - your budget will thank you!  Sale begins 7/27/2023 


Ignite Your Child's Curiosity with Unit Studies


 I discovered unit studies relatively early on in our homeschooling journey.  What I quickly realized was that my children not only paid more attention - but they were engaged and recalling and discussing things outside of our schooling hours - amongst their siblings!

Allow me to provide for you a scenario.  Let's say you want to do a study on early American Indians and you would like it to include multiple age groups for the children in your home.  This could include a chapter book series, making Indian jewlery, create a cave style paiting, go fishing, make tools used by Indians, make a meal that they would have eaten, attend a real pow wow and so much more!  This is exactly what I did.  We used a book series, tyically meant for girls, but my boys loved it too! You can see a picture of my boys fishing when we did this study.  What did this do - created opportunity for my kids to work together, learn together and play together.  It created opportunities for protected and purposeful family time.  Most importantly it created memories!

As a result, I created two different series of unit studies that go along with popular chapter books.  You can learn more about those units at the end of this post.

I want to share with you why this is a fantastic approach to homeschooling and how it can truly ignite your child's curiosity and make learning an exciting adventure. Themed learning, or unit studies, offers a unique and holistic way to combine multiple subjects into cohesive and immersive learning experiences. 


Why Themed Learning?


1. Foster Deeper Engagement:

- By exploring a theme or topic across multiple subjects, students develop a deeper understanding and connection to the material.

- The interdisciplinary nature of themed learning encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and a holistic view of knowledge.


2. Ignite Curiosity and Passion:

- Themed learning taps into your child's natural curiosity, sparking enthusiasm and a genuine love for learning.

- Students become active participants in their education as they explore topics that genuinely interest them, resulting in increased motivation and engagement.


3. Make Connections:

- Themed learning allows students to make meaningful connections between different subjects, helping them see the real-world applications of their knowledge.

- By connecting concepts and ideas, students develop a more comprehensive understanding of the world around them.


4. Enhance Creativity and Self-Expression:

- Themed learning provides opportunities for creative expression, allowing students to showcase their learning through projects, presentations, and hands-on activities.

- Students can explore their interests and talents, fostering a sense of ownership and pride in their work.


5. Promote Collaboration and Communication:

- Themed learning encourages collaboration among students, promoting teamwork, communication, and social skills.

- Group projects and discussions create opportunities for students to learn from one another, strengthening their interpersonal skills.


How to Implement Themed Learning:


1. Choose a Theme:

- Select a broad theme or topic that aligns with your child's interests, passions, or current events.

- Examples of themes could be "Space Exploration," "Ancient Civilizations," or "Environmental Conservation."


2. Identify Key Subjects:

- Determine which subjects can be integrated into the chosen theme. This may include science, history, literature, art, math, and more.

- Look for connections and overlap between subjects to create a cohesive learning experience.


3. Design Engaging Activities:

- Create activities and projects that incorporate various subjects. For example:

   - Reading and discussing books related to the theme.

   - Conducting science experiments or field trips that align with the theme.

   - Creating artwork or writing stories inspired by the theme.

   - Incorporating math concepts through theme-based calculations or data analysis.


4. Explore Resources:

- Utilize books, online resources, documentaries, guest speakers, and local community resources to enhance the learning experience.

- Encourage independent research and exploration to deepen understanding.


Themed learning, or unit studies, offers an exciting and immersive approach to homeschooling that can spark curiosity, ignite passion, and create meaningful connections across multiple subjects. By embracing this approach, you can provide your child with a well-rounded education that engages their interests, enhances critical thinking, and fosters a love for lifelong learning. So, dive into themed learning, let your child's curiosity take flight, and embark on an educational adventure like no other!


 If you want to learn more about my units - you can find them at the links below.  For a limited time - some of my units are deeply discounted on the Homeschool Resources Sale that started 7/27/2023.  Don't miss it!


Girls of American History

Historical Stories of Survival

Homeschool Resources Sale



Empowering Homeschooling Moms: Teaching Children with Dyslexia



I remember when my oldest son was three - he was oh so proud to show me the picture of a banana he had drawn.  He had also written out the complete alphabet - but - not A-Z.  No, no he had written it Z-A and every single letter was also written backwards.  I immediately thought - how incredible that he could do that.  My next instant thought - is what are we going to do?! 


If you have a child with dyslexia, you may be wondering how to best support their unique learning needs. As a mother whose child has dyslexia, I understand the challenges that dyslexia presents.I also know that with the right strategies and a supportive environment, children with dyslexia can thrive academically. In this blog post, I'll provide you with valuable insights into dyslexia, its impact on learning, and practical tactics that homeschooling moms can use to empower their children with dyslexia. 


Understanding Dyslexia:

- Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the brain's ability to process language, leading to difficulties in reading, writing, and spelling.

- It can often affect math too - as numbers can get mixed up or out of order

- It is essential to recognize that dyslexia does not reflect a lack of intelligence or effort. It is simply a different way of processing information.

- I really want to emphasize that people with dyslexia have AMAZING brains.  They think in ways that people without dyslexia simply cannot.  They are often more creative, logical, engineering minded and have excellent spatial ability.  


Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment:

- Foster a nurturing and supportive atmosphere where your child feels safe to explore and learn at their own pace - While still maintaining progress.

- Celebrate their strengths and encourage their unique talents. Remember that dyslexia often comes with strengths in areas such as creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

- Let them have a hand in what they are learning - give options to choose from for science or history.  Maybe use audio books for reading.  While you may have a reading list for them - maybe swap some of those books out for books of their choosing.


Multi-Sensory Approach:

- Engage multiple senses during learning activities to reinforce concepts and improve retention. Incorporate visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements into your lessons.

- Use manipulatives, educational games, and interactive online resources to enhance the learning experience.

- Hands on learning is often so important for these kids.  Instead of reading about botany - start a garden or dissect a flower.  When learning about a time in history  - visit a living history museum, have them help you make a meal of foods that were popular at the time, etc.  If learning about other countries - maybe they would like to build the Great Wall of China or an Egyptian pyramid.

- Lapbooks are very helpful for this too - it allows writing of specific things to learn - while also having a crafting aspect.


Structured and Sequential Instruction:

- Break down lessons into smaller, manageable steps. Provide clear instructions and support your child in understanding the sequence of tasks.

- Use visual aids, such as flowcharts or graphic organizers, to help your child visualize the structure of the lesson or assignment.

- Use timers - allow brief “intermission” instead of a “break” - A break often implies opportunity for a longer time away from a task - where an “intermission” implies getting back to it.

- Allow rewards for accomplishments.  Maybe your child can only do math for 10 min  - once that 10 min is complete give a reward of something else they enjoy doing - but no more than the amount of time that they were doing actual math.  Make the work equal the reward.


Phonics-Based Instruction:

- Dyslexic learners often benefit from explicit and systematic phonics instruction. Focus on teaching the relationship between sounds and letters, blending, and segmenting words.

- Use multisensory approaches, such as tapping out sounds or incorporating movement, to reinforce phonics skills.

- Often integrating multiple curricula that work well together can be more effective.


Individualized Learning Plans:

- Create personalized learning plans that cater to your child's specific strengths and areas of challenge. This may involve adapting curriculum materials or incorporating specialized interventions.

- Set achievable goals and provide regular feedback and praise to boost your child's confidence and motivation.


Assistive Technology:

- Explore the use of assistive technology tools that can support reading, writing, and organization skills. Examples include text-to-speech software, speech recognition tools, and digital organizers.

- These tools can help level the playing field and provide your child with the necessary support to overcome reading and writing barriers.

- These tools can be great - but I CAUTION you - often kids with dyslexia also have ADD or ADHD - it is very easy for these kids to get so sucked into technology that you and they don’t realize it is a problem until it is a BIG problem.


Reading Strategies:

- Implement reading strategies that focus on decoding, comprehension, and fluency. Break down texts into smaller chunks, use visualization techniques, and encourage repeated reading for increased familiarity.

- Read aloud to your child regularly to model proper fluency and expression. Engage in discussions about the text to deepen comprehension. Also consider reading aloud instead of silent reading.  This can be done as a family, by a parent or taking turns with the children.  We always had a read aloud book that we would take camping with us.  We would also have read aloud time when we had group history that spanned multiple age groups for our kids.  Other families have evening read aloud time as a time to come together.


Positive Reinforcement and Emotional Support:

- Recognize and celebrate your child's achievements, no matter how small. Provide positive reinforcement and encouragement to build their self-esteem.

- Offer emotional support during challenging times. Remind your child that dyslexia is not a reflection of their intelligence or worth.

- Take time for yourself - this is hard!


Remember, homeschooling offers a unique opportunity to provide tailored support and foster a positive learning environment for children with dyslexia. By understanding dyslexia, creating an inclusive atmosphere, implementing a multi-sensory approach, using structured instruction, individualizing learning plans, incorporating assistive technology, utilizing reading strategies, and offering emotional support, you can empower your child and help them unlock their full potential. 


I know this is ALOT.  Seek support, co-ops, even courses or services.

Be sure to check out the Homeschool Resources Sale for homeschool helps and supplemental things that can help with engagement.


Mastering Time Management: Key Strategies for Success


As a teacher who has witnessed the power of effective time management, I am thrilled to share some valuable insights with you today.  I have recently been certified to teach a program called Seeing My Time.  This is a fantastic curriculum to help adults and children alike.  You will probably see some things that hit home for you, as the parent, on the list of things below - be open and consider things that can help you as well as your child. 

Time management plays a crucial role in our lives, both personally and professionally. By developing effective strategies, we can enhance productivity, reduce stress, and make the most of each precious day. So, let's dive into the world of time management and explore common challenges along with practical solutions!


The Importance of Time Management:

- Time is a finite resource, and managing it wisely allows us to accomplish our goals, fulfill responsibilities, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

- Effective time management helps reduce procrastination, increase productivity, and enhance overall efficiency.

- It provides a sense of control and empowers us to make intentional choices, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and successful life.


Common Time Management Issues:

1. Procrastination:

- Putting off tasks can lead to increased stress, missed deadlines, and a feeling of being overwhelmed.

- Distractions, lack of motivation, and fear of failure are common factors contributing to procrastination.

- **Most of the time procrastination simply comes from a place of not really knowing how or where to begin.  It can also be from an assumption of how long a task will take - when in actuality it likely will not take as long as one thinks.


2. Overcommitment:

- Overloading our schedules with excessive commitments can result in a constant feeling of being rushed and an inability to prioritize effectively.

- Taking on too much can compromise the quality of our work and impact our overall well-being.

- It is ok to say No.


3. Poor Planning:

- Insufficient planning can lead to disorganization, wasted time, and an inability to allocate resources effectively.

- Without a clear roadmap, we may find ourselves scrambling to complete tasks or facing unnecessary delays.

- A plan can always change - but it is important to have a plan as a starting place.

- Time yourself doing tasks you don't like and ones you enjoy.  You will find that, for the most part, filing papers takes less time than you thought - while watching your favorite show takes more time than you anticipated - for example.


Common Fixes for Time Management Challenges:

1. Set Clear Goals:

- Define your short-term and long-term goals, both personally and professionally.

- Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks to create a sense of progress and achievement.

- Practice planning backwards - Starting with the end goal and work back noting and setting deadlines for each step in the process - this works for writing papers and for planning birthday parties - both have a deadline and both have several smaller steps to accomplish before the end.


2. Prioritize Tasks:

- Determine the importance and urgency of each task and prioritize accordingly.

- Focus on high-priority items and tackle them first to ensure key responsibilities are fulfilled.


3. Create a Schedule:

- Utilize tools such as calendars, planners, or digital apps to schedule your day, week, or month.

- Set specific time blocks for different activities and allocate dedicated time for important tasks.


4. Minimize Distractions:

- Identify common distractions, such as social media, excessive noise, or interruptions, and take steps to minimize their impact.

- Consider using productivity techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, where you work in focused bursts with short breaks in between.


5. Practice Self-Care:

- Recognize the importance of self-care and its impact on overall productivity and well-being.

- Incorporate breaks, exercise, and leisure activities into your schedule to recharge and maintain a healthy work-life balance.


Mastering time management is a journey that requires patience, commitment, and self-reflection. By implementing these practical strategies and staying consistent, you will find yourself better equipped to navigate the challenges and demands of daily life. Remember, time is a precious resource, and how we manage it can make all the difference. Embrace the power of effective time management and unlock your true potential!