Socializing Opportunities For Kids

Does your 8th grader want a place to hang out and chat with other kids who homeschool? As parents, we want to provide our kids opportunities to socialize. Of course, it can be hard if you live in an area that is rural or does not have many other homeschooling families.

So, what is this place where kids can socialize, no matter where they live? Time4Friends! What exactly is T4F? It is a “Facebook-like” social network, created by Time4Learning, which provides teens with the unique opportunity to socialize with fellow homeschooling students of Time4Learning. Some of the cool features of T4F, is that students are able to create their own custom profile and can communicate via news feed, a forum, and/or live chat.


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What Homeschool Curriculum We Use

It is that time of year again. The time when public/private schools and some homeschoolers in general, begin their new school year. However, for those of us who homeschool year-round, it’s just another homeschool month. Even though, I am not changing our core curriculum or starting a new school year, I would still like to join the crowd of people sharing what they will be using for core this year. I know I always enjoy reading what others are using and I know that it is always nice to get ideas or suggestions on what to use, especially if you are new to homeschooling.

The core curriculum that we use is called Time4Learning. There are so many reasons why we continue to use this program. It’s a flexible and affordable curriculum. I like how I can pay month to month and can change grade levels at will. This allows us to school at our own pace. I also like that it is a Pre-K through 12th grade curriculum. Knowing that I do not have to change our homeschool curriculum for high school, unless I choose to, is such a stress reliever.

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Older Kids & Internet Safety

Does your 8th grader like to get online? Silly question, right? Most teenagers today have some way of accessing the internet. Unfortunately, most of the time they are online may be unsupervised. Of course kids do sneak around behind parents backs, but in some circumstances, parents forget that older kids need to be monitored. Even though they look like mini adults, they are not. Their brains have not yet matured to be able to foresee consequences. That is why at this age it is still super important that we as parents, make sure they understand that Internet safety for kids is no joke. So, what can you do to keep your kids safe while on the internet?

  1. Talk with your kids. Explain the dangers.
  2. Supervise them. Of course, I am not saying be a helicopter parent, but when they are in your sight, it doesn’t hurt to look at their screen or ask them what they are doing.
  3. Check their search histories. I know that some may argue invasion of privacy, but until your child is an adult, this argument isn’t valid in my book.
  4. Search filters! There are many you can buy, and some that are free. They can help protect your child from websites and images that are not appropriate.
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5 Ways to Homeschool This Summer

Summer is here! Last month, I talked to you about homeschooling year-round. Maybe you have decided that you would like to try it, but are wondering how exactly to do it, especially if you have already finished up your last school year’s curriculum. No need to feel stressed, the good news is there are a few options I can suggest for you.

  1. Go ahead and purchase/start your next grade in your homeschool curriculum.
  2. You can purchase an online summer school program to use until you ready to start your regular curricula.
  3. Unit Studies are easy and a fun way to let kids learn about interest led topics.
  4. Learning games! Until you’re ready to start the next grade year, you can always have your child play education games.
  5. Roadschooling! Trips to places can be a great learning opportunity; Museum, National Park, Zoo, Beaches, etc.



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5 Reasons to Homeschool Year-Round

Do you homeschool year-round? Whether you are new to homeschooling or have always homeschooled on a public school schedule. If you have always provided education the way the public school system did for you when you were a kid and/or your children in the past years, then the idea of homeschooling year-round may seem odd to you. You may even be wondering why would anyone want to. Am I right? There are many reasons why parents are now choosing to homeschool year-round. Below are 5 top reasons.

1. By educating year-round, you can choose shorter days or shorter weeks, since you will have more of the year to complete everything.
2. Since, there is no rule saying you must take months off at one whack, you can choose when you want to take time off: a day here, a week there, etc.
3. Children many need more help in certain subjects, have learning disabilities, etc. They need more time to learn.
4. Some families want their children to finish their education as quickly as possible. By schooling year-round, your child could finish more than one grade a year.
5. By educating without taking long breaks, it helps children from summer learning loss.

So, if you had not thought about or wanted to homeschool year-round before, I hope now that you might have 5 reasons to reconsider ;)

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High Stakes Testing

Testing, Assessment, Grading, Accountability… all good things when kept in context. Recently, it seems as if we have allowed high stakes testing to rule education. It’s the proverbial switch, you know where the tail is wagging the dog. Testing is a way to see if students are learning… but it is only ONE way. For some reason, we have allowed authorities to place undue emphasis on single tests. This should never be. One test is simply looking at one little pocket of time in a student’s life. One test doesn’t accurately paint a picture of that students total year long achievement.

Accountability should be placed on student’s overall performance in school and on standardized tests.

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Where in the World is…

Geography is that subject that sort of gets lost within history and social studies… but it is truly an important subject that deserves our attention. With budget cuts and high stakes testing, students have been missing out on detailed geography studies. The study of our world and where countries are located and the demographics for those countries help our students to have a global view of our world.

We see this often in the way European’s are educated. They know several languages, and all of the countries in Europe and Asia. They also visit most of them in the course of their lives. However, in the U.S. most people only know one language and rarely know countries other than Mexico and Canada. We can do better than this… let’s get our children hooked on knowing what exists in the world around them.

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Creative Writing Tips

If you are a homeschooling parent, then you know that writing is one of the fundamental foundations of learning. Writing creatively is a graduation from beginner to accomplished writer. Getting students to write creatively and get to this point can be very challenging. Creative writing is actually putting a piece of yourself into your writing. Using your imagination to bring together a story or concept that is original and creative. This takes a lot of effort. Using a few pre-writing strategies can really help boost the creative juices.
1) read a story similar to what you want to write
2) Go visit a place
3) Have a discussion about a topic you wish to write about
4) Ask questions to incite thought
5) Watch a video about your topic

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Flip the Switch…

We have been back to school for a few months now… how is it going? Are you doing well with the methods and  curriculum options you chose? Now is the perfect time to take inventory of your homeschool to see if you are meeting your goals and if you are doing it with style! :) Enjoying homeschooling is a key part of it. You shouldn’t use a curriculum that makes your crazy or that you hate. Find something that you enjoy… and if you aren’t enjoying it… well then, it’s time to flip the switch!

Sit down and make a list of the things that each of you would like in a curriculum, how you would like to learn, and the style that you like to learn in. Use these to find a homeschool curriculum that meets your family’s individual needs!

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Strength Education

Education is usually based on what a child is lacking in knowledge. When we are homeschooling our children, we find out where their weaknesses are and then we work and work and focus on those weaknesses. What if we changed that around? What if we focused instead on a child’s strengths? What they did well…

I know for a fact that this type of education works very well. You don’t ignore the weaknesses, but you accept them as weakness and move on to building up those things that you are strong in then you can develop and focus on making your child a master of those things he can do well on. I think we would have more “well developed” artisans and professionals if we approached education in this manner.

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