By Joshua Greer
Have you ever taken your kids grocery shopping and then had them tally the purchases by food group and spend the rest of the day making a full-color chart? As homeschoolers, we are always looking for ways to make everyday events educational. It takes some intentionality to pull this off, but the result is kids who are immersed in education and see learning opportunities everywhere.
It’s fortunate, then, that nature provides such a great classroom, and some of the greatest opportunities for learning come four times a year when the seasons change. Why not make the most of nature’s cycles by setting aside a special day of learning every three months? Following are some ideas for celebrating and discovering each new season with younger children. Read more →
By Lupe Tucker
It has been said that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In today’s digital age, an expressive picture can also communicate to thousands of minds in the blink of an eye, which makes photography exciting, fun, and a fantastic way to teach your child the art of visual communication. Going beyond the simple theme unit, photography is an extremely effective tool that not only will inspire creativity in your children but also can light the fire of discovery and exploration as they use photos to interact with the world around them. A camera allows children to interact with their surroundings in a way that no other electronic gadget can. Take advantage of the opportunity this affords, and take the leap into a new world of discovery with your child!
I remember when I was young and was given my first camera. I took photos of ants, people, landscapes—and through trial and error (and considerable expense) I learned how photography worked. Twenty-five years ago, I had to wait for days to get my photos back. I had to pay for film and processing. Not every shot was a keeper, so I became very cautious about taking photos, because I didn’t want to waste film, money, or time. Today we don’t have to worry about any of those things. Inexpensive and accessible, digital photography gives us the opportunity to use its power of communication to teach every academic subject—a perfect tool for learning.
The best part about photography is that by putting a camera into a child’s hand and letting him use it, ownership of the learning process is instantly established, and your child becomes an integral part of it, not just a passive recipient of information. Having the freedom to take photographs will give your child confidence and cause him to start looking at the world around him in a new way. Children as young as 5 years old can use a digital camera to explore the world around them, and through images share what is interesting to them. By giving children a voice through images, photography awakens the creative senses and helps develop communication skills that can later transfer to language arts proficiency. Read more →
By Jennifer Smeltser
I never in my life planned to homeschool. When I first learned about homeschooling, which was years before I was married and had children, it sounded like some type of weird and extremist way of raising kids. Coming from a traditional public school background, I knew that was the route I would take, when, and, if I had children. My elementary school years were some of the best, and I believe it is during that time a seed was planted that would later lead me to welcome the challenge, and the opportunity, to homeschool.
It was my sixth grade year and my teacher, “Hoff,” took school outdoors one day. He placed us all under a tree, opened a book, and began to read. I felt rebellious, because school belonged inside a classroom, but I listened. I felt relaxed, but remained engaged. I was not sitting at a desk surrounded by four walls, but I was outside, under a tree, enjoying God’s surroundings—and I was learning,
Even before that moment, I had always enjoyed being outdoors. Without discounting the value of learning at home with family as we do, I also realize we are not limited to learning only at home. There is so much to learn outside of our four walls. Learning could be as close as walking out to your backyard or as far as traveling the world. I must admit that it is my nature (pardon the pun) to be outdoors.
Fortunately, my children have adopted my perspective on learning wherever we are and have been willing participants as we learn together. Read more →