• homeschooling

    Christy’s Notes for New Homeschoolers

    1) Homeschooling doesn’t need to look like school at home, particularly for the younger years. It is okay to not spend a full day at schoolwork. It is okay to take time off because the weather is beautiful and you want to go for a hike. 2) For the most part, schools these days just keep your kids at their age level. If you’re planning on homeschooling for just one year, you don’t need to worry about whether your child completes exactly what they would at school or not. The school isn’t going to check. The school is just going to put your child in with their age-mates next year.…

  • Biblical history,  homeschooling,  religion

    Being Non-Religious in a Christian Context

    The question was posed to me recently about how one might go about explaining Christianity to an atheist or agnostic child who will be exposed to Christianity in a homeschool co-op or local community. I assume we have several goals in mind. The first is to keep everyone safe. Another goal is to be respectful. The other is to be truthful. This can be tricky if the Christian community is actively teaching that it is the only path to salvation or other exclusionary language. It can be tricky if the children are really young, and have difficulty dealing with the idea that these friends and teachers are correct about some…

  • history,  homeschooling

    A Potential Resource for Looking at WWII

    Want a really different way to talk about WWII with your child? I’m reading a book right now that is a memoir of a Taiwanese man who was in university in Japan at the time of WWII. While I’m not finished reading the book and I’m not sure how much of it I’ll share with my kids, I know I’ll be reading them some of it. I want to read to them about the schools and hospitals, the systematic racism, and the little bits about how the country mobilized for war. The little details are fascinating. It is too easy to teach ‘history’ as the story of the west and…

  • homeschooling

    Online Classes – alternatives to Outschool

    Live online classes can be plenty of fun. One of the most popular places for them these days is Outschool, which is sort of the Uber of online classes. Outschool has hundreds of teachers who are private contractors, writing and listing their own classes. There is a convenience to having so many online classes all in one place, but there’s also a problem. As Outschool grows they get to set the rules and teachers become replaceable. So it might be worthwhile to check out these smaller locations. Places with Multiple Teachers: Gifted Conference Planners – specializing in classes for gifted learners with different teachers teaching science, creative writing, math, literature,…

  • homeschooling

    Riddle Writing Instructions

    Writing riddles provides a chance to practice several different things at once. The riddle writer has to think about the qualities of an object and how they can describe that object in vague terms. With each clue, the writer has to imagine how others might understand the clue. Writing clues which could be understood in multiple ways helps prevent the clue from being to easy. Sometimes it helps to start by picking a theme for riddle-writing. Riddles can be used to review science terms or to encourage one to think about a historic setting. A reluctant writer might enjoy writing riddles about things from his or her favourite movie or…

  • homeschooling,  poetry

    Train Poems

    If you’ve ever read a Thomas the Train Engine story, you might have noticed that the trains tend to speak in a particular rhythm. “I’m going to burst! I’m going to burst!” cries Thomas when his boiler is plugged with fish. “I hope it’s all right, I hope it’s all right,” Annie and Clarabelle (the train cars) whisper to each other. There’s a rhythm to the train cars speech that resemble the sounds of the train wheels jostling over the tracks. The stories are of course in prose but well written prose often contain elements of poetry. Thomas the Train Engine’s original author, Revered Wilbert Awdry, isn’t the only writer…

  • Picture shows a small Minecraft village.
    homeschooling,  minecraft,  politics

    Political Studies through Minecraft

    I have reopened my Minecraft server in light of the Covid-19 restrictions and the need to have extra online social activities for children. I host events a couple of times a week on Minecraft and Zoom, and the children play on the server whenever they want in between those events. One question came up recently that introduced some very fun questions about political studies. Some children asked if they could have special areas on the server where they set the rules. A child demonstrated what he meant with a list of rules and the punishments he wanted to enforce. Was this allowed, he asked? So I’ve been thinking about that…

  • Picture shows a child's hand holding a styrofoam skull. Text is "Introducing Young Children to Shakespeare: Alas, Poor Yorick, I knew him."
    homeschooling

    Introducing Young Children to Shakespeare through Play

    I love Shakespeare. As a teenager, my best friends and I would hang around in the attic of my house practicing acting out Mid Summer’s Night Dream.  We didn’t understand all the jokes at first, but annotated books helped us learn them and we became familiar with the rhythm and language of his works. I still hear my best friend’s voices when I read certain lines of the play. Later, as a parent, I was excitedly to introduce my children to his work. I started when they were very young, still at an age where they were playing with wooden blocks. We took to reciting a passage from Macbeth over…

  • homeschooling,  politics

    American Political Studies Resources for Highschool Student

    I am a Canadian homeschooling my children, but we can’t help hearing about American politics. So, my husband and I are insisting that our children learn to understand the American political system as well as the Canadian system. Here is what we are using: The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution is Paralyzing Democracy by Daniel Lazare. My husband recommended this one for understanding the limits of the American system. Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville. De Tocqueville was a Frenchman writing about America in 1831. He was incredibly optimistic about the United States and its potential. The West Wing, a tv series by Aaron Sorkin. This television show is…

  • homeschooling

    Day-to-day to challenges homeschooling

    I’d love to say that homeschooling was this paradise of cooperation between parent and children, where we do amazing fascinating projects and have plenty of fun. The fact is, most days are a strange tug-of-war between watching the children pursue their own projects and trying to get them to do just a little bit of schoolwork while also carving out a bit of time for my own projects. Every day is filled with little interruptions and distractions. Some are mild and simple. Some drag me down a rabbit-hole of questions about how I should be responding. Here are just a few: kids inventing their own games and wanting to tell…