I love engaging my childrens’ creative inventing juices. It is wonderful to set up a project and then step back (usually with my camera in hand) to watch the fun. Nearly always my kids don’t actually end up with an unadulterated version of the intended project, but they have a ton of fun and add their own creative mark. Here is one to try with your kids: the Archimedes Screw. All it takes is a few simple “ingredients” you can easily find in your home. Maybe you can even take your kids outside and build a larger version in the sandbox, turn on the waterRead More →

Storytellers are not just for fables. In the long, long past days before the written word, storytellers were perhaps some of the most important people in a community for they carried the history. Fables and myths were really grounded in a mixture of truth and faith. An expression of history grounded in religion. Too often historians and teachers dismiss the myth as not possibly carrying truth but when you open up to the concept of history as not simply a regurgitation of statistics but a broader understanding of our past morals and thoughts, then you can understand how myth merges with fact. A true storytellerRead More →

Yes, you kids may be able to complete the math worksheets and ace the math tests, but are they really understanding what is going on, or are they simply memorizing formulas and processes (as I did when I was a child). Explaining the foundation and meaning of math is a wonderful gift  you can give your child, if you can find the explanation that get through to their own particular way of seeing the world. Some explanations are easy. Cutting up the pie works for understanding fractions, and is tasty too. But how do you explain to your child the practical meaning of dividing fractionsRead More →

In so many instances, we all learn better with a game or two. Today we put together a freely available downloadable game from Ellen Mchenry’s Basement Workshop called The Circulation Game (ages 9-14). It is essentially a strategy board game that teaches kids some of the basic functions of blood as well as which organs in the body supply and interact with blood. You work in teams to carry O2, CO2, Waste, and Sugars around the body from cells, intestine, kidneys, and lungs, starting at the end of the femurs (where blood cells are produced). All in all it was a great hit with theRead More →

Before you get to formal logic studies, those skilled in classical education methods generally suggest that you spend time playing logic puzzles with your kids. These are fun and teach many of the basic concepts to children perhaps not yet ready for formalized work. There are many sources for printable logic puzzles and games for your children. I thought today I would just provide some links for you. As always, nearly all are freely available. After all, thrifty is good. Printable Puzzles: Crosswords, Rosettas, and Logic Puzzles Brain Teasers for Adults and Children: Puzzles, Riddles, Teasers, Optical Illusions, Jokes Bedtime Math: New math problem everyRead More →

Sometimes creativity doesn’t flow from your kids. You really want them to explore and create and learn. After all it is summertime, you intentionally relaxed the lesson schedule, and it is time for them to embrace their inner inventors and artists. But they are close to comatose, just lazing through the day, and have been for a while. The magical moment you want to create for them just isn’t working. So out of desperation, you bring out a really fun building toy they routinely used to create magical worlds when they were young. Neither child even notices. You begin to play yourself and before youRead More →

When I was a marine biology-aspiring college student in my first year of organic chemistry, I was stupid enough to ask the professor if he had a solid retention of all those reactions that he was assigning us to commit to memory on a weekly basis. His answer was equally un-smart: “No, of course not. I just look them up when I need them.” Not surprisingly, that was the beginning of a long slide from A to D in my organic chemistry coursework. In fact I ended up taking that subject 4 times over the course of three different college degrees and never managed toRead More →

When you are using classical education methods, it is very easy to teach history to your kids without a textbook.  All you really need is a timeline, a good history encyclopedia,  and a library card. The library offers access to a tremendous variety of materials you can read aloud or have your kids digest on their own. We use a range of literature suggested by the Susan Wise Bauer well-trained mind tome as well as historical fiction that strikes my kids’ fancy.  We also fill our little classroom each week with a new set of nonfiction books about the time period we are studying. ThanksRead More →

My kids fell in love with the magic of origami after watching a documentary called Between the Folds (available on Amazon Prime). More specifically, Erik Demaine captured their imaginations, inspired them to think creatively about math, and became the number one homeschooler hero around our household. His wonderful story of being homeschooled by his father, who learned alongside his son, inspired my children greatly. Not only is there a path to college and creativity beyond for homeschoolers, but even the wonderfully individualistic humor-endowed homeschooler has a place. If your kids are advanced enough in their math studies, Dr. Demaine has posted a course on GeometricRead More →

Sitting outside our library on sweet green grass in the breezy afternoon shade of a willow tree, I watched as my daughter sketched. Through a trickle of “Mommy look,” and “Mommy how do I fix this,” I settled into a state of happiness and relaxation. In the background of my daughter’s sweet conversation I heard the sounds of people on their cell phones. It wasn’t really the words I first locked onto. It was the tone of the man’s voice. “I have been working part time for the last 3 years and am looking to get back into things” I had heard it so very,Read More →