“Go to a Park Day! Make some new homeschool friends and ask your questions!” I see this advice over and over again on Facebook groups in response to someone’s first post or initial question or two about homeschooling.
Park Days have been the traditional gathering place of homeschool families. Children are free to play and run off their excess energy while moms befriend and support each other. The encouragement shared among themselves ranges from parenting advice to curriculum ideas to easy dinner recipes. Many a life-long friendship has been forged in these early days of homeschool community.
But now in 2018, I am seeing Park Days fade and fold. Some of this is due to the aging of those original Park Day families. They are graduating their last children and while some continue to attend Park Days to support the newer moms, others have become too busy in their new season of life. Continue reading
Have you ever considered translating your holiday preparations into education-speak and counting them as “school”? We need to remember that learning happens in many different ways and can easily be accomplished outside the curriculum box. December lends itself well to holiday-themed project -based learning, especially for our younger students:
- Baking translates to Home Economics, Nutrition, or Math
- Making gifts and crafts becomes Art, Home Economics, or Community Outreach
- Addressing Christmas Cards can count for Penmanship or Spelling
- Looking up places on a map where you are sending cards or receiving them from is Geography
- Holiday shopping teaches Math, Finance, and Budgeting
- Singing, listening to, or playing Christmas Carols on a musical instrument is Music
- Walking around the mall or out to your car on the outskirts of the parking lot is P.E.
- Investigating holiday traditions and Christmas customs can become Social Studies or History
- Learning more about Christmas, Hanukah, and other faith-based holidays translates to Bible or Comparative Religions or Social Studies
Have you seen the commercials by First Five and LA Universal Preschool touting the following facts?
“Children who attend a quality preschool:
- Enter kindergarten with better pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies and stronger basic math skills than those who do not.
- Are more likely to graduate from high school, be employed and earn a higher income.
- Are less likely to be placed in special education, in need of public assistance or involved in crime.” (http://laup.net/the-research.aspx)
It’s that last point that gets parents’ attention. Aren’t they implying that kids who don’t go to preschool might end up in jail? No wonder that a larger and larger percentage of 3 and 4 year olds enroll in preschool programs each year!
But there is an important question not being asked. Do children have to leave home to get a quality preschool experience? Does the simple act of walking out the front door with backpack or lunchbox in hand automatically translate into superior learning? Or is it possible to give your child a quality preschool experience at home?
I can still remember my panic! At my son’s one year check-up, I tearfully asked the doctor what might be wrong with him. Most babies I knew were walking well before their first birthday while mine was barely crawling in time for his party.
And this wise old general practitioner gently explained to me the difference between normal and average. Continue reading
If you have younger children or those gifted academically, you’ve probably found that you don’t need the 180 days many home educators recommend to finish your curriculum. Have you ever considered how your holiday preparations could be translated into education-speak and count for “school”?