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Achieving Handwriting Success with a Skill-Based Approach

Achieving Handwriting Success with a Skill-Based Approach on dark background with pencils on table

One of the beauties of homeschooling is that kids can work at their own pace based on skill mastery rather than age or grade level. This is helpful for all subjects but especially ones with physical coordination aspects like handwriting. Kids are all over the map when it comes to physical development.

Is your kindergartener’s printing better than your spouse’s? No need to hold them back with a “kindergarten” book! Does your older student need extra printing practice before tackling cursive? No worries! You can use whatever resources meet him where he’s at based on ability, not necessarily grade. 

At the end of the day, the goal is to have kids who can write neatly (or at least legibly) to communicate in written form. 

Our Curriculum Choices – Year 5

sensible homeschool our curriculum choices year five on chalkboard background

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If you haven’t done so yet, read the first post in this series here and check out Our Curriculum Choices – Year 1, Year 2, Year 3 and Year 4.

Year 5 Snapshot

If you’ve been following this series of posts, we’ve now caught up to real time. I wrote about the first four years retroactively because I started this blog just before we began our fifth year of homeschooling. 

Since I can’t summarize a year that hasn’t happened yet, this snapshot will be a look at how our year has started so far. Later this school year I hope to post about lessons learned during Year 5… but I have to learn them first, so stay tuned. 

5 Reading Incentive Programs and How They Can Work for Your Family

5 Reading Incentive Programs and How They Can Work for Your Family on cartoon background with boy reading book

There’s an ongoing debate as to whether or not reading incentive programs are a good thing. (Just so you don’t get your hopes up, this blog post isn’t going to settle the matter). 

Some parents and educators say reading incentives have absolutely helped motivate their reluctant readers. The kids just needed a little outside motivation to get them started and now their love of reading has taken off.

Others point to the dangers of external motivation and warn that incentive programs backfire. They say the programs are essentially bribes and when the incentives stop, so does the reading.

In my experience, there’s truth on both sides. 

DIY or Buy? How to Teach Your Kids Without Going Broke

DIY or Buy? How to teach your kids without going broke on kid's cash register gradient background

No room in the budget for fancy school learning tools? 

No problem!

(Even if there IS money available for the latest and greatest educational gizmos, buying more stuff just because you can generally isn’t wise.)

Please don’t feel like you have to OWN every cool-looking manipulative, learning center set and educational toy that exists in order to provide a high-quality education! 

Whether you know it or not, you already own countless items you can repurpose to teach many – if not most – concepts. Or often, a DIY option will get the job done just as well as expensive classroom tools. And, by the time you’re done repurposing and DIY’ing, you’ll have saved enough money to splurge on a few really cool items that you just can’t duplicate at home.

Our Curriculum Choices – Year 4

sensible homeschool our curriculum choices year four on chalkboard background

(There may be affiliate links on this page. For more information click here.)

If you haven’t done so yet, read the first post in this series here and check out Our Curriculum Choices – Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3.

Year 4 Snapshot

While we were (and still are) far from having it all figured out, Year 4 was the first year I felt noticeably more confident in our homeschooling. 

After several years of educating our kids at home, I now had some data to work with – some proof that this was working. We could look back on work from the years past and see tangible evidence that growth and learning were taking place. Phew!

20 Fantastic Ways to Help Your Homeschool Kids Stay Focused

20 Fantastic Ways to Help Your Homeschool Kids Stay Focused teen girl reading on red sofa

Home sweet home… 

The place we feel warm and cozy and free to be ourselves. 

The place we live and laugh and love and create beautiful family memories. 

The place where naked toddlers run through the middle of the lesson on the Byzantine Empire singing “I’m a Little Teapot” and throwing Cheerios in the air like confetti. 

*sigh*

While there’s a lot to love about the freedom a home-based learning setting provides, there are definitely some unique challenges that homeschooling parents need to navigate. Many of these challenges stem from two fundamental characteristics of a homeschool. 

Homeschools are often multi-AGE and multi-USE settings.

These two aspects can equate to high levels of distraction unless some thought is given to managing them well. 

Spotlight on School Supplies: Hole Reinforcement Labels

Spotlight on School Supplies Hole Reinforcement Label sheets

Heroic Halos of Helpfulness

My mom was right. Good things do come in small packages! If I remember correctly, she was referring to me, not office products, but I think the expression works here, too.

I never thought I’d have such strong feelings for tiny, donut-shaped stickers but I just love these little guys.

It’s so frustrating when a child puts their heart and soul into a detailed notebooking page only to have it torn out of their binder by a sibling. Or worse yet, on more than one occasion, my kids have dropped a binder rendering the holes of many pages useless all at once.

Never fear… hole reinforcement labels are here!!