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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. 

Our Curriculum Choices – Year 4

sensible homeschool our curriculum choices year four 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 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!

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!!

Our Curriculum Choices – Year 3

sensible homeschool our curriculum choices year three 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 and Year 2.

Year 3 Snapshot

Each year seems to bring something new and Year 3 was no exception. It was the first time I was homeschooling with an infant and without the support and encouragement of my dear mother-in-law who passed away only a few weeks after I had our third baby. 

But God has always been our Provider, whether it’s in the form of new insights, tangible resources, or help from friends and family. He’s consistently given us hope and a way through difficult seasons, both in homeschooling and life in general. 

Spotlight on School Supplies: Colored Index Cards

spotlight on school supplies colored index cards

Bright, Edgy and Surprisingly Useful

I never expected to use colored index cards – or any index cards for that matter – in our homeschool. I bought some in a weak moment as I drooled walked down the aisles of our local office supply store.

Side Note: If you read this blog for any length of time you’ll probably notice my fondness for office supplies. I’m not ashamed.  I’ll shout it from the rooftops…. “I LOVE OFFICE SUPPLIES!!!”  So many options! So many ways to be organized! So much potential in every package! 

*happy sigh*

Sorry, where was I? 

Oh. Right. Colored index cards. 

Spotlight on School Supplies: Magnetic Whiteboard

spotlight on school supplies magnetic whiteboard background with markers and eraser

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Never Bored with Your Board

My apologies to any chalkboard aficionados out there, but now that we’ve used whiteboards, I’ll never go back to chalkboards. Just imagine…..

  • No chalk-covered toddlers
  • No chalk dust in the air and in the carpet
  • No ear-piercing, goose-bump-causing SKREEEEEECH from wandering nails

*shudder*

Don’t get me wrong – I like a cute & trendy menu chalkboard in the kitchen just as much as the next Pinterest-perusing mom. And, of course, chalk still has its place for some activities (that place being outside). But for our day-to-day schoolwork we needed a different solution.

Spotlight on School Supplies: Laminator

spotlight on homeschool supplies laminator with laminated printable

Melting Hearts of Homeschool Moms Everywhere

One of the first memories I have of my early homeschool research is reading a handful of homeschooler’s blogs and noticing the deep affection they all had for their laminators. 

I recall thinking this was strange.  

Yet now, here I am years later, adding my voice to the chorus of homeschool moms singing an Ode to My Laminator.