source: Ron Lute
One way to overcome this problem is to make your child’s writing assignments “real world”. “Real world” assignments are tasks that really accomplish a purpose. The motivation to write is built right into the purpose behind the task.
For instance, ask your child to write a pretend complaint letter and you will get nothing but complaints. But, ask that same child to send off a real complaint letter, to a company that produced a shoddy toy, and the child will run to get paper and pen.
Here are some more real life writing activities:
1) Letters to the Editor. Many children’s magazines have an area for their readers to write in with question, comments and opinions. Take a look at your child’s favorite periodical to find out if they welcome submissions.
2) Letters to Friends or Relatives. Explain to your child that writing letters is a good way for them to stay in touch with family and friends that live out of state.
3) Family Newsletter. An alternative to letter writing may be for your child (with your help) to produce a monthly or quarterly family newsletter. Keep this strictly a writing activity, however. Trying to combine the newsletter with lessons on word processing or graphics, will make writing a harder task than it needs to be.
4) Personal Blog or Website. Show your child some of the fabulous blogs written by children and ask him if he is interested in producing his own. The topic doesn’t matter. 200 words written on the latest computer game is still an effective writing assignment.
5) Letters to a Pen Pal. The internet is full of penpal request lists. Just be sure to preread everything your child receives or sends out to make sure it follows the rules of internet safety.
6) Writing for Freebies. Kids love freebies and this is a highly motivating way to get him to write. Freebie offers are available all over the internet.
7) Kids Websites. Several child-oriented websites publish stories and poetry submitted by their readers. Many children get a thrill seeing their work placed online.
8) Diary or Journal. A beautiful diary is a wonderful way to inspire your child to write. Even if you are not allowed to read it, you can still be glad your child is getting daily writing practise.
9) Scrapbooking. Girls love to scrapbook and scrapbooking involves both art and journaling. Use art time for preparing the scrapbook page and writing time to do the journaling.
10) Get Well Cards. Cards for Hospitalized Kids is an organization that collects and distributes get well cards to sick children. A list of do’s and dont’s is available on their website.
Write an Author. If your child has a favorite book have him write a letter to the author. The letter can be fan mail or a question about a favorite part. How-to’s for writing authors is available online.
With this in mind, anything that makes math time a little more enjoyable should be vigorously adopted. Here are a couple of ideas to lighten up this difficult subject.
1. Play some computer games to supplement practise times when possible. Online games for all ages are available at FunBrain.
If your are going to purchase a game, make sure you get one with a high educational value, by reading several reviews first.
2. Read fun books like Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School and The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat. These may be available at your library.
3. Do math puzzles. Amazing Math Puzzles by Adam Hart-Davis is an especially good book. Online math puzzles for all ages are available at Figure This.
4. Make sure you use an enjoyable textbook. Look on Amazon for reviews before buying.
5. There are some really fun math workbooks available. Check out 22 Math Puzzle Mini-Books by Michael Schiro and Whodunit Math Puzzles by Bill Wise.
6. Go to a hands-on science museum. Most science museums have math sections.
7. Play some (non-computer) math games. When my son was younger we used Math Games and Activites From Around The World by Claudia Zaslavsky. The games in this book aren’t for drilling; They primarily teach mathematical concepts.
Lots of other games are also available free.
8. Do some off-line math projects. How Math Works by Carol Vorderman is fabulous. It has dozens of wonderful projects. The emphasis is on concepts…not drilling.
9. Do some on-line math projects. The internet has tons of free projects ideas. Most of these are designed for groups but can be modified for one person. Check out webquests for some projects to get you started.
The Artist’s Toolbox
Art in homeschools usually consists of drawing, craft kits and craft projects. These are all great ways to explore art and are easy for parents to implement.
Once in while, though, it’s a good idea to teach a little art theory. This is where The Artist’s Toolbox comes in.
The Artist’s Toolbox is a free site from The Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. It offers an illustrated art encyclopedia and movies of real artists in action. Best of all, though, is its exploration section.
The exploration section of the site has animated demonstrations on the tools of line, color, space, shape, balance and movement. After each demonstration your child can locate the use of the tool on real-life works of art and then create his own art using the same tool.
The Artist’s Toolkit is a easy-to-use site. Both you and your child will enjoy it.
I’m a big fan of teaching arts and crafts to kids. I believe everyone needs a creative outlet, and art projects provide one. Plus, art improves small motor skills.
Even if art just isn’t your “thing”, it’s still possible to provide a great program for your child. A wonderful website, called Kinder Art, has everything you need to create lesson plans for basic subjects like drawing, painting, sculpture, and much more. It also has lesson plans on more esoteric subjects such as printmaking, textiles, folk art and multicultural art.
Kinder Art is virtually a one-stop resource for everything you’ll ever need in the art lesson department.
Crayola Creativity Center
Crayola Creativity Central is chock full of fun and inexpensive crafts for kids, educational materials for teaching and great reads for parents.
There are two extra bonus sections for educators and parents. The section for educators has curriculum ideas for young children, lesson plans and some nice printables. The parent’s section has printable travel games, lots of party planning freebies and an eight page pdf on encouraging creativity in kids.
Crayola Creativity Central is an absolute don’t-miss site. Even if your child doesn’t enjoy crafts there is still lots to read, print and do.
source: Ohio Sea Grant
When it came time to teach my son high school science, I knew I was going to have a problem. I have no science or math background at all. And, since I was already paying hundreds of dollars a month for religious tutoring, I had no additional money left for private science classes.
Since I knew my son was not going to go to major in the sciences in college, I took a shortcut.
Here’s what I did:
1) For the first two years of science we studied Life Science and Biology. Neither of these subjects require a lot of math skills.
2) For chemistry and physics I bought regular high school science texts and taught as much as I could from those books. When I got to chapters that were too complicated for me to teach, I went to the library and got out an easy books that covered that same material. We used that book for the chapter instead.
For chapters in which there was no book, we skipped them entirely. We skipped anything to do with math. Sometimes we skipped so much we were unable to return to the book and that was as far as we got in that science.
3) We read a lot of non-technical science books and websites. For instance, we read articles from How Stuff Works almost every week.
4) We participated in collaborative, online science projects from CIESE and other interactive sites.
5) We used a lot of science experiments and equipment bought very cheap at the local charity thrift store. We made a mouse robot, looked at slides of onion skins and made a working radio. We even found an old Radio Shack 40-in-1 kit and spent time making circuits.
6) Lastly, we took out all the science videos at the library and watched them over and over. When they ran out of new ones, we bought videos from ebay, watched videos online and listened to science radio programs.
The way we did science was far from what is recommended by the school system, but it worked. My son had a basic knowledge of all the sciences….enough to pass the GED and more than he will ever need for real life. I figured if he goes to college and needs two sciences to graduate, he can take astronomy and earth science, like I did. Sometimes, when you have no choice, practical has got to win over correct.
Update: When I first published this article, ten years ago, I got a lot of criticism.
Some homeschooling parents said I was letting my son down by not giving him a math-based science program. Since hindsight is always 100% accurate, I’ll tell you what actually happened post high school.
My son decided against going to college. Instead, instead he took the Comptia A+ certification test to become a computer repairman. After a few years, he became bored with fixing computers and took a 18 month technical course in programming. He now works as a CSS programmer for a major website development firm. He is well payed and his boss said that as he improves his skills his pay will increase. He is currently learning Drupal 7.
As far as income, my son makes more than many professionals with college educations. As to job satisfaction, he loves his job.
He may eventually go to college, but if not, he’s doing great as is.
Sharing art with children can be not only fun, but inexpensive as well. Here are 101 frugal (or free!) ways to help a child come to love the world of art and crafting as much as you do.
Participate In Community Resources
1. Free Days at Museums
2. Art Badge from Scouts (PDF)
3. 4H Projects (sewing, photography)
4. Free Library Programs
Read Great Books (free if from the library)
5. You Can Draw Marvel Characters
6. Draw Your Own Manga by H. Nagatoma
7. How To Draw People by Susie Hodge
8. Landscapes by Ian Sidaway
9. Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book
10. How To Draw Animals by Susie Hodge
11. Oodles of Doodles by Mike Artell
12. Kids Draw Dinosaurs by Christopher Hart
13. Experiments With Impressionism
14. Priscilla Hauser’s Decorative Painting
15. Let’s Rock! by Linda Kranz
16. Pablo Picasso by Andrew Langley
17. Pastels by John Blockley
18. You Can Paint Pastels by Marie Blake
19. Edgar Degas (Getting to Know Artists)
20. Painting With Tempera by Paige Henson
21. Easy Origami by Didier Boursin
22. Under the Sea Origami
23. Step by Step Origami by Clive Stevens
24. Origami Toys
25. Crochet by Jane Davis
26. The Busy Mom’s Book of Quick Crafts
27. Little Hands Create! by Mary Dall
28. Big Book of Kids’ Crafts (BH & G)
Learn By Doing
29. Study Cartooning
30. Fold Some Origami Projects
31. Build With Cardboard
32. Learn Computer Graphics
33. Decorate Cakes & Cupcakes
34. Paint With Watercolors
35. Make Some Handmade Paper
36. Create Paper Mache Projects
37. Sew A Life Size Doll
38. Sculpt a Model of Your Home
39. Design a Flower Garden
40. Craft With Recycled Plastic
41. Draw With Colored Pencils
42. Wreck a Wreck This Journal
43. Bind a Book or Two
44. Master Calligraphy
45. Hand Print Your Own Posters
46. Take Up Weaving
Explore Interactive Sites
47. Inside Art
48. Portrait For Kids
49. Art Safari Learning Activity
50. Picturing The 1930’s
51. Odyssey Learning
52. Meet Me At Midnight
53. Artie’s House
54. Interactive Color Wheel
55. The Dutch House Online
56. Lizzie Visits A Sculpture Garden
57. Design A Greek Pot
58. Explore A Victorian Painting
59. Learn About Landscapes
60. Destination Modern Art
61. Bottlecaps To Brushes
62. Buffalo Hide Painting
63. Art Lab
64. African Life Through Art
65. A. Pintura Detective
66. Explore Color
67. Inside Art Learning Activity
68. Explore Pop Art
69. Exploring Perspective
72. Barbara’s Garden
73. Art Connected
74. Be The Curator
75. Vision And Art
76. What Is A Print?
77. Mr. Picasso Head
78. Art Detective
79. Detail Detectives
Download Free Art Software
Play With Free Art Toys
84. Silk Drawing Toy
85. Build Your Own Kaleidoscope
86. The Scribbler
87. Create Your Own Flowers
88. Snowflake Toy
90. The Artist’s Toolkit
91. Still Life
92. Brushster Online Activity
93. Jungle Interactive
94. Flow Interactive Activity
95. The Swatchbox
96. RiverRun Interactive Toy
97. Wallover Toy (favorite)
98. PaintBox Interactive
99. 3-D Twirler Interactive Toy
100. Collage Machine
101. Interactive Mobile
102. Pixel Face Interactive Toy
Watch Some Videos
source: Brian Jones
Question: I have a 15 year old son and I am afraid I won’t be able to teach him science when he gets to high school age. I never went to college and my husband doesn’t have the time to help. Do you have any ideas?
Answer: Homeschooling a high schooler is a lot harder than homeschooling other age groups. High school sciences are difficult for many parents to handle unless they have a college degree or were excellent students in high school. There are ways of getting around this though.
The easiest subjects for non-scientific parents to teach are astronomy, earth science and biology because they don’t require a lot of math. There are many good textbooks for these subjects available on amazon. Just read the reviews to look for books that are clearly written and easy to understand.
Chemistry and physics are quite a bit harder because of the math involved. If you feel your child must learn these subjects, find out if there are any homeschooling classes available. In Baltimore, where I homeschooled for many years, parents organized a private chemistry class at a local community college.
If no homeschooling class is available, there are several books that have a reputation for being very good: Physics the Easy Way by Robert L. Lehrman, Basic Physics by Karl F. Kuhn and Chemistry by Clifford C. Houk. Try to get your local bookstore to order them, but take a long look at them before heading to the cash register. If you run into trouble, hire a tutor occasionally to explain things.
To round out your science program, investigate some of the science kits that are available. Any well stocked educational toy store or web site should have several choices of chemistry, electricity and robotics kits. Even Toys “R” Us has some good kits and equipment for a very reasonable price.
The information in the above paragraphs explains the correct way to deal with high school sciences. However, my son and I didn’t do it this way. I will publish an article on how we did science in a future post.