high school

Workboxes: What Are They and Why Should You Use Them?

064. Workboxes: What Are They and Why Should You Use Them?

Imagine a system that takes the chaos out of homeschooling and replaces it with a sense of structure and excitement. Think about a tool that not only fosters independence and responsibility, but also teaches time management and self-discipline. And think of a learning method that encourages you to be more organized while being super quick and easy to maintain. This may sound too good to be true. But I assure you, this is a method that both of us have used and found to be gamechanging.

If you’re new to homeschooling or just looking for some fresh inspiration in your routine, this is the episode for you. Today, we’re talking about a tool that helped keep every day fun and made our children excited about school: Homeschool Workboxes!

Episode 064:

TWO WAYS TO LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:
1. Click PLAY Button Above ^^ to listen here.
2. OR Listen on your favorite podcast platform:

Brand New to Homeschooling?
GETTING START PAGE >>
Kindergarten Page >>
High School Series >>

Show Notes

We have done a couple different episodes on organization, like Episode 046. 12 Ways to Balance Your Home and Homeschool and Episode 009. Schedules, Routines & Rhythms. We provided tons of freebies like meal planners and family chore charts, and if you haven’t checked them out, you totally should! But today we are going to talk about a homeschool task management system that can really simplify your weeks and organize your day. And it’s actually really easy!  

We get super excited about this topic because it really was a game changer for both of us. So, what exactly are homeschool workboxes? The workbox system was originally developed in the autism community and then tweaked  by author Sue Patrick  for use in homeschools with kids of all ages and abilities.  She had a popular ebook that worked as a complete guide to the system.  Many of us then altered the system further to fit our life and learning styles.  This was all the rage probably about 10 years ago- and we still recommend this method because of how effective it is.  

Sue Patrick’s Workbox System A User’s Guide

Homeschool workboxes are basically like little treasure chests filled with educational gems, designed to make learning engaging, organized, and fun for both parents and kids. Essentially, they are a method of organizing daily lessons and activities into individual containers or drawers. Each container is labeled with a specific subject or task for that day. 

Think of these workboxes as your child’s personalized learning stations, where they can easily access everything they need for each lesson without you having to constantly rummage through piles of books and materials.  The best part? Workboxes are incredibly flexible and you can tailor them to suit your child’s learning style, their interests, and their current developmental stage. 

Homeschool workboxes aren’t just about organization; they’re also about fostering independence and responsibility in your child’s learning journey. By empowering them to take charge of their own workboxes, you’re teaching valuable life skills like time management, self-discipline, and problem-solving. Plus, it gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with completing tasks and moving onto the next box. It’s like unlocking a level in a video game, only with real-world knowledge and skills! You may want to consider using work boxes in your homeschool.

five reasons why

1. Organization and Structure

Homeschool workboxes provide a tangible framework for organizing daily lessons and activities. By assigning each subject or task to a specific box or container, you create a structured routine that helps your child stay focused and on track throughout the day. We were able to fill the boxes the night before or before the kids woke up before my brain was overwhelmed with the day so it kept me organized. It also gave me a structure to my day.  I could easily look at our boxes and see where we were in the day and speed us up or slow us down.  And because I also planned out my week on a spreadsheet, I could also quickly repack our bins for the next day in 5 minutes before bed every night.

2. Customization and Flexibility

Workboxes can be tailored to suit your child’s individual learning style, interests, and abilities. Whether you incorporate hands-on activities, multimedia resources, or traditional textbooks, you have the flexibility to design each box according to what works best for your child’s unique needs. Some people use their boxes solely to organize books and written material but there’s really no end to what you can add to it.  You can put games, or flashcards, cds and movies, all kinds of stuff.

3. Promotion of Independence

One of the key benefits of workboxing is that it encourages independence and self-directed learning in your child. By giving them the responsibility to complete tasks and move onto the next box, you empower them to take ownership of their education. Who doesn’t like checking a box?  Or in the case of workboxes, moving a velcro square to your done list. Whether I was nursing, changing the baby or dealing with other household things and my daughter asking me, “what do I do next?”.. I could say check your next workbox. And she would run across the house to the next task. She would beam with pride! And this really helped my kids to develop valuable life skills too such as time management and organization. Can I watch TV?  I don’t know- What box are you on? One of my kids liked to do as many of his independent tasks as possible early in the morning before the rest of us were up.

4. Engagement and Motivation

Workboxing can inject a sense of excitement and motivation into your homeschooling routine. The visual and tactile nature of the boxes, along with the satisfaction of completing tasks and moving through the sequence, can help keep your child engaged and eager to learn. My kids were always so excited to see what was in the next box.

5. Adaptability to Multiple Ages and Subjects

Whether you’re homeschooling multiple children or teaching a variety of subjects, workboxing is a versatile approach that can be adapted to meet the needs of your entire family. You can easily customize the content and difficulty level of each box to accommodate different ages and learning levels, making it an ideal solution for homeschooling households with diverse needs. You can put anything in there- I had two boxes daily that were about tasks- hygiene and household.  I also had boxes that directed the kids to work together, or to help a sibling with something.

There are various types of organizers you can use to create homeschool workboxes, depending on your preference, budget, and available space.

popular Workbox options:

Plastic Storage Drawers

These are perhaps the most commonly used organizers for workboxes. They come in various sizes and configurations, making it easy to customize them to fit your needs. Look for drawers with multiple compartments or adjustable dividers to accommodate different subjects and activities.

10 Drawer Rolling Cart

Clear Shoebox Containers

Clear plastic shoebox containers are an affordable and versatile option for creating workboxes. They’re transparent, allowing your child to see the contents easily, and they come in a uniform size, making them stackable and easy to store.

6qt Clear Shoebox Bins

Desktop Organizers

If you prefer a more compact solution, desktop organizers with multiple compartments can be repurposed as workboxes. You can find organizers with shelves, cubbies, or trays that are perfect for storing books, supplies, and other materials for each subject.

24 Compartment Desktop Organizer

File Crates or Baskets

File crates or baskets with hanging file folders can be used to organize worksheets, assignments, and other paper-based materials for each subject. You can label the folders with the day of the week or subject name to keep everything organized and easily accessible.

Hanging File Organizer

Tackle Boxes

For a creative twist, consider using small tackle box to create portable workboxes.

This box was our Favorite for
Math Manipulatives!

Toolboxes

These are especially handy for hands-on activities or STEM projects that require various tools and supplies and are very durable. You can use the top for additional deskspace and can sometimes find them second-hand at yard sales

Some homeschoolers love to use Heavy Duty Toolboxes like this one that can be moved around and last forever!

Hanging Shoe Organizers

Hanging shoe organizers with pockets can be hung on the back of a door or on a wall to create a space-saving solution for workboxes. Each pocket can be designated for a different subject or activity, keeping everything neatly organized and within reach.

Over the door Organizers save space
Over the door file pockets work great too

Ultimately, the best type of organizer for your homeschool workboxes will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and available space. Feel free to mix and match different types of organizers to create a customized solution that works best for your family. What then about labels and checkboxes?

Great news! I created some free workbox labels that you can download at the bottom of this page. You’re welcome to print and laminate them and Add a velcro tab. Just know that when you’re labeling your workboxes, consider the subjects or activities that are part of your curriculum and your child’s learning goals. For me, workboxing was also a great way to make time for some of the subjects that often got away from us during the week.

Common subjects for workboxes

Math

This box can include math textbooks, workbooks, math manipulatives, and any other materials related to math lessons or activities.

Math Games are perfect in workboxes. Check out our favorites

Language Arts

Include materials such as reading books, grammar workbooks, spelling lists, writing assignments, and language arts games or activities.

Science

Fill this box with science textbooks, experiment supplies, nature guides, worksheets, and any other resources for science lessons or projects.

History/Social Studies

Include history textbooks, maps, timelines, biographies, historical fiction books, and any other materials related to social studies or history topics.

Book of Centuries and Timeline Figures are a favorite in Workboxes!

Book of Centuries

Art & Music

This box can contain art supplies such as crayons, markers, paints, brushes, sketchbooks, and any other materials for creative expression or art lessons. Fill this box with musical instruments, sheet music, music theory books, and any other materials related to music lessons or exploration. So many ideas for art and music in our Episode 048. Music and Art in Your Homeschool

Be sure to download your FREE Songwriter Book AND Music Note Lesson & Composition Book

PE/Fitness

Include equipment for physical activities such as balls, jump ropes, yoga mats, and any other materials for physical education lessons or exercise breaks. I created some fitness dice that you can print on cardstock. These are so fun and our family gets pretty competitive with them.

Foreign Language

Include language textbooks, vocabulary flashcards, language learning apps or software, and any other resources for learning a foreign language. Sometimes we would just watch a Spanish cartoon and then I would just put an index card and write down “watch video”. 

Technology/Computer Science

This box can contain laptops or tablets, coding books or resources, educational software, and any other materials related to technology or computer science lessons.

Electives or Special Interests

Reserve a box for Extracurricular Activities or activities that are tailored to your child’s interests or special talents, such as gardening, cooking, woodworking, or creative writing. This is where I would also stick my more task oriented boxes, too.  We had a morning 5 list and an evening 5. And on my boxes, I made laminated labels that velcroed to the box on one side, and then on the other side I labeled the boxes by number.  On top of our workboxes, each child had a wooden board that they would place those numbers on like a checklist. Check out our FREE Preschool-routine-charts

Remember, you can adjust and customize these labels based on your homeschooling curriculum, your child’s interests and abilities, and any specific goals or priorities you have for that school year. And they don’t have to be laminated, though you know mine are!  I love my laminator! The goal is to create a system that works best for your family and helps facilitate a smooth and engaging homeschooling experience.

Whether you’re a seasoned homeschooling pro or just dipping your toes into the waters, we encourage you to check out homeschool workboxes together. Overall, workboxing offers a holistic approach to homeschooling that promotes organization, independence, engagement, and adaptability, making it a valuable tool for families seeking to create a dynamic and effective learning environment at home.

This Week’s Freebie:

FREE Workbox Tags/Labels

$0.00

Print these free printable workbox labels to help organize your homeschool space! We discuss this and share insights in Episode 064. Workboxes – What Are They and Why You Should Use Them?

FREE Multiplication Wheels

$0.00

13 adorable rainbow multiplication wheels covering numbers 0-12. Use in sheet protectors with a dry erase marker or cut out and laminate and have your child recite one each day for math warm up. Make math fun! We talk about this in Episode 025. How Do You Successfully Teach Math? Are you tired of Math…

063. What is the Best Math Curriculum?

063. What is the Best math Curriculum?

Math can be a subject that invokes fear into the hearts of those new to or considering homeschooling. Math may be a subject that you weren’t so great at or maybe you were math minded but are nervous at the prospect of teaching upper level math. Perhaps you feel like you don’t remember enough math from your youth? Remember that you do not need to be an expert in anything to teach your own children. There are a million programs, classes and scripted curricula out there to help you cover this subject with your student and you know your child best. So what is the best math curriculum? In today’s episode, we’ll be exploring the process of selecting the right choice for your homeschool.

Episode 063:

TWO WAYS TO LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:
1. Click PLAY Button Above ^^ to listen here.
2. OR Listen on your favorite podcast platform:

Brand New to Homeschooling?
GETTING START PAGE >>
Kindergarten Page >>
High School Series >>

Show Notes

In today’s episode, we’ll be exploring the process of selecting the right choice for your homeschool. From navigating various teaching styles and philosophies to finding a program that aligns with your child’s learning needs and your family’s budget. The journey to finding the perfect fit can be exciting but also daunting. Come along with us as we dive into the ins and outs of picking a homeschool math curriculum. We’ll share tips and insights to help you choose the right fit, setting you up for math success!

On today’s episode we are going to be answering one of the questions that we get most often! What is the best math curriculum? And boy, is this question ever a multi-faceted ask!  So many things can go into this decision.  Do a search on any homeschool group and you’ll find a zillion questions a day with a zillion different responses. 

Selecting the best math curriculum can seem overwhelming, but with careful consideration, you can find the right fit for your child’s needs and your homeschooling style. But keep in mind that there is no perfect homeschool curriculum for any subject (and certainly not a perfect homeschool math program), things that are worth doing are not always easy. And just because things may be hard doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. 

When you start thinking about math for next year or even switching curriculum now, remember that simple consistency is the most valuable thing you can bring to your homeschool math plan.  Try not to be a serial curriculum hopper.  While ditching things that don’t work for you is great, you do want to make sure that you are giving things a solid go before deciding they don’t work for you. And while reviews are important, take them with a grain of salt- I can’t believe how many people I see sometimes give a review of a program based on just the first short book in the series.

It’s going to be much better and more effective for you to pick something and do it imperfectly, little-by-little, day-by-day than for you to keep bouncing from math program to math program searching for the mythical perfect bullet that will solve all your mathematical woes. Also, remember that every homeschool child is unique. Just because a friend or a random stranger on the internet loves a certain program does not mean it will be a good fit for you and your children.

The best option, when possible, is to look through a homeschool math curriculum in person. Ask friends if you can borrow their books. Go to a local bookstore, or a homeschool convention if possible and flip through the pages and chat with the curriculum authors. And whenever possible, always take advantage of free online math trials!

Textbook and Online Math Curriculum

Here are a few of the common, most popular homeschool math curriculums. The list is certainly not complete.  We’ve used some of these math programs personally over the years with various children and at various levels and then some are ones we’ve reviewed or come highly recommended by friends and other homeschool parents. We will have these all linked in our show notes.

Math With Confidencecurriculum

Saxon Math

Math-U-See *not secular

Mr. D Math 

Keys to Math

Life of Fred *not secular

CTC Math

Singapore Math

RightStart Mathematics 

Beast Academy and Art of Problem Solving 

Math Mammoth

Khan Academy

Teaching textbooks 

Horizons 

Denison

Unlock Math

Derek Owens

Key factors to consider

As a homeschooling parent, I know first hand that choosing the right math curriculum can be a daunting task. There are so many options available!  We both learned over the years that it’s so important to find one that meets your child’s needs, aligns with your homeschool style, and fits within your time and money budget.

Here are a few key factors to consider when selecting a homeschool math curriculum:

your child’s learning style

Every child is different. What works for your friend’s child may not work for yours. I’ve had to pivot multiple times with my own children! The textbook that I started out with and worked great for my oldest made my middle child cry. The issue is not that the math book itself is bad… it just was not a good fit for the way their brain worked. And honestly, it’s one of the best benefits of homeschooling. When something doesn’t work, you can switch it up. You’re not married to the curriculum that a public school is using. Taking full advantage of personalizing your choices is such a great part of homeschooling.

Does your child get distracted by lots of color or too much text on the page? Do they like working deliberately through a worksheet or do they need more hand-holding? 

Does your child do best with hands-on material? Is it helpful for them to receive input in multiple ways like visually and auditory? Do you have a child who is asynchronous in their learning?

If you prefer a hands-on approach, a curriculum that includes manipulatives like Math U See and using real-world applications may be a good choice. If you prefer a more traditional approach, you’ll probably want a textbook-based curriculum.

Likewise, some kids need lots of practice problems so a workbook based program may be necessary, where other kids might do better with a program that allows you to move on once you’ve grasped a concept. 

Remember that you don’t have to rigidly stick to a curriculum as written, either.  If your kids don’t need a million review questions or don’t need to handwrite a million numbers, don’t feel bad about skipping over things that are unnecessary. 

time constraints

Do you have multiple children whose needs you’re balancing? Perhaps you need to outsource some of your math lessons with an online program like Mr. D Math or enroll them in an Outschool course.  Or maybe you just need an additional explanation- a supplement like Khan academy is great for viewing another explanation on how to do a problem or a Singapore mental math workbook can be a great way to take a break while learning some new techniques and then returning to a concept that was tricky.

Do you love math? Perhaps you want to be more involved with the daily teaching of your math curriculum. My youngest and I look forward to doing math together every day even in high school. There’s a lot of other things she does independently but likes to do math with me.

 What kind of approach

Some people like to stay in line with the public school system especially when it comes to something like math that builds on its concepts. You can certainly check the scope-and-sequence of any math curriculum and compare it to your state requirements and personal homeschool goals. If you have an older teenager, and they are college bound, you’re going to want to check out our high school series. One of the most important things we talk about is looking at the entrance requirements for each college they are interested in applying to. This may be a factor for older students or especially for students who are specifically going into STEM majors.

scope and sequence

The scope and sequence for most curriculum is going to be quite similar to state standards. It may be more helpful to notice how the math program is structured. For example, a mastery approach to math focuses more deeply on one topic at a time while a spiral approach teaches smaller portions of the material at a time and rotates through them more frequently.

A traditional “just the facts” approach tells the student what to do, gives them the math rules, and then drills them with lots of practice. A math curriculum that focuses on the why will lead the children to discover mathematical concepts for themselves and will help them understand why the tricks and rules work. Our favorite curriculums strike a balance and include elements of all of the above.

What’s your budget?  

We’ve talked many times on our show about budget constraints.  I’m a single mom and so the price of the curriculum is a big factor for me.  But, as we have also talked about many times before,  homeschooling does not need to be expensive.  There are options in every price range and plenty of free or low cost resources out there. I’ve almost always bought my curriculum pre-owned from a friend or on eBay, Facebook marketplace. 

Just be aware that some of the free curricula out there may have a hidden agenda. I see glowing reviews online and in chats for some of the free Bible based curriculum but remember that they are pushing their worldview. And as the curriculum gets more involved as your child gets older, so does the amount of indoctrination especially when it comes to history and social studies. It is our responsibility to have full awareness of what our children are being taught. So please don’t go in blind, and choose a curriculum solely based on the fact that it’s free.

And keep in mind that just because a curriculum is low cost does not mean its low quality.  Not at all.  I do expect to pay something for curricula.  Someone else has put their heart and soul into creating something of value for you and that deserves compensation, but again, there are so many options.  And you can always piece together things yourself.  Many people do that especially in the younger years- you really don’t need a formal curricula for k-3.

Depending on your family’s time and your children’s independence, you may choose to be more hands-off in your homeschool math approach and that’s ok, too! Some people find it works to do math one on one with their youngest while their older children are doing something more independently. For example, we’ve used video instruction from Math-U-See for elementary grades and gradually moved to online self-paced classes from Mr. D Math for high school math and eventually dual enrollment at the local community college.

The realities of your schedule, the demands of multiple children in your homeschool, and the unique needs of your individual students can help you determine if working one-on-one with mom and a textbook or outsourcing utilizing online courses or local resources is the best fit for your family.

And if you’re struggling with indecision, remember the most important thing is that you just pick something, start it, and do a little bit of math every day. If you are in an all out rut, take a break, play math games.  We have a great resource page for that that came out of our “How do you successfully teach math episode 25.”

At the end of the day, an imperfect math curriculum that you do faithfully is going to be better than the mythical perfect curriculum you never start. Nothing is ever going to be perfect for every homeschool family or student. 

We hope you’ve found some insight on choosing a math curriculum today and are feeling empowered to make the right choice for your family. The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but with careful consideration of your child’s learning style, your teaching approach, your budget and the available resources, you can find a curriculum that fosters a love for math and supports their academic growth. Trust your instincts, stay flexible, and most importantly, enjoy the journey of learning alongside your child.

FREE Multiplication Wheels

$0.00

13 adorable rainbow multiplication wheels covering numbers 0-12. Use in sheet protectors with a dry erase marker or cut out and laminate and have your child recite one each day for math warm up. Make math fun! We talk about this in Episode 025. How Do You Successfully Teach Math? Are you tired of Math…

060. 20 Fun Activities to Improve Your Student’s Writing

20 Fun Activities to Improve Your Student’s Writing

Do your students grumble when it’s time to practice writing? Is getting them to write an essay painful for both of you? Maybe it’s time to try some fun writing activities instead!

Episode 060:

TWO WAYS TO LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:
1. Click PLAY Button Above ^^ to listen here.
2. OR Listen on your favorite podcast platform:

Brand New to Homeschooling?
GETTING START PAGE >>
Kindergarten Page >>
High School Series >>

Show Notes

Over the years, we’ve tried countless writing programs and curricula in a constant effort to keep writing fun and interesting. While we’ve had success stories with a few programs, we found one of the best ways to keep kids engaged with writing is to integrate a fun activity alongside our regular curriculum. When they’re having fun, they want to write more, which helps them develop stronger creative writing skills and become better writers. In today’s episode, we have some great ideas and activities to make writing fun for your kids.

Writing is a skill that can be challenging for some kids. It encompasses the intricate understanding of grammar and vocabulary. As homeschooling parents guiding our children, we recognize that nurturing effective writing skills is crucial for their future endeavors in college and the workforce. While the task may seem time-consuming and taxing, you have the ability to not only teach these skills to your children but also cultivate a love for writing in a gentle manner.

We also want to add that this is different from just handwriting.  We often see posts or questions from people about writing (especially when it comes to young kids) and we always like to clarify first- do you mean the physical act of bringing pencil to paper or are you talking about foundational composition, sentence structure, detailing thoughts?  These are two very different age appropriate things.

It is very normal for young children (especially boys) to be resistant or struggle with the act of handwriting, and it’s also not really age appropriate to expect a lot of writing out of a 6 year old. I, personally, don’t do a ton of writing work outside of handwriting with under 10s.  This can be a really frustrating subject to force when a little time and maturity will often make this a much easier endeavor.

We talked about this in Episode 28 “How to keep learning fun.”  If you are struggling with the physical aspect of writing, you want to make sure to rule out an actual physical limitation to writing.  Visual tracking and other learning differences can also be a factor. If you feel like there might be some underlying issues, we have an entire page and episode devoted to learning differences. 021. How Do You Homeschool a Child with a Learning Difference?

 I did take my son to an occupational therapist when he was little because he complained about how much writing hurt his hands.  She gave us some exercises and different kinds of pencil holders and grips.  

These Pencil Grips are fantastic to teach little hands

But today we are really going to be talking about foundational writing.  Writing is a complex process that requires the integration of multiple skills, many of which are executive functioning skills.  Writing involves having to visualize ideas in your mind, so that you can manipulate your thoughts into structured sentences that make sense.  You need to search your brain for the proper sounds that make up letters and words and ideas.  And then transpose those letters on paper by hand.

Important Points to Remember When Teaching Writing:

When working to improve your child’s writing skills, there are some key things to keep in mind:

Be patient

It’s going to take time for your child to develop writing skills. Just like with anything else, the more practice they get, the better they’ll become at it. Learn your child’s limits and know when to push and when to walk away and come back to something later.

It doesn’t seem like it, but sometimes walking away and giving something tricky a rest is all it takes for a skill to finally take root.  Don’t be afraid to do this!  

Encourage effort

It’s important to praise your child’s efforts, even if the writing isn’t perfect. This will help to build confidence and motivation. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Some of the best learning about writing comes in the corrections and while going over their work positively.

Make it fun

If your child is seeing writing as a chore, it’s going to be a lot harder to get them to stick with it. Find ways to make it fun – we have a great list of ideas we’re about to get to!

Be a role model

Show your child that writing is important to you by incorporating it into your everyday life. This will help them to see the value in practicing writing on a daily basis. We will talk more about this but journaling is something I really love to do.

Show interest

It’s important for your child to see that you are interested in what they write. Don’t just focus on how good their writing is or the mistakes they made, but instead, talk to them about the ideas they’re exploring and why you think they’re important. 

I see a lot of parents really wanting to farm this aspect of writing out, and that’s fine if that’s what you want to do, but you really can and should consider doing this yourself.   It really can help with your relationship when your child knows you are interested in what they have to say.

Whether you are working on penmanship or crafting stories and paragraphs, it’s important to remember that your relationship comes first. We are lucky that we are in the unique position that we are with our children daily and have the ability to influence them. The words we choose with our kids can make or break their spirits. When we encourage our kids and give them our undivided attention, their confidence is going to grow.

20 Fun Writing Activities (9:50)

Engaging our young learners in writing can be a fun and collaborative experience. Let’s explore various activities that transform writing into an exciting venture, fostering not only proficiency but also their sense of accomplishment:

1. Story Chains:

There are many ways that two or more people can work together to write a short story. Write down a prompt and have your child contribute to the story in a set time (1-2 minutes). Have them pass the paper back to you or a sibling(s) and then back to you. The objective is to create a coherent story through teamwork, making writing a shared adventure. This is a game we like to do in scouting around a campfire, too.  This is a great activity to do orally.

2. Create Personal Journals:

I mentioned this earlier, that I love to journal. Provide your child with journals and colored pens, inspiring them to express themselves freely. Prompt them to write about their daily experiences, favorite movies, or hobbies. This personal reflection not only enhances writing skills but also fosters a sense of self-expression.


One Question A Day is perfect for children aged 9-12. This fun diary helps kids to get to know themselves a little better. Full of both silly and serious writing prompts in the form of questions, this journal will become a keepsake for years to come! Each day, your young writer will fill out the journal by answering a new kid-friendly question. The diary is undated, so it can be started on any day of the year! The goal of this journal is for children to become comfortable with expressing themselves creatively through writing, and to have fun along the way! Start sharing your thoughts and feelings by journaling, and get on the path to self-discovery!

3. Index Card Stories:

Utilize index cards as an alternative to traditional writing. Ask your children to share funny stories on index cards. You can even make this a regular group activity with friends or homeschool co-op. This type of interactive approach keeps the writing process dynamic and enjoyable.

Lined Index Note Cards with Rings

4. Story Completion with Templates:

Story Cubes are so fun! A game of limitless imagination and infinite stories! Combine items, characters, places and animals to create and share unique tales! Story Cubes are perfect for telling stories but also fantastic for WRITING stories! 

Design story templates with pictures and scattered words throughout. Challenge your children to use these elements to craft their own unique stories. This creative exercise not only stimulates imagination but can also showcase the surprising depth of your children’s storytelling abilities. Story Cubes are a fun way to get creative this way too.

5. Letters

Have your children write heartfelt letters to extended family, friends or pen pals. The act of exchanging these letters fosters camaraderie and provides a meaningful context for practicing writing skills. You can also work on formal letter writing.  That’s always a good skill to have.

Postcrossing is a great way for your kids to write to communicate with people from all over the world!

6. Retelling Favorite Stories

Encourage your children to write about stories that have left an impact on them, be it real-life experiences or tales from books and movies. This activity enhances descriptive writing skills and allows for the exploration of different narrative styles.

7. Word Challenge

You can also enhance their vocabulary with creative writing by presenting a recently taught word as a challenge. Ask your kids to construct sentences using the word and then exchange sentences to craft unique stories. This playful approach reinforces language skills in a fun and engaging manner.  You can use vocabulary lists from your curriculum or things like word of the day calendars.

8. Birthday Wishes and thank you notes

Have your child create and write a birthday card for a special friend. This quick and heartwarming exercise seamlessly integrates into your lessons while promoting a positive writing culture. Did they recently have a birthday or receive a holiday gift? Have them write a letter of gratitude thanking them for the gift. These Card Making Kits are fantastic!

Card Making Kit for Kids

9. Reviews

Have your child go on Yelp and write a review for their favorite (or least favorite) restaurant. Do they love a new purchase they recently got from Amazon? Have them write their own personal review. Funny Review of the Bic Pen for Her.

10. Blog

Use technology to your advantage. What does your child love? Do they have a hobby or love legos? Help them create a Free blog to write about their passion. 

11. Image Prompt

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Why not try photo writing prompts? This is a fun story writing activity. It’s simple and can be pulled off with almost no prep time. You’ll want to choose an image you want to display then set a timer. Have everyone (even you) write a story inspired by the picture for fifteen minutes. No planning for this one; this time everyone is writing by the seat of their pants. When the timer ends, stop writing and read each other’s story.

We’ve talked about programs like StoryStarters before.  This is a book with a series of story beginnings with illustrations and the student then finishes the story. 

12. Writing Club

Join a creative writing club. If you can’t find one, create your own homeschool writing club. Your child can interact with other young writers, share their work, and receive constructive feedback. This fosters a sense of community and motivation.

13. Comic Creation

Encourage your child to create their own comics. This involves both writing dialogue and using visual storytelling. It’s a great way to combine writing and art while fostering creativity. There are even these really cool blank comic books that you can use. 

Blank Comic Books

14. Outdoor Writing Adventures

Take writing outdoors. Whether it’s at the park, in the backyard, or during a nature walk, being in a different environment can inspire new ideas and perspectives for writing. This Hiking Journal is sure to inspire your kiddo!

15. Interviewing

Have your child interview family members or friends. Have them write out their own questions, conduct interviews, and then turn the responses into a written piece. This can really improve communication and writing skills.

16. Newsletter

Have your child create a monthly newsletter for family and friends. They can share updates, stories, or even jokes. This not only improves writing skills but also encourages regular writing practice. One of our homeschool groups does this as a group and it’s all child led.

17. Create Mad Libs

If your child has never played Mad Libs, you will first need to explain this writing game to them and maybe have them do a practice round to get used to the concept. Then have them prepare the story. They can either create it from scratch or use an existing text. For example, they might copy out the first paragraph or two of a book. Have them write it on lined paper, double spaced. Next, they can choose some words to remove from the story. Once they’ve erased the words they want to remove, they should draw a line for the blank word and write a hint under the line to indicate what kind of word is needed. 

It’s helpful if they have an understanding of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. If they don’t, this is a great time to introduce these concepts. I’ve yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love Mad Libs. They’re such a fun way to approach word choice and sentence structure. Kids get a kick out of making up a really silly story while subtly learning the differences between the various types of words. 

Best of Mad Libs

18. Create a Menu or Recipe

Menu and Recipe writing is a completely different type of writing, which is a bit more straightforward which some students struggling to get creative might enjoy. Students can come up with either genuine menus or recipes that they would love to eat or silly ones! 

Recipe Cards are great for writing!

19. Whiteboard or Chalkboard

It’s important for kids to understand that writing is an integral part of our everyday lives.They need to experience that writing is a great way to communicate with others. One way to help kids see the value of writing is to use a whiteboard or chalkboard in your home for family communications. 

We do this with Wet Erase Markers on windows (so much better than dry erase markers!). I have huge windows next to our front door which is also our homeschool room. And I’ve often used them as boards. I remember I came up with this idea to use these windows when we were doing biology and learning classification and I charted all the kingdoms and the kids would love to come in with markers and write examples of species in their own handwriting. The windows were covered! 

You also can write notes to each other, make grocery lists, write your day’s agenda, or tell a joke. This is also a great way to get kids involved in the family’s daily life and routines. And you don’t have to use a window, you can just use a dry erase board. Be prepared for your young comedians to write “poop” or “fart” a lot.

Magnetic Calendar White Board

20. Reading

Read together every day. One of the best ways to improve writing skills doesn’t involve writing at all! Reading is a critical part of writing development, as it helps to expand vocabulary, improve grammar, and increase overall language skills. Make reading a daily routine that you do no matter what. You can take turns reading aloud, or let your child read to you. Either way, make sure to discuss what you’re reading as you go along. Ask questions, point out new words, and make connections to other things you’ve read or experienced.

Reading should be enjoyable, so try to find books that your child will be interested in. If necessary, start with simpler books and work your way up to more challenging ones. The more your child reads, the better he or she will become at understanding how language works, and the more he or she will be inspired to write.

We have a couple different episodes where we have our favorite books for various ages – Books for New Readers, favorite Middle School Books, and we even have Favorite Books Every Homeschooler Should Read!  

All of these writing activities we listed are designed to make the learning process enjoyable, easy, and captivating for your children. Hopefully you find something helpful here today. Embrace the opportunity you have to guide your kids towards becoming not only proficient writers but also finding joy in expressing themselves through words!

This Week’s Freebie:


Download your Free Creative Writing Image Prompts and Templates

059. Family Favorite Board Games

Favorite Family Games

We talk all the time about how much both our families have loved board games over the years. From the suspenseful roll of the dice to the cunning maneuvers and friendly banter, board games create an environment where families can connect and create cherished memories. We will be kicking off the year playing games with our families and today we are going to share 25 of our all time favorite family games. From your youngest to your oldest, we’re sharing games that everyone in your family will love. 

Episode 059:

TWO WAYS TO LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:
1. Click PLAY Button Above ^^ to listen here.
2. OR Listen on your favorite podcast platform:

Brand New to Homeschooling?
GETTING START PAGE >>
Kindergarten Page >>
High School Series >>

Show Notes

Board games have long been a beloved pastime for families around the world. The allure of board games lies not only in the thrill of competition but also in the shared moments of laughter and bonding that naturally happens when families play together.

Whether it’s the joy of victory or the camaraderie of shared defeat, board games serve as a catalyst for fun-filled family moments, fostering communication, problem-solving skills, and endless amusement for everyone involved. Choosing the top 25 favorite board games for homeschool families was really hard!  We both really love board games and have both been part of a board game club for years where we met every week at a coffee shop or someone’s house while we played every board game imaginable! And choices can be totally subjective, as preferences can vary based on your kid’s interests, their ages, and what learning goals you have.

 Sometimes you want games that sneak in a little education for everyone.  We did another episode about our favorite math games, for instance.  And for years, I carried Story Cubes and Bananagrams around in my purse because these were easy language arts games to bust out when we were at restaurants or waiting at appointments.

Call me the Board Game Grinch if you must, but I believe life’s too short for tedious games that make you want to gouge out your eyeballs. If you enjoy such games, you have more patience than I do, and I respect that. However, playing a game with your child while gritting your teeth doesn’t benefit anyone. When you genuinely have fun, your kids notice and enjoy the game more, and if you’re bored, they’ll pick up on that as well. We all want to have fun – not just our kids! So we’ve put together this list of board games and card games that are favorites for us and super popular with homeschooling families for their educational value, varied ages, and entertainment.

Let’s start with some classics!  There are several games that have stood the test of time and are widely regarded as classics due to their enduring popularity, entertainment value, and ability to bring families together.  (6:08)

1. Monopoly

Monopoly is a property trading game that involves strategy, negotiation, and financial management. This is a game that I am not allowed to play at my house.  If you aren’t prepared to lose all your friends and family in a game of monopoly, you aren’t playing hard enough.

2. Clue

Clue is a deduction game where players solve a murder mystery by gathering clues and making educated guesses. I love this simple detective game. The randomness of the clues does change the game play up enough to make it replayable and it’s fun for all ages. It’s light on strategy while still being challenging. Maybe some people think that murder should not be in a kids game, but I can tell you that children learn about these things even if you don’t teach them about it. Clue is actually a great structured way to teach them that crime and murder are wrong and that there is a detective process for catching the culprits. A bonus is that after playing the game you can watch the movie.

3. Chess and Checkers

Chess is a strategic board game that involves planning, foresight, and tactics using different pieces with distinct movements.  Checkers is a classic strategy game where players aim to capture their opponent’s pieces by diagonal movement on the board.

4. Uno

Uno has been the go-to card game of choice for families and friends around the world for 50 years. This  fast-paced card game where players match colors or numbers while strategically using action cards to disrupt opponents is a favorite whether you’re playing with your grandma or your preschooler and anyone in between. 

5. Sorry! and Parcheesi

Sorry! and Parcheesi are both games of luck and strategy where players race to move their pieces around the board and send opponents’ pieces back to the start.

6. Risk

Risk is a game of global domination involving strategy, negotiation, and conquest. We have a collectors version that we found dirt cheap at a garage sale. My kids were obsessed with this game for years. Our version is a vintage version and some of the countries no longer exist, and it really makes for great topics of conversation. My kids learn geography and history at the same time!

7. Apples to Apples

Apples to Apples is a fun, family-friendly party game involving word comparisons and creative thinking. 

8. Yahtzee

Yahtzee is a dice rolling game that involves scoring points by rolling specific combinations. We love this classic game and it’s perfect for all ages. Young ones learn simple math and older ones get really competitive.

9. Scrabble and Boggle

Scrabble and Boggle Scrabble: A word game that challenges players to create words using letter tiles and strategic placement on the board. Boggle – A word search game using a grid of lettered dice where players find words within a limited time. Boggle Jr. is a favorite that helped me teach my oldest how to read and Scrabble Jr. is also a favorite for learning letter and sound recognition!

10. Connect Four and Jenga

Connect Four and Jenga are both popular tabletop games- you find these a lot in restaurants. Connect 4: A two-player game where opponents aim to create a row of four colored discs in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line. Jenga – A tower-building game where players take turns removing wooden blocks without causing the tower to collapse. 

Waterproof Cards: You also can’t go wrong with just a simple deck of cards. I always keep a deck of cards in my car and it’s simple entertainment no matter where we are. Games like hearts, spades, poker, spoons, GO FIsh- there’s a million things you can do with a deck of cards. These waterproof ones are perfect for kids and clean easily. I’ve had the same deck for years!

11. Catan (formerly The Settlers of Catan)

Catan is a cross between Monopoly and Risk. The directions were long and my initial thought before playing was too hard. Once I played, it really is easy to play and I love that you can employ different strategies every time. It teaches your kids resource management and strategy. I also love the Catan Expansion Packs, too. 

12. Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride helps with geography and strategy. There are different versions- American, European, etc.  Ticket to Ride Junior version is fantastic because it takes 30 minutes to play.

13. Pandemic

Pandemic is one of the most popular modern cooperative games and love Cooperative Board Games. We’ve yet to play a pandemic game that we haven’t enjoyed. This game teaches cooperation and problem-solving well, everyone works together during a global health crisis.

14. Carcassonne

Carcassonne focuses on spatial reasoning and tile placement. This game is easy and clear and I like that they start off with a simple set of tiles and rules, then allow you to add more tiles and rules with the included mini expansions. 

15. CodeNames

Code Names can enhance your kid’s vocabulary and critical thinking skills through word association. This is definitely on my list to play over holiday break with my kids! I have not played this one with my kids, but we had a couple of ladies game nights and this game was so fun. We laughed our butts off! I really want to play it again and I love that you can play with a lot of people.

16. Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert

Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert are cooperative games that promote teamwork and critical decision-making.

17. 7 Wonders

7 Wonders is easy to learn how to play but takes some practice to be good at it. In the game, you are building your city around the wonder you are given to construct. So, you even get some history lessons while learning strategy. 

18. Sushi Go!

Sushi Go! is so fun! My entire family loves sushi so it was so funny when we found this game! Each player is attempting to make the best overall Sushi dishes to serve their patrons in order to become the best sushi restaurant in town!  Your kids will learn probability and strategy in this fun card game and it’s so easy to play. 

19. Timeline

Timeline is a game that has taught me so much! I have several versions of this from TV & Music, Inventions, American History.

20. Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens is a light, humorous game known for its quirky artwork. There’s strategy and luck involved. It is a fast paced, strategic game for 2 to 5 players. The objective is to be the last player remaining who hasn’t drawn an exploding kitten. It sounds a lot worse than it is! My kids love this game! It’s one of their favorites. 

21. Zingo

Zingo is the greatest game for the little ones in your family! It is BINGOesque but so much more fun. Our kids loved it when they were preschool age, but older kids are happy to play too. I also love this game because 2 people can have fun playing but more are welcome.

22. Cover Your Assets

We have played Cover Your Assets as a family so many times and it never gets old (or less stressful!). You try to get pairs of assets (stocks, jewelry, houses, etc) and then steal others’ assets while protecting your own. This is one of the games that we featured and our favorite math games post. It’s super easy to learn and has a short play time. Your whole family will love this—young kids all the way to teenagers.

23. Rack-O

Our whole family loves Rack-O. There is a little strategy, but not so much that it ruins the fun for younger players. It also teaches great sequencing skills. It’s really nice that it’s a very quick game so if you don’t have a lot of time, this is a go-to easy game that anybody can play. 

24. Rummikub

Rummikub is FUN–it’s pretty easy to learn and once you play one round you’ll want to play it over and over again. One funny thing about this game though is there are two “joker” tiles that are totally creepy looking. The game is played with 2-4 players. Each player draws 14 tiles and the goal of the game is to get rid of all your tiles by making groups or runs. This is my go to game that I love to play with my friends when I’ve had a few beers. A lot of conversation tends to happen while somebody is playing their tiles and it makes for a really social game. But don’t let that sway you. My kids love this game too and we love to play as a family. It is an incredibly addicting, and challenging game to play with kids.

25. Trekking the World

Some people are a little intimidated by Trekking the World, but don’t be! It is so worth it. After playing it for 10 minutes, you soon figure the game out and it’s so fun. We as a family have loved Ticket to Ride for years and this is similar but better. There are more ways to score points and the scoring system itself is easier to navigate. Every time we get a different winner and the game is never played the same twice. Added bonus is that your kids will learn geography while playing. I guarantee, your entire family will love this game!

All of these games offer a mix of educational value, strategic thinking, creativity, and fun.  Homeschooling can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also be stressful and when your family is feeling a disconnect, games have a magical power for bringing everyone back together with smiles and laughter. We hope you found some new games to add to your list, and we would love to hear some of your favorites too! 

This Week’s Freebies:

Have your child reflect on 2023 and help them think about their goals for 2024 with this Reflection Sheet!
Download your Free Year in Review
Make your own board game!
Download your Free Game Templates

058. Time Management, Stress, Organization, Study Skills

Time Management, Stress, Organization, Study Skills

Stress is normal! With all that your high school student is likely to have on their plate (balancing classes, assignments, college applications, extracurriculars, a social life, and more), it’s normal that they’ll experience stress from time-to-time. Understanding how to manage the stress they feel is an important skill for your teen to learn – during the high school years and throughout their life. Tune in to help your teen manage all the things and keep their stress in check.

This is the 12th and final episode in our HIGH SCHOOL SERIES

Episode 058:

TWO WAYS TO LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:
1. Click PLAY Button Above ^^ to listen here.
2. OR Listen on your favorite podcast platform:

Brand New to Homeschooling?
GETTING START PAGE >>
Kindergarten Page >>
High School Series >>

Show Notes

If you are homeschooling a high schooler, you already know that navigating the intricate balance between academics, extracurriculars, and personal life can be tricky. Add in college applications, part time jobs, and social opportunities, and it’s no wonder some of our teens can feel overwhelmed and anxious about their future. With a focus on time management, organization, stress management, and study skills, we will explore some strategies and tools in today’s episode to aid in your student’s quest for academic success while maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the realm of homeschooling.

Let’s face it, High schoolers have a lot going on!  From expectations and normal pressures of academics to extreme feelings of stress, understanding how to manage the stress they feel is an important skill for your teen to learn – during the high school years and throughout their life. Stress is normal! With all that your high schooler is likely to have on their plate (classes, assignments, college applications, extracurriculars, a social life, and more), it’s normal that they’ll experience stress from time-to-time. 

Homeschoolers often experience less stress than students in traditional schools because they have more time available to them, more flexibility, and are less likely to compare themselves to others, but they probably still feel a lot of these same pressures!

How can our high schoolers deal with stress? (4:27)

Let’s talk about some ideas for high school students to deal with stress: 

  • Keeping a journal
  • Getting plenty of exercise
  • Eating healthy, regular meals and drinking plenty of water. 
  • Making sure you get enough sleep 
  • Meditating, deep breathing, or mindfulness, and monitoring their self-talk. 
  • Channeling their energy into sports or creative pursuits such as music, art, theater
  • forming meaningful relationships or friendships helps reduce stress. 
  • Reaching out to friends or family members who help you cope in a positive way
  • Staying organized and teaching your teen to create routines can be helpful. We are going to talk more about this today!
  • Limiting excess caffeine in soft drinks or coffee
  • Making time to do fun things
  • Spending downtime relaxing 

With so many big life decisions ahead, getting through high school happy and whole can definitely feel challenging at times. It’s easy to see why so many high school students feel stressed. The good news is that there are solutions. Adopt the strategies above, take a deep breath, and remind them it’s not forever!

Dialectical Behavior Therapy has helped millions of teenagers since it was developed just over 30 years ago! The DBT Skills Workbook for Teens: A Fun Guide to Manage Anxiety and Stress, Understand Your Emotions and Learn Effective Communication Skills. This Workbook takes your teen on a journey going through four quests to learn the four key skills in DBT.

Sometimes a big source of stress can actually be due to a lack of time management.  I know this well as I am a lifelong organized procrastinator!  I work best under pressure.  But every time I get through yet another project this way, I vow not to do it again next time. Mastering time management is an essential skill that not only cultivates discipline but can really help your teen maximize study time more efficiently. By establishing structured routines, setting clear goals, and teaching the value of efficient scheduling, you can empower your teens to take ownership of their education while also allowing for a healthy balance between their academic pursuits and personal growth.

Parental involvement in homeschooling time management is not a solitary endeavor. It entails open communication, active listening, and a keen awareness of your high schoolers’ individual progress. Some will be more mature and independent than others. By consistently assessing their growth and helping them to adapt the schedule and approach you will be helping to teach them self awareness and how to manage their stress. 

How can we help our teens manage their time wisely? (9:57)

Here are some time management tools and techniques that can set your highschooler up for success:

1. Homeschool Planner:

Using a dedicated homeschool planner or digital app like Google Keep organizing lessons, assignments, and activities. This helps them stay on top of their responsibilities and ensure they have plenty of downtime and time with their friends.

2. Time Blocking:

Time blocking is a simple yet effective way you can teach your teen to take control of their time. They can implement a time blocking strategy where they allocate specific time blocks for different subjects. This prevents overloading on a single subject to ensure balance. Time blocking asks you to divide your day into blocks of time. Each block is dedicated to accomplishing a specific task or group of tasks, and only those specific tasks. Instead of keeping an open-ended to-do list of things you’ll get to as you can, you start each day with a concrete schedule outlining what you’ll work on and when.

The key to this method is prioritizing your task list in advance. The free resource I created this week is a time blocking template that your highschooler can use as they plan out their day. Scroll Down to download! This method really does add hours to your day! It’s so effective. Time Finder is the app that I use when I’m on the go instead of using the paper template but I find the paper easier for teenagers to use.

3. Set Realistic Goals:

Teach them to set achievable goals for each day or week. It’s an essential skill to learn how to break down larger objectives into smaller, manageable tasks. This can prevent them from feeling overwhelmed and provides a sense of accomplishment as tasks are completed.

Most students believe that straight A’s can be achieved only through cramming and painful all-nighters at the library. But Cal Newport knows that real straight-A students don’t study harder—they study smarter!
How to Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less reveals for the first time the proven study secrets of real straight-A students across the country and weaves them into a simple, practical system that anyone can master.

4. Weekly Planning:

Set aside time daily and each week to check in and go over assessments and progress. This helps them maintain a clear overview of what needs to be covered. Be sure to include extracurricular and fun with friends outside of academics. These are really important!

5. Flexible Routine:

Teach them to adopt a flexible routine rather than a rigid schedule. More than likely you’ve been doing this all along. This will teach them to accommodate variations in assignments and unexpected events.

6.Prioritize tasks:

Learn to differentiate between urgent and important tasks. This skill helps in managing workload efficiently and reducing stress.

Your involvement plays a vital role in helping them learn these skills. You can address their individual strengths, interests, and challenges, which will promote a deeper understanding of subjects and encourage a lifelong love for learning. You know we love to say that! 

How to teach study skills, note taking, organization, and other executive function skills?  (16:49)

As students enter into the high school years, they also need to add effective study skills and habits.  They must master skills like:

  • reading for content and not just for pleasure
  • note taking
  • researching
  • finding knowledgeable mentors
  • communicating with others to find out what they need to know
  • honing memorization techniques
  • practicing computer skills
  • identifying and utilizing helpful online resources

Homeschool high schoolers have a unique opportunity to learn some of these skills to suit their individual learning styles and schedules. Here are some effective strategies for homeschool high schoolers to cultivate good study skills and be more organized:

  • Create a designated study space: Establishing a dedicated area for studying helps in maintaining focus and organization. Ensure it’s free from distractions and equipped with necessary materials.
  • Develop a schedule: Design a timetable that includes study sessions for various subjects, breaks, and extracurricular activities. A structured routine aids in time management and consistency.
  • Encourage the use of checklists: Using checklists for daily or weekly tasks can help your teen visualize what needs to be done and experience the satisfaction of checking items off the list as they complete them.
  • Break tasks into smaller steps: Teach your teen to break down larger tasks or projects into smaller, manageable steps. This method helps in avoiding overwhelm and encourages steady progress.
  • Utilize various learning methods: Experiment with different study techniques such as mind mapping, summarizing, flashcards, or teaching concepts to someone else. Find what works best for individual comprehension.
  • Practice active learning: Engage in discussions, take notes, ask questions, and participate in activities related to the subject matter. Active involvement enhances understanding and retention.
  • Take regular breaks: Incorporate short breaks during study sessions to prevent burnout and maintain focus. Breaks can re-energize and improve productivity.
  • Promote decluttering: Assist your teen in decluttering their space regularly. Encourage them to get rid of unnecessary items and organize belongings in a way that makes them easily accessible.
  • Model and encourage organization: Set an example by staying organized yourself. Show your teen how you manage your schedule, maintain a clean environment, and handle responsibilities.
  • Provide guidance, not control: Offer guidance and support rather than micromanaging your teen’s organizational efforts. Encourage independence by allowing them to make their own decisions and learn from mistakes.
  • Develop effective note-taking techniques: Find a method that suits the learning style, be it Cornell notes, bullet points, or visual diagrams. Good notes aid in better understanding and revision.
How to Be a High School Superstar: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out) provides step-by-step instructions to help any student adopt the relaxed superstar lifestyle—proving that getting into college doesn’t have to be a chore to survive, but instead can be the reward for living a genuinely interesting life.
Learning How to Learn: How to Succeed in School Without Spending All Your Time Studying; A Guide for Kids and Teens teaches teens about the importance of both focused concentration and letting their minds wander, how the brain makes connections between different pieces of information, the value of metaphors in developing understanding, why procrastination is the enemy of problem solving, and much more. 
Are you tired of struggling with exams and feeling overwhelmed by your studies? Do you wish there was a way to improve your grades and achieve exam success without all the stress? With Study Strategies for Teens: A Teenage Guide to Exam Success and Getting Better Grades as your guide, , you will learn effective study techniques, develop essential time management and organization skills, and gain the confidence needed to conquer exams and become a straight A student.

Note taking is a big question I see come up often on high school forums- it’s almost like none of us can remember or picture how this works outside the classroom. We ended up doing a bit of a deep dive on different techniques and thought we could share some popular note-taking methods:

  • The SQ3R Method: An acronym for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review. It involves a comprehensive approach to studying a text, starting with a survey of the material, formulating questions, reading actively, reciting or summarizing key points, and finally reviewing the material. Learn more about SQ3R.
  • Cornell Method: This method involves dividing the paper into sections: a section for notes, a section for cues or questions related to the notes, and a summary section at the bottom. It encourages active engagement and summarization of key points. Learn more about Cornell Method.
How To Take Great Notes Quickly and Easily is a very easy guide for teenager. (40+ Note Taking Tips for School, Work, Books and Lectures. Cornell Notes Explained and more!
  • Outlining Method: Structuring notes hierarchically using bullet points or numbering. It involves organizing information into main topics, subtopics, and details. This method emphasizes the relationship between different ideas. Learn more about Outlining Method.
  • Mind Mapping: Utilizing visual diagrams to represent concepts and their relationships. It starts with a central idea or topic and branches out into related subtopics, creating a visual representation of connections. Learn more about Mind Mapping.
  • Charting or Tabular Method: Organizing information into tables or charts with columns and rows. It’s useful for comparing and contrasting different elements or presenting data in a clear format. Learn more about Charting.
  • Sentence Method: Writing down key points or phrases in complete sentences. It involves summarizing information in a coherent narrative format, making it easier to follow when reviewing. Learn more about Sentence Method.
  • Flow Method: This method involves jotting down notes in a continuous flow, without much structure. It’s useful during lectures or when information is presented rapidly. Later, these notes can be organized into a more structured format. Learn more about Flow Method.
  • The Feynman Technique: Explaining complex ideas in simple terms as if teaching someone else. It involves identifying gaps in understanding and revisiting complex concepts until they can be explained in straightforward language. Learn more about Feynman Technique.
  • The Charting Method: Creating columns and rows to organize information, often using headers and bullet points. It’s useful for comparing and contrasting different elements or categorizing information. Learn more about Charting Method.
  • Annotation/Highlighting: Underlining, highlighting, or annotating text in books or articles with personal comments or key points. This method helps in quickly identifying important information for later review. Learn more about Annotation and Highlighting.

Our kids did an awesome study skills camp with a fellow homeschool mom that taught several of these techniques.  Choosing the most suitable note-taking technique depends on personal preferences, the nature of the information being recorded, and the context in which the notes will be used. Experimenting with different methods can help individuals find the one that best fits their learning style and enhances their understanding and retention of information.

By actively supporting and guiding your teen through all of these above strategies, you can help them develop strong organizational skills that will serve them well in academics and throughout their lives. 

This Week’s Freebie:

Help you teen stay organized and reduce their stress by Time Blocking
Download your Free Template

057. Homeschooling in the Kitchen

Homeschooling in the Kitchen

Encouraging kids to learn how to cook is an invaluable life skill that extends far beyond the kitchen. It’s a journey that introduces them to the basics of nutrition, math through measurements, science in understanding how ingredients interact, and creativity in crafting their culinary creations. Tune in to learn more!

Episode 057:

TWO WAYS TO LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:
1. Click PLAY Button Above ^^ to listen here.
2. OR Listen on your favorite podcast platform:

Brand New to Homeschooling?
GETTING START PAGE >>
Kindergarten Page >>
High School Series >>

Show Notes

Encouraging kids to learn how to cook is an invaluable life skill that extends far beyond the kitchen. It’s a journey that introduces them to the basics of nutrition, math through measurements, science in understanding how ingredients interact, and creativity in crafting their culinary creations. Cooking  also helps kids gain confidence and the importance of following instructions. 

Beyond the practical skills, it can be an opportunity for bonding. Families can spend quality time together in the kitchen sharing stories and creating lasting memories. You know we always talk about cultivating curiosity and exploration and a lot of homeschoolers find this happening in the kitchen as children experiment with recipes and flavors.  This kind of exploration can spark a passion that can last a lifetime. Learning to cook empowers kids and giving them the tools and opportunities to present their creations really gives them a sense of pride. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about the many skills your kids can learn in the kitchen, we’re going to talk about some basic foods everyone should know how to make (especially when your kids go off to college or move into their own home), and we have some really great resources and cookbooks that will help guide you as you teach them these skills.

THE ULTIMATE COOKING SET FOR KIDS – This kids baking set includes a portable reusable tool box for storage, cookbook, stylish unisex apron, measuring cups & spoons, kitchen timer, tongs, rolling pin, 3 nylon knives, spoon, spatula, whisk, 3 cookie cutters, and a cutting board.

Teaching kitchen skills to our kids is a hands-on and practical approach to education that extends well beyond just making meals. It teaches a sense of responsibility and fosters independence as they learn skills and cook more and more on their own. It’s also an opportunity to blend various subjects seamlessly; from math during measurement and fractions to science through understanding chemical reactions in baking, and even cultural studies by exploring diverse cuisines. 

Beyond the academics, your kids will gain so many life skills like following instructions, time management, and organization. If you think about it, there’s a lot that goes into cooking and this may be second nature for you because you’ve been doing it so long, but these skills are not intuitive. But thankfully homeschooling gives you so much extra time with your kids to teach these skills. And it’s really a perfect way to bond as a family, encouraging teamwork as everyone works together. Speaking of family, it’s also a great way to share traditions and stories. I love when my parents tell me stories of Cuba and foods they grew up with as we sit down to enjoy that traditional Cuban recipe. Or learn the way that our family has done things through generations. Now it’s our turn now to pass on these traditions to our children.

Essential Kitchen Skills Kids Should Know (9:29)

Mastering fundamental kitchen skills can set a strong foundation for kids to become confident and capable in the kitchen. Here are five essential skills:

Knife Skills:

Learning how to safely handle and use knives is crucial. Kids should understand how to properly hold a knife, basic cutting techniques, and knife safety to chop, slice, and dice ingredients.

Jr. Knives for Kids 3-Piece Kitchen Cooking and Baking Knife Set
Kids Knife Set for Real Cooking with Educational Ring & Finger Guard for Cutting Training
Resilient Roots Kids Knife: Toddler Knife for Chopping

Measuring and Math:

Understanding measurements and basic math skills are fundamental in cooking. Kids should learn how to measure ingredients using measuring cups and spoons, understand fractions, and work with recipes that involve different measurements.

“Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Every Day Cooking”, Michael Ruhlman’s groundbreaking New York Times bestseller takes us to the very “truth” of cooking: it is not about recipes but rather about basic ratios and fundamental techniques that makes all food come together, simply.

When you know a culinary ratio, it’s not like knowing a single recipe, it’s instantly knowing a thousand!

Why spend time sorting through the millions of cookie recipes available in books, magazines, and on the Internet? Isn’t it easier just to remember 1-2-3? That’s the ratio of ingredients that always make a basic, delicious cookie dough: 1 part sugar, 2 parts fat, and 3 parts flour. From there, add anything you want—chocolate, lemon and orange zest, nuts, poppy seeds, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, almond extract, or peanut butter, to name a few favorite additions. Replace white sugar with brown for a darker, chewier cookie. Add baking powder and/or eggs for a lighter, airier texture. Ratios are the starting point from which a thousand variations begin.

Learning fractions and measurement are two of the hardest concepts to teach in math, but these Rainbow Fraction Measuring Cups make it easy!

Stovetop Safety:

Teaching kids how to safely use the stovetop is essential. They should learn how to adjust heat levels, use kid-sized pot holders, and understand basic stovetop safety to prevent burns and accidents.

Following Recipes:

Reading and following a recipe is a valuable skill. Kids should learn how to read and comprehend recipes, follow step-by-step instructions, and understand the importance of accurate measurements and timing.

in Salad People, each illustrated recipe offers your child “The Chef” the opportunity to count, measure, mix, assemble, and most important, have fun. Designed as do-together projects—with your child as chef and the adult as assistant—these kitchen adventures will give children confidence in their cooking skills and inspire a life-long healthy relationship with food. With Salad People and a little time in the kitchen, budding chefs will cheer: “I like it because I made it myself!”
In “Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up“, children as young as three years old and as old as eight become head chef while an adult serves as guide and helper. Extensively classroom- and home-tested, these recipes are designed to inspire an early appreciation for creative, wholesome food. Whimsical watercolor critters and pictorial versions of each recipe will help the young cook understand and delight in the process. Just consider all that can be explored in the kitchen: counting, reading readiness, science awareness, self-confidence, patience, and, importantly, food literacy.
“Honest Pretzels: And 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Cooks Ages 8 & Up” speaks directly to children through 65 fully kid-tested, illustrated recipes that require only a little adult assistance. It’s not just a cookbook full of yummy recipes–it also gives young cooks, ages eight and up, a chance to practice reading, math, and logic skills.

Food Safety and Hygiene:

Teaching kids about food safety, including washing hands, proper food handling, and understanding basic hygiene in the kitchen, is crucial. They should learn about cross-contamination, proper storage of food, and the importance of clean cooking surfaces and tools.

On our Finding Balance in Your Home and Homeschool episode, we talked about teaching your kids to help with chores. We discussed how to make a grocery list, budget, and shop for ingredients – we even created a detailed menu planner you can download for free! Mastering all of these basic essential kitchen skills will not only equip your kids with practical skills but it will also instill a sense of pride and a love for cooking.

Knowing how to cook some fundamental dishes can be incredibly useful. As I mentioned earlier, especially when your kids are heading off to college!

A Safe Adjustable Stool is the best investment I made when I had younger kids. They helped me prep all the meals and I was able to have both hands to meal prep since I didn’t have to hold them! Kids as young as 18 months can safely stand and help!

Essentials Everyone Should Know How to Cook (12:43)

Here are ten essential dishes that can serve as a foundation for various cooking skills:

  1. Pasta: Being able to cook pasta opens the door to countless dishes. It’s a versatile and simple staple.
  2. Eggs: Mastering the art of cooking eggs (scrambled, fried, boiled) offers a quick, nutritious meal for any time of day. Adventure kids omelets
  3. Rice: Learning to cook rice is a fundamental skill for many cuisines. I have graduated from the stove top to this super fancy Japanese rice cooker that I love, but knowing how to make rice on the stove is a skill everyone should have,
  4. Soup: Making a basic soup teaches the principles of building flavors and can be easily adapted with various ingredients.
  5. Stir-Fry: Stir frys are an easy and quick way to throw a meal together with tons of variations. Understanding stir-frying techniques opens the door to quick and healthy meals.
  6. Salad Dressing: Creating your own salad dressing introduces the basics of emulsification and flavor balancing.
  7. Homemade Pizza: Making pizza from scratch teaches the basics of baking and flavor combinations, a homemade crust is really such a simple recipe with just a couple of ingredients
  8. Roast Chicken: Roasting a whole chicken is a skill that can lead to various meals and is a classic comfort food.
  9. Grilled Cheese Sandwich: It’s a simple yet satisfying dish that you can make in a pinch on a low budget. When kids learn how to make this it helps them understand heat control. And you can get really creative and make gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.
  10. Baked Goods (like muffins or cookies): Understanding the basics of baking allows for sweet treats or breakfast options and teaches precise measurements and oven skills.

All these dishes cover a range of cooking techniques and ingredients and teaching them can provide a solid foundation for both beginners and those looking to expand their culinary skills. We didn’t talk about grilling but that’s a great skill too! 

Over the years, we have used a lot of resources to help teach our children how to cook and some of them were fantastic and some of them were not so great. We wanted to share some of our favorites with you. 

Favorite Cookbooks for Kids (20:02)

Several of our recommendations are cookbooks that cater specifically to kids and they can make cooking both educational and fun. Here are some of our favorites for their engaging recipes and kid-friendly approach:

“The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs” by America’s Test Kitchen Kids

“The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs” by America’s Test Kitchen Kids Known for its detailed instructions and emphasis on teaching cooking techniques, this book offers a wide range of recipes suitable for different skill levels.

“Kid Chef Bakes” by Lisa Huff

“Kid Chef Bakes” by Lisa Huff: Focused on baking, this book provides simple, delicious recipes and it encourages kids with clear instructions and colorful visuals.

“Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!)” by Deanna F. Cook

“Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!)” by Deanna F. Cook: This cookbook is designed like a class, guiding kids through basic cooking skills and includes recipes for all meals and snacks.

“The Disney Princess Cookbook” by Disney Book Group

“The Disney Princess Cookbook” by Disney Book Group: Featuring recipes inspired by Disney princesses, this book makes cooking an enchanting experience for young chefs with themed dishes and easy-to-follow instructions.

“The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook” by Dinah Bucholz

“The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook” by Dinah Bucholz: Perfect for young Harry Potter fans, this cookbook includes recipes inspired by the series, making cooking magical and engaging.

MasterChef Junior Cookbook: Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Cooks” by MasterChef Junior

“MasterChef Junior Cookbook: Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Cooks” by MasterChef Junior: Based on the popular TV show, this cookbook offers challenging yet achievable recipes that encourage kids to explore diverse cuisines.

“Good Eats!” by Alton Brown

For older kids, we are big lovers of Alton Brown.  Finding his old episodes of “Good Eats!” are totally worth watching and he has several books, too.

“The Pioneer Woman Cooks” by Ree Drummand

Another favorite by someone we used to follow back before she was a household name and just another homeschool mom blogger is The Pioneer Woman.  One of my daughter’s favorite cookbooks is her holiday one, “The Pioneer Woman Cooks―A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations”

These cookbooks not only offer delicious recipes but also incorporate educational elements, teaching kids about nutrition, kitchen safety, and the joy of cooking. They often feature colorful illustrations and easy-to-follow steps, making the cooking experience enjoyable and accessible for children.

Now I am hungry!  This was a lot of fun! I hope we’ve inspired you to get in the kitchen with your kids and empower them with these essential skills that will last a lifetime. Even young toddlers can help by ripping lettuce leaves for a family salad. Kids are always more likely to eat dishes when they’ve had a hand in preparing them. So get cooking!

This Week’s Freebie:

Download your Recipe Tempates

056. How Do You Create a Unit Study?

How Do You Create a Unit Study?

Unit studies are a great option for homeschoolers. They foster a deeper understanding of a subject by exploring it in detail and encouraging critical thinking. We love all the hands-on, experiential learning opportunities they provide. They also offer a unique way to combine multiple subjects around a central theme, allowing for a more immersive and interconnected learning experience. Learn all about unit studies and how to create your own!

To help kick start your journey, we’ve put together an extensive list of Unit Study Ideas.

Episode 056:

TWO WAYS TO LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:
1. Click PLAY Button Above ^^ to listen here.
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Brand New to Homeschooling?
GETTING START PAGE >>
Kindergarten Page >>
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Show Notes

If you’ve chosen to follow a curriculum, sometimes the monotony of it can feel stifling, leaving you and your children disinterested and longing for a more engaging approach to learning. Oftentimes, people will start curriculum hopping, but exploring a unit study might be the refreshing change you’re looking for. Its integrative approach can breathe life into your homeschool as it weaves together various subjects around a central theme. 

Unit studies can really be an opportunity to infuse excitement into your day. We love the hands-on engagement that comes with unit studies and how it can really get kids excited about the theme.  

Some people even choose to do unit studies as the central core in their homeschool instead of traditional curriculum. There are tons of options. In today’s episode, we are going to talk about unit studies and how to create one for your homeschool.

We have always really enjoyed unit studies and we especially enjoyed them when our kids were younger and they were hyper focused on a certain topic and we would dive in deep and learn everything we could about our chosen theme. We did unit studies on penguins, the light spectrum, music, and so many other themes. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the curriculum and jump into a unit study. It always seems to reignite our kids and brings a new and refreshing joy of learning into our home. 

One of our favorite ways to incorporate unit studies is during the holiday season. We’ve always found that embracing a unit study during the holidays offers a sense of flexibility, allowing for exploration while still delving into meaningful learning experiences.  Everybody is always so busy during the holidays and it’s a great time to abandon the typical curriculum. It also helps to avoid burnout. Susan Wise Bauer once said “Everyone wants to quit in November and February” and seasoned homeschoolers know this is true! Learn more about Homeschooling During the Holidays.

Homeschoolers often gravitate towards unit studies due to their holistic and integrative approach to education. They offer a unique way to combine multiple subjects around a central theme, allowing for a more immersive and interconnected learning experience. This method of learning aligns with the personalized nature of homeschooling, enabling parents to tailor education to their child’s pace, interests, and learning style. It fosters a deeper understanding of a subject by exploring it from various angles. It also encourages critical thinking, and provides hands-on, experiential learning opportunities. 

You can generally make unit studies multi-age, which promotes family involvement. This is one of my favorite things about unit studies, everybody’s learning the same thing – maybe just at different levels or depth. This approach tends to nurture a rich and engaging learning environment that goes beyond traditional textbooks and classroom settings.

What is a unit study? (7:33)

A homeschool unit study is an interdisciplinary approach to learning that revolves around a specific theme or topic. It encourages students to explore and understand a subject deeply by incorporating multiple subjects and various activities into a comprehensive study plan. 

Let’s break down the key features of a homeschool unit study:

Theme-Centered:

Unit studies focus on a central theme or topic, it could be as simple as an animal like penguins or a broader topic like birds. It could be a historical event or historical period, it could be a scientific concept, a piece of literature, or even a specific country, or geographic location. There’s really endless options for these!

Unit Studies can open up a world of possibilities, allowing you to follow your child’s interests and curiosities wherever they may lead. See our Extensive list of Unit Study Ideas
Emphasis on Student Interests:

Homeschool unit studies can be tailored to a student’s interests which helps to foster a love for learning. Is your kid obsessed with dinosaurs, or cars, or a time period or country?  Try a unit study!

Integration of Subjects:

They integrate multiple subjects like math, science, history, language arts, and art around the chosen theme. This fosters a holistic understanding of the topic.  This also can be a huge time saver if you have multi-age kids, or are trying to fit a lot of subjects into your day.  You can meet with all the kids to read aloud, and then break off for age appropriate activities.

Multi-Sensory Learning:

They incorporate various learning methods, such as reading, writing, experiments, field trips, art projects, and discussions, to cater to different learning styles. Unit studies often emphasize real-life applications and hands-on activities to make learning more engaging and practical.

Flexible and Customizable:

Homeschoolers can customize unit studies to suit their child’s interests and learning style, which allows for flexibility in curriculum design. They encourage students to explore a subject in depth. This promotes critical thinking and a deeper understanding of the topic. Many find that choosing a main book or resource as a “spine” is helpful where they reference back to throughout the unit. You can incorporate field trips, projects, documentaries and movies, and fun games all around your central theme.  

Here are some examples of our favorite “spine” books:

Unit studies are a popular approach in homeschooling because they provide a flexible and immersive way to learn, allowing students to delve deeply into topics of personal interest while covering core academic subjects.

What are some ideas for great unit studies? (11:11)

The topics for unit studies are really endless.  You can make one about anything you want.  Here are a few examples of unit study ideas that can be adapted and expanded upon:

  • Ancient Egypt: Cover history by exploring pharaohs, pyramids, and daily life. Integrate art by creating hieroglyphics or Egyptian art pieces, study geography by examining the Nile River, delve into mythology and religion, and even incorporate science by studying the mummification processes. Ancient Egypt Projects
  • Weather: Explore meteorology, covering science through understanding weather patterns, math through data analysis, geography by studying climates around the world, and language arts through weather-related literature or writing weather reports. We used a Williamson kids book as our base for this. Weather Projects
  • Animals and Habitats: Dive into biology by studying specific animals and their habitats, incorporate geography by mapping out where these animals live, explore environmental science by discussing conservation efforts, and integrate art by creating representations of various habitats. This Visual Animal Encyclopedia is perfect for a unit study!
  • Cultural Diversity: Integrate social studies by exploring different cultures and their traditions, geography by studying various countries and their customs, language arts through reading multicultural literature, and art by creating crafts or artworks inspired by different cultures. Learn more about Cultural Study in your Homeschool. This is basically what our Geography club did for years!
  • Civil Rights Movement: Connect history by studying key events and figures. You can incorporate social studies by discussing equality and social justice. Language arts can be covered through reading or listening to speeches or reading memoirs of influential leaders,  Art can be taught by learning about powerful art created during that time or creating projects that represent the movement. “Timelines from Black History: Leaders, Legends, Legacies” introduces children to prominent Black people in history such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King. “The Civil Rights Movement for Kids: A History with 21 Activities” is a great place to find resources for a unit study. Also, check out the PBS collection of Civil Rights Videos, Lesson Plans, and more.

These are just starting points; each unit study can be adapted, expanded, or combined with other subjects to suit the interests and educational needs of the child. The flexibility of homeschooling allows for endless possibilities in designing unit studies. See the Complete List of Unit Study Ideas

How do I create my own unit study? (22:09)

See our Complete Unit Study Ideas List

Creating a homeschool unit study can be a fantastic way to integrate various subjects around a central theme or topic. Our free resource for the week is a template to help you develop your own unit study. So to get you started, here are 7 steps to help you develop one:

1. Choose a Theme or Topic

Select a broad theme or specific topic that can encompass multiple subjects. 

2. Identify Learning Objectives

Determine what you want your child to learn or achieve through this unit study. Define specific learning objectives for each subject area you’ll cover.

3. Gather Resources

Collect books, online resources, documentaries, experiments, worksheets, and other materials related to your chosen theme. Libraries, educational websites, and museums can be excellent sources. For me this often means going through my house to see what stuff I already have!  

Your spine book will be your main go-to when you start working through your unit study. Within it, you’ll be able to find topics or rabbit holes to meander down. Here are some examples of spine books:

4. Create Lesson Plans

Develop a schedule or outline for your unit study. Plan activities, readings, experiments, and projects for each day or week. Be flexible and adapt as needed.

5. Integrate Subjects

Find ways to connect different subjects within the theme. For instance, if you’re studying the medieval time period, a math lesson could involve the Sir Cumference books, a language arts lesson might involve reading about King Arthur, and watching the show “Merlin.”   

6. Hands-On Activities

Include hands-on experiences. This is my favorite part! Put some thought into this. Are there science experiments, art projects, field trips, or interviews with experts related to the theme that can make learning about your theme more engaging? I remember when we did our entire school year unit study of American music. We had tons of activities during this unit I put together and every four weeks, I had a major project. We built a transistor radio, we made a mixtape, we wrote a song and performed it. And this was in addition to all the other fun, hands-on activities. I made him build a guitar for the final school year-end project. 

History of American Music Unit Study Final Project (guitar build)
7. Adapt to Your Child’s Pace

Be flexible and adapt to your child’s learning pace and style. If they show interest in a particular aspect, delve deeper into it. Foster a spirit of curiosity and exploration. Encourage your child to ask questions, seek answers, and explore beyond the boundaries of the set curriculum.

Periodically assess the effectiveness of your unit study. Consider what worked well and what could be improved. Adjust the plan accordingly for future studies. Remember, the beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility it offers. Don’t hesitate to modify the plan as needed based on your child’s interests, strengths, and areas that might need more attention.

What if I don’t want to do it on my own?  Where can I find homeschool unit studies?

There are several resources available for secular homeschool unit studies. Here are five that provide a variety of subjects and approaches:

  • Build Your Library: This is a literature-based curriculum that offers secular unit studies covering various subjects. It often integrates history, science, language arts, and more around engaging literature. We’ve done their Evolution and Darwin unit study and she had a great one on Government and Elections.
  • Blossom and Root: This curriculum is designed with a secular, nature-based approach. It offers unit studies across different subjects, focusing on nature, literature, and art.
  • Teachers Pay Teachers: provides eclectic, literature-rich unit studies for a range of ages and subjects, with an emphasis on making learning engaging and multi-dimensional.
  • Torchlight Curriculum: Torchlight offers unit studies based on engaging literature, history, and science for multiple grade levels, incorporating a secular approach.
  • Curiosity Chronicles: This resource offers unit studies that combine history, literature, and geography, providing secular materials suitable for homeschoolers.

More unit study resources available here:  Secular unit study Facebook group

These sources often provide comprehensive unit study packages or guides that cover multiple subjects, allowing for an integrated approach to learning while catering to secular preferences. It’s always a good idea to review samples or trial periods to ensure the resources align with your homeschooling goals and your child’s learning style. This is also often a good way to try out a particular curriculum.

If you’ve never thought about unit studies, you may want to consider buying or building your own. This might be just the thing you’re looking for to engage your child or if you’re feeling a little burned out and looking for a refreshing change from your regular curriculum.

This Week’s Freebie:

Download your Unit Study Planner

Unit Study Ideas

Unit Study Ideas

Unit studies can truly light up your homeschooling journey, offering a wonderful alternative or addition to your regular curriculum. They can open up a world of possibilities allowing you to follow your child’s interests and curiosities wherever they may lead – and it’s often in these explorations that the most magical learning moments happen.

Feel free to shape your unit study as broadly or as narrowly as your heart desires. My suggestion? Let it flow organically; don’t stress about fitting subjects into a unit just to tick off a checklist. The beauty of learning unfolds best when your unit study feels like a natural adventure into a new topic.

To help kickstart your journey, we’ve put together a list of inspiring ideas. Plus, we’ve crafted a handy-dandy, absolutely Free Unit Study Template tailor-made just for you (bottom of this page).

Learn more about creating a unit study in Episode 056. How Do You Create a Unit Study? Ready to dive in and make learning a delightful experience? Let’s get started!

Your spine book will be your main go-to when you start working through your unit study. Within it, you’ll be able to find topics or rabbit holes to meander down.

Here are some examples of spine books:

Animals

Animal-Related Topics
Adaptation
Endangered species
Animal habitats
Hibernation
Food chains

Specific Types of Animals
Birds (general)/Backyard birds
Bees
Butterflies
Bugs
Spiders
Bats
Frogs
Penguins
Dogs/Cats
Monkeys
Dinosaurs
Farm animals
Sea animals
Sharks
African Animals
Dinosaurs
Reptiles
Amphibians
Mammals

Plants

Plants (in general)
Trees
Flowers
Edible plants
Gardening/Landscaping
Pumpkins
Apples
Leaves
Anatomy of plant cells
Fungi

Life Science

General Life Science Topics
Human anatomy and physiology
Evolution
Bacteria and viruses
The five senses

People

People/Groups of Historical Significance
Explorers
Pioneers
Indigenous People
Suffragettes
Civil rights leaders
LGBTQ+ History
Egyptians
Aztecs
Mayans
Romans
Greeks

The Work People Do
Composers/Musicians
Artists
Inventors
Writers
Presidents/Prime minister
Community helpers
Healthcare workers
Archaeologists
Scientists
Inventors/Engineers
Architects

Specific People
Albert Einstein
Amelia Earhart
Clara Barton
Harriet Tubman
Helen Keller
Leonardo Da Vinci
Mahatma Gandhi
Marie Curie
Martin Luther King Jr
Maya Angelou
Mother Teresa
Mozart
Shakespeare
Marco Polo
Joan of Arc
Hatshepsut
Nelson Mandela
Pablo Picasso

Geography

The continents
Africa
Antarctica
Asia
Oceania/Australia
Europe
North America
South America
The Arctic

Countries
Australia
Brazil
Canada
China
Egypt
England
France
Germany
India
Israel
Indonesia
Japan
Mexico
Nigeria
Pakistan
Ukraine
Spain
United States

Landforms, Biomes, and Bodies of Water

Seas and Oceans
Ponds, Lakes, and Rivers
Coasts and Beaches
Mountains
Forests/Rainforests
Deserts
Volcanoes
Glaciers
Tundra
Volcanoes
Rocks and Minerals

Space Science

Space (in general)
Earth
Solar system
The moon
The sun/stars
Aliens
Black Holes
Space Travel

Meteorology and Weather

Seasons (general)
Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall
Ecosystems
Weather (in general)
Hurricanes
Earthquakes
The water cycle
Snow/Sleet
Clouds

Physics

Physics (in general)
Force and motion
Simple machines
States of matter
Light spectrum

Chemistry

Chemistry (in general)
Periodic table
Chemical reactions
Crystals

Transportation

Transportation (in general)
Transportation Infrastructure
Automobiles
Contruction Vehicles
Trains
Aircraft
Motorcycles
Boats
Rockets
Auto design

Computers/Technology

The Internet
Computers
History/Evolution of Phones
Energy production and harvesting
Photography
Artificial intelligence
Robots
Game Design
Website Design
History of Animation
Music Composition/Recording
Graphic Design

Time Periods/Significant Historical Events

Ancient Egypt
Ancient China
Indus-Valley Civilization
Mesopotamia
Middle Ages/Medieval Period
Viking Age
The Renaissance
Age of Discovery
Elizabethan Period
Industrial Revolution
World War I
The Great Depression
Pearl Harbor
World War II
Decades 50s/60s/70s/80s
The American Civil War
The Gold Rush
The Fur Trade
The Silk Road

Holidays/Events

Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Christmas
Hanukah
Kwanzaa
Diwali
Bodhi Day
Feast Day of Our Lady Guadalupe
St. Patrick’s Day
Halloween
Day of the Dead
Easter
Yule
Elections
Olympics

Activities

Gardening
Baking
Scrapbooking
Finances (Budgeting, Investment)
Recycling
Sports
Starting a Business
Interior Design
Fashion
Cooking/Baking
Interior Design
Fitness/Nutrition
Artistry (painting/scultping/Jewelry/etc.)
Performing Arts (dance/theater/band/etc.)

Literature

Magic Tree House Books
Roald Dahl books
CS Lewis books
Little House on the Prairie
Charlotte’s Web
Harry Potter
Tolkien books (The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings)
Shakespeare
Poetry
The Wind in the Willows
Anne of Green Gables
The Giver
Red Badge of Courage
Bud, Not Buddy
Wonder
Esperanza Rising
George Orwell Books

Get your FREE Template (pdf)

055. Navigating Technology, Social Media, and Gaming in High School

Navigating Technology, Social Media, and Gaming in High School

This is the 11th episode in our High School Series

In today’s interconnected world, technology, social media, and gaming have become integral aspects of our kids’ lives. Learn how to navigate the challenges and embrace the opportunities that technology brings to your child’s education.

Episode 055:

TWO WAYS TO LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:
1. Click PLAY Button Above ^^ to listen here.
2. OR Listen on your favorite podcast platform:

Brand New to Homeschooling?
GETTING START PAGE >>
Kindergarten Page >>
High School Series >>

Show Notes

We’re uncovering the ever-evolving intersection of homeschooling and the tech-savvy generation, shedding light on how these young learners harness the power of the digital realm for growth, connection, and self-discovery.

Our digital landscape is rapidly evolving and whether we like it or not, technology, social media, and gaming have become huge parts of the lives of our kids – especially teenagers. With the rise of smartphones, social networking platforms, and increasingly sophisticated video games, teens find themselves navigating a complex and dynamic intersection of virtual and real-world experiences.  If your kids are like ours, they probably know and understand way more than you do about modern-day tech!

The use of technology, the influence of social media, and the allure of gaming significantly shape the lives of our children. Especially during the teen years! These social, educational, and recreational dimensions of their life offer both opportunities and challenges. This age of modern connectivity is reshaping the way they communicate, learn, and unwind, and can even blur the boundaries between the physical and digital realms.  Every family is going to have different rules of how all of this technology is introduced, but many kids get their start online with various apps and games and that only grows as they get older.

Teenagers often find connection in online gaming. We all know that homeschooling is a big timesaver over a more traditional school with more flexibility in their schedule, allowing them more time to explore their favorite virtual realms. When our kids were younger, Game Ed Academy was Homeschooling with Minecraft.

We talk all the time about hands-on learning, being present, and how many opportunities our kids get to socialize in person because they literally have more hours in their day. But online gaming can also foster social interactions, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Through digital adventures, homeschooled teens can find a sense of camaraderie and shared experiences, cultivating a diverse group of friends who share their passion for gaming. 

Felicia Day book, “You’re Never Weird on the Internet” and her unique life as a homeschooler gave her a lot of opportunities to explore her interest in gaming and the tech world.

Striking a balance and intersecting homeschooling and online gaming showcases how technology can enhance the social and educational experiences of today’s teens. It can supplement what you’re already providing for them and create additional avenues for personal growth and connection. 

How To Approach Using Technology in Your Homeschool (9:35)

Balance

Find a healthy balance between screen time and other activities to ensure that technology doesn’t consume the entire day. Remember, this episode is for our highschoolers and in a couple years, they’re going to be off on their own. It’s our job to teach them effective time management skills to find balance in their academic work, social life, and online activities. Hopefully this is something you’ve been working on all along, but if not, start teaching them balance and good habits now. 

Online Safety

Be mindful of sharing personal information online, and use strong, unique passwords to protect your accounts.

The whirlwind of social media, online dating, and mobile apps can make life a dream—or a nightmare. For every trustworthy website, there are countless jerks, bullies, and scam artists who want to harvest your personal information for their own purposes. But you can fight back, right now. Even if your privacy has already been compromised, don’t panic. It’s not too late to take control. Let
The Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy help you cut through the confusion and start protecting your online life.

Privacy Settings: Familiarize yourself with the privacy settings on social media platforms and gaming accounts to control who can access your information. Some apps have location sharing, so be sure you stay on top of that and don’t blindly approve platforms you’re unfamiliar with.

Digital Footprint: It’s important that teens recognize that their online actions leave a digital footprint that can impact their future, such as college admissions or job opportunities. 

Content Evaluation: Be critical of the content you consume online and in games to ensure it aligns with your values and doesn’t promote harmful behavior. 

Media Literacy: teach them the ability to discern credible information from fake news and be aware of the potential for manipulation on the internet. 

Healthy Relationships: Use technology and social media to foster positive, real-world relationships, rather than just substituting them with virtual connections. 

Cyberbullying: Understand the potential risks of cyberbullying and how to respond if you or someone you know experiences it. And at this age, it may seem like they aren’t listening, but I promise that they are so don’t stop guiding them because you don’t think they’re listening.  They are!

Social Dilemma

By considering all of these factors, homeschooled teenagers can make informed and responsible choices regarding their use of technology, social media, and gaming.

How To Use Technology in Your Homeschool (16:55)

Integrating technology into a homeschool high school is almost a must in today’s world. It can really enrich your academic experience. Utilizing digital resources can enhance the learning process by offering access to a vast array of educational materials, from virtual laboratories for science experiments to multimedia resources for history and language arts. Technology also facilitates personalized learning, allowing homeschooled high school students to have tailored curriculum according to their individual needs, interests, and accommodating their learning style and pace. It can also foster self-discipline and responsibility as teens manage their assignments, schedules, and research independently, which are essential skills for success in college and the workforce. 

Exactly, also our highschoolers taking dual enrollment courses in person and our college students taking classes in person at their universities requires them to also be online for exams, discussion boards, and other assignments. It’s essential that they learn to navigate these things. So, if you’re one of those hold-outs on technology, you may want to reconsider all the skills that they are not learning that they will need. 

So let’s talk about how our homeschool highschoolers can effectively use technology as a valuable tool in their homeschooling:

Online Resources: Access educational websites, digital textbooks, and online courses to supplement their learning.

Virtual Classes: Participate in virtual classes and webinars to learn from expert instructors or connect with other homeschooled students. Khan Academy.

Outschool: Outschool offers variety of classes and over 100,000 Interactive Online Classes for every age group from 3 to 18 years.

Outschool is an education platform that connects teachers of any subject with students around the world for a variety of engaging small-group classes online.  It gives kids the opportunity to explore their interests via interactive, live video by experienced, independent educators. Outschool offers variety of classes and over 100,000 Interactive Online Classes for every age group from 3 to 18 years. Find one for you:

  • Arts – Drawing, photography, dance, Theatre, Film, Sewing
  • Coding & Tech – Coding, Video Game Design, Robotics, Engineering, Internet Safety, Animation
  • English – Creative Writing, Grammar, Spelling, Book Club, Essay Writing, Poetry, Literature
  • Health & Wellness – Hygiene, Emotions, Exercise, Mindfulness, Nutrition
  • Life Skills – Cooking, Financial Skills, Study Skills, Social Skills, Critical Thinking
  • Math – Elementary math, Algebra, Numbers, Geometry, Fractions, Calculus, Statistics, Probability
  • Music – Guitar, Piano, Singing, Composers, Music Theory, Composing, Recording
  • Science & Nature – Chemistry, Biology, Zoology, Physics, Astronomy, Anatomy, Marine Biology, Psychology
  • Social Studies – Geography, World History, American History, Anthropology, Economics, Politics
  • World Languages – Spanish, American Sign Language, French, Japanese, Latin, German, Chinese, Greek, Italian, Mandarin

E-Libraries: Utilize digital libraries and e-books to access a wide range of reading materials and resources. Libby, Hoopla, Overdrive are all great sites for getting library books. If you are in a rural area with limited selections or struggling with access to banned books you can get access by using other libraries- New York City, Broward County. 

Educational Apps: Explore educational apps that cover a wide range of subjects, making learning engaging and interactive.  

Research: Your teenagers can use the internet for research. Long gone is the card catalog, this is where the research now happens. Although I did teach my kids how to use a card catalog. The Internet has vast amounts of information for research papers, projects, and assignments. One of my favorite resources is the Internet Archive. It’s completely free and available to everyone and has so many resources. It literally has everything and it’s a great place for your kids to access things you thought were long gone. You can also check out the Virtural Card Catalog or Britannica Online.

Collaboration: Collaborate with peers on group projects using online collaboration tools and video conferencing platforms. We are all experts in zoom now, thanks to covid.  Google docs is something I used with my Future City and GEMUN groups for writing a collaborative essay.

Digital Note-Taking: Use note-taking apps and tools to organize and store class notes and assignments. My kids also use shared google docs for notetaking with classmates. 

Learning Management Systems: Some homeschooling programs use learning management systems (LMS) to deliver and manage coursework. Google Classroom, Blackboard, Bright space, canvas are all examples.

STEM Resources: Access online resources and simulations for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. Here are some Online Dissection Resources.

Language Learning: Use language-learning apps and websites to study foreign languages. Having pronunciation built in is brilliant! Duolingo and Mango are favorites.

Coding and Programming: Learn coding and programming skills through online courses and coding platforms. Khan Academy has a lot of resources for free including Hour of Code. MIT has their free software to help teach kids how to program called Scratch. You can also get a lot of these directly from your local library. A lot of them have subscriptions that you just need your library card to login and your account is paid for.

Virtual Field Trips: Take virtual field trips to museums, historical sites, and other locations around the world. Another great thing that came out of covid was access to museum sites. I also always recommend sites, like the Dallas Human Rights museum, for educational resources. Museums and other educational sites always have tons of resources listed for educators, often these include lesson plans or are categorized by age or grade level. I mentioned in a recent episode that I was hanging out online at the Louvre in Paris. I also love wildlife cams. Visit Museums Virtually Online.

Discover a world of wonders without leaving your home! Explore the 30 most captivating online museums

Online Tutors: Seek help from online tutors or educators when needed for specific subjects or topics. 

Digital Portfolios: Create digital portfolios to showcase their work and accomplishments.

Presentations: After high schoolers finish a unit study, we typically think of a research paper to wrap it up. But you can get really creative with this. They can create a digital presentation with PowerPoint or another presentation software or they could even create a blog, a website, or a podcast in lieu of a traditional research paper. 

Time Management Tools: Utilize time management apps and tools to help balance their academic schedule. We both love checklists and things like Trello and Time Finder. The key is to find something that works for your teenager that they are happy to use. They may not use what works best for you. If it’s an app, you may want to also login with the same ID or use a shared app so you can communicate assignment completion that way. Many highschoolers are doing more and more of their own time management. We’re starting to hand off the torch with guidance, of course. 

Those are just some of the cool things tech can offer your homeschool.  Obviously, homeschooled teens should work with their parents to ensure they are using technology in a balanced and responsible manner so keep communicating with them and make sure expectations are clear to everyone.  But don’t be afraid of using technology!  Take advantage of the educational opportunities it offers while managing screen time and online safety. 

Do teenagers need social media? (29:06)

Social media can have both positive and negative impacts on homeschooled teens. On the positive side, social media platforms provide them with opportunities for social interaction and community building. Many teens use social media to connect with peers. It may be friendships, shared hobbies, or even study groups. This can help combat feelings of isolation and ensure that they have a support system in place, even outside of traditional school.  Additionally, social media offers a vast repository of educational resources, like some that we addressed and even educational communities where homeschooled teens can exchange knowledge and seek guidance. These platforms can help teens explore their interests, discover new subjects or hobbies, and even connect with mentors or experts in various fields.

This book written FOR teens on digital citizenship. The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices will help you navigate the digital world with 21 refreshingly honest and humorous tips that will not only inform, but that also just might change the way you think about your social media interaction.

However, the negative aspects of social media really need to be considered. We all know now that excessive use of social media can lead to distractions from responsibilities and impact their academic performance. Cyberbullying and exposure to inappropriate content are other significant concerns. And we all know that social media can create unrealistic comparisons and peer pressure. That can contribute to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. It’s important for parents and teenagers to strike a balance between the benefits and drawbacks of social media, ensuring it is used as a tool for learning, connection, and personal growth while being mindful of its potential pitfalls.

With all of that in consideration, homeschooled teenagers, like their peers in traditional school settings, are going to use social media for a variety of purposes.  For one, social media platforms help them stay in touch with friends and make new connections, combating potential isolation. We’ve moved a lot, but this has allowed us to stay friends.  We also regularly use SM in the sport my kids do. 

Homeschoolers can also participate in virtual clubs and interest-based groups through social media. You can also use it as a platform for showcasing talents, whether in music, art, or other creative pursuits. My 16yo son, Cameron, is a musician and teaches guitar lessons. We built a website for him, but he also has a Facebook and YouTube page where he promotes his music. He also wrote the BTDT Homeschool jingle!

Some homeschool teens use platforms like Pinterest, TikTok, or Instagram to learn new skills, such as cooking, art, or coding.  They may use social media to access educational content, connect with online tutors, or join study groups. We also have a good friend’s teenage daughter those crochets little stuffed animals and has a successful Etsy shop.

They may use social media to stay updated on current events, news, and trends. Some use social media to advocate for causes they’re passionate about or to raise awareness of issues they care about. You just might want to stay away from the comment section. 

Homeschooled teens often seek advice, resources, and support from online communities of homeschooling families and educators just like parents do.  We are on Facebook- but a lot of them aren’t!  But they use other sites just like we do.

Social media can provide an outlet for self-expression through posts, photos, and videos. Some find that negative- talk to your kids about how social media is often showcasing the highlight real and to be realistic about what they see. If you think social media is causing issues with self-esteem or jealousy, by all means restrict it. Sometimes we have to tell this to ourselves too. Especially as homeschoolers because these highlight reels can be really intimidating when everybody else’s kids are doing things that maybe our kids aren’t doing yet. It’s crucial for homeschooling parents and teens to approach technology use with care, finding a balance between the valuable connections and Learning opportunities it offers, while being mindful of the challenges of time management and online safety.

This Week’s Freebie:

Download your Guide to Online Gaming Safely

The Ultimate Homeschool Museum Tours: 30 Virtual Museums to Explore

The Ultimate Online Homeschool Museum Tours

30 Virtual Museums to Explore from your Sofa!

Discover a world of wonders without leaving your home! Explore the 20 most captivating online museums and elevate your homeschooling experience to new heights. With just an internet connection, your children can immerse themselves in art, history, and culture, gaining valuable insights and expanding their knowledge in the most engaging way possible.

Paris

Transport your kids to the heart of artistic brilliance. Explore the masterpieces of Michelangelo and the fascinating world of Egyptian Antiquities. The 360-degree tour allows them to absorb every detail, sparking their curiosity. Virtual Tour

Washington, D.C.

This famous American art museum features online exhibits of American fashion from 1740 to 1895, including many renderings of clothes from the colonial and Revolutionary eras and a collection of works from Dutch baroque painter Johannes Vermeer. Virtual tours and audio guides offer children a personalized exploration of galleries, enhancing their appreciation for diverse art forms. Online Exhibits

BTDT Homeschool was created with a heartfelt mission: to empower and give back to the secular homeschool community.

Through our informative podcasts, blog posts, daily inspiration, and a wide range of free printable tools, we aim to empower you on your homeschooling journey.

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Apple – Spotify – Google Play – Amazon – Others

London

Uncover the mysteries of ancient civilizations. This iconic museum located in the heart of London allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies. Children can marvel at the intricate details of artifacts like the Phoenician panel of a sphinx in ivory, gaining a deeper understanding of the cultural tapestry that spans centuries. Virtual Tour

Rome

Journey through classical sculptures curated by the Popes. A virtual tour of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel provides a unique opportunity for children to appreciate the grandeur of art and architecture. Virtual Tour

Los Angeles

Encounter a spectrum of creative treasures. The virtual tour offers children a glimpse into art history, from Van Gogh’s Irises to neolithic clay figures, fostering a love for diverse artistic expressions. Online Exhibits

Washington, D.C.

This museum is a center for the history and science of aviation, spaceflight, planetary science, terrestrial geology, and geophysics. It contains the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, the Friendship 7 capsule, the Wright brothers’ Wright Flyer airplane, and Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis. Virtual Tour

Florence

Step into the realm of Italian artistry. This less well-known gallery houses the art collection of one of Florence’s most famous families, the de’ Medicis. High-quality images of works by Cimabue and Botticelli allow children to witness the evolution of artistic styles and discover the stories behind each masterpiece. Virtual Tour

Florida

Unleash creativity in the surreal world of Salvador Dalì. Children can navigate through rooms dedicated to different phases of Dalì’s career, understanding the artist’s unique perspective and even discovering his final resting place. Virtual Tour

Madrid

Connect with history through artificial intelligence. Children can explore art across specific timelines, gaining insights into the cultural evolution that shaped different eras. Virtual Tour

Immerse in modern artistic expression. Children can browse through the online gallery, discovering diverse forms of contemporary art that stimulate their imagination and creativity. Virtual Tours

Virginia

Unearth the untold stories of remarkable women. Through well-curated exhibits and oral histories, children can gain a profound appreciation for women’s contributions throughout history. Online Exhibits

Explore a treasure trove of world culture. With over three million works available online, children can appreciate the historical significance of The Winter Palace and other iconic exhibits. Virtual Tours

Fuel curiosity with the “Iceman Database.” Whether a budding archaeologist or a curious kid, children can delve into every detail about the Iceman, connecting with the mysteries of the past. Virtual Tour

Milan

Sharpen artistic senses with HD images. Children can closely examine the exhibits, fostering an appreciation for the details that make each piece unique. Online Collection

New York

Immerse in art through The Met 360° Project. Children can virtually stroll through the museum, making art history come alive in a way that resonates with their senses. The Met 360° Project

Turin

Connect with Egyptian history through video tours. Executive Director Christian Greco’s insightful explanations bring the majestic collection to life, making ancient history accessible to young minds. Virtual Tour

Amsterdam

Wander through 80 galleries showcasing Dutch masters. Children can discover the beauty of works by Vermeer and Rembrandt, fostering an appreciation for the rich artistic heritage of the Netherlands. Virtual Tour

Paris

Explore French Impressionism in this popular gallery that houses dozens of famous works from French artists who worked and lived between 1848 and 1914. Children can explore artworks from Monet, Cézanne, and Gauguin, among others, gaining insights into the artistic movements that defined an era. Virtual Tour

London

Embark on a virtual journey through time. Children can get lost in gallery spaces, exploring the collection’s diversity and encountering the famous Dippy the dino in the entrance hall. Virtual Tour

Bilbao

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a world-class museum of modern and contemporary art designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. Experience the fusion of art and architecture. Children can take a virtual tour, exploring postwar European and American painting and sculpture in a uniquely designed museum. Virtual Tour

Don’t miss the incredible opportunity to transport your children to the best online museums globally. Let them learn, discover, and stay endlessly curious, all from the comfort of your home!

Seoul

One of Korea’s popular museums can be accessed from anywhere around the world. Google’s virtual tour takes you through six floors of contemporary art from Korea and all over the globe.

Berlin

The Pergamon Museum is one of Berlin’s “must see” museums. Impressive exhibits await visitors of the Pergamon Museum, who can prepare themselves for a veritable journey into the past. The Great Altar of Pergamon, the magnificent Babylonian Processional Way, the façade of the Caliph’s Palace of Mshatta and the Market Gate of Miletus are just a few of the highlights on display that have helped the Pergamon Museum achieve international recognition. Virtual tours

Amsterdam

Anyone who’s a fan of this tragic, ingenious painter can see his works up close by virtually visiting this museum, home to the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh, including more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 750 personal letters. Virtual tours

São Paulo

The Museu de Arte de São Paulo is a nonprofit and Brazil’s first modern museum. Artworks placed on clear, raised frames make it seem like they’re hovering in midair. The Museu de Arte de São Paulo is a nonprofit and Brazil’s first modern museum. Artworks placed on clear, raised frames make it seem like they’re hovering in midair. Virtual Tour

Mexico City

Built in 1964, this museum is dedicated to the archaeology and history of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic heritage. There are 22 exhibit rooms filled with ancient artifacts, including some from the Maya civilization. It is the largest and most visited museum in Mexico and collections include the Stone of the Sun, giant stone heads of the Olmec civilization that were found in the jungles of Tabasco and Veracruz, treasures recovered from the Maya civilization, at the Sacred Cenote at Chichen Itza, a replica of the sarcophagal lid from Pacal’s tomb at Palenque and ethnological displays of contemporary rural Mexican life.

Detroit

Get your fill of modern art, realism, impressionism and more with Detroit Institute of Arts’ online exhibits. There’s also an exhibit that features Frida Kahlo. The DIA has one of the largest and most significant art collections in the United States. With over 100 galleries, it covers 658,000 square feet.

Houston

Get the full experience of being in the Houston Space Center with an app that offers augmented reality. You can also use the virtual gallery to get a 360-degree view of the galaxy.

Ohio

The official virtual tour of the National Museum of the United States Air Force includes a stroll through the cockpit as well as models of America’s earliest aircraft.

Philadelphia

Explore the diverse stories and complex events of the American Revolution in historic Philadelphia. Through the Museum’s unmatched collection, immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive elements, visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in ensuring that the promise of the American Revolution endures. Virtual Tour

Greece

Benaki Museum houses Greek works of art from prehistoric to modern times and an extensive collection of Asian art. It also hosts periodic exhibitions and maintains a state-of-the-art restoration and conservation workshop. The entire museum can be viewed virtually in great detail. Virtual Tour

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