Homeschooling, How To

How to Use Middle-Grade Fiction Books to Teach US History & More (FREE Printables!)

Using Middle-Grade Fiction Books to Teach US History, Geography, Music, Vocabulary and More (FREE Printables!): Aunt Claire Presents, Published by Laboratory BooksWhen I was a girl, I read countless old books. These brittle volumes usually smelled of crumbling book glue and dust; some left a sprinkling of yellowed page edges on my lap as I turned each leaf. I read and re-read my old books until they, quite literally, fell apart. But in all my reading, I never cared much for the stories about perfect, quiet girls, who had little more to offer than exquisite conversation skills and needlework. I wanted to — and did! — read about the spunky outliers; I loved the books about fearless girls who dove, often, into the unexpected.

[Disclosure of Material Connection: I received two titles from the Aunt Claire Presents series in exchange for reviewing this product and publishing this post, and I was also compensated for my time.]

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Homeschooling, How To, Uncategorized

Where to Buy Used Homeschool Curriculum

Where to Buy and Sell Used Homeschool Curriculum

Wondering where to buy inexpensive homeschool curriculum? Trying to figure out the best places to shop online for used homeschool books? Here’s the ultimate resource: a list of my favorite places to buy — and sell! — used curriculum and books. Let’s start with the websites.

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Homeschooling, How To

How to Study Art History with Kids: FREE Printable

How to Study Art History with Kids: FREE Printable from the Oaxacaborn blog

Figuring out how to study art with kids doesn’t have to be complicated. This free, no-strings-attached printable provides art history discussion prompts you can use with any piece of art you encounter in your homeschool studies.

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Homeschooling, How To

Gifted Classical-Leaning Homeschool Curriculum Choices (2nd Grade)

Our favorite educational resources and homeschool curriculum for homeschooling a neurologically gifted child, blending a literature-based approach and classical education with an emphasis on science.Gifted Classical-Leaning Second Grade Curriculum 2017-2018 by Gina @ Oaxacaborn

I’ll just get it out in the open right away: my daughter eats curriculum for breakfast.  She’s gifted, and I mean that as a neurological identifier to explain why we have such a crazy life, not as a bragging right. Since the age of two, she’s been on a mission to flatten forests. (Don’t fret. Trees, lumber, paper, and all the various related accouterments, are a renewable resource.)

Here’s the thing. If I had held rigidly to the no formal education before age seven doctrine, I’d probably already be in a padded room.

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books, Homeschooling, How To

A Guide to Jean Fritz Books

Jean Fritz’ living history books are a terrific way to incorporate a narrative, storytelling approach into to your homeschool history lessons.  You probably know about her popular U.S. history books, but did you know she was a missionary kid who also wrote books about her time in China?

A few weeks ago, I went through my entire Jean Fritz collection — over half of the books she’s ever written — and put together a guide for the iHomeschool Network blog called How to Choose the Perfect Jean Fritz History Book.  In this topical guide, I list the themes, geographical area, time in history, and suggested reading level for each book, so you can grab the title which best matches where you are right now in your history studies. You’ll see your favorites there, of course, but you just might discover some unknown gems as well, like books about Chinese history, a picture book with saturated 1950s art, and a number of longer novels for the middle grades.

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Homeschooling, How To

Uncovering the Worldview Hidden in your Homeschool Curriculum

Uncovering the Worldview Hidden in Your Homeschool Curriculum
Are you trying to decide what homeschool curriculum is right for you? Homeschool publishers often sort curriculum into secular, neutral, and Christian categories, and further divide science resources into Old Earth Creationism, New Earth Creationism, and evolution. Even with those categories, when you’re faced with dozens of catalogs, or hundreds of enticing vendors, it can be hard to know what a publisher’s worldview really is. The truth is, the nuances of worldview go far deeper than those already weighty topics.

But as a second-generation homeschooler who’s had some close scrapes with fundamentalism, I know first-hand how important it is not to cut corners when evaluating a publisher’s worldview. You have to take the time to uncover what the authors are truly trying to get across.  When I’m trying to unearth the worldview of any given curriculum, I start my search by looking at the author’s perspective on on rules, religion, race, and women.

Here are the seventeen crucial questions I ask when trying to determine a homeschool curriculum’s worldview:

  1. Does this material assume all girls should grow up to be wives and raise children, or does it empower and inspire girls to follow whatever path God calls them to, recognizing that not all women marry, and some struggle with infertility?
  2. Does it highlight women and girls as independent actors?
  3. Does it tell stories of women beyond focusing on their roles in a family?
  4. Does the material promote compliance with a set of rules, or does it allow for freedom and grace?
  5. Does this material present a morality-first viewpoint, emphasizing outward virtues and traits with the goal to get the child to imitate certain character values, or does it recognize that it’s only through a heart surrendered to Jesus that a person can only be truly transformed?
  6. Does the material oversimplify good and evil and present it as an easy-to-spot either-or choice; or does it teach analytical and critical thinking skills, discernment, and problem-solving?
  7. Does the material only present what to learn and/or believe, or does it also provide context and a “why” behind the belief?
  8. Does the material present history predominately from a Western perspective, or does it also present facts from a non-European point-of-view?
  9. Does the material perpetuate the idea of “otherness” by teaching about non-European cultures using stereotypical depictions, or does it allow for each culture to have its own strong, rich, identity?
  10. Does the material mainly contain books with white main characters, or does it offer books with nuanced, fully-developed, non-stereotypical heroes and heroines of diverse backgrounds?
  11. Does the material teach (implicitly or explicitly) that the “primary” actors in history or literature are white? Who does it teach my child to identify and sympathize with?
  12. Does the material attempt to “Christianize” certain historical events, or does it recognize that every event has more than one side?
  13. Have I truly evaluated the content and worldview of this material, or am I simply choosing this material because it’s popular in homeschooler subculture?
  14. Will this material allow my child to be challenged to the best of his/her God-given ability, or am I simply choosing this material because of its price point / ease-of-use / etc?
  15. Will this material equip my child to follow any number of career paths God might have in store for him/her, or am I choosing this material because I want my child to follow the path I have in mind?
  16. Is this material based on fear and reliance on man’s own goodness to combat what is perceived as evil, or does it promote courage and a reliance on Jesus?
  17. Is this material designed primarily to shelter and insulate my child, or is it designed to inform, equip, and empower?

What essential questions would you add?

This list above is excerpted from an interview I originally gave with Amanda of Sicily’s Heart & Home, on the topic of Christian education as equipping, not as sheltering.  

How To

[1/27/19] TUTORIAL: How to Ship via PayPal: An Easier and Cheaper Postage Alternative to the Post Office

[UPDATED FOR 27 January 2019] Purchasing postage through PayPal is cheaper than going to a physical Post Office, and very easy. Since I’ve had many questions about shipping, I thought I would post a quick tutorial and postage price chart for those of you who’ve never shipped through PayPal.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

How to Ship on PayPal for Cheaper than the Post Office - A Guide on Oaxacaborn dot com
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