STEM education has been firmly in the spotlight for a long time now, with no signs of wavering. Learning materials promising to infuse science, technology, engineering and math into your homeschool are everywhere. But without actually opening the box and trying the products, it can be hard to know if pre-packaged STEM projects are truly worthwhile, or if they’re just really expensive toys masquerading as educational. Let’s take a look at one popular STEM toy and see if it’s worth the hype.Continue reading “Fischertechnik E-Tronic Review: Easy STEM Elective for Middle/High School”
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If some part of homeschooling isn’t working for you, change it!
Depending on when you started school, Thanksgiving break marks about twelve or fifteen weeks into the academic year. By now, you’ve been at this long enough to grasp a sense of what curriculum is working well for you — and what isn’t. Enough time has passed for you to take a healthy assessment of your real homeschool situation, as opposed to your ideal homeschool situation. If things aren’t running as smoothly as you had hoped, don’t despair! It’s early enough in the school year to make changes.
Homeschooling, like parenting, is a strange beast. It requires humility and flexibility — but it also requires confidence and assertiveness. Like Kenny Rogers sang, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em / Know when to fold ’em / Know when to walk away…” (Probably not a song that shows up in many homeschool morning times, I’m guessing.)
I’m on a perpetual quest to find accurate US history curriculums for kids — but you already knew this about me, right? Compared to objective subjects like math and science, I find history to be particularly challenging to teach properly. While it’s easy for me to seek out the right curriculum — or YouTube video — to help me explain a mathematical concept, it’s much more difficult to offer an accurate commentary on historical events and indeed, people’s own lives.
History is a complex tapestry. There are threads of war, famine, discovery, and conquest, all woven together with the threads of individual people. But people’s lives are complicated. Too many history curriculums offer snap judgments — telling students exactly what to think — but there’s always more to understand. Biographies are an important key in unraveling historical mystery, because they reveal context, cultural backdrop, and personal motivations. Yet no matter how many rich, enlightening biographies we read, history remains a sequential course of study. Years are chronological. To tie all these separate events and people together and deepen our understanding of what really happened — and how all these different parts are connected — we need to lay out these puzzle pieces in a logical, sequential, pattern.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received free digital and print copies of The Giant American History Timeline from Sunflower Education, and was compensated for my time in exchange for writing and publishing this post. All opinions are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.