Homeschooling

Non Fiction Matters: “100 Things to Know About the Human Body” Book Review

Non-Fiction Matters: 101 Things to Know About the Human Body Usborne Timberdoodle Book Review

“Do you want to hear a song?” my now-ten-year-old  asked a random stranger the summer before kindergarten. “I know a song. ‘Immune system, with your lymph system / will your enemies attack / With the white blood cells, the leukocyte cells / that will destroy and turn them back.'”

Oblivious to the expression on the startled shopper’s face, she continued much-too-loudly, “…a germ is like a cucaracha! That would love to live inside ya!” The stranger vanished into the clearance racks at Target, and my singing scientist, perched inside the red shopping cart, kept belting out a symphony of lymphatic facts.

[Disclosure of Material Connections: I received a complimentary copy of 100 Things to Know About the Human Body from Timberdoodle in exchange for writing and publishing this review. All opinions — and photographs! ;) — are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.] Continue reading “Non Fiction Matters: “100 Things to Know About the Human Body” Book Review”

Homeschooling

Teaching Vocabulary Through Art: 101 Doodle Definitions

What’s the best vocabulary curriculum?

What’s the best vocabulary curriculum — one with Greek and Latin, right? Although I’m a big proponent of teaching word roots, I’d argue that for elementary-aged kids, the most effective vocabulary curriculum might actually be the one that’s the most fun. (Fun is often profoundly effective.)

Words are thrilling. They’re flexible yet bold, evocative yet concise, and powerful yet ephemeral. They can be translated and transcribed, sung and spoken, spun into cantatas, carved and chanted, whispered and written. Twenty-six letters can be woven into sonnets and mysteries, songs and orders, death and life.

In spite of the absolute magic of words, we somehow often manage to turn vocabulary study into a chore, transforming words into tasks. When vocabulary study becomes drudgery, when words are wrenched from their context and vocabulary becomes copywork — and nothing more — even the most voracious of bookworms begin to resent vocabulary. This is a travesty! A vocabulary study in which kids don’t retain the material isn’t much of vocabulary study at all.

But what if vocabulary study was creative?

What if we let kids draw?

What if we even allowed doodling?

[Disclosure of Material Connections: I received a complimentary copy of 101 Doodle Definitions from Timberdoodle in exchange for writing and publishing this review. All opinions — and photographs! ;) — are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.]

Continue reading “Teaching Vocabulary Through Art: 101 Doodle Definitions”

Homeschooling

Review of Veritas Press Self-Paced History Courses

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

Now through August 30, get $100 off any self-paced course (omnibus, Bible, or history) when you use code BACK2SCHOOL.

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.)

Continue reading “Review of Veritas Press Self-Paced History Courses”

Homeschooling

My Favorite Deals at Homeschool Buyers Co-op

Homeschool Deals at the Homeschool Buyers Co-op - WORLDkids and Doodle Maths

My favorite homeschool subscriptions: WORLDkids, daily current events and news for kids, and Doodle Maths, a math app for kids through age 14!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received compensation from the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op in exchange for writing and publishing this post, although I have been a member of the Co-op for years. All opinions — and photographs — are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. Any links to the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op are affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.

If you’re new to homeschooling — or if you just haven’t been to Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op in a while — you’re in for a treat. The Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op is an online homeschool marketplace which leverages the vast number of members (it’s free to join) into mass purchasing power. And that means great homeschool deals!

Continue reading “My Favorite Deals at Homeschool Buyers Co-op”

Homeschooling

Help! My homeschool curriculum hasn’t arrived yet!

How do I homeschool if my curriculum is late or delayed? PIN IMAGE

“How do I homeschool if my curriculum is delayed or late?”

Is your homeschool curriculum on back order, stuck at the post office, or just plain taking forever to arrive? Don’t panic. Here’s how you can homeschool while waiting for curriculum to arrive. (Don’t miss 30 Activities Which Totally Count as School, later in this post.)

First, remember you’re not alone.

There are thousands upon thousands of families in your exact same position right now. Timberdoodle’s shipping department reports that on some days, they are nearly filling an entire semi of outgoing orders. That’s hard to even wrap my mind around!

Continue reading “Help! My homeschool curriculum hasn’t arrived yet!”

Homeschooling

Great Wall of China Project for Kids: Mini Bricks Review

pin image for Great Wall of China Mini Bricks Timberdoodle Review

Want to build a model of the Great Wall of China…

  • as a hands-on history project,
  • as a middle-school architecture unit, or
  • as part of studying Chinese history, culture, and geography in your homeschool?

My daughter has been attending Saturday Chinese school for years, so in conjunction with her ongoing Chinese language learning, I try to integrate cultural studies into our regular homeschool routine whenever I can.

Building a Great Wall of China model fits right into our studies, and is the perfect hands-on history project.

Continue reading “Great Wall of China Project for Kids: Mini Bricks Review”

Homeschooling

GraviTrax Review: Homeschool STEM and Physics

GraviTrax Review: Homeschool STEM Marble Run

Teaching Elementary STEM (Engineering!) and Physics at Home

We’ve had a lot of indoor time lately — and I’m not even talking about sheltering-in-place due to COVID-19! Since baby Lochlan’s premature entrance into the world seven months ago, our usual social outings have been stripped back a great deal. (Master Lochlan would rock a shirt with the phrase, “I was social distancing before social distancing was cool.”) Our family has always loved games and building sets, but this rainy housebound winter, we’re enjoying them even more than usual.

[Disclosure of Material Connections: I received a complimentary GraviTrax set from Timberdoodle in exchange for writing and publishing this review. All opinions — and photographs! ;) — are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.]

Continue reading “GraviTrax Review: Homeschool STEM and Physics”

Homeschooling

Thinking Beyond Grade Levels (& a Timberdoodle Announcement!)

Thinking Beyond Grade Levels When Planning Your Homeschool Year

If you’re brand-new to this blog, coming over from Meet the Timberdoodle Blog TeamWELCOME! I’m so thrilled you’re here.

I’m Gina Munsey, a second-generation homeschooler and a third-culture kid, child to homeschool pioneers and missionaries. I was born in Southern Mexico (Oaxaca wuh-HA-kuh specifically, thus the name of this blog), and then spent my formative childhood years behind the Iron Curtain in the former Yugoslavia. (Fun fact: I was in Germany the day the Berlin Wall fell, and came to America just after the tanks rolled in to Yugoslavia, but before Sarajevo fell.)

After stints in the Midwest, Florida, and the West Coast/Best Coast AKA California, I now find myself in the idyllic historic town of Franklin, Tennessee, just outside Nashville. I homeschool my neurologically gifted 8-year-old, and our school days usually involve an abundance of books, lots of math, and yes, Mandarin Chinese, too. I’m expecting my second (miracle!) child this fall, so our school days are about to get a whole lot more…interesting.

And a whole lot more heavily caffeinated.

I’m in the thick of planning for it all now.

Are you like me? Do you love planning for a new school year? I definitely do. I obsess over delight in all the new catalogs, text about curriculum endlessly with friends, click through book preview thumbnails until my eyes cross and water, shuffle through my note-ridden index cards, and track down all the used book sales in the area, tempted to buy enough schoolbooks to teach at least half a dozen more students than I actually have.

Homeschoolers love to talk about curriculum, don’t they?

Whether it’s in person or online in my FREE homeschool community for outliers, people always have questions about curriculum.

But curriculum really can pose quite a conundrum for our differently-wired kids. If there’s anything I’ve learned through the years of being a child to homeschool pioneers — and now a second-generation homeschool parent to a neurologically gifted, asynchronous child — it’s that homeschooling allows us the immense privilege of creating a completely personalized custom education for each child.

Continue reading “Thinking Beyond Grade Levels (& a Timberdoodle Announcement!)”