Homeschooling

Take the Diverse Summer Reading Challenge (FREE printable)!

Expand your horizons with this FREE diverse summer reading challenge (includes a printable tracker)

Are you looking for global and culturally diverse summer reading ideas for your kids? Do you want your kids to…

  • …stretch their reading legs outside of their usual North American comfort zone,
  • …tackle topics they haven’t before,
  • …open their eyes to the marvelous diversity found everywhere around us,
  • …turn their attention to countries and cultures with which they aren’t super familiar,
  • …celebrate this great big global world God created,
  • …learn about non-European food, music, art, inventions, and holidays,
  • …enrich their perspectives with culturally diverse reads

…and ultimately, grow closer to Jesus and better learn to love their neighbor?

You need to download our FREE global reading challenge!

[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. 

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.]

These culturally-expansive book categories were chosen by a diverse panel of Christian homeschool moms.

Our multi-racial homeschool co-op, @restorationscholé, created this amazing FREE summer reading challenge, and I think you’re going to absolutely love it. Over the past several weeks, I worked together with my co-director @_bethanyhoover and Restoration Schole parent @marielhowsepian (she’s a public school educator and a homeschooler!) to compile an incredibly clever list of reading categories. I haven’t seen another challenge quite like this! This summer, kids are invited to..

  • Read a book about math / science in a non-European nation
  • Read a book containing ingredients not for sale at your local Walmart
  • Read a book with a holiday your family doesn’t celebrate

and many, many more!

Stop right now to see the full list, and download the FREE diverse summer reading ideas printable, here.

If you’re stuck for ideas of books to fit various categories, I list a few ideas below– but I’d also like to invite you to ask friends who might have different reading habits than you. Ask friends to share favorite books from their heritage or culture!

Favorite Diverse Reads for Summer Reading (books translated from Chinese, books by Indian-American authors, and more!)

  • Bronze & Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan
    • This is a 2021-2022 Restoration Scholé modern literature selection. Originally published in Chinese, and set in rural China during the Cultural Revolution. Lyrical and immersive.

I absolutely love stepping outside my world into other cultures and realms through books, don’t you? For even more ideas for diverse reads, head over and browse my Amazon storefront, here. I’m constantly updating it with more and more books.

Download our FREE global reading challenge printable!

And be sure to follow @_bethanyhoover, @marielhowsepian, @restorationschole, and me (@oaxacaborn) to see what books are on our bedside tables this summer, too.

Happy summer reading!

Homeschooling

The Problem with Cultivating Good Taste in our Students

The Problem with Cultivating Good Taste in our Students - Classical Education, Classical Christian Homeschooling, What is Beauty?Among certain thinkers in classical education, there exists the idea that one must strive to cultivate good taste in children, to the betterment of their eternal soul. Here’s the problem: good taste is often confused with parental preference. Poor taste is elevated to a place reserved for actual sin.

Lest you think I have imagined this — lest you think I have imagined the pedestal Christian classicists have given to taste — consider this from a prominent writer in classical education:

“One of the most important things we can offer students is good taste, by which I mean learning to love beautiful things that have lasted. Bad taste is not a personality quirk, but a significant moral problem. If our students don’t love beautiful things, we have failed them. If we are graduating students who love shallow things, they might as well go to public school.”

Bad taste is a significant moral problem? Sin is a significant moral problem. Taste is not. We cannot, and must not, equate taste with worth.

Continue reading “The Problem with Cultivating Good Taste in our Students”

Homeschooling

The Most Hilarious Way to Teach Homeschool Physics

The Most Hilarious Way to Teach Homeschool Physics with the Wile E Coyote Physical Science Genius Books from Timberdoodle

Here’s a little homeschooling secret — a confession, really. Science at our house doesn’t usually involve experiments. There, I said it. There are so many great hands-off ideas for studying science, though. I’m not anti-experiment — that would be a weird stance to take, ha! — but I just don’t have the bandwidth to carry out hands-on science all the time!

Fortunately, I am able to actively supplement elementary science and nurture scientific literacy in many different independent ways. One fun idea? Highly-illustrated science books. An even more fun idea? Hilarious science books.

Continue reading “The Most Hilarious Way to Teach Homeschool Physics”

Homeschooling

Board Books are Just as Important as Shakespeare

Board Books are Just as Important as Shakespeare - Here's Why

You know what I’ve done during this pandemic? I can tell you what I didn’t do. I didn’t write a book, learn a new trade, renovate a house, become fluent in another language, or read Anna Karenina (I’m on page 77 of 963).

I didn’t do any of those impressive things “they” say you should have done during lockdown.

What I’ve done? I’ve read a lot of board books.

Continue reading “Board Books are Just as Important as Shakespeare”

Homeschooling

Finally, a Kindergarten American History Curriculum!

Sonlight's New Kindergarten American History Curriculum!Does an accurate American history curriculum for kindergarten actually exist?

A good homeschool history curriculum is difficult to find, isn’t it? And US history is particularly hard to teach.  I have very little tolerance for oversimplified books which whitewash the complexity of our nation’s beginnings, idolize outward morality, virtue, and character, or put Columbus and Washington on a pedestal of American exceptionalism.  But most truly accurate US history books are geared toward a much older audience, and aren’t designed to give a broad sweeping overview to sensitive kindergarteners or first graders. American history is messy, ugly, grim, and often brutal. Teaching true American history to small children — even with picture books — is not easy.

So how do we find accurate US history books which will capture the tender imaginations of precious five- and six-year-olds?

Continue reading “Finally, a Kindergarten American History Curriculum!”

Homeschooling

Don’t be a Pedagogical Snob

Your goal is to educate your child, not to replicate  a method, via the Don't be a Pedagogical Snob blog post by Gina Munsey, the Oaxacaborn blog [Disclosure: the Evan-Moor link in this post is an affiliate link. This means if you click and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.]

Classical, Eclectic, Charlotte Mason, oh my.

I love pedagogy. I really enjoy listening to speakers and authors like CiRCE Institute’s Andrew Kern and Memoria Press’ Martin Cothran talk about educational philosophy, the history of classical education, and what it means to teach thinking. I’m drawn to its thoughtful, time-honored idealism. And my daughter loves the deep academia of it all. The Christian classical education approach definitely resonates with us — moreso than any other homeschool method — and I consider us classical homeschoolers.

But I was chatting with my friend Megan (of the schoolnest blog) recently about the freedom which comes with not being a homeschool method purist. If you lean mostly toward one method but then mix in a twist of another approach, the educational philosophy police aren’t going to get you.

Really.

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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”