Science confirms that game play promotes healthy brain development; morality and an increased sense of fairness; as well as neurological stimulation that may prevent certain neurological disorders later in life.
I’ll confess, I became enamored with table top games as my oldest started gravitating toward computer games and I was desperate to minimize screen time and the drama that can come with it. I quickly learned that there’s no better way to connect parents and children or siblings to one another than through laughter and play. Board games deliver just that and so much more! Family board games promote healthy competition, cooperation, and can even sharpen mental skills such as memory and executive functioning. Here I’m sharing some of our all time favorites.
If you google for “homeschool,” you will immediately receive a flood of information. Much of it is wonderful and helpful – but can be overwhelming. And some of it is just not what you’re looking for. You want secular resources and you’re finding religious resources; you have one child – everyone else has a huge family. Some people are unschooling, game schooling, using Charlotte Mason, classical education, road schooling, world schooling, wild schooling, Waldorf or Montessori homeschooling, and even eclectic homeschooling. You get the point.
Within the world of homeschooling, you will be narrowing down your space as you go. And to help you do that, I’ve organized our favorite resources here. I’m sharing them chronologically, as I went through our homeschool journey.
First, you’ll find the stories of my decision to homeschool and a super helpful printable resource to help you determine if homeschooling is even right for your family.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”– Lao Tzu
on our site
To homeschool or not to homeschool?
That is the question on the hearts and minds of so many families. Here are a few articles where I share our experience. Hopefully, they will give you a good starting place.
Grab Your Free “Why Homeschool?” Checklist!
When you start to think about homeschooling one or more of your children – there is nothing more important than figuring out why you want to homeschool. The reasons are as varied as the parents and children who homeschool. Once you’ve formulated why you want to homeschool, you will want to cling tightly to it on the days that don’t go quite as planned…
Inspirational Homeschool Reads
I spent two years deciding whether or not to homeschool my son. And then I spent a lot more time reading about what it takes to homeschool . I desperately needed assurance that I would be able to teach my son and forge a stronger relationship between us in the process. These are the six books that made the most impact on me during my decision process as well as during our first several years of pulling everything together into what we have now. I’ve actually keep them all as my go-to inspiration reference books.
First Steps To Organizing Your Homeschool
Once I started to think that I might actually do this, I started to wonder what it would look like for us on a daily basis. What’s in all those crates in the pretty Pinterest homeschool rooms? What would we do all day? I don’t have any background in teaching. So I started to wonder about organizing a homeschool. I was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to begin.
I’ll be honest – I started with a very nuts and bolts course – Kristi Clover’s Ultimate Homeschool Organization Course. It was self paced and easy to follow – and filled with all the perfectly nitty gritty details that I needed to learn.
Next, I signed up for Pam Barnhill’s “Put Your Homeschool on Autopilot” course. The bad news is, she’s no longer offering that course. But the good news is…she’s now done all the work for you in her new “Your Morning Basket Plus” monthly subscription!
My Top 10 How To Homeschool Podcasts
Homeschool podcasts are one of my favorite ways to feel connected with other homeschool moms from a great cross section of different homeschooling philosophies. These ladies see you and understand what you’re going through. And many of them have already gone through what you’re facing now. I listened to these as I started our homeschool and I continue to listen for inspiration all the time!
*Quick Advice – I use all of the podcasts below for one thing or another. I have certain favorites and, for those, I do listen to every single episode. But there are others that I use for specific topics. We are secular homeschoolers and some of these podcasts come from a Christian viewpoint. But please – don’t let that turn you off. Each of these podcasts is filled with so much wisdom that I guarantee you will find one or more episodes that will resonate with you in one way or another.
The Best of the Reading Best
Everyone wants to know which homeschool curriculum is the best. Since I used to be a lawyer, I’ll give you my official “legal” answer. “It depends.” There’s a lot to consider and every family and every child is different. You may use one math curriculum for one child and another for your other child. That’s part of the beauty of homeschool – you can curate and deliver what each child needs at the moment.
“You will not reap the fruit of individuality in your children if you clone their education.”– Marilyn Howshall
So as you begin looking for curricula, as yourself some central questions: How involved do you want to be? How independent are your kids? Do you want a curriculum that’s open and go? Or something that you use along with additional resources? I will share the programs that I am either currently using or that we have used and enjoyed in the past.
There are a few programs that I find absolutely indispensable no matter what curriculum we use. No matter what else we are doing – we will always be following along with Sarah at the Read-Aloud Revival.
I highly recommend that you find the things that work for you in this way first. They work on every level on any given day. They work on the good days and the bad days. These are the backbone of your day – something your children can count on every single day while you are still figuring out the rest of your curriculum. Read Aloud Revival was that for our family.
The Best Thing To Ever Happen To My Homeschool
Sarah Mackenzie changed my life. There. I said it. Sarah has so much passion for books, reading, and teaching parents why reading aloud is so important as well as sharing the very best tips and information about how to go about it successfully. She is infectious and a true inspiration. Sarah has shown me how to share my love of books and reading with my boys.
Joining Read-Aloud Revival Premium was the best decision I ever made for our family. RAR Premium provides monthly family book clubs; monthly opportunities to meet your child’s favorite authors and illustrators (and even to ask them questions!); monthly writers on writing workshops; masterclasses for moms; mama book clubs; homeschool professional development opportunities and a vibrant community forum. You do not want to miss this!
Nature Curriculum for Homeschool
One of my favorite things about nature study – ok – I take it back. I can’t pinpoint one favorite thing. But, seriously. Nature study is something I would never want to be without in our homeschool. I call nature study the “gateway homeschool subject.” That’s because nature study can include so many other topics: math (Fibonacci numbers, anyone?); art; music; storytelling; science, vocabulary, spelling, and more.
And get this, nature study:
Here are some of my favorite nature study programs that you can use either in your homeschool or just as a supplemental family activity for fun.