November 17, 2014
My parents have pictures of me at three months old laying on rainforest leaves big enough to be a cradle in Puerto Rico. With my Dad in the military, we were on the move since I was born. This is partially what prompted them to home school. However, when Dad got out of the Navy, they decided that kind of education lifestyle was something they wanted to carry on. Although we lived in Missouri for thirteen years, we never stopped traveling when Dad’s work would allow. In my first year of traditional high school, my parents made the step to sell their home, purchase an RV and begin traveling full time.
Officially, I graduated from high school while we were traveling, but I feel like my education has never really stopped. In fact, I believe it never will stop.
The reason for this is because, on the road traveling, education wasn’t so much a nine-to-five children’s version of a full-time job as it was a lifestyle. My mother taught me that learning is something that should be natural and 24/7 – not just limited to books or a classroom. It’s something we never grow out of, never exhaust and never find the end of. There is always something new to learn just by keeping eyes wide open.
Six years later, I’m a reporter at a newspaper in Missouri, and I can say in all honesty that world-schooling has changed my life. As a reporter, I’m always working with people and love it. I know it was world-schooling that fostered that appreciation for all kinds of kinds. World-schooling made me curious, adventurous, intuitive, aware of my surroundings, open to new ideas and more observant of my impact on the world and what I can do to better it.
World-schooling isn’t all that different than home-schooling. If you’re willing to take the road less traveled – and if you’re a home school parent, I’m guessing you’re are – than by all means, don’t hesitate. Maybe not everyone can pack up all their belongings and travel like my parents did. However, anyone can implement world-schooling into their education. And now it’s made easier than ever.
When my parents started traveling, it was something very divergent from “normal” homeschoolers. What we didn’t realize was that we were not as alone as we thought. Come to find out, years later, there were plenty of other families who were taking the road less traveled just as we were. As the years have gone by, children raised on the road are not so few and far in-between. There is community for world-schoolers now and that’s something I wish I had known about when I was a fourteen-year-old traveling.
If you’re interested in implementing worldschooling into your child’s education, check out Project World School. Founded by mother-son worldschooling duo Lainie and Miro host retreats for homeschooled teens throughout Latin America, soon to expand to other parts of the world. Their retreats are designed as month long immersive learning communities that include social and experiential education. Learning through the host countries’ culture provides a real world entry into living academics. For example, visit Ecuador’s coast and experience the vibrant marine biology in person, while understanding the issues surrounding conversation and economics within a global perspective. Studies show that combining social and academic learning by immersion is the most effective learning method.
Here are some great photos from the last Project World School retreat which took place in Cusco, Peru and the surrounding areas.
About the Author
Hanna Smith is a free spirited journalist and photographer traveling full time on the road of life. She traveled with her family as a child and has grown up experiencing the travel lifestyle. She has since become a journalist with unique insights to growing up within the travel lifestyle and learning through worldschooling.
Have you seen Homeschool.com’s Holiday Fun page? It’s full of fun/educational listings about Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, and more.
One of the Thanksgiving listings is the Thanksgiving Interactive: You are the Historian, which is brought to you by the Plimouth Plantation. Kids take on the role of history detectives to investigate what really happened at the famous 1621 celebration. (Hint: It was a lot more than just a feast!) Along the way, they’ll read a letter written by an eyewitness to the event, learn about Wampanoag traditions of giving thanks, and visit Pilgrim Mary Allerton’s home. As a final activity, kids can design and print their own Thanksgiving exhibit panel.
Check it out! It’ll be fun–and fun learning is forever learning!
November 14, 2014
Want some handy holiday information/printables/science experiments/crafts and more, covering the holidays of Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve?
We have them!
FUN educational materials for the holidays you celebrate—and for those you might want to learn about. Of course, there’s a lot of extra winter fun sprinkled in!
It’s our holiday gift to you. And it’s our thank you for coming to Homeschool.com during the year—making us one of your go-to homeschooling sites.
We appreciate you SO much!
Click Here for Holiday Fun!
Click Here for our NEW Holiday eMagazine
Click Here for our Annual Gift Guide
November 13, 2014
Find the right lesson plan fast—save time and discover inspiring curriculum.
What a great resource! Lesson Planet scours the web to find top quality pre-K—12th grade lesson plans, videos, presentations, activities, apps, worksheets, and more. Then their staff rates and reviews every single resource, and categorizes every resource so you can find exactly what you need. Lesson Planet categorizes by grade, and subject matter (Health, Language Arts, Languages, Math, Physical Education, Science, Social Studies, Special Education, Visual and Performing Arts), and also by CC or state standards—as homeschoolers, you can ignore the CC categories if you’d like.
When you want to find a compelling lesson and/or get some new ideas, you can just log in to the website, search for exactly what you need, choose by rating if you’d like–and find the information you need very quickly. And it’s easy to save your selected search results—which is another nice feature.
There are over 400,000+ teacher-reviewed curriculum resources! Plus, a forum. Plus professional development videos. So much inspiration in one place!
Lesson Planet offers a free 10-day trial, so you can check it out and see if it’s something you can use in your homeschooling.
Just one question–What will you do with all the time you save?
And have you seen Homeschool.com’s Holiday eMagazine? Two of the articles are from LessonPlanet.com!
November 12, 2014
Homeschool.com’s newest e-magazine offers articles about the holidays you celebrate, as well as the holidays you might want to teach your children about. These include Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve. We’ve even added a little information about the Winter Solstice – as winter fun (think candles, warm fires, snowmen, sleigh rides, etc.) are an integral part of the holiday season.
Specifically, our holiday articles include:
|Thanksgiving Lessons and Activities
|Googling for Thanksgiving Fun
|The Holidays – Unique Opportunities for Family Education
|The Many Holidays of December
|Special Needs Kids and the Holidays
|Presents for Your Homeschool
|Chanukah, the Festival of Lights
|25 Christmas Activities for Kids
|Catch the Christmas Season with a Color Wheel
|Christmas Music Lesson Plans
|You’ve Probably Heard of it. What is Kwanzaa?
|New Year’s Even Countdown Bags
|Homeschool.com’s 2014 Gift Guide
And guess what? In addition to this holiday resource, Homeschool.com’s Holiday Fun Event will start on Friday. During the event, we’ll be offering general holiday information, educational holiday activities, holiday printables, recipes, winter science experiments, and so much more – even free trials, subscriptions, etc. It’s our holiday gift to you.
November 11, 2014
BibleFluency.com offers a fun and creative way to learn the Bible—and it’s free of charge (but you can give a donation if you are so inclined).
The fluency program employs high-quality music, flashcards, workbooks, small group activities, and more to teach students the overarching story of the Bible. It does so by studying the Bible’s 400 most important events, characters, and themes. You can browse the site, listen to the songs, skim the study worksheets, and try out the flashcards. Then when you are ready to start learning, you can download whatever you need. Easy peasy. Convenient. And again, free of charge.
If you are using this material as part of your home schooling curriculum, the site recommends that you wait until your child is in middle school to start – and then take the course at the same time yourself—better yet, make it a family course! The two classes together (Old Testament Fluency in 12 Weeks and New Testament Fluency in 12 Weeks) can fulfill a home education requirement for one year of Bible education. The parent/teacher just needs to follow the teaching curriculum found under the tab “lead a class”.
If you have the funds available, the website recommends that you purchase the Bible Fluency Complete Learning Kit from Weaver Book Company to make the learning experience more enriching (it’s just $50—so you do receive a lot for your money). The items can be used over and over again—for each child in your family, or as a yearly update. As a package, they’re certainly attractive.
This program will help your student grasp the overall story of the Bible and how separate events, stories, and people contribute to the overall, grand story. After your child finishes the program, s/he should be able to recall that the story of Abraham is in Genesis, the “suffering servant” is described by Isaiah, the parable of the Good Samaritan is recorded in Luke—not Matthew, Mark, or John—and “faith apart from works is dead” is in the letter of James.
Do you want your child to be Bible literate? To really know the Bible—rather than learn by rote, which is really, memory without meaning? This is a fun and creative (and maybe free), way to achieve that goal
November 10, 2014
Movement and Enhanced Learning and TheO™ SmartBall
Teachers, whether in a formal classroom or in homeschooling, all encounter the same question – how best to help the student learn.
For decades the typical way of classroom teaching has been to require students to maintain a quiet decorum during the teaching segments. Students must remain seated, and only during the rare intervals of recess are the students allowed to move.
New studies on the brain and the body and how they relate to learning are beginning to look at this ages-old method of teaching in a new way. It turns out that movement enhances the cognitive processes of the brain.
Some research is revealing that movement actually helps create new brain cells.
When applying a “movement for enhanced learning” concept, also known as “brain-based learning,” in a classroom of elementary-aged children, a teacher’s first concern might very well be, “But how can I maintain order and get any teaching done with a group of energetic kids running around?”
One solution is the revolutionary TheO™ SmartBall.
The developers of this “toy for learning” understand that teachers are looking for ways to enhance learning in the classroom with physical activity and engagement for the students. And that teachers, as well as parents, are also looking for ways to allow children to use technology, which they love, but in a physically active way.
Brain-based learning says that active kids learn more and retain more of what they learn. With TheO™ SmartBall, kids learn while they play.
Focusing on ages PreK-5th grade, TheO™ SmartBall is a soft foam ball that uses revolutionary technology and your smart phone to entertain kids. It combines physical activity, learning and fun into one dynamic experience.
Physical activity helps a child’s brain retain information easier, which gives kids a learning advantage in school by getting their body and their brain working together. Keeping kids moving while thinking improves focus, memory and coordination.
At the same time, kids look forward to learning with interactive games. The apps that work with TheO™ SmartBall offer a variety of games that get students engaged mentally.
Other apps keep kids just staring at a screen, but TheO™ SmartBall is entertaining and educational. Kids have fun while reinforcing their learning fundamentals.
Current apps for TheO™ SmartBall use the unique features of smart devices to bring a new level of learning as well as play. The SmartBall comes with twelve fun and free apps.
In addition, a wide variety of custom mobile app games are in development. They all take advantage of the unique features of smart devices such as acceleration/direction/motion-sensing, sound effects, music, and voice.
The SmartBall also has Bluetooth capabilities allowing it to link with additional accessories, such as Bluetooth enabled speakers.
For more information on the concept of movement enhancing learning, see Eric Jensen, author of the book Brain-Based Learning. http://www.jensenlearning.com/
Author Bio – Physical Apps, LLC, a NH-based entertainment and technology company, creators of TheO™ SmartBall – an entirely new way to experience mobile games, activities and learning.
And did you see? TheO™ SmartBall made our 2014 Gift Guide!
November 7, 2014
Have you started thinking about holiday gifts? Are you stumped, as to what to get certain people in your life? Homeschool.com’s Annual Gift Guide can help! The Guide has gift suggestions for newborns to adults–with a few pet presents thrown in as well. Really, there’s something for every member of your family!
Homeschool.com’s Annual Gift Guide-available now!
November 6, 2014
Homeschool.com’s Top Educational Gifts for 2014 has just published.
The included toys have been chosen by Homeschool.com staff, and by our many Homeschool.com Product Testers. Thank you everyone for all of your input! When recommendations came with an explanation, we included the explanation as well—as we realize the more information you have, the better!
We’ve organized the toys by age group. But as you can imagine, sometimes gifts don’t fall neatly into one category. A toy for 6-9 year olds, might be in the 3-8 year old category—but not in the 8-12 category—as we didn’t want to duplicate our listings. So, depending on the ages of your children, you may want to look at the toys below and above your kids’ age ranges, as well as the ones that are a perfect fit. But what fun that will be!
As you might know, every year we include one sock monkey toy. Last year, it was a nesting toy, and the year before that, it was a jack-in-the-box—this year?
Educational…age appropriate…and fun—our Gift Guide for 2014! Click here for Homeschool.com’s 2014 Gift Guide!
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World School: To Pack and Go… or Not
This is a guest blog post written by Mary Katzke – Filmmaker, Photographer, Writer, & Traveler
Now that school is back in session, do you ever catch yourself wondering what it might be like to take your child out of school and travel the world? This was a lifelong dream for me and one day, after a life-changing family tragedy, I finally found the inspiration and courage to take the bold steps of selling our home, putting our lifelong possessions into storage, learning to homeschool, and taking off. Our adventure started with a one-way ticket from Alaska to Ireland. Our intention was to continue traveling east until we made it back home in one school year’s time.
And we did it.
My son, Corin, was ten at the time and about to enter fifth grade. He was doing well in school and I was fairly confident I could keep him on track as opposed to later when his school work was more difficult, not to mention the inevitable teen/parent challenges! This turned out to be the perfect time to do this on so many levels. While he had friends at home, it was much easier to leave them behind than it would be now that he is almost 15. On the edge of puberty but not there yet, we could comfortably share a room. Most ticket prices including museums, some airfares and cruise ship fares go up at age 12. Yet he was old enough to find his way back to a hotel if need be, or stay behind alone while I went out for sunrise photo pursuits.
We started our planning six months before we left by making a list of the places we wanted to see. He wanted Ireland, Venice and the Great Wall of China. I wanted to see Vietnam, Africa and China. We did switch from fifth grade curriculum to sixth grade due to the focus on world geography in sixth grade and this worked just fine. I will say homeschooling was much more challenging than public schools and he received a very good education on this trip, both academically and globally. Perhaps I am a bit old school, but I was frustrated at how loosely grammar and spelling are managed in public school and this was his first real attention to commas, participles, dependent clauses and more. World art history was backed with seeing the actual paintings and sculptures in his books. Chemistry class proved to be impossible with all the bottles and cubes of inexplicable content at borders!
Another valuable activity we did was to write in advance to schools in our pathway offering to share an iPad presentation on Alaska in exchange for being a guest student for a day. We were successful in six countries: Scotland, Iceland, Czech Republic, Mauritius, Thailand and China. International schools were particularly cooperative. This also allowed Corin to have some peer interaction, and sample lots of different kinds of lunches. He experienced classes like Thai dancing and waffle making in Iceland that he would never have had the opportunity for if not for being a guest student in so many different countries.
Many people express concerns that their child may fall behind if taken out of school, but I want to reassure you that we found that 90 minutes per day of concentrated effort was all we needed to do in order to keep up. This was proven by the SBA (Standard Base Assessment) testing required by our public school district when he completely aced the exams! It probably goes without saying that there is so much more to see of the real world than what is right outside our door. I think the change to interact with adults on a daily basis also improved his social skills and confidence in noticeable ways.
So when we came back and he re-entered public schools that fall, he came home with a tinge of pout in his face.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Well,” he said, “I got second place in the geography bee. Second to the other kid who spent last year going around the world.”
And there you have it. I can honestly say this was the most inspiring, impressive, life-changing and satisfying thing I’ve ever done in my life and I truly hope those considering such an adventure will take the risk and go for it.
Mary Katzke, Filmmaker, Photographer, Writer, Traveler and Single Mother of Corin Katzke.
Please visit our website at www.worldschoolfilm.org and feel free to order our film about our year of “world schooling”.