Monday, January 17

Booster Shots For Homeschooling Parents

You may be one of those families that has been homeschooling for 9 years or so and now are on the home stretch, or you may be new to the journey and have gotten in over your head and wondered if this is the right choice. Any and all of us could use a Booster Shot at some point...

No, we’re not talking about immunizations. We are talking about booster shots for those families that have homeschooled for so long, or so in depth that they have lost the joy of why they started this journey in the first place.

Our Top Ten Countdown for Rejuvenating Your Homeschool

10. Field Trip! Just a short one or maybe even a day long adventure – your choice, but there is nothing like a field trip to break up the week and breath life into a student’s schedule.

9. Read Aloud! If you don’t already do this, it’s a good time to start when your battery is low. You can read to them, or they can take turns reading to you and each other. It’s a great way to bond and relax. Yes, even high school kids like this still!

8. School Outside! The weather is turning warmer in most parts of the country! Take the books, the art, the portable CD player and learn outside. Even better, just walk and study what is about to bloom and discuss the science of this blessing!

7. Combining 8 & 9! One booster for us, all the way up until mid high school, was to take a huge blanket out under the sun or shade tree and read. We would watch clouds, pet new baby chicks or kitties and just enjoy hearing a good story in the fresh air.

6. Year-round School Schedule! This SOUNDS awful to some people, but it doesn’t ‘t really mean school every single day! It means for each month of the year, you have school for 3 weeks and then one week off. These schedules can often be planned around holidays. If you and your student knew that every three weeks you both got a significant break, there is time to plan fun or just do NOTHING every month!

5. Find a Co-op! Many area support groups have some co-op learning classes. Often it will require that you volunteer a bit of your time once in a while, but the change of pace and learning surroundings can be invaluable to both you and all students involved!

4. Let the Student Plan – not You! One of my children wanted the freedom to plan her own Senior year completely. She chose an extra science and an extra social studies. She also planned every weeks’ work and is doing so that she can be finished WELL before her graduation ceremony date – by her 18th birthday! This has motivated her and also taught her accountability. It has also lightened my load to simply grading!

3. Let a Science Experiment ‘evolve’ into more! This was always one sure fire way for my kids to get a little giggly or off track – but boy it is memorable and it was worth the side track! Take the science experiment to any lengths your child’s questions or curiosity will let it go (but let’s be safe about it). Not only do they learn more by not having to fit into a science ‘box’ – but you will ignite the joy of learning again – and you will LOVE to see how their minds work when unhindered by steps preordained by someone else!

2. Talk with others! When you get the chance, ask other parents for ideas that may be inviting to your homeschool to use. You may also be surprised how your kids react when they find out what other kids do for their homeschool. My kids were actually pleasantly pleased when they heard the schedule and weight of some other homeschooled students their age. I became a ‘cool’ mom (for a little while anyway).

1. My number 1 favorite! Just take the day off (or the week) when you know you’ve all reached your limit! Bake a big ole batch of chocolate chip cookies, play with the pets, make a mess, don’t grade, don’t file and don’t worry. Mix this in with prayer and thanksgiving that you have the chance to be home with your kids and I’ll guarantee that an attitude of gratitude will renew that joy to your homeschool heart!




Monday, January 10

Hotel Transylvania 4

 This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for Amazon Studios & Sony Pictures Animation.

My son LOVES movies.  All of them!  And winter is a great time for us to curl up with some cocoa and popcorn (I know, weird combo, right?) and watch them all!  Recently we had the chance to see the new Hotel Transylvania...

Drac and the Pack are back, like you’ve never seen them before in Hotel Transylvania: Transformania. Reunite with your favorite monsters for an all-new adventure that presents Drac (Brian Hull) with his most terrifying task yet. When Van Helsing’s (Jim Gaffigan) mysterious invention, the 'Monsterification Ray,’ goes haywire, Drac and his monster pals are all transformed into humans, and Johnny (Andy Samberg) becomes a monster! In their new mismatched bodies, Drac, stripped of his powers, and an exuberant Johnny, loving life as a monster, must team up and race across the globe to find a cure before it’s too late, and before they drive each other crazy. With help from Mavis (Selena Gomez) and the hilariously human Drac Pack, the heat is on to find a way to switch themselves back before their transformations become permanent. The film also features the voices of Kathryn Hahn (Ericka), Steve Buscemi (Wayne), Molly Shannon (Wanda), David Spade (Griffin the Invisible Man), Keegan-Michael Key (Murray), Fran Drescher (Eunice), Brad Abrell (Frank), and Asher Blinkoff (Dennis).

Hotel Transylvania 4 Trailer



Ready to cozy up and join us on a movie adventure?!  Stream Hotel Transylvania: Transformania January 14th on Amazon Prime!

Celebrate Multicultural Children's Book Day 2022!!


I was recently gifted a copy of The Dreamcatcher Codes for Multi-Cultural Children's Book Day 2022.  Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 (1/28/22) is in its 9th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

About the Book

The Dreamcatcher Codes (Barbara Newman)

Four girls. Four directions. One purpose. The earth is gasping for breath; its only hope is the sacred Codes of Nature. But they've been stolen—snatched by a giant raven during a raging storm. Sophia Rose, Guardian of Mother Earth, has summoned Maia from the North to lead Falcon, Ava, and Yue, on a quest to find the Codes and save the planet. But the odds are against the young rescuers. Time is running out: the bees are dying, the oceans are filled with plastic—and a dark energy lurks in the shadows, threatening their search. Powered by the elements of earth, air, fire and water, messages from mystical dreamcatchers, guidance from the ancestors, and wisdom from the land—this fierce sisterhood must rely on courage, mythic horses, and each other if they are to succeed. Ultimately, their epic adventure takes them on a daring journey into a deeper understanding of their own unique place in the universe. The Dreamcatcher Codes builds bridges, unity, and hope, and illuminates two critical issues of our time: climate change and girls claiming their voices and vital place in the world.


Thoughts

I'm not a fan of fantasy books, but though this was billed as one, it didn't really come off in that vein. The book features underlying themes of Native American culture through the four main characters - Maia, Falcon, Ava, and Yue - who represent water, earth, fire, and air. The girls come from the four corners and each play a part in the mystical and magical quest to find each of the missing pieces of Sophia Rose's crystal horseshoe. Why are they seeking the pieces? The horseshoe contains power messages and codes required to protect the earth, and only these girls can save it. With themes of sisterhood, spirituality, and teamwork, this is an empowering story for youth to speak up and act on behalf of their planet and their futures.

I was recently chatting with my aunt (interestingly, named Sophia) about this very topic...about how nature has the ability to heal itself, but we must also use our strengths for good, to take care of the planet and each other. If we don’t, then it will be our future generations - seven generations down the line, or sooner - who pay the price.

This was a difficult book for me to get into at first. I struggled to relate to the girls and found myself having trouble switching back and forth with the different narratives, each from a different perspective. At times I was confused about who was narrating and would have to flip back to check. The story is an important one and highlights Native American culture beautifully, but it took me a bit of investment to get to that point. If you're having the same issue, it's worth pushing through...

Worth noting - "The Dreamcatcher Codes" also won the 2021 International Impact Award for Multicultural Fiction!


About the Author

Barbara Newman always wanted to be a cowgirl. Growing up in New York didn’t stop her. She took that can-do spirit and became an award-winning global creative director, leaving an indelible mark on brand culture. After hearing an NPR story about the American cowgirl, she was so inspired, she left the ad world and found herself in Montana, Wyoming, and Texas filming a documentary about their lives. An advocate for empowering girls, Barbara facilitates girls’ leadership programs, and was part of the think tank that inspired the Fred Rogers Center for Children’s Media/Education. She lives in The Berkshires of Western, MA with her husband and their beloved dog. where she can be found walking along forest trails, or wrapped in a blanket underneath the stars, but only if it's warm enough.


Interested in mythology?  Find sixteen world mythology units in the World Mythology Unit Studies Bundle!


Includes sixteen unit studies covering world mythologies. Each unit addresses a new topic, spanning ancient through modern history.
  • Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.
  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.

These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together. Our family has used unit studies as curriculum for many years, and we hope that your family will enjoy these, too!


Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children's Book Day Twitter Party! Be sure and follow MCBD and Make A Way Media on Twitter!

This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away an 8-Book Bundle every 5 minutes plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. See you all very soon on Twitter!


FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day


MCBD 2022 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

SUPER PLATINUM: Make A Way Media

PLATINUM: Language Lizard

GOLD: Barefoot Books, KidLitTV, Candlewick, Capstone, Abrams Books

SILVER: Pack-n-Go Girls, Charlotte Riggle, Kimberly Gordon Biddle  

BRONZE: Carole P. Roman, Patrice McLaurin, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin.com, Redfin Canada, Redfin Mortgage, Redfin/Title Forward, Create & Educate, Star Bright Books, Vivian Kirkfield, Dr. Eleanor Wint, Kind World Publishing, Snowflake Stories, Lisa Wee, SONGJU MA, Melissa Stoller, J.C. Kato and J.C.², Crystel Patterson, Audrey Press, Pragmaticmom, TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales 

MCBD 2022 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Charlene Mosley (official MCBD2022 Poster Creator)
Illustrator Isabelle Roxas (Class Kit Poster Creator)

Alva Sachs, Brianna Carter, Ebony Zay Zay, Rita Bhandari, Gwen Jackson, Lois Petren/The 5 Enchanted Mermaids, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Josh Funk, Afsaneh Moradian, Eugenia Chu, Maritza Martínez Mejía, Diana Huang, Kathleen Burkinshaw, CultureGroove, Sandra Elaine Scott, Dorena Williamson, Veronica Appleton, Alejandra Domenzain, Lauren Muskovitz and Sandfish Publishing, Tonya Duncan Ellis, Kimberly Lee, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, Nancy Tupper Ling, Winsome Hudson-Bingham, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, Sivan Hong, Michael Genhart, Debbie Dadey, Elizabeth Cureton, Stephanie Wildman, Maryann Jacob, Sherri Maret, Rochelle Melander, Dia Mixon, Kiyanda and Benjamin Young, Shereen Rahming, Linda Thornburg and Katherine Archer,  Rebecca Flansburg and BA Norrgard , Maxine Schur  Natalie McDonald-Perkins

MCBD 2022 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2022 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!

Check out MCBD's Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!


#ReadYourWorld #MCBD2022


Homeschooling After the Holidays


The after-Christmas let down is hard...for kids and adults alike...

The holidays are over. No more parties, the decorations are coming down, and the anticipation is gone. Everyone wants the fun and festivities back. It’s still out there at an ungodly hour of day, and the weather generally isn’t cooperating as well. And we’re just now entering our snow season when everything is dreary and chilly.

You're not alone.  In every classroom across America, and many places around the world, people just like you are struggling to get back into the groove after the holidays.  Half the battle, however, is how the holidays themselves are handled.  Maybe this year wasn't such a win, or maybe the transition could be smoother. 

Here are a few of the things we do during the holiday season and just afterward to help transition everyone back to “normal” life.

  • Get Back to Routine
    • We go do special things during the Christmas season, but we try to keep life normal. Our bedtime routine is the same even during holiday break. We might break the routine a little to go out later than normal, but we don’t let the kids stay up super late or push them to go do “all the things.”  We also continue with reading aloud and Christmas-schooling through the break because it helps the kids stay focused and on a routine.
  • Go Gradually
    • We use advent calendars to help the kids celebrate the season.  We also limit special holiday events and space them out throughout the month so that it’s not a whirlwind of activities all in one week. We decorate right after Thanksgiving, and then spend the week between Christmas and New Year undecorating.  This slowly builds and then exits the season.
  • Know your Children
    • When shopping for gifts, know your children and get them something they'll really use.  They might desperately want the "insert trendy toy of the year here," but if you know it will be discarded two days later, skip it.  Some of our kids are hard to buy for. Which is why I wait until almost the very last minute to get them a gift, to make sure that they don’t change their mind and their Christmas list.
  • Spread the Love
    • With extended family living far and wide, presents are known to arrive any time in an eight week window...or not at all.  We set a limit on what we'll spend, and sometimes a few family members will go in together on a larger gift or experience.  We open a gift on Christmas Eve, and some on Christmas Day, but it's not unusual for the kids to open them as they come in.  It spreads out the fun so that they aren't overwhelmed and appreciate each thing a little more.  And sometimes, my siblings and I will purposefully send gifts outside the 'window' for this reason.  By doing it this way, the kids practice thankfulness, appreciation, and gratitude – all things we struggle with due to intensities.
  • Make Field Trip Season in January
    • We go to indoor playgrounds, head out on field trips, and go outside if the weather isn’t a total wet muddy mess.  For the kids, getting to go do something they love after the holiday helps them feel like life hasn’t turned dull after the holiday craziness. And public school is back in session, so those fun places should be less crowded and more fun.
  • Ease Into It
    • We don’t jump right back into school routines on the same day – we might go out and do a field trip, or we might have a lazy school day with videos and reading aloud.  We usually start back on a Wednesday, with some simple school days that week, and then jump back in on the following Monday.
  • Do the Unexpected
    • The holidays don't have to be the only fun times of the year.  Host a tea party, book club, scavenger hunt, or some other fun gathering with a small group of friends.  Go out to lunch one day.  Go to the movie theater and see something that could count as school (we totally did this with Peabody & Sherman one year!).  And if all else fails, have them choose an interest and dive down the bunny trail for a week or two....just to break up the winter doldrums.

Needing a change for the new semester?
SchoolhouseTeachers.com is the homeschooler's one-stop site, with complete curriculum, aids such as printables, daily lessons, lapbooks, free e-books, and conference recordings on various homeschool topics prepared by recognized homeschool leaders.  You have access to daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly lesson plans by some of the best from within the homeschooling community.  It covers grades Pre-K through 12th grade...every subject!

Saturday, January 1

Self-Care for Moms (Word of the Year 2022)


The past couple of years have been pretty intense...  I don't just mean 'rona issues, but aging parents, dying parents, teenagers getting their licenses, starting a small business, and having our one income family become a zero income family INTENSE.  It comes with the territory of being in that sandwich generation, and I know that many other parents are feeling the squeeze, too, right now.  Therefore, this year's word of the year is self-care.

Like many of you, I wear several hats simultaneously: wife, mother, daughter, sister, teacher, business owner, farmer, writer, taxi driver, maid, cook, etc.  What I don't wear so wear is the 'relaxed' hat.  My sister actually got me a shirt that says, "I run to burn off the crazy."  And it's true.  Except that due to injuries, now I can't run anymore.  Enter a new self-care schedule...

Why bother with self-care?

Well, partly because if one more person tells me I need to do yoga, I may slap them.  And there's no place in this society for that kind of behavior.  But mostly because of the root cause of that behavior -- being stretched too thin for too long.  When your sympathetic nervous system is the most active system in your body, that's a problem.  (That's your fight or flight one.)  Fortunately, as someone who works from home most of the time, I have a little bit of wiggle room to try and squeeze in one more thing work on self-care.

Tweaking the Schedule

To that end, here's what I'm aiming for this year.  Check back with me in March, and we'll see how well it goes.  One thing I AM doing, which should help, is giving myself permission to fall off the wagon.  So many times, we make resolutions, and then when we fail to keep them regularly, we just toss them out the window.  But with this new schedule, if stuff happens, then it happens...and we'll try again next week!
  • Monday
    • Board game night!  It used to be a family tradition to play board games on Monday nights...and then the kids got older and things sort of drifted to the wayside.  But it won't be long before they drift into even wider circles and leave home.  We are reinstating game night for a little cut-throat fun.
  • Tuesday
    • TV night with the family.  By the time we finish Boy Scouts and Civil Air Patrol, admittedly we usually get home pretty late on Tuesdays...but are wired.  This is the perfect night to pull out those black and white tv shows we love and wind down with the boob tube before bed.
  • Wednesday
    • Spa Day....or more likely, physical therapy day followed by a salt bath.  Wednesday is our go-to-the-city day.  For you more urban and suburban folks, who may not be in the know, rural folks tend to gather up all their errands and appointments and scheduled them on one super-long day.  For us, that almost always ends up being on a Wednesday.  (I do it on purpose -- it's double coupon day at the grocery store.)  If possible, once a month, I plan to add a massage to this city trip, too!
  • Thursday
    • Sleep in...  By Thursday I'm usually tired.  I've put in a couple of late nights with extracurricular activities, and turning off the alarm clock to let my body get the rest it needs is the perfect mid-week treat.  Of course, this one is much easier to do if you don't have littles...
  • Friday
    • Hit the hay...  Whether curled up with a book or somebody else, tonight's the night to pack it in and call it a week.  Typically, hubby is pretty worn out after a full work week as well, so we'll turn in early and hand the remote over to the kids to watch a teen movie.  But absolutely no working after 6pm on Fridays!
  • Saturday
    • Say no to technology!  There will be times that this is easier said that done, and I realize that.  Particularly during busy times or when we're preparing for an upcoming trip.  However, with the paring down of social media, this should get easier throughout the year.  I foresee issues keeping this one on cold, rainy weekend mornings...
  • Sunday
    • Curl up and read...  Whether it's from a devotional or a new fiction novel, this day is dedicated to resting and reading.  After all, an introverted bibliophile's best friend is a good book!  This day is NOT for reading new curriculum, homeschooling magazines, or anything else that could be construed as work-related.  It's about restoring the soul.

And that's it!  A small tweak each day of the week that provides a bit of self-care.  They say that small changes add up to big effects...let's see if the adage still rings true.  

What changes will you make this year?

Here are some of my favorite books to start at the new year.  We read one together as a family, and I usually have a different one for personal use.  Do you have a good one to add to this list? Comment below!

Thursday, December 30

Historic Floods & When The Dikes Broke

In 'When the Dikes Broke,' the combination of wind, high tide, and low pressure caused the sea to flood land up to 5.6 meters (18.4 ft) above mean sea level. Most of the sea defenses - polders and dikes - facing the surge were overwhelmed, causing extensive flooding...

The North Sea Flood was caused by a heavy storm at the end of Saturday, 31 January 1953 and morning of the next day. The storm surge struck the Netherlands, north-west Belgium, England and Scotland.

A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry. Floods are of significant concern in agriculture, civil engineering, and public health. Human changes to the environment often increase the intensity and frequency of flooding.  Flooding may occur as an overflow of water from water bodies, such as a river, lake, or ocean, in which the water overtops or breaks levees, resulting in some of that water escaping its usual boundaries, or it may occur due to an accumulation of rainwater on saturated ground in an areal flood. While the size of a lake or other body of water will vary with seasonal changes in precipitation and snow melt, these changes in size are unlikely to be considered significant unless they flood property or drown domestic animals.

Floods can also occur in rivers when the flow rate exceeds the capacity of the river channel. Floods often cause damage to homes and businesses if they are in the natural flood plains of rivers.  In spite of these, however, people have traditionally lived and worked by rivers because the land is usually flat and fertile, and because rivers provide easy travel and access to commerce and industry.


Read

  • When the Dikes Broke
    • Based on the great flood that swept over Holland in 1953, the gripping story When the Dikes Broke follows the tale of the van Rossem family as they are awakened by sirens and the clanging of church bells and soon realize that the dikes have broken. As the water rises to their roof, the family is separated, and a desperate and daring search is set in place for those who have been swept away. This adventurous story is packed with educational and moral value.
  • I Survived the Great Molasses Flood

Watch

Make / Do

Identify the location of each on a map.  Then place them on a timeline.

  • Johnstown Flood - 1889
  • Central China Flood - 1931
  • Great Drowning of Men - 1362
  • Indus River Valley - 1941
  • Mississippi Flood - 1927
  • Arno River - 1966
  • Sino-Japanese Flood - 1938
  • Bristol Channel - 1607
  • North Sea Flood - 1953
  • Molasses Flood - 1919

Think

  • Why can a river flood even if there was no recent rain in that section of the river valley?
  • How is flooding represented throughout history in various cultures and mythologies?


Enjoying this unit? You might like Beautiful Book Studies!

Each unit addresses a new topic, including science, history, and geography.  Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.

  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the topic to life.

Table of Contents

  • The King’s Fifth
  • Red Falcons of Tremoine
  • Golden Hawks of Genghis Khan
  • Red Hugh of Ireland
  • Calico Captive
  • The Story of Eli Whitney
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • The Lost Kingdom
  • The Secret Garden
  • Heidi
  • Girl of the Limberlost
  • The Winged Watchman
  • When the Dikes Broke
  • Using the Good & the Beautiful in High School

The books selected for these unit studies can be found in the upper grades areas of The Good and the Beautiful Book List.  However, Homeschool On the Range and Sparks Academy are not employed by or affiliated with, nor do they receive any compensation from, The Good and the Beautiful.  It has simply been their curriculum of choice for many years.  These unit studies are not endorsed by The Good and the Beautiful or Jenny Phillips.

Wednesday, December 15

Lernen macht Spaß with Homeschool Languages! {Learning is Fun}


Our son is a collector of languages...he loves them all!  In his short time here, he has studied Latin, Greek, Egyptian, Celtic, Italian, Spanish, Yiddish, Hebrew, Quenya, and Mandarin.  That last one isn't really going so well...Chinese is extraordinarily difficult to learn as it is so very different from the other languages on that list.  As there's a first time for everything, he decided to cut his losses there and move on to German!  After all, a medieval reenactor needs to speak the language, right?

I stumbled upon the Homeschool Languages curriculum, which is a full curriculum that introduces you to the language, how it is constructed, and how it works.  The course teaches vocabulary plus how to conjugate and put phrases together.  As he loves to try out all things language-oriented, we decided to give it a go!


What's Included with Homeschool Languages?

  • Textbook: 40 lessons, with extra practice and 4 unit reviews that replace lesson days.  These are prepped for you.
    • In the Level 1 curriculum, there are four units:
      • UNIT 1: MANNERS
      • UNIT 2: LET'S GO
      • UNIT 3: AROUND THE HOUSE
      • UNIT 4: IN THE KITCHEN
  • Booklets: 17 mini-booklets review phrases taught
  • A game board and pieces: A simple, double-sided game board that can be used for a variety of games that reinforce language learning. (Pieces are included with physical copy only- board is included in printable version.)
  • Flash cards: These can also be used for games
  • Display cards: A few cards you can display around your home to help you remember to use your new phrases in daily life!
  • **The physical copy of the curriculum also includes an inflatable globe and a puppet.
In addition to the course, there are targeted units that add more vocabulary.  These are word banks for things like going to the grocery store, riding in the car, and around town.  If you'd like to learn more about the specific units - and pick up the shopping unit totally FREE - check those out here.

You only need one curriculum set per family, and it can be used individually or family-style.  It's written in an imagination-based style, encouraging learning through play.  Try the free downloads today to see the playful nature of the curriculum yourself!  While the targeted age is four to ten, our teenaged son is using it on his own and doing well.  He is eliminating some of the younger, more playful pieces, as it doesn't appeal to his personality, but overall the curriculum is still a hit.  

There are three projected levels to Homeschool Languages.  Each will build off the former and incorporate consistent review for cyclical learning.
  • Level 1. (current level) Around the house: present tense, talking about I, you, we, commands.
  • Level 2. Meeting new people: describing things/others, continuation of present tense, talking about others (he/she/they).
  • Level 3. Past tense and telling stories. Will include future tense only as a review of "I'm going to/you're going to/etc, not as "I will."


What does a lesson look like?

  • Each lesson starts with a song.  These teach vocabulary and phrases, and you access them through their YouTube videos.
  • Then there is the meat of the lesson.  Blue sections tell you, the teacher, what to do, and then the black section is what you say to the student. In bold are the words in the new language so they're easy to identify!  These lessons are open-and-go for the homeschooling parent.
  • Games help to further the understanding of concepts and cultural aspects.
  • End with a booklet.  These mini-books give your child confidence in the language, using the words they have learned.  They're short and sweet, and you're instructed to have your child repeat each line after you so they can practice forming the new language. (For non-natives, pronunciation is given on each page!)
  • Cool down with a song playlist.  More YouTube links get your child hearing more of the new words in fun and different settings.  Hearing the words and cadences are important when learning a new language, as this helps to create new neural pathways.

Peek inside the curriculum!


Why is it still great for teens?

  • Because it's written in an open-and-go format to teach younger kids, he is able to work his way through the course work independently.
  • Culture is used throughout the curriculum to further what is taught. It creates a sense of familiarity with the language and it's people!  We like to incorporate Google Earth exploration alongside the cultural aspects, covering geography as well.
  • There are 17 mini-books included that review phrases as they're taught in the curriculum!  While the imagery on them is young (remember, target age is 4-10), they still help to reinforce the concepts and phrases in a way that is easy for him to remember.
  • The curriculum also includes spinners, game boards, and cards for a variety of games, all of which are included.  Learning and review can stop being a chore, and instead becomes family night!  Admittedly, as the rest of us are pretty burnt out on trying to keep up with his language-hopping, none of us has jumped at playing games with him yet.  BUT I have some friends with German-learning teens and we are working on coordinating game night held virtually!


How is our teen using this?

  • He is incorporating some of the charts and graphics we already own through TalkBox.Mom.  (Find out more about their curriculum, and snag a coupon code, here.)  These charts go in distinct places, such as the bathroom and kitchen, around the house and remind him of his vocabulary.
  • He is listening to German on the Mango Languages app.  This is more of a conversational program, and helps to reinforce pronunciation.
  • He is watching his medieval / blacksmithing videos on YouTube, many of which are in German, for more exposure to the languages.  Plus he was going to watch these anyway...
  • He is bugging mom by asking her questions in German while she is trying to navigate city traffic...which is always fun for everyone!

Click the graphic below to try two full weeks of the curriculum for free!  As an added bonus for our readers, use code YVIE2022 to get a free unit of your choice.  Expires 12/31/2022.