As a homeschool mom, your life is busy. And as fall approaches, your life is about to get much busier. But now—while the tomatoes are ripe, the kids are at swimming lessons, and you’re making preserves from the summer berry harvest (or not)—is the time to think about how you can ease into the new school year.
We’ve created a simple and practical list to help ensure you have a smooth start to the school year. If just one of these tips helps you even a little, we’ve done our job of making your homeschool journey easier and more enjoyable.
1 Make Self-Care a Priority
When school starts, you’ll be taking responsibility for your children’s education. What a blessing! And what a huge responsibility! For moms, physical and mental preparedness is a must. In order to take care of others, you must take care of yourself. Here are some suggestions:
2 Get Sunshine and Outdoor Time
Fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your state of mind. Now is the time to soak in that vitamin D before the cooler temperatures set in.
3 Get Healthy
Did you make any health and fitness goals at the beginning of the year? Health and wellness go right along with self-care and outdoor time. Summer is a great time to begin healthy new habits. So, when things get busy during the school year, these habits will already be set in place.
Now is a great time to get your house in shape for the new school year. If your house is uncluttered, your mind will be as well.
5 Work on Home Improvement Projects
Do any areas of your home need attention? Summer is a great time to work on making your house a home and to play catch-up on what you’ve been putting off all academic year.
Summer is a great time to reflect on what you need to do differently next year. It is also a great time to consider tweaks in your homeschool schedule and household routine. Brainstorm. Write down your thoughts. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
7 Order Curriculum
You’ve been spending the last several months going to conventions, researching online, talking to friends, and mulling over curriculum choices. Now is the time to order. Don’t wait until the week before your homeschool start date. Shipping can take a little while, and you’ll want to have some time to wrap your head around new materials and instructor guides.
8 Work Ahead a Little
Is there anything you can take care of now to get something off your plate for fall? If you have a few free moments, maybe you can take care of some big tasks that would otherwise be overwhelming in the midst of homeschooling.
9 Plan Ahead a Little
August is a great month to spend some quality time with your fall calendar. This will ease your mind and ensure that you do all the things you want to do.
Homeschooling isn’t easy, but it is good. We here at Silverdale Press are here to make your lives easier during the busy months ahead!
Can Your Kids Write with Style?
At Silverdale Press, we understand that, as a homeschooling mom, you are busy and cannot devote all of your time to improving your child's writing. But even in the midst of your busy life, there are still some steps you can take to help your child write with style.
But first, what is writing style?
By writing style, we mean four things:
(1) correctness--whether grammar and punctuation are used properly
(2) clarity--whether sentences are direct and intelligible
(3) ornamentation--whether words are pleasing and interesting, and
(4) propriety--whether the writing is appropriate for the audience.
Does your child need to work on any of these elements of style? If so, here are some action steps you can take.
First, encourage your child to read.
By reading voraciously, especially books from the world’s greatest writers, your child will absorb excellent prose. You child’s vocabulary will expand, as will his or her knowledge of correctness in grammar and punctuation. Remember this essential truth: reading widely covers a multitude of writing sins!
Second, check out a style guide.
Here’s a pro tip. There are few great, mass-market writing style guides that have helped generations of writers, amateurs and professionals alike. If your teen’s writing style needs a boost, put one of these classics in his or her hands:
(1) The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
(2) On Writing Well by William Zinsser
(3) Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams
Third, invest in a good writing curriculum.
As busy homeschool mom, there is no shame in relying on outside help, especially for subjects in which you are not an expert. That’s why we at Silverdale Press wrote our new curriculum, Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers. By letting us take care of the writing instruction for you, you’ll have more time, and you can rest assured that your child will receive expert instruction on how to write with style.
Click here to download a free sample chapter of our writing curriculum!
Just listen to what this homeschool mom has to say about our curriculum:
"I have found an amazing homeschool writing curriculum and I wasn't even looking for one...The program is easy to use and exposes students to some great literature in the process.” ~ Kim C.
This essential skill will set your child up for success in college, a career, and life! Why not give it a try?
Primary sources are documents, images, and artifacts that provide direct evidence about what happened in history. Textbook authors can distort the truth. The best way for students to gather knowledge, and to get unbiased information, is to go straight to the source: the primary source.
If you are teaching early American history in your homeschool this year, do not neglect primary sources. In this age where textbook authors make villains out of great leaders, writers, thinkers, and citizens, it is helpful to see these people for who they really were—not perfect but advancing civilization nevertheless.
At Silverdale Press, our unit studies rely heavily on primary sources, including some of those listed below. So if you want to use primary sources in your homeschool but don’t know how, our studies take away all of the prep work and guess work for parents.
Many homeschool families like to cover American history every year. If you are one of those families, in addition to our unit studies, check out this list of 30 primary sources on early American history. This list would be great to tuck away in your inbox for the future or to use right now if you are preparing for next school year! The list is in chronological order from colonial America to the Civil War.
30 Primary Sources for Teaching Early American History
1 Thomas Hariot’s A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia. One of the first written eyewitness accounts of North America.
2 In 1585, John White made watercolor drawings of the Algonquin people. He made them to give the people back home in England an idea about what was in the New World:
3 University of Cincinnati’s Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of History and Archaeological Sites has digital restorations of Ohio Valley Mounds and a virtual reconstruction of pre-Columbian mounds:
4 The original narrative of the first white man to cross North America, Cabeza de Vaca:
5 The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database has information on 36,000 slaving voyages, in which millions of Africans were transported to the Americas from the 1500s to 1800s.
6 This Website has information on the settlement at Jamestown: www.virtualjamestown.org
7 Poems of Anne Bradstreet, wife of the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, provide insight into puritan marriage. Find some of them here:
8 Plimoth Plantation www.plimoth.org: This website is maintained by a living history museum south of Boston, Massachusetts. Its Website contains a number of primary sources, including Pilgrim letters.
9 See the New Netherland Institute www.newnetherlandinstitute.org for primary sources on the Dutch colonization in New York.
10 Examine portraits of colonial children via the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation: http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Summer05/children.cfm?showSite=mobile-regular
11 Project Gutenberg has the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, one of the greatest sources on one of our most famous founders. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/20203/20203-h/20203-h.htm
12 Sermons of George Whitefield: www.crta.org/documents/Whitefield.html Visit this site for primary documents on the first Great Awakening. It includes speeches and sermons of the Rev. Whitefield.
13 The Massachusetts Historical Society has all of the letters John and Abigail Adams wrote to each other. It is a treasure trove of primary information about this historic couple. https://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/archive/letter/
14 Want to read what ignited revolutionary fervor? Check out Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/147
15 Valley Forge National Historical Park Museum Collections has primary sources on the American Revolution, George Washington, and the Continental Army: https://www.nps.gov/vafo/learn/historyculture/museum.htm
16 Edited by Sarah Josepha Hale, the Godey’s Lady’s Book was the women’s magazine of choice during the early Republic and through the 1890s. The Hathi Trust has a number of them. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000050287
17 The Center for Lowell History has great information on working girls in this early American mill town. https://www.uml.edu/library/
18 The Avalon Project at Yale University has digitized the Federalist Papers, a series of essays by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay that provided a rationale for ratifying the U.S. Constitution: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/fed.asp
19 The University of Virginia houses the Papers of George Washington: www.virginia.edu/gwpapers
20 Princeton University houses the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: www.jeffersonpapers.princeton.edu:
21 This government site provides documents on pioneer life in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/umhtml/umhome.html
22 If your student is interested in the law, the Library of Congress maintains this site: American Memory: Slaves and the Courts, 1740–1860 http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/sthtml/sthome.html
23 Don’t miss out on the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, a slave who taught himself to read and escaped. Gutenberg has it: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/23?msg=welcome_stranger#link2HCH0001
24 Check out Uncle Remus, His Songs and Sayings for insight on the cultural lives of slaves: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2306
25 The National Park Service maintains this Website for the Seneca Falls women’s rights convention. http://www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm:
26 If you want to learn about Westward expansion, look no further than the Overland Trail Diaries from the Oregon-California Trail Association: http://www.octa-journals.org/journals
27 See Harper’s Weekly Historical Cartoons for political cartoons from the 1800s www.harpweek.com/
28 The Lincoln-Douglas debates launched Abraham Lincoln into national prominence. Read them at the National Park Service Website: https://www.nps.gov/liho/learn/historyculture/debates.htm
29 Harpers Ferry National Historical Park http://www.nps.gov/hafe/index.htm is the official U.S. government website for the national park that contains the remains of the 1859 Harpers Ferry raid by John Brown.
30 The Civil War was captured in Mathew Brady’s famous photographs. Photography was a new technology at this time. The Library of Congress has the images: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/cwp/
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