• Cottage School

    Homeschooling Tips

    If you’re like many families across the United States, you may have decided to homeschool your kids this year for the first time. Research shows that growing numbers of families are choosing to home-educate in lieu of trying to manage distance learning for their children. This is a difficult time for all families, and we hope to offer some encouragement to those new families who are homeschooling. Here are a few practical things to remember and consider if you find yourself “suddenly homeschooling.” The time you spend homeschooling will likely be far less than what you may have been used to when your kids were in a traditional environment. That’s…

  • Curriculum

    Planning Your Homeschool Year

    In a moment when I probably hadn’t gotten enough sleep or hadn’t had enough coffee I decided it would be fun to figure out what a possible yearly plan for our homeschooling schedule would look like if we homeschooled all our kids, all the way through high school.  I discovered I’d be homeschooling until 2035!!  While this was an interesting exercise it’s not extremely helpful to spend too much time on the 30,000 foot view of our plans.  If we have learned anything from this year, it’s that we don’t have control over the future, and we certainly can’t imagine the details of our future! For now, we plan to…

  • Uncategorized

    Summer Foodie Fun with Kids!

    Since we’re in Arizona – the summers can get long – and obviously they are super HOT! Making special treats in the summer, just like baking in the winter, is one way to keep kids entertained, and fed, all summer long! Frozen Watermelon Pops – this is as basic as it sounds – but kids LOVE it. You cut watermelon into thick wedges and use a knife to slice a small opening on the back rind. Insert a popsicle stick and freeze for 2+ hours. Remove from freezer and enjoy! Bird’s nest snack – my kids love their plan, buttered pasta. I don’t mind, especially when using the oven is…

  • Activities,  Cottage School

    Engaging Kids without Screens

    Keeping kids busy and off technology has been really difficult in our home with so many of our usual options closed. We can’t hop off to the museums, libraries, and splash pads that we are used to–and it’s been difficult for the entire family. Here are a few ideas and tips to help your family stay entertained and fill those long days! 1. Try “reading baskets.” This works for younger kids, but even my 10 year old enjoys this activity. We have a large stack of wide laundry baskets. The kids get a basket, lay a blanket in it, and squeeze themselves in with a few books. While the activity…

  • English

    Teaching Kids About Prepositions

    Prepositions can be the easiest part of speech to identify in many cases. Remember that a preposition always takes an object (noun or pronoun), so you will see a preposition beginning what is called a prepositional phrase (and it ends with the object). For example: Over the hill and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go. This sentence has three prepositions in it. Can you find them? They begin a phrase and end with the object of the preposition (noun or pronoun).  Over the hillThrough the woodsTo grandmother’s house I remember an elementary teacher telling me that prepositions are anything that a rabbit can do to a log: A…

  • English,  Uncategorized

    Teaching Kids About Conjunctions

    Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?” Schoolhouse Rock songs like that one have been in my head since I was a kid. But what IS a conjunction? What IS its function? Understanding the different types of conjunctions and how they function to join words, phrases, and clauses together is important when it comes to being a fluid writer or teaching your own child to become one. Here are the three, maybe four (I’ll explain), types of conjunctions:  Coordinating Conjunctions→ For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So are the coordinating conjunctions. These can be memorized with the acronym FANBOYS. They are used to join words, phrases, or clauses together and are the…

  • Curriculum,  English

    8 Parts of Speech: Interjections

    Wow! We are on the last part of the 8 parts of speech series. The final one? Interjections, of course! What is an interjection? It’s a word that interjects strong emotion. These aren’t used in formal writing often, but we use these in conversations and conversational writing daily. They also show up in our favorite novels, so if your child likes to do creative writing, knowing how to punctuate these correctly proves important as well.  Incorrect: Oh I need to buy school supplies. Correct: Oh, I need to buy school supplies. Incorrect: Yikes school supplies are expensive! Correct: Yikes! School supplies are expensive! Any questions? Post in the comments below.…

  • Books,  Curriculum,  History

    Studying History

    History is one subject we have chosen not to cover during our cottage school day. We realize that some subjects work well at cottage school, but others don’t. We all decided to do what we want for history: Annie uses Memoria Press (classical) for history lessons; Amelia uses Sonlight (literature based); and Jenny and I use Susan Wise Bauer’s “The Story of the World.” All of us supplement our history textbooks with various books focused on what time period we are studying. The benefits of a good history curriculum are priceless though. What should you look for in one?  First, make sure it’s covering world history and not just American…

  • Activities,  Cottage School

    Field Trips and Free Days!

    We are fortunate in Arizona to have many opportunities to visit museums and more for free (or at a deep discount). I’ve noticed that more and more opportunities for free days are popping up everywhere, and when you’re educating at home, these benefits are worth taking a day off to go explore! In Arizona, we have something called First Fridays where a variety of museums and local businesses offer free entry. We love First Fridays, and it’s worth doing some research in your own state to see what discounts are available. Here are some other places in Arizona that offer free days: The Desert Botanical Gardens  The Children’s Museum of…

  • Activities,  Books

    Best Books Preschool & Kindergarten

    Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?  Green Eggs & Ham Chicka Chicka Boom Boom The Carrot Seed Runaway Bunny Goodnight Moon Big Red Barn Barn Dance! THe Snowy Day The Big Green Pocketbook The Little Rabbit/Lamb/Kitten/Duck Corduroy & A Pocket for Corduroy We’re Going on A Bear Hunt Play With Me I am an Artist A tree is Nice The Little Engine that Could Choo Choo The Runaway Engine Five Little Ducks Frog Went a Courtin’