• 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…

  • Book Nook,  Books,  Curriculum,  English,  History

    4th of July Books

     This holiday weekend is for cookouts, fireworks, and all things red, white, and blue. Enjoying our freedoms with family and friends is certainly what it’s all about. Let’s be intentional and teach our kids WHY and WHAT we are celebrating on Independence Day. Here are my favorite 5 books for learning more about the 4th of July:

  • 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’

  • Cottage School

    A Typical Cottage School Day

    One of the reasons we love cottage school is that we make it fit our needs on a weekly basis. Last week, Annie wrote about how our morning opening time has changed over the year as we evaluated what we really needed; then we were able to make those changes easily. We encourage you to think about what your educational needs may be and see how the flexibility provided by a cottage school can meet them. Our version of cottage school is just one way of doing it. For example, we meet once a week on Mondays, but it might work better for your group to meet a few times…

  • Cottage School,  English

    Adjectives and Adverbs

    After gaining an understanding of nouns, pronouns, and verbs, the next parts of speech children can learn to identify are adjectives and adverbs.  ~Adjectives modify or describe nouns or pronouns. It’s important to teach these after your child learns nouns and pronouns.  ~Adverbs modify or describe verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. It’s important to teach these after your child learns how to recognize verbs. The easiest adverbs to recognize are the ones that end in -ly.  Often these two parts of speech are confused or misused (as in swapping “good” for “well” and vice versa). Also, some adjectives end with -ly, so you really need to make sure your child…