Homeschool Your Child in Under 1 Hour per Day

 

How can you teach your child to read, write and do math in under <1 hour per day?

The secret inside Artful Teaching. Joyful Learning.® is an integrated approach - one that folds in literacy and numeracy into everything you do. The program is rooted in a Reggio-inspired approach, and its holistic style is what makes teaching and learning so seamless, streamlined and beautiful.

This blog post and video show a typical "flow" to an ATJL homeschool day, and includes predictable, repeatable rhythms and routines to teach reading, writing and math in a way that's playful, engaging and research-based.

Morning Meeting ~ 15 minutes

Morning meeting is a practice used in most early childhood classrooms, and for good reason! It's a beautiful way to teach reading and writing in a way that doesn't require much planning or headspace. Here's how.

1. Morning Message: A daily message written to your child with a rotating bank of 5 literacy strategies. Your child...

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Homeschool Morning Meeting: the Play-Based Way

 

Early years teachers have hosted classroom morning meetings for dozens of years. Morning meetings are an opportunity to come together, share, hear stories and connect through fun rhymes, songs, poems and chants.

How might we adapt Morning Meeting in a homeschool environment? How do we keep it fun and engaging, and keep learning intentional?

When I homeschooled our youngest, I had two other children from the neighborhood who came every other day to learn with us. Each day, we met for 15-20 minutes to explore a few rhythms. This helped to take the guesswork out of planning our days, and provided a structure and rhythm for our day that became predictable. Children do best when they can depend on a predictable schedule - their brains feel safe and optimized for learning.

1. Daily Sign In

We begin each day by signing in. I offered a template for each child to print their name, and share how they were feeling.

This ritual serves a few purposes:

  1. They are practicing printing their name...
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5 Epic First Day of Homeschool Ideas

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Getting ready to start homeschooling this fall? Why not start your year off with a BANG!?

Kids LOVE pomp and circumstance {who doesn't}, and in this blog post, I share 5 fun, memorable ways to kick off your school year - in celebratory fashion!

1. Pancake Buffet

We LOVE a good pancake bar, and with this idea you can fold in all kinds of learning.

Begin by reading Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle. Ask your child to retell the story, and map out the ingredients needed to make pancakes. They can even “write” their recipe in their Idea Book. {check out this post for more information on how to use an Idea Book}

Next, invite them to brainstorm a list of fun, inventive toppings. Let them make a list in their Idea Books, or brainstorm one together. 

Make the pancakes, add all the toppings to bowls and enjoy your fully-loaded pancakes! (a little 9am  ice cream never hurt anyone right?)

2. Park Tour and Picnic

When the rest of the world is in school, parks are wide...

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Homeschool Planning Basics: Playful Learning in the Early Years

If you’re taking the leap into homeschooling your little one this fall, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the moving parts. 

Supplies. Schedules. Curriculum. Socialization. Homeschool laws. 

In particular, you’re probably wondering about how to plan your days and months for learning - how much, how little - and what a typical day will look like.

Breathe, mama. You got this.

Today’s post is about giving you a checklist and roadmap to make planning a breeze, to lighten your load, and to reassure you that homeschooling in the Early Years can be light, playful and fun {for ALL of you!}, vs. stressful, overwhelming and burdensome.

Once you’ve chosen your curriculum, you’re ready to start planning your days.

In considering curriculum, look for a balanced approach - one that blends structure and important academics WITH playful learning and creative exploration. Artful Teaching. Joyful Learning.® Is a true hybrid curriculum...

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5 Creative Projects with Driftwood

Driftwood has to be one of my favourite art materials. It’s free, beautifully organic, and involves getting out into nature to collect it.

Every spring, I take the girls on a driftwood hunt on the banks of Winnipeg’s Red River. On these nature walks, we usually end up discovering much more than driftwood, which always leads to other investigations and learning.

In my work with children and families in classrooms and child care centres, I have used driftwood on several occasions. Here are a few examples.

Planted Texture Trees

The child care centre I was working with was looking to have more colour in their space, but were limited with what they could hang or affix to the walls. Thinking outside the box, we decided to bring colour and visual interest in a unique way.

We also use our texture tree as a puppet-tree - storage for our puppets! I use puppets for storytelling, to engage children in my InspirEd at Home classes, and, when the girls were younger, as a prop for...

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Favorite #ATJL Curriculum Projects

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Curious about what’s under the hood inside this best selling curriculum?

Today I’m sharing some of my community’s FAVORITE projects - unique projects you won’t find on Pinterest -  projects that are the perfect mix of art, play and academics

1. Family Talking Stick

A beautiful way to work as a family on peaceful and collaborative problem-solving, turn-taking, dialogue and story-telling which provides fodder for writing!

2. Plasticine paintings

An artful way to weave in storytelling, reading and writing! Using a story-sequencing graphic organizer, children retell a story, and then take their "favorite part" to recreate it into a plasticine painting.

3. Epic Portraits

 These show-stopper, LARGER THAN LIFE, one-of-a-kind pieces are keepsake self-portraits you’ll want to hang in your living room! They are SO dramatic and fun, and I show you exactly how - step-by-step inside one of the BONUSES for this program!

These are...

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Discover your Child's Learning Style {and how to teach them accordingly!}

 

Ever been in a traffic jam? Congestion, irritation, frustration.

If we had only listened to Google Maps, the highway would have been a much better route. Smooth, easy-going and enjoyable.

Teaching our children can have many "roadblocks" and traffic jams, especially if we're not in tune with our child's learning style. We may feel like they're not grasping certain concepts, unable to pay attention or just generally checked out and not enjoying learning.

It's not WHAT, it's HOW.

If your child has struggled with learning in the past, it may have had more to do with the way the material was presented - the HOW - rather than the material itself.

In other words, it's not so much the skills and content of utmost importance, but the route we take to get there.

Unlocking our child's learning style helps us to determine that route. 

Everyone has a preferred learning style that highlights how we best process, store and recall information. 

...

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Homeschool Organization 101

 

Systems. Streamlining. De-Cluttering. De-Stressing. 

Nothing makes me happier {or more productive} than a well-curated, organized space for living and learning.

Today's blog post is dedicated to helping you streamline, declutter and organize your homeschool in order to optimize learning and deepen play for your little ones, AND so you can finally stop stressing about where to put things, store things or find things.

All humans appreciate good design, and children are no exception. A thoughtfully curated and intentionally designed learning space goes a long way on impacting our attitude, behaviour and learning. When we have a clutter-free, streamlined space that surrounds us, we are calmer, happier and are likely to feel more productive.

But just how DO we organize it all? 

First, we need to categorize our stuff.

Let’s talk name and talk about each of these categories.

Teacher Resources

    • Subject specific
    • ...
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How to Choose a Curriculum for Young Learners

 

If you’re dabbling with the idea of homeschooling your little one this fall, you may be wondering about WHICH curriculum to use, and whether you even NEED a curriculum as you begin your homeschool journey.

And If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a parent who values play, creativity and nurturing your child’s wonder about the world.

You're likely the kind of parent who believes in a slow, gentle and natural approach to learning, and don’t like the idea of pushing hard academics, prolonged periods of seatwork, and countless worksheets and flashcards.

These ARE the good old days, and you know childhood’s too short and precious to sit at a desk for five hours a day.

 Truth be told, you don’t NEED a curriculum for the early years.

Learning in the early years should be play-based, experiential, capturing our children’s wonder and delight in their curiosity.  It should be free of pressure, gentle and...

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Reggio-Style Portfolios: Documenting your Child’s Growth

 

What do you think of when you hear the word assessment? 

Measuring achievement? Evaluation of learning? Benchmarks and comparing our kids to where they should be?

What if assessment were used less as a means for reporting achievement, and more as a means of looking at children’s growth and for the purpose of teacher planning, and children's goal setting?

In the olden days, assessment used to mean we were evaluating our children’s work according to certain standards or benchmarks. But today, assessment means a whole lot more. 

Assessment for learning is the process of gathering and making sense of our child's learning - to help us determine where children are at in their learning, and where they need to go.  

Assessment as learning is the child’s responsibility, and is the process of self-reflection on learning. We call this meta-cognition. 

Assessment of learning measures learning at a given point in time - a snapshot that can be...

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