How do you make homeschool fun?
Easy. Make it fun.
Many moms tell me that it can be a drag. They may feel inadequate. Some give their children a stack of boring books to mark through with daily reading and busy work. Others just do not even teach their children at all because they say their children are “unschooled”.
None of these need to be a part of your experience as you choose to homeschool your children. The reason you chose to homeschool or the reason you may be considering it is because you feel you may be able to give your children something they can’t get in private or public school.
With all the school shootings being broadcasted over the media, it is no wonder more and more are considering this option. Bullying, drugs, negative influences, being taught progressive liberal agenda are among other reasons people choose homeschooling these days.
I choose to homeschool because I have a passion for teaching and learning with my children. I love researching and digging deep into all the vast wonders of our world, our history, our society, and the way people believe from every kindred nation. It is interesting to see why we believe as we do, the evidence of miracles through the ages, the origins of paganism, and the rise and fall of nations. Some of the things from thousands of years ago we will see resonate in how we relate to one another today.
I use a very Classical approach to homeschooling, which means, I work in unit studies. Unit studies are a creative way of connecting all learning to a common thread. I chose to use World History as my common thread. That means I will teach a particular historical time period and work in that realm for all other course studies.
For instance, if I am working my way through history starting at the beginning, I would first start with the story of creation and the cradle of civilization. Ancient worlds of Sumerian cultures, Mesopotamian cultures, and Ancient Egypt. I would go through the biblical perspective, creation science, age of the earth, teaching writing by having assignments tailored to questions of that period. I would have the children reading books written in cuneiform and translated into modern English like The Epic of Gilgamesh. It was written by someone who actually lived in that era which makes it more REAL to my students.
As you hunt for original pieces of literature, you must always read the reviews or read the pieces before presenting them to your students. You can always find adaptations that will be written to suit younger students. The the Illiad and the Odyssey by Homer in Ancient Greece is a poem in its original form, yet you can find novels that have an adaptation which will be easier for your younger students to appreciate.
I am a firm believer in giving my children works written on both sides, biblical and pagan. I think it helps greatly to know why the Israelites were so hard hearted. They continued pagan worship because of the culture they existed in. They did not have what we have today, the Holy Spirit, to have continued access to. Some conservatives would like to not teach anything about other ways of thinking but I see opposition as a means to strengthen our own stance and convictions. It is the key to understanding history and our pursuit of God even today.
UNIT ONE: The Ancient World
I will show you week by week what my lesson plans look like so you so see what we did. First, you can see my overall year plan with History and Science for our Unit Studies.
Week 1: (for example) Age of the Earth and the Cradle of Civilization…
We always start each day with a Bible reading and writing assignment, a prayer, and then math. At 8am we all meet and open the Bible to a book that we agreed to work through and read about 12 verses in a chapter. We ask the Lord what he is saying to us through this and then write down what we learned from the Holy Spirit on what we read. We all take a moment to read what we wrote and then we each pray for someone or for our nation. I view this step as the most critical of all because it sets us up for a good day of learning when we spend time with God first.
We open our Math books and each of them is at a different level so I basically am the math tutor. I go around and help teach them step by step how to get results. I sometimes use a white board and have them come to the board to show me how they got their answer. By 9 or 9:30 am we are ready for more FUN! History or Science!!!
History & Science Lessons
For my very first lesson, I created a slide show with KeyNote on my Apple computer. It is the same type of software as PowerPoint. One day I plan to create a video on how to make a beautiful slideshow. For now, you can go to www.TomRichey.net
I gave you the link right to his page on Ancient Mesopotamia. He has some great resources there on that page for you. There are worksheets, PowerPoints that he has made that you can either flip through or download for free. He has some fun Youtube videos as well that have fun songs that your children will find interesting. The neat thing if you download his PowerPoints onto your computer, you can delete slides you do not want and add more in your own computer software. The other images you would like to add, you can easily find them when you search on the internet for images of Ancient Mesopotamia.
I use the World History book from Abeka to give me a starting point. I read the chapter and I try to make a nice lesson plan around what information is presented. I think of things to write about, art projects, and make slide shows.
On Youtube I look up great teaching videos for what we are studying as well. You actually can use Youtube to help teach your children just about everything they need to know for school. It is pretty amazing. Teachers, experts, and well known professors have already made a slideshow or a documentary on every subject you can possibly imagine. Here is an example for you called Crash Course: Ancient Mesopotamia
When you are on Youtube, you can search the word Crash Course and (the subject you want to learn about), and then you can find the video for that. If you like documentaries, you can search on Youtube for Ancient Mesopotamia Documentary. I would suggest watching it first to see if it covers the information you want your students to learn and if it contains things you would rather that they do not learn. I always watch them first.
Every other day, we will study Science. For Unit 1, I thought it would be very fitting to study the Age of the Earth, Dinosaurs, and the Garden of Eden. Creation Science is one of my favorite things to learn about. If you go to Creation Science: Age of the Earth on Youtube, you can find Dr. Kent Hovind teaching all about it. I print of the companion worksheets for free and have the students fill them out as they are watching the program. It helps them pay closer attention to the facts. He has about 7 total Creation Science videos. Watch them all. It is all great information.
One of the most fun parts of education is incorporating fun projects that relate to history or science. For ancient Mesopotamia, we made clay tablets that we press sharp tools into the clay to make their ancient writing called cuneiform. We fired the clay (Sculpey clay that you can bake in the oven) and then painted them. Here are some examples of art projects from Ancient Sumerian cultures. We looked up paintings from that time and then copied them on watercolor paper.
When we were learning about China we did some Chinese character writing along with some beautiful Chinese brush painting.
For Ancient Egypt, we used the sculpey clay to form different Egyptian sculptures that we found as we searched.
To bring these cultures to life we studied the foods they would have eaten during that time and made a beautiful royal feast with the sound of King David playing the Lyre in the background. We pretended we harvested the leeks and shallots on the edge of the Tigris River. The birds were from the river Nile. We roasted the birds with the leeks and they were so good. We had pastries from that time period stuffed with dates and cinnamon, pomegranate glazed scones, unleavened bread, Naan bread, and Makla Massoor as a side dish seasoned with Ancient spices of Turmeric and cardamon. It was a Royal feast.
To entertain our guests, we put together a play about the plagues of Egypt—the story of Moses. The costumes were found on Amazon as well as the backdrops and all the props we found at thrift stores. I wrote the play based from the biblical account and we rehearsed the play for several weeks until we could memorize all the lines. You can make movies and teach video editing. There is so much that you can do to really get the most out of your education. It is such a blessing.
I hope this post has been an encouragement to you and your family. Please let me know if you have any questions or what you thought of our ideas. I love getting feedback from my readers. I will make a blog post after I finish each Unit so you can follow along and get some more fun ideas as the years moves forward. God bless!