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Don’t understand kids’ homework? Don’t miss these Homeschool and Public School Resources!

HELP! I don’t understand 6th grade math!

Confession: I’m a college graduate, I’ve worked at an investment company in a high rise and wore a suit, I’ve worked from home having started my own business, I’ve run a retail store and I still get stuck on math.

Honestly, I have forgotten, well maybe misplaced, many if the things I’ve learned from grammar school (and high school and college too) and sometimes, some days, homeschooling is a great big challenge. It doesn’t matter what degree I hold, if I worked at a fancy office, it doesn’t matter if I had to dress up or could wear my PJ’s, I don’t know everything and even grammar school level work can give me pause.

Public schooling or homeschooling, we parents need help when it comes to helping our children with their education. Here’s a list of resources that may help you get through a challenge or two.

First, be honest with your kids and yourself. I learned long ago that I don’t have to know everything, I just need to know how to get to the answer. People respond better to hearing that I don’t know an answer and am willing to find it versus watching me make a fool of myself and making something up. It’s a great lesson to teach my kids, to be empowered to find their answers.

From there, the most important resource for homeschooling success to reach out to the homeschool community – it is a vast and generous community of people. Talking to homeschool families for any length of time it’s easy to see their curiosity and joy of working with others.

Thinking back to when my oldest was first born, over 11 years ago, I felt isolated and alone until I found a group that fit with my beliefs and parenting goals. Those wonderful moms, and dads, shared my joys and challenges and even if there was no concrete answer I found comfort in talking about an issue.

The same can be said for homeschooling. Answers may not be pat, cut and dry, readily available, or easily accessible but having someone or a group to turn to who can relate to what your going through is an invaluable emotional recharge that can provide perspective and energy needed to jump in and find a way through.

Find a group in your area or even online and get connected with families doing the same thing, or even different. Some groups coordinate field trips and host regular meetings.

HomeSchoolingInColorado.com provides a list of groups throughout Colorado and the online universe as well as resources on how to start homeschooling, curriculum, conferences, organization helpers, and tips for working with teens.

Is math causing you a headache? So many resource, so little patience! There are lots of resources online here’s a resource of resources of all things math.

HomeSchoolMath.net has a blog, an email newsletter, product reviews, lesson tips and reviews and free worksheets, there’s a wealth of information to be had.

Mathnook.com is simply fun math games online. The Math Pup Measurement Puzzle was enjoyable.

Get your hands dirty and do some hands-on science experiments at home. My kids are enthralled by science experiments! SciFun.org has lots of creative ways to learn science at home. Many of these projects could be used to create a science birthday party too!

ScienceBob.com has one of our favorite “experiments” which has morphed into just a fun game that the children play: Film Canister Rocket!

The book Sandwich Bag Science is full of fun experiments that require just a few household items. There are several books in this series including Soda Bottle Science and Coffee Can Science.

Practical Homeschooling and Home Education Magazines are great resources that can be delivered to your home or can be checked out from many libraries. Every possible homeschooling topic is discussed in these magazines and on their websites, and there are more titles in publication. I had fun going through some of the geography quizzes on HomeEdMag.com.

SuperTeacherWorksheets.com provides all manner of helpers for all subjects. A little change of pace or some additional work in a subject could be just the help your scholar needs.

I can’t say it enough, the Arapahoe Library System is amazing! We visit the Smoky Hill library several times a week. The librarians are wonderful, helpful, knowledgeable people and they host a variety of programs for every age group. Each year the Smoky Hill location hosts a homeschool used book fair. Check with your location for programs and events for your family.

Each week and month there are story times for the little ones, computer classes and book clubs for most age groups, tween programs, a Teen writing program, The Dinosaur Lady is coming in November, movie showings and my son’s favorite: Game On! An hour and a half of video games on large screens as well as board games. (Not one video game player lives in our house. Yes, my children are deprived to the extreme and they would appreciate any and all pity you can spare.)

The greatest resources we have is the great outdoors. School can happen outside the home and often the most interesting, entertaining and educational opportunities happen when we step outside our own boxes of structure and routine. Denver and Colorado have museums, gardens, farms, historical sites and trails that can captivate all of our imaginations.

Regular field trips are necessary for our family. We typically purchase one or two memberships per year, changing up the venues every year or two, enabling use to go frequently throughout the year. It’s not unusual to see us at Hudson Gardens every week of the summer. Our favorite spots include Denver Nature and Science Museum,  Hudson Gardens, Denver Botanic Gardens.

Parks, parks, parks! Exercise is vital to health and can aid in focus and concentration. I can easily overlook this component but my kids remind of the need with their boundless energy. Adopting puppies this year has kept the subject of physical education at the forefront of our activities and we’ve spent most everyday at a park or on a walk. We walk, play soccer, train the puppies, toss the tennis ball, play with the neon circular flying disc.

Homeschooling provides us with a great deal of flexibility and opportunities to explore our city and state. It’s called “home” schooling but many of our lessons happen out and about.

 

Photo Credits: www.freedigitalphotos.net, brain -Boaz Yiftach, slide – photostock

 

Heather Ruch
Author: Heather Ruch

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2 Comments

  1. Heather,

    I love that you’ve listed these as resources for both those who homeschool and also public school. My kids are only in kindergarten and 2nd grade but I’ve already been stumped a couple of times re: teaching methods that are different than how I learned. I’m in for some fun times ahead. 🙂

    • Amber, you’re so right that teaching methods have changed a lot. When I first started homeschooling I had this idea that the early years would be easy. Not only have methods changed, but I have changed a lot since I learned all those early skills. It’s been a refresher for me each year and I’ve come to enjoy re-learning all these subjects from a new perspective.

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