When History is Boring

When History is Boring, Reframe it • Bright Ideas Press

While you may have visions of doing exciting history lessons as you homeschool your children, you may instead hear them groan and declare, “History is boring!”

This could be especially true if your children studied history in a traditional school setting where it truly was boring. In fact, if your children had bad experiences with history in school, you may need to take some time to deschool a bit to get them to the point of thinking history can truly be interesting.

So how do you change their minds about history without losing yours in the process? You need to reframe history in terms of story, people, topics, and styles.

Tell a Story

History is a story. If you use The Mystery of History, then you will approach the subject of history from the perspective that it is all about telling God’s redemptive story with people through the ages.

If your children don’t see history as a story but a bunch of facts and events that have no relation to each other, your first goal is simply to win them over to the idea that history is a fascinating story to be read. Focus less on getting them to remember details and more on the intrigue, suspense, wonder and joy of the stories being told.

Meet Real People

Every great history story is made up of interesting people. They might be extraordinary in some way or they might be simple people who lived simple lives. In either case, you can introduce your children to real people who lived and breathed and ate and played just like they do. These people aren’t abstract ideas. They were flesh and blood just like us.

Who can you start with? Depending on your child’s age and interests, you can consider these:

If your children don’t like history, start with living books that tell fascinating stories about real people. Make your history time a family read aloud time each day. If you need something concrete to show your children are listening and learning, have them keep a notebook and draw pictures of what you are reading to them. Just keep it simple so you don’t take the enjoyment out of it.

Use Highly Engaging Topics

Most children find certain historical topics interesting. These include The Titanic, Ancient Egypt, Knights in the Middle Ages, and the Civil War. If your children are truly burned out on history, you might be better off choosing a few topics that are of great interest to them to start with and then working your way toward an history curriculum like The Mystery of History.

Don’t Forget Learning Styles

Each child is wired to learn best in a certain way. If your children are resistant to history, make a special effort to present the information in a way that connects best with his or her learning style. The same material presented a different way can make all the difference in the world.

Some children learn best from videos and movies. Others prefer to listen to you read. Maybe your children would love to act out whatever you are learning. Or you might have one who prefers to make something that represents what she learned. The more you can teach to your child’s strength, the easier it will be to teach history.

History is Fascinating!

History truly is fascinating when taught well. The secret it finding out what clicks for your children and then making the most of it. Once they are hooked, history may very well become their favorite subject!

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Homeschooling During Medical Crisis

Homeschooling During a Medical Crisis

It was a normal Monday morning until my husband came home from work mid-morning.  He complained of stomach pains and went to rest.  We moved along with school, but I knew something wasn’t right.  He never comes home early!

By late afternoon we all knew something was indeed very wrong, and he needed to head to the emergency room.  Long story short — after about 24 hours, we found out his gallbladder had to be removed!

This adventure disrupted an entire week, but I learned some tips for homeschooling around a medical crisis.

Streamline Expectations

You are not going to be able to teach subjects from your husband’s hospital room if the kids are home with Grandmom.  For us it was easier to pare down to the bare minimum of only math and Bible.  The former they don’t love doing, but the latter they do!  It kept them moving forward, but put little pressure on Grandmom.

Create a List

My kids have a student log where we write down their courses and check off what they have to do each day.  This visual works well for my older kids to keep them on track with their work when I’m not there to supervise.

Let It Go

Tuesday was a school-free day!  With Dad in the hospital, and surgery on the horizon, it was just too much for me.  I let them enjoy that time with Grandmom.  They cooked for her and watched movies.  I like to think it was socialization and making memories!

Ease Back Into It

On Thursday and Friday, we did our pared down schedule.  Dad was home but sore.  He also had doctor appointments both days which meant running around a bit.  Everyone was tired from the events of the beginning of the week and we all needed the extra down time.  It would have been counter-productive to force them to learn when I too was brain-fuzzy from lack of sleep.  The next week we were all refreshed and ready to jump back in.

My husband is already on the mend from that crazy week and we are back to our regular routine.  We may have to add a few days of school to the end of the year, but I’m not stressing too much about that.  The important thing is we all survived the crisis and even kept homeschooling through it.

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See Bright Ideas Press at These Homeschool Conventions

We would love to meet you at our vendor booths at these 2015 conventions. Please come by to say hi, ask questions about our curriculum, or see samples of what we have to offer.

1. MASSHOPE April 24-25, 2015

Massachusetts Homeschool Organization of Parent Educators

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2. CHAP May 8-9, 2015

Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania

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3. HEAV June 11-13, 2015

Home Educators Association of Virginia

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Don’t Take the Bait: Avoiding the Comparison Trap

Don't Take the Bait: Avoiding the Comparison Trap

When I first decided to homeschool my boys, I looked  at what other people were doing. I knew of only one family in real life that was homeschooling. This family was composed of a single mom and her children. She was a full-time law student, and she seemed to make things work.  Then I watched a family on TV homeschool their children, and I thought, “I can handle that.”

And then I got started.

I was lost, confused and in way over my head

There are many things that I struggled with as a new homeschool mom, but I think the most difficult has been avoiding the comparison trap.  No matter how hard I try, I seem to fall into that pit over and over again. I see a project on Pinterest and think to myself that I’m failing because I could never pull it off.  Even when we have success in our lessons, I feel inadequate when a friend’s child seems to be doing far better than my own.

So what are we to do? How can we learn not to take the comparison bait?

Cast a Vision for Your Homeschool

Before starting your homeschool journey it’s important to have a vision. Why are you homeschooling? What are your goals for your family?  Creating a vision and long-term plan for your homeschool will help you recover when burnout sets in, when you start a new math curriculum for the seventh time, or when you start to feel inadequate.

Define What Success Looks Like

Every family is different, and every family will homeschool differently. I’m going to let you in on a secret that has really served me well over the years: You decide what success looks like for your children.

If test scores and completed textbooks are not something that you think is important, then don’t use them to measure the success of your homeschool year.

I have learned to place a higher value on progress instead of constantly measuring my children against others. As long as we are moving forward in our lessons and in learning, we are successful.

Play to Your Strengths

Here’s the thing — not everyone is going to be the mom who does all the fun hands-on activities, complicated crafts, and beautiful projects.  Maybe your strength is in planning fun field trips or finding great read alouds. Whatever it is, stick with that.  When you focus on the things that you do well (and that your children do well), you won’t have time to look at what other’s are doing.

Those are just three ways that I’ve learned to combat the need to compare myself to other families. When all else fails, you could always just avoid Pinterest and blogs for a short amount of time. You can’t compare yourself to the things you aren’t looking at right?

 

 

 

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New Feature in the Bright Ideas Press Store — Customer Reviews

the Bright Ideas Press store now has a customer review function

Our new store has a shiny new function that you will love! Now you can leave product reviews for your favorite Bright Ideas Press products.

On any product page, navigate to the reviews tab and you will see a place to leave your own helpful feedback about the homeschool curriculum you love. These reviews help other parents make wise choices about how to spend their curriculum dollars. Plus, we love hearing your honest feedback.

Click the links to your favorite products to leave a review right now.

Customer Product Review FAQ

Q. What if I didn’t buy the resource via the BIP store? Can I still leave a review?

A. Absolutely! If you have experience with any of our products no matter where you bought them (or borrowed them), we value your customer review on our site.

Q. I wrote a review, but I don’t see it on the review tab. What happened to it?

A. The reviews are similar to blog comments in that they have to be first approved before they appear. Give us a day or so to find your review and approve it.

Q. I like the product, but I don’t have a lot of things to say. 

A. We appreciate even the simplest of review such as, “My kids loved this book!”

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