Category: Homeschooling Support & Encouragement

Make Learning Fun … at Home!

Make Learning Fun … at Home!

Yesterday (September 19th) was Talk Like a Pirate Day. We celebrated with costumes, a reading of Tough Boris, and a trip to our local bakery for a donut. (Don’t all pirates eat donuts?) As I planned this goofy little break in our daily routine, I though about each of YOU and your children.

It seems like the current state of education has become overwhelming for us and for our children: homework, standardized testing, getting into a good college (and figuring out how to pay for it). I wanted to share how we–parents–can make learning fun at home for our children! 

I am a BIG believer that education SHOULD be a joyful experience for our children. It breaks my heart when I hear kids says, “I don’t like school,” or “Reading is boring!” In fact, one of my major goals for Rolling Prairie Readers is to help all parents (including myself) re-think about our attitudes and actions about learning. When we say, “I don’t like math,” or “I’m not good at art,” we are impacting the way our children think about the world!

Make learning fun at home! Read good books, learn through play, go on family adventures, and talk positively about school and books with your children.

So, what are some ways we can make learning fun at home?

  1. Talk positively about learning. Our children will be in school for at least 13 years (not counting college), so it’s important that we are strong supporters of our schools, teachers, libraries, and education in general. Make a point to stop negative talk early, and reframe our children’s frustrations as much as possible. (“I can’t do it,” becomes “I can’t do it yet, and that’s okay!”)
  2. Make GOOD books a part of your family’s culture. Visit the library often. Buy books for gifts. Read aloud to your children even after they can read to themselves. Listen to audiobooks on long trips. (You can click here to read 12 Ways to Incorporate Reading into Your Daily Routine.)
  3. Offer your child several opportunities to learn through play each day. Consider how your child learns best, and add in more music, videos, or sensory bins. I have several seasonal “invitations to play” here on the blog for FREE. You can also browse my Pinterest boards for more ideas!
  4. Chase adventures together. It doesn’t matter if you travel near or far, there is much to be learned from this big world of ours!

Imagine that your’s child learning journey is a hunt for treasure. You have been given the map to guide your child through dangerous and wild lands, past hard times and seemingly insurmountable challenges. Hopefully along the way, your child will learn that the real treasure is a life of learning…with you!

Sign up for a FREE mini-plan! Our mini-plan gives you a sneak peek at the planning process and includes 3 custom activities for your toddler/preschooler.

Flexible Family Schedule: Fall 2017

Flexible Family Schedule: Fall 2017


Scroll to the bottom to get your FREE gift!


Just last week, I posted on Instagram that we had hit our summer “sweet spot.” My two girls have been getting along, playing creatively…for long periods of time…with very little direction from me.

Now it’s time to switch gears and get back to school (home school, that is). Cooler weather is coming, and so are our family routines.

For the last month or so, I’ve been reading The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families for our online Mom’s Book Club. Thanks to Lindsay’s wisdom, I’ve been getting up an hour earlier to set the tone for the day.

Mornings are the key to it all.

Now that I’m awake earlier, we’re gradually moving toward our full fall school schedule, which will kick off officially the week of Labor Day. Addie is going into 4th grade this year, and Katie will be a 1st grader. For the first time in our six-year homeschooling career, we have TWO school-age students, and we’re so excited!


Related: My Biggest Mistake as a Mom


All summer long, we have done read-aloud time first in our day. For our fall semester, we decided to move read-aloud time (and other fun topics!) to after lunch. Since both girls will have a heavier workload this year, we’ve decided to do our core subjects immediately after breakfast, when we’re all feeling our best.

Here’s a peek at our fall homeschooling schedule:

  • Morning chores & breakfast
  • Classes will start at 9:00 a.m. (I’ll start with K’s first grade lessons while A completes her independent work. Once Katie has finished, Addie and I will do fourth grade math and grammar together.)
  • The girls will have lunch and outside time from noon until 1:30. I’ll use most of that time for lesson-planning and blog-writing.
  • At 1:30, we’ll come together for read-aloud time, music, art projects, and AWANA memory work.
  • From 2:30-3:30, the girls will have independent reading time, finish up any school work, and play quietly.
  • At 3:30, they’ll be officially “dismissed” until dinner time.

We have gym class on Wednesday mornings, so our schedule will be a little different one day a week.

Check out our homeschooling schedule for this fall! (4th grade and 1st grade) | flexible family schedule, homeschooling, design your day


A quick note:

We believe STRONGLY in learning through play for young children. (See here and here for more details.) As a not-quite-6-year old, our Katie will have LOTS of opportunities for free play throughout her day. I’ll also be using invitations to play to practice her skills while Addie and I are doing lessons together. Since K is an auditory learner, I know she will enjoy playing nearby.

Addie (9) is a visual learner and benefits from direct instruction and lots of repetition. We are working on building confidence and independence this year, as well as breathing through frustration and practicing positive self-talk. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that each of our girls can get a personalized education!

MotherStyles is one of our favorite parenting books!


Create a Flexible Family Schedule | family time, indoor activities, outdoor activities, back to school routines

We like to use our weekly calendar template to create our flexible family schedule!

The benefit of a flexible family schedule is that you can adjust your routines any time, regardless of the season. Some families prefer to have a full calendar, with lots of extracurricular activities…while some families prefer a more relaxed, spontaneous approach.

And then some families–or MOST families, I would imagine–are a mixture of both when it comes to their weekly schedule: some crazy busy and some that are totally light!

For that reason, I found that using a blank calendar template is best for our family. It allows me to see, at a glance, those open pockets of time where I can be a more intentional mother.

Fill in your information below, and I’ll send you a FREE copy of our calendar template, along with a menu of twenty, fun family activity ideas! This template is great for ALL families, not just homeschoolers.

Learning at Home Tips and Resources + FREE Ultimate Guide!

Learning at Home Tips and Resources + FREE Ultimate Guide!

For the last few weeks, I have been sharing my favorite learning at home resources and tips.  (You can read all of those posts by clicking here or scrolling down for the full list.)

As a former elementary school teacher, I NEVER imagined I’d be a homeschooling mama to my own two girls. But looking back on my years in the classroom, I’ve always been a big believer in individualized education.

When it came time to enroll my sweet five-year-old in Kindergarten, it was clear that she was more than ready academically, but not anywhere close to being prepared emotionally or physically. As I mentioned previously:

Homeschooling for Kindergarten meant we could give our girls more time to mature emotionally and physically while still giving them what they needed academically.

Five years later, we still love homeschooling our girls. But I believe that learning at home happens in ALL families, whenever we read a good book, play a game, go an adventure, write a letter to a family member, etc.

Many parents have come to me and said, “My child is going to preschool x days a week, but we still want to do some learning activities together. What do you recommend?”

And so I have created this FREE guide (scroll down to get yours) to help you get started on your learning at home journey–to create personalized learning plans for YOUR family this year.

Learning at Home Tips & Resources | How does my child learn best? What should my young child be learning? | tot school, preschool at home, homeschooling, learning at home, learning through play


What should my young child be learning?

In another recent post, I shared my thoughts on curriculum for young children:

Curriculum is simply meant to be a jumping off point for teachers (and homeschooling parents). All too often, we become more focused on teaching the next lesson in the book rather than what our child needs to learn next.

So the question becomes, “What does my child need to learn next?”

There are many developmental checklists available for parents, and I also offer a quarterly Age-Appropriate Learning Workshop online. Children rarely develop on a timeline, so my number one piece of advice for parents is to work backwards. What do you want your child to know this time next year? What are the skills he/she needs to develop to get there?


Learning at Home Tips & Resources | How does my child learn best? What should my young child be learning? | tot school, preschool at home, homeschooling, learning at home, learning through play


How does my child learn best?

There are five different modes of learning (often called “learning styles”):

  • visual (graphics)
  • auditory
  • read/write (text)
  • kinesthetic (movement)
  • tactile (touch)

When your child is young, he or she will learn best through hands-on learning. Toddlers and preschoolers love to dance, shake, climb, and move; learning might also happen through song and repetition (hence, the popularity of nursery rhymes!). 

As your child grows and learns to read independently, he/she will begin to demonstrate a preference for one or more of the different learning styles. Note: I believe knowing how your child learns best (and helping him/her to understand what that means) is crucial to success in higher education.

Taking learning styles into account is incredibly important for science and math courses, as I mention in this post about our favorite resources for math education. Good teachers will introduce new concepts in a variety of ways and work with your child in his/her preferred learning style, but it’s also an important consideration for independent practice and homework.

Keep in mind that most people are multi-modal and often show a distinct preference for two or more learning styles at the same time. It’s also important for all of us to strengthen our weaker areas for times when modifications cannot be made. For more information about learning styles, click here.


Learning at Home Tips & Resources | How does my child learn best? What should my young child be learning? | tot school, preschool at home, homeschooling, learning at home, learning through play


Other posts about learning at home that may interest you:


Grab your FREE Ultimate Guide to Learning at Home!