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Why Your Family NEEDS a Philosophy of Education

Why Your Family NEEDS a Philosophy of Education

One Thing Every Family Must Do Before the New School Year

True confession: I LOVE back to school season. I’m all about brand-new crayons and notebooks, clean backpacks, and a stash of unused glue sticks.

Are you getting ready for a new school year? Here’s the ONE thing you must do before the kids head back to school!

Whether your family is homeschooling full-time or “afterschooling,” we all want to empower our kids to follow their passions and use their unique gifts to make the world a better place, right? Ultimately, I want my children (and yours!) to walk into any classroom, any team, any job interview, and feel confident that they have something special to offer.

What is the school system’s role in education?

As a former classroom teacher, I know that most educators want the very best for each of their students. However, I also believe that the current school system is all about making learning as efficient as possible. It’s the reason why children are grouped into classes with their same-age peers and taught the same material all across the country.

The problem is: our children are NOT the same.

My third-grader is going to be on a different level than your third-grader. What comes easily to your child might be a struggle for mine. One of them might be advanced in math; the other might be advanced in reading.

No matter how hard the school district tries to homogenize learning, it just won’t work. 

Quote: Our kids are unique, and their education should be, too.

Unfortunately, due to budget cuts and out-of-touch legislation, things are not going to change in the public school system anytime soon. It’s the reason why I work with parents instead of going back to teaching. We are the ones who get to personalize learning for our kids and prepare them for a life outside the classroom.

What is the parent’s role in education?

If you spend much time with me, you’ll probably hear me say this several times: Education is a journey,  not an assembly line.

We are all moving forward every day, but not at the same pace. Some of us will travel on the same path for awhile, while others will head directly off the path to discover something new for themselves.

Quote: “Expecting all children the same age to learn from the same materials is like expecting all children the same age to wear the same size clothing.” -Madeline Hunter

For the past seven years, I have been homeschooling my own two children. If any two students were going to be similar, you might assume it’s siblings who have been raised in the same home with the same access to education and life experiences. And yet, my children are VERY different when it comes to learning.

  • One of my children is what you could call a “traditional” learner. She is studious, meticulous, eager to please the adults in her life, and someone who enjoys working with other children. She thrives off of checklists, schedules, and predictable routines.
  • My other child is NOT a “traditional” learner. She is a deep thinker who has no desire to sit still and do book work. While she does love to read, she is also always on the move or fidgeting with something in her hands. She prefers to work alone and completes her work as quickly as possible to move onto the projects that really interest her.

My job is to help them understand HOW they learn best and teach them how to use their strengths to make the most of their years in school, all while working on developing their weaker areas. If education truly is a journey, I want to put them in the navigator’s seat with all the tools they need to make their own way.

I don’t want my children to depend on a school district, a teacher, or a curriculum for their education. I want them to fall in love with the discovery process and pursue learning for a lifetime.

Creating a family philosophy of education

My goals for my children may sound lofty, but I don’t think the process has to be complicated. In our family, we have created a philosophy of education that guides our major decisions around our children’s learning.

Simply put: we prioritize good books, learning through play, and family adventures. 

What does your family believe about education? Have you ever sat down to talk about it with each other?

Helping our children find success in school starts with identifying what makes them unique. Crafting a philosophy of education and referring back to it at the beginning of each new school year means that no matter the school, no matter the teacher, no matter the curriculum, our children take back control of their learning. 

When times get tough, when our kids run into a challenge, we can remind them of their end goals. We can help tailor their study habits to their strongest learning style and teach them to advocate for themselves with their future professors and bosses.

Quote: "Our family philosophy of education acts as a road map to remind us of our values and priorities for learning."

Create your family’s philosophy of education today with our free training!

19 Moon Books for Kids

19 Moon Books for Kids

The Apollo 11 50th anniversary is coming up, and you know we are celebrating with a list of moon books for kids! This booklist has it all — from non-fiction fact books about the moon’s role in our solar system to biographies of the astronauts and scientists who made the moon landing possible.

19 books to celebrate the moon landing's 50th anniversary


Be sure to check out our moon-themed invitations to play in the Resource Library!


19 Moon Books for Kids

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

If you’ve been around here long, you know I LOVE Gail Gibbons’ non-fiction children’s books.

Seymour Simon also has great solar system books for kids, including this one about the moon.

If your library doesn’t have either of those, here’s a few more that give a good overview of the moon:

The Moon (Isaac Asimovs 21st Century Library of the Universe: the Solar System)

 

The Moon Seems to Change (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)

 

Exploring Our Solar System: The Moon

While you are learning more about the moon landing, you might also want to check out books about astronauts:

Busy People: Astronaut

 

If You Decide to Go to the Moon

And now for books all about the moon landing!

Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon 

 

Moon Landing (Graphic History) 

 

Eight Days Gone

 

Rocket To The Moon

 

When Neil Armstrong Built a Wind Tunnel

 

Ordinary People Change the World: I Am Neil Armstrong

 

One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong

 

Neil Armstrong: Young Flyer

Apollo 11 Moon Landing: An Interactive Space Exploration Adventure


 

Our library doesn’t actually have Moonshot, but you might enjoy this article on Medium: “The Time I Called Out a Children’s Book Author For Letting Girls Down”


I AM raising a girl who wants to work at NASA when she grows up, so Katherine Johnson and Margaret Hamilton are big heroes around here. 😉

You Should Meet Katherine Johnson

Margaret and the Moon


Space Activities for Kids

While you’re here, be sure to check out our list of solar system books and space activities for kids!


Your library may have other moon books for kids. Can you think of any I missed?

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19 Great Moon Books for Kids

Summer Slide Prevention Tips for Parents

Summer Slide Prevention Tips for Parents

Are you looking for summer slide prevention tips? Help your kids keep their academic skills sharp by making learning fun all summer long!

What is the Summer Slide?

The human brain is not meant to retain every piece of information it ever encounters. In fact, our brains regularly “prune” unused bits of data. When we go weeks or months without accessing historical dates, geography, or vocabulary words, the brain assumes we are done with that information and it disappears forever.

Young children especially need repetition and consistency to retain important details like math facts and sight words. When they take an entire summer off from learning, they can lose ground and have to work harder to “catch up” in the fall.

Students who continue reading, writing, and practicing their math skills over the school break can actually move forward with their learning, making the back to school transition even easier. In all of my research on the subject, it seems like there is momentum one way or the other — our brains don’t just sit still. We are all either going forward or falling back…

Preventing the Summer Slide

Preventing the Summer Slide

Summer slide prevention has become a bit of an industry over the past few years. There are workbooks and flashcards, websites, and tutoring centers all designed to help our children find academic success. And while these resources can be helpful for some students, most children need just 15-20 intentional minutes each day to keep their skills sharp.

On a website called “Rolling Prairie Readers,” I’m sure you would guess that we make time for reading every day. Not only do I allow my girls to choose their own books at the library, I also bring home a big stack of non-fiction and picture books that go along with our monthly theme.

Both of my kids are focusing on one specific subject this summer. My youngest is working her way through a handwriting book because she needs more practice with a pencil. My oldest is brushing up on her math skills with our online CTC Math subscription.

We are traveling a few different places this summer as well. We took a boat ride down the Mississippi River right after school got out, and we plan on visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum in Mansfield, Missouri in just a few weeks. We’re also spending quality time in both Narnia and Hogwarts, via our audiobook selection at the library. 😉

Making Learning Fun for Kids

If you’re concerned about preventing the summer slide for your kids, I have a few tips for you:

  • Visit the library at least twice a month. Stock up on books your kids will want to read, even if that’s joke books, graphic novels, or the latest undercover princess goes to spy school novel in the new releases section. Grab a few audiobooks that might be slightly above your child’s reading level and make time to listen to them together. Sign up for the summer reading program and reward your child for getting in 15 minutes a day.
  • Choose one academic skill to work on this summer. Whether it’s handwriting or math facts, creative writing or STEM, commit to spending an hour or less each week on moving your child forward in one area where they typically struggle.
  • Research one of your child’s areas of interest. Study the first walk on the moon or a major historical figure. Visit an art museum in your area or learn more about native plants at a nature center. Go hiking, fishing, boating, or camping — something hands-on that your child will really enjoy!

Awesome Learning Ideas for Kids

Unit studies are a great way to make learning fun all summer long! You can get six of our most popular family activity guides for just $27 to keep your children entertained AND learning during the school break. Or, you can click here to have me create a personalized learning plan specifically for your child’s unique needs.

Making learning fun at home and preventing the summer slide is easier than you’d think! Start with good books, add in some hands-on learning, and finish off with a few family adventures.

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Summer Slide Prevention Tips for Parents