No … not the gritty cleaner left in the sink after you scrub it.
I’m talking about GRIT … the ability to keep going when things get tough and see a goal all the way to the end?
It’s an absolutely essential skill to have as a successful adult.
And it’s also one that we talk about a lot in the homeschool community — although we like to say things like “getting my kids to finish” and “staying focused.”
Being able to stay with a task when it gets hard is something I’m working really hard to help my kids learn. I want them to know that failure only happens if they give up and that true success is measured by effort not by results.
How am I trying to do it?
1. I’m modeling the behavior myself (as much as I can).
2. When an assignment gets tough, they can take a break. But I expect them to come back and work through to the end.
3. I find “tough” physical work for them to do (moving rocks!) that pushes the muscles as well as the brain.
4. I look for fun ways to stretch their grittiness.
That last one is definitely where this week’s review fits in. The Perplexus toy is NOT easy. It takes patience and tenacity — two essential ingredients for grit.
And my kids play with them over and over. Which means they are building their grit muscles every time (even when they think they are just having fun).
They loved them so much, they collected them all. But these are two of their favorites:
Love how sometimes the lessons can sneak in when they are least expecting them!
What’s more fun than quizzing your kids on what they know?
ANSWER: When your kids get to quiz you!
Right now in our homeschool, we are having a BLAST with a book called “The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy.”
My kids open up to a random page, ask me a question, and wait to see if I can pull the answer out of my brain …
Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t.
Either way … amazing learning is happening.
I’m always pleasantly surprised when the simplest things inspire fantastic learning in my home … even after all these years.
Check out the video for more details about the book and more awesome ways that you can use it to inspire learning in your home!
How much time do you spend in the car?
Between lessons and co-ops and errands, I have spent HOURS and HOURS in the car over my homeschooling lifetime.
Fortunately, I learned that my time in the car could be put to good use. And make the trip more enjoyable at the same time.
Carschooling is a term a lot of homeschoolers use to describe when you do homeschool in the car.
While there are homeschoolers who do carschooling exclusively (especially those who travel), most carschooling happens in conjunction with other kinds of homeschooling.
Listening is one of the easiest things to do … and we’ve done A LOT of listening over the years.
History, science, audio books, classical music, storytelling … in the car, ears are open and minds are free.
I love carschooling because it fits with my theory that when kids are younger, they are absorbing information like sponges. In the car I have a captive audience that I can feed a healthy diet of all kinds of learning.
And the awesome thing is I get to learn along with them … while also getting everyone where they need to go.
Ever feel frustrated because your kid doesn’t want to write?
Or do you wish you could simplify your language arts curriculum, save yourself some time, AND still produce great writers?
It’s totally possible to inspire a love of writing AND do it in less time and effort.
Because writing breaks down into THREE essential elements. And you can practice each element individually and to different degrees depending on what your child needs help with and what they are naturally good at.
What are these three essential elements that must be mastered in order to be a great writer?
Putting words on paper (or on a computer screen)
Getting content out of the brain in a coherent manner
Often, as moms, we try to lump all three of these skills together.
“Write down your ideas.”
“Let’s do a book report.”
But if your kid’s development in these three skills isn’t the same, they will struggle and get frustrated.
(For example, if they are FABULOUS at TELLING you a story, but they struggle to write the story down on paper!)
Being aware of each of these essential skills, and then tackling them individually, can sometimes be an excellent way to still develop great writers without all of the resistance.
Let’s break each of these skills down.
This is traditionally called “handwriting” and “typing.” The goal is for your kid to be able to legibly produce letters in some way.
For some kids, this comes so naturally. “Look mom! I just wrote the alphabet!”
They go from letters to printing sentences to cursive … and often they practice on their own because they love it. (It’s true … I had one, so I know it’s possible!)
However, there are other kids who putting pen to paper is HARD! Whether they struggle with some form of dysgraphia or they genuinely are just not interested, they have no interest in “practicing” how to write.
For these kids, breaking down the process of handwriting can be very very helpful. And practicing this skill IN ISOLATION makes it easier for them to learn what they need to learn.
My favorite resource for learning handwriting is Handwriting without Tears. We’ve been using this program with great success with my youngest this year!
Typing is also a valuable skill that you can teach young. We’ve used two different programs over the years.
Typing Instructor is a game that you install on your computer.
If your kid is a little older and you like FREE (who doesn’t?) and don’t mind a few ads, we’ve had great success with the online instruction of Typing Club this year.
If your kid can’t spell, they can’t communicate in writing very well.
I’ve learned over the years, it can be valuable to split spelling from content creation and handwriting. If your kid is struggling, isolating spelling allows them to focus on what they need help with without feeling the pressure to also produce something amazing.
The last essential part of becoming a great writer is sharing great content.
Great content can be anything from an interesting story to a factual report to a summary of what your kid learned during the day.
Later in your kid’s schooling, writing will be how they organize and share their thoughts about what they are reading and learning. It’s one of the main ways others will assess how much they’ve understood and synthesized from a class.
I have found one of the ideal ways to prepare my kids to share great content is to encourage them to share their thoughts in an organized way as much as possible.
When kids are younger, one of the best ways to do this is through storytelling. Storytelling requires that a child structure their ideas (beginning, middle, and end) — AND emotionally connect with their ideas.
PLUS storytelling is FUN! So it’s much easier to get kids to practice when they are engaging in a storytelling game.
While there are many resources out there to help with storytelling, two of my favorites (because they are simple and easy) are:
Rory Story Cubes (See my previous review here.)
Tell Tale (see my video review below)
Handwriting, Spelling, Content Sharing — three essential skills.
As your kid works on writing, keeping each of these skills in mind will help you identify where the gaps or struggles are. You can focus on those … while still moving your kid’s ability to write forward.
Ready to take the challenge? … Do you or your kids know more about history?
Get ready for awesome learning and amazing bunny trails in this fabulous history timeline game for all ages.
What happens when you mash up “Where’s Waldo?” with “A Moment in History” … this amazing homeschool history resource.
My kids have spent YEARS going through this book. Finding extra tidbits every step of the way.
One of my favorite little writing tools … easy to pull out. Easy to use. Lot’s of fun.
A writing staple for my homeschool.