Family Travel on a Budget = Great Memories!

I’ve been thinking of Paris in December– it’s almost inevitable if you’ve ever been there at that time. There’s no place quite like it, and the delight of walking miles through this compact, beautiful city is unsurpassed.

When we were there, we stayed less than a block from this sparkling intersection, and were less than two blocks from the Seine. We walked everywhere, warming our hands with hot chestnuts from the street vendors (the best ones were from the vendor by BHV on Rue Rivoli).

Parisians decorate lavishly for the holidays, as you can see in the photo, and it’s great fun to walk the streets after dark, visiting temporary outdoor ice rinks at the Eiffel tower and the Hotel de Ville. We enjoyed giant crepes from sidewalk vendors. Our favorites were slathered in butter and sugar, and rolled for easy eating. Quite delectable with a cup of hot chocolate from a cafe!

One of the most enjoyable things you can do with your teens is to take short trips. A brief trip to a very special place is a fun way to celebrate graduation or mark a life milestone, and it’s especially easy to do if you homeschool. Although travel can be expensive, there are things you can do to make it more budget-friendly. Read more

Charlotte Mason on the Folly of Teachers Who Talk Too Much

One of the things I most appreciate about Charlotte Mason is her deep understanding of how children learn. I well remember my own extreme boredom as teachers or other adults droned on and on about something I already understood. It’s something I’ve always tried not to do to my own sons, but I’ve found that it’s a great temptation;-).

I love this passage from A Philosophy of Education, pages 52-53 (in the context of a discussion of why children lose intellectual curiousity…):

“…the more the teacher works, the greater the incuria of the children, so the class is prodded with marks, the boys take places, the bogie of an oncoming examination is held before them. Some spasmodic effort is the result, but no vital response…

“I can touch here on no more than two potent means of creating incuria in a class. One is the talky-talky of the teacher. We all know how we are bored by the person in private life who explains and expounds. What reason have we to suppose that children are not equally bored? Read more

Review: Pick Two Deluxe- Is It the Perfect Game?

Be sure to visit the December sale on my audio workshops- Homeschooling Through High School: There’s Joy in the Journey and Teaching Language Arts the Easy, Natural Way! They are only $9.95 for the month of December.

As the year winds down, it’s time to start thinking of fun things to do during the semester break. How about a delightful game that almost anyone can learn and enjoy?

Our family enjoys playing games. When we get together with extended family or with friends, chances are that we’ll be sitting around the table with a board game or cards before the evening has ended. Our favorite games include Scattergories, TriBond, Cranium, Mille Borne, and a few others.

However, a new game has taken center stage since we first discovered it this summer. Pick Two Deluxe, billed as “The Definitive Crossword Game,” is fast, fun, and even educational (though many people don’t even realize they’re sharpening their brains as they play!). This super simple game comes with 240 letter tiles, a pencil, score pad, and a velvety bag for the tiles. (There a non-deluxe Pick Two, but it comes with fewer tiles, so you can’t play with as many people.) Read more