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Successful Homeschooling, Issue #04 -- Summer Fun!
May 27, 2008

For many families, school is out for the summer, but that doesn't mean the learning has to end.

In This Issue:

  1. Carschooling
  2. Backyard Nature Habitats
  3. Butterflies and Baby Boys
  4. Coming Soon!

Homeschooling on the Road


Summer is a great time to take homeschooling on the road. Even short road trips present learning opportunities. Here are some tips for roadschooling:

  1. Study history and geography by giving each of your children a blank United States map. Have them color and learn information about each state as you pass through it. You can also provide them with a list of landmarks to locate.

  2. If carsickness is not an issue, bring along your favorite read alouds. Read fun books, as well as biographies and historical fiction related to your destination.

  3. Listen to audio books and stories. Our favorites CD's are by story teller Jim Weiss of Greathall Productions.

    Usborne's CD Packs are great for young listeners. They feature entertaining background music and sound effects, and their corresponding illustrated books are great for holding the attention of visual learners.

  4. Play travel games like car bingo and license plate tag. Usborne's 50 Travel Games and Activities contains a pack of cards that each contain a fun game or activity. You can also find ideas at Mom's Minivan.

  5. Give each child a backpack containing a clipboard, paper, pencil, washable markers and books. Sticker books are great for quiet times, as are activity books such as mazes and puzzle books.

Here are some additional ideas for homeschooling on the road.

Backyard Nature Habitats

A great way to learn science over the summer is to observe and study the animals that are right in your own backyard.

A homeschool friend once told me that the key to attracting wildlife is to "neglect your yard". If that won't go over well with your husband, find simple ways to provide food, water and shelter for backyard critters. Here are some ideas:

  • Food - Build and decorate a birdfeeder, or spread peanut butter on a pinecone, roll it with birdseed and hang it from a tree. Leave corn on the cob, popcorn, cranberries, fruit and nuts in your yard to attract other small animals.

  • Water - Place gravel and a few large, flat rocks in a shallow container and fill it with water. Leave the water in a sunny area, and change it every few days to keep mosquitos away.

  • Shelter - Build or purchase a birdhouse, or leave materials such as short pieces of yarn, cottonballs, shredded paper, hair, dryer lint and twigs in your yard for birds to use in their nests. Leave an old log lying in your yard to attract insects, and pile leaves near bushes or around trees as a haven for small animals. Also consider leaving a portion of your yard natural and unmaintained.

This year, our family created a mini butterfly garden in potted plants. The key to a successful butterfly garden is planting nectar producing flowers for the butterflies and host plants for caterpillars to nibble. You will also want to provide your butterflies with a shallow dish filled with gravel and water. For more information on creating a butterfly habitat, visit The Butterfly Site.

For more information on backyard nature habitats, visit Lindsay's Backyard Wildlife.

Butterflies and Baby Boys


In May we received a container of caterpillars for our butterfly habitat. We watched the caterpillars eat and grow, and climb to the top of their container to turn into chrysalids.

A week later, I looked at the container and thought, "Will those things ever hatch?" I took a shower and looked again, and there was one butterfly. I left the room and returned, and there were two others.

Eventually, all 5 of our caterpillars turned into butterflies. I was sad that I hadn't watched long enough to see them emerge, and I thought about my oldest son.

I remember holding Andrew when he was a baby, wishing he would hurry up and learn to walk and talk. Now he's reading and writing and playing basketball, and I want him to slow down.

The clock is ticking so quickly. If I don't watch carefully, I'll miss my boy turn into a man.

So I'm taking the summer of to watch my children grow. We'll take morning walks, make messes in the kitchen, read a hundred stories and sing familiar tunes. We'll go on expeditions and search for hidden treasure in the swimming pool.

My many reasons to homeschool boil down to one - my children. I don't want to miss a thing!

Coming Soon!

Successful Homeschooling is officially on summer break, but we'll be back this September with a new look, and detailed information on affordable homeschooling and curriculum providers.

I'll also provide you with an opportunity to win free books by telling others about your favorite curriculum, and I'll eventually open a forum where we can exchange information and encourage each other.

Until then, please keep in touch via my blog: or contact me with your questions or comments.

Thank you for subscribing to Successful Homeschooling.

Enjoy the journey,


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