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Homeschool Registration in Australia: What You Need to Know

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We get a lot of practical questions about the legal side of home education. So, to coincide with the start of the school year in Australia, we thought it was time we talked to Home Education Association President, Vivienne Fox, about what the current registration and recording requirements in Australia are for homeschooling - and how they differ from state to territory. (This information is current as of February 2018.)

*Note: We will be publishing a larger article covering registration in North America very soon (and in time other countries, too) but we are starting with home turf -- Australia.

Topics we cover

This is an audio interview that you can listen to on YouTube or in the video viewer below. In this discussion with Ms. Fox we cover:

  • Where to start with registration if you're new to homeschooling
  • Can you transfer registration between states if you move interstate?
  • Why each state differs & which states have the strictest requirements
  • How to feel confident about your first moderator or practical visit
  • A walk-through the basic registration methods of each state
  • Tips on how to record learning and show your children's progress
  • All the links we mention (including rego requirements for Australian states & territories) are included below the video

Audio interview (sound only)

Helpful links

Home Education Association (Australia)
HEA has a NSW specific Registration Pack, and provides good Registration Support in NSW and there are chapters of HEA in QLD, ACT, Tasmania, NT, SA, which are worthwhile contacting for support in those states - contact the HEA to be linked up with support relevant to your state.

The Mulberry Homeschool Planner
150 page homeschool planner download designed to help you record and track your children's learning for the year.

New South Wales

NSW Education Standards Authority - Home Education

Queensland

Queensland Government - Home Education

Western Australia

Department of Education - Home Education

Home Education WA network (support group)

Victoria

VRQA - Homeschooling

Victoria State Government - Homeschooling

Home Education Network - Victoria (HEN)

Tasmania

THEAC - Tasmania Home Education Advisory Council

Office of the Education Registrar - Tasmania

Understanding Home Education in Tasmania (HEA doc)

Australian Capital Territory

ACT Education Directorate - Home Education

South Australia

South Australia Government - Home Education

Northern Territory

nt.gov.au - Home Education

Was this audio interview helpful? Please let us know if you have any questions or would like additional information and we'll do our best to add to this article. Email - hello@themulberryjournal.com

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Homeschool Registration in Australia: What You Need to Know
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Eric Koelma

Mulberry Business Manager

Eric is a self-confessed cool nerd, a football fanatic, husband/right-hand-man to Grace and dad to Leo. Eric's philosophy on life is simple: "If I'm not learning, I'm dead."

A Montessori Approach to Homeschool: Where to Start

The essence of Montessori education is raising children as thoughtful, self-aware, and engaged members of society -- as whole people. So what does that look like in a homeschool environment, and where should you begin? Montessori graduate and mother, Ayva Cowell explains.

By Ayva Cowell | Assistant Editor

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The Big Idea

“A child is not a stranger, one simply to be observed from the outside. Rather, childhood constitutes the most important element in an adult’s life, for it is in his early years that a man is made… Whatever affects a child affects humanity, for it is in the delicate and secret recesses of his soul that a man’s education is accomplished. ” (Dr. Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood)

Grace. Independence. Confidence. Freedom. Respect. Dignity. Self-awareness. The thing about Montessori is that the idea is BIG. Bigger than you or I or our own kids. And yet, simultaneously, the approach is laser-focused on every individual child.

It has been said that Montessori is, in essence, making sure a child has in her environment what she needs to fully grow and develop as a whole person. And what Dr. Maria Montessori saw in children was no less than the entire future of humanity.

Over five decades of close observation of children and their learning outcomes, she developed a rich, interconnected curriculum to support their optimum development into kind, thoughtful, intelligent, and capable builders of society. 

Yes, mama… taking this on as a home educator may feel like a tall order. And it is. But we’ve no doubt you’re up to the task. Here’s where you can start.

Some Core Principles to Consider

There's no question that there are deep layers of complexity and detail that underpin the Montessori principles. It's a reality that can lead many curious home educators in another direction.

And it's true: Dr. Montessori's work can be dense and intricate. It's why the teacher training courses are so comprehensive and, arguably, intense. That being said, it may also be the only education system and curriculum so thoughtfully considered and developed. (Focused specifically on birth through age six, the Montessori approach does offer a component for older years as well, though in some places it is less widely adopted.)

Whether or not implementing a full Montessori curriculum at home is of interest to you and your family, there are many ways to incorporate key elements that will help you nurture the growth and development of an engaged, creative, life-long learner under your own roof. We’ve compiled some essential ideas to get you rolling.

The Prepared Environment

Order in environment = order in mind. This is a great place to begin, because it underlies so many of the other principles.

A minimalist before her time, Dr. Montessori observed that children have the best outcomes when their environment is simple, tidy, logical, and accessible. 

The Montessori space is incredibly well organised; it's often referred to as carefully considered. The furniture and tools are all child-sized, and the sequential, carefully designed learning materials are placed neatly on low shelves so as to be easily seen, used, and put away. The whole space, which is built around natural materials like wood, silk, and wool, is light, beautiful, and worthy of respect and care -- just like the children it's designed for. 

"A minimalist before her time, Dr. Montessori observed that children have the best outcomes when their environment is simple, tidy, logical, and accessible." 

While you may not be ready to take this approach to your whole home, you'll definitely want to prepare one learning area with those concepts in mind.

Here are some tips:

  • Focus on low, uncluttered shelves to accommodate the learning materials, which can be arranged individually on small trays for easy carrying by your little ones. 
  • Have a few throw rugs handy for floor work, hang some interesting art at their eye level, and provide as many adult-quality tools as you can in their size.
  • A favourite Montessori activity is arranging fresh flowers in small glass vases for the space... consider adding that to your routine!
  • Establish the practice of working on one activity at a time, and returning the materials as they were found before moving on. In essence, think: everything has a place, and everything in its place.

A Sense of Choice & Control

There is no question, as most home educators understand, that everyone learns more effectively when they are working on something they feel drawn to. We know it as self-directed learning, and it's an essential element of this style of education. 

The sense of control that children feel within a prepared Montessori environment is one of its hallmarks, and it's a driving force behind the confidence and independence they develop as a result. Within the carefully considered space, each child shapes her own day; she selects materials that appeal to her, one at a time, with guidance from her teacher only as necessary.

Once you prepare a Montessori-style learning environment in your own home, you'll likely notice how it can promote exploration, focus, and engagement. There are many resources available to guide you as you learn about the materials and the order and manner in which they should be presented; within that framework, though, give your child a chance to choose their destiny each day. You'll need to be present to observe, facilitate, and support, but allowing her time to be her own will foster her sense of self-awareness, dignity, and freedom. 

"Within the carefully considered space, each child shapes her own day; she selects materials that appeal to her, one at a time, with guidance from her teacher only as necessary."

Movement as the Key to Cognition

This approach is about hands-on learning whenever and wherever possible, so if you have textbooks in mind, you'd be well advised to look elsewhere. Thanks to a strong belief that movement and cognition are closely linked (which has now been repeatedly supported by an impressive depth and breadth of research), Dr. Montessori saw the stationary child as something to be avoided. 

Hence, children in a Montessori classroom move about quite a bit to use the learning materials, and to take part in many practical life activities like preparing snacks, watering plants, and tidying. All the learning materials are thoughtfully designed so each lesson is reinforced by the movement and use of the hands, bringing body and mind together as a whole unit.

In addition to adding as many Montessori-specific learning materials as you can to your environment, you'll want to get your kids moving in any way you can imagine.

Some ideas:

  • Consider parking your stroller and get your little ones on their feet as much as possible. 
  • Think walking, running, climbing (inside and out!) and participating in many daily life activities, as early on as you can manage. 
  • Helping in the kitchen and around the house, gardening, and caring for animals, for example, can all be incorporated; Montessori has a strong focus on practical life activities

A quick YouTube search will give you plenty of inspiration when you see Montessori kids as young as 18 or 20 months making omelettes, washing dishes, and acting as productive, contributing members of their household! 

"The Montessori learning materials are thoughtfully designed so each lesson is reinforced by the movement and use of the hands, bringing body and mind together as a whole unit."

A Focus on Intrinsic Motivation

Unlike conventional schools, Montessori classrooms don't offer any extrinsic rewards or punishments. That's right... no grades, gold stars, or detentions. This approach is focused on protecting the natural, intrinsic motivation of humans to explore and learn. A large body of research has shown, without doubt, that extrinsic rewards decrease intrinsic motivation, and in some cases can negatively affect cognitive functioning, creativity, and prosocial behaviours like kindness and empathy. 

Your mission (if you choose to accept it!) is to fiercely defend that built-in desire for lifelong learning. In your homeschool, that could look like trying to give your little ones the opportunity to have a whole experience that is their own... not forced, judged, interrupted or applauded. Recognising that their experience is enough can be challenging. But emphasising mastery of material over scheduled performance will bring an important Montessori goal to life in your home environment -- the love of learning for learning's sake. No Paw Patrol stickers required!

"In your homeschool, that could look like trying to give your little ones the opportunity to have a whole experience that is their own... not forced, judged, interrupted or applauded."

Collaborative Learning

Choosing collaboration and cooperation over competition gets much easier when you remove the grades, tests, and stars from the picture. Another feature of Montessori classrooms is their mixed-age approach. Children of varying ages spend their time together and thus organically experience student to student learning. As they work together, they learn together and from one another.

It's easy to answer the question every homeschooler gets tired of hearing... what about socialisation?... when it comes to Montessori, because this model suggests that in optimal conditions, our kids spend time with humans of all ages.

Living, working, and learning alongside a wide variety of other productive people can bring out the best in us, and open our eyes to the intricacies of life on a grand scale. Joining mixed age groups of any kind, volunteering in your community, and spending time building positive relationships with friends and family can give your Montessori-homeschooled children just what they need to develop prosocial behaviour and skills. 

"Living, working, and learning alongside a wide variety of other productive people can bring out the best in us, and open our eyes to the intricacies of life on a grand scale."

Learning in a Meaningful Context

Unlike the disembodied approach to knowledge that is so prevalent in traditional education, the focus on relationships across the entire Montessori curriculum helps children easily assimilate new information and ideas. By making connections across subject areas and to the outside world very clear, the strategy is to help each child piece together the big picture. A collection of facts, Dr. Montessori felt, was of no use.

She wanted to support children in seeing that everything in the universe is interrelated, and she realised that skills and knowledge learned in context were better understood and retained. This is reflected in her design of the learning materials, and the significant role of nature in her curriculum.  

Regardless of learning style, we all learn best by interacting in some real way with material. So bring context to your homeschool lessons by doing! Instead of telling your child how bread is made, make some yourself. Learn about nature in nature -- look for animal tracks with a companion guide or collect the leaves of different trees for tracing and colouring. The possibilities for exploring this principle are endless. 

Just think: real life learning. Ditch the textbooks and offer tactile experiences that are relevant and build on your family's current interests and knowledge!

"Learn about nature in nature -- look for animal tracks with a companion guide or collect the leaves of different trees for tracing and colouring."

Secure, Supportive Interaction with Adults

Dr. Montessori was very specific about the way her teachers worked with children. She saw that their mannerisms, style of demonstration, and word choices all played important roles in learning outcomes. As such, she focused on the ways in which teachers can build strong, secure relationships with their students. 

As a homeschool parent, you are likely already perfectly positioned to guide your little ones in Montessori style, which advises genuine warmth and sensitivity towards the needs of every child. Providing a safe, secure base while remaining open to and supportive of independent exploration (some key concepts of healthy attachment parenting) are things to keep in mind.

And in demonstrating the use of curriculum materials - simplicity, precision, and objectivity are the qualities you're after. Beyond that, keen observation and a strong respect for your child as a brilliant, whole person are key!

Montessori and homeschool

"Provide a safe, secure base while remaining open to and supportive of independent exploration..."

Steps & Resources

Bringing Montessori into your homeschool -- however that looks to you -- will likely require some additional reading, learning, (and maybe even training!) for you and/or your partner. 

Books
A clear place to start is, of course, with Dr. Maria Montessori's books themselves. The Absorbent Mind and The Secret of Childhood are both great reads. The Joyful Child by Susan Mayclin Stephenson is also worth considering for wee ones, and the brilliant Montessori: The Science Behind The Genius by Angeline Stroll Lillard does an incredibly deep analysis of the current science which has come to light supporting virtually all the principles that Dr. Maria Montessori intuitively built into her curriculum. 

Curriculum
While there have long been accredited training courses and curriculum packages available for Montessori teachers (that some homeschool parents have taken on!) NAMC (North American Montessori Center) recently developed a comprehensive homeschooling-specific curriculum that may be worth exploring.


Have questions? Have we missed something? Let us know in the comments below so we can keep this article a helpful free resource.

Montessori and homeschool

*A note from the author:

Now a mamma who has taken a Montessori approach (alongside other influences) to raising my son, I’ve always had a strong interest in the core ideas of this system. A graduate of the full Montessori program myself, I’ve spent a great deal of time researching and considering the intricacies of Dr. Montessori’s work and how it’s played out in my life. All that being said, I am not an accredited Montessori teacher. This piece and the ideas it contains is based on those years of reading, exploring, and considering this system, in addition to the many online and print resources that are readily available to all parents wishing to dive deeper.

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Montessori approach in a homeschool setting: where to start

Ayva Cowell

Mulberry Assistant Editor


Ayva is our Assistant Editor. She's currently the mama of one chatty toddler and has a baby on the way! A Canadian writer, photographer, and graphic designer, she lives on the road with her son, husband and two giant dogs. When not exploring field or forest with her pack, she can usually be found stand-up paddling, reading profusely, yoga-ing, or some combination of the above!

Homeschool mamas: “How I use my Mulberry Planner”

Curious to know how other families use and customise the pages from The Mulberry Planner? We asked some homeschooling + unschooling mothers to share their tips, strategies and ideas.

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The other day we got a request from a new homeschooler: 

"I'd love to hear someone actually sit down and give a good run down about how they use their planner since there are so many options? I'm a planning newbie - I need help!"

Great question, right? So we asked a few mums who have been using the planner to share their ideas, tips and strategies with us, and here's what they said...

Setting out the planner

Leah, NSW, Australia

Leah made a walk-through video to show us exactly how she's used her planner, complete with audio narration. >>

"We have definitely not used all the pages, and even though we're now onto our fourth year of homeschooling, there's an evolving nature to it so I've used the pages that immediately spoke to me in terms of how the rhythm of our days go."

"I like to use the blank Morning Circle templates and customise them for myself."

"I've definitely used the Mama's book list - love that [the planner] has stuff for mums, not just kids."

Leah's video

This video includes Leah's narration. If there's no sound when playing, click the speaker icon.


Kiara, QLD, Australia

"Setting out my planner I put the vision, snapshot of our family, yearly calendar, and lists at the beginning. Next is monthly calendars applicable for the current term. From there I set out week by week starting with notes, then lesson plans, morning circle, records of learning, reflections and notes. I add the nature finds, notes and quotes wherever I feel I want or need them."

Image: Leah Kua


Kama, New Zealand

"I have the homeschool planner in a 3-ring binder. The sections are:

  • Preparation - I include Snapshot of our family, Our Vision, Weekly Schedule, Notes, and Mama Time.
  • Make a list - I use Mama’s Book List, Teacher’s Book List, Kid’s Book List as places to record books I might want to purchase in the future.
  • Resources - I keep notes about resources I’ve seen or copies of articles or book chapters in this section.
  • Term Planning - I use the blank templates to print out my own monthly ‘plans’, then I use Day Notes with the current one on a clipboard to scribble notes throughout the day, and I plan to use the Family Learning Summary at the end of each month."

Image: Kama C

Image: Kama C


Cherie V, Australia

"The Mulberry Planner has made my home education journey so much simpler, and so far, flow much more smoothly.

In a nutshell, here’s how I use it:

It is my diary, planner and journal all-in-one.

  • At the close of each school week, I prep my following week on the ‘plan’, and tabled ‘record of learning’ pages. I store that week’s pages on my clipboard - which sits out, readily available.
  • As we learn, I document our journey on the daily ‘record of learning’ and ‘reflection + notes’ pages. I transfer the weekly pages back into my Term folder once complete, and begin a new week. It’s so easy!
mulberry planner

Image: Cherie V

Here are some photos of our first fortnight, we are currently up to week three and just loving it!

Hope this helps, it’s hard to condense it down when there are just so many good things to say about this planner! This planner ticks the boxes for learning records for my son, myself AND the authorities. And it’s all in one neat, gorgeous space. I found documenting the planning really overwhelming at the beginning. [We're] two and a half years in now, and it’s definitely a joy, not a labour."

Image: Cherie V

Cherie's video

* Cherie was kind enough to create a walkthrough video too (this one just has music, no narration), but is an excellent peek into another homeschooler's layout).


Tara A, TAS, Australia

"So far, really enjoying it and grateful to you for preparing it for us.

  • As a new homeschooling family, we bought the planner in advance of the school year and I spent some time laying up the PDF pages in an order that I felt would suit us best. 
  • Then I had a local printer do the printing for me onto reasonably thick paper and I filed it all in a binder. It's been really good at helping me develop some structure.
  • On a Sunday I get my planning pages out for the coming week and sketch up the week in terms of activities, projects etc. I then fill out the reflection page at the end of the week and file those pages.
  • The circle planning pages have also been brilliant as this is something I am new to and the rigour offered by the exercise of completing the template has been super helpful."

From an unschooler

Kama, New Zealand

"As an unschooler I don’t plan a lot but I like to have all my homeschool materials organised and in one place and the Mulberry Planner has allowed me to do that. 

What I like about this planner is there are so many options and you only need to use what works for your family and your homeschooling situation. The addition of the blank templates means you can fully customise the pages if you want to. And it all looks cohesive and stylish!"


Image: Kama C

How to use lists in your homeschool

Kelly George, QLD, Australia

This homeschool mum with a decade of experience shares how she uses the List templates in her homeschool planning.

"I was very happy to see the new Mulberry Planner has LOTS of list templates, and I’ve been busy filling them out and feeling virtuous about my gorgeous new lists (as opposed to the creased and crumpled bits of repurposed paper I usually use).

I keep a book journal for myself, but I’m using the Mama’s Book List to keep track of the homeschooling-specific books I’d like to read or re-read.

Having a curriculum list means I can keep track of what we’d like to try, what’s good now, what may be good in the future, and what’s not good for us at all. I’ll download and use each sample as we need it, and then either cross it off the list or purchase it."

Kelly wrote a whole article on Using Lists in Homeschooling. Read it below.


How to use Morning Circle pages

Kirstee Raki, QLD, Australia

Kirstee shared how she uses the Morning Circle templates with her morning basket routine.

"Look at your rhythm and find a time suitable for a big, long out breath of activity. Plan out what you are going to do in advance. I like to write it all out on the circle time planning form included in my Mulberry Homeschool Planner. Knowing what you are doing next helps maintain flow. Things fall apart quickly if you have no idea what happens next."

Kirstee wrote a whole article on Morning Circle time. Read it below.


More info on The Mulberry Planner

  • 150+ pages of templates, planning pages, tables, prompts and record sheets to organise your entire year!
  • Created especially for the 2018 January to December Southern Hemisphere school year
  • Easily adaptable for one child or multiple children
  • Designed for easy printing with room for hole punch and ring binder on left margin
  • Ultimate flexibility with multiple layout options, blank title pages, DIY borders and personalised customisation tips.
  • Handy quick print and colour-light options for the pages you'll print most frequently (daily notes, lesson plans etc.)

Want to share your process to help other mums?

Email your tips, strategies and photos (optional) our editor Grace, hello@themulberryjournal.com

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Homeschool mamas: "How we use the Mulberry Journal"

Bullying: Why harsh schoolyards don’t really ‘toughen up’ our kids

With school bullying rife, many experts are touting the playground social dynamic as a crucial part of 'toughening up our kids'. But what's the real cost for our children's future?

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I worry about the deflating hardships my innocent, bubbly four-year-old will face throughout her life. I don’t worry so much about the situations she will find herself in once she’s an adult, but the interactions that will squash her during childhood, particularly in her school years while she’s still building her resilience.

I often hear people agree the schoolyard is harsh, but argue that it will prepare our children for the reality of the world. After all, there are cruel people out there, and our children may work beside them (or for them) throughout their careers and encounter them in social relationships, so they need to be equipped to take these personalities in their stride or even stand up to them. 

While I agree it’s important to prepare our children to face these challenges, I don’t agree that exposing them to harsh behaviour at school is the way to do it.  

A school setting is far removed from the reality of life

Young children are usually grouped together with others of the same age, and all of them are relatively new to navigating their way through social interactions. They’re largely left to work it out for themselves. 

And so, children simply learn from each other, often reinforcing each other’s bad habits, and the playground becomes a game of social survival, behaviour which is carried into the classroom.

I believe that this doesn’t so much prepare children for the harsh realities of adulthood, but rather it thrusts those harsh realities on them too soon.


Perhaps (and unfortunately) it even prepares them to become the very kinds of people we wanted to protect them from in the first place.

A missed learning opportunity

Allowing this to happen in a learning environment is a missed opportunity because this kind of social setting is the ideal place to teach children valuable communication techniques.

In a learning environment, children are constantly sharing ideas and responding to others and, when these conversations are facilitated using techniques that create a safe space, we’re equipping children with the tools they need to interact positively with the world around them. And these are the same tools that will help them thrive when things get tough later in life.

When we create a safe, non-judgemental environment and allow plenty of time to discuss uncomfortable situations that occur in the playground and beyond, we are empowering both parties (and the rest of the social group) with the ability to navigate challenging situations.


Children can use visual tools to share how conflicts made them feel (as often children are not aware of the impact of their actions or words on others) and then problem-solve strategies for next time. Social interactions in the playground can be a learning experience.

What fostering true resilience looks like

The first step towards creating resilient adults is to allow children to develop and practice communication tools in a supportive setting, so they feel empowered and armed with strategies to calmly face difficult people and situations, with understanding and compassion.

The best way to protect our children from the harsh realities of adulthood is to equip the next generation with the tools they need to avoid becoming victims or perpetrators of unhealthy communication habits.

True self-assurance and true resilience comes from a deep understanding of people, interactions and your place in the world. 

This understanding does not miraculously occur when in survival mode, navigating the schoolyard. It comes through practicing tools with others to create and build a strong foundation and an awareness of why people are behaving and speaking in a certain way.

Shrugging and saying that a bit of nastiness at school will toughen up our children for a tough world doesn’t only leave our children ill-prepared for the future; it teaches them to accept that the world is full of harsh interactions.

If we stop accepting this as an inevitable fact and start being aware of a better approach, we can help our children create social change. 

When we equip children with an understanding of the impact of their words and actions, an understanding of other’s intentions, and an understanding of effective communication, they can successfully mediate their way through all walks of life.

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Bullying: Why harsh schoolyards don't really 'toughen up' our kids

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Talula Hughes

Contributor

Talula Hughes is from the Mid North Coast of NSW and is the founder of Alithia Learning, a supportive space where families come to connect and children can instigate collaborative hands-on projects, access resources and attend workshops. Talula's love of learning and reflexive relationship with education were instilled in her at an early age by her mother, a creative arts therapist and facilitator, who, through homeschooling, taught her the joys of exploring both the natural world and the world of ideas. 

4 ways to inspire your children about cultural food traditions

Do you want your children to grow more global-mindedness for people from other cultures and races? Cooking a steaming bowl of Pho is a start...

By Mandy dos Santos | Little People Nutrition

Cultural food traditions are unique in that they embody the rich history and heritage of the people who cook the dishes. In my experience, if you love to eat a particular culture's cuisine, you are more likely to extend compassion and understanding towards them as people too. 

In a world fragmented by racism and prejudices, now is the time to harness the opportunity of multiculturalism and internationalism to bring people closer together. We can help our children connect and appreciate cultures abroad and of their own neighbours.

A perfect way to foster cultural appreciation through food. We all know that an easy way to someone’s heart is through their stomach.

There are many ways we can expose children to cultural food traditions, here are a few.  

Cooking traditional dishes

Cooking is a life skill. It is the simplest of tools to arm our children with so they can cook and nourish themselves with fresh whole foods, now, and as they grow.

It is also a perfect gateway to start a conversation with children about why certain cultures eat particular foods and how the dishes came to be.

There are some brilliant cooking resources for children. On Booktopia you can find a book series of Food and Cooking Around the World by Rosemary Hankin. With her books, you can explore China, Mexico, India and Italy, all from your kitchen bench.

There is also a resource I have created for my own Little People Nutrition, a segment called Little People Cooking videos which are perfect for little fingers. From a cultural perspective, you could hop off to Japan and make Sushi Sandwiches or perhaps Vietnam and make some Rice Paper Rolls.

Visiting supermarkets and restaurants

Getting out into your community and connecting with people from various heritages is a beautiful way to be able to understand cultural traditions including food ones.

Visit your neighbours, exchange recipes, discuss what they are eating. And if you do not have neighbours or communities close by, go to the local restaurants and even supermarkets with unique international foods and ingredients.

And if you live remotely and you don’t have the restaurants or supermarkets with international cuisines, you can often buy shelf staple items online through portals such as this Indian online grocer or perhaps like this Brazilian food importer

There are also international food boxes popping up whereby each month they deliver a box full of ingredients to your door based on a rotating list of countries. Meet the World is a recent company doing just this. 

Reading stories together

For younger children, picture books are perfect conversation openers of any topic, especially food and multiculturalism.

There are a few simple rhyming board books for the youngest of children with gorgeous mouth-watering 3D illustrations of food. Amy Wilson Sanger has a range on Amazon which includes, Japan, China, India and Mexican food stories. 

I have also written a book which explores the connection of food, the family table and culture, “At my family table”. It is perfect for pre-schoolers and early primary schoolers.  Understanding that all families just want to eat together, like your own family brings a sense of delight and empathy with children. There are lovely illustrations of the children and their family tables to excite young eyes.

Documentaries and photo journals

Although screen time is often limited in my household,  there are some terrific cooking resources available for free these days.

There is a beautiful and confronting photo essay online which depicts families from around the world and what they eat in a week, all laid out in front of them. This particular article comes from a more extensive book called Hungry Planet, What the World Eats. It's a fantastic resource for upper primary - high school children and one which could provoke a multitude of discussions.

There are some fascinating documentaries for older children as well, in particular, this series on Street Food around the world. The visual delight is incredibly engaging for children and morbidly-captivating as they watch squeamish foods eaten.

Or perhaps you could delve into some traditional videos such as a day in the life of a rice farmer, or how a local island community fish?

Enjoy the adventure of exploring the wonderful world of food through the eyes of people from around this beautiful planet of ours.

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Mandy dos Santos

Contributor


Mandy is a mum to three and a nutritionist and food scientist. She simply loves food and if she is not in the kitchen, making a mess, she is with her family at the beach or in the bush. Mandy has recently published her first children's picture book 'At My Family Table'.

How your personality type impacts your homeschool

Ever played the Instagram comparison game with homeschool mamas you follow? Kara Anderson reflects on how knowing your personality type can help you understand everything from relationships, to work, to how you homeschool - and maybe help cut yourself some comparison slack too!

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When I was in high school, I decided that I needed to like coffee.

My friends had started liking coffee. A few even worked at coffee shops before Starbucks came to our town, and so they would make me coffee drinks with syrups and whipped cream, and I would try to enjoy them.

But coffee and I have a deep misunderstanding.

I say, “Hey – how about a little wake-up boost?” and coffee says, “Hold on to your flipping hat.”

To really drive the point home, coffee also makes my stomach hurt like I swallowed a handful of forks.

So I resigned myself to be a tea girl.

Still, for years I would think that maybe if I tried hard enough, I could like coffee. I would order a Peppermint Mocha because I saw one on Instagram and it looked so festive and delicious.

I’ve never grocery shopped while high on Angel Dust, but I can only think that a normal person on Angel Dust is me on a tall Peppermint Mocha. #cartrage

So coffee and I are done before we ever got started. It would have been such a good ride, I think, until I jumped out of a 30th story window thinking I could fly …

Personality explains a LOT

I’ve just returned from a weekend hanging out with fellow homeschoolers and bloggers, and I can’t tell you how many times the conversation turned to personality types.

We talked Myers-Briggs and The Enneagram, and how knowing your personality type can help you understand everything from relationships, to work, to how you homeschool.

Finally, I felt like someone understood what I was faced with here at home.

I don’t mean that to sound negative, but I had never seen it spelt out clearly for me before.

And that is when I first thought of the coffee.

So often, I am trying to force things here that work for other people, but make my heart race and my stomach hurt.

Personality is deeply ingrained. We know that. 

And yet, home educating parents often forget to consider their own needs when thinking about what is going to work.

No matter what personality we have, here’s what it comes down to:

If we are the solo parent at home (or caring for) our kids at any given moment, then we are in charge. We set the rhythm or schedule, and we make the rules.

We are the bosses, applesauces.

In theory.

Immediately, as an INFJ, I run into a problem: my personality type is that which means I factor in everyone else’s emotions into every daily decision.

So I might wake up with a plan, but if a child awakes with a sore throat or a rough-night-of-sleep hangover, that plan goes out the window almost instantly.

I used to think that was a failing. Only after learning more about my personality did I learn that it’s just part of who I am, so of course it’s going to be how I parent, and how I home educate.

Still, this is hand’s down my single biggest challenge in homeschooling. But it’s not everyone’s.

What I find tricky, you'll find easy

If I tell a friend who has a different personality type that another family member’s “rough day,” derails me, she might wonder why I don’t just tell that child to suck it up, and hand them a worksheet.

(I also can’t do worksheets.)

But another mother’s hardest part of her day might be something I would never imagine, like noticing emotional cues in her kids.

(ALL I DO is notice emotional cues in my kids.)

The above describes another type of introverted homeschool mama – in fact, we’re just one letter off - and yet, we couldn’t be more different.

Growing up teaches us that not all things are for all people – we decide that we are just firmly anti-Brussel sprout, or we are a Democrat or Republican or Libertarian or want all politicians to go back to powdered wigs and horse teeth.

We figure ourselves out, which I think takes about 40 years.

But even once we decide that we will never cut bangs again, or that corn in guacamole is a crime, we are tempted all the time by other people, who seem happy and together.

What we have to remember, though, is that those people are not us.

Some of us naturally need more order, and some of us die inside without creativity.

So here's what I suggest for you, homeschool mama:

First, find out a bit about your personality type.

Take a Myers-Briggs or Enneagram test, or anything else that doesn’t ask for a lot of money or sound like a cult, and then study a bit. Learn more about what you need, and what is bound to make you nuts.

And embrace it. We all have strengths and weaknesses. We’re all unique. And it’s OK to make sure that homeschooling works for us as much as it works for our kids.

Remember: Your kids want a happy parent.

Second, find people who inspire you to be more like yourself.

That doesn’t mean you can’t keep other people in your Instagram feed or follow them on Facebook, it just means that if you are a mom who struggles with projects, don’t fill your feed with only project-based homeschoolers.

AND, when you see another mama doing a project, think to yourself that that’s very nice and keep scrolling.

Note: If you are a sensitive soul, and if you’ve been struggling lately, it might be good to unfollow some folks temporarily. It’s OK, you can bring them back into the fold later when you are feeling more confident.

Third, find real-life people or opportunities to fill the gaps.

If reading aloud makes you itch and squirm, check out library story times or invite Grandpa over once a week.

If you want your kids to have beautiful birthday cakes that express their personalities, find a baker in your community and let him or her do what they do best.

And then, be grateful for those people. That’s all you need to do.

You don’t need to beat yourself up that you can’t be everything to everyone.
You are not Taco Night.​​​

But you are you, and believe me – it’s enough. 

This post originally appeared on Kara's blog and has been republished here with permission.

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Kara Anderson

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Kara is a homeschool mom, writer, tea drinker, yoga-doer and girl with overdue books. She's also co-host of The Homeschool Sisters Podcast.

How to begin Circle Time with your preschooler

Is your toddler itching to begin ‘real schoolwork’ like their older siblings? Maybe you want to create more daily rhythm? If so, why not try Circle Time?

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By Kirstee Raki | thiswholehome.com

Do you have little ones itching to begin ‘real schoolwork’ like their older brothers and sisters?

Or is your eldest coming to the stage where they need a little more structure to their days?

Maybe it’s you who needs that little something to relieve any feelings of ‘not doing enough’ or not knowing how to ‘fill your day’ with little ones. I know I’ve been there.

There are lots of reasons why you may feel like starting circle time with your preschool age children is just what your home needs. Read on to find out just what circle time involves at this age and how to make it work in your home.

Let’s begin with the basics and answer the question…

What is 'circle time'?

At its simplest, circle time is merely coming together to have fun, usually while we begin laying the foundations for future academic work. It’s a chance for your child to learn a few of the basics, like how to count or sing a children’s song. It provides a touchstone to the day and helps us as mamas to be mindful of including music and movement in our child’s day.

In a group setting, it may look like the mat time you remember from mornings at kindergarten or resemble rhyme time at your local library. At home, unless you're blessed with a tribe of smalls, it will probably look a little different. But it retains those elements of the child following directions from a trusted adult, building their concentration and practicing a variety of skills in a way that is fun and age appropriate.

Now before I go into the 'how' of circle time with preschoolers, let me just say that there is absolutely no reason why you have to do circle time at home. In a home with a strong rhythm you will already have many anchors to your day in place (and if you don’t, take a minute right now to check out this post on how to establish a rhythm in your home. It’s for mamas too, not just for our kids!).

There are plenty of ways to practice all of the skills necessary at this age that don’t involve circle time at all. Cooking together, singing together as you help your child dress, counting out plates as you set the table… there are myriad ways to learn the skills you typically practice in circle time. Only include circle time in your home because you want to, because you and your child both enjoy it.

If you think that you and your little one will enjoy having this special 'Mummy and Me' time, here’s how you go about it.

5 steps to a magical circle time with your toddler

Step 1: Look at your rhythm and find a time suitable for a big, long out breath of activity. Pencil circle time into this space. You want a time when your child isn’t tired or hungry and when you don’t have a million other things to do.

Step 2: Plan out what you are going to do in advance. I like to write it all out on the circle time planning form included in my Mulberry Homeschool Planner. Knowing what you are doing next helps maintain flow. Things fall apart quickly if you have no idea what happens next.

How I use the Mulberry Homeschool Planner

Step 3: Gather together any materials you need for your planned activities. Perhaps you want to use some musical instruments or dance with play silks (I like these ones, but we also have a collection of fabric offcuts that are wildly popular with my three-year-old!).

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Step 4: Choose a song or rhyme to open your circle, and another to close it. Keeping these the same every time helps your child make the transition in and out of circle time easier. My daughter loves it when we light a candle for our opening verse. Find little ways to bring some magic into your day.

Step 5: Get down on the floor with your child and have some fun!

It's that simple. But if you’re like me, when I’m trying something new I need specifics.

So here they are…

Designing toddler circle time

When I am designing a circle time there are a few important things to keep in mind.

Questions to ask before you begin

Firstly, how old is my child and are my expectations reasonable for her age? 

I want to create a circle that is the right length for her age and development. Anything more will just lead to frustration on my part and hers too. I know as we move into the kindergarten years that I want my circles to tell a story and to help her develop her concentration, but for now, I want to provide 15 minutes of one-on-one time in our day where my daughter is my sole focus.

Secondly, what do I want to achieve with circle time? 

We are Waldorf-inspired homeschoolers and as part of our philosophy, we don’t include structured academics before age 6 or 7. So that isn’t my goal. Instead, at this age I am looking to begin laying the foundations for future literacy and numeracy skills, to give a little direction in developing fine and gross motor skills, but mostly to have fun and provide another touchstone to our day.

Finally, what don’t I want to do? 

I don’t want to make this a chore, for her or for myself. I don’t want to step outside of what is age appropriate, both in regards to content and length, and I don’t want this to feel like busy work. I want us to have fun!

Circle time with my 3-year-old

What elements do I include?

  • I try to have my circle times cover one or two activities each for developing fine motor, gross motor, numeracy and literacy skills. 
  • I choose nursery rhymes, finger plays, songs with actions and sometimes a short story or two.
  • By being mindful of which songs and rhymes I choose, I can get in rhyming practice (one of many literacy skills we cover) and counting practice (numeracy skills) with no effort at all. 
  • If I include one finger play and one song with full body actions I have also managed to add fine and gross motor skill development.

Which stories are best?

You can find plenty to get you started with a quick Google search. Or maybe begin with those you can remember loving as a child. There is something to be said for the classics; Twinkle Twinkle, 5 Little Speckled Frogs, Mary Had a Little Lamb, 5 Little Ducks. I’m sure if you think back to your kindy days you will realise you know heaps of appropriate songs and finger plays!

You can also add in a short story or two. I tend to keep books for quiet time in the evening and instead tell stories during circle time. Often these stories have accompanying hand actions which my daughter will copy, or I tell the story using finger puppets or other small props I have made or found about the house. String plays are another fun way to act out a story (and are great fine motor practice too!). Unless they are particularly breakable props, I like to leave them out later as a play prompt.

When you should stop

Most importantly, we have fun and build a connection. If these two things aren’t happening, STOP!

That’s right. STOP IMMEDIATELY. There is no reason why you have to do circle time at home so if it’s not working don’t torture yourself. Perhaps it was an off day and you can try again tomorrow. Maybe it doesn’t suit either of your personalities, in which case find other ways to build these skills and times of connection into your day. Or maybe your child just isn’t ready to begin circle time, and there is nothing wrong with that! Remember the suggestions up above and try those instead.

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Find a pattern and stick​​​​ to it

One other factor to remember is that children this age thrive on repetition. I know, I know. It can feel tedious for us adults, but there is something to be said for holding the same circle time repeatedly for a period of days or weeks (depending on the child). At this age, you may even like to repeat the same song or rhyme a couple of times in each circle, particularly when you are introducing a new one. When it does come time to change up your circle, don’t forget to keep the opening and closing the same to help with the transition.

But what about if you have older children as well?

Circle time for junior grades

While all of this is happening, my older child is busy with his solo table work. Working alone while his sister is occupied with me helps him get a little peace to concentrate and helps him develop independence and self-direction with his school work. He has enjoyed many years of circle time at home but is moving past it now. Independent work is an excellent substitute for him so long as I remember to build moments of movement and connection into his day elsewhere. If you have a child in the lower grades (usually up to about third or perhaps fourth grade) I recommend reading this post for hints on how to make circle time work for older children.

Another option is to employ your older child as a helper in holding circle time for a younger sibling. Many children feel significant when called on to help in this manner and it also helps to foster sibling relationships.

Above all else, look to your children for what they need in this moment and forget about what everyone else is doing. This is your home, do what works for you!

This article originally appeared on This Whole Home and has been republished with permission.

The Mulberry Planner includes printable Morning Circle templates.

More info here.

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Kirstee Raki

Kirstee Raki

Contributor

Kirstee is mum to two from QLD, collector of chickens, a terrible housekeeper, a no-nonsense country-style cook, lover of mason jars, passable vegetable gardener, holistic homeschool educator, to-do list fanatic and bush wanderer. She blogs at thiswholehome.com and shares advice and encouragement on implementing a holistic model of education in your home, as well as practical tips to stay sane as a homeschool mama. Instagram - @this.whole.home

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Learning without boundaries: Deschooling ourselves as parents

So often we talk about deschooling our children, but what can deschooling look like for parents, and why is it necessary when beginning homeschooling? Crystal Wiley shares her journey.

By Crystal Wiley

This article was originally featured on Simple + Free and has been republished with permission.

When we began homeschooling almost two years ago, I never would have guessed how much I’d learn about my children, my husband, my family, my community and myself as a result…

To start, for us, homeschooling meant completely deschooling ourselves as parents.

It means removing all the negative thoughts and emotions we’ve carried around with us regarding the conventional schooling we received. This included both my husband and I.

Usually deschooling means throwing everything out the door and starting over.

This was true for our family, but deschooling also meant revisiting how I specifically felt as a child pushed through class after class in which I had no desire in attending.

We have to understand we as a species never truly retains information gathered due to force or coercion from teachers, no matter how well-intentioned they are.

For it wasn’t until midway through my college experience I realised what I enjoyed.

Photo: Crystal Wiley

The passion I have to offer my kids an interest-led learning environment flows in waves as I continue to grapple with a slew of mixed emotions. I feel like I could have spent a more significant chunk of my young life learning what I was passionate about, instead of sitting for hours and hours at a desk doing my best to stay awake in the midst of uninspiring information.

It could have been inspiring if it was something I was interested in, of course.

I’m convinced you do not need to be a philosopher or a scientist to understand a few simple truths...

Real learning happens when someone is passionate and open-minded.

Real learning happens when someone has time to explore.

Real learning happens when you feel safe and loved, not exposed and judged.

Real learning happens when you have the ability to go deeper into an idea and not be told: “we’ve come to the end of this idea and now we’re moving on to the next.”

Real learning needs no boundaries.

How do I refer to “real learning?” To me, it simply means knowledge well-kept, not discarded shortly after a test.

Additionally, I aspire to offer my children the conviction to experience the joy of critical thinking and deep exploration of parts of the world they’re interested in without society’s confines and push and pull by homeschooling… something I struggled with immensely.

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And since no one knows what our future holds, I feel our children innately do – they were built that way. They were created in God’s image which means they intuitively know how they’re supposed to fit into the community. They know what their bodies need to do. They know what they need to learn. They know, planted like little seeds, how they’re supposed to spend the majority, if not all of their time here on Earth.

Much like a flower knows exactly how to grow, given the correct environment.

Our kids may not express their desires verbally but instead subconsciously, if they listen to their heart – given the opportunity to listen to that still, small voice whispering in their ear what path to take – they’ll follow it unceasingly.

Now, if your children attend a traditional school this article is not an attempt to shame you as a parent. I know many homeschool families who shift in and out of schools as well, so this is in no way directed to those who choose a different path. In fact, it’s possible to offer your children the opportunity to follow their dreams, it will just look much different for you considering your time with them is much more limited. Please never doubt your abilities or intentions as a parent – for this unshakeable persistence to be a better parent is at the core unconditionally loving your children!

Regardless, a few things in our future are certain whether your kids attend a traditional school or not. Our children will need to know how to be:

1) Adaptable – our world and the information in it changes constantly. We have to learn to adapt.

2) Limitless – knowing they have the power to make a difference in our vast world.

3) Self-Empowering – not allowing friends or society to tell them they are doing it wrong.

4) In Touch – with who they are as a human being and who God created them to be.

5) Steadfast – never giving up because too many people in life they know will do just that.

For me, it took a good 25-plus years to realise what I was called to do. And I’m still learning every day alongside my kids how good it feels to follow my dreams and surrender to the glorious unknown.

"The more I learn, the more I realise how much I don't know." // Albert Einstein

And it took me having children to realise my offspring deserve a chance to find for themselves exactly what they’re meant to do early on in life and then given the encouragement, resources and environments to pursue these ideas.

No gold stars, prodding or pushing or bribing necessary.

--

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution." – ALBERT EINSTEIN

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Crystal Wiley​​​

Blogger at Simple + Free

Crystal Wiley is wife to an exceptionally gifted and patient husband with whom she's owned and sold several companies, and a mother to two adventure-seeking children in the Pacific Northwest of America. She loves simplifying through minimalism and slowing down to enjoy each season in life all while focusing on God's big plans for her family's eclectic, interest-led homeschool. Depending on the day, you can find her hiking, snowboarding, camping, mountain biking, reading a plethora of books (to herself and her children) or writing about whatever strikes her heart.

The Start Homeschooling Summit is back again for 2018!

If you're new to homeschooling or looking for something to refresh you, then you'll love soaking up all the wisdom and ideas in the FREE workshops from the Start Homeschooling Summit. It's coming up in February - mark it in your calendar!

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By Grace Koelma | Co-Founder of The Mulberry Journal

While we’ve all been laying by the pool and having BBQs (or playing in the snow for our Northern Hemisphere friends!), our friend Kelly George has been working like a trooper over these past few months to bring an amazing series of workshops for this year's Start Homeschool Summit. And can we just say that the line up this year is seriously AWESOME?!

Did we mention it's FREE?

Yep. The best part is you can sign up for FREE and watch all the workshops live between the 19th and 24th February 2018. All 34 of them. Phew! Time to organise a babysitter, and break out the dark chocolate and fancy tea...

Get ready for serious #homeschoolinspo

Of the 34 upcoming talks by amazing homeschooling and unschooling mamas from around the world, here are some we're really looking forward to.

Learning in the Real World: How to Help Them Thrive with Pam Laricchia

9 Essentials of a Charlotte Mason Education for the Early Years with Meghann Dibrell

Why every family should have unlimited video games with Penelope Trunk

Science for Mothers who don't like science with Kendra Fletcher

Ok, so to revise...

Step 1: sign up here

And you're done. #homeschoolinsposorted 👌

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10 tips to make reading books aloud more enjoyable

If reading aloud isn’t something that comes naturally in your family, these 10 tips will show you how read-aloud family time can be fun AND painless!

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By Kirstee Raki | This Whole Home

Reading aloud. It’s one of those things we know as homeschool mums we are supposed to do. Not only that, but homeschool bloggers everywhere would have us believe that we are also supposed to enjoy it. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, especially if reading aloud isn’t something that comes naturally. 

I'm a huge fan of the read-aloud, and even I confess to not always finding it easy or *gasp* enjoyable to read to my children. But I do have a few tricks that help make it more fun and a lot easier to accomplish on a daily basis. 

Tip 1: Choose a book you actually want to read

It's hard to make yourself read aloud if you just can't stand the book. I flat out refuse to read twaddle to my kids. I don't mind so much if they choose to read it on their own time. Although I encourage them to read widely, I'm not going to torture myself with insipid characters and weak storylines when there are so many amazing books out there! 

I once heard someone say that the mark of a true classic children's book is one that you will love reading well into your adult years. 

Try choosing a book you loved as a child or one that comes highly recommended by another mama and go from there. If you start a book and you find yourself dreading read-aloud time, ditch the book and choose another one. There are too many wonderful books out there to waste your time on the so-so ones. Your kids can always read it to themselves if they love it.

Tip 2: Choose a book your kids want to hear

It is so frustrating to sit down to read to your children and they just don't want to listen to the story. It can feel like a rejection of you as the parent when they complain or misbehave during what is supposed to be a special time as homeschoolers. Listen up, mama. You're kids aren't rejecting you, they are rejecting the book.

 Get smart about your book choices. Books that are too young won't hold their interest, and books that are too far above their comprehension level go in one ear and out the other, leaving the child feeling bored and frustrated at best, stupid at worst. 

Choose books just above your child's reading level with subject matter s/he is interested in. You can move towards more difficult books later but before anything else, you want read-aloud time to become a loved activity.

Tip 3: Schedule read-aloud time for the start of the day

There are a hundred and one tasks to do every day, and that's before you've even started lessons. It can be tempting to dismiss reading aloud as something fun but non-essential and then bump it from your to-do list. 

Worse still, if you haven't come to enjoy reading aloud yet, you might be deliberately running out of time. Caught you! But seriously, please don't leave this one off the list. 

Reading aloud is a fantastic bonding experience, helps to develop a child's love of literature, increases their vocabulary and exposes them to a wider variety of books than they might otherwise choose on their own. 

Try making read aloud time first up each day so that it doesn't get missed in the busy-ness of the school day. And if you don't really enjoy it (yet!) well at least you've got it over and done with and can move on to things you like better 😉

Tip 4: Keep your book with you at all times

Just like reading first thing makes sure you get this done, keeping your books handy is a big help too. Leave your current book on the table, in a basket beside the couch, carry it in your handbag. If you see it, you will remember it, and it's more likely to get read. There is something a little magical about being able to whip out your book and read it at the beach or by a waterfall. And who doesn't want a little more magic in their lives?

Tip 5: Have realistic expectations

I have hinted at this one already. Choosing a heavy tome and expecting to sit down and read it for an hour is not going to end well. You need to be realistic about what you can get done and what you want to achieve from it. 

If you are expecting a stellar narration every time you read a novel together, your kids aren't going to want to do this. If you are reading a book just because you think you should, this isn't going to happen.

If your schedule is jam-packed and you are trying to add in an hour of reading aloud every day, you're going to fall off the bandwagon pretty soon. Be honest about what you can do, and don't expect too much from yourself and your kids. At least not in the beginning.

Tip 6: Start slow and build up

This one follows on from the last. If you have never read aloud before, or at least nothing longer than a 'That's not my...' book with your toddler, you probably aren't going to manage an entire chapter of the Hobbit in one sitting. And neither are your kids! 

Start with just ten minutes, or perhaps even just a page or two, and slowly build up the time you sit together to read. Reading aloud is a skill that needs to be learnt, so let yourself learn at your own pace.

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Tip 7: Let little bodies wriggle around

Remember how I said you need to keep your expectations realistic? Well, let me make it clear that it is not realistic to expect your kids to keep perfectly still and perfectly quiet while you read. There is definitely going to be a certain amount of fidgeting going on. Or perhaps even hanging upside down on the couch. So long as they are paying attention, don't sweat it. 

As adults, we tend to assume that a child moving around is a child who isn't listening, but children often manage to process more when they aren't concentrating on sitting still. Set some parameters that you are comfortable with and let them be. Lots of children like to keep their hands busy while they listen so laying out paper and crayons is often a good way to go.

Tip 8: Get chatty

Reading books together isn't just an academic activity, it's a bonding experience. Chat about the books together. Ask them what their favourite part was, or which character they didn't like. What would they do in the hero’s place? If your inner school mum voice is asking you what the value of this is, you can reassure her that this is a great way to gauge and develop comprehension skills 😉

Tip 9: Make it lively

Reading in monotone is boring. It's boring to do and it's boring to listen to. Have fun, get silly, launch yourself into character. Try out a few voices, read with emphasis, take dramatic pauses. It may feel forced at first, but you will soon get used to it. You don't need to go overboard, but you do want to make your reading enjoyable to listen to. If you need a little guidance, try listening to an audio book and mimicking the way the voice actor reads.

Tip 10: But most important of all…

Everything else aside, the most important part of reading aloud is to enjoy the time with your little ones. Some of my fondest memories of reading with my children are when they have climbed into bed with me and handed me a novel to read, or snuggled in beside me on the couch. Enjoy the time together, and the rest will eventually sort itself out.

But what if you still aren’t enjoying reading aloud?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Just head over to This Whole Home to find my tips on what to do when you don’t like reading aloud.

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Kirstee Raki

Kirstee Raki

Contributor

Kirstee is mum to two from QLD, collector of chickens, a terrible housekeeper, a no-nonsense country-style cook, lover of mason jars, passable vegetable gardener, holistic homeschool educator, to-do list fanatic and bush wanderer. She blogs at thiswholehome.com and shares advice and encouragement on implementing a holistic model of education in your home, as well as practical tips to stay sane as a homeschool mama. Instagram - @this.whole.home

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