Pour a Cup of Tea and Take in the Encouragement!

Covering Maine Studies Using HOME's Unit Studies

By Raylene M. Hunt


So, it’s that time.  Your students have reached the sixth grade (or higher) and you have to cover Maine Studies.  But how, and with what will you accomplish this?  After all, your student just isn’t a textbook kid, right?  You need something more hands-on, more interactive or more engaging.  Well, it turns out that HOME is here to help.  For the past six years, HOME leaders have been researching and writing unit studies.  When used alone or combined, these studies can form a Maine Studies curriculum that is tailor made for your student.


Let’s take a walk through the currently available titles, and I’ll give you some ideas on how you can mix and match them to cover Maine Studies.  But first, let’s take a look at what a state study might cover.  While learning about the state you live in, you can explore the geography, history, economy, natural resources, tourism, government and famous individuals from or residing in the state.  With this in mind, let’s explore HOME’s unit studies to see how they can help you create an individualized Maine Studies program.

Remember - every HOME unit study is designed in a way that illustrates how a subject of interest to your student can be explored in a manner that will cover most, if not all, of the required subject areas.  With this in mind, you will find that most unit studies include a Maine Studies section.  You can use one unit study or a combination of units to suit your own needs and goals.


The following headings help to break down areas of study and corresponding units.

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Nudging Them Forward:Facillitating Independence

by Rebecca Keliher


All of my children resemble me in some way.


The resemblance may be visible in our eyes, our smile, our manner of speech, our interests and talents, or a combination of these features and others. But we are also each unique. None of my children is just like me. That means that they need to explore their own strengths, discover their own weaknesses, nurture their own talents, and develop their own skills.


As homeschoolers, facilitating opportunities for our children comprises a large portion of our responsibility. We spend hours exploring the best curriculum options, searching out field trip adventures, and seeking opportunities to help our children explore sports or the arts. We curl up on the couch for read-aloud time so they are exposed to great literature from an early age. We walk them through difficult concepts to ensure that they truly grasp what they need to learn.


There is an additional component to learning, however, that much of our facilitation tends to neglect: the intentional nurturing of independent learning.


In a way, independent learning occurs naturally among homeschoolers because one child learns how to teach herself while Mom works with another child. Or our bend toward encouraging our children to explore their own interests nudges them toward independent exploration and experimentation.


At some point, though, our children’s growth toward independence maxes out as long as we remain their facilitators.




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6 Ways to Motivate Your Teen

by Sara Jones


“How do I motivate my teenage son to do his best?”


This was the question that came up most often when I asked some friends about their homeschooling struggles. I have a 15-year-old son—and an 11-year-old daughter—who are pretty comfortable with mediocrity. I’ve thought a lot about this question.


I don’t really have any answers, to be honest. But I do have ideas.


My first idea isn’t anything you or I do with our student. It’s what we do for ourselves:


Idea #1: Get Rid of the Super Teen.

The Super Teen is a mythical boy or girl who lives in our head and skews our perception of how our actual teenagers ought to be performing. The Super Teen is usually featured in Facebook videos about how he/she designs robots, leads a social action program, or starts a business selling custom socks. You’re pretty sure this teenager also has good handwriting, is socially adept, and is in the middle of a brilliant research paper that will win scholarships.


It doesn’t help that older people tend to remember teenagers in their own time as Super Teens, and wonder what’s wrong with “teenagers today.” The Super Teen sets an impossibly high standard, and our perfectly ordinary teenagers fall woefully short.

With the Super Teen removed from his/her pedestal, the following ideas have been effective for us:


Idea #2: Reward good work.

Darren and I have no qualms about offering rewards to make the work more palatable. Money is extremely inspirational. So are extra privileges. Last year, we set aside one night every week as a family D&D night, on the condition that kids completed all their school. Darren would even award in-game advantages to kids who did a good job in school. Generous rewards can motivate even the most reluctant work.


Idea #3: Build lessons around what interests each teenager.

Obviously we can’t customize everything—geometry and earth science are still on the docket even though nobody is passionate about those subjects. But we let them have a say in their course load, and we work with them in the way they learn best. Sometimes that means that I just sit on the couch next to a kid who otherwise can’t focus on the math lesson.


Idea #4: Keep lessons short.

I’m a big believer in many small lessons rather than a few long ones. Starting in the elementary years, my kids do, say, four math problems instead of all 10. We answer many review questions orally. We skip chapters in history that I know they’ll pick up later. In handwriting, that bane of my homeschooling career, I require them to write one or two sentences at the time. As they get older, the lessons necessarily get longer—but we still keep them to manageable portions. It’s very motivating to be able to see the end of a lesson.


Idea #5: Let somebody else push them sometimes.

Joining a co-op or a finding a tutor can make a lot of difference in your teenager’s motivation. Sometimes they need someone other than Mom or Dad to explain, encourage, and inspire.


Idea #6: In time, they will take ownership of their own future.

When I was in middle school, I was a sloppy student and a lazy worker. In high school, I went through American history on my own, and tried to teach myself chemistry. (I failed. But I tried!) The difference was that my future had become my own, and it was up to me to shape it.


We’ve seen this change in our own teenagers. At 13, our son did the bare minimum work with as little thought devoted to it as possible. Two years later, he engages with the material and analyzes what he’s learning.


We still have to push, and our teens are still unenthusiastic at times. But their work has a depth that wasn’t there before. They care more.


I’m still anxious when I think of launching my kids into adulthood. I know they’ll have to fill in gaps that we’ve left open. But the above ideas have served us well so far; we’ve seen our unmotivated kids grow into more responsible, more serious students.


In fact, I have to say that they’re pretty super teens.


Used by Permission: Originally published at https://blog.hslda.org/2018/04/06/6-ways-to-motivate-your-teen/


Sara Roberts Jones grew up in Mississippi and married a Canadian; they compromised and live in Virginia. In among homeschooling their four children, Sara writes, visits friends, takes long drives, and finds stuff to laugh at.

Contagious Homeschooling

It all began during a conversation over dinner one night.


“And so,” concluded Clay, “That is how I started building model rockets when I was a kid.”

“What are model rockets?” both brothers asked at the same time, leaning in with great anticipation.


Clay, in his best Professor-of-Aerospace-Dynamics voice, explained the process, the science behind it, and the amazing results, finding himself promising a trip to the hobby store for supplies the next weekend.


In the weeks that followed, all three of them labored for hours assembling, gluing, painting, and balancing their miniature rockets. The first launch came and went; rocketry enthusiasts had been born.


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12 Ways to Create Community and Love Our Neighbors

by Amy Koons


Hopefully we all enjoy the benefits of having a community to support and encourage us. Many probably have more than one community!


Why is community so important? Here are three reasons why I try to create community in my family’s life:


     1) Living in community enriches our lives. Not only does it make life more enjoyable to have friends who rejoice with us and encourage us, but it also makes the hard times more bearable. Living in community is a lot more fun than being alone!


     2) Living in community is an imperative of my faith. My faith requires me to reach out to others in hospitality and love, and to not simply stay in my comfortable bubble. There are seasons of life where it’s easier to reach out than others. And there have been some desperate seasons in my life when all I could do was get some basic food on the table and keep the children alive. But whenever possible, it’s important to reach out beyond myself, even when it’s uncomfortable and even when I am tired.


3) Living in community is healthier than living in isolation. According to a 2011 study posted on the National Institutes of Health website, “Many types of scientific evidence show that involvement in social relationships benefits health. The most striking evidence comes from prospective studies of mortality across industrialized nations. These studies consistently show that individuals with the lowest level of involvement in social relationships are more likely to die than those with greater involvement.”



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