Board games are a perfect way to teach language arts at home and in the classroom. Most students dislike traditional worksheets. Fortunately, board games are a very effective way of reinforcing concepts.
Because Grammar Galaxy teaches language arts concepts in so little time, your grammar guardians have plenty of time left to play board games.
If you already own some of these board games, plan a regular game time and use them. Family game nights are great, but board games can be played during school time, too.
Then add to your board game collection. Board games are a great gift for birthdays, holidays, and vacations. They’re also an excellent way to keep the learning going over the summer — on rainy days in particular.
The problem is that good language arts board games can be hard to find.
I did the research on spelling / vocabulary, reading, grammar, and writing / storytelling games, so you don’t have to. Be sure to pin this post so you’ll have it for later.
If you have a game you love and it’s not listed, comment and tell me about it! Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post for more ultimate guide posts from iHomeschool Network.
Best Spelling / Vocabulary Board Games
When we think of language arts board games, spelling and vocabulary games are usually what we think of. Whether you have a beginning speller or a high school student, these games will expand your student’s vocabulary and help with spelling in a fun way.
Best Reading Board Games
Board games are a great way to help beginning readers relax. Older students can improve their reading comprehension and even their research skills with these games.
Best Grammar Board Games
Grammar doesn’t have to be boring. I’ve learned that from students begging to do Grammar Galaxy every day. These board games will put even more giggles into the study of grammar.
Best Writing / Storytelling Games
Students who don’t like to handwrite their stories and aren’t proficient typers will love these games that will challenge them to use their creativity.
Be sure to subscribe below so you’ll hear about more educational games to enhance your students’ learning.
Are your kids excited about writing an old-fashioned book report or creating a tri-fold board to show off what they’ve learned? Those standby projects will probably never disappear, but as homeschoolers who want to prepare students for the future, there are amazing digital alternatives! Read on to learn all about them.
If you aren’t a tech-savvy mom who tries out the latest and greatest digital platforms, you may have no idea what is available for your students. I do love new digital and online programs, but I haven’t used many of the newest options with my kids. Before I tell you what I learned from my guest Beth Napoli of TechieHomeschoolMom, I want to share the benefits of having your kids use these digital alternatives for projects.
Why Use Digital Alternatives for Student Projects?
First, they’re motivating to most kids. Kids may be so interested in learning to use a new platform that they don’t realize they’re doing the work of writing a report or creating a timeline. The second reason is related: bonus learning takes place when students learn to use a digital device or program. If your child needs the device or program to do something in particular, the tutorials will become a part of the process. Learning to use a new program is a vital life skill for the digital age. If your students learn how to teach themselves how to use a new platform now, learning another one later will be much less challenging. The final reason I believe that having your students use digital alternatives is because they’ll learn valuable career skills. Simply mastering one of these platforms opens the door to a skill that will make your student more employable or even to a business while your child is still in school. I have paid people to create graphics for me using one of the platforms I will mention below. I hope you’re excited to learn more!
If you’re worried that you will have to learn the platform too, rest assured that while you could learn along with your child, you don’t have to. My kids often teach me tricks for using tools I thought I’d mastered. Your students can move on without you.
What are Some Digital Alternatives to Traditional Student Projects?
Canva. Canva is the free graphic program I use to create most of the graphics you see on this blog. I’ve also used it to teach the kids in our co-op. I assigned them the project of creating a flyer for a business (why pay someone when you can do this yourself?) and creating an advertisement. Beth Napoli mentioned having students create infographics to summarize what they’ve learned. You could also have your student create quote graphics for a historical figure or favorite quotes from a book they are reading.
Emaze. I haven’t used Emaze with my students, but Beth has had her kids create a travel journal for Ancient Greece. This would be a fantastic way to share what is learned in a world or US geography study as well. Beth has also used Amaze to create a 3D interactive art gallery. Amaze is truly an amazing tool!
Prezi. Prezi can be used for multiple purposes, but Beth had her kids create a digital timeline with it. My high school student created a paper timeline that spanned two walls of our basement and had to be kept up all year! I really wish I had had him use Prezi instead.
Animaker. This software can be used to create animated videos. Instead of a long report, have your students create a video on a topic and then share it to YouTube. Your kids will not only learn themselves but can help teach other students, too.
Where Can You Start with Using Digital Alternatives to Traditional Student Projects?
Beth has created a list of 25 free webtools for creating digital student projects for our subscribers. Click below to claim your list.
You can choose a project and one platform and get started.
But you can also make digital projects even easier by enrolling your student in an online unit study. Unit studies have been my preferred way of teaching for 17 years. They’re not boring, they involve teaching multiple subjects, and they reach students with all learning styles. The problem is they can be a lot of work to create yourself. Beth’s Online Unit Studies have done all the work for you. Using an all-in-one digital platform where students can watch videos, read material, and share what they’ve learned, your students can see their progress in each study. Your child will learn not only the subject that you want to study but how to use these digital platforms as well.
Until now, you would have to plan which unit study you wanted to use and pay for it individually. But with the Kickstarter campaign that you can participate in, you can purchase an all-access pass. What that means is that for one low price you can have access to any and all unit studies (even future studies!) for a month to ten years! I would have saved so much money with an all-access pass to online unit studies had the technology been available. Don’t wait, though. A limited number of all-access passes are available.
You deserve a day to be honored, mom. You deserve a day of rest, too! But what I most want to give you is the gift of homeschool sanity. That’s what I’m all about. Scroll down to enter this amazing giveaway and to get access to the rest of the Mother’s Day giveaways from iHomeschool Network.
The Organized Homeschool Life
I have created a collection of gift items for a Mother’s Day giveaway that I think will give you just that. First, I have a print copy of The Organized Homeschool Life. Working through these organizing challenges one week at a time, fifteen minutes a day will make life saner for more than just Mother’s Day. Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to spend hours and hours this summer “getting organized”? With this book in hand, you won’t have to. Purchase your copy today and if you win, I’ll refund your money!
Ahner’s Grove Natural Skin Care Products
With these gift items, you can light a candle, take a bath, moisturize, and soothe yourself into bed on Mother’s Day and for weeks afterward. I’m so thankful to my friend Sara Ahner for providing these items from her Etsy shop. You’ll receive:
You can rest easy knowing that you are putting all-natural ingredients on your skin. I am literally enjoying the scent of these products as I write. I don’t want to send them off, but I will. I know where to get more! The Fresh Brewed Gift Basket pictured above would make a great gift for your mom or for a new bride.
Anger is one of the most discouraging problems for parents. It creates fear, guilt, and even hopelessness. If it’s your struggle, confronting the lies you believe about anger is the first step in overcoming a problem with anger.
I’ll begin with a bonus lie: psychologists don’t struggle with parental anger. Not true. It was one of my biggest battles early on in my homeschooling. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those moms who can claim she no longer gets angry at her kids. But I can say that the improvement has been significant. I have yelled, been overly harsh, and even split my knuckle open after I smacked the counter in anger. I have said things I wish I could take back, made my kids cry, and have felt like an all-around awful parent as a result of my anger.
Right now I hope you aren’t regretting that you’re going to be getting advice from me on this issue! I do believe that every mistake I’ve made helps me to help you. I hope you agree. If you do, let’s get started.
First, anger is a normal human emotion. The feeling itself isn’t a sin, but the way we express it often is. Anger always begins in the mind with our thoughts. If our thoughts aren’t true and we act on them, anger will be a besetting sin — one that exercises power over us. So let’s examine what I think are the most common lies we believe and act on.
#1 They made me angry.
You probably recognize this one from your kids. “He made me mad, so I hit him.” You might have responded with, “We don’t hit, even if we’re angry.” But we have to address the lie, too. No one can make us angry. No matter how horrible junior behaves. No matter how awful the treatment, how big the disappointment, how outrageous the behavior.
No one, not even Satan, can make us angry. The only person who can bring about your sinful anger is you. Why? Because you’re the one who interprets what someone else does. Two days after my first baby was born, my mother-in-law told me I looked like I had another one in there. I did not get angry — even with the emotion of anger. I could have told myself that she was joking. I could have told myself that I did in fact look like I had another one in there. Both thoughts would have helped keep me from getting angry. I could have had thoughts that provoked me to anger, however. “She is trying to humiliate me,” for example. What I actually thought was, “She has Alzheimer’s. She doesn’t remember that it isn’t appropriate to say that. She loves me. I love her.”
People don’t make us angry. Our thoughts do.
#2 I can’t control my anger.
This lie is related to the first. Other people provoke me and I can’t help it. I relate so much to what Terri Maxwell said about this. She noted that she could be yelling at the kids one minute and sweetly answering the phone the next. If we couldn’t control our anger, we would be yelling at everyone — our friends, slow cart pushers at the grocery store, and even our pastor. But we don’t. We save our sinful expressions of anger for the people we love most.
Why is that? Because the people we love most tap into our greatest fears and frustrate our deepest desires. We don’t trust people outside of our home to forgive us our angry fits, but we do trust that we’ll be forgiven by our spouse and kids. Just because that’s usually true doesn’t mean we should continue to sin against our family with our anger.
The lie that we can’t control our anger stems from the lie that we can’t control our thoughts. Perhaps like anger, an initial thought cannot be controlled. With my mother-in-law I might have had an initial thought that she embarrassed me. But I wouldn’t have to hold on to that thought and add to it. The biggest lie in thinking that leads us to anger is that we know what someone else is thinking.My child is trying to make me miserable. He doesn’t care. They think I’m a slave. We do not know what our kids are thinking. Our kids don’t even know what they’re thinking. It’s pointless to ask why a child did something wrong because they honestly don’t know. Do you know why you do things you know you shouldn’t do?
2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Obviously, we can control our thoughts. Colossians 3:8 reads, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Obviously, we can control our anger, too. Jesus is our example who gives us the power to control our anger. The New Living Translation of Isaiah 53:7 reads, “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word.”
#3 I have righteous anger.
This lie is usually justified by pointing to Jesus’ example in getting angry and overturning the temple merchants’ tables. The problem with this argument that we have righteous anger is that it must only be about how God is being dishonored. If we are honest, we will admit that our anger is about us. We have been kept from getting something we want; we’ve been humbled; we are feeling guilty; we are afraid. James 1:20 says that our anger does not bring about the righteousness of God. Even if we did have righteous anger, God frankly doesn’t need it. He has done a very good job of handling people who dishonor Him from the beginning.
We sometimes mean by righteous anger that we are justified in being angry or that anyone would be angry under the circumstances. That belief doesn’t mesh well with Matthew 5:22: But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
Our anger is most likely not righteous anger.
#4 Anger is the only thing that works.
When I was practicing as a psychologist, I heard this a lot. I still do. The only way I can get my kids to obey me is to yell, to get angry. Reb Bradley who did an interview with me for the Homeschool Sanity show said in essence that if that’s the only way you can get your children to obey, it’s because that’s what you’ve trained them to do. Kids know they don’t have to listen to you because there will be no consequence UNTIL you blow your top.
A quiet voice can work to discipline your child. So can consequences, positive and negative. But you have to use them consistently. For most parents, anger seems easier. I will explain in an upcoming episode how to make discipline easier so you don’t have to get angry.
#5 Venting is a good thing.
When I first began practicing, I believed this lie. We worked with patients who suffered abuse. We encouraged them to vent their anger. We had them scream and rip up old phone books or punch pillows. There is some wisdom in asking patients to stop denying their feelings. But the research and experience tell me that venting is not effective long-term. Patients who had a great venting session weren’t any better in the days that followed. In the hospital, venting didn’t hurt anyone. But in our homes, venting can hurt the people we love. In our selfish desire to get everything off our chest, we may leave family members unable to get our hurtful words out of their heads.
Don’t think that venting to other people about your family members is the thing to do. Have you ever had the experience of retelling what your spouse or child did that made you mad and you find yourself getting angry all over again? Venting this way not only keeps you angry but can tarnish other’s view of your family members. There is absolutely a way to ask for prayer and advice without venting or dishonoring your family members.
There is also a way of expressing our needs and feelings in a positive way. I’ll share more about how to do that in part 2 on anger. But I’ll leave you with this Scripture that should have taught me venting isn’t a good thing. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
#6 Anger is no big deal.
One of my favorite resources for dealing with anger is Dr. Davis’s Freedom from the Spirit of Anger. In this video. Dr. Davis describes a father who only loses his temper every couple months. Dr. Davis said that for his family that was like living next to a volcano that only erupts every couple of months. Anger is a serious problem that can lead to divorce, emotional problems in children, and even death. Anger may increase the risk of heart attack.
Freedom from the Spirit of Anger DVD
By Dr. S.M. DavisThe most destructive force in family life today is the anger of one or both parents. But rebellion in youth seldom goes away until parents deal, not just with anger, but with their spirit of anger. MANY PEOPLE WITH A SPIRIT OF ANGER DO NOT REALIZE THEY HAVE IT. James and John had such an intensive spirit of anger that they wanted to call down fire from heaven and destroy an entire village full of people. Yet they were deceived so that they didn’t know that their spirits were putting off such a spirit of anger.A spirit of anger is also very contagious. Proverbs 22:24-25 explains how fathers or preachers who are blind to their own angry spirits develop followers with the same spirit. Here is an explanation of why ALL of man’s anger is wrong. Here also are 10 STEPS TO FOLLOW TO GET FREEDOM FROM THE SPIRIT OF ANGER. One father testified, “All my life I had a problem with anger. I finally dealt with it when I heard the Spirit of Anger’ message. Three weeks later my wife pointed out to me that my little boy no longer had a problem with stuttering!” “Freedom from the Spirit of Anger”is the second of 5 Sermons in the “Anger Series.”
Anger leads first and foremost to anger. Angry parents tend to have angry kids. Anger from one spouse leads to anger in the other. Proverbs 22:24 says, “With an angry man do not go.” Angry people are dangerous. Short of that, they’re no fun to be around. God takes anger very seriously. Psalm 37:8-9 says, “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.” Anger can lead to a multitude of evils. We want to overcome sinful anger through the power of the Holy Spirit.
One step to take now is to download a free printable of the truth about anger. You can meditate on these truths and accompanying Scripture each day to help you stop believing this lies about anger. This resource is made available free of charge to subscribers to Psychowith6. Click the image below to claim yours.
Which of these anger lies has been the biggest problem for you? Let’s chat about it on Facebook.
I planned to write on this topic because a number of people emailed me to say that feeling like a failure is their struggle. I thought I would be writing on this topic to help other moms, but it’s ended up being me needing the help. Lately I’ve felt like I’m failing for sure! But I’m not. You’re not either. Here’s why.
I believe that God called me to homeschool. That wasn’t my plan at all. But the call wasn’t this: I want you to raise Rhodes scholars. I want you to produce kids with 36 ACTs and full-ride scholarships. I expect you to have A-students who are stars in sports, music, and activities. Your children must be winners. You must ensure that they never fight with their siblings, never complain, and never dawdle. They must obey you the first time and be so mature that everyone is amazed by them. They must be fully functioning as adults at a very early age. Their faith must be faultless. They must never engage in idle pursuits or waste time. This is how you will know you are succeeding as a homeschool mom. You receive bonus points for sewing, gardening, and cooking from scratch.
I am so thankful that wasn’t the call! Instead, the call was, “I want you to homeschool.” That’s all it was.
Throughout God’s Word, you will never see the Lord holding His people accountable for results, but only for obedience. I am in fact homeschooling in obedience to God’s call on my life. Thus I am not failing. If you are homescholing your children in sincere obedience then you aren’t failing either.
#2 It’s not harvest time
I think of homeschooling like planting an orchard. We won’t see the fruit of it for many years. The frustration we feel with our young children or even our not-so-young children will one day become something to laugh about. We will wonder what all the fuss was about. So many things my children did or didn’t do embarrassed me, frustrated me, and even terrified me. But I was foolish to be worried about how much fruit a young sapling would produce.
Men in Bible times were not considered worthy of military or other service until age 20. I believe we can wait that long to see what kind of fruit our homeschooling will bear. After 17 years of homeschooling, I see my boys doing well in college classes, staying close to each other, and continuing to serve God and others. I didn’t see that fruit in the early days. I worried that they would never stop fighting. I worried that they would never be diligent. I worried that they would never learn certain subjects. I felt like a failure in my worry, but it wasn’t harvest time.
I’ve already said it’s not about results, but we homeschool moms just can’t help ourselves, can we? We see our friends’ kids excelling in areas that ours aren’t and it’s hard. One of the toughest lessons I’ve learned in homeschooling is that God’s plan for my kids doesn’t necessarily line up with mine. I planned for my kids to finish college while in high school and be able to step into careers at a young age. Meanwhile, I would be able to protect them from all the temptations of high school and college. As many of you know, my oldest son went to high school. He completely rejected the idea of doing college through CLEP tests. I was sure my second son, an introvert, would want to live my homeschool dream. But he too wanted to go to college.
My definition of success in my homeschooling isn’t God’s definition. I think God is looking at the results or at the very least how many books I read, science experiments I do, or field trips I take. But I know if I could ask Jesus what the most important commandment of homeschooling is, He would say, “Love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” That’s the fruit God is looking for as a product of our homeschooling. Are we loving God and others? It’s amazing how seeking all the other results we’d like to see can lead us away from love. But the Lord always draws us back. Do you love God? Do you love your kids? You’re not failing.
#4 Other people are looking for the wrong fruit
Sometimes other people make us feel like we’re failing — intentionally or unintentionally. Some moms seem to have it all together. I rememer going to a friend’s house and being depressed. She had three boys and it’s true that she didn’t homeschool. But I remember wondering how on earth she could keep things on her shelves. My boys would pull everything down in a heartbeat. And why didn’t she have holes in her walls? And her lamps weren’t beat up looking. What was wrong with me?
Sometimes this appearance of having it all together is more intentional. Other moms are so afraid that we’ll think they’re failing that they are careful to put on a good show. They may be dressed to the nines in public while there’s laundry everywhere at home. They constantly talk about their child’s successes and leave out the tension that pervades their home. I even heard of a woman buying a bakery cake and passing it off as homemade! We can’t compare an honest evaluation of ourselves to a surface one of someone else. Remember this: women who try the hardest to appear successful to others are usually the most insecure. We aren’t failing in comparison to others.
Unfortunately, there are sometimes people who will blatantly tell us we’re failing. If there is something we need to improve on, we should take steps to improve. But telling someone they’re failing isn’t a motivator. There are a number of reasons why someone might tell us we’re failing. They may be angry at us and saying it to hurt us. They may be jealous and hoping that our self-confidence will be as low as theirs. Or they may honestly believe that you’ll be motivated to succeed. In any event, other people do not determine our success.
That’s been my biggest problem lately. Whether because of hormones, fatigue, or stress, my emotions have been telling me I’m failing as a homeschool mom. Really, everything is awful, say my feelings. I’m horrible in every respect. I’m not a good cook, housekeeper, wife, or parent. Everything I’m doing is wrong. These are just lies! I’m far from perfect in any of these areas, but I’m not failing. Neither are you.
If feelings are convincing you you’re failing, I highly recommend truth journaling. This is what I’ve been doing and it helps me more than anything. Spend time in prayer and in God’s Word. Talk to other moms. Admit that you feel like a failure and if you have good homeschooling girlfriends, she will laugh with you. She’s been there. She’ll also give you a hug if you just need a good cry. Sometimes what we need when we’re in this state is rest. I was convinced to rest today and I desperately needed it. I’m already feeling better. I’m convinced I’m not completely hopeless now.
This last time that I’ve been feeling like a failure I noticed that I want every part of my life to be perfect: my body, my schedule, my house, my kids. Notice I didn’t say my husband. I have at least given up on that! I’m happily married as a result. But if everything were exactly the way I wanted it to be, do you know how I would feel? Proud. Throughout the Old Testament we read about people who served God until they became successful. Then pride drew them away from God. If you and I had perfect little homeschooling lives, we would think we were all that. We wouldn’t need God. We would look down on other homeschooling moms who just can’t get it together. I don’t ever want that to happen to me.
In our weakness we are strong because God is working in us and through us. If I never felt like I was failing, I certainly wouldn’t be writing on this topic. And I don’t think I would have any friends! Failure is the path to success.
Do you feel like a homeschool failure at times? Let’s chat about it on Facebook.
If you have homeschool mom guilt, you’re in good company. We all do. Today I want to help you feel better by sharing just one example of my guilt. And it’s a good one.
You may have heard about my Quarterly Planner printable. I developed it at the end of one school year to motivate my kids to finish the year well. It worked so brilliantly that I decided to use it every quarter of every year. To provide extra motivation, I promised my kids that we would go out to eat when everyone had finished their work for the quarter.
The kids finished all their work right on schedule. I silently cheered for myself. This little motivational tool was all my idea, after all. Their planners had every box checked off. We had a wonderful time celebrating their achievement at a favorite restaurant.
There was just one little problem:
I hadn’t verified that they had done their work.
I think encouraging my kids to work independently is really important. I allow them to do their math and check their own answers, for example. They are also responsible for some of their own language arts, some Bible, and science. Science, literature/writing have built-in accountability because we do these subjects in our home-based co-op. I have honestly not had to remind them to do their work on these subjects. It’s always done.
So imagine my shock when I discovered that not one, but two of my kids hadn’t been doing their math. I was very, very unhappy with them. They had lied to me. They were disciplined for that. They had to complete the extra work in addition to their current workload and, of course, were not allowed to celebrate with us after the following quarter. We also had many Bible-based discussions about lying.
I was so unhappy about my kids’ behavior, but I was also very, very unhappy with me. I felt incredibly guilty that I had trusted their self-report and hadn’t verified it. I learned that I needed to always oversee their work and check it. I also learned in discussion with my kids why they hadn’t completed their math. Neither of them were understanding their curriculum. If I had talked to them about it sooner, I would have discovered the problem and addressed it. I changed curriculum for both of them and they have been on track ever since. I’ve verified that. 🙂
The moral of this story isn’t just trust, but verify. It’s also that every homeschool mom like every homeschooled child makes mistakes. Our mistakes are never the end of the world. In fact, they’re a good way of experiencing God’s grace anew. They keep us humble. They can draw us closer to others who can relate to our failings. They can even make us laugh.
If you’re feeling guilty, talk to God about it. Talk to your family about it. Talk to your friends about it. My friends at iHomeschool Network are admitting their homeschool mom guilt. My guess is you’ll feel a lot better after reading. Read their stories by clicking here or on the image below. If you’re really feeling brave, tell me your homeschool mom guilt story on Facebook.