The Best Picture Books for Second Grade Math

Did you know that reading picture books can help your child excel in math?! You can use books to introduce a new concept in a comfortable way or to review something they've learned already. Picture books can help deepen your child's understanding of important math concepts and help connect them to the real world. Reading also makes math more fun and accessible for some kids. Here's a list of books that are perfect for math concepts that are usually covered in second grade. All of these books are suggested in H4RL's second grade math curriculum. If you're looking for excellent math resources, visit our elementary curriculum page to learn more. I'm a licensed teacher and I designed our math curriculum to help you love teaching your kids math and ensure they have a solid foundation of mathematical understanding. It's fun and effective! Check it out, and then go enjoy one of these books with your child!The Grapes of Math by Greg TangBold pictures present math as visual puzzles with real world objects. Readers are asked to look at the quantities in a way that makes it easier to find the total rather than counting by ones. Examining how the objects are arranged, one discovers that grouping them in different ways makes it easy to count by fives or tens or to make a quick multiplication problem. This is a great one to look at and discuss together, giving time for your child to think before you talk. Even Steven and Odd Todd by Kathryn KristaldiSometimes it isn't easy to get along with people who approach things differently than we do. Steven enjoys keeping everything nice, neat, and even. In his life, things are in pairs or sets of four, six, etc. When his cousin Todd comes to visit, though, Steven is very uncomfortable with the odd numbers that arise everywhere. This book manages to make the mathematical concepts of odd and even into a cute story about differences in people.Each Orange Had Eight Slices by Paul GigantiMath in the real world on every page! Repeated addition and multiplication are illustrated with bright colors. Each example has two math steps to it. For example, there are four trees, that each have three nests, which each contain two eggs. I think it's brilliant how much math they've packed very simply into just a few pages.Arctic Fives Arrive by Elinor PinzcesA cute way to practice counting by fives. In this rhyming story, five of each type of animal arrive and pile onto an iceberg. It gets rather crowded! The text guides the reader through skip counting up, and then the animals enjoy a view of the northern lights. We count back down by fives as the animals leave at the end.Shark Swimathon by Stuart J. Murphy The shark swim team wants to go to camp, but in order to get to go they must swim 75 laps. Throughout the book, their coach subtracts the number of laps they swim each day from the amount of laps remaining, until they reach zero - and their goal! Read the directions here to play a similar game.The Good Neighbors Store an Award by Mark RamsayThis book is designed to teach addition with regrouping. It's written about mice, so their cheesy reward even looks like base ten blocks! The good neighbors work together to figure out how to store all of the cheese they have been awarded.The Good Neighbors' Cheese Feast by Dan HarperOh, no! Some of the neighbors don't have enough cheese to make their recipes for the cheese feast. Subtraction with regrouping comes to the rescue as they figure out how to prepare all of the dishes for their celebration.If the Shoe Fits by Jennifer DusslingThis cute story about mice turning a shoe into a clubhouse introduces some simple measurement concepts. First, the two mice try to measure with their feet, but their feet are different sizes so their measurements are not the same. Then, they try a cheese stick (they are mice, after all). That works fine, until someone takes a bite of the cheese stick. Finally, they use paperclips, and they're able to determine that the shoe will fit in their playroom. How Big is a Foot by Rolf MyllerThe king decides to have a bed made for the queen in this story. Unfortunately, when he uses his foot to measure the queen and the builder uses his own foot to measure the materials, it doesn't end up being a good fit. It's easy to see the need for standard units of measurement in this book. Since it's about a king and queen, you may want to enjoy listening to it read with an English accent by Cindy Cartwright. She does a wonderful job.Keep Your Distance by Gail HermanThe sisters in this story aren't getting along very well, but don't worry, at the end they realize that they wouldn't want to be separated! Along the way, they talk about measurements in inches, feet, yards, and miles. Readers will gain an appreciation for the sizes of these measurements and see a list of conversions at the end of the book.Inch Worm and a Half by Elinor PinzcesAn adorable inch worm happily measures things around her, until she runs into a problem. What if something can't exactly be measured in full inches? Some shorter little friends join in the measuring fun, using half, third, and quarter inch lengths. What a fun way to introduce simple fractions of a whole in the context of measurement! Twelve Snails to One Lizard by Susan HightowerThis is a funny one! The beaver and the frog try to measure with different animals as their units, until they finally realize that it's a lot easier to use a yardstick. Inches, feet, and yards are introduced. How Tall? Wacky Ways to Compare Height by Mark WeaklandRhyming text makes this book a lot of fun. Compare the height of various objects by lining smaller objects up as units until they equal the larger object. Children will relate as the book uses familiar things such as giraffes, dolls, and penguins.How Tall, How Short, How Far Away by David AdlerHow did they measure in Ancient Egypt? What about in Rome? Find out and try it yourself in this book. Readers will also learn about the two systems of measurement used in the United States today, the metric system and the customary system. Choosing appropriate units for measurements of various sizes is explored as well.Eating Fractions by Bruce McMillanThis book introduces fractions in a very simple way. There are few words, and the photos are from a couple decades ago! It's still great for demonstrating halves, thirds, and fourths of a whole. The fractions are shown as numbers, words, drawings, and as parts adding up to a whole.The Lion's Share by Matthew McElligottWith the feel of a folk tale, this story is both a lesson in fractions and sharing. Each animals takes half of the lion's cake as it is passed around the table, so the first animal gets half, the second gets a fourth, and so on. This helps to illustrate that one half can mean different amounts depending on the size of the whole from which it is cut. At the end of the book, each fraction is shown as a part of the whole cake.Jump, Kangaroo, Jump! by Stuart J. MurphyFractions aren't always parts of one whole object. They can also be one big group divided into smaller, equal groups. That's what happens in this book as the animals are divided into teams for various competitions. Readers see one half, one fourth, and other fractions in a different way in this cute story. Suggested math activities to go along with the book can be found on the author's page here. Whole-y Cow! Fractions are Fun by Taryn SoudersWhat fraction of the spots on the cow are red? This book presents sets and asks the reader to identify what fractions meet certain criteria. It's important that kids understand that fractions are a part of the whole set, so while in this case our numerator would be the number of red spots, our denominator would be the total number of spots, not just the number of blue spots. There are plenty of opportunities to practice naming fractional amounts in this book.Game Time by Stuart J. MurphyCentered around a soccer game, this story incorporates units of time. The game is one week away, then one day away, then an hour away. During the game, time is counted in minutes. Throughout the book, the illustrations represent these times on calendars and clocks. The author has listed a few related activities on his site.Just a Second by Steve JenkinsThis book is packed full of nature facts while helping kids understand more about just how long units of time really are. Readers will learn how many times different types of birds beat their wings in a second, how far various animals can travel in one second, what happens in one minute or one hour, a day, week, month, or year. A brief history of these units is also shared. The book even explores what can happen in less than a second. It's a fascinating look at time!I.Q, It's Time by Mary Ann FraserA little mouse lives in the classroom, but really wants to be a student, not a pet. As the school day progresses, times to the quarter hour are mentioned and shown on clocks. The mouse constructs his own clock that shows the hours and minutes around the edges. Children will enjoy this cute story and will learn a lot by constructing their own clock just like I.Q.'s!The Great Graph Contest by Loreen LeedyThis book explores various types of graphs and the questions they can be used to answer. Colorful, busy illustrations place them right into the action of the story.Looking for math curriculum that you and your child will love? Feel confident that your child has a solid understanding of math concepts with H4RL's resources!At H4RL, you'll find educational resources to add wonder and delight to your homeschooling journey. Jill, a homeschool mom and licensed teacher, has created Enhanced Read-alouds that provide mini unit studies based on high-quality children's books. Related activities for reading, writing, math, science, art, and more are woven into learning journeys that your family will love. Jill has also created a full math curriculum (kindergarten, first, and second grades are available as of June, 2023) that shows you how to teach your child all essential math concepts in fun, hands-on ways. Learn more on our elementary curriculum page!

The Best Picture Books for First Grade Math

Did you know that reading picture books can help your child excel in math?! You can use books to introduce a new concept in a comfortable way or to review something they've learned already. Picture books can help deepen your child's understanding of important math concepts and help connect them to the real world. Reading also makes math more fun and accessible for some kids. Here's a list of books that are perfect for math concepts that are usually covered in first grade. All of these books are suggested in H4RL's first grade math curriculum. If you're looking for excellent math resources, visit our elementary curriculum page to learn more. I'm a licensed teacher and I designed our math curriculum to help you love teaching your kids math and ensure they have a solid foundation of mathematical understanding! It's fun and effective. Check it out, and then go enjoy one of these books with your child!Penguin Place Value by Kathleen StoneFish that the penguins catch is stored in boxes of ten and on platters of ones. Using manipulatives with this story such as paper fish and small boxes or base ten blocks can help kinesthetic learners connect with the concept of place value. Practice writing the numbers for various amounts of fish.Subtraction Action by Loreen LeedyThe animals in this book introduce the concept of subtraction, related math terms, and real life situations in which subtraction is used.A Fair Bear Share by Stuart J. MurphyIn this adorable story about a family of bears, two-digit numbers are displayed as tens and ones. Ten ones are regrouped as a ten, and the numbers are added together. There is a lot of math to be explored here! Some suggested activities from the author can be found here.How Long? Wacky Ways to Compare Length by Jessica GundersonGreat illustrations make this book a lot of fun. It demonstrates lining objects up end-to-end along another, larger object, in order to see how many of the smaller object are needed to equal one of the larger object. This is a fantastic introduction to nonstandard measurement (not using units such as inches or centimeters, but instead using fingers, pretzel sticks, etc.). On a simpler level, it will get kids thinking about the concepts of longer and shorter, comparing lengths and thinking proportionately (how many of these do I need to make one or more of those?). Super Sand Castle Saturday by Stuart J. Murphy Tallest, longest, and deepest - it's a contest at the beach! This book uses both nonstandard (shovels) and standard (inches) measurements to compare sand castles. It addresses the error of using units of different sizes; if you're shovel is longer than mine, then we can't really compare our castles by measuring with the two different shovels. While objects vary in size, though, inches are always the same, so we can use a ruler to measure and compare various objects. A great real-world, practical look at measurement. The author has included a few related activity suggestions on his site.The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric CarleThe story of this ladybug unfolds on the hour as each hour of the day goes by. In the book, the times are shown on an analog clock. You can make the connection between this and a digital clock by writing each time as the hour and minutes with a colon between them as well.Telling Time with Big Mama Cat by Dan HarperIn this charming book, a cat tells us about her day. I like that on each page, the time is shown on a clock in the home, as part of the illustration, rather than just a clock face drawn on the page. Most of the times are on the hour, but some are at the half hour or even at 5- or 15-minute increments. As mentioned with the previous book, writing the times as they would be seen on a digital clock would be a good extension.A Second is a Hiccup by Hazel Hutchins and Kady MacDonald DentonThe sweet, rhyming text in this book gives real life, relatable examples of things that take a second, a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month, and a year. This is an excellent way to help children become more familiar with these abstract concepts.The Doorbell Rang by Pat HutchinsThe cookies are ready, and two kids divide them equally. Then the doorbell rings, and they redistribute them among four children. Then the doorbell rings again! Have some cookies ready and divide them between the same number of plates as there are children at the table in the book as you read the story. Everyone is disappointed when the doorbell rings and each child already has only one cookie. What should they do? Luckily, it's grandma with more cookies! Looking for a math curriculum that you and your child will love? H4RL's math lessons use a variety of fun activities to build a solid foundation of mathematical understanding. In addition to math, you'll find resources for poetry, reading, calendar time, and more. Enhanced read-alouds provide ideas for making excellent picture books even more fun and educational. You can access it all with a membership, and if you order printed math books you get a discount every month. Visit our elementary curriculum page to learn more!

Best Rhyming Books – with Activities!

These fun books are an excellent way to teach reading with rhythm and rhyme. Preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first graders will love these wonderful rhyming stories and the fun activities that extend the learning after you read!Here are 33 books with rhythm and rhyme that are great read-alouds for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade.Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan ThomasThis funny story with simple rhymes will make kids laugh. All the dust bunnies call out words that rhyme – except Bob. It turns out he has a good reason, though! Make puppets on popsicle sticks of Ed, Ned, Ted, and Bob (just copy a page and cut them out, let your child draw them, or draw them yourself). Then, play a game with your child. Ed, Ned, or Ted calls out a word to begin each round. Three of the puppets will say rhyming words, but not Bob!Barnyard Dance! by Sandra BoyntonThis one is so much fun! Active children will enjoy dancing with the farm animals. Read it with the rhythm of a square dance! You may have to practice first, but it’s even more fun when you play fiddle music like this in the background.How Big is a Pig by Clare BeatonA sweet, simple book with interesting illustrations created with felt and beads. Even very young listeners will enjoy this one. After reading, try making your own art with felt! Purchase a set with different colors and cut an assortment of shapes. Allow your child time to explore and see what the shapes can be combined to make. You could even take photos of their creations and then write a story to go with them! If you’d like some guidance on what shapes to cut out, try these. I Know a Rhino by Charles FugeThis is an adorable story that little ones with big imaginations will love! Vivid illustrations will captivate young readers, and just two sentences per page keeps the story moving along. For lots of ideas to keep the learning going, check out H4RL's Enhanced Read-aloud unit for this book.A Hippy Hoppy Toad by Peggy Archer This is a fantastic book! Filled with rhythm and rhyme, the story follows a toad as he meets other animals, takes a ride on a shoe, and ends up back where he started. Can your child retell the story, listing the toad’s adventures in the order they happen in the book? It may help to page through the book and peek at the illustrations again.Dino-Soccer by Lisa WheelerIf you have a sports fan, be sure to check out this wonderful rhyming series! Cheer on the herbivores and carnivores as they compete in hockey, football, swimming, and many other sports. Then, go out and try playing the sports the dinosaurs enjoy! If you can’t try it yourself, go to a game or watch one online. Learn some of the rules and techniques.Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem FoxI love this book. We find sheep doing all sorts of things in the delightful rhymes and illustrations, but we just can't spot that green sheep! Where could it be? Kids can join in as you repeatedly read, "but where is the green sheep?" Be sure to be very quiet and whisper the words when you read the ending so you don't wake the sleepy sheep!Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John ArchembaultIn this fun book full of rhythm and rhyme, the letters of the alphabet climb a coconut tree and then all fall down. Encourage your children to clap along as you read this one. For letter practice, you could also have your child place magnetic letters onto a cookie sheet (the tree) as they are mentioned in the story. Then, when you read “boom boom,” your child can bang and shake the cookie sheet and make them all fall off!Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna DewdneyIf your child ever begins to feel impatient or worried when you take too long to come and say goodnight, they have something in common with the llama in this story. In wonderful rhyming verse, the suspense builds as we wait longer and longer for mama to come upstairs. Animated readers may be shouting along with Llama llama at the climax!Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise BrownThe lilting, rhyming lines of this book make it a great bedtime read. It isn’t a story with a lot of action, but rather a wonderful description of the barnyard and what the animals are doing throughout the day and as the sun goes down.Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andrea and Guy Parker-ReesThis cute story about being yourself contains a lot of great rhymes, different than the simple standard words you often hear in rhyming books for children. After reading, put on some music, feel the beat, and do your own dance. If you want to practice more rhymes, put simple words on the floor (use painter’s tape) and dance on them! In order to step to a new word, you have to read it and call out a rhyming word.Kermit the Hermit by Bill PeetThis book is a bit on the longer side, but it’s a wonderful story. In rhyming verse, readers hear the story of a greedy crab who looks for a way to repay a boy who saves his life.Duck in the Truck by Jez AlboroughIn this fun story, Duck’s Truck is stuck and some other animals try to help him get it moving again. The lines about the sheep stepping through the muck are particularly fun due to the alliteration. Kids can jump in each time the truck is “still stuck.” Ask your child if they think the ending of the book should be changed. Shouldn’t Duck go back and help the animals who helped him? Work together to write rhyming lines that create a new ending for the story.Mr. Scruff by Simon JamesWhat a cute story! All the dogs and owners have names that rhyme. But what about Mr. Scruff? Find out who adopts him when you read the book together. Can you think of more pairs of rhyming names for pets and their owners? Pam and Sam. Patty and Hattie. Bob and Rob. Mavis and Davis. Draw, print, or cut out pictures of the pets and owners you think of and label them with their rhyming names (maybe Rob is a snail and Davis is a guinea pig).Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb by Al PerkinsWhile this may not be the best book for teaching rhyme, the rhythm is so much fun! Your kids can drum along as you read about these drumming monkeys.Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash by Sarah WeeksChildren who enjoy silly stories will giggle at all of the things Mrs. McNosh hangs on her clothesline. A fun extension with this book would be to put rhyming pairs of words and/or pictures on index cards. Put up a clothesline, and have children use clothespins to pin the rhymes on the line in pairs. If your child likes this book, check out the other stories about Mrs. McNosh!I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track by Joshua PrinceThis lively book with rhythm and rhyme is a tongue-twister for sure! There isn’t much variation in the rhymes (“ack” words), but it’s a lot of fun. The suspense builds as the big train comes closer and closer to crushing the ant. Write “ack” on an index card, and make a list of the beginnings of all of the words that end with “ack” in the story. Move the index card down the list, reading each word as you go. Can you think of any more? Add to the list with your child. To make this activity fit the book's theme, draw a train on the "ack" card and train tracks on the list of words! Practice reading in train-wheel rhythm - building fluency!Rhymoceros by Janik CoatWith pairs of rhyming words and no other text, there isn’t a story to follow in this book. What makes it worth including is the variety of rhymes. While books that focus on the story may repeat simple rhymes through the text, this one focuses on the words. Can your child think of other rhymes for the rhymoceros? Trace the outline of the rhymoceros from the book and have your child illustrate pictures to go with their rhymes.Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle There’s a lot packed into this one! Farm animals, trucks, and a lesson about friendship and helping others. Unlike many books with so much rhythm and rhyme, this book also includes enriching vocabulary. Making animal sounds and beeping a horn brings this book to life.Snowmen at Night by Caralyn BuehnerThis imaginative tale tells what snowmen do when we’re sleeping. It’s delightful, with wonderful rhymes. If you enjoy this story, read about some other snowy adventures by the same author.Dog on a Frog? by Kes and Claire Gray and Jim FieldFrog uses rhymes to invent some crazy places for all different sorts of animals to sit. Enjoy giggling at this silly story. Then, go back and read the blue page again – the one that lists all the animals. If you read the first half of each rhyme, can your child remember the other part?Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy ShawShort sentences filled with rhymes tell this silly story.  Now we know why sheep don’t drive.  Can you write a similar rhyming story?  Perhaps it could be about pigs in a rig (semi-truck).  Or maybe you could write about a horse on the course (is it driving a golf cart or a race car?).  Could a goat drive a boat?  Maybe a rooster goes for a ride in a rocket with a booster!Harry Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy by Lynley DoddMeet Hairy Maclary and his other dog friends. If your child enjoys these characters, check out the other books in the series.Stand Back! Said the Elephant. I'm Going to Sneeze. by Patricia ThomasOh, my! Hear about all the troubles it causes for the other animals when elephant sneezes. But what about when the elephant laughs? Detailed illustrations bring it all to life as the rhyming verse shares the animals’ woes.The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill PeetA great many rhymes are included in this story about a caboose who doesn’t enjoy life as a train car. It’s too loud and scary. She envies the houses and cabins that sit quietly in one place. For a writing and art connection, ask your child to imagine that they could be a train car, a house, a cabin, a lighthouse, an airplane, or any other kind of vehicle or dwelling. Have them draw a picture of what and where they would be, and then write a paragraph describing what their life would be like and why that is what they would choose.Chimpanzees for Tea by Jo EmpsonThis story is sure to make kids giggle. When he loses his list of items to get at the store, a boy tries to remember what his mother wrote down. Hilariously, the items are gradually replaced by animals with names that sound like the foods he was to purchase for tea. The rhyming practice is not as straightforward in this book as it is in others, but the story is so much fun. After reading the book, work with your child to come up with a list of items that could be on a grocery list for tea, breakfast, or dinner (just a few items). Then, make a matching list with silly, rhyming animals or other things to buy instead. Ask your child to draw a picture showing how it might turn out!Rhyme Crime by Jon BurgermanIn this clever story, a thief replaces everything he steals with objects that rhyme, leading to some silly pictures! Kids are able to predict the rhyming word before you turn the page. At the end, they can use the pictures and rhymes to solve a mystery. After reading, discuss – were you able to predict all of the rhymes that would replace the stolen items? Were there any that you thought would be different? What other ideas can you think of (what other choices did the author have)? What would you have chosen?Hip Hop Lollipop by Susan McElroy Montanari and Brian PinkneyThis book has excellent rhythm and rhymes.  It’s a fun story about bedtime for a little girl who loves to dance to hip hop rhythms.  Instead of using only small, simple words, the author has included vocabulary such as gyration, jubilation, rotation, relaxation.  Can your child think of any other words that end with “tion?” Moose, Goose, and Mouse by Mordecai GersteinCan Moose, Goose, and Mouse find a house they will all like? Find out in this short, silly adventure. The sentences are packed with rhyme, making them fun to read and hear. Three rhyming words are used to describe the house the friends want: funny, sunny, and with a bunny. What kind of house would you want? Can you use three rhyming words to describe a fun place to stay? What would it look like? Use words to tell about it or draw a picture! See You Later, Alligator by Sally HopgoodTortoise says goodbye to all of his friends in rhyme before heading out on an adventure to see the world. The problem is, saying goodbye takes so much time that he never manages to get going! After enjoying the story, do some problem-solving. How could the tortoise say goodbye and have an adventure? Where would he go? What would happen? Write your own story!Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd MossThe best way to enjoy this book is to listen to the instruments while reading! Read it yourself first so that you don’t miss the wonderful rhyming words. Then, watch it here This book is included in’s Enhanced Read-aloud activities for Ada’s Violin. Check it out for additional learning activities – writing, art, and more!Dinosaur Roar! by Paul and Henrietta SticklandWith few words and lots of dinosaurs, this story will hold the interest of young readers and keep their focus on the rhymes. It’s a fun one to read over and over; kids will learn the words and join in.The Story of Easter by Alice Joyce DavidsonThis book is part of a wonderful series, all written in sweet, rhyming verse. A little girl named Alice magically enters into stories from the Bible to witness important moments in history. Then, she returns home and thinks about the impact those have on her life today. The whole series is a treasure that helps to store God's word in our children's hearts.The Snowbelly Family of Chillyville Inn by Cheryl HawkinsonIf it happens to be the Christmas season when you’re exploring rhymes, this is an adorable story about a family of snowmen preparing to celebrate. Have some hot cocoa, snuggle under a blanket, and enjoy!Looking for more rhymes and activities? The Poetry for the Primary Grades unit at is full of fun, educational ideas for using wonderful poems!At H4RL, you'll find educational resources to add wonder and delight to your homeschooling journey. Jill, a homeschool mom and licensed teacher, has created Enhanced Read-alouds that provide mini unit studies based on high-quality children's books. Related activities for reading, writing, math, science, art, and more are woven into learning journeys that your family will love. Jill has also created a full math curriculum (kindergarten, first, and second grades are available as of Oct., 2022) that shows you how to teach your child all essential math concepts in fun, hands-on ways. Learn more at!

Take Time to Reflect

As a parent, it’s important to take time to reflect on how things are going for our kids and for our family in general.  Homeschooling makes it even more critical that we do this.  For one thing, it gives us a few minutes to sit down, put our feet up, and still be doing something productive!Good days and bad daysTaking time to reflect is just as important on good days as on the bad ones.  We need to think about what went well, why it went well, and how we can make more of that goodness happen!  On bad days, we need to pause and remember that it was just one day, one tiny piece of our life and learning with our children, and it’s okay!  The most important thing is to consider the root of the problem and what we can try to do differently that may be a step in the right direction to help other days go more smoothly.Topics for reflectionWhat is it that we’re reflecting on during this time?  Well, the list really could be endless.  Just choose one or two things that really stand out when you think about your day or things that you want to work on the next day. Maybe you'll spend time thinking about where to find ideas for instruction or practice for a certain concept or skill. You may want to think about how your kids are feeling (about their learning or other things) or how well they're getting along. Thinking about how you want to prioritize the various ways your family spends homeschool time can also be valuable. When my children are having difficulty with something, spending some time thinking about what could be causing the problem and what might help can increase the wisdom with which I respond. This will help me to be better prepared to handle issues the next day.  I might even decide that it would be a good idea to talk with the kids and help them brainstorm solutions the next morning, before we dive into school work and other parts of our day. Benefits of reflectionTaking time to reflect along the way can make our homeschooling journey more calm and peaceful.  It can also help us to have more fun and learn more effectively.  Don’t ever think that time spent thinking and praying about how to best support your kids and your spouse while still taking care of yourself is frivolous or wasted.  In reality, it’s probably among the best ways you could spend a few minutes at the end of your day. You should walk away from your time of reflection feeling like you have a better handle on how your family is doing and what they need.  You may want to jot down a list of what you plan to try or what resources, information, or support you need to find.  Even if you don’t come up with plans or solutions during your reflection time, you’ve still laid valuable groundwork for progress the next day.Time well spentSometimes we get so busy trying to squeeze everything into the hours of each day (there are never enough!) that we forget to pause and think about if we’re happy with how we’re spending those hours.  It will benefit your children (and you!) so much if you take the time to reflect on the ups and downs and what steps you can take to increase the enjoyment and effectiveness of homeschooling for your family.  Don’t feel like you have to find all the answers and figure out how to have everything picture-perfect the next day.  Just becoming more aware of where you’re at and where you’re going will benefit you and your family, and you can start working on the first steps you’ll take to make progress on that journey.  Remember, if you need some ideas or support, we’d love to talk with you in the community forums at or connect with you on our Facebook page!

The wrong way to homeschool

Wait – I thought there was no wrong way to homeschool! Well, that’s somewhat true. Families homeschool in many different ways and their children learn and thrive. However, there is one mistake that new homeschoolers make that often ruins the experience. Here’s how it happens.Let me tell you a story

Homeschooling Unexpectedly Due to COVID-19

Many families are finding themselves in what feels like a no-win situation. With the uncertainty created by COVID-19, heading back to school does not seem like the best option for creating a stable, effective learning situation. On-line school might work for some, but leaves other parents concerned about too much screen time and not enough interaction, especially for active learners. Homeschooling feels like the only option, but seems overwhelming and is definitely unfamiliar territory. That’s the empty half of the glass. Let me offer you some encouragement by shedding light on the other half of the glass – the half that is full of opportunity! Homeschooling may only be a brief interlude in your family’s educational story (or maybe you’ll love it so much you’ll decide to stay!), but you may find that it turns out to be an incredible gift. Just as many families have found that staying home due to COVID-19 has given them the chance to slow down and reconnect, homeschooling provides time for family members to really get to know one another and to enjoy sharing ideas and pursuing interests together. Let’s look at some ways to make the most of unexpected homeschooling.Keep in mind as you begin…The sudden transition to home learning last year is not what a planned year of homeschooling will feel like.  Stress was at an all-time high as support systems fell out from under us and schools imposed unrealistic and confusing requirements at home.  It was a mess.  While you may have some chaotic days at home during a regular year of homeschool (there are always crazy times with family, right?), your regular rhythm will be one that fits your family and adapts to the changing needs of parents and children through the year.  Sending notification to homeschool removes the outside stresses and requirements and opens up your days to pursue learning that will benefit your children.You can choose to homeschool in ways that fit your family.  It doesn’t have to be like regular school.  It doesn’t have to be like so-and-so’s family that has been homeschooling for eight years.  It can involve textbooks or library books, planned curriculum or spontaneous investigation, outdoor exploration or computer classes, games or workbooks, audio books or sidewalk chalk…learning can happen in almost any place and any way, so use this as an opportunity to try things and see how your children learn.If you plan to send your children back to school when things calm down, you can access the same standards that teachers use to guide their instruction.  In younger grades, these standards will tell you which math concepts to explore together and what reading and writing skills to develop.  In older grades, the standards will also tell you which science and social studies topics to investigate.  Then, you can find curriculums or library books and on-line videos that will help teach those subjects.  If your child is in elementary school, you can use language arts techniques and ideas found at, and those of you with kindergarten or first grade students are really in luck – our How to Teach Math videos will show you how to introduce all of the concepts your children need to learn!  Other grades are coming soon.This year of homeschooling isn’t going to be perfect for any of us.  Most homeschooling families spend a lot of time gathering with others, whether through a formal co-op or just meeting to play or learn together.  We go on field trips and attend classes at the park, zoo, art studios, etc.  We attend musical and theatrical performances.  All of that is on hold right now.  So just keep in mind that we’re all adapting and this year will provide only a very limited version of what homeschooling offers.During my first year of teaching, I broke down in my principal’s office, worried that I wasn’t going to be able to provide the amazing learning experience for my students that I wanted them to have and that their educations would suffer (yep, professional teachers have trouble doing it all, too).  She looked at me and said, “What do you think is going to happen?  One year won’t ruin them!”  She knew that I was doing my best, caring about the students and demonstrating an enthusiasm in my classroom that inspired a love of learning, and that if they missed a few things that year the students’ resiliency would make up for it over time and they would still absolutely be able to succeed in life.  It’s important that we as educators (yes, you’re an educator if you’re homeschooling – in fact, all parents are educators) keep in mind that each year, each day, each lesson is part of a lifelong journey of learning.  Even if your child does not receive top-notch instruction in every single subject this year, can you think of some other very valuable outcomes this year could have?  Perhaps the chance to become closer as a family, to know that learning is important and relevant, to indulge curiosities and learn deeply about certain topics,…Try not to put too much pressure on yourself as a first year teacher and instead watch for amazing blessings that would have been missed at school.You may find…That your family needs some time to make the adjustment and a slow-start to your schedule may be of great benefit.That as your family gets to know one another better and spends more time together, understanding grows and conflicts decrease (notice I didn’t say disappear). That your children (and you) find renewed joy in learning and discovery.That you discover particular needs and strengths of your children of which you were previously unaware.That you try different approaches throughout the year, some that work and some that don’t.That parenting is a lot of work and when you’re not sending them out the door every morning, there is more demand but also more time to work through issues and develop cooperation.Remember…That God works for good in all things.  He can make something great out of whatever you do this year.  Just do your best!This too shall pass.  COVID-19 will not last forever, schools will re-open, and you will be looking back on this year, reflecting on the good and the bad, and deciding your family’s future.  Homeschooling may be a special memory to take with you back into the life you knew, or it may be a new lifestyle you embrace as you move forward.  Either way, your kids will do great.Try to relax and enjoy this year of homeschooling.  We’d love to see you in our membership community!