• Facebook Party Favor: Timeline Starter Kit

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    As a thank you to all our Facebook friends, we'd like to offer each of you a free download - it's our Facebook party favor! Tonight we're going be talking about hands-on learning and timelines (among other things!). In keeping with that theme, we'd like to offer everyone in attendance a free Timeline Starter Kit download. Just click the link, add to your cart, and proceed to check out. Make sure the "Digital Version Only - No Shipping Required" button is checked. GeoMatters Freebie After your order has been processed, you can scroll to the bottom of the screen and click the "Download Now" button. Inside the Timeline Starter Kit you'll find lots of great tips for constructing timelines as well as printable pages to make it as easy as possible. Enjoy!  

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  • Giveaway: A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks

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    Our first giveaway tonight is from our friends at A Journey Through Learning. Incorporating hands-on learning into every subject is important to them, too. That's why they make lapbooks for nearly every topic imaginable. They have lapbooks for holidays, literature, history, math, science and much more. Not only do A Journey Through Learning lapbooks cover nearly every topic imaginable, but they have lapbooks that correspond to a huge variety of homeschool curriculum options, including our Trail Guide to Learning series. Tonight, two winners will win one of two A Journey Through Learning lapbooks. One person will win Galloping the Globe and a second person will win Cantering the Country. Galloping the Globe Lapbook Canering the Country Lapbook To enter, just leave us a comment telling us which A Journey Through Learning lapbooks you've used and enjoyed or which ones you'd like to use. You can earn extra entries by following A Journey Through Learning on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to use the Rafflecopter widget below to let us know which tasks you’ve completed. Contest ends at 12:00 AM on January 31. Winners will be notified by February 1, 2013. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • Giveaway: Trail Guide to Learning Series Digital Download

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    For tonight's grand prize, one winner will receive all six digital download units of Paths of Exploration and the corresponding lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning!

      POE The Trail Guide to Learning series combines real books, purposeful reading and writing, hands-on learning, and cross-curricular connections all based on the proven educational philosophies of Dr. Ruth Beechik. Trail Guide to Learning engages students and helps them develop thinking skills as they make connections between reading, writing, spelling, history, science, and more. With minimal prep time, parents can go through the clearly organized lessons with students of multiple grade levels. Each level of Trail Guide to Learning spans three grade levels, beginning with 3-5 in Paths of Exploration, 4-6 in Paths of Settlement, and 5-7 in Paths of Progress. Each volume can be adjusted to include both younger and older students with optional lapbooks and a middle school supplement. In addition to winning the Paths of Exploration digital set, the winner will also receive digital copies of the following lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning: Paths of Exploration Volume 1 and Paths of Exploration Volume 2. TGPOE Lapbook POE Vol 2 You can enter to win by leaving a comment letting us know which unit you're most looking forward to studying in Paths of Exploration. Earn extra entries by following Geography Matters and A Journey Through Learning on Twitter or liking Trail Guide to Learning and A Journey Through Learning on Facebook. Be sure to use the Rafflecopter widget below to let us know which tasks you’ve completed. Contest ends at 12:00 AM on January 31. Winners will be notified by February 1, 2013. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • Giveaway: Timeline Package

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    Our next prize tonight is a timeline package to help you get started being able to see the full picture of history with your family. Connecting people, places, and events helps us to see how political changes, inventions, the economy, and even geographical events create a cause and effect that changes the world around us.


    Tonight, one winner will receive:


    To enter, leave a comment telling us your favorite period in history to study or your favorite historical figure. Earn an extra entry by following us on Twitter. Be sure to use the Rafflecopter widget below to let us know which tasks you’ve completed. Contest ends at 12:00 AM on January 31. Winners will be notified by February 1, 2013. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • Giveaway: Not Just Tacos

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    Our next giveaway tonight has been donated by our special guest, Shirley Solis. One entrant will receive a copy of her book, Not Just Tacos. More than just a cookbook, Not Just Tacos is a peek into Latin American cuisine and culture. Not Just Tacos Born in Quito, Ecuador, Shirley moved to the United States with her family when she was just 9 years old. Her desire to introduce authentic Latin American culture to those around her inspired Shirley to author Not Just Tacos, which features recipes from each country in Latin American. With easy-to-find ingredients, full-color photos, pronunciation guides, and preparation tips, Not Just Tacos will provide you with a fun, tasty option for exploring the culture, geography, and countries of Latin America! To enter, just leave us a comment telling us which Latin American country you'd most like to visit. Earn an extra entry by liking Not Just Tacos on Facebook. Be sure to use the Rafflecopter widget below to let us know which tasks you’ve completed. Contest ends at 12:00 AM on January 31. Winners will be notified by February 1, 2013. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • Giveaway: 1-Year Subscription to Homeschooling Today Magazine

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    The winter doldrums are notorious for hitting homeschool moms during the long winter days in January and February when spring seems so far away. A great way to combat the winter blues is with a subscription to Homeschooling Today magazine. Tonight, you can enter to win a 1-year subscription to Homeschooling Today - encouragement sent right to your mailbox four times a year! HST Logo Earlier this year, Homeschooling Today came full circle when Alex and Ashley (Strayer) Wiggers, homeschool graduates and owners of Paradigm Press LLC, became the new publishers of Homeschooling Today magazine. The leadership team includes parents Greg and Debbie Strayer (co-founders of the magazine in 1992) and Josh and Cindy Wiggers, owners of Geography Matters. Homeschooling Today magazine provides information and encouragement from a Christian worldview. Additionally, the magazine offers ready-to-use lessons and activities for anyone who wants to expand the educational experience of their children, while keeping the approach to learning natural. To enter to win a 1-year subscription to Homeschooling Today, leave us a comment telling us your best tip for beating the winter doldrums. Earn an extra entries by liking Homeschooling Today magazine on Facebook or joining their email list. Be sure to use the Rafflecopter widget below to let us know which tasks you’ve completed. In addition to giving one person a 1-year subscription, we'd like to give everyone 25% off! If you don't win, use coupon code FBPARTY at checkout to receive 25% off the 1-year subscription price. Contest ends at 12:00 AM on January 31. Winners will be notified by February 1, 2013. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • January Facebook Party Highlights

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    We've been working to compile some tips shared by our authors during our January Facebook party. We are so thankful for each of you who joined us and participated in such a fun night! Read on to glean some great homeschooling wisdom...


    My tip for avoiding or at least diminishing burnout is to recognize your child's uniqueness. I would get way more frustrated & want to throw in the towel when I tried to force my square peg of a child into my round hole of expectations on how things "should" be done. ~Loree' Pettit One thing I always say at workshops is thank you. Thank you to the parents who sacrifice so much! Your children will one day realize what you're doing for them and they will say thank you too. Keep going! You are on the right path but it is also the harder path. ~Ashley Wiggers Everyone experiences burn out at one time or another... and even on more than one occasion. Recognize this is normal and strategize in advance what you can do to avoid or lesson the effects. Identify what causes you to reach your limits. For me it is a messy house. Seems trivial, I know, but I can flow along with a lot of stress, until my house gets trashed—THEN I just don’t bear up with the pressure nearly as well as when it was orderly. It served me well as a home school mom to pick up every evening before I went to bed or first thing in the morning before the children got up. Identify what topples your stack and decide in advance ways to avoid it. ~Cindy Wiggers Do things that help you see what's ahead—we used to go to our state's graduation every couple of years just to keep our thoughts going in the right direction. It was so great to see how so many different types of kids had been so successful! ~Debbie Strayer I think the best way to combat burnout is to build in ways to keep perspective... the hard part about burnout is it seems to be such overwhelming evidence! The truth is you are part of a larger process that is producing good fruit.... hanging in there is the hard part. Step back from time to time and think about where your children started and where they are now.... ~Debbie Strayer


    One very important part of letting your student think something through is helping them understand that THEIR opinion matters to you! It is a powerful thing. ~Ashley Wiggers I am convinced that children have the ability to think and evaluate from a very young age. Treating them as such is the first step in developing thinking skills. Learn to ask questions, lots of questions, ones that provoke thought and provide a opportunities for the child to express his opinions. Then wait for the answers. One of the greatest roadblocks we place in front of our students is not giving them enough time to process a question and to put their thoughts into a response. We step in and give the answer or tell our own opinion - eliminating the need for the child to speak. Often it just takes them longer to think it through and respond. Let the silence work. ~Cindy Wiggers Another great idea for teaching thinking skills is thinking aloud. You model the thinking process for your children...sort of like talking yourself through a problem.... ~Debbie Strayer


    Geography is really the big umbrella - includes culture, literature, science and history.... everything connects! Unfortunately, school taught us to compartmentalize everything. We can take back so much of our children's learning by integrating! ~Debbie Strayer Using real books, you can find geographical terms easily as the story unfolds and the author establishes the setting. I used a 3x5 card as a bookmark, jotted down the geography terms and we used them for vocabulary. ~Cindy Wiggers A simple but wonderful thing we did is just use laminated maps as placemats. The children would read them during lunch... then when we would hear about a country during the news they would run and get their placemats and find them! Geography for the directionally challenged! ~Debbie Strayer Use natural tie ins whenever possible. As some have mentioned here. Map the travels of your favorite sports team, locate the places of current events, locations of movies, missionaries, servicemen and women. Regardless the reason your students get into the atlas, the more they use it the simpler it becomes. Being able to read and understand maps is a life long ability that should be on every students skills check list. ~Cindy Wiggers Olympics is a great time to do country studies! We learned about the host country together. Each child would choose a country to learn about. They would write the country's embassy or tourism board to request info, make food, learn about the location, climate, features, etc. They'd root for their country during the games. ~Loree' Pettit Current Events is a great way to pull geography into your everyday life! Just keep an atlas handy during the news. ~Ashley Wiggers Most people don’t realize how connected geography is to other subjects like literature, history, science and more. Tie in a geography activity naturally while reading historical novels by giving students an outline map of the area and have them label the places where the story takes you. Watch for food, plants, animal, climate and more. These all tie into geography. ~Cindy Wiggers


    Can I toss timeline notebooks into the ring? What a phenomenal way to learn how people & events fit together! We use GM's timeline nb page. Each page can be for any time span that you desire. Most of our are for 40 yrs, but some cover 10 or even just 1 year. Place or draw a figure or simply write the name of the person/event on the top half of the page. Then have the child write something about the person/event on the bottom half. (Using colored ink is helpful in keeping things separate.) As the child gets older & revisits a topic & needs to write more, don't start a new page. Simply cut a new bottom half & place in from of the original. That way you have a record of what they have written at different stages. When studying a biography, we do a bio timeline. Most people need 2 pages. The first tick mark on the nb page is their birth year. Above that line is the subject's personal events. Below the tick marks is national/world events to show how they correlate with the subject's life. ~Loree' Pettit A notebooking approach brings with it a number of additional benefits. It supports a child's natural gifts and learning style. The content reflects your child’s original thoughts and ideas (rather than circling an answer worded by the author in a textbook) and it becomes a natural portfolio of your child's progress. Students will often go the extra mile and do a better job in a personal journal or notebook that they would not do in a workbook. Don’t you love to see your child take special care to do the work at hand! ~Cindy Wiggers I love how notebooking brightens the eyes of the child. When this journal of school work includes their own drawings, writings, and personal style they often take more active role in the learning process - in a natural way. We really want our children to be engaged in the learning process, not just ambiguously “doing school”. I found just that with my children. They are all married now and have these awesome notebooks of their homeschooling experience. You know, they always seemed to remember more details of any study that they recorded in their notebook. ~Cindy Wiggers

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