Quick Start Homeschool

http://www.quickstarthomeschool.com/

Welcome! I’m Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau and I created this tool to help you experience the same great joy, fulfillment and success that so many families have experienced through homeschooling. Join me as I explain homeschooling in simple terms and...

Do you have any tips for helping kids concentrate on their studies?

What's an educational game or activity you and your kids love?

How do you encourage a love of reading in your kids?

What's a good way to motivate and support children who are struggling to learn a certain school subject?

Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau

What an excellent question! Thanks for the opportunity to offer up my thoughts! Let me first begin by congratulating any parent who recognizes that a child in the homeschool may be having difficulty. Children do not always say what they mean, thus discovering a problem isn’t always that easy to spot. Test scores and incorrect responses are obvious – clues such as children complaining of being bored, hating subjects, and trying to stall or wiggle-out of doing school are much more difficult to sleuth. And still, with all of that said, though keen observation skills usually work well, sometimes just listening to one’s heart or gut can be the best method of all. So, how to motivate and support children who struggle? It really depends on the child – your child – the one only you know best. Some ideas, however, include spending extra time with the child, providing a constant stream of love and encouragement, and expressing an understanding of what the student may be going through. Additional help in the subject area might also be needed, to include special time with mom, dad, or even an older sibling who is able to help with the work, as well. When these avenues have been tried and exhausted, a change of scenery may be needed. Many parents do not realize the importance of classroom climate to successful learning, so looking at when and where schooling takes place may provide additional clues. Children who are tired or hungry cannot possibly perform as well as those who are well-rested or have recently eaten a nutritious meal or snack. Classroom location counts, too, as outdoor distractions, indoor noises, room temperature and many other factors can affect performance. Most everyone will admit to being distracted by a chilly window, a pencil-tapping family member or the sound of the garbage truck at one time or another. And finally, a change in curriculum, method or style may be in order. The very same child may actually flourish by having the right set of tools – whatever those may be – surprising everyone including himself! Exploring other options for teaching the same subject could be just the ticket to taking that child from struggler in an area – to becoming his or her favorite subject! Marie-Claire Moreau
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What is your definition of an overscheduled child?

Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau

It's as simple as this: If a child is running from activity to activity all day long, whether in the home, on the athletic field, moving from lesson to lesson, or anything else without periods of down-time in between, the child is overscheduled. Children changing clothing in minivans and restrooms are likely overscheduled. Families that routinely pack lunch coolers and stop for fast food probably have overscheduled children. Weary moms and dads with no time for themselves more than likely have overscheduled children. Children who are not read to, who have no time to read independently, play quietly with LEGO sets, draw pictures, watch a quiet television movie, eat and sleep at regular times every day, and things of this nature, are possibly overscheduled. The longer I do this, the more I continue to understand the need for children (entire families) to enjoy unstructured free time. Young children may be overscheduled because young parents may feel compelled to "do it all". Older children may be overscheduled for a great variety of reasons, too. Trying to fit many activities into a day, meet too-high expectations, keep up with friends, or reach some perception of a properly raised (or educated, or healthy or social...) are just some the factors contributing to the phenomenon. Research is just beginning to bear out the results of these overscheduled children -- and the outcomes aren't always pretty. Anxieties, stress, obesity, and so much more is seen. Bottom line, these children are not better off.
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What is the best place to raise children: city, suburbs, or a rural town?

Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau

Despite books and web sites that might lead us to believe there are truly "best places" to raise a family, let's face it, there really isn't any best place. It's a little like the, "eye of the beholder" phrase in that what works for one family may not necessarily work for another. I happen to think I am raising my children in the most amazing place on Earth -- rugged surroundings, surrounded by nature, with much space and many opportunities for my children to learn and explore through homeschooling. And yet I know many families that would find my environment relatively wild and uncomfortable, which I would perfectly understand! When all is said and done, the best place for a child is in a parent's heart, wherever that may be. Apartment dwellers in big cities can raise exceptional children, and so can families on acreage with no neighbors at all. I think a better question might be, "Does location matter?" -- for which the answer would be 'absolutely not'!
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Why is the stay-at-home vs. working moms debate so passionate?

Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau

Modern families often must make difficult choices that previous generations never even considered. One of these choices is deciding whether to exchange a full-time, stay-at-home parent with additional family income and/or the continuation of a successful career (or the independence or satisfaction that working may bring). The truth is -- there is no right answer; thus, each family must carefully weigh the issues and balance what works best for them. On the bright side, a positive effect resulting from this situation is that many families have found creative solutions that allow them to have it all. By using work-from-home options, taking advantage of greater flexibility offered by employers, even combining solutions such as home businesses and homeschooling, modern parents are often able to juggle the best of all worlds.
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What's your dream gift for Mother's Day? (If it's a product or service that can be found on the web or on your blog, please include a link.)

Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau

I'm much more of a practical mom. Though I admit to enjoying an occasional pedicure or some vino out with the girls, the truth is, if it isn't going to make my life easier/cleaner/efficient (a/k/a overall happier), you won't find it on my list. Check out just a couple of my "favorite things" (link) and you'll see what I mean. So, what's on my list this year? Well, aside from a giant hug from my husband and my kiddos, and maybe a large slab of that chocolate cake they buy every year, I'm thinking a new copy of my favorite (yet torn beyond repair) Betty Crocker recipe book, a weed whacker that doesn't slice right through my ankles like the one I currently have, or someone to pull the french fries out of from under my car seats and wash/wax the van. What's yours? http://www.quickstarthomeschool.com/2011/02/what-do-practical-moms-want/
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What was your favorite book as a teen?

Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau

The truth is, as a teen, I didn't have time to read for fun. I was crazy busy in school, and read all of the school books that were assigned. But, I also held a part-time job, played in orchestras around the state, and did all of the other things that teens do, making it hard to find time for extra reading at all. Fast forward to present and now I read a lot. I have passed my love for books down to my kids, who read a lot, too. As an author, I guess you could say I might even like books more than most people -- they have become my life's work, too! I wrote this for parents who may fear that their teens aren't reading, thus may never read at all. Not so! A love of reading can be picked up at any time, in any place, whenever the mood strikes. Encourage reading -- yes. But do not obsess if teens aren't reading on their own, either. Best wishes! Marie-Claire
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What are your family's favorite activities for keeping cool in the heat (indoor or out)? Please share a link to a picture if you have one!

Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau

Our family lives in The Sunshine State (Florida!), where it's hot many months of the year. When the days get too hot out, we love to find ways to keep busy indoors where the air conditioning is cool. Indoor activities for us include cooking, catching up on great books, exploring web sites and creating arts and crafts projects. A family favorite is designing homemade board games. Using things we have around the house, we're able to have fun making them, then playing them for the next few days, too! One favorite material we discovered is pizza boxes -- they're the perfect size for games and all pieces can be stored inside! (These can be purchased at any local pizzeria for pennies if you don't have a clean one just sitting around!)
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