Five Fun and Educational Additions to Our Homeschool Year

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Every year looks a little different around here. I am always looking for new and fun ways to engage my kids as they learn. What worked one year doesn’t necessarily work the next year so I am always on the hunt for something new.

There are so many amazing educational options available for homeschool families, so every year I have to narrow down the ones that are going to work best for our family. And there are a few this year that have proven themselves to be fantastic additions to our school year.

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Five Fun Additions to our Homeschool Year

We never learn the same way and this year is no different. From new monthly subscriptions to unique online courses, we have definitely found a few favorite activities this homeschool year.

1. Masterclass

I purchased an annual membership to Masterclass during COVID without knowing exactly how we would use it or if we would enjoy it.

And I am so glad I took the leap because we LOVE it.

Masterclass is an excellent addition to this house of tweens and teens for our Morning Time. There are so many topics to choose from ranging from history to science to chess to acting. We can take acting from Natalie Portman, learn to cook with Gordon Ramsey, or consider scientific thinking from Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Our first Masterclass was Space Exploration with Chris Hadfield and I knew right away that this membership was going to be a worthwhile investment. We listened intently as he described his experiences in space, outlined his tasks as a commander of the ISS, and conveyed a moment by moment description of launch day.

Courses we’ve enjoyed:
Space Exploration with Chris Hadfield
Scientific Thinking and Communication with Neil deGrasse Tyson
US Presidential History and Leadership with Doris Kearns Goodwin

Courses in our line up:
Effective and Authentic Communication with Robin Roberts
Conservation with Dr. Jane Goodall
Electronic Music Production with deadmau5 (my 11-year-old will be so excited)
Chess with Gary Kasparov
The Art of Magic with Penn and Teller
Adventure Photography with Jimmy Chin
Game Design and Theory with Will Wright (my 13-year-old is going to love this one and it will be nice to share it with him!)

Courses for Mom:
Self-Made Entrepreneurship with Sara Blakely
Style for Everyone with Tan France
Storytelling and Humor with David Sedaris
Economics and Society with Paul Krugman (maybe for all of us)

Each course includes 12-30 video lessons and a downloadable workbook. The video lessons are typically 10-15 minutes though some have been less than 5 minutes while others almost reach 20 minutes. We watch our Masterclass during Morning Time a few times a week so it takes us 4-7 weeks to complete one course.

I highly recommend Masterclass as an addition to your homeschool year if you have tweens and teens. Middle and High school students (and the adults!) are a good age to enjoy and understand these classes.

2. ASL 1 (American Sign Language)

Did you know that many colleges will accept Sign Language (ASL) as a foreign language?

It’s one of the reasons we added ASL 1 from Mr. D to our plans for this homeschool year. Both my 8th and 10th-grade students will earn a high school foreign language credit by completing this course.

The ASL course has been a ton of fun for our family. Afterall, now we can communicate in a noisy room – HA!

We began the year with numbers and letters but now we are learning different vocabulary each week. Check out Patricia sharing the colors we learned:

The course is self-paced but you have access to a live help session each month in case you have any questions or need some help with specific signs.

3. Quiet Reading Time

It sounds simple enough but enforcing a 30 minute time of quiet, independent reading has been a delightful addition to our homeschool year.

In my head, I pictured all of us reading quietly at the same time. But that rarely works out. Instead, everyone finds their own moment during the day and I join at least one of the kids when they read.

Quiet reading time is one of the most delightful moments of my day because it gives me permission to relax and read for a half hour in the middle of the day. And I love it.

And the kids are flying through books, especially my youngest. This is a big deal because my kids tend to read the same graphic novels over and over at bedtime, but I keep around some “assigned” titles for their quiet readign time during the day. These aren’t necessarily school books, but they are grade level options that I think they’ll enjoy. Yet they’d never read them without an assigned list and reading time.

NOTE: This has NOT replaced our read aloud time. We read silently in addition to time we spend reading aloud.

Check out our continuously updated completed booklists:

4. Annie’s Young Woodworkers Club

Annie’s Young Woodworkers Club is a woodworking craft kit series designed for children from 7-12 years of age. The kits introduce a wide variety of woodworking skills as kids make crafts and toys they can enjoy immediately.

As soon as I learned about the Young Woodworkers Club, I wanted to try it with my 11-year-old. He has more free time in his day than my other children and I wanted something special that he and I could enjoy together.

We ordered the first kit and requested a new kit every 4 months. My son is very skeptical when it comes to building kits so I wasn’t ready for a monthly kit until we tried one first.

After we completed the Turbo car he immediately asked to look at the website and peek at the future projects. His enthusiasm made it clear to me that this kit was going to be a perfect addition to his school year so I changed our subscription frequency to monthly!

NOTE: Use the link below and the code: SHARE50 to receive 50% off your first shipment!

5. Universal Yums

Universal Yums is one of our most favorite monthly subscriptions because the entire family can enjoy it together. We receive a box full of snacks from a different country each month as well as 12+ page booklet full of trivia, recipes, information about the snacks, and more!

Our family currently enjoys the Yum Yum box (middle size) and it includes plenty of treats for our family of six. Previously we enjoyed the Yum box (smallest) and I was able to divide it between the 4 kids with leftover for me to try as well. It has been delightful to have a little more variety to sample this year.

Take a peek inside one of our boxes this year:

Universal Yums might be the yummiest thing you add to your school year:

These additions to our school year have brought joy to the teens, tweens, and mom!

What is bringing delight to your year?


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1 thought on “Five Fun and Educational Additions to Our Homeschool Year”

  1. The Master Classes look so amazing! I’ve heard about them before but never looked them up. My kids already found ones they are interested in. <3

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