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Italian Opera Made Us Cry: Adventures at a Voice Recital

I like to encourage parents to take advantage of local arts opportunities with their kids, and today I did just that.  I took my 17 year old son with me to a senior voice recital for 3 high school seniors in our area.  We were treated to Italian opera, English Art songs, and musical theater songs, and it was truly astounding and emotional.  We scoped about it for a few minutes tonite:

Here are a few videos of songs that we got to hear at the recital today, though I think the students did even better than most of these performances!

La Zingara

Gia il sole dal gange: Look at all those rowdy opera concert-goers! Who knew?

For Good from Wicked: My new favorite song!

To follow the talented Lydia Graham on youtube and see her videos click here.


Ways to experience the arts for you and your kids!

Ways to Experience the Arts for You and Your Kids!I love to encourage families about ways that they can experience and enjoy the arts at home, but I also love to encourage you to get OUT and experience the arts as well!  Whatever age your kids are, and whatever budget you are working with, there are usually MANY options for experiencing music, art, dance, theater, and MORE, not too far from you!  Watch my periscope replays for loads of ideas.  🙂  I’ve also got a list of ideas for you below the replays.  (There were two because a phone call bumped me offline during the first one.)

Local community arts center:  art openings, art on display, classes, dance, and more!

Student art shows:  At area schools, colleges, universities, community art spaces.  Senior recitals and art shows.

Museums:  Check to see if museums near you offer any free admission opportunities if you need that.

Art Hops, Gallery Hops:  Many cities offer free events where you can visit many different art galleries in one fun night.

Artist Series:  Check local colleges and universities.  Ask about student performances and discounts!

Art and music classes for homeschoolers:  Often available at colleges, taught by student teachers.  Also, YMCA, community art organizations, and after school programs are great places to check for these!

Check for discount last minute tickets at local venues.

Ballet, piano, and other recitals

Community theater:  Both to watch and to participate in!

Shakespeare in the Park

Ballet Under the Stars

Film Festivals

Brass band festivals

Jazz festivals

Libraries: Often showcase rotating art exhibits plus permanent art installations.

Coffee shops and local eateries often have art on display or for sale

Art is Everywhere:  Notice it in architecture, sculpture, landscaping, fountains, performance artists that are out in places where you go!  Take time to stop and admire the beauty and creativity that’s all around.



How to Teach Your Little Ones to Obey Without Spanking, Screaming, or Losing your Mind

Getting kids to cooperate and obey is a very popular issue in parenting, right? There are so many books on the topic, and lots of opinions about how it should be done.  In 23+ years of parenting our six children, we’ve tried out more than a few approaches, with mixed results.  Thankfully, where I’ve landed is in a space I like to call Leadership Parenting.  Basically, you provide effective leadership mixed with a lot of love, respect, and personal responsibility (starting with YOU) and good things happen.  🙂  (Yes.  For real!)  

In this periscope broadcast I share about how this works for kids of all ages, and offer encouragement about keeping the big picture in mind.

You can follow me on Periscope @enrichmenthome.  I normally scope on Wednesdays at 3:30pm eastern time to talk about parenting and homeschool topics.

Feel like the wheels are coming off your homeschool? Here’s What To Do. (and what not to do!)

Do you feel like the wheels are coming off your homeschool? Here's what to do.Since 1997 when we first began homeschooling, I think the very hardest months to keep going are the winter months. The combination of lack of sunlight, being housebound a lot, and being at the midpoint of the year can combine to make a really tough spot to get through.  In this chat I talk about my best tips for how to handle it, and the all-important rule that I’ve made for myself that has helped me many, many times!






Takeaway tips:

Make No Big Decisions In January or February!

Know what you’re dealing with.

Decisions make under duress lead you into situations that can become disempowering.  Wait.  (Watch my talk on disempowerment in homeschooling here)

Observe and take notes.  Hold onto these notes til it’s time to evaluate your school year and make plans for the next year.

Find fun ways to burn off energy!  (Watch my talk about beating the winter blues here)

Get something fresh going on!  

For bigger issues, observe and take notes, and let it percolate til spring.  Often you’ll see some resolution as you get closer to the end of the school year.

Plan to take time in April, May, or June to evaluate the needs of each of your children individually.  Include your notes and observations from winter and since then.  Start considering what plan will work best for them in the coming year.  (Take time to evaluate how YOU’RE doing, too, and make a plan for self-care as well!)


Dyslexia in Our Homeschool: Tips and Encouragement

Dyslexia in your homeschoolOne of the questions I get sometimes from Enrichment Studies parents is about dyslexia. What to do about it. How to help the kids learn. How to proceed! So I did a periscope broadcast to share about our journey with dyslexia with two of our sons, and I gave a bunch of ideas for ways to keep learning even when reading and writing are so difficult.  I’ve got the replay here for you, and a list of recommended resources below.

What’s working for your dyslexic kids?  What other areas do you need help with?  Leave a comment!

Here’s a more recent chat I did, explaining about the parent training workshops available from Yellow Wood.

Recommended Resources Mentioned in this Scope:  

(referral links have been used)

Equipping Minds

Equipping Minds is the program that eventually helped our older dyslexic son make huge strides forward in his ability to read and write!  They offer help by Skype and have a workbook/DVD that can help you.


Classical Conversations Foundations Audio CD set:  There is so much good help here for memorization!

Skip Counting songs:  I have a whole pin board of them for you!

Sonlight:  Our all-time favorite curriculum.

Bookshark:  The secular branch of Sonlight, for those that prefer a non-religious curriculum.

Brave Writer:  My favorite approach for all things writing and language arts (plus super duper encouraging for moms!)

Quotes from U.S. Presidents:  We are using these this year and really enjoying them.  

Notebooking Pages:  These can be so fun and easy, without a lot of stress.  Kids can easily do copywork, make lists, take notes, or share their thoughts about what they’re learning.



We are Having Fun Learning Shakespeare!

Affiliate links are used in this post.

One of the fun things we are doing to enrich our homeschool experience this year is memorizing Shakespeare with the help of Ken Ludwig’s terrific book, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. This book is laid out easily and the coordinating website includes free printables to make your task even easier.

We have managed to use this very simply, without needing a lot of attention from me.  Basically, we have our current printouts up on the wall in our school area.  During breakfast we usually go through the current section that we’re memorizing about 7 times.  This is a trick I learned from my Classical Conversations Foundations tutor training.  7 seems to be a magical number for getting things to stick in our minds when we have short bursts of time to learn them. The 7 times are usually varied.  For instance, we all say it together 2-3 times, then maybe each of us goes around the room and tries to say it without looking, or maybe we do teams of two and two.  It just takes a couple minutes and can be done while munching on breakfast or lunch, and if we forget to do it then, often someone will bring it up while we are driving or transitioning from one subject to another.  It’s easy and takes up almost no time.

Once we get the basic words down, we work on expression.  (Because who wants to hear monotone Shakespeare recitation?  Nobody.  That’s who.  lol)  It is very helpful that Ken includes helpful tips and information in each chapter that helps us understand the storylines, the characters, and what the words mean when they are different from what we would know in modern-day English.  By the time we’ve read through the section and memorized the passage, we have a pretty good idea of what it’s all about.

And then, for fun, sometimes my guys like to jazz it up with chants and raps.  They play with the rhythm and pronunciations and such.  We have had costumed performances and dancing, too!  And now all of my guys think that learning Shakespeare is pretty stinkin fun.  🙂

I shared about this book (and a few others) on periscope, and two of my boys were kind enough to do a rap(ish) version of some of their Shakespeare.  It was too fun not to share.  🙂