Maria Tecla Artemesia Montessori turned modern education on its head when, at the dawn of the 20th century, she realised that by engaging with kids physically, creatively, and out of doors it did more for their learning processes, growth, focus and retention than those endless hours sitting at a school desk.

When kids were free to express themselves, or were emotionally connected with the teachings, they were more open to learning and their brains fully engaged. Despite Montessori’s impact abroad, when Shannon Kenny founded Arte al Sole, there were actually few truly engaging experiences for kids in and around Italy.

Learning Through Art

Shannon, a medieval historian and single mother of two girls, became determined that she would devise a fun-filled curriculum to allow her kids to get the most out of their Italian experience.

She employed an inquiry-based system, that when taught by professionals, helps kids arrive at their own conclusions, and make connections to their own lives – whether they’re 6 or 16. And off she went to see how much of Italy’s rich history – the people, places, piazzas, palaces and yes, pasta! could kids take in (along with plenty of gelato! even learning to make it at times).

Shannon was convinced that through wonderful learning experiences abroad, kids could become model global citizens, rather than tiny tired travellers – as their parents check off this museum and that, walking them through crowded city streets in 90 degree heat. And off they went!

Learning Through Art

Families would come on vacation and while parents enjoyed the things they wanted to do, from a wine tour or museum experience, or walking those teeming city streets, their children would be learning about the place by connecting in myriad ways to its rich culture.

In Lucca, Arte al Sole campers would learn about medieval life and times, discovering the stone animals and learn why ferocious beasts guard many beautiful places. And they would use the power of observation to draw what they’ve seen.

In Florence, the Renaissance greats are the main event. I encountered a 7 year old, who, while working on his fantastical solar system asked me, “Did you know that Galileo was imprisoned for his ideas?” And went on to tell me just what those ideas were. On Day 4, kids get to cook some local specialties with professional chefs (or a wonderfully talented Italian nonna – grandmother!) and learn how important cuisine is to a specific culture.


In Umbria, it’s all about the Etruscans – ancient civilisations and country life. Between soccer lessons (with a professional coach) and beekeeping, families come together each evening at I Casali di Colle San Paolo for BBQ parties around the pool, a town festival, or to chase after a wacky Prince’s dogs in search of truffles. The kids also make up their own show – so on Parent’s Day, they can show off what they’ve learned all week long.

In Rome, it was all about Aqua — so we had a host of river gods and nymphs, some who were legend, and some fantastical ones created by the kids themselves.

Learning Through Art

By sparking emotional connections — to each other, to the terrain, and through your own artwork – your brain is on fire, you’re joyfully participating…and you can recall those emotional want to come back to Italy or try out new countries…time and again.

After learning about Cosimo de Medici and his motto: Make Haste Slowly, one girl tells parents that her motto is…Always treat others kindly – that way, you’re an example for others and you can change the world.

Maria Montessori would be proud…

Learning Through Art

Arte al Sole day camps – for kids 6-13

Family tours & art workshops year round

Lisa R Tucci is Arte al Sole’s Program Director

She learned about engaging people emotionally with art when bringing audio guides to Italy’s museums.

Her Company, TestaAlta, also runs SuperCamp Italy for kids 12-18 | A life skills and lifelong learning program based on accelerated learning through emotional intelligence, and unique interactive learning (and lots of s’mores!) • •

History Heroes are a range of games that are both fun and educational. We all know learning through play is incredibly powerful. These games prove that as you use them with your children. I love history anyway and as a home educator was very keen to review them.


History Heroes

History Heroes has launched  their first, brand new Science Museum licensed card games: SPACE and LONDON. I love that both SPACE and LONDON are games that are fun for all age groups.  I hate games that only appeal to certain members of the family. These would work well for any age I think and encourage story-telling between the generations too.

Learning through play

Each  pack of History Heroes cards has 40 of the greatest characters on each theme highlighted on a beautifully illustrated card with fascinating facts about each of them The aim of the games is to try and win the cards by guessing who the characters are from the facts read out from the cards. My children enjoyed guessing and I was delighted at their reasonable knowledge of history. It was also great to identify where the gaps were so that we can plug these on our home education journey one baby step at a time. My youngest child was not at all confident in his ability around history and these cards helped to show me that which means I can support him better moving forwards.

Katherine Johnson

Grown-ups learn too

I like to think I know a lot of history. I did the subject at 0-Level and A-Level and just got better at it the  more I studied. To be honest, I often wonder if I should have done History at university instead of Law. I still enjoy reading about history and watching documentaries about times past. It was good to know that I too had gaps in my knowledge that can now be fixed. These games act as diving-board into news interests and further research.


Link to the Science Museum

These two huge themes – LONDON and SPACE – appealed to both History Heroes and the Science Museum as a great way of launching this new series of History Heroes games, licensed by the Museum. It was fantastic for History Heroes to be able to tap into the vast reservoirs of the Science Museum’s knowledge and information about SPACE and SPACE exploration. The Science Museum’s commitment to inspiring everyone to enjoy and engage with STEM subjects helped shape the LONDON game too. As History Heroes’ Alexandra Ehrmann explains, “The topic of London is so huge that we could have gone in many different directions with the game. Creating this game as a Science Museum licensed game gave us an extra rigour to be relevant to their values too. Concentrating on the people who helped make and shape London has given the game a great focus, especially as that same narrative demands including characters, who have helped shape the city culturally too. As a born and bred Londoner, I can’t help but find the LONDON game deeply cool!”

History Heroes Games Review

The perfect stocking fillers

The games come as packs of cards. These make them ideal stocking fillers. History Heroes: LONDON and SPACE games are the latest release in a series that also features KINGS & QUEENS, WORLD WAR TWO, WOMEN, SCIENTISTS, EXPLORERS, SPORT, CHILDREN in history, INVENTORS and WORLD WAR ONE.

History Heroes


My Random Musings

It’s often at this time of year, when the kids go back to school and college courses start that we feel something is missing in our lives, as we get older; as this is the time of year for growth and personal expansion in terms of education


.Image Credit

Today, it’s never been easier or more convenient to learn from home thanks to online learning opportunities where you can study a plethora of high level academic courses, such as a RN-BSN program from the convenience of your home.  This is fantastic for those with children who are often trying to juggle family life with other activities such as a full time job, business, or quest for education.

You’ll have more than likely come across the saying “the more you learn the more you earn”, at some point in your life – which, whilst true, should not limit your view of the benefits of education, in that, there is much benefit in terms of personal expansion that is separate to the potential for financial gain.

The expansion in terms of your own personal development with regard to self-confidence and self-esteem can be huge.  In fact, the personal expansion that comes as a result of pursuing higher education has been proven to improve your mental health.

If you have children, it also offers a great way to role model, as kids tend to do what you do rather than what you say.

This means, if you are pointing out the importance of doing your homework, because you are having to do yours – they are much likely to respect and conform to your instruction of them sitting down, and finishing their homework.

In addition, there’s a feeling personal of pride that comes from making progress with anything in life, yet educational courses are particularly good for this, as most are structured in such a way that it is easy to track the progress you are making.

In addition to developing a greater sense of self-esteem and personal pride, there are, of course, a number of financial benefits to consider.

When you consider what the formula for making money boils down to it’s actually pretty simple.  People are compensated in direct proportion with the amount of value they provide; meaning if you want to make more money, you simply need to create more value – and one of the greatest ways you can create more value is to get more experience, knowledge and know-how so that you can work on higher value tasks.

Education comes in many forms, and whilst this article talks specifically about academic education – the benefits in terms of personal expansion are just as prominent when doing independent research, for instance, for a business endeavour.

In fact, whether you’re business minded or not, it can be useful to view education through an entrepreneurial lens, in the sense that you will want to consider the return on time, energy and money that will be created as a result of you undertaking a particular course.

This return on investment paradigm is good to bear in mind when reviewing your options as unless your education has a tangible outcome, for instance, a nursing degree that opens the door to a secure career within nursing, there is little return on investment other than the enjoyment derived from pursuing the course.

Is It Time To Get Back To Learning?

Mum Muddling Through

The phrase “home education images” makes me smile wryly. It appears with the growth of the number of home-educated children, there are many opinions about the potential damage home-educating families may be doing to their children. If you accept as I do that most parents do their best you will realise that if anything it is the home-educating mums and dads themselves who will worry most about the welfare of their children. I know I question myself, our decision to home educate and so much else on an almost daily basis.

Home education images

Home Education Images

Home education images that I see on home education blogs and networks shows a lot of magical memory making. I am in awe of what many home-educating parents do with their children and the creativity they show. I worry that I spend too much time coming from a very schooled background missing out a little on even knowing on how to inject that magical touch. However some days we make it!

Home education day

Our home education day yesterday included practising French in France with French  people. It also involved trying out local food and drink. It also involved us collecting apples in readiness to make crab apple jelly. This was a lot of fun as you can see from my son’s face. We were outdoors away from our various screens. There was lots of laughter, lots of risk-taking as my son climbed trees higher and higher and plenty of healthy fresh air.

A different home education image

If you visited us today, you will have seen that we managed a long walk with the dogs. We got a little more structured today and studied some abstract art. Again there was lots of giggles as my son is not a fan at all preferring  to see more concrete representations of things when it comes to paintings. We moved on as part of our World War One studies to listen to a former Doctor Who reading Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est”. We discussed the extent to which war should or should not be glorified. It was interesting to find out the origin of the term “Dulce et Decorum Est”. One thing I love about home education is that we can follow up questions for as long as it takes without the bell going for another class. French lessons will follow later along with preparation of a chlli con carne dinner and looking at different forms of crab apple jelly.

Home Education Images

What am I really saying?

I think what I am trying to say is that home education images vary and that’s OK. People have a right to question the merit of home education and to find out more. Others have a right to question the education system and the pressures it is putting on children. If we are all positive learners, we can all learn from each other. For me, if my children are mentally well keen to learn and getting outdoors regularly, we are probably  just about on the right track. Today that right track showed us lovely things and made us smile.

Home Education Image

Images Of Home Education



Cuddle Fairy

Mummy in a Tutu


My Random Musings
Living Arrows

Confessions of a New Mummy

6 Components to Insert in a Homeschool Writing Curriculum for High School Students

As a parent, homeschooling your children is a huge responsibility to take on. At the end of the day, homeschooling parents are a huge part of what determines their child’s educational success in the future. Learning how to write properly is a skill that is necessary through every stage in life, so it is essential for children to have a good base for it; especially teenagers during high school. This list will provide you with a few components that would be useful to include in a homeschool writing curriculum for high school students.

1. Literature and Reading

Even though reading literary works may not necessarily mean writing as such, reading is a great way to engage students in the world of words. By reading the work of others, students will be able to get to expand their knowledge on different writing styles; something that can be rather useful for when they write papers themselves. Furthermore, the more students read, the more vocabulary they will acquire, hereby improving their chances of producing incredible writing papers from scratch.

Of course, many writing exercises may arise from reading literature or even watching award-winning movies. For example, critical reviews or film/book analyses are always a good idea for students to write.

2. Grammar

For many students, learning grammar during their high school years must seem tedious and boring. However, for an essay to be proficient, it is essential to have impeccable grammar and vocabulary. For a high school student, it will not be necessary to spend many hours going through grammar workbooks; but it would be a smart move to at least complete some exercises from time to time to make sure that none of the grammar learned in previous years has been forgotten.

3. Creativity

It’s no secret that as students get older, they become more impatient and desperate to find freedom and their own place in the world. Brainstorming and even playing games are some of the many ways students can learn to embrace their creativity and reflect it in their writing.

One way of incorporating creativity into writing is to reflect and debate upon relevant topics today. After an oral discussion, it is a good idea to write a report or an argumentative essay on what was spoken about. Not only will students become more involved and interested in issues around today, but they will be able to write upon them in a professional and mature way.

4. Standardized Testing Mock Exams

For students soon to be graduating from high school and on their way to university, it is very important for them to take the necessary measures to prepare for this life-changing test. There are several workbooks and guidebooks that are specific in what SAT, A-Level or IB examiners are looking for in these exams. There are many available printable essay mock writing questions online that you can download and use to train for these difficult exams.

5. Daily Reflection

In order to stay in the habit of writing, it may be a good idea to encourage the keeping of a journal or a reflective diary in which students can write their thoughts, ideas and simply reflect on whatever it is they did that day, what they learnt, what they liked or didn’t like about the lesson, what they think they need to improve on, etc. In fact, you can also take this opportunity to reflect on your skills as a homeschooling teacher and how they affect your children. When reading these number of entries, you’ll be able to know and detect if there is anything that your child is struggling with and needs extra help.

6. Reunions or Class With Other High School Students

Homeschooled students can sometimes be intimidated by the rest of children in their area going to school with other people. Gathering with other homeschooled students from time to time might encourage them to feel more confident in their studies. Concerning writing, having reunions with other students for writing assignments or exercises can be a good strategy for both socializing, and encouraging each other to do better in their writing. For example, the children can exchange papers and give each other feedback. Sometimes, getting feedback from other students their age can actually work better than teacher parents.

All of the components above have been stated with the intention of providing you with the best possible advice in constructing an appropriate writing curriculum for your child. As it has been said at the start, writing is one of the most important skills one must acquire in order to have a chance at entering higher levels of education and universities. All of these points have been added considering that a homeschooled child may feel isolated or underprepared compared to other kids that attend school. In fact, they have been designed to make your child feel comfortable and at the same level as others their age.