Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Learning Experiences at Church

Works for Me Wednesday Meme

This is what works for our family. We center most of our family activities around church. Since there are 7 of us, it's great that I don't have to drive all of town at various times. We go to one location, our church, and get involved in the activities. There is usually something going on for every age level at our church - even on Youth Group night. My teens go to youth group, my husband and I volunteer, and my younger kids go to a class for the volunteer's kids.

Church is a great place for kids to learn. They use teaching methods that kids enjoy. There
aren't any tests given or assignments due.

Here are some learning experiences my kids have had at church:

  • History lessons from the Bible
  • Singing and choir practice
  • Socialization skills
  • P.E. - roller skating, dodge ball, group action games
  • Group Jeopardy Game
  • Christian DVDs
  • Journal writing
  • Reading: from the Bible, lessons, lyrics projected on to the wall
  • Art Projects
  • Drama
  • Slide show presentation of trip to Israel
  • Ancient Jewish culture and customs presentation
  • Music and dance performances
  • Volunteering and community service projects
  • Baking

My Other Works for Me Wednesday Ideas:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Weekly Geography Lesson: Belize

National Geographic's Place of the Week


Song and Video: Welcome to Belize (3.5 min.)
Video: Coral Reef in Belize (3.5 min,)

Video: Belize - Caving, Rainforest, Mayan Ruins, Birding (6 min.)
Video: Belize - The People and Their Culture (3 min.)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Homeschool Hi-Lights Meme - Nature Walk

Join in every Monday for the Homeschool Highlight Meme.

Write a post about a highlight from your past week of home learning. Here are some ideas: an accomplishment, an event or outing, a fun learning experience, a new educational product your family enjoys, an unexpected teachable moment. You can also use the Homeschool Hi-Lights graphic, if you want to.

Please remember to link back to this site, so that others can learn how to join in. Then, leave your link below. Visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends and to encourage each other in homeschooling. Thanks so much for your participation.

Normally, the Homeschool Hi-Lights Meme will be available with a Mr. Linky at 11:00 pm (eastern time) on Sunday.

My Homeschool Hi-Light - Nature Walk

Spring has finally sprung in here. I'd have to say that our hi-light was going for a walk down our country road. It's amazing what you can observe and learn on a walk. Here are the learning experiences we had:
  • Saw wild animal tracks in the soft mud along the roadside.
  • Found a skunk skull (Last summer we saw this same skunk decomposing.)
  • Discussed melting snow and how it flows down the ditches toward the river.
  • Floated plastic flip flops through the drain pipes, hoping that there weren't any branches or a build up of leaves inside.
  • Collected 40 beer bottles along the roadside (40 bottles divided by 4 girls is 50 cents each in bottle refunds. Woohoo!)
  • Had a discussion about why there would be so many beer bottles along the roadside when we have a no drinking and driving law in the USA.
  • Came up with the plan to take another walk, later this week, with garbage bags. We'll do a little community service project and pick up the litter along the road. The girls agreed that they would if it meant they could go for another walk.
  • Improved our health with a one hour walk, warm sunshine, and fresh air.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Science Activities for the Past Week

This is the day that I list what my younger daughters (6, 8, and 11) did for Science during the past week. It helps me keep track of our progress in the Science area.

  • Went on a Nature Walk (We had many learning experiences on this particular walk.)
  • Watched Human Footprint on the National Geographic Channel (We learned about what we buy and consume in a lifetime makes an impact on Earth. It was neat to see all of the items piled up.)
  • Watched Modern Marvels: Harvesting Parts 1 and 2 on the History Channel (We learned about the historical and modern ways of harvesting a variety of fruits, nuts, and vegetables.)
  • Watched Unwrapped: Down South on the Food Network (showed how soda, potato chips, individual sweet potato pies, biscuits, shrimp gumbo, and ice cream are made in factories)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Homeschooler Habits and Learning Through Involvement

Heart of the Matter Meme

Somehow I thought that the meme topic for today was about a Chinese proverb. Since I already wrote about that topic, I am just going to include both in this post.

Happy Habits of a Homeschooler

Even though we have flexible days for the most part, there are a few daily habits that we have developed.

  • My kids do much of their work independently and then I tutor each one for 1/2 - 1 hour. It works best if I schedule this time with each one or else they all want to go first.
  • At 8 pm we listen to Adventures in Odyssey for our Bible lesson. At 8:30 I read aloud, usually from a historical fiction book. This is what we do right before the kids go to bed.
  • The kids take 1 hour computer turns. I set the oven buzzer for 55 min. to give them a 5 minute warning, too.
  • Before they go outside to play with friends, their workbook lessons have to be done. Also, we have a 5 minute pick up time where everyone cleans up clutter, blankets, toys and straightens shoes. It's amazing how quickly things get put away when they want to go outside.
  • If we are curious about something, have unanswered questions, or want to learn how to do something - we look it up on the Internet.
  • Since we haven't done much science yet this year, I'm doing a thing right now where we all watch 1 hour of a science type show on TV every weekday.

Heart of the Matter Meme

Learning Through Involvement

My thoughts on the Quote:

“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.” ~Chinese Proverb

I didn't realize that this was an old Chinese proverb. There is quite a bit of wisdom in this quote. This proverb explains the the way that I learn. When I actually get involve
d in doing something I learn from it.

My husband and I try to give our children hand's on, get involved learning experiences. We have found them to be the easiest ways for the kids to learn and remember. Here are some learning projects that we have done as a family:
  • Raised sheep
  • Raised chickens
  • Raised sheep dogs
  • Did beekeeping
  • Planted and grew Christmas trees
  • Planted a garden
  • Played educational games
  • Science experiments
  • Went to hands on museums
  • Built bird houses
  • Started a backyard nursery and learned how to propagate plants
  • Went on field trips
  • Traveled
  • Volunteered
  • Made websites and blogs
Some future projects that I'd like the family to do are:
  • Make a solar project
  • Go on a mission trip
  • Build a play area
  • Visit living history museums

Join in every Monday for the Homeschool Highlight Meme.
Write a post about a highlight from your past week of home learning. Here are some ideas: an accomplishment, an event or outing, a fun learning experience, a new educational product your family is enjoying, an unexpected teachable moment.
The Homeschool Hi-Lights Meme will be available with a Mr. Linky at 11:00 pm (eastern time) on Sunday night.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cut Your Family's Hair

I don't really enjoy cutting my husband's and kids' hair. I haven't ever been trained professionally, but over the years I've figured out how to do it. I keep on cutting their hair, because it saves us so much money.

$12 per haircut x 2 adults and 5 kids = $84
$84 x 3 hair cuts per year = $252 saved every year

$252 a year! That is why I continue to cut their hair.

Two of my daughters are at the preteen age and wanting fancier hair styles. So, I'll probably take them to a real hair stylist and watch very closely - so I'll be able to try it on my own next time.

If you'd like to try saving money by cutting your kids' and husband's hair, you can find out more at these links:

Haircutting - Do it Yourself (with detailed instructions)
How to Trim Your Child's Hair (with a 2 minute video)
Search through many tutorial videos at You Tube (search on "How to Haircut" or "Hair cut how to")

Comic: 20 Great Reasons You Homeschool

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My Kids Make Their Own Birthday Cakes

Works for Me Wednesday Meme

This is very helpful for me, because I don't have the pressure of having to make my kids' Birthday cakes every year. It also doubles for a learning activity.

I'm not quite sure how this tradition started, but my kids love making their own birthday cakes. Since we homeschool, I like it that cake decorating provides opportunities for - creativity, art, math skills, and baking
. The kids' favorite place to get cake decorating ideas is at the Family Fun Site. They provide instructions for how to decorate using: various candies, Twinkies, marshmallows, chocolate chips, fruit leather, mini donuts, licorice, etc.

Here are some photos from the site with all of the
cool ideas.

My Other Works for Me Wednesday Ideas:

May and June Activity Books

503744: May Monthly Idea BookMay Monthly Idea Book
Bring something fun and exciting into every school day with The "Original" Monthly Idea Book for May. Fun crafts and activities for Mother's Day, Cinco de Mayo, May Day, Birds, circuses, zoos, flowers and more are all included. Make pencil toppers,play themed bingo games, create Mother's Day cards, make a garden book and more! You'll find dozens of reproducible puzzles and patterns for any pre-school or elementary school curriculum. 144 pages

997927: May & June Activities, Grades 3-6May & June Activities, Grades 3-6
Mini-units, literature units, interdisciplinary activities and more are all here to help develop critical and creative thinking skills for each day of the month. Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, and even activities for July and August are included as well. 112 reproducible pages with answers included.

503752: June Monthly Idea BookJune Monthly Idea Book
Bring something fun and exciting into every school day with The "Original" Monthly Idea Book for June. Fun crafts and activities for Flag Day, Fathers Day, the Seashore, Reptiles, the South Pacific and more are all included. Make pencil toppers, play themed bingo games, create father's day cards, make a sea-mobile and more! You'll find dozens of reproducible puzzles and patterns for any pre-school or elementary school curriculum. 144 pages

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Homeschool Hi-Lights Meme - Spring Break

Join in every Monday for the Homeschool Highlight Meme.

Write a post about a highlight from your past week of home learning. Here are some ideas: an accomplishment, an event or outing, a fun learning experience, a new educational product your family enjoys, an unexpected teachable moment. You can also use the Homeschool Hi-Lights graphic, if you want to.

Please remember to link back to this site, so that others can learn how to join in. Then, leave your link below. Visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends and to encourage each other in homeschooling. Thanks so much for your participation.

Normally, the Homeschool Hi-Lights Meme will be available with a Mr. Linky at 11:00 pm (eastern time) on Sunday.

My Homeschool Hi-Light - Spring Break

We had Spring Break this past week. It was very interesting to observe what my kids learned even though we were taking a break from school. It goes to show that learning is a natural part of a homeschooler's life.

Instead of focusing on just one Hi-Light, this week. I'm going to list a few real life learning hi-lights for this past week of Spring Break. All of these were fun things that the kids chose to do on their own.

  • My son made the Homeschool Hi-Lights graphic for me. He also helped me by setting up Mr. Linky. What would I do without his computer knowledge?
  • The girls did some outdoor experiments that involved: melting snow, ditches, shovels, rocks, and sand.
  • My son and I enjoyed 4 episodes of an astronomy show on the History channel.
  • The girls enjoyed learning how to cook some dinners with Dad.
  • We all played Dutch Blitz (helps with basic math skills and it really exercises the brain)

Tater Tot Casserole

Saturday Stirrings Meme

This is a regular dinner meal in our house, especially since it has become my son's recipe to make. I love Tater Tot Casserole night, because I don't have to do the cooking and everyone in the family will eat it without grumbling.

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can of milk
1 pound hamburger (cooked and drained)
1 bag (32 oz) tater tots (potato puffs)
1 (9x12) baking pan

Mix the 2 soups and the milk in the baking pan. Then, mix in the hamburger (cooked and drained). Arrange the tater tots, in rows on top of the hamburger and soup mixture. (You won't use the whole bag.)
Bake (uncovered) at 350*F for 50 minutes.

Time saver tip: Cook up a lot of hamburger and freeze it in individual 1 lb sections. Then, when a recipe calls for cooked hamburger, it will just need to be defrosted.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Cheaper Car Insurance

How to Really Save on Car Insurance

Just when I think that I can't possibly cut back on our expenses any more, I find something new that I can do. It's wonderful. After watching the commercials hundreds of times, my husband and I finally went to to see if we could really get our car insurance for cheaper. And yes we can! The savings is really going to add up. And you can do it all through their website.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Homeschool Burnout

It's that time of year, when many homeschool families start to burn out. Spring fever is in the air and homeschool frustration sets in. Don't give up on homeschooling. You have options.

At the end of the year, some families switch from a structured homeschool method to Unschooling or an Eclectic Method. It is perfectly fine to switch your method or curriculum during the year, if you want to. You can even switch back next Fall.

Hear are some ideas that will hopefully keep you from Homeschool Burnout.

  • Go on Vacation - I've written posts about what our family has learned on our trips to New York City and Oregon. You can adapt some of the ideas for your own trip.
  • Get More Involved in Church - Church is a great place to learn. I made a list of Learning Experiences that my kids have had at church.
  • Participate in Real Life Learning - Every day there are real life experiences and events that our children can learn from. Here are many Real Life Learning Ideas to get you going.
  • Choose Your Own - You can make lists of learning ideas for each of the basic subjects and let your kids choose what they want to do each day. I have made a Choose Your Own Science List. I hope to make lists for the other basic subjects, too.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

10 Steps to Multiplication Memorization

Works for Me Wednesday Meme

1. Learn the 0’s
Any # times 0 is 0.

2. Learn the 1’s
Any # times 1 says itself.

3. Learn the 10’s
Count by 10’s - say aloud and write
10,20,30,40,50,60,70,80, 90,100, 110, 120
Practice the 10’s with a partner, and point to the answer on the paper.

4. Learn the 5’s
Count by 5’s - say aloud and write
5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60
Practice the 5’s with a partner, and point to the answer on the paper.

5. Learn the 2’s
Count by 2’s - say aloud and write
2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24,
Practice the 2’s with a partner, and point to the answer on the paper.

6. Learn the 3’s
Count by 3’s - say aloud and write
3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36
Practice the 3’s with a partner, and point to the answer on the paper.

7. Learn the 11’s
Learn the trick - a # times 11 says itself twice. For example: 5×11=55
(This works up to 9×11)
11×11 is 11 with a 2 in the middle (121)
11×12 is 13 plus a 2 (132)- 11, 12, 13 plus a 2

8. Learn the Double Rhymes and 7×8
4×4 isn’t mean, 4×4 is sweet 16
6×6 pick up sticks, 6×6 is 36
7×7 feeling fine, 7×7 is 49
8×8 fell on the floor, 8×8 is 64
9×9 ate a ton, 9×9 is 81
12 x 12 give 4 more, 12×12 is 144
5, 6, 7, 8 - 56 is 7×8

9. Learn the 9’s
Learn the trick - 9×7 starts with 6 (it is 1 less than 7) 6+3 more = 9
The Answer is 63. (6 and 3, The # less than 7 and the # added to get to 9)
Kids can hold up 7 fingers, take 1 away to have 6. Then, count up 3 fingers to get 9.

10. This Leaves Only 8 Left to Memorize
Learn the remaining 8 by making flashcards.
4×6, 4×7, 4×8, 6×7, 6×12, 7×12, 8×12, 9×12
You may want to concentrate on 4×8, 6×7, 6×12 at the same time. All the answers end in 2. (32, 42, 72)

Field Trip to New York City

My husband had to take a work related trip to New York City. So, the rest of the family went too. My goal was to learn and experience as much as we could on this trip, with out spending much money. While in NYC, I carried around a guidebook and read aloud the information for each site that we saw.

Here is what our family learned and experienced on this trip:

  • Free Ferry ride to Manhattan from Staten Island
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Ellis Island
  • Battery Park
  • Financial District
  • Saw the Site of the World Trade Center and Memorials
  • Rode on the Subway
  • Saw where Dave Letterman is recorded and his two guests leaving the Ed Sullivan theater.
  • Times Square
  • Grand Central Station
  • Walked over 22,000 steps in Manhattan, PE
  • Played in Central Park, PE
  • Ate New York style pizza.
  • Drove around Staten Island.
  • Read the Book - Dreams in the Golden Country (Dear America - NYC, 1903)
  • Read the Book - Journey to Ellis Island by Carol Bierman
  • Street sign practice.
  • Map Skills
  • Socialization with many adults we met along the way.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

How I Got Started Homeschooling

Heart of the Matter Meme

Before I married my husband, he told me that he wanted to homeschool our future kids. Well, I didn't. In 1990, I thought that homeschoolers were weird and I didn't fit into their category. Having children was the last thing on my mind. I married him anyhow and knew that I would be able to easily change his mind on this homeschooling thing. Shortly after getting married, the baby bug hit me. All I wanted to do was have a baby, and to be a stay-at-home mom.

When my first child was 4, I gave him preschool workbooks and he did educational programs on the computer - including basic reading software. At the time, I didn't consider this homeschooling, because he was only 4. When it was time to register for Kindergarten, I realized that we had in fact been homeschooling. I figured that he already knew the things that were going to be taught in Kindergarten. So, we homeschooled. It worked out so well for our family that we have done it ever since - for 10 years now and with all 5 children.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Birthday Unit Study

Language Arts:

  • Write and address Birthday invitations
  • Write Thank you notes for Birthday presents
  • Writing Prompts: Your favorite birthday, Your favorite birthday present, What did you do on your Birthday?
  • Write a Birthday Haiku or Acrostic Poem
  • Write a fictional story about a kid celebrating his/her Birthday.
  • Spelling worksheets at Enchanted Learning
  • Interview a relative about his/her memorable Birthday
  • Sing Happy Birthday in Spanish
  • Sing Happy Birthday in German
  • Sing Happy Birthday in French
  • Sing Happy Birthday in Italian
Library Read Alouds:
  • The Secret Birthday Message by Eric Carle
  • Happy Birthday Dear Duck by Eve Bunting
  • Angelina's Birthday Surprise by Katharine Holabird
  • Jenny's Birthday Book by Esther Averill
  • Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by MacDonald, Canham, and Boiger
  • A Birthday for Frances by Russell Hoban and Lillian Hoban
  • Curious George and the Birthday Surprise by H.A. and Margret Rey and Martha Weston
  • A Little House Birthday by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Doris Ettlinger
  • Happy Birthday, Samantha (American Girls) by Tripp, Grace, Niles, and Andreasen
  • Cam Jansen and the Birthday Mystery by David A. Adler and Susanna Natti
  • Angelina Birthday by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig
  • More Birthday Related Books
  • Give your child a Math Board Game as an early Birthday present.
  • Find your age in days, hours, and minutes with the Birthday calculator.
  • Make a bar graph showing the Birthday months of your family and relatives.
  • Math worksheet - Guess my Birthday
  • Do sorting, adding, subtracting, or multiplying activities using Birthday candles.
  • Talk about fractions when baking the cake and angles when cutting the cake.
History and Geography: Science:
  • Take on a fun science related outing for his/her Birthday - children's science museum, the zoo, aquarium, tidal pools, nature preserve, or farm.
  • Have a Science Themed Birthday Party with experiments
  • Help your child bake his/her own Birthday cake or cook his/her own Birthday dinner.
  • Look up information on the Internet about your Birthday month Birthstone and Flower
  • Let your child decorate his/her own Birthday cake using Cake Decorating Ideas at Family Fun.
  • Take your child to a craft store and let him/her pick out a new art project like a - model car, latch hook rug, paint by number, or art kit.
  • Make a Birthday pinata.
  • Entertain party guests by making crafts.
  • Do a fun physical activity for his/her Birthday - bowling, ice skating. swimming, hiking, skiing
  • Play party games

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Save Time When Cooking Hamburger

Works for Me Wednesday Meme

This is what works for me:

I cook 4+ pounds of hamburger (or 10 pounds of chicken thighs) all at one time. When the meat has cooled, I freeze it in individual 1 - 2 pound bags. When a recipe calls for a pound of meat, all I have to do is thaw 1 bag of meat and add it to the recipe. It saves me time, because I don't have to cook meat individually and clean a pan each time.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Nest Cupcakes for Spring

A few years ago my kids made these and really enjoyed it.

You'll need:

  • chocolate cupcakes
  • chocolate frosting
  • chow mein noodles
  • jelly beans
  • plastic birds (optional)
You can get this recipe at the Family Fun site.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Looking Forward in Our Homeschooling

Home Education Week at Principled Discovery

What are your goals for home education? What do you hope to instill in your children? Are you planning any changes to how you educate your children?

My Goals for My Children:

  • Become self motivated to do schoolwork.
  • Work independently on studies by high school.
  • Consider taking dual enrollment college courses in high school.
  • Explore their interests,
  • Go to college.
  • Volunteer or go on a summer mission trip.

I Hope to Instill in Them:
  • a love for learning
  • the desire o follow God's will for their lives
  • a desire to better themselves
  • a confidence to take on challenges
  • a desire to serve, help, and make a difference with their future profession

My Changes in Homeschooling:
  • Do more Unit Studies and fun learning activities.
  • Help my children learn more about their unique interests.
  • Be consistent about reading aloud.
  • Pray more about homeschooling.
  • Listen to Adventures in Odyssey with my girls M-F.
  • Buy an easy to use curriculum for high school, like Alpha Omega.

Garden Unit Study

Lori at Heart of the Matter has put together a wonderful Unit Study on Gardens. I can't wait for our snow to melt, so we can get started on a garden.

Here are some fun ideas I have to include in a garden unit study:

Agricultural Field Trips

  • Visit a pick your own vegetable field.
  • Look around a garden center (in a store) and talk about the different products, plants, and seeds available.
  • Tour a greenhouse that grows vegetables or flowers.
  • Visit an apiary - a bee farm.
  • Go to your County Fair - look at the 4-H and FFA displays of fruits, vegetables, the farming industry, and antique tractors.
  • Grow your own beans or tomatoes and deliver them to a soup kitchen.
  • Tour a cannery.
  • Go to a botanical garden.
  • Look around an agricultural museum.
  • Go through a corn maze and ask for an educational tour, also.
  • Visit a pumpkin patch.
  • Go to a worm farm and learn how worms are helpful for the soil.
  • Look around a home and garden show.
  • Tour the 4-H Virtual Farm - growing wheat.
  • Learn about growing cocoa beans when you view the Making Chocolate Video at the Hershey site.
Make Your Own Container Garden

0109040: The Garden GameThe Garden Game

Players plant gardens with their "garden cards", trying to save the most seeds as they feed the soil, nurture plants and help neighbors through difficult weather cycles. The Garden Game is filled with information about every aspect of garden life, from slugs to flowers to weather, and it includes an additional booklet with a glossary and an introduction to gardening. 2-6 Players. $24.99

Friday, April 4, 2008

In Their Own Words - My Children's Likes and Dislikes of Being Homeschooled

Home Education Week at Principled Discovery

Share your children’s home education experience in their own words. What have they said about their education? What are their likes and dislikes? Share some stories, some quotes, or turn your blog over to your children for the day.

I asked each of my children what they like and dislike about being homeschooled. Please keep in mind that all of my children have been homeschooled from the very beginning. They have never been to a real school. Their only idea of what school is really like comes from watching TV shows like Hannah Montana or from what the kids at church say about it.

14-year-old son:

  • I can go at my own pace and do extra school work to get ahead.
  • I don't have to spend 8 hours with a ton of other kids. Since I'm an introvert, I can only handle so much time around other people.
  • I get to stay up late to continue working on a project.
  • I have more time at home to do my writing and computer projects.
  • I am not being able to be in band and learn how to play an instrument.
  • I don't have daily access to a school library.

13-year-old daughter:

  • I don't have to waste time riding the bus.
  • I can get my school work done quickly so I can get outside to play.
  • I get to work at my own pace so I will be able to get done early with high school.
  • I don't have to deal with bullies.
  • I don't get lots of new clothes like the school kids do.
  • I don't have any school friends.
  • I don't get to join in on conversations about school when my church friends talk about school.
  • I don't get to do school sports.
  • I don't have school friends that I can go hang out with at the mall.

11-year-old daughter:
  • I hate everything about being homeschooled and I'm not going to force my kids to be homeschooled.

8-year-old daughter:
  • I get to be with my family all day.
  • I get to do lots of art projects at home with paper and glue.
  • I don't have to do science class with chemicals and little bubbles.
  • I don't have to deal with bullies bossing me around and beating me up.
  • I don't have to be around the mean teachers who give hard tests.
  • I don't have to be around the mean kids at school.
  • I don't get to meet new friends - talk and hang out with them all day.
  • I don't get to eat in a school cafeteria.

6-year-old daughter:
  • I don't have to be around the mean kids at school.
  • I get to eat and play whenever I want to.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Show and Tell - Computer Skills

Home Education Week at Principled Discovery

Show off those talents. Share a story, a special moment, a piece of artwork. Any accomplishment, great or small, is fair game.

Because he is homeschooled, my 14-year-old son, has the opportunity to spend more time learning about his interest in computers.

He has learned about:

  • basic HTML
  • Adobe Flash game development
  • making an interactive Flash map of a shopping mall
  • computer graphics using Adobe Flash, Adobe Fireworks, MS Paint, and Swift 3D
  • helping me with my blogging and website problems
  • teaching his younger sisters how to use the computer
In the future, he will probably do a highschool computer internship or computer related part-time job. I'd like to help him find ways that he can use his computer skills in Christian ministry projects. All of his hands-on training will prepare him if he studies Computer Engineering in college.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Recipe for Success - Relax the Schedule

Home Education Week at Principled Discovery

It is also National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day! So share a recipe…figuratively, as in two parts love, one part creativity, or literally, as in a super quick, nutritious meal your kids scarf up. Think about what you do in the day, what helps keep it organized and you sane (or how you got past that need for organization and saneness!), and curriculum materials you find effective.

My first few years of homeschooling were very structured and scheduled out. When everything on my schedule didn't get done I got very frustrated. There were days that we just couldn't homeschool, yet I had that day planned into the schedule. Over the years, I have relaxed in our daily scheduling. It has been the best thing for me and the kids appreciate a more pleasant mother.

This is my recipe for success: Make a Relaxed Schedule

We have a general daily schedule, but it doesn't include exact page numbers. There are occasional days that we can not get to everything on the list. I also have planned that there will be unexpected days that we won't be doing our typical learning at all.

Here is a sample of a typical day's relaxed schedule for my 10-year-old:

Do 4 pages in Language Arts workbook.
Do 1 page in Math workbook.
Practice Spelling words.
Listen to Mom read from the historical fiction book.
Choose your own science activity.
Read to Mom for 20 minutes.
Listen to Adventures in Odyssey

I also encourage the children to learn on their own - delight driven learning or unschooling. They play educational games, do art projects, cook, watch educational TV or DVDs, go on field trips, learn through church activities, learn things on the Internet, participate in volunteering, travel, read magazines, write in a journal, and explore.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fool's - My Most Foolish and Challenging Times

Home Education Week at Principled Discovery

And we have likely all felt the fool in one way or another. Share your greatest challenge. Or one of those terrible, horrible no good, very bad days where the only thing there is to do seems to involve moving to Australia.

One of the foolish things I have done, during our homeschooling, is when I forced a daughter to learn from textbooks. Even though she was reading the words out loud to me, it was evident that she wasn't comprehending any of it. The textbooks bored her to death. I continued using them, because I had paid for them. Since then, I've tried to find learning materials that really interest my children. I'm trying to make education enjoyable for them.

My greatest challenge was in teaching reading. Some of my kids learned easily and for others it was a struggle. I pushed one of my daughters to read, when I shouldn't have. Another daughter was really frustrated with reading, so we took it slower. What works well with her is - she reads one sentence and I read another. I've had to tell myself that the children don't have to read by a certain age. My 5 children have read between the ages of 4 and 9. It matters more to me that they don't hate reading due to frustration.