Thursday, August 26, 2010

A helping hand thru Middle School!

Let's face it, whether you homeschool or public school your kids.... Middle School sucks! It sucks for kids and it sucks for parents! As the Mom of 2 Middle Schoolers.....each day comes with its own trials and tribulations! Let me tell you.... I never know WHO is going to walk out of that bedroom, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde!LOL I am sure by the end of it, my forehead will have a flat spot from smacking my head against the wall in frustration!
Don't get me wrong, I love my boys with all my heart.... but there are days that I do not like them!LOL I feel for them though! I totally remember that stage as an awkward teenager with braces, no sense of style, liking boys but not really liking them, pimples.... and the list of Middle School horror goes on and on!
It is a transition stage of puberty, hormones, scheduling and chaos! Kids are no longer "babies" but they are also not the "grown-ups" of high school. They spend a lot of time learning who they are and what they are about. It is the beginning of serious social networking and because of that.... many kids have trouble keeping up with lessons.
Either way, you can supplement their daily lessons with tutoring but who wants to try to find the perfect tutor! You can also look for online after school help! Time 4 Learning is PERFECT for that! They have complete lessons in Math, Language Arts, Social Studies and Science in Middle School grades to give you child that extra push to make it through the school year! And the fact that it is online and animated for most subjects, just makes it that much more fun for your child!
My boys are homeschooled and have been since the start of Middle School. It was a personal choice for us, as our local Middle School was rated very low and we tried it for 5 weeks for my oldest son and it was a disaster! If we had stuck with it, I know we would have used something like T4L to help supplement him! As it is, we signed up for T4L as homeschoolers and it has raised his Math grade from an F to a solid A.
As we approach the start of another school year, if you have a Middle might want to consider checking into some online after school supplements to give them the best school year they can have!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Love, Love, Love Literature with my boys

Are you like me always looking for the next good book to read to your kids? This year I am continuing to read out loud to the boys, mainly because it makes all of us really get into the same story together. We all really have fun listening to the stories and the boys tell me things that they remember from past stories and how it relates to this one. Plus even though I have a teenager who loves to read by himself, he still enjoys listening to a story read by someone else. (Shhh don't tell his teenage friends)

I just finished another story about homeschoolers with the boys, and they loved it!
We read the Cross-Country Treasure Hunt (and the Mystery that Followed), which took a
homeschooling family on a road adventure across the US. I am totally loving that there are
books about homeschoolers out there for me to read to my boys. And for them to read as well!
Along with a great states study, I also used it to make up my own spelling list for the boys
to use and of course plays games with both the states and the spelling words. You know when you just have a great day with your kids, and there wasn't any tears or "Do I have to do that?" You can sit back and realx that night knowing that you taught your kids something that they will most likely remember for years to come. (not just for a test!) Well I had one of those days yesterday and I am looking forward to doing more lesson activities with them like this again, SOON!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Latin.....the ancient Internet!

The internet is EVERYTHING nowadays! It basically is the root of everything we do. We email, we google, we search, we read our news online, we chat with others and the list goes on and on.

Well, the easiest comparison for me to that would be Latin! Latin is the root system for the majority of our words! If you don't believe me, google it!LOL

When it comes to learning Language Arts, learning where our word roots come from is VERY important. Because once you have the foundation for your words, you can learn ANYTHING! And you can understand the meaning and reasoning behind the word itself and the definition!

Latin root vocabulary skills are a good way to get started! Kids can easily learn through flashcards, Latin matching games or create your own method that works for your kids!

But, once you start.... remember that your word "root" system will grow and grow and pretty soon your kids will have the tree of knowledge!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Stories about homeschoolers

OK, could there be a better literature lesson then having your kids read about other homeschoolers as the main characters in books? I didn't even know that stories about homeschoolers existed. I did my famous research and BAM there it was a site for homeschoolers to go and find books about characters that they can related to! I never knew that there were so many and new ones are coming out all the time now. Since homeschoolers in general have doubled their numbers over the last ten years. I had my oldest read two of the books from the site Schooled and Surviving the Applewhites and he loved them both. And he even went online to see if they were a series. OK you have to understand that he never reads anything for fun but fantasy and graphic novels but he devoured them in a matter of days. Something I only see with books like Eragon or the Percy Jackson books, etc. It means alot to me to see him expanding his reading list to include books that are not in his normal area of interest.
It gets better along with these books there were lesson activities to go along with the books. So basically I had literature based word lists for each book for him to go over. In my option that makes for a much better well rounded book comprehension reading experience, wouldn't you say?I can't say that there are space alein homeschool books yet but who knows I am bookmarking the site to come back to!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Homeschooling - My Way!

I am not one of those people that likes labels, to be told what to do and how to do it, or made to conform with society! I have always danced to my own beat, dressed how I wanted instead of the latest fad, picked my friends because I liked them for who they were inside not their looks, and colored outside the lines! This is how my Mom raised me!
I guess that is why when we made the decision to homeschool and learned all the different labels..... I decided we were definitely eclectic homeschoolers! None of the programs we found were covering 100% of what we wanted, nor did we want to be stuck homeschooling something that was a by-the-book curriculum. I researched MANY different programs, tossing each one aside for various reasons. Too religious for us, we are more secular homeschoolers. Too regimented, we were trying to get away from regiment. Too much like public school, YIKES... that needs no explanation!LOL We finally stumbled upon Time 4 Learning and it was perfect! Followed federal guidelines so we could stay on track enough to pass our required State tests when needed!! Not religious, so we could add in what we believed as we saw fit! No regiment, we can work at our own pace! AWESOME! And most of all.... definitely NOT like public school!! We add in other things like a writing program designed by my Mom, the retired schoolteacher. A spanish program thru their Nintendo DS. We use TV shows like Junkyard Wars or Dirty Jobs as learning programs! I would definitely consider this eclectic homeschooling!
We start our new school year next week and while we are starting out slowly just using T4L, we will definitely still be eclectic homeschoolers because within a few weeks we will be adding our own way of homeschooling to it so it fits us!
Happy Homeschooling - My Way!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Homeschooling Parent Communities and Reviews

What are you looking for when you hear the words curriculum reviews? I know what I am wanting to hear from actual users of the products/service not for someone who has never used them. I mean sure its nice to hear someone who can write a beautiful piece about a product/service that I am interested in. But too many times I have bought or subscribed to something only to be disappointed when it didn't meet my expectations. Has that ever happened to you? Come on be honest now!

Well lately, I have discovered that by finding an online parent community and asking other parents who are homeschooling , what they thought of what ever it is that I am interested in , that I seem to get better results. People who have actually purchases the product/service are the best, in my opinion, of a review that I can trust. I recently was looking for a great online writing program for my oldest to do for his writing time. For me, having to teach all those rules and grade his work was more than I am wanting to take on right now. And yes I do plan on taking an active role in his writing work, I mean kind of mother do you think I am? But this is a nice break, and it is thanks to a member of one of the online parent communities that I am a member of. So the morals of this story is to..... find people you can trust before you shell out your dough!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Pig did a Jig in his Wig.....

The Pig did a Jig in his Wig......

I don't know about you, but I love Word World on PBS! It is geared for younger kids and since I do daycare, we watch it. Not only are the animals entertaining but everything on the show is made out of a word. And they love to rhyme and do fun riddle games. Kids learn how to sound things out, how to rhyme same sounding words and how just changing 1 letter can make a huge difference. Kids love animals and kids love to be silly and I think rhyming words or tongue twisters that make their tongues dance and feel silly are fun, and when paired with animals....well, that is more fun than the Pig who did a Jig in his Wig!LOL I look for things that will get my kids to learn and understand anything better! Both of my boys LOVE animals and when I can tie learning and their love of animals together by using educational animal games... I jump right on that! Kids learn better when you can get something they are interested in as the core and then work with it so it becomes educational as well!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer help with starting back

Well summer is almost over and some of us have already started or want to have started!
I decided this year that I needed a little more time off for me, not the kids. So again, I began to
look for some online summer courses to get them started. I mean they need to get back in the swing of things and I was looking for some help. This is the time that they need to do some refresher work and I searched for some summer educational games. I figured that it would be the best idea I ever had, to save me hours of banging my head on the wall!

And you know what? It worked we finished our time off and I set up trying slowing to have them work a couple of hours here and there. I had them play the games and do some simple worksheets for the first couple of weeks. We are now on our third week and I am confident that I
will not have the tears I had last year when I started them full force into our school day.

Time will tell but now I have one less thing that I have to do when we start up~ reteach the last months of our year OVER!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


You are making history as you sit here and read this blog! I am making history as I type it! Might not seem like much, but somewhere in cyberspace this will be archived and will seem important to someone!LOL History is an important part of learning, it teaches our children how our world was shaped, what it could become if the wrong or right decisions are made, and what they can do about it. As a homeschooling parent and a internet junkie, I am always looking for help via the internet with all of their subjects. History seems to be the one though, that we prefer online. Nothing worse than a dry, boring textbook that makes history seem SO boring. I remember sitting thru high school history class as the teacher droned on and on, then would assign us a chapter of the most boring stuff to read. UGH
Well, tell you what.... that has changed and we as homeschooling parents have the choice to toss those dry reads out and find something SO cool online!
I do not expect my kids to know and remember every little detail but I do think things like Wars,
US Presidents, Women in History, Men in History and Important Timeline Events should be learned about! Google is my lifesaver, plug in something like online history program and you will get lots of cool things! It is just a matter of finding a program that works for you and your child!! The internet can and will make history come to life!!