Thursday, September 30, 2010

What a week......

Anyone have one of those weeks that you are just exhausted when you start the week? That is how this week seems have gone!
I started out tired from the busy weekend(one of those that one little project snowballs into a ton more!) and it went crazier from there!
Not only am I a homeschooling Mom of a 7th Grader and an 8th Grader but I run a daycare/preschool! I have 2 new boys starting this week to go with the 2 boys I already have in my care and starting on Wednesday, I had (2) 2 yr olds and (1) 3 yr old and (1) almost 4 yr old plus my 12 yr old and my 13 yr old! Can you say drowning in testosterone!LOL Having new little kids in the house means I shadow them until they learn the rules at my childcare. Doing this allows me a lot less freedom than I would normally have, which means for the first week or 2..... our homeschool schedule slacks off because I just cannot do it all!LOL I consider myself Superwoman(as most Moms do!) most of the time, but I can only stretch myself so thin.
This is where I am SO glad that the boys are online homeschoolers for most of their schooling!!! I can let them chill at the kitchen table and work on it with little supervision from me during this crazy week, yet still be close by for any help or questions they might have!!! They do either Spelling or Geography in the morning online, then during naptime we do Time 4 Learning, then afternoons are usually their writing program which is run by their Grandma, so any questions or issues they have can be directed towards her! I just store the papers to mail back to her!LOL
I am glad that my week ends on Thursday night, as I know I couldn’t retain my sanity if I didn’t have Fridays off completely... though this week is the start of a once a month homeschooling activity we take the boys to on Friday afternoon..... Ok, so I will rest and relax........ummmm, maybe Saturday!LOL
Stay tuned for next week's blog from crazyville!!LOL And in the meantime..... you can send me peaceful, positive thoughts so I can survive!! THANKS!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How excited are you about your literature studies?

If you said "not very", then I think that we are all on the same page! I rack my brain every couple of weeks trying to add some fun literature activites into our schedule, sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don't! We have been doing alot and I mean alot of online help with spelling, grammar and comprehension questions lately.

Recently the boys took a online writing course and I was sooo relieved that someone else was going to be doing the grading of their work for 8 weeks. They loved getting online and seeing what their online teachers said about their work and even showed dad when he got home the grades. Of course, we still had to practice handwriting but it wasn't as painful for them or myself since we just practiced the letters that looked like chicken scratch.

We also have been checking out a site that has stories about homeschoolers with some lesson plans already done for us. Along with some fun vocabulary online games links and online spelling games from words in the story to make it easier for the boys. We loved two of the books on the site and my oldest asked the last time we went to the library if they had the next book in the series. A big deal for us,since he has only been into fantasy as of late. He even commented on how in one of the books the character had to put up with kids in middle school that were not being very nice. He told me that he was glad that I was homeschooling him so he didn't have to worry about that everyday.

So all in all we had a great week with our literature studies this past week, now this week is another story. Oh well you can't win them over every week, right?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Westward Ho, Oregon!

The best part about homeschooling is finding other people in your area that are homeschooling as well! It gives you the sense that you are not alone in this adventure! When we first started homeschooling, the first thing that I did..... being a computer nerd and prefer finding out info via the world wide web..... I went online and found groups and info about homeschooling in my State of Oregon! And being that I think kids should know info about the State they are living in, I also look for State games to enhance their learning!
And this is SUCH a bonus for us now, since my son has completed his Social Studies online and we are kinda floating for his 8th grade year. I decided that he should learn all he can about Oregon. And he loves it, because he will be reading a book about the State or doing an online game and the place will be somewhere he has been and knows! Little does he know that this shows me he is LEARNING!!! Doing the Homeschooling Mom happy dance!LOL So, hop on the computer and check for some great info on homeschooling in your State, State Groups and State games online! You will be amazed at what is right at your fingertips!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book 'em homeschoolers......

As a homeschooling Mom, I feel it is very important to let your kids know they are not alone! Homeschooling used to be the oddball in terms of education for kids. Nowadays it is becoming the mainstream choice for many parents and because of that, there are lots of books by homeschoolers and for homeschoolers! Homeschool literature is wonderful because it shows our kids that their education is not considered different, lots of other kids do it and it is wonderful!! Books by homeschoolers show our kids that they can do anything that they put their minds to! Writing a book, flying a plane, being a Mom, a chef or a teacher! I love finding new books written by homeschoolers for homeschoolers OR books where the kids in the story are or were homeschooled! It just makes my day!! And to the authors out there, that are letting the world know that homeschooling is here to stay and we are proud... I thank you!!!! Keep up the good work!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Are your kids learning the US states this year??

Well another year has come and gone, with that passing I realized that I hadn't done an in-depth US state study, yet! I am centering the state studies mostly for my 3rd grader but my 8th grader is coming along just for fun;) We are learning the state capitols, state bird and state motto just to name a few. I found a great online site that helps my game crazy boys learn more about each state. It has a great nature calls game, state vocabulary game and many more state related learning games. I found myself playing the memory match game, shhh don't tell them.

But I also adding in a study of the animals, birds, reptiles and insects from each state as well. I have two animal lovers in my house and I felt like it was a great way to add in learning about our animal friends from each state. This way when I actually have the time and money to go to these states I am sure that the boys will be able to name some of the animals, etc that we see! (at least I hope so!) Speaking of learning more about animals I have a site that has some awesome animal sites listed on there home page right now. So check them out and let me know what you thought about them!

My Favorite State Support Group

Ok, so are you new to homeschooling, or not clicking with your local groups? Well I have the solution, think online support. Since I began homeschooling in 2007, I have become members of many different support groups. But I have to tell you that I get alot of my information from my two favorite online support groups. The first one is NC state support group, (the state I live in;) and the other is a secular online support group with members from all over the world! What I love about the NC state support group is finding out about local events in my area and connecting with other Tarheels in my area. The secular support group offers over a 1,000 members (so far) who are willing to share any information that you could think of! Between those two groups I am pretty much set , they offer a great online support on the days that I am stuck at home (especially over the cold winter months!) Its funny what you can learn from a total stranger, with only one thing in common! Homeschooling my two boys has been the most rewarding experience I have ever done and now with the support and friendships that I have gotten from mainly these two groups I can see myself going all the way through high school with my boys;)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Back to school with online lesson plans;)

Are you back to school yet? Knee deep in learning about something new? I find that every year we are all very excited with taking on new subjects or taking new classes at local museums. This year I sat down the month that we took off (July) and tried to see what was working for our family and what wasn't. We have added some new things and kept the old ones that kept our interest through out last year. But of course some have to go, I mean there is only so much time in the day right?

Well we have been back for a over a month now and I am finding that I need to get some more online lesson plans to help with spelling and writing. (seems to be a yearly need!) And I have added some really cool sites that help with spelling, and teach grammar through games. Our favorite for this year has to be, we just upgraded to the premium membership so that the boys can enjoy new games that they did not have access to, through the free membership. Hands down "Letterfall" is our favorite at the moment, reminds me of that game we used to play as kids with the alien spaceship trying to destroy your spaceship.(of course I can't thinkg of the name at the moment) But my youngest giggles as he tries to catch the right letter as the mouse drops it, in my book that makes for a great learning game, LAUGHTER!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

So fun to say....

Slime-Time-Lime-Mime-Rhyme.... rhyming words are fun to say and usually one of the first major steps kids take unknowingly towards learning Language Arts. Little kids LOVE to rhyme words, I think because it feels funny on the tongue and just seems silly! LOL My kids were no exception and I as a Mom and Daycare provider still do it on a daily basis! I think it is because I am just a kid at heart. I love being silly and making the little kids giggle or my teenagers roll their eyes.... but I do see the hint of a smile or smirk they are trying to disguise!
I love finding great things online that reinforce these simple and easy games we do in just every life! Rhyming word games are a perfect way to expand on being silly at home. And it helps your child in their Language Arts lessons! Words are mainly a pattern and when we can show kids that there is a pattern, they can expand their vocab and usually the next step would be learning to read!
You can also reinforce these rhyming words by creating online spelling lists for fun and practice! Sit down and check it out along with your child and you will be amazed at the bonding time and fun you will have together.... while they are learning!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Is Art Important in Your Child's Life?

Art is very important in my house, partly because both my husband and I are artists to one degree or another. So by default my boys are doing art almost on a daily basis. Whether it is through crafts that go along with our Story of the World lesson or drawing a bug on our new nature study trip. We are adding this to our everyday life as public schools are dropping this important subject due to budget cuts, throughout the US.

I was excited to find an online art program that teaches my son about art, and he gets to practice some of what he learns afterwords. Then I stumbled onto a learning site that features art games that I can use as part of their art learning lesson.
These would be a great supplement for all those public school children who are now losing art classes.My oldest is the one taking the online art program right now but showing or working through some of the lessons with my younger son. I love it because he doesn't complain about doing his daily online art program like he does sometimes for his math! Between these two sites I have alot of our art bases covered and it gives me some extra time to plan out our day, which is always a bonus for any homeschooling parent.

This is why we feel art is important, what you do think? Is it a part of your child's everyday life?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Riddle me this, and spell that!

My youngest has always been into riddles and silly sayings, he loves to sit there and watch me try to say the words in Dr Seuss books. Usually laughing the whole time because I get my tongue all twisted up trying to go faster , it makes him smile bigger and bigger. So recently I tried to see if I could get him to for his writing assignment make up funny sayings or riddles. But we has some problems getting started. I was doing some research on ways to make it easier for him to write down a story about his dog, only to make it into a riddle for his brother to guess what he was writing about. He did a pretty good job on his first attempt and for his reward we did some online riddle games.

All of our families writing assignments have exercises to help with our spelling skills, which is always a struggle for my boys. I have found that if we bunch as much of grammar, spelling and sentence into every writing assignment, that we improve every time. I am trying to do this with all our assignments this year to see if we can improve our test scores for next year! Time will tell!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fall is in the air......

And that can only mean one thing..... back to school time! As any other normal homeschooling parent... I need to spend a few minutes running around screaming because once again... my best laid plans for the Summer to get organized so we have a smooth start.... well, they somehow disappeared....AGAIN! I do this every year! I even count down, have goals, etc. and then the nice weather hits and I am putting those plans in the recycle bin and heading outside!LOL
Needless to say, the first week back to school is mild and very loosely planned because we are just not ready. I have found making lesson plans of some sort seems to keep myself and my boys better organized in the chaos of this! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE online lesson plans because 90% of my downtime is spent at the computer! If the lesson plans are right there in front of me, I have no excuse for not updating them or following them! Of course, I can and will still make an excuse but they are SO easy to use and keep track of what we are doing and when! Plus my husband can look and see what we are doing in our homeschool day, which helps keep him on board!
An organized homeschool is a plus when it comes to juggling homeschool, teenagers and normal everyday life in general!
So, stop running around screaming.... grab a cup of tea or coffee and sit down to make some online lesson plans for your upcoming school year and relax!
Hugs for a Happy Homeschooling Year!