Thursday, November 25, 2010

It is the small things to be THANKFUL for.....

Well, we are almost 3 months into our homeschooling year and I am THANKFUL that it is Thanksgiving week! That means a breather for me! I love homeschooling my 7th grader and my 8th grader, don't get me wrong. But, this time of year with EVERYTHING going on.... plus homeschooling, it can get a little crazy. Having a week of not having to deal with school, means 2 happy kids and a Mom that can concentrate on the other 100's of things she has to do before we leave for Thanksgiving weekend at my parents.
And it gives me a chance during our 6 hour drive to reflect on our schedule and curriculum and adjust anything that is or isn't working for us. Any printable resources that make my life easier are a godsend! I am constantly scouring the internet for any free printable lists or printable resources for 6th grade, 7th grade or 8th grade. It gives us a break from our online learning and gives the boys a chance to use a pencil!LOL I know that while the next week of family, friends, turkey, snow, driving and chaos will be BUSY, but I also know that my little break from homeschooling will allow me to come back refreshed and ready to attack our next few months until Spring Break! Only 4 months and counting!LOL
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Math and Science-a perfect marriage;)

Hi all! I have been doing some research- yes again! But this time about trying to accomplish mixing two subjects together, you guess it- math and science. Several sites offer an online math and science program, that work with each other to get each lesson done. I have found that for my oldest son this works well,and it seems to be just what he needs. I am hoping that the math and science will make more sense to my oldest and allow him to grasp the subjects better. He is a very visual learner. So that theory behind showing why he needs to learn a certain type of algebraic problem will make sense once he sees that it ties to science.(his favorite subject right now)

We accomplished a fractions lesson last week while working on a science experiment. We doubled the ingredients needed so he could practice his adding of fractions. It worked and he was smiling the whole way through the lesson. BONUS! Of course, this is a simple lesson with math and science but it was my first attempt at it. Afterwords, he even asked to play some online math games that deal with fractions. There is so much information on the web that it is easy to find what you need to help your child succeed in life, and sometimes its FREE;)

Where are we?

Geography is falling by the wayside in our school systems! That is my opinion and I feel it is a fact.
I remember that in 5th and 6th grade my biggest obstacle was to learn States and Capitals. We had to pick 2 States to write to their information center for a packet on that State and do a report on it. I picked New Jersey and Hawaii, don't ask me why those States..... I am sure I had good reasoning then!LO
And to this day, I can still get 90% or better on any States and Capitals quiz. One of my few parlor tricks!LOL
I was SO surprised when my own kids went thru public school Kindergarten thru 5th grade and they had no idea on ANY States and Capitals.... not even the State we live in, Oregon. Our first year homeschooling we didn’t touch on it. I had enough on my plate with 2 middle schoolers, new to homeschooling for all of us, etc.
But, our 2nd year homeschooling I knew that my kids were missing out on a large chunk of their education. We added Geography to our curriculum. We added many US 50 States games, both online and on paper. I bought them board games, flash cards and books. We used our State homeschool info to learn more about our State. They each had 26 States and had to do full information sheet on each of them, then they shared their books with each other. I do not expect them to know their States and Capitals in their sleep but I do expect them to know a little about the Country and State they live in!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Eclectic and Secular Homeschooling, make a recipe for success!

Are you an Eclectic homeschooling parent? Most of us are but have you ever really thought about it?

In our household we adapt many of our studies around what my boys are interested in studying. I believe that it is the corner stone to homeschooling successfully. This technique of homeschooling, allows my boys to move at the pace that is most comfortable for them. While also providing the most challenge for them as well. We also love adding some other activities to our lessons to make them even more memorable to the boys. During our cave man studies, we took about a week reading, making cave drawings ( on paper of course), and even discussing eating habits of our ancestors. The boys even loved the idea of starting a time line from the beginning of human civilization.

Almost every homeschooling parent I talk to does something like this with their children. After all, it is why I became a homeschooling family to have the freedom to adapt our academics to best suit each one of my boys! One of the very first sites where I realized that I was an eclectic homeschooler was on my favorite secular homeschooling site! The members on that site, gave me ideas on how to mix things up for my boys. The inspiring homeschooling stories that were shared on the site made me push the envelope when it came to teaching my boys. I started going into further depth with science projects, letting my third grader speed ahead in math until it was starting to get harder for him.

What type of homeschooler are you? You just might be Eclectic and Secular homeschoolers!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Playing to Learn and Learning to Play!

Running a daycare in 2010 is nothing like it was in 2000. Kids today know more about computers than I did last year!LOL
As a childcare provider who also offers preschool to her clients.... finding a program that works for my kids is important. These kids enter Kindergarten and start computer skills.
Finding an online preschool curriculum was important to me, because I want them to start learning the basic computer skills as well as add to their current preschool curriculum that I offer. Children learn thru many different ways and each child has a unique way. Running a daycare, you get to see and deal with that first hand! WHEW!
I can guarantee that I sleep good each night because I spend my day with these kids! Preschool learning games that teach basic colors, numbers, letters, sounds and shapes with cool and cute characters are GREAT! It keeps the kids interest for a short period, is entertaining and they learn! We do lots of hands on learning here but the kids all get to have a short amount of computer time each week to help their preschool learning along! I feel that this will prepare them for entering their elementary school years.
My daycare motto is Learning to Play and Playing to Learn and I feel we definitely accomplish this on a daily basis!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It All Comes Down to Spelling

For me, spelling is always an issue. Anything after the basics are always a challenge for me to get it through to the boys. To be honest, I have an older son with ADHD and repetution is the key, but not only that I have to make it enjoyable to constantly repeat the lessons over and over. I don't know if anyone else has these kinds of problems but I am thinking that they do! Since the internet has exploded with online lessons and spelling/vocabulary game galore! OK maybe it happened long ago but since I started homeschooling I have so many sites that I can go to if I have any types of problems to do with spelling or vocabulary.

Like the other day, when my youngest was doing his aloud reading we came across contraction words. So that peaked his interest in what other words you could "get away" with not spelling the complete words. So I got online and found a great site that had some wonderful contraction word lists for him to look over. He was amazed and even was telling his dad about all the new contractions that he could now read and write. Those are the days that I can go to bed and be happy about the day. I am wondering what things others struggle with and what they do to make it through?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Art.... how do I love you!

I love art! That was my original college goal.... to be an art history major. That was before kids, before running a daycare and before homeschool.
Since that is not in my future..... I still try to include art as much as possible in both my children's homeschool day and my daycare kids day!
Finding new ways to get them interested is always a challenge. Once again, my love for the internet comes to play!!
I love looking for online art programs! There is SO much out there and so many ways to express art that there is no way you cannot find something that appeals to each child's personality! Any online games ALWAYS appeal to my boys, you say "game" and they would do it! Art games are a perfect way to meld what I want them to learn and how they want to learn! Best of both worlds!
And the best part is, that art can be mashed together with many other learning areas and kids will not even know they are learning! You need Math for figuring out how much material you will need or how big of a canvas. Reading to understand the way to properly use the supplies. Science for mixing colors.... and the list goes on and on!
Just think how many ways you can add Art to your kids lives!! The possibilities are endless!!!
Go and Create!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Do you ever feel like a big dummy when you open your mouth? Well I do! Sometimes I wish that I had taken more interest when I was in school. I mean really wouldn't I just love to open my mouth and make people stop in awe at how the words just flow from my mouth. It is definitively something that if I could I would go back in time and pay more attention in school. I often find myself listening to people talk and realizing that I don't know what the words that they are saying mean. So what's a mom to do but look silly and ask OK what does ... mean? It also helps show my boys that it is perfectly fine to ask people questions and that you don't have to know everything. And that every day is another learning experience for all of us including Ms Know It All MOM;)

So in my house importance of vocabulary is always on my mind, with my boys. We play
vocabulary games both online and off, and the weekly challenge of a new word to learn is always something that I am searching for in their writing assignments. Some week I allow them to find a word that they want to learn and others I pick words that I want. And we incorporate them into sentences and writing journals every week. I am consistently asking others in the homeschooling community about what they do with kids, to make their verbal skills excel. So my question to all of you is... What do you do with your kids that makes them remember those vocabulary lists?