Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What are these phonics you speak of?

I dislike phonics! I would go so far as to say I hate them. Which I know isn't cool but that is the way it is!
I can read and write perfectly well since I write for 2 blogs, am published, etc. BUT.... when it comes to the breakdown of phonics...
I rely heavily on the internet, my Mom and many handbooks we have around the house!
Yes, I was taught phonics in Elementary school. I learned more in High School! I even took a course in College on phonics to see if as an adult, I could retain it better....NOPE!
Luckily there are great cheats on remembering phonics, helping with phonics, teaching phonics, etc. so as the homeschooling middle schoolers parent....you at least come across like you have some understanding!LOL
We do ok, we all 3 fumble along but usually between the 3 of us and unlimited long distance calling to my Mom(LOL!) we can get through any phonics lesson!
So, do not despair. If you are phonics challenged like I am, there is help out there! Just jump on your computer aka lifesaver and you will find some great places to help!

Things that are lost in public school education.....

You know, they say that Cursive is a lost art in public schools nowadays and I have a tendency to agree with them! But I also think that the importance of Spelling and things like knowing States and Capitals are too!
Therefore I make sure that in our homeschooling week, if not every day we do some of each! Their cursive is through the writing program my Mom does for them. Not only do they have assigned cursive from her but they take their Spelling words and because we use Spelling City, I can turn them in to practice cursive pages. I love Spelling City because not only can I make lists for my boys but I can also pick from a great bunch of popular word lists when we run out!
When I pulled my son's from public school, not only could my oldest son barely spell but neither of them could pick out easily identifiable States on a map, knew nothing about the State they live in and their handwriting was barely legible.
They now can sit and write a letter to anyone using cursive, it is spelled correctly about 95% of the time and given a map of Oregon, they can tell you a lot about it.
I am proud of our homeschooling choice! I am proud of what I have taught my boys and how far they have advanced in just a little over 3 years!

Algebra.....the Horror Story!

Who doesn’t cringe when you hear the word ALGEBRA! If you're hindered with a Math block in your learning like I am.... and my oldest son is.....the word ALGEBRA ranks up there with Zombie Attack, Head Lice and the sound of the dog throwing up next to your bed in the middle of the night! Basically all give me the shivers!
I knew when we started homeschooling in Fall 2008, that Math would be our biggest challenge! I took Algebra 6x in High School! Yes, you read that right. I took pre-Algebra in 9th grade and got it. Understood it, not a problem! Felt like a genius! Hit 10th grade and Algebra....big fat F. It didn't compute, I thought my brain had fallen out. I went down to a class that was Algebra in the most basic degree..aka baby Algebra. I took that same STINKING class for 10th, 11th and 12th grades BOTH semesters. And to this day... I still stink at Algebra. FF to the past 3+ years of homeschooling and homeschooling math to be more specific and building up to learning Algebra....YIKES!
I have to say thank goodness for the computer and ALL the smart people that create TONS of online algebra help! I swear I should send all of them muffin baskets or something!
Last year for 8th grade and this year for 9th, we have spent many challenging days working on Algebra and if it wasn't for GREAT search engines to help us find out answers on MANY great sites.... I am sure my son and I would both be bald from tearing our hair out, crying and ready to give up!
So, my word of advice.... if you have an albatross of any subject....do not despair! There are plenty of places online to assist you in wading through it. Maybe not enough to master it, but enough that you can get through it and learn a little bit while you are at it!