Sunday, December 23, 2012

I so want to ROADSCHOOL! ULTIMATE homeschool fantasy is ROADSCHOOLING!
It is my dream to buy a nice RV, have enough funds to load up the hubby, the kids and the pets and hit the road for a year or two. Stopping wherever we want in the USA, following every one of those historical plaques, driving the Oregon Trail(as close as possible), seeing where the Civil War was raged, where Custer took his last stand, etc.
Making the time between each stop our lesson from the previous stop...
Since we became accidental homeschoolers in Fall 2008...I have devoured every article, blog and post I can find about Roadschooling! I am envious of those that can pick up and do this! My boys are high schoolers now and there is very little time left TO homeschool them. Maybe at some point we can get a chance to do this.
How many of you roadschool? How many of you WANT to roadschool but cannot?
One place you want to go? One thing you want to do most of all while on the road?
Mine is to travel and stop at EVERY one of those historical plaques you see on the side of the road. I am sure there are thousands but it still would be the ideal roadschool trip!
Happy Homeschooling!

Using Contextual Clues for your Spelling Practice!

My boys, despite being high schoolers still love to use Vocabulary/Spelling City for their spelling words! 
They love the fact that I get to plug in their words, line up the practice test, several games daily using their words and then their final test on Thursday(our last day of the schoolweek)! Over the past 4+ years since we became accidental homeschoolers....I feel my boys have learned MORE with Spelling City than all their years in public school!
Out of all the games offered at VSC, their 2 favorites are Hangmouse and WhichWord Sentences! I love the WhichWord Sentences because it gives contextual clues for the identification of their spelling or vocabulary words! And the fact that they can play it online OR I can print it out! Win Win for me and for them as we can switch it up!
Any homeschoolers that ask me for spelling advice, I send them to VSC because you can get free membership OR for a low yearly price...get the premium membership which is what we do! The price is worth it, we MORE than get our $$ worth!
Happy Homeschooling!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Teaching evolution in your homeschool!

We, as homeschoolers are believers in Evolution.
We believe we started as ameobas and evolved to land creatures and we are relatives to apes.
Charles Darwin is one of our heroes!
Understanding evolution and how to teach it, is one of those things that differs for every homeschooling evolution family!
Some want to do it by the books, some by videos, some by visiting history and nature museums and some just want ideas on how to do it.
Our house has high schoolers now and we are hitting the whole biology, evolution, genetics!
We are reading Charles Darwin, we are studying the evolution chain and I am researching the best way myself on how to present it!
How have you taught evolution in your homeschool? I would LOVE to hear about it!
Happy Homeschooling!

What is phonemic awareness?

phonemic awareness

Let me have no clue WHAT that means? Right?
Well....neither did I....until I did a little research!
There always will be new sayings, theories and things to learn about!
To me that is what makes like worth living....never running out of new things to learn!
AND a mega benefit of homeschooling is that we are always learning!
So...what is phonemic awareness you ask?
According to Wikipedia:

Phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness in which listeners are able to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes, the smallest units of sound that can differentiate meaning. Separating the spoken word "cat" into three distinct phonemes, /k/, /æ/, and /t/, requires phonemic awareness.
The National Reading Panel has found that phonemic awareness improves children's word reading and reading comprehension, as well as helping children learn to spell.[1] Phonemic awareness is the basis for learning phonics.[2]
Phonemic awareness and phonological awareness are often confused since they are interdependent. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate individual phonemes. Phonological awareness includes this ability, but it also includes the ability to hear and manipulate larger units of sound, such as onsets and rimes and syllables.
Studies by Vickie Snider have shown that phonemic awareness has a direct correlation with students’ ability to read as they get older. Phonemic awareness builds a foundation for students to understand the rules of the English language. This in turn allows each student to apply these skills and increase his or her oral reading fluency and understanding of the text.[3]
Phonemic awareness relates to the ability to distinguish and manipulate individual sounds, such as /f/, /ʊ/, and /t/ in the case of foot. The following are common phonemic awareness skills practiced with students:

  • Phoneme isolation: which requires recognizing the individual sounds in words, for example, "Tell me the first sound you hear in the word paste" (/p/).

This is VERY interesting to me. I have high schoolers now, but my older son had a VERY hard time learning to read. We THEN attributed it to his ADHD and issues with public school in general. Even when we pulled him to homeschool in 6th grade, he still was not a strong reader. BUT, by the end of his 1st year of homeschooling he was a very good reader and actually liked it.
Now...that I have read this on phonemic awareness....I am wondering if early issues were part of this with him.
Like I said, never to old to learn something new!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

You should know the country you live in!

That is my opinion!
You should know whatever country and then State or area you live in!
We live in the USA, specifically in Oregon!
Knowing important information about the world is great but there is LOTS to know about the place we physically live!
So....for the past 2 years, we have focused on US History and learning about the 50 states! As well as learning all about Oregon! There are a lot of great US States games out there, both on the internet and at the stores!
I remember being drilled in 5th and 6th grade about States and Capitals. We had to use our writing skills and write to the State Capital for an information packet about that State. I had New Jersey and Hawaii! It was fun, it was AWESOME and getting a packet in the mail was great! I learned a lot! We traveled all around the State of California on family vacations and I learned a lot about the State I lived in! One of the benefits of having a teacher for a Mom!
So, when we started homeschooling.....I knew that a big part of our learning would be about where we live.
2 years ago, the boys each picked 25 States and had to fill out a 4 sheet paper on each that I created! They learned a lot about those States.
For the past 2 years, we have had mega influence of US History at a high school level as well as constant information about Oregon. We do both on a daily basis!
I love watching TV or hearing something on the radio or newspaper or magazine and my boys KNOW where it is. They can pick it out on a map and have a general idea about that area!
Love that about Homeschooling!

Writing....especially essay writing!

UGH! Remember how I used to pitch a fit about Math....?
Well, now it seems to be WRITING is our arch nemesis....BLECH! This is with my younger son! He HATES writing. It is a battle daily, despite curriculum changes, help from his Grandma, etc.
And the issue is, at some point in our Standardized State Testing especially now that we are in high school...he may or may not have to write an essay.
So, I got to go visit my favorite store and spend lots of $$ and get some new writing ideas!
I found a great bunch of journal ideas for story starters!
I have a few leads on writing assistance and they are both looking for a subject that they want to utilize the library for and start doing a report and essay on it!
I am hoping that we get over this hurdle and when/if essay writing on the standardized testing comes up....we aka HE or THEY are more than ready for it!
How have you helped your child with writing? I would love to hear from other parents who have had similar struggles!
Happy Homeschooling?

S-P-E-L-L....what can you spell?

Is Spelling part of your curriculum? If it isn' should be! Spelling is a fundamental that is another thing disappearing in the public school classroom and yet, it is an important part of learning!
It made no sense to me that my children did not bring home spelling words to study and learn at any point in their elementary school career. Especially when my older son was a HORRIBLE speller....even for small sight words!
One of the first things I did when we became homeschoolers, was add a spelling curriculum to our day! And we are on our 5th year of homeschooling and while they are high schoolers now...we STILL do daily spelling!
And my older son has become a decent speller, he still is not great but then neither is his Dad and some people just do not end up great spellers. But, rather than ask me for help for EVERY word, he either knows the words already OR will attempt to sound it out and figure it out before he asks for help!
We do daily spelling tests, games and fun 3 days a week and then on Thursday, they have handwriting practice WITH their spelling words! This will continue throughout their high school years in hopes to make the better spellers as future college students and/or adults!
Happy Homeschooling!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Reading is fundamental!

Ok, we all know reading is fundamental! But did you know that reading is very important to your child's vocabulary!?!
It is, I am sure of it!
Let's put it this way....if your child only reads Run Spot Run...they will never get past a speech and vocabulary part in their lives.
But, if you create strong readers.....ones whom excel and grow with their reading.....they will have a world opened to them. Their reading vocabulary will grow with them as they learn and read. Their overall learning will as well. Their reading fluency will grow, their reading vocabulary will grow and THEY will grow as a person!
Read to your child, have them read to you. If they do not understand a word, look it up together. Help them pronounce the harder words and chances will both learn!
AND you get some great parenting and one on one time with your child!!! That is a BONUS!
Happy Homeschooling!

No, your son didn't call you an idiot...he said idiom!LOL

Relax Mom! You son didn't call you an idiot...honest! He asked you what is an idiom! Funny how 1 little letter can really get someone in trouble....isn't it!LOL So Mom....what is an idiom?

1.A group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g., raining cats and...
2.A form of expression natural to a language, person, or group of people: "he had a feeling for phrase and idiom".

Examples and Observations:
•"Every cloud has its silver lining but it is sometimes a little difficult to get it to the mint." (Don Marquis)
•"Fads are the kiss of death. When the fad goes away, you go with it." (Conway Twitty)

Functions of Idioms "People use idioms to make their language richer and more colorful and to convey subtle shades of meaning or intention. Idioms are used often to replace a literal word or expression, and many times the idiom better describes the full nuance of meaning. Idioms and idiomatic expressions can be more precise than the literal words, often using fewer words but saying more. For example, the expression it runs in the family is shorter and more succinct than saying that a physical or personality trait 'is fairly common throughout one's extended family and over a number of generations.'" (Gail Brenner, Webster's New World American Idioms Handbook. Webster's New World, 2003)

So....these are great for creative writing works! To get our kids to understand those quirky sayings they sometimes here. Any grade level will encounter these at some point in their writing! And to better understand them, you can google them as I did or check out more information at your local library or even go online and find idiom games to play......and then you can be an IDIOM not an idiot!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I got high homeschoolers! WOW

Well....4 years of homeschooling has given me 2 teenagers who are now both in HIGH SCHOOL! When we started this crazy road back in October of 2008, it was to get my oldest son through 6th grade, caught up and ready for 7th grade BACK in public school! Yep, that was the plan! 1 year, 1 kid, that was it. And now...I laugh! My son blossomed! He learned, he was a sponge, he got caught up, he learned to read and love it, he was HAPPY, he smiled and we were HOOKED! 3 months later we pulled my youngest son from 5th grade and away we went! And then the plan was to only homeschool through middle school years and as we wrapped those up, neither of my boys wanted to go back to public school! Fine by me! I can do it! I can handle it! I can homeschool 2 high schoolers.....RIGHT? RIGHT? HELP! No, really....I knew I could do it. I was a little concerned as for 4 years we had used Time 4 Learning 100% for our schooling! It was awesome! Then we tried an online high school program for my older sons 9th grade year. I hated it, he hated it and I felt that it was poorly done. So.....Mom decided this year to research curriculum and do a lot more hands-on vs. online. Thank goodness for forum because I found lots of other parents in the same boat as me! I no longer felt alone, I no longer felt like a sinking ship and I have a place to help me with my homeschooling! So.... as we are 6 weeks into our homeschooling 2 high schoolers year......things have had their ups and downs. We have had some curriculum changes, we have had some meltdowns, we have had some issues but I know that I can do it. I have help, I have a mindset! If I can do can to! Promise!

Math anxiety!

Another week, another lesson in MATH ANXIETY! What a 6 week run of Mom picking the wrong the point that I am about to just let my kids play video games all day....instead of using the Math I pick! UGH! You can find me sitting in the corner banging my head on the wall....over and over! As you know from my past(numerous) posts that we have math issues in our house! LOTS OF THEM! I mean LOTS! And this year is no exception but it is from BOTH my boys! We are working on algebra, as I have a 9th and 10th grader. I signed us up for an online Math that was new to us but looked MEGA cool. Well, it is cool and I love the concept but their teaching of the problem leaves little to be desired. It lacks showing how they get from A to B step by step. So, we are back at Time 4 Learning and using their algebra program! I love their teaching, I love their presentation, I just LOVE them period and it gives my boys something that is like home. We are still having our NORMAL math anxiety over stuff occasionally is NOT the crazy OMG Math anxiety we have over the curriculum in general! So...maybe, just maybe....we might make it through another year of homeschooling!LOL

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My ABC or CBA talent.... 1 talent that I can claim is the ability to say the alphabet backwards FLUENTLY! I could say it backwards before I could say it forwards! I am one of those crazy people! Do not ask me why I learned it like that so well...have no clue!LOL And I couldnt teach either of my boys it like that? I tried! We played sooooo many ABC games when they were little and I still use many of the same games in teaching the kids in my daycare! And now that they are teenagers, my boys assist me in using the games they learned with!! Of course we sing the ABC's, we use flashcards, we practice them as sight letters and anytime we are reading a story we look for the current letters we are working on! So....what are your favorite ABC games to teach your kids? Love to hear how stuff works for others! Happy Homeschooling!

Hardest thing ever for me, was to teach my son to read...

You would think that it would be easy....teaching a child to read. Well, if the child learns easily, is accepting of it....then maybe it is. I was one of those kids. I learned to read with Dr. Seuss. I was 4 and my Mom was a teacher so for her it easy. My boys went to public school through elementary school and while the school taught them to read, they were not without their learning difficulties! My older son struggled with it through 3rd grade. He did not become a strong reader until we started homeschooling. Not sure if that had anything to do with public school or with homeschooling? Maybe he was more relaxed at home that he was able to read fluently? Or the fact that I found lots of great books of subjects he was interested in! Learning to read is a turning point in any child's life as far as I am concerned. Once a child has the power of reading, there is no stopping them! Reading opens doors, it gives them power to a whole new world of learning! And kids with this kind of power have nowhere to go but up! IF, I had been put in the position of teaching my boys to read 100% aka if we homeschooled since birth....then I would have probably found a tutor or enlisted my Mom's help in this matter! I do not feel that I would have been 100% confident to do it alone. And, there is no reason to be upset about this! The whole reason of homeschooling is to give our kids the best learning they can have from whatever resources we need to utilize! Happy Homeschooling!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Do you use educational videos to supplement your homeschoolers learning?

We are not video learners per say. I know LOTS of our friends use videos as important teaching tools. We have been 100% online learning for the past 4 years but this year is DIFFERENT! We are using a little bit online but a lot of hands on. We are doing workbooks for our history and science so I am thinking of adding some educational videos this year to supplement our new way of learning! I do need to sit down and go over what our lessons ahead are, so I can find some videos or movies that will work with what we are learning! And we just joined a thing called Happy Scientist this year which has online video learning so I want to use that. It was only $5 to join back in August, which was a great buy and gives me the chance to use it or lose it. $5 is a great deal! And even if we use it once a week, we will get our moneys worth! I would love to hear from other educational video learners and how they use it to your child's best advantage! What resource you use, etc.! We homeschoolers learn best from other homeschoolers IMHO!!! Happy Homeschooling!

Using teacher resources to our advantage!

We are teachers, just flat out say it! We might not be teaching a large classroom but we are teaching! And therefore, as a teacher of my children...I am looking for ANY teaching resource I can get my hands on! Whether by computer, by physically having it or by word of mouth! Whatever DEAL I can get as a homeschool teacher, I will do it! Anything to save some money and get a better deal! I am all about the coupons!LOL If I can find a website with a helping hand or teacher resource, I take full advantage to further my education so I can further my child's education! My favorite teacher resource...Spelling City! They have GOBS of information on there and TONS of ways to use it! That and any deals I can get for curriculum, especially when I get it CHEAP! I got Happy Scientist at back to school time for $5! For a whole year for my boys! Even if we just use it a few was less than a workbook for 1 child! So, what is your best teacher resource? I would LOVE to know!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Finding a Secular Homeschool Support Group!!

So, the best thing has EVER happened to our homeschool is finding a support group! Both online and in person! We are secular homeschoolers so finding a secular group or all inclusive group was VERY important. I have nothing against religion, don’t get me wrong but I do not want it in my homeschool. So....I went online and started googling for secular homeschool support groups. I found a great site with an online forum, which literally saved my sanity!LOL There are thousands of members there, in the same situation as I am and have experienced the same issues at some point or another! They have support groups listed for each State, they have a great list of blogs by secular homeschoolers and great monthly giveaways! And through this I met some great LOCAL homeschoolers who in turn introduced me to their local group which has given my boys some great homeschool friends and lots of access to local activities! Whenever I have an issue, whenever I have a question, whenever I have a brag....they are there...whether online or in person! The first thing I tell any new homeschoolers we to find a support group! Whether online or in person or both! It will help you more than you will know! Happy Homeschooling!

Getting to the ROOT of words! is lesson plan time again! For 2 HIGH SCHOOLERS! I have to say it that way because my husband is in denial! He JUST realized that we have a Freshman and a Sophmore! ROFL!!! So....we once again get to our spelling and vocabulary and what to do, what to include and what to use! I really think that this year we need to concentrate on root words! For to truly understand a word, we need to know where it came from, the meaning of it and then we can understand the definition plus be able to know new words on sight! I am using a Word a Day for them, plus we are doing Spelling at Spelling City. Still looking for a good root word program, root word game, etc. But, we are slowly easing into our school year. Last week was Math and Writing. This week we are adding History and Science. THEN, the following week I am adding our Spelling and Vocabulary. Which is good since I do not have the program lined up, nor have I worked it into our curriculum!LOL Just another day in the life our house at least! Happy Homeschooling!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Eliminating the Family Struggle over Creative Writing

So.....Grandma has been in charge of their Creative Writing for the past few years BUT it is becoming an issue trying to get the boys to work! Grandma lives 6 hours away, she is not here on a daily basis for help and you can only do so much via telephone. That leaves the struggle of making the learn to me and then it becomes a 3 way fight. Boys do not want to do it, they do not want to fight with Grandma so they fight with me and then I get to deal with my Mom. This year, we decided to get Creative Writing Help! No more fighting amongst ourselves, we are getting online help via Time4Writing! The teachers THERE can evaluate and help the boys and therefore eliminate the family struggle!LOL I am really looking forward to an easier year, an easier day and no issues. Yes, they will still whine and moan about doing it. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be kids!LOL BUT, it is not an issue between my kids and myself or myself and my Mom or my kids and my Mom. No more listening to Grandma complain because of how they have not done a great job or the boys complaining because the do not understand the work. YEAH!!! I do not know who is more thrilled...ME, the BOYS or my MOM!!LOL I will keep you posted on how it works out!

A Mother's Work is Never Done!

A Mother's Work is Never Done! Honestly, the kids are busy enjoying the Summer, the nice weather and Mom gets to write and plot out lesson plans! Ah, the joy of Motherhood! LOL We are doing less online and more hands-on work this year so....I had to order a bunch of different curriculum and now I get to check out each of them, mark how many lessons and work it out with the number of weeks we will be schooling this year! I did get smart and purchase a Teacher Lesson Plan book at the Dollar Store so I can work it out on paper and have a hard copy. Then I will print it out for the boys and post it on the wall! BUT....I am adding some new things this year! We have been working on Spelling but they are both in High School this year and while Spelling is still important...we need to step it up a notch! What is the use of knowing HOW to spell a word if you do not know what the word MEANS! So, we are working on matching definition with the word! And Spelling it! This will strengthen their Spelling AND their Vocabulary! Win-Win situation and as a homeschooling Mom, I LOVE THOSE! 2 for 1 kind of deals! By the 2nd semester we may expand it to be part of their Writing program but for now, matching definitions is enough! Baby steps!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

More cool things about Spelling City!

As I mentioned in the past, we LOVE Spelling City! It works for us! We love the way it tests my boys, we love the games you can play with your spelling words, we love the fact we can print out our spelling words for HANDWRITING practice and it goes on and on! I mean I am killing 2 birds with 1 stone here.....and they are learning with both of them to boot! Out of their games, one of my boys favorites is "Which Word" sentences or fill in the blank as we call them! Here is the brief description that Spelling City gives you about it: "WhichWord? Sentences is a great activity to practice using context clues to identify spelling and vocabulary words. WhichWord? Sentences may be played as an online context clues game or printable grammar worksheets may be generated from this free online game." And see, I learned something NEW just by printing that. I never knew it could be printed out! WOW! Ok, Spelling are getting even COOLER in my book! And I didn’t think that was possible! We are on vacation the last week in August and I have already bought all the boys curriculum, joined all the online things we wanted and since we are not starting until September 4th, I am spending part of vacation week laying it all out so we know what we have to do and when. Including Spelling City will definitely be part of it and Which Word is a MUST! Happy Homeschooling!!

Do you know your fractions?

How many of us REALLY know our fractions? I mean be honest? We know measuring, we know that 4 quarters makes a whole, etc. but if you had to sit down and remember HOW to multiply 1/7 x 3/4 could you do it? In a reasonable amount of time? I thought not!LOL Neither can I! Once I get back into the swing of things and take notes on the right way to do it....I can limp along but to have that problem presented to me....HA! Forget it! And since I am teaching 2 middle school/high school boys....we tend to do a lot of fraction lessons! And yes, I get a lot of practice but it is not one of those things you retain. Use it or lose it! So I check out EVERY single thing I find on the internet about fractions! Why? Because if it is a good program for little to no cost, we are going to use it! It may be the key to unlock the mysteries of fractions! All it takes is a different way of being taught for people and something clicks and then you just know it! It may take 10 programs/curriculums before you find the right one that clicks for your child and/or for you! So, if you did NOT know how to multiply 1/7 x 3/4 and you have a child heading into a school year of fraction lessons, I suggest you get on the ball and find something to teach you how to teach them.....or at least limp along! It helped me! :) Happy Homeschooling!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Where in the World are you?

Did you ever play or watch Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? I LOVED that show and the game was pretty cool too! I love geography! I love knowing things about countries, I love reading about the life there, the wildlife, the people, the culture. Being that I am terrified of planes....I guess reading about them is my way of going there in my mind! And I think kids need to know WHERE things are in general! Then when you are reading an article in the newpaper or watching the news on TV and they tell you about an uprising in Afghanistan or a Tsunami in Japan, you KNOW where it is! Now, I do not require my boys to know where every little city and town is in each place but I want them to have a general idea of WHERE that country is! The State they live in, that is a different story! I think knowing lots about your State is important! You live there for goodness sakes! You should know the capital, the State bird, the State song, the State flower, etc. I also think kids should know about the COUNTRY they live in! Know the history, know the basic facts, just know! And you may say, boy this Mom is demanding! How does she expect her kids to learn all this? Well, geography games online is a good place to start! This year we are combining Math with geography using a new program, plus we are studying Oregon...the State we live in, in depth! I found these great fill in books at the teacher store as well as an activity book of Oregon facts that looks pretty cool! They are high schoolers this year but we are still doing things like that to break up our more studious day plus they are learning while having fun answering questions about their world!!

LOVE me some Spelling City!!

Ok, I am gonna just say it! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Spelling City! Though they are called Vocabulary/Spelling City now! We have been fans of theirs since we started homeschooling in 2008! Well, technically we didn't discover it until early 2009 but we have used them every year for our online spelling test needs! And despite that I have 2 high schoolers, we are once again using them! Not only can I plug in whatever words I want for my boys, but I also have the option to use premade lists which is what we will be using this year for high school! And then the boys get those words and not only do their spelling test online but also play games with those words! Which in my opinion further enhances their learning the word and spelling of it! Has their spelling improved? YES! Emphatically, YES!!! Is there a fight to get them to do their spelling? NO! They love it because it is easy, it is fun and it makes my life easier! And it is either free OR you can get a yearly premium membership for under $30! Oh and the best part, I can take their spelling words and have them printed out as a handwriting worksheet! Either in block or cursive and several sizes to choose from!! So.....they then get to practice their cursive AND mentally charge their brains with their spelling words! If anyone asks or posts about wanting a spelling program, I recommend Spelling City EVERY time! And since the new school year is upon many of us...I wanted to bring it up for my followers! Check it out, you and your kids will LOVE it!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Math Program Scavenger Hunt!

Can we just skip Math? I mean honestly? It is Summer, we are done with school and while my boys are on vacation....Mom is hard at work lining up their 2012-2013 curriculum!! There is no Summer for a homeschooling Mom it seems! We are always looking for something better, easier, smarter, whatever! And that includes MATH! The dreaded subject in this house! The dreaded word! The dreaded ANYTHING! And since my older son had issues with the Math he had for his 9th grade year....I am on the lookout for something more suited to him. A good online math program that fills the void he has, makes it easier for him to understand in layman's terms and keeps some of the frustrations with Math at bay! My son is a visual learner so a math program that is for a visual learner would be IDEAL! It is like a scavenger hunt to me! I spend my off time, chatting with homeschool friends about what they like, use, hated, etc. in an online Math program! Well, at least I cannot say I am ever bored!!! So...if anyone wants to comment....go ahead and while you are it...tell me about your Math program, love it...hate it, etc.

We love our word searches!

I do not know about you, but I am a HUGE fan of word searches! So are my kids! We have word search books for vacation, we have electronic word search games for the car, we do the word search in the paper! Every holiday, I spend time on the internet and find a printable word search! Imagine how thrilled I was when I was plugging our spelling words into our account at Spelling City and found out that they have a word search maker!! WAHOOO So, now I can even turn my boys weekly spelling words into a printable word search! I can plan on adding that to our 2012-2013 curriculum!! Because despite being high schoolers, my boys still do spelling! It is a requirement in our house! So much F-U-N! Up, Down, Backwards, Forwards, and Diagonally!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mom is hard at work on Fall curriculum of Math, Science and yes, even Spelling!

While we just finished our school year and while my boys are enjoying just vegging out for the Summer... Mom is already hard at work on Fall 2012 curriculum! I am never one to let things go until the last minute AND I want to be prepared when Fall starts because I have 2, count them 2....high schoolers! The Fall curriculum will definitely include Math, Science, History, Language Arts, a Foreign language and Spelling Curriculum! Despite that they are high schoolers and technically above "spelling"....I am a firm believer that spelling is a life skill that everyone should have! Yes, most computers have spell check are not always on their computers! I still have my boys write letters by hand, they must take notes by hand and keep lists for things they want! This not only practices their handwriting but it keeps their spelling in tune! I search the internet for the best curriculum for our needs.....they are chilling on their bikes, playing in the sprinkler, camping with Grandma and Grandpa or jumping into Grammy and Poppy's pool with no knowledge to how much Mom works for their homeschooling in the off hours! But it is 100% worth it! Love those boys!!

Using Music as an educational tool!

Music is a great way to teach, especially if you have music oriented kids! Think back to when you were a kid and the songs you learned in school! Even nursery rhyme songs! They almost always had lessons, they taught us things about life, the world, our country, etc. They were educational songs! Some kids learn better while listening to music, some learn better when things are put into a song! Your child can sing an entire Justin Bieber song but cannot remember their States and Capitals. See if together you can come up with a song to use to memorize these! It might help, one of those tunes that gets stuck in their heads!! With my 2 teens.....I have 1 that loves music and 1 that likes it on car rides, etc. but it doesn’t have to be his thing! So if we were needing to memorize things.....we might try to find a silly ditty that could be turned into an educational song that even as high schoolers....they would love! That is the joy of homeschooling.....we can tweak things to work for our kids, even if it means tweaking it two, three or even four times because each child is different! So...if there was a subject that your child really struggled with this past school year...and they love music, maybe a search of the internet for educational songs that you can use for that subject! It might just be the ice breaker you need to get them to understand and learn the subject! Happy Homeschooling!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Using Spelling City to the best of your child's abilities!

If you child is a game person AND they need help with their Spelling! Be sure to check out Spelling City's Match It game! It is one of our personal favs! We love it! We love Spelling City for the spelling assistance in itself but more than that we love the fact that they have GAMES to play with your spelling words! My high schoolers STILL use Spelling City! Their spelling has improved 100% over the past 4 years of use! What is Match It game you ask! MatchIt Sentences is VocabularySpellingCity's fun word match game that guides students to match sentences with the word that best completes them. The object of MatchIt Sentences is to match the word that accurately fills in the blank of a corresponding sentence. MatchIt Sentences is excellent for building vocabulary skills. It also builds logic and reasoning skills by requiring students to find the best overall solution by using a process of elimination. MatchIt Sentences is available as an online activity or as a printable worksheet. Be sure to check it out!

Homeschooling secularly!

How do I homeschool? Well, I homeschool secular! We are non-religious homeschoolers, secular homeschoolers, or homeschool secular. We have met many types of homeschoolers over the past 4 years and we are cool with however they want to homeschool. I believe that as my children grow, they have the choice to decide on their own religion, their own beliefs and I prefer to keep that out of our schooling! We believe in evolution, we believe in science, we believe in teaching how we need to teach! But there is no wrong way for homeschooling! If you are religious, good for you! If you are scientific, good for you! If you are secular, good for you! If you are unschoolers, good for you! If you are road schoolers, good for you! If you are online schoolers, good for you! I love to hear about different ways to homeschool, I love to hear if they work for you, don't work for you....etc. Post away! Tell me what kind of homeschooler are you! And WHY!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

How I am spending my Summer vacation-hunting up new Math programs-what FUN? NOT!

And yet another blog from ME about Math! Are you tired of my whining yet? Honestly, it is our bone of contention in this house.....I would love to toss it out the window! And I am apparently on the hunt for a new Math program for my older son for Fall 2012, because the one he is using...he has issues with. Of course he waits until May to tell me this....been using it since last August...but apparently NOW is the time to complain. He says that learning the math facts is an issue because they are talking in VERY mathematical terms instead of in terms he can understand and he is not getting it. So guess what my Summer will be spent doing? Finding a Math program that is reasonably priced or free that will work for a high schooler who has Math issues. Not to mention is seemed like his 9th grade year was a little light on subjects and since my younger son is moving into 9th grade and older son will be 10th grade....I need to make sure they have more to do vs. playing online games! Mom has been a little lax in that department! Summer is planned checking out Math and finding out if the Math facts are good and easy to learn! What are YOUR Summer plans?!LOL

What is unschooling?

When we first started homeschooling we were bombarded with advice! LOTS of advice! The one that sticks in my mind was someone said unschooling! I was like WHAT? Her version was that for every year my child had been in public school, we were to take a month off. You are to remove the issues that public school instilled by doing this! I was never for this...I knew my son. I knew that the longer we goofed off away from lessons, the harder it would be to reel him back into it later! So, instead we took 2 weeks off! He had a hard blow, he felt defeated and so did I. Plus I needed to get my act together and figure out how I was going to homeschool a middle schooler! There are many versions of unschooling, I have since found out! It is like anything else, you can google it and read 100 different opinions and versions! You take what you like and toss the rest! We are hardcore schoolers during the school year but our Summer break, for what it is....we are unschoolers! School is NOT thought doesn't exist! So.....if you want to be a homeschooler, be sure to check out unschooling and see if it is for you! Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hunt, peck, hunt, are those typing skills?

This quote on my friend's Pinterest page last night got me thinking about typing or keyboarding!
My boys are computer playing video games! They can hunt and peck to converse with their friends or send an email to Grandma but they are not typers per say. So....we will be adding typing/keyboarding games as part of our weekly lessons in for our Fall 2012-2013 school year! I want them to be able to type a letter proficiently with little mistakes and if they do make a mistake, the auto correct doesn’t catch it before they do! They need to be able to spot their issues. They are going to be in 9th and 10th grade. They will be writing papers in College before I know it and while I had to do mine the old fashioned way, on paper with a pen and then transfer to a typewriter or word processor.....they need to be able to use the keyboard on their computer! Which leads me to ask, how proficient are YOU on the keyboard? If not, maybe you should consider adding a typing game to your homeschool for your kids!

Where in the world is ----------? Adding Geography to your Lesson Plans!

As the 2011-2012 homeschool year is winding down....I am already looking ahead to our 2012-2013 school year! I will have 2 in high school! SHOCK! I cannot believe it! It seems like just yesterday I was at their Kindergarten orientation.... And as I sit down and make out the list of courses for them for next year, I realize that we need to bump up our geography lessons! To me, geography is VERY important! Think of the news, this happened in Somalia, that in Iraq, weapons in North Korea, tornados in Texas....each one of those talks about an area of the world and I want my boys to be able to know generally where they are! So.....I am going through different geography programs to find one that works for their age level. This is the challenge as there are lots of great programs out there but they are 14 and 15, 9th and 10th grade starting in the Fall. They are beyond what they consider "baby" programs. English, Math, History, Geography, Science are all on our lesson plans for the Fall.... thinking of adding a foreign language and ???? Whatever Mom comes up with!!!! Insert evil laugh!!! So, have you started you lesson plans for Fall yet? What is on your agenda?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

You are never to old to ask for help!!! Honest!

Have you ever been at that point in your homeschool that you, the parent are at a loss! This subject was either your worst in school, you have no clue how they got that answer, what the heck is a conjunction, and who really was Napoleon? Your kids are sitting there staring at you like, "What? YOU do not know?" And you know, they are thinking that this lady is my teacher....and SHE doesn’t know.....OMG! I have been there, SO been there! I have been there more than I want to admit in the past 4 years! I was a decent student with exception of Math. I have a good memory but I tell you......they shove a lot of crap into our heads in school that there is no reason to know 20+ years later! And most of us didn't sit in grades K-12 planning to homeschool our child(ren) in the we paid attention enough to pass the darn test and get us through that class..... Well, guess what.... we are homeschooling parents now.... we do have to know things OR at least be able to pull it off like we think we do!LOL That is where finding great places for online homework help comes into play! I tell every new to homeschooling parent to find great sites for each subject! They will be lifesavers! They will be your go-to when you are stuck, you are at your wits end and you cannot remember what a conjunction is! I have a folder FULL of them! I share them with anyone that asks! And I after 4 years, am not to embarrassed to admit that I do not know it all and never will! Thank goodness for the internet, the library and encyclopedias! Happy Homeschooling!

Life is a Puzzle!

I love puzzles! I love games! My kids love both! I am a firm believer that puzzles are great to stimulate the mind and I love to make sure my grandmother(who also loves puzzles) has a variety to keep her 82 year old mind active! My boys have a stack of books that are visual puzzles, mind benders, word searches, etc. as well as a bunch of websites that we can check out for a change of pace! Sometimes on really bad days my high schooler can take a break, expand his mind and relax while working on a puzzle and it clears his head so he can come back to the work at hand and concentrate.....and things tend to go smoother! Amazing as most people would think that it would work the opposite. But, it channels a different part of your brain and makes it work differently. Therefore you have a different mindset once you get back to the task at hand. Puzzles in one form or another will always be a part of our household and when my kids grow up, I hope to involve their kids in puzzles! Life is a brainteaser in itself, so why not get with the program and check out how puzzle games would work in your homeschool! Happy Homeschooling!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Investing in Preschool Flashcards!

Well....we are winding up our preschool year in my childcare! The older boys are almost done with their preschool lessons! But..... we will continue our Kindergarten prep throughout the Summer with preschool flashcards! I love flashcards! We can use them in SO many way in a childcare setting!! Take them outside and ask the kids as they are playing, minds are more open and you can even make a game out of it! Red light, green light with flashcards! He/She who answers gets to advance 2 steps! Use them on rainy days! We are stuck inside, waiting for sunshine and good why not cram in a quick lesson where we can! Use them when kids are wild and crazy and we need to sit and calm down! Use them as a game and lesson in one!!! They are universal and easy to us and CHEAP! You can print them out online for free at lots of places! You can go to your Dollar Store and get them for CHEAP! You can get them at Walmart for really in expensive! And if you are really can get sets at your local thrift store! I have ABC flashcards, Shapes, flashcards, Number flashcards, Colors flashcards, Phonics flashcards and even Animals flashcards! I love FLASHCARDS! So, if you have preschoolers...and are still unsure about homeschooling or are looking for something to tuck in your purse for Dr. visits, trips to grocery store or stuck in traffic...invest in a set of 2 or 3 of flashcards!!!

Alphabetical Order!! Life, Homeschool...childcare!

As a organizational freak Mom, who has slight OCD(or CDO if it were to pertain to this article!LOL)...I am into things being in alphabetical order! My boys books are in alphabetical order, my bookshelves are in alphabetical order, the daycare bookshelves are in alphabetical order, our homeschool files are in alphabetical order and the daycare/preschool files are in alphabetical order! I like things in order, especially when you can make them alphabetical order! That is the coupe de gras! Though sometimes I get a little crazy and try to organize things even more like the pantry, the pets, the laundry....!LOL Small house, equals limited space and therefore I have had to be creative in how I organize so not only does it work for homeschool but my business of childcare in my home AND natural everyday living!! Love this, it becomes a challenge to me! So....are you an alphabetical person, an organizational person or both?!! Happy Homeschooling!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Learning ability not learning disorder!

My son has a learning disorder(what society calls it) or a learning least I call it that. It is also a life disorder, he has ADHD.
It has been an experience for all of us on how best to deal with it. He is now a high schooler and is able to see the signs of things that set him off.
Homeschooling has really helped him with this! He was fine through elementary school but middle school, the time crunch, the changing of classes, the busier day really set him off. So it was a blessing when we decided to homeschool him!
He has blossomed!
He gets little junk food, we fix fresh as much as possible. He takes natural Omega-3 brain vitamins to help him stay focused. He gets to get up and move when needed, he can walk away if something is really frustrating him.
Now, these are not the answers for every child with ADHD or a learning disorder. I think every family needs to see what works for them and their child!
In this day and age of the internet, forums, etc. you can learn all you need to about whatever your child needs!
So, whether your child has autism, ADHD, PDD, dyslexia, ADD, or another type of learning disorder....there is a schooling that will work for them. Whether public school, homeschool, both, a tutor......
Your child can bloom and grow, to become the person they want and need to be! I do not like to call it a learning disorder, but a learning ability! It is their special strength!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Do you have a reluctant reader? Make the a fluent reader by finding their niche!

My boys are both readers-NOW!
That was not always the case!
My oldest son was a reluctant reader. He struggled and really didn’t read well until 3rd grade.
Public School programs helped him but I do not think it was until after we started homeschooling that he really learned to read well and read fluently.
Yes, I can credit myself for this but I also think it had a lot to do with the program we used....Time 4 Learning!
Not only was it fun and games BUT....they had to read in the Science and Social Studies sections but it was broken down into small sections so it was not overwhelming. It was written well so it was not boring. He enjoyed learning and enjoyed reading for the first time in his life!
He started to develop an interest in books! He ASKED, yes ASKED for books! He spent the family camping vacation of 2010 READING! He read the whole Percy Jackson series and if he wasn't obligated to do family activities....his nose was in a book! It was AWESOME!
And still is!
Not all kids are easy readers! Some are reluctant and you as the parent need to find that niche that makes them fluent readers!
This means being in tune with your child, their interests and what would get them there!
Good luck, Happy Reading!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Art is not scary!

What is art?
How do you teach art?
Recently I submitted a poll on my forum asking what is the hardest subject to teach...thinking that many people would be like me and claim Math! As you know from reading past posts, Math is my arch nemisis. I hate teaching it, I hate it period!
But imagine my surprise that ART was the most dreaded subject to teach and anything in the Arts related, to include Music. I was and still am shocked!
Gosh, I WISH I could just teach Art!
Arts, Crafts and Music are my favorite curriculums!
But, I know now there are parents out there that are struggling with teaching this subject!
And there are many ways to get help!
You can hire out! Which many do, esp. with music lessons. You can do this as well with Art! There are lots of great classes offered at community centers, community colleges, after school programs, etc. that gear towards kids OR can help you learn so you can teach your kids.
You can get workbooks and textbooks!
You can search online for some great programs!
It depends on you and your ability!
For me, I have an Art History background and am very artistic so I buy anything I find that appeals to me and/or my kids!
And now that they are in middle school and high school, I can really up the program! Starting next year when they are BOTH in high school, we will be taking field trips to Art Museums, etc. to appreciate art in person and learn up close about the different types of art! not be afraid of art! It might seem scary but really it isnt!
Tap into your artistic side!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Fun and Educational Day @ Hatfield Marine and Science Center!

Well.....we just got back from a Homeschooling Adventure!
The Hatfield Marine and Science Center in Newport, Or. holds a Homeschool Day twice a year!
We have good intentions of signing up for this every year, but so far something has happened.
November 2010 my husband took the boy on a last minute trip to see his parents and sister. March 2011 we were scheduled to go but my son was down with the flu. November 2011 we had horrid weather and decided not to chance it. FINALLY, March 2012 we were signed up!!! WAHOOO
They were in the upper class of 8th-12th grade!
And it was AWESOME!
Parents basically drop-off, especially at their age! We signed up at 10am, had an orientation at 10:15am and they started classes at 10:30am. This went on until 4pm~
They got to dissect a fish and for my boys this was the best. Guts being pulled out, eyes plucked, skin peeled, BLECH! Needless to say, Mom stopped them from telling me much more!LOL
Then they learned about new deep sea creatures and how to classify them. This was extremely cool as my younger son was talking non-stop about a fish that has a bubble over his eyes for protection! COOL!
Then it was an estuary walk, where they dug for ghost shrimp to count and classify!
My 8th and 9th grade sons were in heaven with these "animal games"! For them it was fun and learning and GROSS all rolled into one!
And my younger son had found a creature on our Family Vacation 2010 and we had yet been able to figure out what it was! He had great pics of it, which we took along! FINALLY we had an answer!
It was a Gumboot Chiton! The largest of the chitons AND we were privileged that we saw one because they are rare to see!!
A family walk on the beach after we picked them up and then dinner at a local seafood restaurant was the perfect ending to a great day!
And the talk all the way home(3 hour drive) and tucking them in bed and even most of Saturday was about their day at Hatfield!!!
I love that my boys LOVE stuff like this! Fun and Education all wrapped up in one!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pros and Cons of Homeschooling?!!

I get asked most often, the pros and cons of homeschooling!
These can change on a daily basis... let me tell you!!
Give me a great day when my kids are sailing through school, are happy and content and I know that everything is going GREAT...I can list all pros and no cons.
Give me a day where my oldest son has a meltdown, both the boys are fighting and my daycare kids are invading THEIR space....calgon...take me AWAY! I can totally list all cons and very little pros.
I imagine if you asked every homeschooling parent, they would say the same thing!
Just like a job, we have bad days and good days!
So...let's get the bad stuff out of the way first!

My personal cons:
No alone time anymore
No downtime
Never a clean house
REALLY bad days with middle school meltdowns just about do you in

My personal pros:
Great education for your kids
Personalized education for your kids
Lots of 1 on 1 time with your kids
Watching your kids grow and getting to see EVERYTHING
Quality family time
Having a teen who WANTS to grocery shop with you
Having kids who like you
Having kids who are able to count back change
No hours of homework AFTER school
Short school days
Getting to school in your pj's
Getting to school in your backyard
Getting to go to a museum on a Friday when the other kids are in school
Getting to drive by the school ON a school day and hear your kids say SUCKERS!LOL
Just having my kids be kids
and I could go on and on and on....I could add to this list daily because homeschooling my kids is AWESOME!

So, what are your homeschooling pros and cons?

Do you have a homeschooling portfolio?

Do you have a homeschooling portfolio for your kids?
Some States require you to have one!
It is basically proof of what you are doing! That you are being a great parent and educating your child....not letting them veg out in front of the TV playing video games every day!LOL
And even if your State does NOT require it, it is a good thing to have and update regularly!
In Oregon, where I is not required but in case the laws change, I am questioned or I need proof for college...I keep one for each of my boys. It takes up little room but could really save my butt if needed!
So....every few months I print out the boys records on Time 4 Learning. It keeps track of their test scores, quizzes, etc.
I add to that any State Testing results that are required. Here it is needed year 3, 5, 8, and 10. And since we started homeschooling when my older son was in 6th, his 8th grade test was our first...but it IS in his portfolio.
I make them all fancy, print out a nice label and pick a different folder color for each year and do a separate one for each boy. Then I invested in a nice office box with a lid and it has a special spot out in the garage. At the end of each school year, I tidy up our homeschooling info, file the documents in each folder and put them in the box.
Will I ever need them? I hope not, BUT...if I do....I am ready to go! you have a homeschool portfolio? I would LOVE to hear how you prepare yours!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Teaching Analogies using the Internet Highway!

The easiest way to teach your kids analogies is with some games!
You can sit and explain how a heart is like a bike pump, with blood instead of air.
Or how a birds wings and an airplane wings are similar for a reason.
But...that doesn’t mean your explanation was a good one OR that your kids will get you?!
They may just think you have gone off the homeschooling Mom deep end!LOL

Plus there are different versions of an analogy! There is the analogy comparison where this is like that and why.
There is also the biological analogy as to why things that are similar like a butterfly, moth and fly all have wings but have evolved differently. They are similar, yet different!
Confused yet?!
This means that finding some good analogy games online is probably your best bet.
And while you are at get some good research done AND might just stumble upon other great homeschooling sites along the way! WIN-WIN!

So, if an analogy or how to present an analogy confuses you.... don't sweat it! Hop online the internet highway and google analogy games and/or analogy definitions and see where it takes you!
Hey....I just compared the internet to a highway....guess what....THAT is also an analogy!LOL

I'm a poet and didn't even know it!

Evolving with Evolution!

I am a firm believer in evolution! I believe we came from amoebas, and evolved to fish, then to reptiles, and to mammals, etc.
I think that dinosaurs and birds are cousins, there are too many factors to say not, IMHO.
I believe in strata layers showing that the earth was once covered in water, lakes were in the middle of the USA, that Pangaea existed and that we are kissing cousins of apes!
And as the Mom of 2 teens, 8th and 9th grade...we are at the age where explaining evolution to my homeschoolers is understandable!
My youngest son has ALWAYS been into dinosaurs and both of them are rockhounds like they already have a good base for this! do we go about it?
My favorite version is the shirt that Sheldon on Big Bang Theory wears! LOL
But....just showing them a shirt isn't really teaching! LOL Though it would make my life easier!
So...that being said....
There are LOTS of different versions out there...depending on how you see it!
Deciphering WHICH version is right for you is 100% up to you!
Research it! Go online, chat with other homeschooling parents!
Then see if you have helpful online assistance or hit the internet looking for books to help you out!
Which version or combo of them works for up to you!
Just remember, studying evolution will help you EVOLVE as a homeschooler!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Looking for a New Writing Curriculum....

Well, we are mid-year and I know one thing that is DEFINITELY going to change for next school year!
Why....because the program my Mom is using for their writing program, just isn't cutting it anymore! The boys at 8th and 9th grade are beyond worksheets, beyond cursive practice, beyond dictionary work! Not bashing the wonderful writing program my Mom came up with for them! It has worked the past 3 years! Love you MOM!!!
But....they are tired of it! I am tired of fighting them on it! They get bored easily and are doing sloppy work. Therefore, Grandma is tired of fighting with them on it. And since she lives 6 hours isn't exactly easy for her to pop over to deal with it.
So, together....she and I are on a mission to find something that works and works well!
Right now we are checking into a homeschool online writing curriculum! We have several things in mind! These would be tied in with physical writing as well! Never want them to forget pen and paper!
So....guess what I am saying faithful readers.... do you have a writing program for your older kids that you like? One you dislike and warn people from?
I am looking for input!

Homeschooling Middle School and Beyond....

In this house....I am constantly busy! Not only are we homeschooling but as some of you may or may not know...I run a childcare, I write for a living and am basically a SAHM as well! Constant chaos, constantly busy but content!
The time we spend on learning is almost 24/7 and it never is dull! Why you ask? Well....because I homeschool my 2 boys....1 in middle school and 1 in high school. Plus I run a preschool program for the daycare kids. 2 different programs in use at the same time! Time 4 Learning is what we use for Preschool and Middle School homeschooling because it covers PreK-8th grade and incorporates EVERYTHING! We love, love, love it!
Our High School program this year is a new one for us called eLearning and we are just getting used to it.
We are on our 4th year homeschooling and we started homeschooling Fall 2008 when my oldest son was in public middle school and we ended up with many issues and decided it wasn't worth the stress and aggravation and to give homeschooling a try!
We love it! We are homeschoolers for life!
Was I scared to start homeschooling in middle school! Yep! Not gonna lie! The first month was misery! For both my son and I as I basically relearned a lot of MY schooling!LOL But, once we worked out the kinks and got on the right was GOLDEN!
Would I do it over again, given the choice! YEP! Except this time around we would start them homeschooling from the very beginning!
What do I tell people when they ask me about homeschooling?
Well, it isn't right for everyone! Try it out! You may be surprised how well it fits you, your child and your family!
Happy Homeschooling!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Being a Secular Homeschooler...

Who is a secular homeschooler....WE ARE!
What is a secular homeschooler? It is someone who homeschools but NOT for religious reasons, nor do they want or need religious content IN their studies!
That is us!
Finding strictly secular curriculum online is not as easy as it sounds!
I do mind the word "God" in something, I am not as STRICT for the secular as some people but I do not want my boys to have religion or religion based in their learning.
Luckily, we have found a great Secular Homeschool Forum as well as AWESOME online schooling that is Secular with Time 4 Learning!
We have a wonderful group of people that help us find places to go, things to do, answer questions we have, make suggestions to curriculum, create awesome and funny blogs about their secular adventure, etc.
I am not bashing a religious homeschooler, that is their preference and their thing. Good for them, not for us.
So....if you are a secular homeschooler and willing to spend a little bit of time weeding through the amass of online curriculum, you will find that there is actually a lot of secular learning!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Prefix means preparing the wall for repair and painting right? WRONG!

When you hear the word think of getting prepared to FIX something like getting your tool bag, wall prep, paint brush out.....right?....not language arts!LOL At least in my book! While I am excellent at language arts...if you ask me to break down things like prefix, adverb, adjectives, etc. forget it!
We whizz through our daily language art activity or what we called English in my day.....until we get to one of these pages....and then we come to a screeching halt! Until I get one of the handy dandy webpages pulled up that explains the whatnot of who is who!LOL Thank goodness for the internet! Google is a staple in this house! If you do not know, GOOGLE it!!!
And you would think we would retain this info for future We use prefixes in our daily talking, writing, reading but to remember what is actually a prefix means something else in this Mom brain has to be lost.....because I don't know about you...but my Mom brain only holds so much so if something NEW has to be means something OLD falls out!
This is where things like prefix games come into play! There are some really great online games for your child to get a good background as to what prefix, adverb, adjectives are! And the fact that it is a game means they are learning while playing! So.....stop that panic moment(love the Sylvan commercial where the kids asks Mom for Math help and she takes off running because I feel like that some days!) and find a way for both you and your child to learn that prefix doesn’t mean getting prepared to paint!LOL

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Can we live without Math? The answer is NO...unfortunately!LOL

Can we just live in a world without MATH! Honestly....I hate it! I hate teaching it, I hated it in school, I hate that my son is struggling with it just like I did! I hate that even as a grownup, I feel stupid when we are working on it! I thought teaching math in homeschool, with the programs I found would be SO SIMPLE! It is and it isn't.....some days we want to rip out our hair and others we whizz right through high school math!
It doesn’t help that my younger son is brilliant at math! He gets it! But, due to his age....he can't explain how he gets it...AND his older brother definitely does NOT want help from his younger brother...the HORROR! Jeez, younger brothers carry cooties and germs ya know!LOL
It has become a daily challenge to make it through the math lessons for my older son! We both stress as we are opening the computer file... I assume we must look like we are opening an explosive, that turn away slightly and cringe as you push the button....will it blow up and consume us, or is it a simple cut the red wire and we are saved!LOL
We have turned more to working on life skills with math, rather than algebra for things that he will never use! Balancing the checkbook, keeping your savings intact, how much paint will you need for a room, etc.
I know then, that if nothing else gets through his skull about Math....he will have the skills it takes to go through daily life! reality....we cannot live in a world without Math... use it daily BUT we can simplify HOW we use or need it!
That is my theory!LOL

How we became accidental homeschoolers....

So.....if you are a reader of my blog... you know we are accidental homeschoolers! Though it seems so long ago that I forget we haven't always been homeschoolers.
What is an accidental homeschooler....well, if your child is attending private or public school on a normal basis and you suddenly either have an issue and decide to pull them and homeschool OR they have been kicked/removed from the school and you are forced to homeschool them to continue their schooling...that is considered an accidental homeschooler!
Ours was a combo of both! My oldest son was 5 weeks into 6th grade, his first year at middle school when it came to blows-literally! My son was over 6 ft. tall at 12! He was taller than most of the teachers and all but one other kid. We had already had issues with his Math teacher over lessons and her non-communication and/or the day that my son was jumped in the school by 2 kids was the final straw. HE was punished for defending himself. HE was sent home and suspended for 3 days because HE was walking down the hall and attacked by 2 students and in defense, he punched one. The other 2 kids were NOT punished, the school did NOT call us to inform us of the fact that our son was in an altercation OR that they were suspending him, they claimed that they DID call us and number was disconnected when in fact all numbers they had on file for us were correct and working and I am a SAHM so there was someone here. We never got an official notice, they just sent him home on the bus and he told us. At this point....I am sure FLAMES were shooting out my eyes! I was LIVID, my husband was livid!! This tops off the week where he had turned in some REALLY stupid word problem to Math teacher, they had 2 weeks to work on it and it was this CRAZY problem that ended up in pages of written work to show how we came up with answer. It took all 3 of us to attempt to figure it out. He brought it home with a D. No explanation, no telling how she came about the correct answer, nothing. He was crushed. We sent her an email asking for help. She replied that she doesn’t help. WHAT? You are a TEACHER....that is your JOB! We said apparently he is not getting the Math you are teaching, is there a way to get assistance from you on this matter. She replied that she doesn’t help but suggested that he get a tutor and spend 3 hours a day after school in the library with the tutor, the front office had a list. WHAT! Really, that is your answer..... OMG!
So....we were already hot under the collar about that when the fight and suspension came about!
My husband took the day following the suspension off to confront the school. He left here with the words that if something was NOT fixed, he was bringing my son home to be homeschooled!
2 hours later, they were home with the contents of my son's locker and a refund check for his lunch account!
We were officially homechoolers....
And I am here to tell you, while it was the start of a crazy, wild adventure and there are days I want to pull out my hair and is also the best darn decision we ever made!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Picking an Elementary Online Curriculum, so many little time!

Hard to believe that we are on our 4th homeschooling year, in fact we are about midway through it! It seems like we just started and yet that was Fall 2008! WOW! We were accidental homeschoolers then, now we are lifelong homeschoolers! But, I can still remember the panic feeling of WHAT DID I DO?! I was a childcare provider and a SAHM, not a teacher! I was luckily adept at finding things on the internet so the day after we pulled my oldest son from public school....I was online looking for a elementary level online curriculum. I knew that there was no way that I could piece together bits of this and that and create a whole for my son. No way! I was not that together, not that confident and not enough spare time! I had to find something that had ALL he needed to get a basic education as we waded into this thing called homeschooling! I am still thankful to this day, for finding Time 4 Learning! I tell anyone I know who is thinking of homeschooling to check them out! They were and still are my lifesaver! We are on our 4th year using T4L and I love it every bit today as I did Fall 2008!
They taught my son to become a better reader, learn Math and get up to speed for his grade level, learn that science can be fun or history silly! They taught ME to relearn all that I had forgotten about elementary education! It was amazing how quickly I picked back up on things! They taught him how to spell with their sister site, Spelling City. They taught both of my children that they can do things, they can be confident and they can learn at a pace that works for them!
So, I am telling you....if you are stumbling upon this blog as a newbie to homeschooling or as an old timer that is needing something new....check out Time 4 Learning, Time 4 Writing and/or their sister site Spelling will not be sorry you did!!!