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!