Friday, November 21, 2014

Homeschooling thoughts from an 11 year old.

When asked to write five things that he liked about Homeschooling, this is what my son wrote:

 1. I like my Teacher.

2. It's way more fun. 

3. Breakfast and lunches are great. 

4. It's more quiet. 

5. Other kids don't get me in trouble.

Pretty good so far I guess. I am a bit partial towards number 1 ! haha.

Time flies!

OH my, I am behind on this blog!!  We have had so much to do. We finished White Fang, started Gulliver's Travels. Also finished Shark Life by Peter Benchley. Also finished The Light and The Glory. Still reading The cat of Bubastes. Started Academic Press and Latin for beginners. Still doing Spanish. Oh my....on and on--- more later.

Time Flies!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Keeping on Keeping on...

WOW. Time is the same for everyone but somehow I was under the impression I could manage it better than I am. I mean, my school day is great but I spend the entire day guiding, directing, leading, teaching, doing work myself, reading aloud to my son, planning lessons, learning spanish and latin, answering phone calls from people who know I am trying to school during the day--, and even more.

 I wanted to put more actual daily activities on this blog and keep it updated a bit more but I am seeing that I am not able to do all the things I have in my head and want to do.  I also had such great intentions to clearly follow goals and boy oh boy were they lofty ones. Ha.

 Develop Spiritual maturity is my number one goal for for my son. I know that can not be done in a mere number of days but that is the goal that I create all my assignments around.

I also want to identify his personal passions and lean towards having the assignments that he MUST do, be more enjoyable because if possible I want to have them revolve around his passions.

 One specific goal I wrote out was to have him learn to work more independently. I can proudly say that I see great progress in this area!

Meeting deadlines is a bit hard for him in the independent category. We can meet all my reading assignment deadlines if I sit and read to him or if I push and push and push. But other deadlines have been better, it is just reading that he needs pushed on and I honestly believe it is because he is reading unabridged literature right now. All the Scholastic books and types of books that you find at book fairs and in the library geared towards his age, etc. , he can whiz through and read a couple of them a week but I wanted to get in some literature and some poetry and things like that. We use Librivox a lot and they have a great selection. We have read Robert Frost poems, Carl Sandberg, John Muir, and then also are in the process of reading Cat of Bubastes (it is taking long because we are correlating the study to the timing of the book of Genesis and precisely Moses- in the Bible, and seeing comparisons to Egypt and what it says in the Bible ). We are reading Jack London and also Rudyard Kipling.  I must say in MY personal likes and dislikes, I am immensely enjoying the Rudyard Kipling things we are reading and I think he likes them best too.

My son's attitude (especially towards math) is vastly different from when we first started (this is now nine weeks into school).  He actually told me that he LIKED math now. I can attribute that to a change in our schedule and curriculum and not starting the day with math as the first classs. We use a book called LIFE OF FRED and that sounds kinda strange as a math curriculum but it is a true life-saver for us. It basically teaches math without memorization, repetition (where I can see it MAY be good at times and for SOME people- but with us this has helped so much to do it the way FRED does it), and it is a chapter a day to READ. It is a story about Fred and his life and daily encounters he has with math being a part of daily life. At the end of each chapter there are problems to think about, solve, and see any kind of formulas or patterns and every day my son is exposed to more and more thinking processes of HOW math works and why. We did start it a bit before he may actually be proficient in. In other words, I think I am mostly doing review with him and that is why he likes it better for now. He knows the things pretty well. ( I started with fifth grade while he is actually in sixth) We finished the fifth grade things already though and are beginning the next Fred book for sixth grade and so far so good. (I must note that Fred is not our ENTIRE math experiences but we start slowly with that and with the attitude it gets out of my son.) Then we also use Khan Academy and are into sixth grade and pre-algebra. I believe with BOTH the computer Khan academy and the textbook Fred and also with my husband and I and even our daughter helping explain things to him, that is the key difference in the change with his attitude and approach to math. Things are so good now :)

This is all for now.... Thank you if you are actually reading this :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Another Day

The weather is beautiful, we open the windows in the morning, have a great breakfast and dig in to our work.

Right now, we have altered the schedule again. My son is doing a lot but I am not doing any testing yet, I want to move carefully and take things with enough time to actually learn them rather than just pushing forward and cramming for tests.

In math we have backtracked to reviews.
In English we are doing a lot of poetry at this time.
In computer, we have continued on with css, java and programming.
In Spanish, we have called it Foreign language and have now switched to Latin, and French as well as Spanish.
We are still reading White Fang and The Cat of Bubastes.
For History we are continuing with ancient History and learning a lot of things about Egypt and slowly are relating it to the timeline of things that happened in the Bible.
In Science we are learning about cells and skin.
For Music we have listened to a lot of nature sounds mostly and have not dug in to working on actual instrument playing yet.

I like the variety we are doing with different styles of learning. Some things are online, some are books, some are audio, some are on Kindle and we do a lot of oral reports, question answering, etc. but there is still quite a bit of writing as well. My son has been working a lot on handwriting because in my opinion , he is pretty sloppy so when I do have him write the small amount of things that I do, then it MUST be done properly and correct or he has to re-do it.

He is still doing keyboarding, doing a bit of crocheting, and we are going to start a tiny bit on cooking small items as well.

I asked him his favorite things to do: He said... "Bible, History, Art."  I think honestly he said Bible first is because in that time we have a 30 minute audio of Odyssey Adventure Club that he enjoys listening to as well as his Bible work so I know he loves those adventures. He is very interested in the Egyptian things we are going over so right now I understand why he loves History. He has always loved art and any kind of thing dealing with art so I get that answer too. :)

I was surprised though because I suspected he would say Computer or maybe LUNCH. haha.

I see a lot of people around town on Wed. nights at a dinner we usually attend here and I am noticing a lot of people come up to me and ask about Homeschooling and how it is going. I don't really know what to say. I *think* it is going well but since I have not really done this for a long time and have not done a lot of testing, I do not know how he compares to anyone else in public school right now. However, last night, another sixth grader that he would have been in class with, asked my son what he was doing in school and that kid looked at my son and said "I honestly don't have a clue on what you just said."  He had told the boy that he was learning set theory, mathematical sequences and mathematical sets.

I hope I am challenging him enough but not being too over pushy. I have a ton of books I would love to be able for him to lay hands on and absorb , I have so many ideas, so many plans but only so much time during the day and to stay on a subject until it is really learned takes time and I do not want to rush things so it seems so overwhelming at times and I really don't know what he would be doing in public school if he was in there so I don't know if I am behind or what? So basically, I take a deep breath, look out the window at the beautiful day and the wind blowing in and let it flow and know that we both are doing the best we can.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Can't always stay on schedule

We altered  our schedule due to the fact that math takes time !

 My personal thought is that learning should be delightful and natural.

  My son is not the only one who struggles with math and both of us doing things together and getting a bit frustrated can take a toll on a day. Today, while doing some ratio's and graphing them and making tables and also multiplying and dividing, we got to a point where both of us were thinking so hard and I was trying to figure out a way that he would understand what I was saying and how I got to a point where I was at, and I was drawing a blank. I could not somehow get through to him what I was doing and we went online and watched videos on Khan academy and also used other sites so I could figure out how to show him certain things. Finally-- it all clicked! Then we got so absorbed in math that it took the entire rest of the morning. It was literally draining and so I took the afternoon and re-arranged the schedule for today.

 We had a small lunch and a time outside just soaking in quiet and sunshine. I know it is only 1 pm while I write this blog and it seems like I am describing a day 18 hours long with how I am portraying our math time this morning but I must say with as much work as went into it today, I feel like it indeed was that long. I am sure he feels that as well.

 So, our day is finished after we read 'White Fang'.  :)

 Tomorrow, it is back to our regular Friday schedule but as for today, I am blessed and happy to have struggled long and hard and then to have made it on the other side of that math obstacle today. It will show us both a clear way through next time something like this happens. As I said earlier, learning should be delightful and natural and that part where I said, " all clicked!", well, it did and that is the delightful part- to see that in my child's eyes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

New to Blogging

 We've been in school for three weeks so far. I decided to start a blog.

  Our Home school was actually established in 1997 when I homeschooled my oldest son but after I had more children and the older one was already out of school, I restarted homeschooling this year with my youngest son. I also have a daughter who attends public school.

 Our daily schedule is working well for us. First, we have Bible reading time, prayer, pledges and a short story time from an online site called Odyssey Adventure Club.

 Next, we work on math. Today we did ratio's and we also brushed up on some multiplication facts.

 The third thing we usually do is English class. So far we have done spelling, handwriting, reading, definitions, vocabulary work and poetry. I plan on continuing to vary this class and use different techniques and technologies to work through various Language Arts.

 We work on Science right before we take a lunch break. In Science we are studying Life Sciences and the planet. Right now, we are doing a unit on sharks, it is very entertaining and my son is learning a lot. We also have studied Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Mountain Building,  the geography of California and have worked on taking notes and how to find things that would be noteworthy.

  Lunch is usually very simple and light.

Next classes are History, Art, Computer, Spanish and Assigned Reading. On Wednesdays we have a journaling time after reading.

 In History we are learning about Colonial America right now and we are also side studying Ancient Egypt. With Art so far, we have done painting, yarn bombing, studying Louis Prang, and George Caleb Bingham. My son enjoys abstract art more than realism and naturalism but along with learning about the actual artist Mr. Bingham, we side studied a bit about Daniel Boone and that part was very interesting to him. Mr. Bingham painted Daniel Boone through the Cumberland gap so that is why we did a bit of discussion and learning on Daniel Boone in art class.

 For Computer class, my son is on several different online sites that teach keyboarding. He is excellent at it so we spent very little time on that part after all. We have moved over to java script programming and a program called Scratch programming. He also is going to work on some minecraft mods.

 In Spanish we are learning about the Spanish speaking countries and we are learning many small starter words from the Spanish language, also working a lot on the alphabet. He is enjoying this class immensely.

 For assigned reading we are on chapter 5 of White Fang by Jack London. So far, so good. I have worksheets and tests to take that go along with each chapter, he is reading the actual book and also at times switching to the audio version and keeping place with one another and all is going well.

 On Wednesdays journaling class is a short time-frame where he has a private journal to record things in. If needed, I have prompts.

 We have a very full day but it really never ends, teaching moments appear throughout the entire day. After work, my husband comes home and has a study in the book of Jonah that he does with our son one night a week and the other nights he has a workbook and mentor guide he is going through with our son called Tek non and the Champion Warriors. 

 I hope to blog rather regularly but it depends on other priorities that may come up during the day.

  Blessings ~