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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Website Review.

It's amazing to me what I can glean from the net , the seemingly limitless information. I have no idea how I would be able to homeschool without it. I guess I would be forced to buy curriculum's. Right now though I am happy and content with gleaning for free. And I wanted to share with you a new link of interest. http://www.education.com/ sign up is free and means you can download their worksheets without being plagued with ads. I love the way you can input the grade level you are looking for and by subject to sort through the sheets. But don't take my word have a look for yourself.
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A Journey Into the Unknown

So as the winter lingers on I tend to think of new creative pursuits. For a long time now I have been pondering how to go about starting a homeschool Lego club. Still in it's infancy I have decided to host it weekly at home. It will be a good way for the kids to interact and have fun. We worked on cleaning out the downstairs which is the ideal location in our home since the Lego are already sorted in a six drawer dresser. My husband will have to put up a simple shelf above for projects that have to wait from week to week to be completed. I am thinking of the first Lego meeting consisting of seeing how many attend and what ages they are. A meet and greet of sorts followed by free play with the Lego's. I think keeping the meetings to one hour means people won't feel like the day is being eaten into too much with the meetings. The parents are of course encouraged to stay and help or socialize. I have put some newsprint on the wall beside the dresser where we have stuck a small Lego table for the younger kids in the group. I am thinking of posting on it a poster of sorts to identify the different Lego pieces.  As of now I really know of only a small handful who are interested. However as word gets out who knows how many will want to join in the fun. Attendance is not mandatory as I want it to be a fun thing not a I have to do this other elective responsibility.
I think if I can manage I may get the first meeting started the second week of February making something Valentine related. If kids have their own red Lego's all the better. There are several sites out there that offer wonderful ideas for projects to work on as well.

Down the road perhaps next fall as winter leads into Spring quickly I will want to start a robotics club for the homeschoolers as well. The robotics club is going to go in four week blocks to allow time to work on one robotic assignment/project at a time. Because robotics is involving cost I need to research that more. But I am really eager to delve into it as my son has aspirations of becoming a roboticist.
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pay for websites.

As a homeschooler we are often on the Internet looking for resources. Trying to glean as much as will be useful to our lesson planning. Often I find myself looking for worksheets and coming up with pay for use websites. So I caved finally after having one continually coming up when I searched for items. I thought to myself perhaps they really do have all the worksheets I will need. The cost for a year to their website, a cool $50US. Hmm I thought that is a bit more then I would like to spend but hey I won't know until I try. I really should have thought about asking others on a forum. Let this be a lesson for myself and others to learn that checking with other homeschooler's is ALWAYS a good idea. The site in question? http://www.teachnology.com/ not worth the money. I find it poorly organized. They indicate they have plentiful worksheets for you to download. But finding them was a bit of a hassle. I had to email the site for assistance. Well I will give them an A+ for responding promptly. I had help within in one business day. But I still find the site cumbersome and not as useful as I had hoped for the money. Also the workbooks you can download are lacking in accuracy which is in my opinion important. For example looking at the geometry pages I discovered poorly drawn images for a ninety degree angle making it ambiguous at best.
I have learned my lesson and will henceforth check with others who have gone before in ordering from these sites.

I have heard wonderful reviews from homeschoolers about http://www.readinga-z.com/ and I will want to order a year from them. I did use their free trial and discovered the reading levels and comprehension packages were very well done. Sadly I did not get that package first.

The overall message. Buyer beware!
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Education is more then the basics.

Title make you wonder. Well you aren't alone. It has come to my attention through friends and family that they seem to think I don't teach the 3 r's. I DO. I DO. I DO. Now that is off my chest let me clarify for the rest of my readers. I post here about the more interesting things we are studying or undertaking. I don't feel the need to chatter on and on about the hum drum. To me the everyday nitty gritty of uneaten lunches and dirty dishes makes for a dull read. I want to share here what is more interesting and creative about our homeschool. So forgive me if it seems like things are left out.
So Oceanography, with the beginning of a New Year I decided to take a more advanced approach to studies with the kids. And by that I mean a unhurried look at a units. Before I was trying to make mini units weekly as I made up our curriculum. Well it was exhausting and hurried and not much fun for us. So now supplementing our 3 r's we look at one area of study for however long it takes to work through the material I have compiled. This month we are looking at the world's oceans. Ds has learned to identify and spell each. And DD well I am aiming for at least identify. Spelling will come with age. And we are looking at the life in the oceans. Obviously this is a huge undertaking as the oceans are vast. So we are looking more at the scientific classifications like, mollusks, corals, fish, mammals and discussing what each is. We have an extensive collection of shells and even a seahorse that the kids have arranged in an artistic display in the class. So many aspects of this unit are fun. I will post more once I get the camera out.
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Flat Update!

I don't like to talk bad of people even if I didn't mention names. But earlier I had posted that one flat never came home and that my daughter was heartbroken. Well I think it is only fair to add that flat has returned albeit six months later. But what a trip Flat Cuddles had. Visiting more then one zoo, a birthday party, and a few meseums. And the hosts of the flat traveller went above and beyond to create a wonderful digital scrapbook of memories for her to return with. Thank you. If you read this you know who you are. My daughter was overjoyed to see one of her friends return. Her first flat traveller and her first experience in homeschool to a mail exchange of any kind. I am so grateful it was returned safe and sound.
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Monday, January 3, 2011

Well Here We Are.

Another Christmas is over and New Year begun. You may have noticed the change again in our design. Never to remain the same I like change. I picked this fresh face for our blog and hope you like it as much as I for the New Year. I will likely change the template up a little for holidays but will return to this design as the main look throughout the year.
Currently I am downloading a free reading program for the month of January. For those who are interested in trying it out for themselves the site is Funnix as I understand it was created by the same man who made Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons. I took a peek at the first lesson, as I said I am currently downloading the whole thing. It looks pretty good so far. I will say this you need 2GB of free space to put the download and it is a slow download in four installments for all 220 lessons.
We continued schooling throughout the holidays when there was time. DH was off and took over teaching so I could manage to make up a curriculum to cover Oceanography. Bless him he handled it with flying colors.
The lesson I have made up is really comprehensive and I will likely post more on that unit later after we have had a chance to cover more of the subject matter.
We are also tackling measuring both in imperial and metric. Review for my son and new for DD. The unit is a light introduction using the pages from Learning Pages . You can become a member there for free and it is a small but useful site.
I have decided to bite the bullet as they say and buy a curriculum for math. I have decided on Life of Fred for my DS as it seems like it may be more independent and less repetitive then other curriculum's. He can pick math up quite readily. So I will keep you posted on how that goes also.
Our Christmas card exchange with other homeschoolers through a Yahoo group was a success although we are still waiting for one or two stragglers.
I wish I could say the same for our Christmas swaps with homeschoolers through another Yahoo group. My DD again did not get her swap in return, this makes it her second failed swap from that site. And she has gotten nothing back that we have done through the mail. I pray that she gets her second flat traveller back that we sent out at Christmas time as I organized it with other women on a Christian forum.
I have decided I really need to pull the stops out on the kids as they are eating their way through all I give them work load wise. So awhile ago I had printed out some 'popcorn' words on popcorn shapes. I can't remember where but it was really cute and they were just sitting there collecting dust. So I cleaned off a bulletin board and pinned all of them up. Then I made a paper popcorn bucket like you would get at the theatre on the wall below. I told my DD who loves popcorn that I would take her to the theatre for some of their popcorn when she had learned all the words and filled her 'bucket'. Well you can't have something like that going on without the other wanting in on the action. So I told my son I will make up a list of words equal in number to hers. When he learns to spell them correctly he can pick out a small prize also. I think I will make the words revolve around the vocabulary we are doing for Oceanography and that may also be on the list.
So we start 2011 off with a wonderful school day full of hope and promise of wonderful educational opportunities for the New Year.
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