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Friday, August 19, 2011


Well looking about online today I discovered that Stanford University is going to be offering a free yes free online introduction to AI course starting in Oct. It will run for 10 weeks online and includes assignments. When completed a certificate of completion will be issued but not from Stanford. What I find wonderful about this is that its free and it is hopefully a sign of things to come. I wanted to post it here to get the word out. Its not too late to sign up.
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Having found many other homeschool Moms in the same boat as I, sadly lacking for robotics material to teach young kids. I thought I would share my scribd find of the day. Well truthfully I have had my scribd account for awhile and found it last spring but forgot until now to check on scribd for material. I find that happens a lot with various accounts. This is the second very useful book I have found.
I love scribd for it wealth of books you can download. This book was written to cover history, systems, nueral networks, evolutionary computation, and knowledge engineering and data mining. Do I know what it all means. Nope haven't a clue. But that the beauty of homeschool isn't it? Learning along side our children is fascinating to see them get it. For us to get too is an added bonus. This book comes with review questions. I am really excited to add it to our robotics science class.

The other book I am really loving yet still have to wade my way through is my Kitchen Chemistry Book I downloaded last year. So if you haven't already checked out Scribd its worth the money. And you know what I have even found complete lapbooks there as well. I am only scratching the surface of what they have to offer but wanted to share these incredible finds with you!

My Three and Me

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to School

In my youth we would say Back to the grind. Hmm. Doesn't seem fitting for such an eventful, fun year of exploration and learning. Well I am almost prepared for school this term.
I am trying a few things differently. Of course with each year it's good to shake up your methods. Let go of things that didn't work, tweak some others that could have worked better and so on. So this year I have created a four day school week schedule. The fifth day is either a free day if the kids perform well in school the rest of the week. If they did not we will use the day to have fun school by playing learning games. I debated a lot should we 'reward' for not performing well on the fifth day with funschool or more of the same book work. I came to the conclusion that funschool was better because I don't want my kids to feel the disappointment that we always felt in PS when activities were yanked due to some kids acting up. No gym today kids, no art, no music etc.. I used to laugh when I got A's in those subjects because we rarely ever had them. I am glad I got A's for never doing much of anything but I don't want my kids to miss out on those subjects. In any event the four day schedule was then divided into subjects and only math and english will be repeated daily throughout the week. The other areas of study will alternate ever other day. And they include, history, geography, science, art, gym, and computers. Sometimes I know this schedule will fail me and sometimes I know it will be too ambitious but I hope by using it as a guideline it will help me to stay more focused on the end goals.
I am for the first time using some curriculums. So this is new and kind of fun and yet scary. What if they don't like the curriculums. What if I don't like them. Having read other homeschool moms postings I know I should cast the what ifs out the window and the curriculum should it really not fit. That's the beauty of homeschool. We can change the flow when needed. We don't have to stick it out to the end.
So what curriculums you are likely wondering. Well for DS Teaching Textbooks level 5 math. It looks awesome. I finally loaded it and love that it grades itself and he can check his own work. One family member asked 'do you trust your eight year old to check his own work? Really???? I wouldn't trust my kid'  Well I do. I trust him to check his work because he is smart. He has a brain and understands that if he cheats he learns nothing. I also know my son inside and out. I know he doesn't like work being done for him, it's boring. I know he has the integrity to do the course properly.
That being said I have also added to the curriculum lineup Learning A-Z's levelled reading and comprehension. I have already conducted the fluency tests on DS to know where he is at level wise and am ready to roll for next week. DD is also prepared to begin there. I love that curriculum because it uses informational text and current events a lot to remain informative as well.
Math for DD will be a continued ecclectic method of learning.
Both kids will be doing Donna Wards, Courage and Conquests for Canadian History. As well I am adding in some other crafts, art, learning to accompany it. And we will be studying Canadian geography this year as well province by province.
I am going to start them both with the BBC's dance mat typing and powertyping online to learn keyboarding skills. After they have sufficient knowledge of basic keyboarding we will learn a wordprocessing program called Abiword. It is essentially a freeware version of microsoft works. I hope that they will learn to use that for short story writing purposes.
Science, science, science, is going to be my main challenge this year. I am beginning the kids with robotics and have no idea where we are going from there. But as with all learning I am flexible. I will find something I am sure. DD isn't interested in robotics like DS so I am thinking I will come up with a second unit to do afterwards that is interesting to her. Before you know time passes and the year is done.
Art will consist to begin with of base color theory and crafts that revolve around the other lessons.
Gym will be varied activities pulled from a base list depending on weather and moods. No point in making a snuffly kid run around the block.
We are also going to be using the French Essentials computer based curriculum for french.
So it looks like it will be a long, wonderful year in our homeschool. I am super excited and hope that will transfer to the kids.
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Monday, August 15, 2011


The weather was nasty and cold. It had been raining all day. The last full day we would be at camp. The camp I had looked forward to all summer to relieve the stress that comes from the monotony of housework. I was really disappointed I didn’t get the time to fish that I had looked forward to that day. I love fishing. I don’t care if I eat them. I usually put them back but this was really getting to me that I was beside the water with a canoe, family, rods, and it was raining.

We had finished dinner. Our friends had left earlier that evening and it was dusk. With the rain it positively grey. I looked at my husband with a twinkle and said, “Let’s bundle up and go out anyway.”

We didn’t have to take the canoe to the big lake there was a small river running next to it. So we did. And am I ever glad that we did. As we skimmed the water’s surface drenched through and through I contemplated the beauty around me. My husband sitting in the stern of the canoe answered questions my kids had about the double rainbow that appeared in the sky. Why did we see only some colors instead of many. Why was it double. Why can’t we slide down a rainbow.

We turned the canoe halfway down the river. The fish weren’t biting much. I had only caught a small pike and a lot of weeds. It seems our lakes are being overrun with weeds. Then swiftly from a tree top next to the river a large bird swooped out of where it had been perched. Catching only a glimpse we all guessed at what it may have been. It appeared to be bigger then a hawk, maybe an owl. While still in the midst of our debating it reappeared to clear up the argument. A bald eagle swished gracefully above us and out of sight on the opposite river bank.

Feeling contented that nature had provided us with all we needed for the day. And feeling rather like a boatload of drowning rats we turned and headed back for the dock. The raindrops bounced off of the surface of the water. If had not been so wet I would have captured that moment with the camera. Perfection could not describe the beauty as we wound our way up the lazy little river that was lined with white and yellow water lilies. Silence and raindrops. And to complete my feeling of perfection I heard a small child chime in ‘this is the perfect day.’ It didn’t matter that we were all wet. It didn’t matter we were cold or that it was raining. It mattered that we were together enjoying nature as a family.
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Monday, August 8, 2011

Time Is Moving Fast!

I am so busy as of late our poor blog is suffering. However things are picking up speed as we move through our midsummer here in Northern Ontario. I have finally gotten the kids computer fixed and ready for this new year. We have a better hard drive now so we can expect them to start a computer class. The first computer class we will be taking is typing. Nothing speeds up computer work then good typing skills. I also like for them to use the website Spelling City . I loaded DS's math, he is doing Teaching Textbooks 5. Realistically I hope he will move on from that by Christmas as a lot of the work in the book has already been covered last year. I also downloaded the ebook by Donna Ward, Courage and Conquests to help with our history lessons. I am looking around online for geography province by province for the kids. I may just end up making up our own for this year though. So it is looker more and more like we are ready to head back to our cosy class and hit the books. I for one couldn't be happier as our time off has been long and although nice it has been also a tad dull.

I am heading up the kick off for the homeschool association and having been cooking up plans for that as well. And planning is underway for the convention next year in Northern Ontario. You can learn more about that at the Northern Ontario Homeschool Convention 2012 website. I look forward to meeting more fellow Ontarians and Upper Michiganers as well. Please feel free to comment on our newly made website as all comments will be taken into account. The convention may be put together by a few but it is intended for many and we love input.
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