Sunday, March 29, 2009

Homeschooling on the road...

Sometimes, you just have to grab those ideas when they come to you.... video

I know. The genius of my wording is scary. The flow of words. The smoothness with which I deliver an idea.... Awe-inspiring. And it TOTALLY makes me seem capable of teaching my children Everything They Need To Know.

Excellent.


This was AFTER the conversation I had with Evan regarding Crack. Yes, Crack. With my 6 year old....

"Mommy, Crack is a street drug."

"Um, yes. It is."

"People might ask you to use it, but it's bad."

"Yeahhhh... but I don't think you'll be meeting anybody who will have Crack."

"But Mommy. Crack is a ROCK. But wine is alcohol. Why do you drink alcohol? You drink wine, Mommy. You do."

"Yes, but I am a grown-up and I don't drink so much alcohol that I get sick. I also don't use drugs like Crack or things like that."

"But MOMMY. CRACK is a Street Drug." (said with emphasis because I was obviously not understanding the point of his conversation. Tell me though: Are YOU understanding his point?)

"And Mo-mmy. People on the street GIVE you crack. And it's a rock you find on the street!"

The worry in his voice is obvious at this point. The poor kid adores rocks and dirt. I'm sure that the thought of not being able to play by the street with People who might have ROCKS scared him.. Basically, the kid is confused about what drugs really are, and what a "street drug" is. Too much information, too soon, with not enough answers to his worrisome questions....

Just goes to show how something as simple as drug awareness can go terribly awry in a group setting.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I am not a saint.

I do not possess super-patience.

I don't have all the answers.

I am not an uber-genius-mom with crafty ideas coming out of every pore.

But can you honestly name one teacher who IS?

There isn't any one way for kids to learn. We ALL know that. Heck, even public schools TELL us that. They give us the tests to determine what "type" of learner we are. Kinesthetic, visual, audio, mixture? Then we are told what our learning type is, but nothing changes in the way the material is presented.

This isn't really a fault on the teachers. I can't imagine having 30 children asking 30 different questions. Each has their own life story, method of learning, personal issues, and health changes to deal with. Each has a speed unto their own of processing new information. It isn't Johnny's fault if he is a super speedy reader, but can't wrap his brain around the math concept from last week. It isn't within the teacher's ability to privately tutor each child on their weak points to be assured that they understand all of the material.

I am slowly knocking down the walls to the resistance for homeschooling Evan, too.

I've presented it to Patrick.

I've mentioned it to Evan.

We've discussed the ups and downs of the new scenario with the desired end results being:

- more family time.
- more time to learn about subjects that really INTEREST each child.
- no pressure for early rising. Each of my children does better with a slightly later bedtime and a slightly later waking time.
- more exercise: recess will NEVER be taken away as a punishment while homeschooling. P.E. is whatever is the most fun for us. And P.E. will never be "stacking cups while half the class climbs the rock wall" (true story.)
- more hands on education - one of my greatest desires is to take my children to every museum until we have the halls memorized. We live 40 minutes outside one of the greatest cities in the U.S.A. and have only touched upon a few of the museums due to the school's schedule.
- more exposure to people of different mind-sets - While our suburban neighborhood is fairly diverse for our area, I will be able to expose them to new cultures through day trips and diverse homeschooling groups.
- I will get to KNOW my kids. I worry for my relationship with Evan, if we DON'T homeschool. I have always said that he and I don't connect quite as much as me and Justin. Not to say that we can't communicate, but he doesn't seek me out the same way as my other 2 do. He is more content to amuse himself or to play with friends, which leads to me wondering "Who IS this kid? What goes on in his crazy little mind?" Because honestly? Evan is FUN.NY. And caring. And he doesn't get enough credit for these qualities....


That said, I have to head off. For while I WANT to teach him at home, he isn't homeschooled yet. So he has tons of HOMEWORK to finish before we can have a movie night in bed....

Yucky homework.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Too much information?

Ooh! You know what will be fun? More fun than ponies and rainbows and ice cream??

Homeschooling when you have your period.

Yes. This will ROCK.

Friday, March 20, 2009

TGIF

Today has been another good one. Justin and I had a long conversation as we started our 13 colonies unit in full force. He finished a couple of worksheets, and a timeline. We read over a unit plan I found online that we are using loosely to explore what it was really like in the 1600-1800's. (Big time span, I know. We're picking out what is most interesting to Justin, first).

He has done 2 days of typing and has gone from 11 wpm (on the first lesson, only) to 26 wpm. Big change, already! He has blogged every day, and I am now going to start being a bit more of a stickler when it comes to grammar and punctuation. I HATE poor grammar. Though I might personally make many punctuation problems, I at least understand the rules of the English language. To me, nothing screams of a poor education louder than easily fixed grammar, punctuation or spelling mistakes.

We are off to watch a recorded Planet Earth episode for some down time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A taste of a possible future...

Busy day today! Got a taste of what it would be like if Evan were home, too.
Catching up on some math homework at the little kid table...
Working on word recognization. Evan helped make the sentences and Corinne was able to remember a few of the same words. We changed the verbs to see the different ways the sentence could look.
Making a catapult for an Engineering badge for Cub Scouts.
It worked!

Watering our seedlings for Tiger Scouts. The daisies and marigolds are blooming first...

My homework. It still awaits me upstairs...
Red and yellow do make orange, did you know? Also, when you mix green with orange, it looks like a poopy baby diaper, apparently... Nice.
Also, this is what your 6 year old looks like with peeling scabs on his face. He fell while running home from the park. Thank God he didn't break any teeth!

Reading one of the Gregor the Overlander series for a book report.

Making vanilla pudding all. by. herself.

Measuring the house for another requirement for the Engineering badge. He will then draw the floor plan to "scale".


Whew. I am EXHAUSTED. Well, not really. But the dishes only kind of got done and the laundry is really piled up. If you add in the facts that Evan isn't himself yet, and threw a 2 hour tantrum, we read 4 chapters aloud of Junie B Jones (Evan's favorite) and also that Evan and Corinne both had baths, I would say that today is a pretty profitable day.

The kids are all playing quietly. Justin is doing Legos. Evan is spinning in circles, killing invisible Jedi enemies, and Corinne is in her room doing something quietly (let's hope it doesn't involve cutting a doll's hair...)

I am off to tackle that laundry!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A silent and sneaky beginning...

Spoke with the VP at Justin's school today. She was very kind and understanding. Seemed to be accommodating when I asked if he could still attend his recorder concert and get his workbooks to finish up for this year. I still need to send the formal letter in, but Justin was home today ANYway, as he has a horrible hacking cough that would have been disruptive and not conducive to his own learning.

Speaking of which, we had a decent day at home. DESPITE his incredibly irritating cough (I would not make a good nurse, right?) we still worked through some of his fractions questions and did some division review (which he needed work on, thanks to all of the studying they had done for the freaking ISAT tests...). He also read a basic book on Lewis and Clark, and then did a simple review over that book. We will expand upon more of their journeys and maybe make our own version of the map that they formed. Not sure, yet. We played Scrabble and gave extra points for using a word from the spelling list I found online (all words he would have no problem spelling, but I want to incorporate the basics each week, especially since I don't have his workbooks from school yet.)

We're hoping to attend a homeschool gathering tomorrow, providing that he isn't coughing up a lung. It is GORGEOUS out and all 3 of my kids are inside, looking pitiful. Even Evan seems to be coming down with the dreaded cold!!! This is Not. Fair. It is supposed to be 70 out on Tuesday. All of them should be allowed to be outside, running around. But I have a feeling that this will not be the case...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ahhhh.... wellllll.... okay, then....

Justin woke up still feeling groggy and unmotivated. I looked at him and said to myself "This is stupid. If he doesn't want to go to school today, don't make him." I told him we could either do homeschool today or he could tough it out at school. He chose to stay home.

And?

It's been GOOD.

I know, I know. Honeymoon period, and all. But today, even with a headache and feeling drowsy, we worked on fractions (where he figured out what I was talking about when I said to make it a more condensed number!), played a geography game with an inflatable globe, he wrote in his journal, and we hit the library where we checked out a ton of books. He is now enjoying his free reading time while Corinne plays quietly behind me. I am off to cook lunch and hope to continue our discussion on how we wish to begin the solar system unit.

I even managed to do the dishes and laundry, so the house isn't falling apart... YET. Being busy was never an excuse before, and it STILL fell apart repeatedly!

We are extremely busy this weekend, but I am planning on drafting a letter to the school requesting that he attend his recorder concert ANYWAY, if I pull him out NOW.

Crossing my fingers....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My first attempts at "planning"....

WWW.TheTeachersCorner.net is NEAT. There are printable worksheets that will design quizzes and word scrambles, basic knowledge checking info that they have available or information that I want to use from my own study units.

Since Justin really wanted to start on the Solar System (he loves space, but didn't feel like they got to do enough on it in school), I included a match and find, using the information from the library books I checked out on the solar system. Everything he needs to know for the worksheet is right there in the book. He just needs to find it. I'm hoping that these worksheets will help him transition into a homeschooling frame of mind a bit easier than just being all loose and unstructured. I am definitely for a looser teaching style, but think he is a child that needs help with focus and goals. Probably more of a Montessori style, with saying "by the end of this time period, you should have accomplished A, B, and C. Do them in whatever order or speed you need, but keep on task!"

I've also laid out a tentative plan for ways to incorporate spelling and math into the solar system unit. We're going to make a to-scale model of the system, with interesting information about each planet. He will be allowed to make the planets out of whatever medium he wants and we'll use our math skills to figure out how big each planet should be in centimeters or inches based upon the measurements in our space books.

I've also thumbed through the Webelos Cub Scout book and am loving the idea of dual accomplishments! When I showed Justin how we could utilize most of the requirements for the achievements in the handbook, he was pretty intrigued (well, as intrigued as a 10 year can get when his mom shoves a book in his face while he's playing army men...).

I am reading a book from the library titled "The First Year of Homschooling Your Child" by Linda Dobson. Easy to read. Very empowering. Makes me feel as though I truly am able to pull this off!

T minus 19 days...

Ok, folks. This is where I plan on recording what Justin and I (and Corinne! She'll be doing some preschool stuff while Justin and I do the more complicated work) are accomplishing. I hope to use this as not only a journal of how we FEEL about this adventure, but also on what is working or not and on ideas I have that I don't want to lose. Handwritten notes aren't always my best bet, anymore.

Please, if you see me scrambling for ideas on a unit or something, I'd love any brainstorms you might have!

Also, let's keep this blog POSITIVE. I don't need any criticism, nor will I allow negativity to remain in the comments. Just an FYI, for any potential trolls.

Wish me luck!