Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Years Resolutions

Try to be better about posting to this blog!!!

I've updated my website to focus in on right brain learners and teaching techniques and curriculum choices that are best for these kids (since I have 2 of them.) Even children who enjoy workbooks and the traditional style of schooling benefit from some "right brain" activities. Check it out and share with a friend! www.homeschool-by-design.com

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Whole New Perspective

My kids have never been fans of workbooks. They love games, movies, projects, reading, field trips, so that's how I've tried to teach over the years. The girls have done well and seem to enjoy learning most of the time.

I've researched the benefits of playing games and am a believer that they are a great (often under-utilized) learning too. Studies suggest that playing educational games helps move information from the left side of the brain (short term memory) to the right side (long term memory.)

Recently, I started reading about "right brained" learners and was surprised to discover (even though I probably shouldn't have been) that both of my children are "right brainers." The more I learn, the happier I am that I chose to homeschool the way we did. With both girls in middle school, this was the year I was finally going to make the switch to more "traditional" assignments, but now I am convinced that I need to continue the current path with even more changes to maximize their learning potential.

I'm sure this will be a challenge for me. My teacher training didn't cover this kind of learning, so it's a whole new perspective.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

High school Form+U+La

Sarah's probably worried about high school because I am. Although she's only entering 8th grade she's thinking ahead. I'm reading everything I can get my hands on about homeschooling high school. Seems like the best advice so far is to look at college entrance requirements and work backwards.

Currently I am reading Barb Shelton's book, Senior High: A Home Designed Form+U+La. Although she doesn't seem sold on the idea of college (I am planning on it for my kids) there are some helpful ideas for planning and record keeping. Another point she brings up is that although we need to be mindful of requirements if our children are college bound, we don't need to necessarily follow the standard public school format for teaching required subjects to be eligible for college admission. That gave me alot to think about!

Almost a High Schooler

Sarah turned 13 in May. I don't know what happened on that magical day, but she has started showing signs of wanting to grow up and be responsible. :-) Happy day for me! She's made lists, organized a calendar, started gathering materials for projects and activities early in the day, finishing things she starts (like laundry), and overall showing more maturity.

She continually talks about starting high school and the need to get it together so she can go to college. (Yay!) This week she pulled a copy of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar off the shelf and started reading it to get a "head start" on high school literature. When she realized it was difficult to understand, she checked out the movie from the library to get an overview before digging into the actual text again. (Smart thinking!)

My baby is growing up! :-( and :-) all rolled into one.

Charlotte Mason

I've been doing some reading on Charlotte Mason. My biggest takeaway is her scheduling and narration. I really like how she breaks the subjects into "times" rather than assignments. My girls think getting their schoolwork finished is a race. Most of what I assign them is the same even though they are two years apart. I wish they would learn to spend the time they need to really absorb something that they read and when they are in a race to finish two chapters in a day, I don't feel like they do.

I wouldn't really consider us year round schoolers, but I guess we are because we never quit doing math for any length of time and we are always reading. This week we are doing an experiment. "Last year" we used Core 5 of Sonlight and because of all our travelling, we didn't quite finish all the reading before the typical summer break. So, instead of assigning pages for them to read, I told them they needed to read 30 minutes of the assigned book each day and write down for me the pages that they read. Later, I asked them to tell me everything that was in the story that day and what they thought might happen tomorrow. Sometimes, I have had to prod for more information, but overall they have been doing an excellent job of telling me the story and nobody is concerned about who read more in the 30 minutes. (I thought this might be a problem ~ they are pretty competitive.)

I am considering using something similar in the fall, but with more subjects. I almost wonder if they might actually accomplish more if they work diligently for short spurts of time. We'll see how it goes.

Jet setting

OK...So, I'm really behind! Can you believe we've been literally been across the US (to Alaska and Florida) since I blogged last?
Alaska was AWESOME!

We took a 7 day cruise from Vancouver to Seward, then drove to Anchorage to drive home. This has been a dream of mine for years. When my husband asked what I wanted to do for my 40th birthday, this was at the top of my list. I never dreamed we would be able to take the girls, but because of a cruise line special, the 3rd and 4th passenger in the cabin were FREE! Of course, I had to make it a super cool field trip after a 6 weeks unit study on Alaska.

Less than 6 weeks later we headed to Florida for our standard annual vacation at the beach with my husband's family. Several families rent condos and spend a week at the beach. 25 relations gathered around a dinner table at a local restaurant is a sight to behold. What a great opportunity to have these kids grow up knowing each other and their older relatives.

Lots going on "schoolwise." I'll try to get to that soon!