Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A few things I LEARNED at the homeschool conference?

Organization Skills:  I need to make a loose daily schedule for chores and assign (delegate) chores for each child.  Amazon sells a timer that has 6 alarms with verbal (recordable) prompts....this can be used for frequent reminders to help keep everyone on task. The kids and I had a planning meeting on this subject and have come up with a few ways to implement this on a daily basis.

Multi-Level Teaching: teaching everyone the same things (on their own levels) will make it easier to remember what we've covered and it will allow me to have more time to enjoy my kids. Letting the kids check each others work and practice skills together will encourage team work and reinforce what they are learning.

Notebooking: Creating a journal or notebook for any or all subjects is a fun and creative way to keep track of what the kids are learning, give them a way to display their work and encourage them to do their best.

Micro-Business: Creating multiple streams of income not only helps the kids to figure out what they want to do when they are grown, it also helps to provide them with spending money and would give us a cushion should we have any unexpected expenses.

Aquaponics: Year round gardening is possible using a green house and live fish to keep the plants healthy.  The fish can also be eaten.  I need to do more research on this one, but it definitely touched a nerve for me.

Physical Fitness: We are not martial arts type people, but EVERYONE loved learning about Krav Maga self defense. With very little equipment this is something that Hubby could do with all the kids as part of our PE time this year.

Survival Skills: This guy was very informative and covered quite a few things that Hubby and I hadn't considered. 
We both have military training, but have never made a disaster plan or even discussed survival skills with the kids.  As a direct result of attending the survival training sessions, we are discussing food storage, planning to take the kids hiking and planning a once per month "survival day".  On Survival day we will practice living without electricity, running water and electronics.  We also plan to teach them basic first aid skills.

Hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed the Home School Conference.  We are already making plans to attend again next year.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Getting closer to a PLAN

I collected every catalog I could get my hands on at the recent homeschool conference and I have been eagerly browsing them ever since.  I also really like Amazon and several other websites that pop up at the bottom of the Amazon pages whenever I search for a particular textbook or workbook.  There are simply too many options!

What I am finding is that I DON'T want a curriculum set and I DON'T want a program that tells me how they think I should present the material to my children.  Some of the programs have impressive claims, but as soon as they start talking about their step by step instructions, I am turned off. I like to do my own thing and I have found my kids learn the most when things are only loosely structured.

I am sure that I am over analyzing.  Most of the catalogs have the same exact books, some offer free shipping, some offer discounts, some have package deals.  There are certain books I MUST buy for courses the kids are taking at the co-op and there are other books that I just really like.  There is also the list of books that appeal to me, but I'm not sure are worth the money. Of course, I'm also looking at used books on Amazon and trying to decide if they would be "good enough" for what we need.

Math is figured out.  Morgan and Maggie will be using Saxon Algebra through the local co-op.  Marissa and Melanie will be doing Life of Fred and supplementing with a variety of math workbooks.

Science is figured out.  Morgan will be taking a dual enrollment Chemistry, Maggie will have Biology through the co-op, Marissa will be doing an eclectic general science and Melanie will be learning about flying animals at the co-op while also participating in Marissa's general science.

PE is figured out.  Our homeschool group has arranged a weekly time slot at the community center for a small fee.

English (language arts) I am still working on.  Morgan will be taking a dual enrollment English class, Maggie will have a writing class through the co-op and will be reading classics in the Fall, not sure about Spring for her yet.  Marissa will be starting novel studies and she will have an Institute for Excellence in Writing class at the co-op. I also want to find a spelling program for her and we will be working on cursive writing. Melanie is not yet reading independently, we will continue with reading eggs, we'll be working with all the phonics readers we've collected over the years and I'll be trying to find a way to make her WANT to read.  I also want to find a good beginning spelling book for her, she currently has more interest in writing than reading.  She will be in a Five in a Row class in Co-op.

History/Social Science is NOT figured out.  Morgan was going to be taking Econ/Government at the co-op, but between the cost for the books and his reluctance we are looking for another option.  Maggie will be in 9th grade and I'm not sure what she should even be studying in history this year.  We may continue Story of the World with Marissa, but we will need to do some extra supplementing because it is not interesting enough for her on its own. Melanie will be studying Native Americans at the co-op.

Art is figured out.  Our homeschool group has an arts and crafts day twice a month at the library for Marissa and Melanie.  Maggie sometimes participates.  Morgan has no interest in Art, other than anime.  He will probably take a dual-enrollment art appreciation course either in the Spring or next school year. We have tons of art materials at home that the kids use in whatever way interests them.

Music is figured out. Morgan and Maggie are members of our County Choral Society.  All 4 kids will be in the Wizard of Oz musical this Fall and other productions that will be put on by the new local Children's Community Theatre program the rest of the year.

Foreign Language is mostly figured out.  Morgan has completed 2 years of German.  Maggie will be learning French, I can not afford Rosetta Stone, or any of those types of programs.  We have French workbooks and will be using Duolingo, but I'm still looking for an affordable textbook.  Marissa and Melanie will be participating in a French Playgroup at the library.

We are going to have a very busy schedule in the Fall, I am hoping to get it finalized and everything purchased by mid-August.  Our target start date is August 20th.

Children's Community Theatre---The Wizard of Oz!

We received an exciting e-mail today! Our four youngest auditioned for the Wizard of Oz last week and the casting list has arrived.  Morgan will be the Tinman, Maggie will be the Wicked Witch of the West and the little girls will be Munchkins.  They all love to sing and everyone except Maggie also loves to dance.  This is a brand new program in our community and we can't wait to watch it blossom.

Here is the picture Maggie attached to her theatre resume for the audition.