Recently in Homeschooling Category

Life Experiences: Do They Count as Education?

YES! It's called APPLIED LEARNING. This is an issue close to my heart, as you can probably gather from the video. Everyone has a particular thing that works for them and my bottom line is that people have no right to judge an educational path a family has chosen if that path is working well for the family. Homeschooling works for us, public schooling works well for others - consistency in the choice you make is key. Taking them in and out of a public school setting constantly can be disruptive and just not having a bit of structure in homeschooling can be as well.

(I love Karen's point about how we don't come to our decisions lightly. Chris can tell you how I ordered a hundred or so samples of curriculum and researched homeschooling for three years before choosing it.)

I rambled on and on in my submission but I have to share this: I met a family while in Nashville a couple of weeks ago, a family of five traveling across the country with their homeschooled children. They decided that before they buy a house and get entangled in a mortgage, they were going to take this once-in-a-lifetime chance to travel the country with their kids and teach them about America. The kids are videotaping and journaling their experiences which, to me, is educational gold. They're learning about other cultures, history, EVERYTHING. This, to me, is heaven. Obviously, it can't work for all, but for those who can make it work, wonderful.

Check out my and these lovely Momversation ladies' insights:

Homework shomework

My latest for Momversation wherein we discuss homework and how it's loaded onto kids these days. As I said in the video, it's actually an issue which pushed us to home-educate: I think that each child has a distinct way of learning and the way in which our educational system is structured doesn't accommodate this, thus, some students suffer. Learning should be fun, NOT a chore and I don't ever want my kids curiosity to end with the bell. 

Liam has homework, but as he suffers with repetition on things which he's mastered, his "homework" is more independent study and projects which require him to apply and showcase his skills. For instance: when we go to the store, his job is to find every product on my list and determine the product with the lowest price per ounce. When that is identified, if it's a food product, we study the ingredients and figure out which is the healthiest as the cheapest isn't always the best bet and neither is the most expensive. It forces him to apply a number of skills: math, reading, and science because he has to remember how things such as sugar and starch affect the body and to what food group they belong. Watching the grocery list and the budget is something that has helped his math skills more than any worksheet ever has. I wish schools could do more of this, daily. 

We do a lot of this around here


... because there's a toy he wants in it.

Ewan has been carrying around a Target magazine from March because there's a toy advertised in it that he's been lobbying us to buy him. He was reading the prices aloud to Liam.

Ewan has been carrying around a Target magazine from March ...

Liam has already figured out how to subcontract his chores out to Ewan for a depressed wage. Ewan thinks any money, even a penny, is a miraculous thing, and he will put away all of Liam's clean clothes for two cents. 

"I hope he never learns math," Liam told me yesterday.
Liam likes scary stories

I told him that it would take Ewan for forever to buy the toy he wanted at that rate. (Sort of the idea. He has too many.) 

Liam sighed. "I'll buy it for him then," and retrieved the correct amount of money from his bulldog wallet. 

"Thanks, Liam!" Ewan beamed. 

First day of third grade

Day one

... and kindergarten, simultaneously. I've been gearing up to teach two children two different subjects at the same time for a while now. Even though we go year-round with a few breaks here and there, and our house is a lab of learning, today certainly felt like dress rehearsal for two was over. 


Thankfully Liam is patient and can tackle about any assignment I give him without problems. Ewan, on the other hand, likes to climb into your brain and scratch your out the walls of your skull like a squirrel in a tree. (I love him to bits.) He challenges you to challenge him and rewards you with a demonstration of just how smart he really is. He is the most strong-willed child I have ever encountered in my entire life and sometimes I wonder if he's possessed by Donald Trump. No, he doesn't want to write the letter U that way, what is wrong with you? He wants to write them HIS way. Later when he thinks you're not looking he'll write them the correct way and insist that it was HIS way all along. Oh, and also, YOU'RE FIRED. 


Liam resumes his art, Spanish, and gym classes shortly. In a couple of years he'll be old enough to take the science labs associated with our homeschool group, although, I have a secret desire to just order a bunch of lab equipment and turn the dining room into a mad scientist's lair. I did that as a kid; I concocted on-going "experiments" with all my mom's cosmetics and stored them under my bed. The old woman who sat for me one summer, Mrs. Shoe, found them and I thought she was going to whoop me to death. I outran her anyway; the way her knee-high support hose fell down around her ankles when she walked fast was a blessing. 


A few quick things while my afternoon coffee infusion kicks in:
- We're using ABeka this year, again. I love their curriculum and Liam has done so well with it. We are supplementing with Usbourne books, too.

Books on the piano bench

- I use Homeschool Tracker to log all my hours, keep track of curriculum, completed assignments, et al. I researched the various types of software before deciding on this one; it's easy to use, easy to add resources; the basic version is free and the paid version is a good value compared to some others I've seen. I highly recommend it. My only gripe is that there isn't such software for Macs; they're all for PC. I'm running the Homeschool Tracker off my old Dell which isn't the height of convenience, but it's better right now than trying to run it off Parallels or VMware Fusion. The Mac programmer that decides to create such a software for us homeschool Mac users deserves a ticker-tape parade. 

Logging software

- A couple years ago I tried to use a corner of the kids' playroom as the classroom but it was miserable and we hated trekking all the way up to the top of the house for it so we're all back in the dining room. I like it better here anyway, because I'm that much closer to my French Press.

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