Showing posts with label Reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reading. Show all posts

Monday, January 21, 2013

Teaching Time Managment

As part of our homeschooling, I have a list of classic children's books sorted in precise grade level order (2.1, 2.2, etc.) that I am having the kids read in addition to their Time4Learning, outside activities, and impromptu play and experiments.  Sometimes, it is hard to get T to sit down and read because there are so many things he wants to do.  I began to push bringing his books with us to activities.  Since we ride the NFTA buses to go places there is usually extra time waiting for a bus and extra time when we get somewhere early because the bus times aren't always precise for the desired arrival time.  There is also the time waiting for a bus to come home.

He fought me at first, but when he realized that he was getting almost all his reading done during time that would otherwise be wasted, he got much better about it.  He now sees that he has more time at home to play and do other things.  Hopefully, he will begin to appreciate how important time management is.  I think this is a pretty good way to teach it especially because without going to school there is still a tremendous amount of free time and this just increases it.  When I was in school learning time management wasn't the difference between free time and more free time, but no free time and a little free time.  It was hard to see the point when I was so overloaded.  Only time will tell if the time management sticks, but we'll wait and see.  I certainly think learning it in the context of more choices is better than the way I learned it where there was more of a punishment element in not having all my assignments ready.  Again, we'll have to see how it works long term.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

There Are No Breaks in Homeschool!

Thanks to the grandparents I got to take the kids on vacation to Maine.  Dad had to stay home, luckily to start a new job, not continue to look for one.  So, did we get a break from homeschool? Not at all!  Yes, I let the kids skip their Time4Learning for the week, but they didn't stop learning.  Besides, what better place to learn than at the beach!  It was unstructured learning though.  I brought along several books from the library on the ocean, Maine, rocks, and seashells.  We looked things up as needed, but made no effort to read anything cover to cover.  The first day, it was raining, but the tide was out at a good time, so we went for a walk and collected rocks and seashells.  Over the next several days we tried to look them up to see what we found.  For the rocks we tried to make an educated guess at igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary based on what we read.

I showed the kids that if you dig, you can reach water.  We even made a little canal and a sort of tide pool.  It wasn't exactly the Erie canal, but I think they got the idea.

They also had a great time playing in the ocean.  C rode some waves with Grandpa and T goofed off in the water.  They wore their long suits and hats to stay out of the UV rays.

Grandpa took T and C candlepin bowling for the first time.  He got them bumpers of course, but, hopefully, it will get them interested in the sport.  Too bad there is only regular bowling in Buffalo.

Don't forget about crafts too.  Mem helped them teach them how to do a type of knitting.  It was fun to watch them since I did that as a kid.

It was a great time.  There was a lot of learning too.  While many homeschool families say that they take the summer off, I doubt they stop learning.  I think when homeschool families say they take a break, they are really taking a break from formal curriculum.  Reading and exploration continues anyway.  This was certainly the case for us.

What about you?  Do you take a "break" from homeschool?  What does taking a break mean to you?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When the Annoying Becomes Educational

C is very active and I am beginning to have to make lessons more hands-on and, well, active.  She is a good little girl, but her need for activity can be annoying at times.  A recent example is her obsession with dandelions.  Since we walk all over the neighborhood, this invades most of our outings.  She is constantly bending over to pick them or blow the seeds.  Sometimes this behavior is charming, but if we are in a rush or if the risk of stepping in dog stuff is high (if she ventures onto grass) it can be too much.  She even collects them when there are other activities going on.  On a recent WNY Homeschool co-op day, the other kids were in the playground equipment, trading cards, or playing chess and she was running around collecting dandelions sometimes socializing and sometimes not.

Of course, they are good flowers for learning about how plants reproduce and a broad interest in wild flowers isn't bad.  I decided to try to find books at the library about flowers since they seem to be of such interest to both T and C.  It seems like a good way to reinforce science, reading, and maybe even life skills if we decide to rip out the lawn and put bulbs in during the fall.  I never guessed, though, that I would find a book on dandelions specifically called From Seed to Dandelion.  It seems like a great book for C and even T.  They were very excited to take it out and want Dad to read it ASAP.

Customizing learning to their interests is one of the great things about homeschoooling.  I have tried to do this where possible in a general sense at least.  Now, however, I am beginning to see that sometimes I will need to nurture even the annoying interests since they can lead to more learning.  It will be interesting to see if after reading the book they are satisfied or want to pursue flowers even further.  I guess we will soon see!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Homeschooling: Endless Joy for Mom

I am going to break from my normal style with this post.  My posts tend to be factual, explanatory, or even argumentative.  I rarely write the more reflective pieces about the maternal joy that comes from homeschooling or homemaking.  It isn't that I don't feel this joy, it just isn't my writing style.

As I may have mentioned before, my career experience is in accounting and school business administration.  I am a licensed CPA, School Business Administrator (SBA), and School District Administrator (SDA).  As you can imagine, the writing I did during my career was technical.  In some ways, my role as housewife and stay-at-home-mom still feels foreign while other times it feels completely natural.  Many people would believe that I am devastated that I can no longer work.  While there are times when I sadly think about the fact that I put a lot of time and effort into my career only to have it end, the sadness is more than replaced by the very great joy of homeschooling.

This past week has brought great joy at my son's accomplishments.  T had two big breakthroughs.  One break through is in reading.  While he can't pick up any book and start reading, he can read a substantial amount of the words from the kids' books that he picks up from the section of readers at our local library branch.  He is still slowly sounding out words quite a bit, but his success at it and confidence have both taken a recent jump where he wants to pick up books to read a lot more often.  His other break through was in swimming.  He mastered floating for several seconds, a big water adjustment step from Infaquatics: Teaching Kids to Swim.  It is hard to describe, but his comfort level in the water went up dramatically too.

Both of these are big steps for two very important life changing skill sets.  The sense of pride I had was obvious to me.  I felt great.  It was a greater sense of accomplishment than I ever felt for any degree or certification I received.  It wasn't until Tom came home from work and I told him about both, that the privilege I have in seeing and contributing to them was even more apparent.  He was quite pleased at T's increase in skills of course, but I could tell that he didn't feel the same way I did.  He just didn't have the first hand level of joy that I did as the parent who was there.  I suppose the situation was reversed when I worked and he was home.  I don't remember being as excited about T walking or talking as many mothers would be.  I was too busy and too stressed.  Of course, having Tom experience the joy instead would be fair enough, but if the kids were in school we would both be missing out.  Money can't buy the great sense of joy that can be savored almost daily by homeschooling.  Spread the word!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Homeschooling and Less Wasted Time

When I look at homeschooling, it is hard to not see so many benefits, but for me, one of the most compelling one is less wasted time.  Some of it is obvious.  When kids do their lessons at home, they don't need to wait in line or for the class to settle down.  There is also the much better commute time.

What about when you are waiting at the doctor or dentist?  Today, I had some ear discomfort and decided to go to the urgent care clinic at my medical group.  Of course, depending on how many people are already there, there can be a lot of waiting (even though it is comforting to know you can go when you are sick and not worry about getting an appointment).  While we waited, we read five of the optional reading books that go with T's unit in Time4Learning .  They spent less than an hour on their online curriculum earlier and the rest we took care of while we waited at the doctor (actually more than usual, we usually do one or two of the optional books a day).  Homeschooling turns some of your potentially least productive time into the most productive.

The verdict about my ear, unfortunately, was a bad ear infection.  I talked the provider into letting me go three days with continuous over the counter decongestants first to see if it would go away without antibiotics, but I took the script anyway in case it doesn't work.  Since 80% of ear infections go away on their own if you are properly hydrated and draining, I hate to mess up my micro balance unless I have run out of options.  That being said, if it comes down to it, at least antibiotics are temporary and loads of yogurt can be eaten later to compensate.  It is still a better medical technology than some of these new drugs for blood pressure, cholesterol, or pain whose expected use seem to be indefinite.  Medical consumers need be skeptical and ask a lot of questions these days.  While doctors aren't bad, their training is biased toward trusting the drug companies and the FDA.

Sorry to get side-tracked, but I just wanted to share how homeschooling can be so efficient.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Loving the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

One of the questions that seemed to come up in the Time4Learning forums was getting a hold of some of the optional reading materials that can go with it.  Some would say that their library didn't have them.  I would respond, of course, that they should put a hold on it from another branch or request an interlibrary loan.  I took for granted that all libraries have these features. 

I was shocked to find out that some people didn't have these services at their library.  It seemed that either they were in small towns or their library wasn't part of a larger library system.  This is a good reminder to all of us in in Erie County that we are very fortunate to have such a great resource in the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library.

Not only can the library help you get what you need, but they have great programs too, including story hours and crafts for kids.  If I wasn't so nervous about missing something, I might not even use our online curriculum, but homeschool completely with materials from our library.  Thank you Buffalo and Erie County Public Library!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Joy of Reading

One of the greatest joys about homeschooling is the excitement that comes with watching your child master something, like reading.  Of course, it normally happens in stages, but one day they are reading 3 letter, short vowel words.  Another day it is a new vowel, then long sounds, then double vowels.  It is a wonderful process to watch.  The best part is that you get to see it, not a stranger, but you.