Tag Archive | school

Our Expedition Through Earth

ImageOn Tuesday, we spent an amazing day out. Its been raining quite a bit recently with many areas flooding so we haven’t been able to spend a day outside in a while. For some reason, that day started off scarily foggy and cleared up to a bright sunny day, albeit still cold. So we decided to get a field trip in whilst we could. It wasn’t as planned as I’d liked as we are only starting out our Sun and Planets unit, and we will be going on another field trip with worksheets and a review of what we learnt, at the end of the unit.

Nevertheless, we began the day at the Natural History Museum and concentrated on the Earth Hall. It was a great and fascinating collection of the Earth and Universes’ beauty. There were exhibitions on the stars, rocks, water, natural minerals and resources, all with beautiful, amazing illustrations and descriptions. As much as the kids enjoyed the Hall, they had a small area right at the beginning which described some of the myths of the Earths past, such as cyclops and Medusa. Of course this was the kids favorite exhibition. They were so animated, describing the different versions of the Myths. My son was even telling me stories about History we have yet to cover in our Story of the World books. I was impressed and a little bewildered that he was naming the different mythical beasts and their stories. It seems kids really do memorize the most random of things, yet he’s surprised when I tell him for the 10th time that his room needs cleaning!

We then went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, I hadn’t been there since I was a kid. We saw the History of some past civilizations but there was a bit too much nudity for me, so we didn’t stay long. The kids found this all very funny and repeatedly asked me why anyone would want to look at naked statues, let alone create them. I honestly did not have an appropriate answer. I realized then that I did not think this through. I could barely remember the Museum and thought it was more of an art gallery. I’m going to need to plan ahead for whenever there is a sunny day and we can have a planned ‘spontaneous’ outing. We did get to see some of the clothing, tools and weapons of Asia. My kids actually were very intrigued by some of the kinds of weaponry used back then. My daughters love anything scary so they were fascinated about a particular weapon which once entered the body opens up. It’s funny how the most grotesque things are what they will probably remember from the day.

Regardless we enjoyed our day out and spent the last hour of sunlight at the park before we had a nice meal at a beautiful restaurant. I love getting out of the house for a day purely for the kids. It’s very stress free when you know that the day belongs to the kids so nothing can really happen unexpected, as you have no expectations. The kids did get some motivation for our schooling and are looking forward to continuing our learning on the Solar System, so they can return to the Museum and understand most of the things they saw. I, on the other hand, had a delightful day as my children were happy and that was good enough for me. There was also the added benefit that I didn’t have to cook dinner!

“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.”

Franklin P. Jones

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Homeschool – Second Week Of January Overview

ImageI have had an incredibly busy last few weeks. We have been getting back into the hang of things with our homeschooling this week. It has been a very rocky start back after the holidays. Even though this is quite common with many children, especially seeing as my kids have been without a set routine for the past month or so, it isn’t any less frustrating.

At the beginning of the week I gave a small review quiz of the previous months work and they did not score a satisfactory enough mark for me. So we have taken this week to really review and revive their school routines in the process. I have also begun the Writing With Skills curriculum by Susan Bauer this week with my son. Its a bit sad that the eldest child is the one we all experiment on and practice our parenting skills with. I’m hoping if I like this writing curriculum then I shall incorporate it with my younger daughters. So far it is very good as it reminds me of the very basic skills, which I don’t think I have taught my son. I love the fact that it shows how other writers organize their work and gives practical tips on how to organize and summarize your own writing. It even includes extra tidbits that slip my mind when teaching my son about writing, such as superscripts and footnotes.

We have completed and reviewed our weather, air and water unit from last month and our nouns work. Therefore, I am happy now with their progress to begin our Solar Systems unit next week as well as learning about verbs. We are still going to be continuing our fractions work this week, as the multiplication and division of fractions has taken quite a few more lessons than I had planned. I have been reviewing different teaching methods in order to make this easier and will try a few more approaches to this next week.

I have been having a slight problem with my disciplining technique recently. I have said before that I have needed to update my techniques quite a lot as the kids have gotten used to them and end up arguing and disobeying them. Therefore, I really want to stick this one out but am at a loss as to how to approach this new development. I am currently disciplining by rewarding good behavior and ‘correcting / punishing’ bad behavior. This has been working great for a while with the kids eager to earn points and receive their rewards. However, recently they have become great negotiators. They have been asking me what the punishment is and deciding that its worth taking. As well as negotiating their rewards, saying they will obey as long as they get … I have not yet lost my temper which I am very pleased about and want to keep that way, but it ends up turning into a serious (and sometimes long) negotiation. Where I am convincing them that there is no choice in the matter you either complete what I have asked, whether schooling or chores, and as a result you will receive a reward. They are in turn attempting to convince me that the reward isn’t worthy of the task and I should therefore increase their rewards.

I am astounded by this. I honestly don’t understand what the difference was between my parenting and my parents’ parenting, however I would NEVER even consider talking back to them let alone negotiating rules. I don’t know how to overcome this current hiccup in their behavior. However, I do want to nip this in the bud before it gets worse. This technique has been working so far so I need to try to find a way to keep this reward and punishment system but perhaps include harsher punishments and sweeter rewards. This requires more studying and researching. I will need to go back and read more of Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson this week.

Please feel free to share your disciplining techniques and what has worked for you.

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” 

Sigmund Freud

Homeschool – Third Week of December Overview!

ImageThis week has been a pretty busy week. We have still been working on our Weather Unit. We managed to complete learning about clouds and the water cycle this week. I even somehow managed to get the kids to complete an evaluation sheet whilst doing their experiment and they didn’t seem to realize they were writing so much! We have been continuing our work on fractions. I was hoping to move on to multiplying and dividing fractions next week, but I still need to work some more with the girls on the least common denominator. I will need a few more days on this to make sure they fully understand adding and subtracting different denominators and mixed fractions. At the end of each of these units I will be giving them a test so that I know what their strengths are and where they need to improve. We have also been doing daily multiplication and division flashcards which has improved their speed a tremendous amount. I used to use flashcards on a daily basis when they were younger for addition, subtraction and reading. I cannot remember why I stopped this, it worked great back then. I think I may have got sidetracked with other work I wanted him to accomplish that I just left this out. Nevertheless, I do highly recommend, regardless of age to use flashcards, especially for Math.

ImageI have also added a ‘word wall’ to my ‘classroom’. It has helped to strengthen the kids confidence in writing as well as spelling skills. I’ve spoken before about my sons writing abilities. In the past he has been struggling with his creative writing and has had a hatred for writing anything. He has been very good with orally answering questions and explaining them but has never liked to put them down on paper. These past couple weeks has been great. I bought him a leather bound journalling book (which he thought was pretty cool) and he has been regularly using it. I have also added a whiteboard on top of each of the kids’ desks in their rooms and this has also aided him to find pleasure in daily writing. I am very pleased with his progress and have bought the ‘Complete Writer: Writing with Skill’ books by Susan Wise Bauer as we have been doing her Story of the World book series. I love her writing and various accompaniments and teacher aids with each lesson, which makes it a delight to teach and enjoy alongside your children. I’m looking forward to beginning this Writing with Skill curriculum to help increase my son’s new found love of writing, in the new year. I have always hesitated on this considering it was a struggle to get him to write two sentences. However, I feel like the time is now right to begin this and hopefully he will enjoy it and it will be of benefit to him. I will review the book in future, when I have a chance.

We have also been continuing our Story of the World notebooking pages. I read the stories to the children and we take notes along the way. I sometimes allow the kids to read it aloud but for some reason, they don’t listen very well to each other and as a result they don’t understand what was read. Therefore, when I read it, they will take notes then at the end of the chapter they will write in their own words what they learnt about that chapter and attach the relevant lapbooking printables to their notbooking page. I have noticed that we haven’t done much on Geography this month and therefore I need to really focus and incorporate it more into our work for next month.

ImageWe have also tried to soak up as much sunshine as possible before the snow sets in. It felt good to stretch our legs after being cooped up at home for the past couple of really cold weeks. It was chilly but warmer than the last few days and yet the park was still pretty much deserted. I love to let the kids roam where I can relax, and even spend some time playing catch with my boy! Our outings usually end either with the kids feeling mellow, grateful and content the rest of the day or with some added burst of crazy wild energy. Today we experienced the latter. I usually like to finish off some of the work I had planned during the week but we didn’t get around to completing, on the weekend. However, even though we may have a couple things we need to add on for tomorrow, we have finished the majority of our weeks work, so I was happy to let them relax and play together today. 

Overall, I feel like this has been another good homeschooling week. Where we even managed a lesson and some yarn ‘weaving sun’ crafts for the winter solstice. The kids have been on a whole very happy this week and that is, after all what I am truly grateful for. So double thumbs up this week!

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” 
Albert Einstein

Our December Homeschool Theme!

dec decor

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We have been working on this months WINTER theme. It’s been a whole bunch of origami, snowflakes, tinsel, pretty pictures and a whole lot of paper for our scraps pile. Regardless, the smiling faces all around made it all worth it.

 

 

 We have a certain display area on the wall for grammar rules which I aim to change every week. This week we have been learning about onomatopoeia. This idea of displaying the rules and work associated with it has had positive feedback from my children and helps the rules to really stick in their heads. I know from way back in my own school days that I have forgotten many rules and concepts of the actual school work but I can remember the words, pictures and layout of my classroom like I was there yesterday.

My style of teaching recently has been strict traditional school type, with textbooks and handouts from an already set out curriculum. My fifth grader is currently using the Calvert School Curriculum. I love this curriculum, because it is easily laid out for you, complete with a very detailed lesson plan. However, I’ve found this teaching approach doesn’t work too well with my son, who is a very hands on learner. Therefore, I have been forced to be inventive and incorporate the curriculum into an everyday fun experience! Therefore, I’ve decided the first step is to encourage his imagination and more pride in his abilities by better displaying his work around the ‘classroom’.

We have also began a Weather Lapbook for Science this week and I’m hoping to learn and work through it this month so I will blog the finished lapbook at the end of the month.

My sons weakness at the moment is his confidence in his imagination and creative writing. Which is what I have decided to work more on this month. He is an avid reader and finishes many books a week. However, when it comes to his writing, if I provide a blank page and ask him to write me a story, he does not have any inclination to accomplish this task. Even when adding prompts such as a topic sentence, he complains that it is too difficult. I know that he is capable of this because he is happy to orally tell me the story and answer questions or complete worksheets and forms his sentences well.

I have come to realise that perhaps it is not him that has the problem but myself in the way I teach him. Therefore, I’ve found that with a different teaching approach he is eager to display his work and needs less coaxing to complete it. On the other hand, my daughters love to write and can fill journals with their ideas and imaginations but simple questions and concepts seem to need a few extra lessons and techniques in order to learn them. Please let me know if any of you have experiences which has caused you to change your teaching techniques or have had similar problems. I find it truly amazing how unique we all are and I want my children to accept and be proud of that.

“Having a low opinion of yourself is not ‘modesty’. It’s self-destruction. Holding your uniqueness in high regard is not ‘egotism’. It’s a necessary precondition to happiness and success.”

Bobbe Sommer