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Found 19 results

  1. Another thread and a post by Ruth has really got me thinking. It seems all our subjects are so restrictive and in depth when it comes to how we do them. I have been racking my brain for weeks now trying to figure out why it seems we are spending all day doing school and not really much being accomplished. Why cant you pick a list of topics and let the child read and watch about it? I think this would really work for my kiddos but I guess I am lacking the knowledge to step out and do it. I want my kids to have more time for math not just their regular curriculum but all the extras. I want them to have more time to focus and explore in science. Both girls are excellent spellers and their writing is coming along fine. So why do I take the time out of our days to do things I don't think they need? Mainly because of the pressure I feel from other moms. I read some of the threads on here and other boards and moms are doing 3 math programs, 2-3 languages, 2 sciences multiple history and I always feel like we are lacking. So what do I do? I add more!!! This is not working! I need to find away to revamp our school days so the kiddos have more time to learn in their way. Any thoughts?
  2. Gosh......I have to remind myself where I hang out and get some minds out of the gutter! :tongue_smilie: I posted on a thread about tea time and got some PMs......YES, I mean actual tea parties!! :lol: (but I will get to that later) I have had several people ask me to explain what interest driven education looks like in our house and after KIN's burn-out post, I thought I'd attempt to describe it. I am a minimalist in the younger yrs. Academics is limited to math, phonics/reading, handwriting......I add in beginning grammar/mechanics via copywork for 1st and 2nd grade. Bedtime stories are typically classics like wizard of Oz, The Secret Garden, etc. alternated with historical fiction or biographies (my kids love the lives of the saints, etc) Nature study occurs but it is a free-flowing type of thing not associated with school or a schedule or specific time, etc. It is simply something we do b/c we enjoy hiking, etc Once they are in 3rd grade, I talk to them about what they want to study/read via guided discussion and limited selection. For example, this yr my 5th grader really didn't get to choose her history topic b/c last yr we did early American history through pre-Civil War, so this yr was already expected to be the rest of American history. However, the reason we got so far behind last yr was b/c of bunny trails and areas she wanted to explore more. We spent weeks learning about Roger's Rangers and the life of settlers near the Canadian border. We spent time reading about the New Orleans and Napoleon and the Louisiana Purchase from perspectives that I had never read before. We read about the animosity amongst the Founding Fathers of our country, the shenanigans of Aaron Burr, the life of John Adams overseas from Abigal's perspective, etc. We sort of went wherever an interesting topic lead her to want to pursue. It was one of the best early American history studies I have ever done and I learned tons that I had no idea about. Science is more in their hands. They can pick whatever topic they want. Then either off our shelves or on the library's website, we will investigate what titles we/they have on that topic. Then depending on the age, I will select the final title for them to read or let them. History in elementary school is a combination of my reading aloud to them for about 20-30 mins and their reading silently about the same from a different book. Science is 30-45 mins of reading. I don't use writing curricula when they are young and even when they are older, I never use canned writing assignments. Writing always follows the same pattern every yr. They write one paper per week on a topic selected by me from typically science or history when they are young and also from lit when they are older. Monday is topic and gather supporting info (or details when they are younger), Tues is organizing and outlining or first 1/2 of rough draft (depends on how much they actually accomplish on Mon), Wed is either 1st or 2nd 1/2 of rough draft, Thursday is finishing whatever they need to and meeting me for revising and improving, and Fri is final draft due. By making school interest driven, we all enjoy what we are doing. Not using a separate writing program's assignments means writing is doing double duty. We don't spend huge amts of time doing experiments, etc for science. They spend more time reading whole books on the topics instead. (and sometimes they do go overboard on a topic. One child had a fascination with bees and read every book our library, I think around 15, that were on his reading level. My 5th grader this reader spent months reading and drawing/classifying birds, etc) Academics is really limited to the basic subjects.......no artist studies, no composer studies, no Latin, etc. Not until they are much older. Fun.......something that I have to make sure I make myself schedule in our days now that I have so many older kids and outside activities. We love having tea time. It can be as simple or as complicated as we make it. Sometimes we just buy refridgerator sugar dough and roll it out and cut it into different shapes and decorate them with icing, shoe string licorice, and m&ms. Other times we might make little sandwiches or have fruit. But mostly it is a time to sit and talk and relax in a fun time during the school day. (This is not a daily activity. ;)) We also love family games. I have posted before that the value of strategy games is highly undervalued. I think they help form better critical thinking skills than any curricula. But most of all.......I think the most important decision anyone can make is decide what is really critical to their view of education. It simply can't be everything. I mean what goes to the core of your educational philosophy. Start there and work forward. Anything that isn't vital drop until you have the day you want that even has time to spare and gradually add in the bonus topics you want but aren't essential. Hope those ramblings help someone. :001_smile:
  3. Okay, so I'll just say it like it is - we don't like science curriculum, at least none that we've tried up until now. The farther along we get in this homeschooling adventure, the more I'm drawn to unschooling / interest led when it comes to science. Okay, and for history somewhat, too. :) But back to science - my oldest will be in 7th grade next year, so I'm just wondering what is enough but thorough at that point? Others who are drawn to interest led for science - what have you done at this point (middle school)? If you have kids separated by 3 grade levels, do you still try to combine them? I think part of the issue, too, is that I've had some chronic health issues. I need something that doesn't take a lot of prep. work on my part. I also don't do well if I have to "do" everything with all three of them. I've gotten bored/tired out myself when science means sitting there reading something to them, setting up an experiment and doing it, and then having them do a narration or something like that. Even If I'm very upbeat and excited about it. I guess it's kind of boring, too, when that's the same kind of thing we do for history (substituting coloring pages and map stuff for the experiments). But, really, it's more than that. It just seems like there's more retention if my kids learn about and pursue stuff they're truly interested in. I've considered BJU DVD science for my 7th grader next year, but it's a bit pricey for us. I guess I like the idea of someone else teaching it. :) But then it really wouldn't go with my idea of more interest led, if that's still "ok" at the 7th grade level. I'm afraid, with interest led, that I'll have to be constantly figuring out the "next step" as everything won't be laid out. So, basically, what "should" science look like at this point? I've wondered about possibly having the girls read some kind of science textbook (but it has to be interesting and with lots of pictures) that covers a lot of areas of science. Maybe it could have some questions they could answer (doubling as reading comprehension). But then, from that, we could see what interests them the most and get library books covering those topics. Should my 7th grader be writing papers? She's more math/sciency/hands on than language oriented. I just feel like we've kind of just been winging it, so what suggestions might any of you have, pretty please? :) So far we've focused on earth/astronomy (but probably more earth), a bit of anatomy, chemistry, and physics. Even though we get library books about animals, etc., I'm thinking it would make sense to focus on life science next year. What we've done this year (3rd and 6th): - A tiny bit of Apologia Chemistry/Physics (not much at all really) - A few weeks of chemistry experiments (with a kit) - Robotics at our co-op (for about 11 weeks each semester - 50 min./once per week) - Some documentaries (they are watching one about dolphins right now as I'm typing this) - Some Bill Nye - An electronics exper. kit - Library books - Some Evan Moor science workbook (not all of it) - Playing outside/nature walks - A chosen topic that they focused on for a couple of weeks - oldest did some microscope study, including the history of the microscope, one younger studied crystals/rocks, the other studied birds - then they each gave a little oral report for the rest of us - my third graders also got a "toy" microscope that they've had fun with from time to time (it actually works pretty well - they were looking at boogers and stuff - ha ha!) Sorry so long!
  4. Ok, I've been talking and thinking about this almost since I started homeschooling almost 3 years ago, but I think it's finally happening. I think I'm starting to relax and trust the process. My kids are going to learn what they need to learn, I'm going to be able to teach them what they need me to, and find them resources for things that I can't teach. I think it's going to be ok. What has led to this epiphany? Well, I've been super busy with work this spring. Some days I just have to give the kids a list and work. And you know what? It's great. They get their stuff done. They've both learned more than a year's worth of stuff this year, they are both developing into lovely young people, and they are happy. Shannon has turned her passion for horses into a really amazing opportunity - she volunteers at the stable in exchange for extra lessons, she works hard, she's developing a strong work ethic and a great reputation as a hard worker. Doors are opening. She is turning her passion for theater into . . . I'm not sure what yet, but she studies, and focuses, and memorizes, and works so hard, and she is really impressing her directors as well. And, watching her interact with this new fan site/MOOC - Hogwarts is Here - watching how motivated she is when she really wants to learn something, she knows what to do. She set up a binder with dividers, she downloaded her textbooks, read them and took notes, and writes essays and submits them online. So you know what? She knows how to learn! So we've been talking a lot the last week about what is motivating, what is a passion, about what my job is in her education (making sure she has the basic skills and requirements that will keep all college/higher ed doors open, and to help her research resources and opportunities) and what her job is (actually, you know, learning stuff), and I'm starting to actually believe it, and let go a little bit . . . So. That filmmaking class she's been wanting to take, and I've been thinking she needs to wait on? I made her a deal: she needs to go online and learn to use the editing software for her digital camera, and I'll pay for the class. Those online equine science classes she's been wanting to get started on, but I thought she was too young? Ok. More Shakespeare? Yeah, ok, we can do that! More poetry? Yep. Hmmm, there will be less time in the schedule for stuff I had planned on doing. But you know what? That's ok too. I am officially . . . relaxed. :biggrinjester:
  5. Ok, here is the first of what I feel certain will be many questions about teaching my dd7, who is just starting her homeschool career as a 2nd grader this year. I've homeschooled dd10 for 2 years now, but as with everything with these two, I feel that nothing I've learned with dd10 will prepare me, in any practical way, to work with dd7. She is a strong-willed, stubborn, yet incredibly sensitive small human. She has strong opinions - mostly negative - about many things, her first word was literally "no", and she had terrible twos for a solid 2+ years. Yet at the same time, she is very perceptive about other's emotions and her feelings are easily hurt. She is one of those people who will not take life easy, or let life be easy, ever . . . My non-negotiables with her are the skill subjects: we will do math, writing, and language arts every day. She doesn't have to like it (she mostly doesn't), but she has to do it, just like I have to clean the bathroom and cook meals even when I don't feel like it (an analogy that I feel will get pretty worn out at our house the next few weeks! ;) ) I've chosen things that are efficient and don't take a lot of time, no wasted effort, but she has to do them daily. So this part is fine, I don't really have a question about that. What I'm wondering about is the content areas - specifically lit, science, history, etc. I had planned to do this whole cool world geography thing, where we read about different countries, found them on the map, read nonfiction & stories from the cultures, cook food, etc. She's basically not interested in anything but the cooking part. So, ok. I can let that go. We can cook meals from around the world and maybe soak up a little culture while we're at it. I've asked her if there is anything she wants to study - and no big surprise, it's horses. She's all :001_tt1: about horses. So, ok, we can read about horses. But can we just read about them, or do I need to try and turn this into something more complicated and "educational?" I'm also thinking of doing the SWB suggestion and taking her to the library each week and telling her she has to pick out nonfiction books she's interested in, and just reading those together. Does this seem ok? No specific science topics, no 4-year classical history sequence . . . just reading lots of great literature and reading from a book basket of nonfiction she picks out? I know that some of you who I greatly admire generally do interest-led content studies in the elementary years, so I'm feeling kind of brave about this, but not sure if what I'm thinking is "how it's done". Obviously, if she develops an abiding interest in something, we can follow it up! But am I ok just letting this be it for now?
  6. I've read the phrase "preserve the love for learning" many times recently. I would love to know how you do this. My kids are seeing the end of summer creep up on them, and they are not looking forward to the schedule and work of a new school year. I will have kids in grades 4, 7, and 9 this coming year. We start each school year with breakfast at Cracker Barrel the first day of school. I also try to slant school toward the ways my children learn best. I try to allow for some interest-based learning as well, but some things just have to get done whether they enjoy it or not. How do you make the beginning of school a positive experience and preserve the love of learning on a long term basis? Specific examples would be very helpful.
  7. We have always been pretty structured. This child is very interested in science, and I found at times last year that without a definite plan, it was neglected. Part of that was that I felt I needed to "present" him with something that I hadn't prepared ahead of time. I have many resources-books, videos, websites. I am considering setting aside 3 hours a week, and just letting him have at it-ask questions, pursue answers to them, read, and watch videos. We did the 10 week long science research project last year, ala lewelma, and it was a huge favorite for him, and he wants to do it again, so we will definitely pursue that. I guess my concern is that we will not allow enough time, get bogged down, and end up not doing it. So those of you who are more interest-led, please advise. Do you set aside a definite time: 1-3 on Tuesday and Thursday maybe, for just science? How do you make it happen?
  8. Here's the thread it came from and below that is the post you made. http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3351201&highlight=rabbit#post3351201 That post was in Nov. of this past year, and I've been wondering how the rest of the year went for you. When we met at the convention you seemed very happy about your year. Did you make a shift toward more rabbit trails or interest-driven? Did you find another way to get peace? Anything you plan to do differently for this coming year based on what you learned this year?
  9. I have and am planning to use MFW Explorers to 1850 for this next year to use with all of my dc. My oldest will be going into 7th. I have always been interested in doing more interest led schooling, but have never had the guts to actually do it. So, I was thinking this afternoon that if I ever plan to do it, now would be the time for my younger two. But, would it work for my oldest? If I required math, writing, grammar, Spanish, Bible and maybe a root study would it prepare him for high school and beyond if I just required that he always be reading something history and science related? Or, if he truly followed his interests and he focused all of his interest-led studies on technology, what if I just did a book that gives a basic overview of history? What would an interest-led education look like at this age? Honestly, I would like to require the skills and then just say, "Okay, you have two years to study anything that you like, but you must be actively studying something." Also, would it be difficult to transition to a more structured high school experience? I am thinking of continuing with MFW for hs. Also, for this board, has anyone done interest-led through high school? What did it look like? Was your dc prepared for college?
  10. If you put together your own plans (for middle school and up) what do you have the dc do beyond the reading? We tried doing SOTW with tests this year and it was really meh. Basically, ds would remember for the test and forget. He is not really a hands on kid. A few projects a year is plenty. Notebooking sounds good, but it always feels like pulling teeth. Discussion? Questions to answer? But where is that coming from if I am planning it all? Something else? Please give me your ideas to really cement the learning. I don't feel that just reading good books, doing a timeline and maps is enough.
  11. It seems so...unstructured! I don't have trouble finding books or videos or whatnot on different topics, but I have no idea how to go about finding hands-on activities. I stink at hands-on activities in general...I skip right through all the ones in FIAR and even try to avoid getting play-doh and messy art supplies out for my kids because the clean-up drives me nuts (where's the bag-over-head smilie when you need it?).
  12. Yep, I'm really hating homeschooling high school . For years I've waited to HOmeschool high school. It was supposed to be fun, interesting, getting to know the soon to be adult I've invested all this time in. Instead, it's one continual did you get this done, where's this paper, where's this assignment.......nag nag nag. The idea to just drop everything is gaining quite a bit of ground in my mind. Doing classes to look good for college has taken over our whole mindset, not something we ever wanted. So I asked the freshman what he would do if I said just do the things you would like to do. Don't worry about anything, about getting into MIT(his goal) just do want you want. He thought it over and came back with this: Continue the following: Chang's chemistry with study for the AP test and the SAT subject test NASA Inspire project and do all the challenges and the team contests Latin 2 as he loves Latin his bible book Read the great books, read HOAW, but drop all the paper writing Programming Pre-cal Stop testing/grades and just let him master the material and test with the major overall test in the spring Pick up fun logic/puzzle stuff just to do Build computer junk Drop the following: Spanish Paper writing/English Everything related to history and English but the readings How could I do this and still give a competitive transcript for college? His writing stinks and does need work but I could let it revolve completely around science instead of writing in lit or history. But I have to show for the state that he had subjects in lit and composition. He does his math and science and latin without an issue but fights the writing assignments. The thought of letting him unschool high school is really at the top of my mind but I'm stuck with the mindset of we have to show all these classes to get into college. But we are really hating the current set up. If he loves the subject, he'll do the work and do it well without any issues. So part of me feels he should do work he doesn't like. Then the other part of me says that's exactly why I despised high school and everything connected to it. I hated most of it and was bored to tears. I wanted the high school years to be full of delight and doing what they were interested in. But we're here now and the act of getting them into college is worrisome if we go off the typical tract. Any thoughts???
  13. So, I've been talking a lot to my son and my husband and bouncing ideas off of my daughter, too. The result is that I'm strongly considering loosening the academic reigns a bit next year. I've been feeling for the last two or three years like my son is just going through the motions with school. Any subject he doesn't like gets stalled and stalled. Eventually, when pushed, he'll do a half-hearted job with it. If pushed some more, he'll revise and re-do until assignments meet the bare minimum required. (This is true of both subjects I teach and the ones we outsource.) If his grade suffers, he doesn't seem to care. And, when asked about that subject a few months later, he can't seem to recall anything. For example, he "studied" Spanish for three years and now can't remember how to say please and thank you. Stuff he likes? That gets attention. For most of this year, for example, he's been running an average in the honors level of his online language arts class of over 100% (with extra credit, which he does for fun). I'm just tired of it all. I don't see the point of making him unhappy and wasting so much of his time. He has maybe three or four years of homeschooling left, and I think it's time to change our approach. Here's what I'm considering: A few subject, "the basics," would be designed/defined/chosen by me. For next year, I think that will be English (lit and comp), math, foreign language and some "remedials" (like his handwriting and spelling are atrocious). Some other subjects would be required by me but would allow him a lot of freedom to choose how to study. For example, I want him to do world history and geography next year. We had been planning to have him take history online, and I've been purchasing materials for geography. But now I'm considering letting him choose a book or books to read as an overview for history and then letting him do more reading or research or projects on specific things that interest him. And we'd do something similar with geography, except that I might require him to choose among the materials I have on hand. The idea is that these subjects would have a kind of "framework," guidelines for how much work he should do per week or month, but give him freedom to decide how to do it. We'd probably take the same approach with world religions. I'm not sure yet what we would do with science. We had been planning to have him take it online, but I've never been especially excited about that idea. I might just let him choose. I'm sure other folks here have tried this kind of "hybrid" approach? If so, I'd love to hear about your experiences? And for everyone: I know it's not "classical," but is it crazy? Thanks!
  14. I'm planning for next year. I have a daughter that is really interested in science. We have *Science Saturday* and she looks forward to it all week. She loves reading, and loves doing "experiments" and loves talking to people about science. I am leaning towards doing mostly interest-led science with her next year, with a bit of BFSU and CK as a sort of spine. Basically I just want to check out a few books on the topic of the week (from CK) and read them and do more if she wants to and move on if she doesn't. I have BFSU and will probably read through it and work stuff into our discussions, but not make it a formal thing. But then, I read about how great RSO is and I kind of wonder if that would be better for her. Any thoughts?
  15. The recent MCT and grammar thread has me pondering larger questions than can be resolved by changing curriculum. Many board member have been pushed to teach "outside the box" - going against traditional methods or curriculum or even current standards. Sometimes it is our own personalities rebelling against our youthful educational experiences, but most often, the needs of our particular children push us to the ledge and straight over. What happens when learning disabilities, extreme giftedness, or quirky personalities push us to move beyond the norms in teaching? How did you get to that point? How did you make the change? What tools did you have on hand that help you? What tools do you feel you need? Where would you encourage someone that is struggling to start from? This is really broad but I know sometimes I see wonderful posts about teaching "outside the box" and I think "Oh, I want to do that, but my gosh, look at her educational background, her financial resources...her saintliness.;)" "I could never do that." Let's talk about the nitty, gritty details. And please, educational theories are welcome. It was obvious, at least to me, from the other thread that a few of us are dying to talk about education on a deeper level.
  16. So after reading the thread with the project based learning in it, I thought we would give it a try. We have tried so many different Science curriculums only to shelf it a few weeks in. Today I explained to the kids that they could pick any topic they wanted and do their research any way they wanted and come up with their own projects to present what they have learned. They have been working on this for hours. We were finished with school at around 2:00 and they are still in there working on their ideas. Could this really be the answer to our science woes? Dd7 picked The Coral Reef, dd10 picked blood cells, and dd11 picked the Antarctica. Looks pretty good so far
  17. We're looking to do some cool, fun science stuff. What are some of your coolest finds? Any subject area. thanks!
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