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Found 9 results

  1. 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:
  2. A recent thread made me realize that if I could do one thing over again homeschooling (other than sending my oldest to community college instead of public high school) it would be to do more of TWTM language arts skills - copywork, dictation, narration, outlining, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, memory work, and logic. I didn't know why these were important (guess I didn't read TWTM carefully enough - sigh) so I tended to skip the ones that were hard for us, when in fact, those were the very ones we needed to work more on. I thought I'd just post this as a separate thread in case it helps even one person from making the same mistake I made. Caution: This might not have been true if I had had a child with strong learning style differences or slownesses, but mine were just engineering-bright/language-arts-dim or wired just a bit differently, not drastically different. Aquiring academic skills so they can learn something by academic means is more difficult than for most children, but not an unreasonable goal. TWTM is the key to that for us. It specifically teaches the skills that the more academically gifted children are just naturally good at. And that means that we needed to work on the ones that my children are not good at. I wish I had known this earlier. You may need to back way, way up to work on these. Follow the progression laid out in TWTM, and work through the progression. Don't just give up on the skill because your child is so far behind. And if your child is good at a skill, good enough that you decide you don't need to practise it, it is really important to keep checking every year and make sure that your child can still do that skill at the new, higher level. That is the mistake I made with one of mine with narration. The whys of doing TWTM skills even though they are hard, boring, and miserable: I think the key to being able to write well is to read tons of well-written material (like great books), to have the physical part down so you don't have to think about it (handwriting and typing), to have something to write about (good knowledge base and good research skills), to have a system of taking the mishmash of thought and putting them together in an organized way (find a method of putting them down in an unorganized way, organize them into a linear structure (outlining), and then rewrite - word processor is nice for this). You need to work on narration and logic for organization, vocabulary and grammar for style. Copywork and dictation deal with the mechanics of spelling and punctuation in a whole-to-parts way and spelling books and grammar books deal with it in a parts-to-whole way. You need to do the narration and the dicatation in order to put the pieces together and apply them. I think the key to being able to read well (once the phonics part is out of the way) is grammar (so you can understand non-standard word order - think Shakespeare and poetry) and vocabulary. That is the parts-to-whole part. And then I think you need to do tons of reading and narrating and discussing. That is the whole-to-parts, applying what you learned, part. I think the key to being able to learn the content subjects is study skills, and those depend on dictation (think note-taking), outlining (picking out the main points from the details), narration (summarizing), being able to read well at a variety of speeds from skimming to sentence-by-sentence reinterpreting, and being able to memorize (memory work). I think the key to being able to teach yourself things as an adult or the key to being able to survive college is reading well, writing well, test taking skills, some sort of knowledge base, good study skills, and good organizational skills - keeping an assignment book, keeping track of one's materials, efficiency (resisiting the temptation of the internet, games, cell phones, and whatever else one does for escape and socializing), prioritizing (skimp on this because that is more important), and dividing large projects into little ones. One also needs to understand the system, how to pay attention to what this particular prof wants, and how to get help if you don't understand something. That last is more important and harder than one might think so I recommend finding opportunities to practise approaching strangers and asking for help. Truly - this is one of those things that seem obvious and easy to grownups but turns out to be a practically insurmountable obsticle to young adults, one that causes them to flunk courses. Sigh. The advantage of this system is that if you get these academic skills down, high school content subjects are hard work but straight forward. For any subject, you pick a spine (doesn't have to be a textbook - it can be any sort of overview), study it (read, outline, summarize it), figure out what skills are involved and learn them (laboratory skills if it is a science), figure out which bits need to be memorized and memorize them, and then pick areas that are particularly interesting to you and investigate them further by doing research - reading and writing about them about them, and doing experiments. This is the pattern that adults follow when they learn anything using an academic way. It is scary to concentrate so much on skills at the expense of content when you are homeschooling. What worked for us when the children were small was to do skills Mon-Thurs (along with reading aloud) and history and science on Friday (along with math and foreign languages, skills+content subjects that we couldn't skip or we forgot everything, and piano). It is important to apply the skills to the content areas, once you can do them a little, in order to improve and speed up, and in order to make the skills truly useful rather than just separate skills. I hope this helps someone, -Nan (My credentials GRIN: two sons in college, one 16yo still homeschooling at home and taking community college classes for two and a half more years before going (hopefully) off to 4-year college) PS - I did do some of these WTM skills. I just can see now, as I have two older children struggling their way through college, that they would have an easier time if their study skills were better, so I am trying to teach the youngest one better study skills and finding that those study skills depend on being able to narrate, outline, take dictation, etc.. Sigh. PPS - I am editing this to add that a lot of the credit for figuring this out should go to Colleen in NS. If you do a search for posts by her with the word "outline" in them, you should be able to find some more information. PPPS - Now that I see how many people have read this thread, I am having nightmares thinking that I have doomed some children to long boring days of drill. TWTM has lots of good ideas for making things less dry. TWTM says that what content you do should be allowed to go down bunny trails following your children's interests. TWTM recommends heavily illustrated spines, ones that my family, at least, found interesting even when we thought we weren't interested in the material. All the reading-to-oneself is a pleasant chore once one has learned to escape into a book, and TWTM has lots of reading time built into it, both reading aloud and reading silently and listening to audio books. Reading is still one of those foundation skills. Those fairy tales and folk tales and myths lighten the load. The grammar and logic stage science recs are hands-on and active. Your day should have lots of nice parts, too. TWTM says the skills should be attacked in a "nibbled to death by ducks" manner, a little bit consistently over time. If you do something like Kalmia suggested and establish some sort of routine for working on the skills, then you can just plug through your routine and everyone will know that it isn't forever until a nicer part of the day comes, and nobody has to think about it except when they are actually doing it. School is hard work, but it doesn't have all have to be hour upon hour of unpleasant drudgery at one thing. Think nibble nibble nibble, once the initial explanation is gone through. Cut the task down until it is taking too long. Yllek says not more, but more consistently. That is a good thing to keep in mind. And Lisa (swimmermom) says to emphasize working hard, not being good at something. That is a good thing to keep in mind, too. : )
  3. :tongue_smilie:I am in the middle of my annual breadth vs. depth struggle. Anyone else in there with me? I read the "What is your 5th, 6th, 7th...grader doing this year?" threads and I panic. My list is extensive (in my heart, I know it's too extensive) and yet it's considerably shorter than others. Somehow I just know I am going to miss this child's "gift" if I short-change him on music, art, a third language, logic, health, or geography in addition to his existing cores of language arts, math, science, history, Spanish, Japanese, technology, and philosophy. Oh! I forgot nature studies and current events.:svengo: Then, if you can get the subject list under control, then you need to focus on covering everything within a specific topic. I mean if a mom with a second grader is asking if two writing programs is enough, by extrapolation my 7th grader needs like 5 programs, right? MCT for academic writing, Brave Writer for creative writing, something for diagramming (never mind that many of us didn't do that until high school), Editor-in-Chief or Easy Grammar for everything else I am sure I missed. No. Actually that would be adding in copywork and dictation because it's...well...it's the foundation of a classical education. Or was that Latin? Which we are not doing. Which will keep Swimmer Dude from going to Harvard Law School...I just know it. <pant, pant, pant> One of my biggest gripes with "real" school has always been this attempt to cover everything. I now know the sad truth that there are people just like me (obsessed with the "perfect" plan) who write ps texts. You know the ones. For example, the lit analysis texts that give the child four pages of information including the plot, conflict, and resolution as a pre-reading assignment. At least it's efficient because the child no longer needs or wants to read the story. They are trying so hard to cover everything that they underwhelm the student. Why the panic on my part? I just spent six hours going through my MCT materials for next year. I realized if I buckled down and really taught the material in depth, my son would receive a better language arts education than most kids his age. It would also take me a good chunk of time to teach it that way. Focus is so much more demanding than doing a little here and a little there of everything. So, will kids be bored without the breadth of subjects or are they bored with them because they don't spend enough time on topics to fully comprehend and engage in them? ETA: My apologies in advance for the writing.:tongue_smilie:My brain and attitude are fried.
  4. I get that bees work together, are always working, part of a large community and exist for the greater good or whatever, but why is this forum referred to as The Hive? Or The Hive Mind? Honestly, the first thing I thought of was The Borg and how creepy the reference to The Hive made me feel because of my over exposure to Star Trek Voyager. Obviously I'm new, I haven't visited much, and I'm still learning both the forum world and the homeschooling world, thus the question. Gah! Now I have the picture of the Borg Queen in my mind. Creeeeeeeepy!!
  5. I've been hoping the urge to post this poll would pass (oooh, nice alliteration!). I was dared to "go for it" by a fellow member last night, when I shared my secret with her. I chickened out. Tonight, boldness strikes! I am going where no [wo]man has gone before. Or actually, where many may have gone, but few admit. :lol: Remember, people -- THIS IS AN ANONYMOUS POLL. All we have to do is bump it up (oh, goodness, so much inuendo) so that it doesn't just die a slow, painful death. If you are willing to elaborate, by all means do so. I'm looking for opinions on (whispers) bedroom toys (bedroom, playroom...wherever you are when the mood strikes). You know...the sort of adult toys that start with a "v"...or a "d"...depending, and generally require batteries. I don't have one. I'm slightly inclined to try one (ack...what happens when I meet you IRL?? :blink:). I figure if nothing else, this might help lighten the mood around here (here meaning HERE, the boards, but also here, my home). I'm polling the largest source of folks I know because I am truly unsure whether it's worth it to pursue owning this "resource" or not. What do you think? Does it work for you? Does it not? Or do you never care to know? Thank you for being willing to...er...humor me. I mean, we're all adults right? Hiding now and hoping the system can handle the sudden influx of "IGNORE" buttons being pushed. :leaving:
  6. :blushing: I have decided that I would like to remove some of the carpet in my personal teA room. I even went so far as to book an appointment in a few weeks. However, I am rather worried about the process of carpet removal. If you have had it done, how bad was it? What about ingrown carpet fibers afterward? What if one has a rather thick, coarse carpet? Would removal still be advisable? :scared: Please save me from a carpet removal disaster! (And don't be too hard on me. I was seriously tempted to register for a different user name to ask this question!) :blushing: This smiley has nothing on how red-faced this question makes me, but I really can't ask someone this IRL!
  7. In case you haven't noticed my post count, I'm a total Noob. I would love to learn more about the "culture" of this place. Would you be willing to link me to what, in your opinion, is an essential thread, here at the forums? I'd love to learn more about this place! :bigear: What are some classic threads that I could go read that in your opinion, would give me a real flavor for some of the great discussions you've had around here. (If they're funny, well, then, so much the better!) I'd prefer to avoid making silly Newbie mistakes by bringing up topics that have been discussed ad nauseum.:blushing: Although, of course, it's possible that a thread like this one is that very thing! So, forgive me if it is.:blush: School me? :001_smile:
  8. Disclaimer stating that I am not intending to cause trouble but am just providing very important information. Hyperlink to article from reputable news source indicting candidate I do not support. Passive/aggressive comment about hypocrisy of said candidate and those who support him. :D Commentary on sad state of affairs of our world when anyone would lend their support to said candidate.:tongue_smilie: Unbridled support of candidate I do support.
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