Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
One of the big challenges for me with home education has been managing the rest of the tasks of my day and week while getting our home education done as well. It is a continual struglle to keep up with laundry and cleaning and grocery shopping and cooking and getting through the math/history/reading/science and everything else.
When things are going well, this is what works for me. I need to get up at a fairly consistent time. I rarely set an alarm and since my husband works from home, he doesn't either. We tend to be up around 7:30 most days, which seems to work out well. I eat breakfast right away, and I insist that Hannah have her breakfast as well. Then before we do any school, I try to get the basic tidying up done. (Years ago I heard Mary Pride speak at a conference and this was one of her words of wisdom : Chores first; then school.)
I function best with meals when I have a menu plan for the week. The Sandy Richard Life's On Fire cookbooks are great for this. Each one gives you ten or so weeks of menu plans and the grocery lists to accompany them. When I use it regularly, we eat better, we waste less food, and I'm much less stressed at supper time.
Anotehr thing that helps me have a good school year is getting the problem areas in our home cleaned up over the summer. This summer, we have completely cleaned out Hannah's bedroom, emptied one closet that was far too full of craft supplies, given away about five boxes of books, and found places for all the things I brought back from my childhood home last month. I know that this kind of preparation makes a big difference to keeping things clean during the fall.
Finally, I had to learn years ago that I will never have a perfectly tidy home. It's not enough of a priority for me to set aside all the hobbies I enjoy so that I can wash the floor more often. And I think we all need to realize that home education means that we, moms and children, spend far mroe time in our homes than most families do. Every meal and snack, every craft project, every bathroom visit our children have druing a day is at home, each leaving its own mess, big or small, to be wiped up by someone!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
About a year ago, my husband found a spinning wheel at a garage sale and came home to ask me if he should buy it. We went back to check it out and I became the woner of a spinning wheel that I knew absolutely nothing about. A friend gave me some indroductory lessons, and I have been spinning in my spare time since then, but I knew that to get really good at this, I needed more focused instruction. When I found out about these classes, I knew it would be a wonderful chance to learn morte about spinning, and to enjoy a break.
Learning a new skill (or improving an existing one) is a challenge. Often as a home educating mom, I have been exasperated with a child who isn't getting the lesson, because it seems simple to me. Going into a setting where I'm struggling to put together skills and information and achieve the correct result puts me where my child usually sits. It's not easy for the learner. It's not straight-forward to take yesterday's knowledge, and add a couple more bits, and do a new thing with that. And it's good to sit in the other chair and relive those feelings of frustration and realiuze that the way I'm feeling about trying to make fluffier yarn is exactly how my daughter is feeling about fractions. That's one of the extra lessons I'm learning this week.
Friday, June 26, 2009
The first one www.alis.gov.ab.ca is devoted to career information, including information about duties, working conditions, qualities leading to success in different fiels, training options and employment information. It is useful at every stage of career planning form jus tinvestigating what careers there are to specifics once the field has been anrrowed. So often, children have an idea they would like to work in some area but they don't know what jobs are actually available, and often we as parents don't know either. the Alis website is a marvellous starting place.
Anther very useful web site is www.acat.gov.ab.ca, the web site of the Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer. This site lets you determine which courses tranfer with credit from one institution to another, all across the province. It's possible to begin a program at a college close to home (or one more accepting of home educated students) and plan a transfer to anotehr school knowing which courses will be most useful. This simplifies post-secondary planning and allows us as parents to give good advice.
The slogan on the Acat home page says "great planning leads to great futures." Both these site will help you and your children to make great plans.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
It was a mistake. Tim has a comparable talent to his older brother, but he had very different reasons for enjoying music, and very different ways of using his talent. The very structured format of the program was not adaptable to his needs, and after one semester, he left the program.
He did complete all his classes successfully, giving him credits that may be useful down the road. More importantly, the learning that took place in those classes is part of him now. He continued with the second semester of university English, so he will never have to take English again. Those are positive outcomes, even though he did not continue in the program.
Tim began working and studying independently while we took a second look at what college admission might work out better for him. I'll write about the rest of his story tomorrow.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
JumpMath is a fairly new program, developed in Canada, with the goal of helping all children work through the underlaying concepts of mathematics so that real comprehension is encouraged, not jus the ability to get the questions right. The name stands for Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies. The course is published in a workbook format, available in two editions: one is the complete program including geometry, measurement, patterns and algebra, numbers sense; the other is a shorter version that focuses just on the arithmetic components of the program. The short version is available at Chapters or Costco, the full program can be ordered from the University of Toronto bookstore.
We chose JumpMath because of it’s excellent step-by-step approach to math concepts. The lessons work slowly through each step to ensure solid understanding. Teacher’s guides are available on-line at no cost, and have extra activities and explanations.
Antoehr very positive thing for us is the Canadian content of the course. Money is shown as loonies and toonies, word problems are about driving across Canada, and measurement is based on the metric system. This alone would not be the deciding factor for me, but it is a definite bonus.
We have found that Hannah is truly getting math now. It can be hard to tell whether the concept is clear to a child or if they have just learned the tricks that get a right answer, and we discovered that the previous program she used was not giving her a real understanding. Switching to JumpMath has stepped up her true comprehension.
For more about the program, I recommend the book The Myth of Ability that explains the development of the program. I found John Mighton’s approach to math, and his conviction that every child can learn math to be very inspiring.
If the program sounds intriguing to you, the fractions unit is available to down load. It is a useful test-drive of the method and style of the lessons. It’s also a great way to start up with a sense of achievement since everyone knows that fractions are really hard.
More about JumpMath is on-line at www.jumpmath.org.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The curriculum we have used the longest is Bible Study Guide for All ages, a program we started in the very early years of our home education program and which we have continued with through most of the intervening years (with a break during the time that our three oldest children were all doing Bible quizzing.)
Bible Study Guide For All Ages is a family-developed program, created by home educating parents for their own children and then published and shared with others. It looks at scripture as a series of biographies, working through the life stories of major biblical figures one after the other, not in order but in a sequence that helps develop an understanding of the importance of each person to the whole biblical story.
Each lesson has a scripture passage to read, background information, and questions of varying levels of difficulty. There are also review questions as part of every lessons set up to continually review the most important parts of previous lessons. Each lesson is completed by having the child copy a stick figure visual of the major events of that day’s lesson, reinforcing the lesson in a child-friendly way.
We have liked this program because it’s simple to use, thorough in the way it goes through each person’s story, and successful in the way it has equipped our children with a good grasp of biblical history. They knew why Joseph’s brothers hated him, and what the Abrahamic covenant was, and where Paul traveled because they had worked through this program.
Now that I’m part way through book 2 with Hannah, I see again that the simple system of this program really is effective in building a solid foundation. It’s easy to do daily because it’s one of those lovely programs that I can just open up and teach from without any advance planning. It has become a valuable part of our daily routine. It really is one of the best things we have done with our children.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
It's hard to decribe the pride and joy that come with this day. I looked at him sitting with the other graduates and remembered him as the little boy sitting around the kitchen table with his siblings and learning his early school skills. I remember hearing hours of music practice as he honed the skills that took him to college. I remember hours and hours and hours of hearing him quote scripture as he studied for Bible quizzing, and earned the entrance scholarships that took him to Ambrose.
I find myself looking at all of those hours of teaching children that constitute the greatest part of my life-work, and I see how those hours prepared my children for their journey into their adult lives. I had no idea how wonderful the payback would be. Today I am very grateful.