Into The Woods

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Last year we began 2016 by moving to a house that’s on 12 acres. We did so mostly because we wanted our boy to grow with freedom to roam and learn outside. Even, if we didn’t have all this land we would still be outside players because we love fresh air so much! Here are a few ideas if you’re looking for some fun outside play.

Digging for bones. Paleontology has been the preferred learning topic over here for about a month. To play grab a shovel or a spoon and be armed with a little info about dinosaurs and you’re good to go! 

Expedition. We’ve been to Antarctica, South America, China all from our yard. Just be armed with a few facts like native animals. (Tip, this game pairs very well with Little Passport’s)

History Explorer. Go back into ancient times with a walk around your yard. Look, you can see the pyramid from here!

What lives here? Look for bird’s nest or an animal habitat and ask, “What lives here?”

All of this is free and easy. Trust me that your  child won’t forget these lessons. We make sure it’s child led too. I don’t control were we go on Expedition, I just suggest the game. He usually likes Antarctica.

Comment with your favorite outside games! I would love to hear feedback.

An Easy Peasy Art Program

wwh1When I started homeschooling, I never actually had an art curriculum or program. I just stumbled upon something that works by creating art myself. Here are some easy things to do to fill your homeschool with art, even if you aren’t an artist.

Buy (or check out at your local library) How to draw books. We love these and simply follow the directions together. It helps learn the mechanics of drawing for your little one. Plus there are so many out there you are sure to find one that will keep your child’s interest.

Drawing everywhere! I make pencils and paper easily accessible everywhere. He draws what he wants and I always compliment his efforts. Be sure to keep criticism in check for little ones, we want to encourage and not discourage.

Be hands off. It sounds a little crazy but don’t hover when they are drawing. It doesn’t have to be for a set time, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be.

And last, draw with them, even if you think you stink! But, don’t be critical of yourself either. They’ll want to know why and apply that to their drawing. Just use the moment for fun and let go. The more fun you have, the better everyone will become because you’ll want to practice more and who doesn’t want to have fun.

Share your kid’s latest drawing below. I would love to see it!

 

 

A New Year, A New Homeschool

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2016 while a year full of blessings left me scattered and quite frankly I’m glad to see it go. Last year we were moving into our new house and doing a ton of remodel and repairs. As a result, we did a lot of already prepared lessons. While they can be a life saver, our son just gets bored easily with it. So it was a constant struggle between he and I. One I’m grateful for.. like all life lessons. 

Here’s what I learned from those curriculum struggles in 2016 and what I’m doing in 2017.

It’s okay to teach with shows. Sometimes, I just didn’t have the fight in me to make him sit down and learn from our workbooks and so we used Netflix and DVDs. The Cat in The Hat knows a Lot About That, Schoolhouse Rock, Sing Song Latin, and The Magic School Bus are some of our favs. Bonus, you can cook or clean while they learn! I’m not saying this should take over your school day, just that it’s absolutely a great tool to use when needed.

Drawing as writing curriculum. My son hates writing and he makes sure I know it! So, I turn more to Draw, Write, Now and my own drawing assignments for him on those days where the old workbook isn’t working for us. Bonus, he’s happy and so am I.

Outside play time = expeditions to learn about the world. A few documentary shows and Little Passport’s are great in teaching about different countries around the world. We then go outside and pretend we’re there. He actually never fights me on his history or geography workbooks but this is a great break.

These are just a few things we are going to do more of this year. The workbooks won’t be going away but we will have more fun in 2017 with our  learning. Just like he wants. Bonus, it’s fun for me too.

Library Days

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Today, we went to one of our most favorite places. The library! It’s our homeschool friend. We are actually on our Christmas break now, but reading is something we do all the time. If you follow Sunblast Corner, we just published his post with what he loves to read about now. If you can’t tell, he loves underwater sea creatures.

We just registered for our library cards here and so we were limited to 2 books piece. Bummer! We’ll get more next time. Until then I guess we’ll be reading about sharks and pirates. Feel free to comment on what you are reading or your favorite books, we love to compare and share stories.

Sunblast Corner, A kid’s perspective on homeschooling

Learning about things.

I like to learn about sharks. I think that underwater creatures are the best creatures. Now that I think about underwater creatures I like the megalodon shark the best. The kraken is the biggest octopus in history.

I can also learn about my two dogs.

I like to learn about Dinosaurs the most. But sometimes, I think about underwater creatures more.

I like to learn about all things.

Then, I like to learn about ice and Polar Bears.

Then,I dig up bones of Dinosaurs that I still keep up with under water creatures like the Megalodon. The Megalodon reminds me of the Great White Shark today.

So you decided to Homeschooled, now what?

Once you decide to homeschool then you have to decide what curriculum to use. The options seem endless.

now-what-blog-post At first we bought a full packaged curriculum. While there were some great things about it and we still use parts of it.. We have progressed over the last two years to mixing up our educational resources and curriculum. We now use games, the library, and car rides to teach on the spot. Our old curriculum was entirely worksheet based. Our little guy began to hate that! So we started to focus on what he loves most. Hands on learning. For as much as we can. And, we began to mix up our curriculum with science kits, library books, documentaries, etc.

Just remember that like in all things in life; the key for success is flexibility. When a curriculum stops working you can always change. Just stay flexible and look for teachable moments everywhere.

To Homeschool or Not?

Finding yourself in a position where you feel you have to choose an alternative educational path for your child can be gut retching. It takes a lot of bravery to swim away from the mainstream. Take heart, more and more people are joining these ranks. I hope that this post helps you if you find yourself pondering the same question I did 3 years ago. Should I homeschool or not?

I cannot emphasize it enough, research! Do your research. In my case, I sought out a family member who was able to start us down a good solid path. But, I didn’t stop there… I also searched online for forums, groups, and parents who homeschool and I found so many helpful things. Just be prepared that there really is no one size fits all and that you’ll have to make your own path. One of my favorite sayings about homeschoolers, is that they are ultimate entrepreneur.

My personal favorite online site for help and research is Gifted Homeschoolers Forum http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/. They have great like links and insights into homeschooling.

Learn your state’s Homeschooling laws. There are different laws and regulations for Homeschooling your children throughout the country. You can research these laws at, http://projects.propublica.org/graphics/homeschool or visit HSLDA at http://www.hslda.org/

Time, what is realistic when you homeschool? I am a full time working mother who homeschools. You don’t hear that often. I have learned that to homeschool I had to master the clock. While it doesn’t take as long as a typical public school day, it still requires planning time ahead. I always sit down on Sunday and plan out our lesson plans for the week. Fortunately, because my husband works in the health care industry he works 3 days a week and is able to teach on the days where I work. On the days we both work our son stays with his grandparents. I am very blessed that this is how it plays out for us. But, be prepared that time and planning are essential into being successful as a homeschooler.

 The socialization question.. I’m throwing this in here because it is such a big deal to so many people. How will your child learn to get along with others if they don’t go to school? For us, I can tell you it’s a non-issue. Your child learns how to navigate relationships through the people at home. But, having friends your same age can be important. We make sure he has plenty of opportunities to interact with other kids. You can do this through sports, church, etc.

Make sure you choose the path that fits best with your child. Whether it’s sending them to public school, private school, or homeschooling.