It's week three of the Not Back to School Blog Hop and it's our first day of school. This week's theme is "Student Photos". Please enjoy the gratuitous display of my son. *chuckle chuckle*
It's week two of the Not Back to School Blog Hop and we're showing off our classrooms. Like most homeschoolers, we learn any and every where-- library, park, car, etc. We do, however, have a dedicated space in our meek home. It actually supposed to be a dining area but we never bought a dining table so I use it for school. It's not an actual room but there was enough space for us to set up an adequate "classroom".
Zion used to sit at the coffee table in front of that window until his legs got too long. I wanna get some bean bag chairs so we can still use that table to work at. Right now, I usually lay out his work each day on that table and dry artwork on it. Underneath it lives the telescope.
You probably can't see it but, our bookshelves are all two rows deep. I pray they don't collapse under the weight.
On the wall next to the window is my colorful, homemade bulletin board (which I'll post how I made it another day), a medium size white board with Zion's art apron hanging over it, and on the the floor is the huge dry erase calendar.
Last and not least is the six foot folding banquet table and two chairs where the magic happens. This was a cheap and easy-to-fit-in-the-space solution. Once I clean all the clutter off, he and I can both work from this table comfortably with great natural light streaming through that huge window. I also have an old tv cart next to my side of the table to give me extra space for books. I book blog and always have several books working at once and my own school books, so the cart keeps me from taking over the table completely.
And that's our little school nook.
I'm participating in this year's Not Back to School Blog Hop at Heart of the Matter and the first week's post is on our curriculum selections for this school year. It's funny that, for months, I thought I had everything all picked out and most of it purchased. Just as I was about to write my post for this blog hop on Monday, I realized why I hadn't purchased some things yet...I wasn't really feeling them like I thought. The stuff I was sure about, I bought without hesitation. I can't believe I listened to my instincts for a change. We're excited about "2nd grade" and here's what we'll be doing this year...
Language Arts: Growing With Grammar, Soaring With Spelling and Vocabulary, Writing With Ease, Primary Analogies I, lots of living books and poetry (Langston Hughes and Issa)
Math: Math Mammoth
Science: R.E.A.L Science Odyssey - Earth & Space, Nature Study
History: History Odyssey, Story of the World (Middle Ages)
Bible/ Character Study: memory verses & discussing bible stories, Character Building Day by Day
Fine Arts: Draw Write Now, Artist Studies, Music Studies (classical and jazz)
Extras: Karate, bowling (maybe), piano (hopefully)
"I wish I could homeschool my kids."
"I just don't know if I could home school."
Those statements and several others are some I hear often from parents who are not happy with their child's current school situation. Anyone can home educate, it's just not for everyone. But sending your child to a traditional school doesn't mean you can't be proactive in their education. Another comment I hear from scores of wanna be home educators is: "I just wouldn't know what to do." Well, I'm going to share some tips and websites that will be useful for those afterschooling. Now what's that? Afterschooling is simply extending the school day beyond regular hours and might include reinforcement activities or supplemental instruction such as studying a subject not taught in school.
Now here are some tips and resources I hope you find useful for enhancing your child's learning experience...
*Cooking can cover both math and science. Let your child help you bake a pie. Measuring ingredients and cutting into parts covers math. The process of going from mostly dry ingredients to a finished, cooked pie covers science. Cooking together will also encourage healthier eating habits.
We've even melted down old broken crayons and blended in inexpensive soap molds to create new colors in fun shapes which makes for a great impromptu and utilitarian science project for young kids.
*Book reports or essays are perfect accompaniments to whatever your kids are reading in their down time. The child's ability should dictate which you implement. This is a great opportunity to encourage reading beyond what's required in schools while making it easier to grasp the concept of book reporting or essay writing. So, if your child is immersed in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, have them write a book report about it.
*Blogging is my absolute favorite learning enhancer. It's so accessible, budget friendly, and gratifying. I plan to let my seven year old begin blogging on my space. I'll have him type his two cents on some of my blog posts so that he gets comfortable with the concept of blogging. In a year or two, I'll set him loose in his own space. Giving kids a space to be creative and articulate themselves is just a gift. If they like legos, let them blog about all of their awesome creations. If they enjoy video games, let them blog about that. Don't be afraid of the internet as blogging is something parents can heavily monitor to keep kids safe online.
Workbooks. Yes, workbooks are probably the easiest thing to use for afterschooling. They cover every thing from phonics and spelling to chemistry and calculus. One that I use in homeschooling for re-enforcement and summer is Skill Builders Reading. This reading comprehension workbook is perfect because each activity is on two pages: a short story and a few comprehension questions. They're really compact and well priced.
Online resources. Kids like visuals and being "connected," so try one of these free websites.
*Khan Academy is an amazing collection of videos teaching every math topic from basic addition to calculus and science topics including biology, organic chemistry, and physics. Concepts are presented in short, simple nuggets. It's the perfect study tool. ALL AGES.
*Book Adventures has tons of reading quizzes on many familiar titles like Frog and Toad Are Friends, Harry Potter, Miracle's Boys, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. These can be used for required and pleasure reading. Grades K-8.
*Starfall will get your preschooler off to a good start with their free online phonics program. This is a staple in the homeschool community. It's a site that kids learn to navigate quickly and easily. Grades PreK-2.
*Head of the Class is a fairly new site that boasts curriculum based instruction for grades PreK through eight (currently PK-3 are available but the other grades have release dates posted). Registration is required but only to keep track of your child's activity as they complete assignments. This is a comprehensive way to compliment your child's day school activities. They cover every subject including Spanish and Art. This would be great for summer reviewing of the previous grade completed or getting ahead on the next grade level.
I really hope these few tips create a jumping off point for those wanting to be more proactive in their child's education. This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. There's tons of resources to be found with a little research. Happy learning!