Sunday, November 9, 2008

Good link

Just wanted to have a photo here. I don't like having posts without a photo. This is one from some time ago!

Found a link to what looks like a fairly comprehensive book list.

Homeschooling Styles

At our last General Meeting we had 5 members form a panel and talk about their homeschooling practices following a particular style. Represented were; Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, Waldorf, Curriculum Based and Eclectic. I think most people follow a combination of styles but it was nice to hear these speakers focus on one particular method. I took a few things away from this meeting:

1) Use more living books and try to cut out the "junk" books. Allow a few but limit them. I'm really noticing quality when it comes to finding early and advanced readers for Mason. The "junk" readers don't advance logically and use words which are inappropriate for the level.

2) Start a nature journal and get some good field guides. Utilize Handbook of Nature Study

3) Make outside/physical activity time a regular part of our day. We've gotten quite good at this but with winter approaching I want to make sure that we continue on!! It's too easy to hibernate!

4) Formal learning in the morning, field trips and extracurricular in the afternoon.

5) Being organized makes homeschooling easier.

6) Plan a character ed program. I've been wanting to do this for a while. Perhaps I'll choose 10 characteristics and we'll work on those.

7) Sources for copy work

8) Art is definitely a part of my program already but we're lacking in music this year. We'll incorporate a music study and appreciation on a monthly basis and aim to have music lessons in our schedule by next year.

9) Continue with my plan to start a Lifelong Project Timeline. It will not be in a book format as many of them are. Rather it will be accordion style so that it can easily fold out into a true line. I'll post more on this, hopefully in the near future!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Zoo Diaries

So we've made good use of our Zoo membership. We've probably already been 5 times since we got it in May. I think that we will get a different membership every year and do it to death! I think by May we will have done all we can do at the zoo for now. In a few years we may be ready to revisit a membership. It was of course an awesome day to go yesterday. Weather was great and not a lot of people.

Yesterday each child made up their own zoo diary. We used a file folder and using templates I made up, put them into the folder to make a diary. On the template there's space for a photo, drawing, and blanks for animal name, food, habitat, classification, country of origin and description of what the animal was doing when we visited. My intention was for each child to choose 5 different animals to study for the day, giving us a total of 10 that we would learn about on this visit. So we plunked ourselves down on the boardwalk overlooking the tigers. When we started we were essentially alone although there were a couple of pacing tigers below!! The kids got right into their animal study. Mickey was writing and drawing about orangutans while Mason was drawing a detailed drawing of the tiger. Before we knew it, we had a bit of a gathering around us! It was nice to hear positive comments about what the kids were doing.

Today the kids finished off their write-ups. We needed to look up more information about some of the animals they chose. Of course the conversation took off and we got into a variety of topics including; endangered species, habitats, kingdoms, classification, vertibrates/invertibrates, animals without a face, etc...!! Next week we will graph weights and lengths of various animals using both horizontal and vertical bar graphs. I'm hoping that this will reinforce that a reticulating snake can indeed be longer than our truck! This was a tricky thought.

We also tackled place value today. With my schedule I have to put thought into what resources/manipulatives I'm going to buy and what I'm going to make. So anyhow, I caved and bought a place value chart for $14. It was worth every penny. I could so easily have bought straws and made the number cards but it would have taken valuable time away! Anyhow, the kids got the concept fairly quickly and it really helped to cement their understanding of numeracy and the values 1 to 100. We will of course constantly revisit this!

Our day also included a play date with a neighbour we recently discovered who also homeschools and a treasure hunt for sight words.

Tonight Mason and I are being Invested at Beavers. Stay tuned! My leader name is Tic Tac!! I'm sure it could have been worse!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

You MUST meet this family!

I had never heard of the blog the Nie Nie Dialogues until I stumbled across it in September through another blog site. Stephanie, the writer of this blog and her husband Christian were in a horrific plane crash in August. Christian suffered burns to 30% of his body and Stephanie to 80% of her body.

It's my understanding that since the crash it's become very clear how loved her blog was and as a result her and her family have been receiving tremendous support. On CJane her sister Jane blogs about her own life but since the accident has been using much of her blog space to write about Christian and Stephanie's recovery and about how their family (incl. Stephanie & Christian's four children) are doing.

I love both blogs because these people are just so real and so committed to each other. It's raw and very real but the love they have for each other is truly inspiring. If you have time to check both blogs out, go back to at least July and read forward. Enjoy!

Happy Halloween

On Tuesday we had a small Halloween party here with some friends. We read stories and dressed the kids up as Mummies. Heinrich came home to a huge bag full of toilet paper!! We made Halloween themed chocolate suckers and did some Halloween themed work sheets. Kerry had a neat idea of punching butterfly clips into pumpkins (using a overlay picture) and then painting the round tops with glo-in-the-dark paint. Lots of fun.

Mason was a friendly dragon this year and Mickey was a butterfly. The cars I made for them last year wore me out so I've decided to make their costumes every other year!! Trick or treating is always lots of fun. We went out for an hour and a quarter. Heinrich and I like meeting up with the neighbours. It's especially neat for me since I grew up in the neighbourhood. It brings back many found memories of visiting the same homes and families.

Learning to swing

It never ceases to amaze me how one day a child is just not getting it and then all of sudden they are. Sometimes without even practicing. It's as though a switch is turned on in their body and/or brain! All summer long I've been pushing both kids on the swings until my arms (and my boredom) couldn't take any more. No matter how much teaching I did, it didn't seem to matter. FINALLY one day in September I was busy in the house and I looked out and there was Mason, proud as punch, pumping his legs away on the swing. It kept him busy for quite a while!

Now our little Mickey could not take being left on the sidelines and having to depend on Mommy and Daddy for a push. She didn't complain but a few days later, same situation, I looked out the window and there she was pumping away, going higher than her brother!


I hated having curly hair but I have to admit I love MIckey's curls. I just want to play with them all the time.