Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How I Hope to Generate the Love of Learning

I am beyond no means an expert when it comes to the art of homeschooling. I've tried different curriculum and learning techniques throughout the years to see if there was anything that would be the magic formula. The one thing that I have found that works the best is to not "over" teach my children. I give them their books and let them explore their assignments and if they need help they know they can immediately come to me, my husband or research for answers at the library, Internet or books in our own personal library. It kind of happened accidentally as I stepped away to do some dishes one morning while they were working and found that they actually learned MORE when I wasn't hovering over them explaining the lesson to them. I also caught my oldest child "teaching" his brother mathematical equation tricks....his face glowed as he was able to show his brother something that he knew to help him.

Once a child can read, the world is an open book for them to explore. The coolest part of this accidental discovery is that my boys do not expect me to know the answers to everything. If we are watching a program and they want to explore something further, they know how to use the library computer index and the Internet to find the answers they are looking for. I can't ask for a better venue for them to discover more than what their textbooks tell them. If they are learning about tigers and have a question about a specific tiger...they can easily find what they want.

What my dream would be is that this freedom to explore and find the answers for themselves will assist them in higher education as well as throughout their lives. Rather than being spoon fed puppets, they have turned into constant seekers of facts and information. If they do not understand something, they research it more. If they want to know the Chicago Cub player with the highest batting average, they can find it!! What more could a mom or teacher ask for.

My preschooler has just started reading and it's amazing that the more words that he learns the more that he can share in the fun with his older brothers. He is my most inquisitive one, so it's going to be fun to see what kind of researcher he's going to be.

The best way that I can tell you to start this with your homeschooler is to first teach them how to read. Once they are reading, let them read the instructions to their homework and try to figure out the concepts. I'm not saying just let them do everything themselves and not help them, I'm saying be that eagle momma watching over the babies in the nest and only jumping in when they need help. Next show them how to use Google, Yahoo and MSN to search for answers to their questions. This is something you absolutely have to supervise if you do not have a profanity filter on your browser as you should never give a child free reign on the Internet. Take them to the library and show them how to use the card catalog (computer or the original card files depending on your library). I also show them how to use a dictionary, encyclopedia and thesaurus to find answers as well. Finally, if they ask you something that you know that they can find from one of these resources, tell them to "look it up". My mom always did this too me and I am actually glad she did because it is that very activity that has fostered this new learning style with my children.

Monday, May 18, 2009

And May's Winner Is.............

Momma Miller!!!

Thanks so much for your participation in the drawing!! Please contact me so we can get your free t-shirt too you!

Friday, May 1, 2009

You Can Do It Mom!!

Sometimes in a homeschooling parent's teaching career, they wonder if they are doing everything they need to and get overwhelmed with teaching, housework and parenting. If you operate a home-based buisness, it adds more to the stress of maintaining a peaceful and balanced home. As laundry piles up and dishes fill the sink while you spend half your time being a parent/homeschooler and then hit the computer or craft room to earn those extra dollars for your families income with the rest of your spare time, you wonder how can I make time for myself, for prayer time and for all those other things that I want to get done. What about those pictures that I need to get scrapbooked, or what about that idea I had for bringing more income to the family? Later this month I will be sharing some of the websites I have started using to bring some organization into my home, but in the meantime, I wanted to share an exciting e-book that I discovered.

The Old Schoolhouse has just came out with the most amazing e-book that helps homeschooling families to figure out how to work from home and still keep up with their main goal of homeschooling their children. The book is called Home Work - Juggling Home, Work and School Without Losing Your Balance. Several authors have teamed together to give you ideas on managing your home, homeschooling and home-based business and to not falter in your goal in raising Godly and well-educated children. Whether it's a crafting business or an online based business, this e-book has tons of ideas on how you can bring extra income into the family and even gives you ideas on how to make your current crafting business into something more. I strongly encourage you to get this book as you will not be disappointed. There is absolutely an idea for every mom and there were job ideas that I had not even thought of!! With my husband recently being laid off at the railroad, this book is a lifesaver on getting ideas how to get by until the economy picks up again!!

Click on the picture at the top of this review or HERE to find out what kinds of home-based business options are available for your homeschooling family.

The Creation vs. Evolution Debate

One of the most fascinating things about homeschooling my children, is that they do not really question whether or not we were created by God or if we evolved from a ball of gas. Even after watching several documentaries on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic, my boys use what they know about God's word to discredit those that adhere to the Theory of Evolution.

The Old Schoolhouse Creation vs. Evolution - Interpreting the Evidence WeE-Book gives you even more resources and ideas on how to refute and make a strong argument against the Theory of Evolution. Authors Dr. Carl Wieland and Darren Nelson help parents use historical facts and the Bible to help prove the existence of Creation. In addition to all kind of facts and historical comparisons, Wieland and Nelson also list many resources for furthering a unit study on the Creation vs. Evolution Argument. This is the perfect resource for your older child headed to public high school or to college to be prepared to factually present the case for creation.

WeE-Books has all kinds of e-books for homeschooling families to download for the low price of $1.95. Please click on the graphic below to visit the website or click on the graphic at the top of this review to get started on teaching your children how to effectively debate the creation vs. evolution argument.

Riding Along With the Iditarod

When I was in college, I had the priviledge of meeting Jeff King one of the most well known mushers in Iditarod history. I worked for Cabela's Jeff King's sponsor and we followed the race every day to see where he was and what position he was in. When I became a homeschooling mom, we again took on that tradition and my son and I both picked our mushers and checked the website to see who's dog sled team was ahead of the others. There is so much to learn from studying the Iditarod, and today I came across an amazing resource that I can use with all three of my homeschoolers next year during Iditarod racing time.

The Old Schoolhouse Following the Iditarod We-E Book is the perfect resource for a unit study on Dog Sledding and the Iditarod. Author Dena Wood gives you all the resources and ideas to put together and fun and exciting unit study for your homeschooling family. In addition to lots of facts, history and resources, there are even pre-made worksheets ready for printing to enhance the study even more. It is the perfect way for a family to have fun together and to learn about a very interesting and dangerous sport that involves planning, practice and a lot of heart.

WeE-Books has all kinds of e-books for homeschooling families to download for the low price of $1.95. Please click on the graphic below to visit the website or click on the graphic at the top of this review to get started on planning your Iditarod/Dog Sledding unit.

Host a Writer's Workshop!

Writing is one of the most important things in a child's education. Writing is something that a child will use throughout his or her lifetime. Sometimes you have a child that just doesn't take any interest in writing at all. They may stare at their notebook for hours in frustration just trying to write a simple paragraph. I had one of those and after trying several different techniques, I now have a productive writer.

The best way to cure a reluctant writer is to make writing fun an exciting. Find out what your child is interested in and assign creative writing prompts that focus on your child's favorite things. If he's into Space, give him writing prompts such as "Jonathan the astronaut had a special mission...what plant did he visit, what was it like, and who went with him."

My most reluctant writer is into football and is such a fact based child, that he couldn't come up with creative ideas for a writing project. I then came up with the idea of him creating a football team. I had him take notes on who was going to be on his team, what the uniforms looked like, what the mascot of the team was, etc. After he finished jotting down all the "facts", I told him to now write about the team using all the facts and I ended up getting a four page paper on his football team.

Another great way to get your children excited about writing is to host or attend a writing workshop. Through this workshop you and other homeschooling families get together once a week or on a special weekend to celebrate writing in a fun and exciting way. Children get to share their writing as well as listen to their peers. Parents have a chance to share and exchange ideas with one another.

I just found the most amazing e-book to help you get started in setting up a Writing Workshop for the homeschooling families in your community. The Old Schoolhouse Writer's Workshop - Getting Children Excited About Writing e-book has all the resources and ideas to get you started. Author Maggie Hogan tells you all the steps you need to take to set up workshop and gives you ideas on how to make the workshop fun for all involved. This e-book has me wanting to get a workshop set up for my homeschooling group next year!!

WeE-Books has all kinds of e-books for homeschooling families to download for the low price of $1.95. Please click on the graphic below to visit the website or click on the graphic at the top of this review to get started on planning your community's Writing Workshop.