Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Don't give up Homeschooling.

                    I can only speak for myself but I have wanted to send my daughter back to school plenty of times.  There are some great days and then there are days when I wonder was I completely insane for even thinking I could do this. When the going gets tough, I wonder was I even my right mind when I decided to homeschool my six year old and take of my three year and my baby.
                 If you have ever felt this way just know you are not alone. I do not know many home school families. Actually I only know one, and have met some others at a zoo class, but other than that I see no one else. It has been hard getting out of the house with all three. I am now getting used to traveling with all three. I know that one thing I can add is more activities outside the home and making some friends.  Friends for my kids and friends for this crazy mamacita that understand this journey.

              I say don't give up because the past few days were tough. I wondered if would it be easier if I had just done what is the usual, send her to school. Not that there is anything bad with that. When it gets rough at home and I have no breaks. The baby is crying ,kids are fighting, dishes are piled up, dog needs to go out everyone is hungry and its only ten in the morning, I tend to lose it a bit. But then today I witnessed something new in my daughter. Something I had never seen before. She was doing her math and I explained to her that in order for her to have more play time and more breaks she needs to focus. I wanted her to understand that it is her choice to get her work done. It is up to her how much play time she has. Miraculously she heard and understood me. She finished her two math worksheets in record time. I was amazed and I was so happy to see such a big progress. Not only did she work through those problems quickly because we have been working on adding and remembering addends, but she can  also focus. That was that hardest part of homeschoolin.  Getting her to focus for at least ten to fifteen minutes was a challenge to say the least.
Building roads with tens using blocks and on the dry erase board.
They loved it.

             That big moment happened again today during a Saxon phonics assessment in the afternoon. During the test she said, "Mom this is actually fun." What? Did I hear her clearly? She hated doing the Saxon phonics. She is actually having fun learning. It was such a wonderful moment. I will never forget it. And that is one of the reasons I wanted to homeschool. To make learning enjoyable for my children.
So if you feel like there is no way you will make it. Just hang on for one more day. And take it one day at a time.
              I realized that I needed to review how I was approaching certain subjects, and also my organization.  I can not afford the math manipulative's I want, but I have been using our mega blocks to make tens and nines. It was also another amazing learning experience. I am able to learn my daughters learning style..  In the process it has been difficult. I assure you, I have wanted to quit. But I did not quit and I am so glad today that I went with my heart and for what God called me to do. I still have a lot to learn but there is so much invaluable information on the Internet. There are so many parents sharing their experience. There are so many free resources if it seems homeschooling is expensive.
             I feel that homeschooling is such a wonderful experience for a family unit.  I would love to hear about your experience and how you overcame some obstacles. Or maybe you need to vent.
I know for my family and I this is our journey and it is beyond what I could have imagined.

Some of the things you can do if you are thinking about quiting. I

1) Step back and take a break. This could be a walk. A coffee or tea in some quiet time. Take some time to be by yourself. To find who you are and what is you want.

2) Speak to someone who understands. If you can not find someone, go online and find blogs from parents who are sharing a similar story It helps to feel you are not the only one.

3) Pray. Maybe some of you reading this do not believe in God. But I do, and God keeps me grounded and able to keep moving when I feel I have no more in me.

4) I turned off the T.V. We are selling our big screen T.V. I am just so tired of mindlessly watching it. Its not as if we watched it all day, but when we did we binged watched. And the kids were watching too much of it. Once I unplugged they opened up more. Less combative and more imaginative.

5) Exercise and eat healthy. This is so important, we must take care of ourselves.. You have probably heard the analogy, if you were on a plane, and someone needed a gas mask. You would need to help yourself first before you even think of helping another. Same goes here. If we do not put ourselves as a priority it will show and our families will suffer.

6)Reevaluate your teaching methods or the way you organize. I am not the most organized person, But with three children I have realized I can not keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. I may not have an hour to hour schedule, but I have an overview of what I want to cover and it helps me stay on track.

7) Have fun. We are so busy being mom, we also need to have fun while teaching. The kids love when we play. And they learn better.
My daughter would not read out loud before. Now she reads to all of us.

I know there may be more to add to this list. This is just some of the things I have done.
I hope it helps at least one mother or father out there.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Reviewing and Renweing our Homeschool plan

It is January 2nd, 2015 and I want to review my work so far since we started homeschooling in August. It has been a new and interesting journey that my family and I have undertaken. There are some things I can improve upon and there are some things I really like about out homeschooling days.
       I have been searching online for rewards charts and daily activities charts. I want to hold not only myself accountable for the work I do but also my daughter. I went to Walmart and I was stocking up on some very discounted Christmas decorations and small gifts when I got the idea of rewards and prized at the end of the week.

       My daughter was with me, but I explained to her all of these new toys were for rewards points. She will get her usual birthday and Christmas gifts but I want to refrain from randomly buying gifts. I want my children to have fun and enjoy things but I want them to see that things take work. I also hope it may be another form of motivation for schoolwork. I have not officially done a daily chore chart.  I am currently searching the Internet for some. I found this website and it seems very helpful. kidspoints

Small items but she is already excited to receive them. These were both on clearance. 

        I know as an adult when I have a list of things I need to get done, even if its a small list,  it helps me remember my tasks. Sometimes we get so distracted with everyday things. I want to help my children learn how to manage their time. How to have fun and still get work done. Everyday life is not just playing and having fun, for most of us at least. I try and have fun when I can, but there are things to be done if we want a nice clean place, or if we want to learn something.  We need to put our time and effort into learning.  
     My Daughter has done great in reading but it was like pulling teeth to get to where we are today. I will also try a reading chart. Maybe if she receives a sticker for every book she reads it will give her more reason to sit and read. Now that she is reading more she can step up to this new challenge.
She is reading Amelia Bedelia. At the beginning of the year she could not read more than two sentences. Now she can read a whole chapter with a little assistance on difficult words.  She has also surprised me and has sounded out words I have never taught her.
       I will be tweaking the chart and reward system as I go. homeschooling is such a learning experience for me as well as for my children. I like how we can come up with different ways to teach something. I like breaking things down and figuring out a way to make it understandable for my children. Its always a plus when it is fun as well.
      I found some new resources on YouTube. There is a channel called Teachertipster  This is a channel made by a teacher and he has great ideas for teaching new concepts and helping children memorize things. You know they all love things that are fun, colorful and exciting. I am not afraid to admit that sometimes I lack in that area because I am at home all the time, so I thank God everyday for the Internet. I will be using a lot of his ideas. I am also inspired to try my own. I can not wait to see what I come up with.
Baking cookies, Reading a recipe and measuring ingredients. Math, Science, reading, and fun all in one.
      Everyday life can become monotonous but we can do something about it and make it interesting. It is easy to fall into an everyday routine and not change anything. I think there is a chance to change something in your life every once in a while to become better. I take this opportunity and am filled with excitement for myself and my children.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Telling Time Lapbook 1st grade

You don't need to home school to use this idea.  It is fun for the kids and they learn at the same time.
I have been wanting to make more lap books for my daughter. They are a great way to organize ideas and learning material in one folder.
My latest lapbook is for telling time. I was able to find this at I took those printable's and made my own lapbook layout.
Cover sheet.

this is the first center flap. On each side you can glue small envelopes. I made these envelopes with color paper. I placed the numbers in the orange envelope on the right. Then the words on the left in the blue envelope. 

here is the second flap with the clock and the hour and minute hands.

 There are many websites and videos on how to make these. Just go for it. 
If you have made a lapbook about telling time let me know how you did it.
Happy Homeschooling.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A few of my favorite Homeschool things.

These are a few of my favorite things.  Things  we get to do during school. These pics are highlights of some of the fun activities we get to do on a school day. We went to the zoo on a weekday. The kids were able to just run around and see everything they wanted with no crowds.  There were lessons on animals while we walked, talked, played and observed.
Measuring the height of an animals jump compared to our own at the zoo on a Tuesday.

Building a birds nest outside just because they wanted to.

Driveway Artwork.

Siblings reading together during school

The beginning of the birds nest.

        Not everyday is like this but we get to do this more often because we are on our own time. When the children built the nest it was their own idea. They inspire everyday with new ways to approach learning.  My 6 year old daughter sorted everything out and had her brother helping her. I used that opportunity to speak of Eagles and how their nest is the largest yet they are not the largest bird. Something we had learned at the zoo.
        Homeschooling can be a challenge like any good thing in life. I question myself and my decisions sometimes. Then there are days when my children s imagination can run wild and learning takes a new path. I try and pray everyday to be patient and to have an open mind. I have a schedule that can be adjusted at any moment. I have three young children and I can not expect them to be open about learning and expand their idea of what school is if I do nothing but stick to the schedule. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

History and goegraphy lesson

        I am still learning how to come up with fun ways to teach without a set curriculum.  I enjoy it but its also challenging finding different sources and new information.
Today we covered history,  The Ice Age and Civilization.
      I used "What your first grader needs to know. " book as a guide. Then supplemented with other resources.
I started on the chapter on history. It was fun reading this with the kids. We talked about how they lived.  Archeology and how they find things from that time.
   Once we read about the Ice Age and how they roamed to hunt and gather food. We were able to tie in how civilization began, how they settled and where civilization began. 
    I had my children build the world map and also spoke of the seven continents. 

    This lesson was an excellent way to tie in other subjects. History is a great way to teach about science, geography, foods we eat and culture.
     This lesson really helped me get excited again about home school. It can be exhausting at times. I want to do my best and not short change my children. I want their education to be exciting to them but also for me. Lessons like this make it worth while. Seeing the children excited to learn. They ask questions that I can not answer quick enough. That is one great aspect of homeschooling.  They can ask questions and I will help them find the answer.
   If you have any ideas that can be added to this lesson I would love to hear about them. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Why I home school.

I have read many blogs and many of the parents home school for many of the same reasons. Some reasons may overlap and and some are different. The most common theme I see is giving your children something better.  A better education, a loving environment, a better way of seeing the world.  These are some of my reasons.  When my daughter was born 6 years ago I thought about homeschooling but I never knew anyone who had done it. I had no information on it and it seemed very different. Such an unconventional way of doing things, It still is. I do not get offended if people do not understand my reasoning behind my educating my children. If someone asks its an opportunity for me to let others know about what I know.  Just like most things in life if it does not concern you as an individual you do not take the time out to find out about it.  I did extensive research when I decided that home schooling was an option I was thinking about.
Today my husband and I were reflecting o n how far we had come as a family in respect to my daughters education and the effects it had on us overall.  I want to inform you that when I told my husband I wanted to homeshool he was hesitant.  I needed to make sure we all wanted to homeschool before I made the leap.  I had given my husband a lot of information and became even more informed while trying to show him what I believed would be best. I asked him how he felt so far about my homeschooling? And does he feel my daughter is learning enough?
My hubby said he is happy with our decision. The only thing he worries about is if they will have a problem if they enter public school again. But its not my biggest concern yet.
Today we listened to jazz and ate lunch by the rain. Yes our days can be chaotic sometimes but days like today are priceless.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Accidentally UnSchooling.

Home schooling has been a challenge to say the least. Some days I wonder why am I doing this? but most days I know exactly why.  Yesterday I took the kids to the library just to hang out, get some books, change the environment. And it was wonderful.  The kids mostly played but they behaved so well. I was able to look for books, read a little, and feed the baby. It was absolutely beautiful. The kids even did a library project that they had at the table, some cutting and gluing.
At the end of the library trip my daughter wanted to take out a movie, so I made a deal with her. I said "if you want the movie read me that book you are looking at." She was looking at "Happy Halloween Biscuit." She said "ok." She proceeded to read the book. She needed some help with a few words but for the most part she did it herself and she was smiling and enjoying herself. I really do not know when this happened. Now that I write about it we took a about a week and half off just to hang out with dad because he took some days of of work. looking back I see that not pushing her in her phonics lessons has helped.  Yes I helped with some of the foundation phonics but I think I may have been pushing too hard to have her reading that it may have pushed he away. I am an avid reader. I just am.  No one in my family growing up read. I just loved it. I guess I want my children to desire to read like me. But I can not go about it the regular school way.  I borrowed about twenty books from library. Hoping to spark some desire in them. My daughter always makes me laugh because I want them to be interested in one thing and she surprises me and wants the opposite.  I got many books on pumpkins and animals.  She chooses the book I got for my son on wolves.  Children are amazing and I need to step back most of the time and watch them be children.  Yes I must guide them, yes I am their teacher, but not the teacher that I grew up knowing. A new teacher, a mentor, maybe even sensei.
Accidentally unschooling is only word I have for it. Because every article i read on unschooling  seemed to me that parents were being lazy. When in fact its harder to let go. It takes more faith to let your children grow without a schedule, without the standard list telling you exactly what they need to know.
I do not know where we will head from here. I headed in to this not knowing where I would start but I did it. So I know anything is possible.  Now  just have to get my lazy but up and do something about it.