This past week in our Homeschool Science Lab, we have talked about the clouds and how if you can identify them, you can pretty much predict the weather! It definitely worked for us! I have to admit I was actually excited about the cloud stuff because I like “old school farmer knowledge” and am a die hard fan of the Farmer’s Almanac. Yeah, I like to follow space weather too…ok, so I geeked out a tad bit:) But it is also a great project because it will take a few days to identify different types of the clouds. So it is an ongoing one that you can break up, however you like.
I found this wonderful cloud identifier on pinterest, but after clicking the links, found that you had to buy it…”no way” says this DIY Lady. Below is what you need to do:
Blue Construction Paper (one per person, I did one to show as an example)
Glue Stick (worked better)
White Tissue Paper *optional
2. Then, start identifying the clouds you see! We used the square as a frame to look through to view the clouds.
3. Use the glue and cotton balls to mimic the clouds you identify. We used tissue paper for Cirrus clouds because they were less fluffy and more “whispy”.
4. Label the clouds you see each day with the white/gray crayon.
We only did three of the Four Groups (Cirrus, Cumulus, and Stratus) this week because we were able to see them this week. We use the identifiers outside by holding them up, looking through the square and identifying the clouds using our models on our construction paper. As they get better at “checking the boxes” on the nasa link above and identifying those basic clouds, we will move into the more detailed of the 3 groups.
We also tried a “Make Your Own Cloud Project” I found on pinterest, but our cloud was not as thick. It still was super cool watching the clouds move and form though!
Overall, we covered science and art with this project. It was also a fun spin on just decorating construction paper with cotton balls. This makes it more interactive for my kinesthetic learners! It is also a fun ongoing lesson with cool experiments that are easily found onlineHappy cloud hunting!!
What A Learning Experience! After we figured out why we wanted to homeschool and when we would be ready, we had to physically do it. So we did. 🙂 The plan was to sell our home, start homeschooling and travel. We would begin looking for land to start our new homestead on, without the worry of the kids missing school. But that was the plan. And Plans Change…..Thank Goodness!
We decided it was best to have the kids established in a homeschool routine before uprooting them and traveling the world. Our home showings were so up and down, we did not know when we were moving. Time to take control. So we pulled them out of school and there we were…Monday morning. Except I was excited and terrified, and the girls were actually in good moods! 🙂 But what to do? I made a schedule I had been working on for forever it seemed like. I had alarms on my phone, I had all the subjects listed, I had a plan. I thought. Instead of home schooling, I schooled at home. My timers, my schedule, my plan, was total crap. I was totally stressed out, but so happy we finished our first day. I learned a million things. I set off to revise my entire workbook and scheduler I created, into something more simple. I deleted all of my timers. And I researched more on youtube, homeschool sites, and pinterest. Over the next couple of weeks, my entire school day transformed and my schedule was revised. After all of my research the consistent message I kept hearing is, “RELAX! Remember why you are doing this. Remember you wanted more time with your kids. They will learn no matter what. Just enjoy your time with them, and they will learn.” Many of the veteran home school moms and dads said their number one regret was not relaxing. They said they wish they would have spent more time with their children. I whole-heartedly agree. “They Say” (whoever they are) that many people who are close to the end of their lives say that one of their biggest regrets is not spending time with family. That is why we wanted to homeschool. We love spending time together. So that is what I set out to remind myself everyday.
*Explode the Code Online
*Hooked on Phonics- kindergartener
*Winston Grammar- 4th grader
*Master Platinum Typing
*Multiplication flash cards- 4th grader
*Phonics words flash cards- kindergartener
*Spelling/vocabulary words for fourth grader found on internet-new list every week; each day she does something different with words from spelling them, defining them, writing sentences, writing stories, and then an overall quiz on fridays
*Random Science Experiments we find on pinterest, knex, gears gears gears, snap circuit connector set projects, etc.
*Life Science- happens all the time on the homestead!!
*Helping their dad build a hydroponics system…and any other projects we have!
*History-Random people in history right now until I pick a world history set
*We also talk about different religions and their beliefs, and whatever else comes up in our conversations.
Not much of one, but we basically do everything every day, alternating days for explode the code and typing. We usually start at 9/930 and end around 12, when we do lunch. If we have any art projects or any science experiments, we do them after lunch. I let the kids decide which subjects they want to do first, and while they are working (unless they need help form me), I review the schedule for the day and work on tomorrow’s and the next day’s schedule.
We enjoy the Charlotte Mason Method, as well as some Unit Study. It is just an ecclectic mix of subjects! We download free books from the SUPER COUPON LADY, who send 10 free kindle books a day, many with kids books, I purchase books, or we find free information online. Why not? Sometimes I download worksheets for them to complete, but that is not often. Sometimes they actually request them! We go outside sometimes to read, depending on the weather. We attend skate days with other homeschool kids, or park days on Fridays. We want to enroll them in dance, a sport, etc soon, but I am glad I took the advice of one homeschool mom and did not sign them up for anything. I was definitely not ready for running around, I needed to get my schedule right at home first.
It is ever changing and ever growing. I have found some classes I would love the kids to do this summer too. We are conducting year round school, because, well, why not? They are learning always and I want them ahead of their peers, because they want to do the work, not because they have to. My kindergartener is already more than half way through her first MATH U SEE WORKBOOK, Primer.She is in lesson 19, when I had only planned to do one lesson a week. Thanks to a bit of the un-schooling method, my littlest Crab has excelled with Math! And if she wants to do it, I let her do it for as long as she wants. By my watch, she should only be in lesson 9. My 4th grader is reading a book every week, and we are about to start implementing written and types summaries, then reports. Or I may just have her give me oral reports to work on public speaking. I had even thought of having my parents as her audience via skype or factime, or even some of her old classmates:)
Possibilities are endless. The love is unconditional. Their learning is everlasting. And their passion will be undying as long as we continue to foster it. Our goal…our plan…teach them about life, how to be self reliant, research everything, form their own opinions, and BE HAPPY!!
Homeschooling. I won’t even waste my time going over all of the stereotypes. You are probably thinking of one right now. I have to say that I have gone from being totally against it, to being so excited about it I find it hard to sleep at night. For about a year I have slowly collected books, organizing drawers, pencils, paper, construction paper, paint, workbooks, and other materials, as well as researching homeschool blogs, support groups, curriculum, learning styles, and a million other things. The more I learned, the more I liked it. I was reserved as to how having the kids at home all the time (like Summer) would be and wanted to make sure we all got alone time, and the kids were able to socialize.
#1: After watching my 4th grader struggle with math homework for 2 hours after being in school for 8 hours a day, and then watching her stress out at the age of 8 when she was in third grade over the Texas State Test, and sometimes finding her in tears over the demands to keep up with her peers in school, I really wanted to take control of her education. She is smart. So smart. She is a great reader, she has a great imagination, she actually likes science and technology stuff, but like most of the kids these days, she hates math. They moved too quickly to prepare for this state test…they covered everything fast and only an inch deep, then on to the next one. Public school was not all I had hoped it was…but what were my expectations really?
#2: The school was not the one to blame because it was a great school. It was small (like she had 24 kids in her grade, 12 kids to a class) enough so she could get one on one attention. Her reading improved exceptionally when we moved from a big public school near a military installation to the small country one when she was in Kindergarten. We knew all the teachers and even the principal called our family by name every morning we dropped them off. It was a great school, but the Texas Education System is what failed. We were active parents when our kids were attending school. Always at the parent teacher conferences, emailing the teachers, etc. We were helping our daughter understand her homework….a lot. We teach them something everyday, so I know she learns things.
#3 & #4: My Kindergartener and fourth grader would tell us what they would learn in school that day…sometimes…when we thought of every way to ask them that is humanly possible. At times, when they would tell me something that they learned it was very one sided and did not show the whole picture. For me, several instances came to mind. The way some of our nation’s leaders are portrayed (positive and negative), the history of slavery, the history of the women’s movement, the civil war, the 9/11 Terrorist Attack, our banking system, our judicial system….ok…really everything it seems right? Through my life, I learned there are always two sides of the story and that a government is too big can be detrimental. Call me crazy…believe me I am used to it…but if you are following my blog, we have similar mind sets……I know that you know that there is something way bigger than us that is happening right now in our time of life. We just believe in having an open mind, research, research, research, form your own opinion, don’t develop straw men theories, and have solutions, not problems. It took me 29 years to figure that out. My kids get a head start, and I only imagine the change they will bring to those around them and even farther.
The #4 reason is that I never could get them to tell me anything they learned. Not that it wasn’t happening, but that it was of so little interest to them that they totally pushed it to the short term memory and will probably completely forget what they learned the next morning. I get it, learning can’t be fun all the time…but I still don’t get it. Kids learn all of the time….no matter what is happening….what we WANT them to see and what we DON’T want them to see. So relax…your kid is learning something, trust me. 🙂
#5: Don’t judge me, but…I hate getting my kids up early to accomplish an important task, like starting their day which was usually hurried (even waking up early), messy, crying from brushing hair, can’t put pants on, shirts are too tight, I forgot to make lunch, where are my shoes, where are your shoes, and utter chaos=unneeded stress. My great well behaved kids (they really are, military dad helps with smooth efficiency lol) are not morning people. Most kids aren’t..but after reading many studies about kids not getting enough sleep or working best in their natural cycles it started to make me think. No, I don’t believe in the total free loving mind set of unschooling (no judgement here, rock on unschoolers because some of my methods may be unschool-ish at times) and letting my kids sleep and wake when they want. But I do believe in a calm stress free environment (when i can control it, which is most days..unless I am feeling a little moody:/ but that self meditating helpful hint is for another article!) where there are no tears but happy faces and rested, healthy bodies.
#6: Sickness. I hate seeing my kids sick. I love going barefoot outside, and yes I believe some germs are good…but these new strains and mutated bugs are all a little too creepy for me. I took my kids out of school when the scare of the ebola virus was going on in October 2014 and it was about 30 minutes from our town. Too close and not worth the risk. I was tired of the yearly flu we would all get, or sporadic stomach bugs, strep throat, and whatever crap was going around school. No lice, thankfully….but they wouldn’t last in my tea tree oil oasis of a home, lol. That really was an easy one 🙂
AND ANY OTHER PERSONAL OR FAMILY REASONS YOU HAVE FOR TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR CHILD’S EDUCATION, AND YOUR FAMILY’S PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH.
“It is up to you to choose your life’s journey.” – MC
How homeschooling provided solutions for my reasons above:
#1: In Texas, the homeschool law is very simple. Teach your kid reading, spelling, grammar, arithmetic, and good citizenship http://www.thsc.org/homeschooling-in-texas/state-requirements/ – so the law is easy to follow, no state mandated tests, no attendance (although we do keep attendance..nothing wrong with covering your A**), no monitoring or hovering of the state or federal government. I purchased Cathy Duffy’s 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum (http://cathyduffyreviews.com/) and dove in. It had everything. I purchased programs for my kids’ learning styles, and now, we get work done without tears or frustration. They still take tests form the programs or ones I create, or with flashcards, but there is no unneeded stress from tests that really mean nothing to a kid’s passions, or aptitude for learning. When your 6 year old is flying through her math workbook, and your 4th grader is finally having “AHA” moments, then you know they are really getting it…and liking it!
#2: We are now ultimately and solely responsible for what our children learn and how much they learn. Wow that was and is a scarey realization. You mean, I can teach my kindergartener to read, add, and all that stuff? I can re-teach my 4th grader multiplications? What about algebra? What do I do??? Yeah I went down the rabbit hole with my fears, but then, as we always do, we dust off the negativity and jump, head first. It totally worked. I have the confidence now after all of my research, the Cathy Duffy book, and just DOING IT to teach my kids.
#3: They get the whole story. We tell them multiple theories on what happened in history, we talk about it, and then they decide what they feel is correct. For instance, my kids and even myself had never learned that the first slave owner was a black man, and he owned a black man (Anthony Jackson, you look it up for yourself. Antonio Jackson is listed as well.) There were white slaves/indentured servants who worked off their debts for crimes, or not being Christian, being Irish, Polish, whatever. Some were owned by black slave owners. I am not saying this to get into a debate, just do your own research, which is what point I am proving. We teach our kids to do their own research. They have a laptop with a kid search engine, and they are learning to use it to look up everything. I am wanting my kids to grow up knowing there does not have to be labels on people. As I grew up a bit differently, than that. But I changed, educated myself, and opened my mind to A completely different world I once thought EXISTED! 🙂
#4: I knew what they were learning in school!! We talked about it all day, at dinner, and now it is just something we do. They remember, thanks to fun projects on pinterest we find, and other homeschool websites. we don’t do projects everyday, but we are always reading and listening. While they play with kinetic sand, play doh, build stuff, they listen to biographies I read, or stories I find. They remember it all day using their kin esthetic learning styles!
#5: My kids wake up between 8 & 9 AM, with no tears and no angry emotions from anyone! No screaming, fighting, crying, running, searching, etc. They wander out of bed, make their own breakfast, do the dishes if they have to be done, brush their teeth, get dressed, make their beds, and get their work out for the day. We start around 9/9:30 and finish by or a little after 12 when it is lunch time. We do yoga stretches to start or as breaks, and get a snack if we are hungry, take a break if we are cranky, watch a documentary if we are sick, take our time if we are a little tired, and wait to brush hair until they are ready. Maybe people don’t agree with that, like some think that kids need that stress, to be responsible and develop social and fundamental rules for themselves of how to behave and schedule their day. Why? So they can grow up, get a job and rush to it everyday, have a family with a schedule and groups to belong to, and things to do and just go, go, go? They doesn’t even sound like fun or any American Dream I would want my kids to feel like they have to live. I thought I did, but discovered something, I don’t have to. I can just live to be happy. For another article though.
#6: No sickness! We have not gotten sick! Well, the first three days of homeschool we were sick. My Kindergardener brought something home, go figure, on her last day of public school. It only motivated me more to ensure our homeschool was successful.
So there it is. Those are some of the reasons why we decided to jump in and homeschool. You have to make your own. Here are some videos that helped me tremendously:
I used to never go to the thrift shops, goodwills, salvation army stores, etc. just because I never saw the need. I always thought my local thrift shop was full of junk and I figured I could find a good deal on Amazon too. I mean, I am a Prime Member! I get free two day shipping! However, I have found so many books (2 for $1 at my thrift store and between $1-$4 at Goodwill) for my homeschool class and just boks my husband and I have talked about getting but are normally $20 so we just say we will wait…and then we never get them. I have found Kumon books (My first cutting book, etc) never even used at these places! This is great curriculum for your Pre-K or Kindergartener that is normally $7 online..I got it for $.50. So I wanted to share with you all today what I found at my thrift shop this morning (I normally stop by when I see the owner out there to see when he is getting more stuff) for my homeschool classroom and for my collection of medical supplies that I have been gathering. (I believe one can never be too prepared when it comes to medical emergencies. I just feel that in a worst case, shit hits the fan scenario that medical supplies will be worth gold to my family and I…and I can never pass up a bargain!!
All in all…SUCCESSFUL DAY! $19.50 later I come out with treasure 🙂 Everytime I go to a thrift shop I am always singing Mackelmore’s Thrift Shop song…”they had a broken keyboard, I bought a broken keyboard” and yes….they did have some broken keyboards 🙂
My husband and I have been thinking of homeschooling for a while. I was slightly against it because I thought that my kids would be these weird social outcasts…terrible stereotypes! So, after my third grader came home (We will call her Razzy, 8) and started looking, acting, and feeling burned out, I knew we had a problem. My daughter is smart. Some parents claim this, but she really is 🙂 She plays with Circuit Board Kits for kids (b/c Santa only brings educational stuff to our house now), microscopes, and helps with the many “Life & Science” projects we have on the homestead. She has great ideas when we are building things and has proven herself a regular Macgyver. This year I slowly watched her go from the girl that loved school and learning to the “I like school, but please don’t make me do anything school related”. She takes a little longer to get math than other kids, but still manages to make good grades. The public school flies through so many different aspects of Math, English, Science, and Reading and only cover it an inch deep. Well, any gardener knows you need AT LEAST 6″ of soil for good roots. Soooo after many days and nights of research, reading blogs, watching videos on you tube of other homeschool moms, reading Cathy Duffy’s 101 Top Picks book (still reading too!), giving both girls (We will call the other Mayhem:), 5 in Pre-K) assessments so I know their learning styles (I had some idea, but i never dove into it like i have recently) with many different online tests they have….I finally decided that homeschool is best for us. I want my kids to love learning. If Razzy has a 5th grade Science Level and a 3rd Grade Math level, then I want to foster that. I don’t want to push her to pass a test. I don’tt want her to have fear of failing or making a mistake. As adults if we make a mistake we do it again, we research, we learn. It is REAL LIFE. Not LIFE that schools have made us believe to be true.
I grew up in a Private School until 6th grade, then moved to public school. Not to brag, but I was pretty smart coming from a private school, who taught a grade ahead. I was terrified to make bad grades though and I don’t really remember anything I learned other than how to write correctly, take good notes, understanding Algebra, and basic science ( I even took Calculus and Geometry and did not really get it until we began to build things on our homestead..then it clicked like oh ok!). I sucked at fractions until I started cooking more at home a couple of years ago when I was laid off and had time. Sad I know. But my husband was public school only with average grades, very street smart, and his awesomeness as an Army Sgt. gave him the professionalism, motivation, integrity, and discipline that we practice today. He was always awesome..they just amplified it to Hero Awesome 🙂 (love you babe). We both graduated college with Bachelors degrees, and I can still write and research like a mad fool! But living on a homestead has given us practical knowledge and helped us apply so many things to what we are doing to live sustainably. I did not realize the eclectic mix I would have!! So after my research the decision was a no brainer really.
I have found groups that do field trips, park days, skate days, and other awesomeness so my kids can meet with other homeschoolers. I found some cool classes with Legos that are once a week so my girls can use Science and Technology in a fun creative way! I cried when I found this too…I know emotional mom! But I was so excited that I will finally have control over my kids education. We always are very hands on with our kids school work and school functions…I just never had the confidence to think that I could be in charge of their education. Simply put I was terrified!! What if my 5 year old never learns to read..MY FAULT! So it is time I take responsibility as a parent. If I have problems with this, I can change it. Of course in Texas the homeschool laws are super awesome!! So I can teach anyway I want. I am not going all hippie or anything, but I will do it how I like it. I don’t want grades. I want, did you get it? No? Let’s do it again. Did you get it? Yes? Let’s keep moving! or Let’s go on a bike ride and name the trees, birds, plants we see. Let’s go take care of the chickens and make sure everyone is feeling well. Let’s go build a chicken tractor and you can measure for me. Let’s go to Lego class. Let’s have class outside. Sounds awesome right? Hell yeah! I am looking into the Charlotte Mason and Unit Study method for those of you who know what I am talking about!
Of course, I will keep records..I have to be organized or I will feel like nothing is done! And some of the programs I am picking are computer based which will track progress for me. I am blindly figuring this out, but we are now a “Do IT YOURSELF FAMILY” and we can do anything! I want my kids to know that too!
Anyway, here is my mix of things I have gathered from thrift stores, goodwill book stores, walmart clearance, and other things I have found in my house to start building our classroom! We have a loft upstairs that has a couch and literally nothing else. It was going to be a movie room or game room…but really see no point and have not touched it in 2 years! I still have to add shelves where our TV bump out is, hang up a dry erase board ( I don’t have to but Mayhem, is a kinesthetic learner and I feel writing on a big board will help her out!), hang up some cool stuff, gather more supplies for curriculum, and get a table and chairs…but I have until July/August so I am acquiring things as I go. I wanted to do this the minute I was done researching..but at the same time this is an adjustment for all of us. SO I figured we would let them finish out the year, and start beginning August or late July…whenever we were ready. That is right..it is up to me!
Here are some good websites for Texas Homeschool Info…and of course bing or google makes this all easy too!